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

*Queen B* by Laura Peyton Roberts - young adult book review

Also by Laura Peyton Roberts:

Queen B
by Laura Peyton Roberts
Grades 8-11 368 pages Laurel Leaf July 2007 Paperback    

In Queen B, Cassie feels like she always comes in second. She was in second place for the Snow Queen contest, for example, after Queen Bee (instead of Queen B) Sterling. Now, though, Cassie's got great friends and a cute new boyfriend, and she is ready to be on the A-list. There are, however, a few obstacles between Cassie and popularity.

Her eighth-grade brother, who has an obsessive crush on high school freshman Julie, is publicly humiliating her every chance he gets (or so it seems to Cassie). She can't get any privacy at home because her father has decided to be a stay-at-home dad. Cassie has been put in charge of the school talent show (the term "talent" is interpreted loosely there). Sterling's new clone, Tiffi, is trying her best to embarrass Cassie and get Kevin out of the deal. Everyone important in Cassie's life seems to be mad at her. Basically, nothing's going her way. Instead, everything seems to be in Cassie's way!

Can Cassie make everything turn out okay? Does she even want to be Queen Bee, or would she rather Sterling keep the crown? In this companion to The Queen Of Second Place, Laura Peyton Roberts tells Cassie's story, and it's an amusing one - amusing, but not remarkable.

It's a decent read; the talent show, Cassie's dad's transformation into Mr. Mom, and other elements make it that, at least. Still, there isn't anything about this book that stands out. The writing is decent; the characters are pretty well-written. But it's not one that will stick with the reader after the final page. I saw this book shelved with "Notable Children's Books" at Barnes and Noble, and I was surprised - I wouldn't have called it Notable. Decent, perhaps, but not notable or magnificent or remarkable. Nothing really makes this book stand out from other teen books. The characters and plot aren't that much different from dozens of other books. Really, the title is rather revealing. This book isn't the "Queen Bee" of books, nor is it terrible; it comes in second place.

The characters for the most part are a lot like the typical high school stereotypes (Sterling is the mean popular girl, and Cassie is the nice ordinary girl, for example) found in movies, television, and books all the time. Of course, they're also found in real-life, so the characters are still pretty believable. The characters and situations also have more to them than is easily seen at first, which is probably the best part of this book. Even what is fairly predictable has a bit of depth to it.

Laura Peyton Roberts' Queen B didn't exactly grab my attention, but I didn't fall asleep while reading it. I didn't race through it because of a desire to know the ending (it was rather predictable), but I didn't rush through to get it over with. It's exactly what Cassie fears she is: average. There are so many books about average girls in high school wanting popularity that even decent books on the same topic seem dull now. It's not original, and Queen B doesn't even have an interesting twist (paranormal or something), the way some books do, that would make it better. It's a second-place book, all the way.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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