Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes

The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes is realistic young adult fiction set in a high school in the Midwest.

Paige Sheridan and her two best friends Lacey and Nikki have always dreamed of being Homecoming royalty -- but now that their senior year has finally arrived, it seems that too many things may have changed. At the end of their junior year, there was a party -- and then the was a car accident. While it could have been much worse, it left Lacey injured, Nikki riddled with guilt, and Paige isolated -- first, by distance (her mother hustled her off to Paris to be an unpaid au pair for the summer) and then by a complex web of secrets, resentments, and misunderstandings. As the school year begins, Paige finds that she is not as close to Lacey and Nikki as she had been in the past, but as she explores new relationships and starts to reinvent herself, she may unwittingly cause a great deal of pain to friends both old and new.

This book had more depth than I was expecting: Paige is surprisingly easy to relate to, and her character development is well-written and believable. Even Lacey and Nikki are more than superficial Mean Girls, and the supporting characters are all fully realized and interesting in their own rights. The plot is sprawling and would not have been hurt by a little judicious pruning here and there, but all in all this is an enjoyable and well-written book.

(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)

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