Coco Franks has been dreaming and plotting to join the popular group of girls at school. They have very strict rules about your appearance and behavior when you are chosen to be part of the elite group of five. She has the fashionista sense to make her an excellent candidate. Her best friend Samantha plots with her to get her into the group. Success! And then suddenly her dad announces that they are going to move to the middle of nowhere, two hours away from Sydney. All of her hard work is for naught. She creates an elaborate lie to save herself and promises to be back in a year. Will her status be able to be saved? What can possibly be worse than moving to rural Australia?
Here are my thoughts on Coco and the book:
Coco is not a very likable character. She is whiny, snobby, and spoiled, despite her parents' best efforts. All she cares about is fashion and beauty and being a part of the most popular group at school. Her friends are also complete snots, reminding me an awful lot of Mean Girls. They have very strict rules about how to look and behave, and will drop you on your butt in the blink of an eye, should you ever decide to step a toenail out of line.
When her father's job becomes redundant and they move to the country, Coco puts on a temper tantrum and refuses to speak to her father for the entire year that she must put in before returning to her perceived city bliss. She's a brat to her older brother, her twin sister (yes, they are fraternal - polar opposites in every way), and to the new neighbors. You do find yourself laughing out loud when she falls into mud and cow pies, thus knocking her off of her little high horse.
But speaking of horses, a beautiful one named Cupcake, who belongs to the neighbors, seems to have the same kind of attitude that Coco does. As expected, the two of them understand each other in that magical way that children and animals do, and actually teach each other a lot.
As expected, Coco does undergo a lot of changes in her year away from the Snob Sisters. A lot of the relationships and twists are very predictable, but necessary to help Coco become someone that you can actually tolerate. In fact, by the end of the book, you find yourself liking her a bit.
It looks like this may be the first in a series about Coco and her twin sister Charlie, which makes me happy. Charlie was much more likable and seems like she has plenty of her own stories to tell. I am also curious to see what happens to Coco in the future as she adapts to her new way of life.
This book may be labeled as YA, but I think even younger readers in the middle grades will enjoy it.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.