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Like Sands Through An Hourglass

In Jamie Callan's The Young and the Soapy, two soap-obsessed girls find themselves living out a real-life soap opera of their own.

Like Sands Through An Hourglass

BOOK REPORT for The Young and the Soapy by Jamie Callan

Cover Story: Time Capsule
BFF Charm: Nah
Swoonworthy Scale: 2
Talky Talk: Split Screen Confessional
Bonus Factors: Soap Operas, Kickass Gram
Relationship Status: One-Date Wonder

Cover Story: Time Capsule

Is the cover awful? No doy! But it's ok, because it's vintage. Like wearing high-waisted, balloon-butt, ankle-zip, stonewashed jeans is ok because they're hipster.* This cover says you're simply embracing our culture's obsession with 80s nostalgia -- to be on the safe side, make sure you tell people you were reading this book before it got popular, or when it was popular the FIRST time around (even if you were 3 when it was published).

*Haha, jk. That's never ok.

The Deal:

Kathy Kelly and Samantha Sonnheim are BFFs, even though they're totally different. Kathy's normal as normal gets -- her dad's a successful store owner, her mom's a happy and fulfilled housewife with a billion kids. Sam's a total drama queen -- her actress mom just died, and her musician father decamped to his NYC apartment, leaving Sam in the care of her crazy grandma Delia, a sculptor. Plus, Sam wears all black and has seven earrings. SEVEN! She's OBVS bad news. Anyway, Sam and Kathy are soap opera addicts, and their favorite show is starting to go in a direction they don't like. When Rosemary Manors, the star of Another Tomorrow, moves into Sam's dad's apartment building, the girls (ok, Sam) come up with a plan to rescue the script, through kidnapping, extortion and blackmail (like ya do).

BFF Charm: Nah

I don't dislike the girls, I just don't want to join in their hijinks and mayhem. I wouldn't cut them dead in the caf, and I'd like to go thrifting with them -- especially if I could find a vintage 1950s powder-blue cocktail dress like Kathy's. Where ARE these amazing thrift stores? And why are they only in books? Sam writes awful poetry, and someone needs to tell her to quit smoking, even if she thinks using a long cigarette holder makes her look glamorous. She won't look so glamorous when her teeth are brown and her face is prematurely wrinkled, will she? Kathy's nice, but she's so ... Sandy Olsen without the catsuit transformation.

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

There's a romance subplot involving Kathy and Michael McGrorey, one of the cool kids at school, but it wasn't swoony. What DID weird me out were all the references to older guys hitting on the girls, and Sam hitting on her shrink and actors and everyone . I seem to remember that happening a lot in 80s YA books, and it was OK, but maybe I'm wrong? I hope?

Talky Talk: Split Screen Confessional

The story alternates between Sam and Kathy's points of view, and is very she said/she said. Sometimes I felt like I was the friend in the middle, the one they'd come to and say, "Tell Sam I'm still not talking to her," when Sam's sitting right there. It's also hilarious and way over the top and so dorky, it must be from the decade of parachute pants and hypercolor shirts (WHY would you wear something that would give you neon pits?) and thong exercise leotards.

Bonus Factor: Soap Operas

Obvs soap operas are important here, and the soap the girls watch is a plot-within-a-plot. It's cheesy and hilarious and I can TOTALLY see how they got hooked. There's a beatnik ghost, poems about dirty socks, a devious gossip columnist, comas, amnesia, and my favorite, suicide by paint. What's not to love?

Bonus Factor: Kickass Gram

I'm not sure Delia fits our usual criteria for kickass gram, but she's hilarious and awesome. Whose grandma hires burlesque dancers for her party? This one, that's who. AND she belongs to a Noel Coward club, where she and her cronies sit around and do dramatic readings of Noel Coward plays, which is something I WANT TO DO RIGHT NOW WHO'S WITH ME?

Casting Call:

I went straight to the soaps for casting inspiration on this one.

One Life to Live's BFFs Langston Wilde (Brittany Underwood) and Starr Manning (Kristen Alderson) as Sam and Kathy

All My Children's Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) as Rosemary Manors/Diamond Savoy

All My Children's Opal Cortland (Jill Lyman) as Delia

Relationship Status: One-Date Wonder

I knew I was taking a chance on this book when I got it at a used bookstore. None of my friends had heard about it, and it wasn't even on the gossip radar. When this date came to the door dressed as a cross between Duckie and Christian from Clueless, I was totes embarrassed, but I figured I'd at least get a funny story to tell my friends. The date was surprisingly fun -- it was unafraid of doing crazy things, and we had some laughs -- but I just can't see myself with this book long term. We didn't have anything in common, and I got a little tired of its constant jacking around by the end of the night. I'm glad I gave it a chance, but there was no way I was asking it in for a drink after it dropped me home.

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.