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How Can It Be Bad When It Reads So Good?

How To Be Bad has a road trip, Waflle House, and a trio of awesome authors (Lauren Myracle, E. Lockhart and Sarah Mylnowski)!

How Can It Be Bad When It Reads So Good?

BOOK REPORT for How To Be Bad by Lauren Myracle, E. Lockhart and Sarah Mylnowski

BFF Charm: Yay!
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: Right On
Bonus Factors: Road Trip, Waffle House
Relationship Status: Summer Fling

The Deal:

(This description may seem spoilery to you but trust me, you find out all of this stuff in like the first 15 pages)

Jesse's a devout Christian who just found out her mom has cancer. Vicks (GAH I wish I'd had a cool nickname like that in high school. But what can you do with Sarah? That's right, nothing) is pining after her boyfriend, Brady, who just went off to college and apparently lost all knowledge of how a cell phone works. Mel is a rich girl trying to break out of her bubble and "be normal" (I don't know about y'all, but I am perfectly willing to embrace the normality of living in a mansion and using my "mum's" Amex). The only solution to all of their problems? ROAD TRIP!!! Major duh! Taking a break from their jobs at the waffle house (!), Vicks, Jesse and Mel head to Miami, determined to 1) find Brady 2) stop at every kitschy roadside attraction possible 3) become better friends without killing each other first.

BFF Charm: Yay!

Even though these girls are v. v. different from each other, I found myself connecting with each of them. First, Jesse and I TOTES woulda been friends in high school, cos I was a youth groupie too. In fact, my heart went out to Jesse the most, because she's so torn up about her mom and confused about the fact that the black and white world of her faith doesn't quite match up to the gray of reality. Sure, there were times when girlfriend needed to QUIT WITH THE JUDGING ALREADY, but it's obvious that her intentions, no matter how misguided, spring from the right place. As for Vicks, OMG girl crush!!!! You know those girls in high school that grew up with a ton of brothers so they were, like, able to talk to guys from day one and feel comfortable around them and know how to flirt in that cool, tomboy sort of way, unlike only children who grew up talking to their parents so they totally RULE at Trivial Pursuit and PBS shows but have no idea how to talk to boys their age and... um... anyway, yeah, Vicks is one of those laid-back, totally hot girls with a ton of brothers. And I kind of want to hate her but I can't cos SHE IS SO COOL. And then there's Mel, who is really sheltered and sweet and shy and she tries really hard you guys! Plus she brings her iPod and obsessively changes the music to fit the mood in the car. Any girl who does that is, as Anne Shirley would say, my bosom buddy.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

This book isn't really about boys, it's about FRIENDSHIP! And friendship is more important than boys! No really, I believe that! I just... ok, OK. I admit it. I'm shallow, y'all. I WISH THERE HAD BEEN MORE KISSING IN THIS BOOK. Is that a crime?!!

There is a nice storyline about Mel meeting some dude at a random house party, but I can't even remember his name, so obvs it didn't impact me that much. And then there's Vicks, grappling with the fact that she may have lost her boyfriend forever. While her experience isn't necessarily swoonworthy, I did find it to be extremely grabby with ye olde heartstrings, esp. because I think we've all had an experience where we're the one left behind, and yeah, it sucks.

Talky Talk: Right On

The first person narration of this book rotates between all three girls, and while I usually hate literary gimmicks like this, the authors actually make it work! I think that's cos Lauren Myracle, E. Lockhart and Sarah Mylnowski are totes bffs!! I mean, check it out:

This photo gives me a Fried Green Tomatoes feeling. LOOK AT THEM! So happy and laughy and lovey and I bet they get their periods at the same time even.

Due to their kindred spiritness and excellent writing skills, these ladies give each character a unique and utterly believable voice. In fact, they've pretty much perfected the balance between sassy and sentimental. Check out this passage from Vick, talking about a roadside eccentricity known as the Coral Castle (yes! it's real! and it's AMAZING! reminds me of the Orange Show). and ok, O realize this is a long excerpt and it's kind of cheating to quote the book so much in a book report but GUESS WHAT this ISN'T FOR A GRADE suckers.

