The rule, to be techinical, is that you should never judge a book by it's cover. And you know, if you take that phrase the way you're supposed to, figuratively, it works. Because people aren't always what they look like, and that is what the mysterious they* meant when they started saying that. But when it comes to actual, literal book... a lot of the time, the cover happens to be right. Frenemies, sadly, is an example of this.
If you haven't already read any of the reviews about this book (doubtful), here's the story: Halley and Avalon** have been best friends and fashion mavens ever since they were wearing [insert impressive name here] onesies and spitting up together***. They're inseperable. In fact, as will become clear later on in the book, they are more or less each other's only friends. (But they're popular. They're the most popular girls in school. They're just each other's only friends.) But it all changes when Halley returns from art camp and- eh. ma. gawd. Suddenly, Halley is wearing clothes that (while still being expensive and label-whorific) are the tiniest bit less pretentious than the things that she and Avalon would normally choose. And then, there's the fact that Avalon's chest grew (to a slightly larger A-cup) and Halley keeps making snarky comments about it. And-now- here's the real deal breaker- Halley has a crush on a boy.
Um, hello? Doesn't she know that they've all got cooties?
Soon, Halvalon is no more. They're at war. They're insulting each other, making fun! They're suggesting that there may have actually been something wrong with their friendship in the first place! There is mocking going on, and I'm not talking about the mocking being done by Caroline while reading and trying not to slam her head against the wall. I'm serious! It's like they're both Ben Afflect in this one!**** Although, shockingly enough, none of their greivences are related to being incesscantly referred to as Halvalon. Because, honestly, that would be my first complaint. Halvalon is worst than Brangelina or Tomkat or even Dramione!*****
I don't think I have to tell you that I didn't like this book.
And, before you start with me, it has nothing to do with the fashion name-dropping. I actually have no major issue with fashion name-dropping. In fact, I went through this whole phase once where I was obsessed with it. In that terrifying six month period, I probably read more books about popular rich kids than most popular rich kids will read anything in their lifetime. I even went as far as trying to write my own popular rich kid book. (There was a boarding school involved.) I'm not even joking. I spent an hour a day on the Bergdorf Goodman website. ******
I've read The Clique, Gossip Girl, and It Girl novels- and while I have very few great things to say about any of them, I liked them all better than Frenemies.
I'm not going to go into all of the issues that I had with this book, though I will say that I had issues with almost every facet of it. I will touch on my biggest problem, though, which was the relationship between Halley and Avalon.
I think the reason I hated it so much was that I know what it's like to have that one best friend who knows everything about you, who you've been friends with basically all your life. I know what it's like when that person is the only real friend you have. And it's not suddenly hating each other because of wardrobe choices. I read in one review that this book was unlike anything that Poppy publishes because of Halley and Avalon's friendship, and how deep it runs, and I can't help but laugh at that. Because, like I said, I have read Gossip Girl- and even Blair and Serena, the biggest frenemies of them all, have pretty damn good reasons for ending their lifelong friendship. They do not include new clothes or boob jokes.
There was no backstory about their friendship, either. I mean, if they've been friends all their lives, you'd think that they'd at least have a few fond memories to struggle with. The story starts where the book starts, and it ends when it stops. (Only not, because there will be a sequel.)
On a slightly graver note: I really am sorry to give this book a bad review, because it was so nice of the author to send it to us. And I really wanted to like it. I was all prepared to say that Alexa Young was a super-awesome-amazing writer with an unfortunate publicist. She probably is a super-awesome-amazing writer with an unfortunate storyline. The writing itself wasn't bad. But, as mentioned in the title, I'm dedicated to being honest. And we must be prepared to sacrifice things for our principals. Like, for instance, the luxury of not having people cyber-attack you. (If you do want to cyber-attack somebody, really, I want you to know that I'm actually Heather, pulling an Avalon so that Caroline will be the one punished for the bad review. I just feel to guilty to go through with it.)
1 cup of coffee for Frenemies.
WORD TO YOUR BOOKSHELF*******
* The They that make up all of the cliches. I've always been curious about the They. There have been many rants inspired by They. Especially becasue thinking about They angers me, since it inevetiably leads to getting this really cheesy Hilary Duff song from the Cinderella Story soundtrack I bought when I was eleven stuck in my head.
** Her name was my favorite part of this book. I don't mean this as an insult. I'm saying it seriusly. If everything else was wrong, as it often was, I remembered how much I love the name Avalon and how awesome and creative it is.
***Do babies who wear designer onesies still spit up like normal mortal babies.
****If you don't know waht I'm talking about... where were you in 2004? Clearly, not in the grocery store.
*****Sorry. Had to throw in a Harry Potter dork name. All the celebrity was starting to nauseate me. Of course,the idea of Hermione and Malfoy nauseates me as well, but differently.
******That's my atonement for writing this mean review. Writing something really embarrassing about myself. If you want to read more embarrassing things abou me, check out Steph's contest for How Not To Be Popular. My comment will provide you with ten years of embarrassing stories. (Yes, that is literal.)
*******For those of you who have read Frenemies: What did that mean???
********Or maybe Heather. You never know...
PS: If MJFAN or anyone similarily minded still lurks around, I included the asterixes because there were way too many parenthesis to begin with, and I am html challengd and I have no clue how to do actual footnotes. I am in no way trying to "rip off Maureen Johnson" by using an asterix. Trust me.