Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Book Review: The Market

Title The Market
Author J.M. Steele
Genre YA Commercial Fiction
Rating B+

Summary Kate Winthrop is a nobody at Millbank High School... well, not quite a nobody. According to the Millbank Social Stock Market (aka, "The Market") she's ranked 71st out of 140 girls in the Senior class in the looks-to-brain ratio. She's a junk bond, but after a well-timed make over, she moves her way up to blue chip status. But at what cost?

First Line "Somewhere in the distance I heard a cell phone ringing, and I slipped in unnoticed through the side door."

Review I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The plot was strong, the characters interesting, the writing fun to read, and the ending was meaningful in a way that didn't make you feel like you'd wasted your time reading the book.

The plot was a little twist on the classic YA theme of social climbing, but using the stock market index as a motif (set within the context of Kate learning about economics in school) was a fresh twist on this idea. Also, the "twist" about how things happened kind of surprised me; granted, I figured it out before Kate did, but it wasn't straight off the bat that I knew how all the pieces fit together.

Beyond the fact that Kate was a little bit more a slow learner than I was, she was a good character. At the end of the book there is a lot of stuff dealing with forgiveness (as most books about social climbing and popularity likely have), but Kate was strong, she didn't just forgive the popular people for the sake of being popular. She had empathy, but wasn't a weepy mealy-mouthed loser either. I really liked her. I really liked the guys that were critical to the story and the Queen Bee of the poular click was really nicely drawn as well. I liked Kate's friends a good deal, but one of the friends (Callie) didn't get quite as much attention, and I'd have liked to have gotten to know her a bit better. Other than that, no complaints on the characterization front.

This was a good, solid read that I'll probably keep on my shelf, waiting to find just the right person to loan it to. (And I'll probably pick up the other book by J.M. Steele.)

Recommendation Fans of YA literature that uses loser-to-winner social status as a common theme, likes to read about first love (and its ensuing confusion) are likely to enjoy this book.

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