The name of the girl Ed Leedskalnin loved-- Ed being the Latvian guy who built the castle-- her name was Agnes Scuffs. Such a stupid name for someone so beloved.

If I were named Agnes Scuffs, I don't think anyone would ever love me.

Hell, no one loves me now and my name is Victoria Simonoff. Which is a very sexy name, actually.

Agness Scuffs didn't love Ed back, so he moved 1,100 tons of coral by himself, using only his weird supernatural powers that he never even had until she dumped him. No one ever saw him build anything. Never saw him touch the coral. And no one ever helped him either. The guy was only five feet tall. When Agnes Scuffs broke his heart, he became magic.

I'm heartbroken.

I am.

I know I'm the one who broke it off with Brady, but I feel like he broke it off with me.

I used to think there was no way I'd ever build a coral castle for him, if he didn't want me anymore. I thought I'd know how to get him back. Know how to make him want me again.

And if I couldn't, I was sure I wouldn't mope around. I'd just move on.

Now, I'm wishing that my heartbreak did make me magic. So I could make something beautiful, or do something heroic, and Brady would see it and that's what would make him come back.

I would build a coral castle, if I could.

See what I mean? I wanna hug Vicks so bad, even though she is way cooler than I will ever be. Now THAT'S a sign of good writing.

Bonus Factor: Road Trip

Reading this book made me positively lust for the open road, esp. cos these girls do it up right! Even though their initial goal is to find Brady, you know the true point of a road trip is never the destination but all of the random stops along the way (oh and MOONPIES). Just like the Coral Castle, all of the roadside attractions are REAL which is SO AWESOME. My fave is Old Joe the alligator, who now resides (stuffed) in a hotel and whose website informs me that: "Every New Years Eve the Hotel puts a party hat on him." Oh and did I mention that Vicks, Jesse and Mel spend a night AT A PIRATE HOTEL?!!! AND they order room service, which is the height of classy in my opinion.

One question: is it just me, or is it kind of crazy that these girls' parents let them drive across the state on their own? Well, Jesse doesn't actually tell her parents, and Mel's folks are fabulously disinterested in that way only rich people can be, but still. Maybe I'm the only one with parents who equated driving downtown with entering the Thunderdome.

Bonus Factor: Waffle House


Casting Call:

Blake Lively as Vicks

My choice is based less on GG Blake and more on Traveling Pants Blake-- gorgeous, goofy, ridiculously enviable.

Mandy Moore as Jesse

While Jesse isn't nearly as awful as Hilary Faye, I think Mandy Moore (from the How To Deal era) would totally ace this character. Because she aces everything. Because she is amazing and um Mandy wanna go to the mall with me on Saturday?

Emma Roberts as Mel

I basically picked Emma cos a) she's pretty in a sweet way, and Mel is v. sweet b) she looks incredibly well-groomed, and that's how I picture all rich people.

Relationship Status: Summer Fling

Obvs, I had a blast roaming the highways of Florida with Jesse, Vicks and Mel. However, unlike a real road trip, the book didn't inspire any sort of life changing epiphanies, nor did it really impact me in any way. Well, actually, that's not technically true, cos all of a sudden I have a v. v. deep desire to jump into Thomas (my car) and drive to Florida so I can visit Old Joe (I really hope the hotel sells t-shirts) and check out the Coral Castle, which will probably make me cry. But instead of hitting the road with the characters in the book, I'd MUCH drive with E., Sarah and Lauren cos they seem like the ideal candidates for some Thelma & Louise action (withOUT the cliff part, obvs). I mean, author ladies, have y'all SEEN the thing?!! I CAN TAKE YOU THERE!

Yeah, I am sooo gonna be in that author photo by next year.

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).