In the world of Hollister Bucksey-Breiten fame, money and power are as prevalent as plastic surgery. Sixteen-year-old Hollister is heiress to the Bucksey real estate empire on her mother's side, as well as a bonafide princess thanks to her deceased royal father. After her troubled mother heads yet again to rehab, the celebutante suddenly finds herself shipped from the privileged halls of Shotley Academy in Los Angeles to a backwoods New Jersey high school. Life at Franklin High isn't what Hollister expects. Instead of being worshipped by her lesser-blessed peers for the usual superficial reasons, Hollister feels ostracized because of them. With the help of her estranged brother and a few new friends, she discovers what's really important not only to her but about her, and that a good heart is her most valuable asset.
Summary and cover art from Goodreads.com
Cute, predictable, and morally rewarding, this is a book version of a straight-to-video riches-to-rags-but-happily-ever-after movie. The book was a fun, quick read. Hollister was a fun character (think Cher from Clueless) who learns to expect more from herself and sees the good others during her exile to painfully impoverished suburbia.
There’s a little romance, because why not?, but the focus of the story is on Hollister’s transformation from privileged rich girl dealing with her mother’s addictions to empowered young woman making the world a better place by enlisting her new friends in a fashion show to raise money for charity. The concept could make a good episode of Saved by the Bell.
It’s a simple book that reads really young. Like how the High School Musical audience is not really teenagers but 7 year olds? It feels like that. Except there is enough bad language and sexual references to make it inappropriate for audiences younger than 14. There are no outright sexual scenes. The depicted romance is very sweet. But in true 21st century mean-girl fashion, photos of genitalia and sexual acts are texted around in a bullying fashion. Those things are real in modern high schools and I don’t necessarily mind that they were addressed, but the overly simplistic writing style and characterization did not match up with a few of the more mature plot points, making the book feel like it had a bit of a personality disorder. Princess Diaries with a few HBO-worthy scenes thrown in.
My rating: 3 stars
For the sensitive reader: Mild swearing, crude humor, reference to sexual acts, bullying.