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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students




*The Blonde of the Joke* by Bennett Madison- young adult book review  
The Blonde of the Joke
by Bennett Madison
Grades 9+ 272 pages HarperTeen August 2009 Hardcover    

Bennett Madison takes a detour from his Lulu Dark mystery books to write a black comedy about two high school girls who shoplift. Val, the quiet, mousy-brown narrator, never thought Francie, the popular blonde, even knew her name. Imagine her surprise when Francie not only reveals that she knows Val's name but invites her to hang out with her at the mall. Little does Val know that Francie's not too interested in paying for the great things she finds at the mall.

The Blonde of the Joke is an odd book. It certainly wasn't what I was expecting, which was a light and funny story about what happens when a popular girl befriends someone much beneath her on the social ladder. While that's a backbone of the plot, there's a lot more going on in this book than just that.

The Blonde of the Joke isnt the type of book that one can just skim and be done with in a matter of hours. Its more like an investment in time, an investment that seems as though it may not pay off in the end because, while Cal is an interesting narrator, Francie is a hard person to like. Shes true to life as a person who believes she's being deep and existential when its all a mask for narcissism, but though her character rings true for me, shes not the type of person youd want to spend time with.

Though I do concede that The Blonde of the Joke is a thought-provoking story and is at times humorous, it wasn't very enjoyable for me. Those looking for a more serious read, however, may enjoy this more.
 
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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