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Carly and Anna are bickering sisters who love each other (deep DEEP down) in Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle.


BOOK REPORT for Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle

BFF Charm: Yay!
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: 2 Legit 2 Quit
Bonus Factor: Private School, Duckie
Relationship Status: Serious

The Deal:

It's tough to be unique in high school, and I'm not just talking about the popular kids making fun of you for wearing yr X-Files shirt (um, not that I would know. anyway). It's actually hard to BE different, especially without trying too hard (here's looking at you, Cy-Creek Drama Club 1997!). As Carly's sophomore year begins, she struggles to hang on to her own identity as a free spirit. From not shaving her legs (heh, that lasts a day) to grooving out to Crosby, Stills and Nash, Carly seeks to set herself apart from the preppy, materialistic students at Holy Redeemer. To make things even more complicated (cos nothing in high school is easy), Carly's sister, Anna, immediately attracts a ton of attention as the hot new freshman, leaving Carly in solid "weird smart girl" territory. Now she has to figure out who she is, not only as a young woman, but also as a sister, as a daughter and as a friend.

BFF Charm: Yay!

I have to admit that at first, Carly kind of annoyed me. Part of this is due to the fact that, um, I kind of hate hippies, and Carly was definitely on her way to Patchouliville at the beginning of the book. Plus, there were a few times where her whole "Why is everyone just so obsessesed with MONEY all of the time?!! Why can't we all just live on... love? And music?" schtick got really out of control, esp. given the fact that girlfriend lives in a huge mansion. BUT... and this is all due to Lauren Myracle's excellent writing... by the end of the book, I sooo wanted to sit on the bus with Carly on the way to field trips and invite her over to my house to make silly Youtube videos. Her desire to be different slowly seeps into deeper levels of her character, and eventually, instead of judging other people all of the time, she begins to challenge and therefore transform herself. Carly's strong and independent and isn't afraid to ask questions. She's also imperfect, and the minute she begins to understand and embrace this fact, you'll feel like calling her up and inviting her to a Cat Stevens listening party. HA HA just kidding. I would never host a Cat Stevens party. But yeah, I still love Carly.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

The focus of this book is actually more on the sister relationship than anything else, and while y'all know I need my butterflies in the tummy, I didn't mind at all because the dynamic between Anna and Carly is utterly fantastic. But never fear, there is still some serious boy crushing in this story. First of all, there's Cole, the hot new guy who looks like James Dean and plays guitar. In spite of Carly's infatuation with him, you can pretty much tell right away that he's gonna end up being a Total Jerkface (see my casting choice below, which really says it all). Thankfully, there's also Roger, the sweet and laid back dutch dude who's one of Carly's closest friends (Duckie Alert!). Even though there were times when I wanted to SMACK THE SHIZZ out of Carly for continuing to obsess over Cole, the building chemistry between Carly and Roger keeps things sizzling. There's nothing really hot or sexy about this book, but that's kind of the point-- Carly's story is utterly authentic, and her evolving and extremely confusing relationship with Roger rings, gently and awkwardly, double true.

Talky Talk: 2 Legit 2 Quit

DIZANG Lauren Myracle knows her way around teen dialogue. In fact, she's like, the Google Maps to teen speak. The conversations in this book, esp. the fights between Carly and Anna, felt absolutely true to life, and every character, from the pervy coach to Carly's Don Draper-esque dad, speaks with a unique, fully developed voice. I think my favorite conversations occurred between Carly and Vonzelle, the only black girl in Carly's class, not only because they touched upon the undercurrents of racism in the school (as well as Carly's own ignorance) but also because they were HILARIOUS.

Bonus Factor: Private School

I don't know about you guys, but I LOVE books about private school. Maybe it's cos I went to public high school, and I always felt like my life would have been more fascinating if I was wearing a blazer and hanging out in ivy-covered classrooms. or maybe it's cos I watch too much Gossip Girl. Anyhoo, not only is Holy Redeemer a private school, but it's also, as indicated by the name, a religious school. Cue awesome plot points, including two-faced Christian girls (always a trip!) and a required high dive in PE (this one was a real WTF for me but what do I know, I'm a public schooler).

Bonus Factor: Duckie

As I mentioned, Roger is Carly's best friend, but he's also a dude that happens to be in love with her. Fortunately for Carly, Roger is different not because he's a weird spastic stalker but because he's FROM A DIFFERENT COUNTRY, i.e. insta-hotness. Roger is probably one of the chillest dudes I've ever seen in a YA novel, so the Duckie comparison probably isn't fair, but who cares? Having an awesome best friend who's in love with you is NEVER a bad thing (unless, well, you play for a different team).

Casting Call:

Is it cheating to pick two actresses who already play sisters on a tv show? Wait, what am i saying, I started this website, and there are no rules when it comes to casting, so I can pick who i want! Even people that are no longer remotely close to being teens, which is more than I can say for Hollywood. Anyhoo! These two gals from 10 Things I Hate About You totally nail the bickering sisters who, in spite of being v. different, obvs love each other deep down (ok, deep DEEP down).

Lindsey Shaw as Carly

Meaghan Jette Martin as Anna

As for Cole, there's only one dude who can handle the sleaze, and that's Chad Michael Murray from the Cinderella Story era:

Chad Michael Murray as Cole

As for Roger... y'all, I have no idea! He's tall, he's Dutch, he's awesome. Any ideas?

Relationship Status: Serious

This book was my first experience with Lauren Myracle, and I am sooo checking out her other books. Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks is a refreshing change of pace in a world filled with angsty books about moody immortals, and I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in the life of a regular teenager, esp. because, really, there IS no such thing as a "regular teenager." Myracle masterfully explores the trauma of high school with just the right balance of drama and hilarity, and, more impressively, made this only child feel like she kind of maybe understood the whole "sister" thing, i.e. I kept vacillating between wanting to hug Carly and Anna and wishing I could smack the crap out of them.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).