Laura Dower. Scholastic Paperbacks, $8.99 (243pp) ISBN 978-0-439-70340-6
Dower's (From the Files of Madison Finn series) tale of teenage angst and lust centers on a high school love triangle. Cady loves music and Lucas; Lucas loves music and Hope; and Hope loves no one but herself. The book unfolds as a series of vignettes moving back in time from prom night in June, to the previous New Year's Eve party, where Cady and Lucas, who has just moved to town, meet for the first time, and Hope makes her pitch to this hot new guy in their small community. The device of moving back through time, week by week, from the end to the beginning works to keep each chapter fresh, alternating among the points of view of the three main characters. The narrative maintains an immediacy that almost makes one forget how events turn out. Cady is the only really sympathetic character; Hope quickly reveals herself as a master manipulator, and Lucas intermittently gains readers' sympathy through his interactions with Cady, then loses it when his obsession with Hope comes to the fore. Dower's strong sense of high school woes and heartbreak make this a natural candidate for those awaiting the next Gossip Girl addition and its ilk. Ages 12-up.
Reviewed on: 04/03/2006