Are You Going to Kiss Me Now?
Sloane Tanen. Sourcebooks Fire, $8.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-4022-5461-1
Best known for snarky, gifty books built around dioramas of miniature fuzzy chicks, Tanen, in her first novel, pens an overwrought story about fame and self-esteem. Tabloid-obsessed high school junior Francesca has no idea what awaits when she wins a Seventeen magazine essay contest, which promises a tour of Africa with celebrities to raise education awareness. When the plane lands in the ocean, she is stranded on an island off Madagascar with a handful of self-absorbed, prescription drug%E2%80%93addicted, and otherwise helpless celebs, including fragile actress Eve, Perez Hiltonesque blogger Chaz, and self-righteous Christian musician/heartthrob Jonah. Francesca quickly becomes the opposite of star-struck, as the group spends five long days making feeble attempts at survival and tearing each other's egos to shreds. Francesca's caustic brand of humor will be familiar to Tanen's readers ("Cisco is man-spooning Joe. I am so uncomfortable"), but where her previous books were wicked guilty pleasures, this story suffers from a slow pace, overwritten passages, and so much schadenfreude that the group's period of isolation will likely feel even longer to readers than it does to the characters. Ages 12%E2%80%93up. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/04/2011