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Friday, July 23, 2010

Book Review: Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood


Reading level:
Young Adult
261 pages
Simon Pulse; 1 edition (January 5, 2010)

Popularity is the best revenge.

In the final weeks of eighth grade, Lauren Wood made a choice. She betrayed her best friend, Helen, in a manner so publicly humiliating that Helen had to move to a new town just to save face. Ditching Helen was worth it, though, because Lauren started high school as one of the It Girls--and now, at the start of her senior year, she's the cheerleading captain, the quarterback's girlfriend, and the undisputed queen bee. Lauren has everything she's ever wanted, and she has forgotten all about her ex-best friend.

But Helen could never forget Lauren. After three years of obsessing, she's moving back to her old town. She has a new name and a new look, but she hasn't dropped her old grudges. She has a detailed plan to bring down her former BFF by taking away everything that's ever been important to Lauren—starting with her boyfriend.

Watch out, Lauren Wood. Things are about to get bitchy.
“Revenge is a tricky thing. I wanted Lauren to pay, but pay in a very particular way. For example, it might be momentarily satisfying to do one of the following:
1. Push Lauren out in front of a speeding dump truck.

2. Slather her with BBQ sauce and set a herd of hungry pit bulls on her

3. Pour honey in her hair and then tie her down on an anthill.

4. Dress her in a bathing suit made out of herring and then push her into shark-infested water.”- page 38
Confession time. I put off reading this for quite some time. I thought it would be fluffy chick lit with a predictable revenge theme. But Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood turned out to be surprisingly entertaining. Sure, there were similarities to teen movies like 10 Things I Hate About You and Mean Girls. But what made this book stand out to me was that Helen, the revenge seeker, already knew the ins and outs of popularity way ahead of the game, and was able to use that knowledge to play her cards flawlessly from day one. Her imagination and resourcefulness had me laughing out loud – this girl took revenge tactics to a whole new and slightly scary level.

The writing of Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood was fast-paced and always suspenseful. It was obvious that Helen would end up being dissatisfied with her choices in the end, but it was fun to watch her get there nevertheless. I loved the characterization of Helen’s super hip grandmother as well as Brenda, the nerdy ugly duckling Helen worked to remake into a swan. Helen's relationship with the elusive film buff Christopher was enjoyable and added an extra layer of intrigue to the whole deception aspect of the novel as well. When would everyone find out? Would Helen tell Christopher and Brenda herself? What would they do? What would Lauren do? These things were what kept me reading, I just had to know!

So, what about Lauren Wood, you ask? Well, Lauren was definitely one of those characters you just love to hate. Initially, I assumed that Lauren would have a few redeeming qualities which would become apparent and make things less black and white. But nope- Lauren was just a downright nasty person, as many people in this world most definitely are. There’s no rhyme or reason, they only see things there way and stomp all over good people in the process. I thought it was smart for Eileen Cook to write her that way. I did not want to like Lauren. I wanted to see her fall of her pedestal. But with that being said, I also wanted Helen to realize that life was not worth living with so much hate either. I thought Eileen Cook struck the perfect balance between revenge, self-awareness and vindication. It never went too far in any one direction and that impressed me the most about the book.

Bottom Line: Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood was a bitingly humorous novel with a bold plot and one heck of an unforgiving protagonist dedicated in the pursuit against evil.
Honestly, when all is said and done, a little chili powder in some mascara and tuna fish in the AC vent never really hurt anyone, right? Vive la Helen!

Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in six different languages. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. Her latest release, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood was released in Jan 2010.

You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at http://www.eileencook.com/. Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.

1 comment:

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Great review and I love that quote.