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Monday, August 2, 2010

Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook

Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Contemporary
Age Recommendation: 14+
Length: Full Length (272 pgs)
Rating: 4 Suns
Reviewed by Aloe

Popularity is the best revenge.

In the final weeks of eighth grade, Lauren Wood made a choice. She betrayed her best friend, Helen, in a manner so publicly humiliating that Helen had to move to a new town just to save face. Ditching Helen was worth it, though, because Lauren started high school as one of the It Girls--and now, at the start of her senior year, she's the cheerleading captain, the quarterback's girlfriend, and the undisputed queen bee. Lauren has everything she's ever wanted, and she has forgotten all about her ex-best friend.

But Helen could never forget Lauren. After three years of obsessing, she's moving back to her old town. She has a new name and a new look, but she hasn't dropped her old grudges. She has a detailed plan to bring down her former BFF by taking away everything that's ever been important to Lauren—starting with her boyfriend.

Watch out, Lauren Wood. Things are about to get bitchy.

Has anybody you thought was your best friend ever done anything really awful to you? Have you ever been tempted to get even? I sure have…

Helen and Lauren did everything together. They created their own Nancy Drew Club and did their own sleuthing (not very successfully), they shared candy, went to the mall and hung out and were BFFs (Best Friends Forever). However, when it was time to move to high school, Lauren did something so bad that it caused everyone in school to hate Helen because they thought she’d done it.

Ms. Cook does an excellent job of reminding you what it’s like in school and how badly you can be emotionally scarred by someone’s words or actions. Children can be cruel, and this story demonstrates that. Helen is shocked and finds it hard to believe Lauren would use Helen as a stepping stone into high school and popularity.

Helen’s family is non-traditional. Lauren’s family sets goals for her. The girls' characters are defined by their families and friends, just like it is in real life.

After spending three years in New York, Helen returns to her hometown for her senior year, staying with her grandmother. She decides to reinvent herself and get revenge on Lauren.

It's fascinating to watch her begin her plan with only an outline and then see the pleasure she takes by seeing thing go wrong with Lauren. Then she begins to be conflicted with what she’s doing and how it changes her basic personality – not for the good. She’s been led to temptation and has started down the thorny path, will she continue to the end?

As you read about Helen’s torment over the issue of revenge, you’ll keep turning the pages and trying to decide how you, personally, would like the story to end.

This author’s knowledge of young people, their emotions, and their interactions with other people their age creates a very authentic story with a storyline that covers all sides of the issue of revenge. I’d recommend this to any family with teenage children.

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