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All That Glitters

Meghan reviews Brilliant, the aptly-named conclusion of Rachel Vail's Avery Sisters series. 

All That Glitters

BOOK REPORT for Brilliant (Avery Sisters Book 3) by Rachel Vail

BFF Charm: Yay!
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: I Got an 800 on the SAT Verbal Section
Bonus Factor: Summer Camp
Relationship Status: College Roommate

The Deal:

Quinn Avery is the oldest of three sisters. Phoebe is the Lucky one, Allison the Gorgeous one (who sold her cell phone to the devil) and Quinn is the genuis. Their mom lost her job in the aftermath of a Wall Street scandal, and with it all their money, and might end up going to jail. Quinn's just trying to have a decent summer, even though her responsible oldest child behavior means she ends up suppressing all her feelings in order to live up to everyone's expectations (and we all know what happens when good girls finally snap). She's got a mad crush on her h-o-t college student piano teacher Oliver, and she and her equally nerdy best friend Jelly are working at a summer camp for underprivileged kids and a hot popular girl who takes them under her wing -- and in YA world, that never ends well.

BFF Charm: Yay!

Ok, I liked the other Avery sisters -- in fact, I adored Allison's snarky bitterness and wild side. But Quinn was the one I could really understand. Not that I was a genius or anything in high school (or ever), but I totally get being the the piano playing, band geek, newspaper editor smart girl who still had (barely) enough social skills to have a decent conversation with the popular kids -- the girl who the cool kids would say hi to in class and at the mall, but not invite to the foodcourt. AND I get what happens when that wallflower girl finally starts getting a little attention from the boys (y'all, let's just say it's never good - starts with stealing yr mom's favorite designer shoes and ends with a Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate About You meltdown at a party). So Quinn, I totally give you a bff charm, and I'll be there with you while you figure out who you are and what you're worth -- and I'll be waiting with a dvd of the latest Masterpiece Theater production when you're ready.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Y'all, Quinn kisses THREE boys in this book! And it's ALL hot, even if she's a sleaze by kissing two of them (and one of them is a total nasty male slut sleazeball), but nothing's more sizzling than the heat between her and Oliver, the gorgeous college student piano teacher who's known her since she was a little kid. Oliver, with his piercing eyes and black hair and way of understanding just what's going on. Sigh. Y'all, Oliver is HOT, but in a very real boy kind of way -- in a perfect-for-the-slightly-nerdy-serious-girl kind of way.

Talky Talk: I Got an 800 on the SAT Verbal Section

Quinn's a smart girl. So she doesn't mess around with lots of slang and, like, you know, stuff. Adrianna (the cool girl camp counselor) might say stuff like "He's totally sick hot!" but Quinn just rolls her eyes, and she and Jelly trade Dylan Thomas quips. Or Hamlet references. but it's not annoying (mostly). Quinn gets a little pretentious at the beginning when she has little inner monologue tangents about the grammatical correctness of what she just thought or overheard, but that smooths out. And she really does sound authentically like the girls I knew like her in high school and college. She'll probably go off to college and experiment with sitting in coffeehouses with a journal and staring out the window and sighing, but it'll just be a phase, and she'll still be sweet and a little adorable while she does it.

Bonus Factor: Summer Camp

I love how Quinn internally describes her summer volunteer job at a camp for underprivileged kids (man, could "privilege" be any harder to spell??) as resume padding for overprivileged kids to continue on their overprivileged lives. Just the little glimpses of camp -- being led from the swimming pool to the arts and crafts shack to sing-alongs -- made me a little nostalgic for summer camp.

Casting Call:

I wanted to cast Alexis Bledel as Quinn, since she plays uptight girls pretty well, but I didn't think her chemistry with Michael Rady (Kostas) in the Traveling Pants movies was good enough, and I really wanted to cast him as Oliver. So I wonder if Emma Watson can pull off an American accent? What am I saying ... of course she can. She's brilliant.

Emma Watson as Quinn

Michael Rady is perfect for Oliver -- he's hot with just a touch of the nerdy about him.

Michael Rady as Oliver

Mason. I didn't say much about him because I didn't want to give too much away, but just let the picture do the talking.

Ethan Peck as Mason

Relationship Status: College Roommate

This book is like that girl you choose to be yr roomie at the end of freshman year (after failing miserably with going potluck). Even if you don't live together for the rest of college, she's always yr best friend. You understand each other, and even if you don't agree with what she's doing at the time, you have faith she'll work it out. She's there to drag you out of parties before you get too out of hand, and you're happy to return the favor later.

*I didn't say anything about the parents in this book. I loved the dad in Lucky (Phoebe's story) and the mom ended up being pretty ok in Gorgeous (Allison's story), but they both pissed me off in this book. They're all self-righteous and put too much on Quinn (although she doesn't help herself out much by letting them, but jeez, she's only 16-and-a-half!) They're ok by the end, but not my faves.

**Also, these books are really interesting because each one has a very different tone and style, and you get to see the sisters and the family through different eyes each time.

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.