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Women Are More Dangerous Than Shotguns

FYA presents a review of Strings Attached by Judy Blundell

Women Are More Dangerous Than Shotguns

BOOK REPORT for Strings Attached by Judy Blundell

Cover Story: A Noir Guide To YA
BFF Charm: Meh
Swoonworthy Scale: 0 . . . Or 8
Talky Talk: Like Wow, Hepcats
Bonus Factor: Dancing, The Mob
Relationship Status: My Public Transpo Pal

Cover Story: A Noir Guide To YA

Half-obscured face? Check. Model bearing slight, generic resemblance to generic-looking actor? Check. Model looking at least thirty? Annnnd mate.

I mean; it's not BAD, and it certainly conveys a noir aspect to the book, but it's nothing to write home about.

(And while this has nothing to do with the cover, I might as well interject this here: I freakin' HATE the title of this book. It's the kind of title I gave my Senior year creative writing assignments that I finished up in the last ten minutes of calculus class right before English and then dashed off a title because I couldn't think of anything else. HATE.)

The Deal:

Kit Corrigan, owner of the most noir name this side of Sam Spade, has moved down to New York from Providence, Rhode Island in order to pursue her dreams of being a Broadway star. (It always confuses me to read of people fleeing Rhode Island to chase their creative dreams in the Big Apple. I mean, Rhode Island is the home of RISD and more art co-ops than you can stick a burning incense stick at. It's not exactly a cultural wasteland, even if you can cross the whole state in less time than it takes me to drive to either of my city's major airports.)

Like 99.9% of all people who go to New York to chase their dreams, Kit winds up completely broke, getting bit parts as a chorus girl dancer on Broadway flops, and always wondering when she'll get her big break. When her big break comes, it's not in the form of a good callback, but rather an offer from her ex-boyfriend's father - he'll set her up in a good apartment, buy her a nice wardrobe, secure her a job as one of the world-famous Lido girls . . . as long as she'll do certain favors for him.

Wait, wait, wait. Not those kinds of favors. Gross. More like, "try to convince my son not to join the military and also report back if certain people come into the Lido for business meetings" type favors. You know. Mob favors.

Soon, Kit's got it all - but when her ex Billy shows up and she once again becomes embroiled in the drama that plagues her family, it might all come crashing down.

BFF Charm: Meh

I'm being so stingy with my BFF charms lately, but I can't help it! I really wanted to love Kit (she's a dancer! I used to dance! She wants to be on Broadway! I used to want to be on Broadway before I remembered that I can't sing or act and can't dance well enough to make up for my lack of talent in other areas and, oh yeah, I hate being poor! She's from Rhode Island! I've never been there, but I hear it's nice!), but she just fell a bit flat for me. First of all, she takes the easy way out- trying to hit it big on Broadway is 99% obscurity and 1% stardom, but Kit seriously works at it for, like, six months before she's all, "wah! This is too hard! I want to give up!" And her treatment of her older brother is, at times, appalling. (To say more would be too spoilery.)

But most of all, I just never felt that I really knew Kit. I learned more of the secondary and tertiary characters in the few short scenes they appeared than I ever learned of Kit.

Swoonworthy Scale: 0 . . . Or 8

Kit and Billy's relationship is mostly told in flashback, and after every scene, I'd mutter under my breath, "I can see why they're exes." The lack of chemistry between the two wouldn't bother me so much (and actually is explained late in the book), if Blundell didn't spend so much time on it. If a person is going to spend a good 70% of their time pining after their ex, then shouldn't there be at least something worth pining for?

However, there are two relationships (which I can't get into, due to spoiling)in this book which definitely rachet up the swoon - forbidden, secret, angst-ridden. Why couldn't I have read a book about those relationships?

Talky Talk: Like Wow, Hepcats

This book is set in the 1950s, and Blundell does a good job of peppering her characters' dialogue with that quick and clever early-fifties slang.The scenes in which characters are conversing definitely shine against the straight-forward and basic prose. To be completely honest, I was expecting a bit more from this book than I received . . . I didn't feel it was a good follow up to What I Saw and How I Lied.

Bonus Factor: Dancing

I love dancing! And I love books about dancing! Which is nice, because right now it seems like there are tons of dancing books. Of course, most of those dancing books are about ballet, because people are obsessed with ballerinas, so it was very nice to read about a dancer who doesn't do ballet. Now all I need is to find a book about a girl who taps, and I'll be the happiest camper who ever did a time step.

Bonus Factor: The Mob

Man, I love books about the Mob! Ho studiato l'italiano in l'universita perche ho volut0 sposare a un consigliere di mafia. Okay, not really; I studied Italian so I could order tiramisu more efficiently, but I do really enjoy reading about the Mob.

I know; I know. They're awful, evil people! They kill people and push drugs and create environments of fear and kill poor dumb Apolonia, even though she's so much more awesome than stupid, awful Kay. But they're still fun to read about! And they have good life advice, like "leave the gun; take the cannoli."

Casting Call:

Molly Quinn as Kit

I realize this is completely eye-rollingly predictable, but her name is Kit Corrigan, for godsakes.

Relationship Status: My Public Transpo Pal

When I saw this book across the bus, it caught my eye. It looked just a little old-fashioned, a little mysterious, and so I broke my hard and fast rule of never talking to strangers and asked it a bit about itself. We talked for a few minutes before my stop was announced, and I saw it again a few days later. So every day on the bus, we'd have a quick chat, and while it passed the time enjoyably enough, I never thought to ask it to hang out with me later. And when I started catching another bus a week or so later? I didn't miss it.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy at BEA. I received neither money nor cocktails for this review (damnit!). Strings Attached is available in stores now.

Erin Callahan's photo About the Author: Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink. When she isn't drowning in a sea of engineers for whom Dilbert is still uproariously funny, she's writing about books, tv, the cult of VC Andrews and more.
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