Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hot Nerds, Drug Lords and Buddhas, Oh My!

Expected Publication:  October 29th, 2013
Notable (Awkward #3)
By: Marni Bates
ISBN-13:  9780758269393

I take no prisoners…

I'm Chelsea Halloway and I will happily destroy your social life if you mess with me. Just ask anyone. There is no situation I can't handle. Divorcing parents? No problem. An ex-boyfriend who wants to date Smith High School's biggest geek instead of me? Just a matter of time before I can make him see reason. At least, until my parents decide to ship me off on a study abroad trip to Cambodia…

Now instead of being admired as the queen of the Notables, I'm stuck with a bunch of college students who don't take me seriously, and a professor who accidentally landed himself on the wrong side of a drug lord. And it's up to me to get us all out of the country alive--even the annoying jerk with the green eyes who won't stop calling me "princess."

Oh yeah, what could possibly go wrong?


     Chelsea Halloway is the Queen Bee of Smith High School.  But lately her life has been changing, with her ex-boyfriend choosing to date the biggest geek in school instead, making friends with another shy geek (Jane) and her parents finally deciding to get a divorce and put them all out of their misery.  Chelsea is downright PISSED though, when her parents decide to send her to Cambodia with a group from her Dad's college, without even asking her opinion first.  Now she's being pulled away from her royal position, her friends, and maybe even having her possible career as a professional dancer destroyed by this too.  Unable to get out of it, Chelsea finds herself stuck with some college kids who thinks she's a spoiled princess, and a party-girl with bubbles for brains.  But when their teacher is mixed up in a crime lord's drug deal gone wrong, Chelsea may be the only one who can figure out a way to save him.  And just what is happening between her and the infuriating, yet hot nerd Houston?
     Having read both of the other books in the Smith High series, I can honestly say that I really enjoyed Awkward but didn't really care for Invisible.  So I wasn't quite sure what to expect from mean girl Chelsea's story.  I greatly enjoyed it, more than I expected to!  As a main character she kept me laughing from beginning to end with her snarky, and sometimes just mean commentary.  But there were plenty of moments where we learned about Chelsea's somewhat strained relationship with parents who don't get her and an emotionally abusive relationship in her romantic past - about her overall vulnerability.  I loved her observations about how to turn something into an opportunity to flirt and using things to her advantage.  I've told some friends about this book and as soon as I mentioned the phrase "Buddha full of cocaine" they looked at me like I was snorting the aforesaid cocaine.  I think this is one you have to read and form an opinion for yourself.
     There were some interesting secondary characters, but I did feel like the plot got a little unbelievable and out of control, with a bunch of everyday American teens taking on one of Cambodia's biggest drug lords, just to get their teacher back!  When they set up a sting and brought in the help of the press, courtesy of her ex's new girlfriend, geeky Mackenzie Wellesley.  The growing love-hate relationship between nerdy Houston, who's been asked by Chelsea's Dad to keep an eye on her, was very interesting to read about.  They antagonized each other like no other, but the chemistry between the two was extremely off the charts.  I really liked the scene between the two at the bar when Chelsea accidentally ingests a substance that drugs her and how Houston takes care of her/fights a guy for her that he believes is responsible.  Chelsea truly grows as a person by the end of the book, and while she's still sarcastic and cocky, she has the confidence in herself to back it up.  The resolution of the main plot is no more believable than the plot itself, but you know what?  I DIDN'T CARE.  Because I had such a good time reading it and really ended up loving Chelsea and Houston too.   Maybe it wasn't perfect, but Marni Bates is one of those rare writers that can make you smile, laugh and cry with never a moment ringing false the entire time.  I will definitely be reading the next one in this series and hoping for another book like this one.  I highly recommend it and it can be read as a stand alone, but I recommend reading Awkward as well.

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book's expected publication is October 29th, 2013.*

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Comments are much appreciated and I always read them with a smile on my face! :) While I appreciate the thought, this an award-free blog as well. I just don't have the time to keep up with it. Thank you for my smiles and please share your thoughts! Also, sorry for the Captcha, but I've been getting a lot of spam lately!