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Double Trouble

Meghan had a lot of fun (almost Cabot-esque!) with My Double Life by Janette Rallison.

Double Trouble

BOOK REPORT for My Double Life by Janette Rallison

BFF Charm: Yay!
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: Straight Up
Bonus Factors: Kickass Abuela, The Prince and the Pauper
Relationship Status: Summer Crush

The Deal:

Alexia Garcia never knew her dad. Her mom cleans hotels in West Virginia for a living to support her and her grandmother, and Alexia is focused on making good grades and getting into college -- something her mom is still struggling to finish, since getting pregnant with Alexia kept her from going to college when she was young. Alexia also looks exactly -- EXACTLY -- like pop star Kari Kingsley. Alexia's friends aren't the only ones to notice, because one day Kari's manager shows up and offers Alexia a job as Kari's secret body double, pretending to be Kari at small-change appearances like rodeos and mall openings to help Kari make money to pay off her huge gambling and credit card debts. Against her mom's wishes, and for reasons I won't mention here to avoid spoilers (although they come up by page 50 so it's no big spoiler), she takes the job and heads off to L.A.

BFF Charm: Yay!

Not only is Alexia rare in YA books because she's not white (hooray!!), she's also super awesome. She's hilarious and strong and has a cynical outlook on life that's totally believable even though she's only 17 (growing up poor has something to do with that). I'd love to hang out with her at the mall, snarking at the people walking past, and she's also a friend you can totally count on when you're down. Even though she couldn't tell anyone what she was doing, she still kept her bff and mom and abuela in the loop as much as possible while she was gone -- she didn't let her sudden pseudo-fame go to her head. She's definitely one of the most likeable heroines I've read in a loooong time.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Alexia meets teen hottie Grant Delray (whose picture she keeps stashed on a bookshelf in her bedroom) while out pretending to be Kari. Of course, Kari's known as a major bitch, so when Alexia charms him he's confused but very intrigued. They start dating secretly, and Alexia falls head over heels. but Grant thinks she's Kari. The swoonworthy rating would be higher (hot eye contact, hiding from the paps to smooch, great lines from Grant), but I just didn't really like Grant. He's no Gabriel Luna -- he's kind of douchey until the very end, actually. But whatevs -- I don't want to go stealing my new bff's bf anyway, and he seems to do it for her.

Talky Talk: Straight Up

Rallison delivers a great story without resorting to too much teenspeak cliches. It helps that her character is a down-to-earth teenager who talks like a normal human being, and who's not so wrapped up in herself that half the story consists of boring introspective (ahem ... angsty) monologues. Alexia has some major shizz to deal with out in L.A. -- Kari's psycho manager for one, not to mention having to learn how to dance and sing and walk and look just like Kari (aka Britney Spears), as well as keeping the secret she figures out about Kari early on -- but she handles it all realistically but still like a teenager would. DUDE, y'all, Rallison needs better treatment because the cover of this book? SO doesn't do it justice. I mean, it makes the book look like another self-published hack treatment, and it's so much more than that. Like, Rallison needs to be hailed as (almost) the next Meg Cabot for her awesome book, and no one's ever heard of her. And I only say almost because no one can get close to Meg Cabot in awesomeness.

Bonus Factor: Kickass Abuela

Alexia's abuela is the most awesome gram I've ever read. She says hilarious things like how Kari Kingsley needs to be smacked with a Bible for letting herself get photographed by the paps making out with random guys, and she's always watching telenovelas. She's hands down my favorite character in the book.

Bonus Factor: The Prince and the Pauper

Who didn't love the story of The Prince and the Pauper? And dream of switching lives with their double? Kari and Alexia don't switch lives, exactly, since Kari doesn't head off to West Virginia, but it's still pretty close.

Casting Call:

Selena Gomez as Kari Kingsley and Alexia Garcia

I'm going to pull a Parent Trap and cast the same person for both Kari and Alexia. Plus, Selena Gomez can sing and dance, right? She's a Disney starlet, so I'm guessing she can pull off the spoiled pop star anyway.

Relationship Status: Summer Crush

This book and I exchanged lots of meaningful glances at the pool where it was lifeguarding. Once, it even asked me to go get a smoothie when it got off work. While we never intended to get serious, I had a lot of fun flirting with it and even bought two new bikinis to wear while working on my tan and my backstroke (heh). It's super fun, but not my soulmate.

FTC Full Disclosure: My review copy was a free ARC I received from Penguin. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). My Double Life is already available in stores.

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.