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My Super Sweet 14 (Or, They’re Always After Me Lucky Charms!)

Meghan gets to know Rachel Vail's Lucky, the little sister that makes her look forward to the rest of the Avery Sisters series.

My Super Sweet 14 (Or, They’re Always After Me Lucky Charms!)

BOOK REPORT for Lucky (Avery Sisters Book 1) by Rachel Vail

BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: Straight Up, with an O.C. Twist
Bonus Factors: My Super Sweet 16, Cliff Huxtable Award
Relationship Status: Friend With A Really Hot Older Brother

The Deal:

Phoebe Avery lives a charmed life. Her mom's a big shot on Wall Street, her dad's a caring do-gooder kindergarten teacher, her older sisters don't always ignore her, she's one of the most popular girls in the 8th grade, and she and her bffs are about to throw the HUGEST 8th grade graduation partay EVAR (side note here -- WTF??! Srsly, we didn't even HAVE an 8th grade graduation, let alone parties. I think we just had our moms drive us to Chili's after exams, then pick us up at the mall later. I mean, WOO HOO congrats, you passed another grade. It's not like it's even an accomplishment! It's basically the law that you have to pass. Anyway. putting that aside now ...). But then her mom loses her job, and Phoebs and her sisters have to figure out some way to maintain their popularity and status without anyone finding out (um, The O.C. much?). Plus, her bffs are falling apart -- Kirstyn's aiming to enter high school more popular than ever, Ann's struggling with her family's poverty and her sense that maybe she's not interested in being a cool kid, Gabrielle's into sports and Zhara doesn't need any of them to help her social status. And Phoebe is torn between her oldest friend, Ann, and her closest friend Kirstyn (who treats Ann like a crap-covered charity case).

BFF Charm: Yay

Y'all, I gotta admit it was touch and go here for a while. I mean, first of all Phoebe's only in 8th grade, and she's totes in 8th grade, ya know? And while she's a cute kid and all (a little too spoiled, though), she's not really who I'd invite to my slumber party. but then I thought back to 8th grade, and remembered the year-long fight i had with Rachel F. after the class trip to NYC, where we'd pass messages through Kate in homeroom ("Kate, tell Meghan I'm not talking to her." "Oh, yeah? Well, Kate, tell Rachel she's a spoiled brat") and then made up in 9th grade and Rachel was my bridesmaid and we're still close friends (true story). And I thought, you know, kiddo needs some slack. She also totally steps it up and is so ready for high school by the end of the book, and I could def. give her a bff charm to hold in trust for the future. And meanwhile, take her out to the mall when her big sister, who's my age, ditches her to go smooching with her new boyfriend and play big sis to the little sis I never had.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

You know that awkward middle school he-just-smiled-does-he-like-me? stuff? The "Hey, Jimmy, Sara wants to know if Tom likes Jennifer, will you find out?" stuff? This book has it, AND the tingles of that first real crush and kiss, not the 6th-grade dry peck on the lips in front of all yr friends after the Baptist youth group meeting on Wednesday night that you only went to because HE would be there. The interaction between Phoebe and Luke was one of my absolute favorite parts of the book.

Talky Talk: Straight Up, with an O.C. twist

Rachel Vail writes really straightforward -- no real attempts at current slang, crazy Facebook-esque computer stuff, or even namedropping (surprising for a book about rich, popular kids -- seriously, the only brand name I remember is Vera Wang, and it's only mentioned once in reference to Phoebe's perfect dress, forever after referred to as "the green dress" or "the perfect dress"). The only thing is I could NOT get The O.C. out of my head. I mean, it's like Vail wrote this book after a 4-day O.C. DVD binge, cos I kept seeing Sandy Cohen as the liberal, understanding, loving-but-firm father, and Marissa Cooper as Phoebe, the girl whose parents just lost it all. Sadly, there's no adorbs Seth Cohen or moody-but-hot boy from the wrong side of the Valley Ryan. Honestly, it was actually a bit distracting, but I do have to give Vail major props for sticking to a normal, real style and not trying to cool it up any. And she totes gets the awkwardness of 8th grade and the scariness of impending high school.

Bonus Factor: My Super Sweet 16

So, this might be more of an anti-bonus factor, but here it is. Y'all, I REALLY wanted to trip Phoebe's bitchy, manipulative bff Kirstyn as she was going down the stairs at school because she would NOT SHUT UP about the stupid 8th grade grad party. I mean, really? Photographers and special mini albums for all the guests? Renting a club for the party? What happened to Cheetoes and Cokes in the living room while the parents tried to hide in their bedroom and "just stay out of y'all's way"? Ok, I know i was a major nerd in high school and never ONCE even heard about a cool kids' party before it happened, and wouldn't have even considered going if I had, but this just sounds inSANE. In the membrane, yo.

Bonus Factor: Cliff Huxtable Award

The Cliff Huxtable Award of Awesome Dadhood

So I debated giving it a bonus factor of "parents", but Phoebe's mom is just not quite there yet. She has her moments of awesome, but she's too busy-corporate-parent for me. But her dad rocks. He's a kindergarten teacher who plays the piano and serves food at the homeless shelter once a month, makes pancakes on Saturdays and rounds up all his spoiled rich girls' stuff twice a year and takes it to the Salvation Army. And he has a couple of AWESOME "Come to Jesus" talks with Phoebe where he tries to steer her off the path to spoiled rich bitch and towards being a compassionate human being. And it's real, too, and makes you cheer him on. Plus, there's the super cute fishing trip at the end (with a very very nice tingly, angsty scene with Luke).

Casting Call:

Peter Gallagher as Phoebe's Dad

Mischa Barton as Phoebe Avery

Ugh. Will you forgive me for doing this? I just.couldn't.help.myself. For either of these choices.

Leighton Meester as Kirstyn

Leighton's got the Gossip Girl thing down.

Penn Badgley as Luke

Um, Luke has curly hair, Penn Badgley has curly hair ...

And the rest of the characters were pretty nondescript, so feel free to throw in your own favorite pretty face.

Relationship Status: Friend With A Really Hot Older Brother

Lucky's the first of three books about the same family -- the other two (Gorgeous and Brilliant) are about Phoebe's older sisters Allison and Quinn (Brilliant comes out in May this year). While Lucky was a cute kid, I'm really more interested in Gorgeous and Brilliant, and might be hanging out with Lucky just to get a little closer to them, and have something to talk to them about in the caf next week at lunch.

Meghan Miller's photo About the Author: Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas and writer for Forever Young Adult. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.