Monday, October 09, 2006

Me and the Blondes

Me and the Blondes, by Teresa Toten

Canadian/YA/Chick Lit

In Me and the Blondes we follow the adventures of Sophia, or Sophie as she would prefer to be called, a Toronto teen in 1974. Sophie's just starting at her new high school, the latest in a long series of schools she's attended in the last few years. The trouble is that Sophie's father, an alcoholic poet with obscure ties to Polish aristocracy is in the Kingston Pen. doing time for murder (perhaps despite his innocence). Sophie and her mother, an extroverted and dramatic Bulgarian who learned English by watching old Hollywood musicals, have repeatedly had to move to get away from painful rejection and prejudice when people discover the truth of Sophia's father's whereabouts.

This time, Sophie is determined to make things work at her new school, and she has a plan. She is going to get in good with "the Blondes" - the perfect, popular, rule-the-school girls, and she is going to become one of them in order to survive. Things start out well: the blondes are in her homeroom! But, not everything is smooth sailing, and much hilarity and tenseness follows.

The characters are great. Sophie is a well-developed character, the blondes are well drawn, and the aunties, a supporting trio of doting, if misguided older friends, are hilarious. The story moves along well. Moments with the friends are counterposed with Sophie's struggles to find a way to communicate with her father. There is humour and pathos and tension and joy. A highly enjoyable read!

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