cover image THE V CLUB


Kate Brian, . . S&S, $14.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-689-86764-4

Despite its suggestive title (the "V" in "V Club" does indeed stand for virginity), the big swoons in Brian's (The Princess and the Pauper ) novel are mostly reserved for the ultimate goal of being admitted to the selective college of one's choice. High school best buds Kai, Debbie, Eva and Mandy find themselves at odds with one another when they enter the competition for a recently created college scholarship fund that (along with the usual) requires its winner to "exemplify purity of mind and body." In order to boost their chances, the girls form the V Club, a service organization that promotes chastity. The peppy narrative and a multitude of intersecting plot lines (each told from the point of view of one of the four girls) keep the novel humming along. While athletic Kai comes to terms with the aftermath of a relationship gone sour, picture-perfect Mandy struggles to cope with a family crisis that threatens to destroy her orderly world, and shy Eva gingerly embarks on her first-ever romance. Meanwhile, aspiring fashion designer Debbie realizes that her free-wheeling ways with the opposite sex have earned her a reputation that doesn't match up with the facts. Despite some bumps along the road, each one of these likable heroines is rewarded with exactly the happy ending that suits her best. A feel-good message about remaining true to oneself provides just enough ballast to prevent this fluffy confection from floating entirely away. Ages 14-up. (Apr.)