The only thing really wrong with this book is that it has an obvious sequel. And the only reason it has an obvious sequel, is because the obvious sequel is going to make a lot of money, just like this book has. And that ruins what is really good about this book, which is this: Two hometown girls make a deal with the devil. They will get to be T.V. stars, get nice clothes, go to lots of flashy L. A. parties, have plenty of boyfriend opportunities, make real money, and have oodles of persistent fans. But since they are going to be on a Reality T. V. show, they will no longer have private personal lives and they will no longer be able to tell who their true friends are. This is anguishing.
These two girls are still pretty young. They are trying to gain their footing as independent young women who crave both respect and personal fulfillment. But the directors of the reality show continually throw obstacles in their way and then keep the cameras rolling while they flounder about trying to maintain their balance. For the reader, it’s like watching someone trying to swim with huge anchors tied to their feet, or watching a squirming bug pinned under a miscroscope. The only salve to this anguish is the expectancy that they are going to figure it all out, and regain their true friendships along with their self-respect. Which they do, but only briefly, because we have to be prompted to want to read the next book when they are probably going to go through more of this same mess. So what really is the point?
Of course, the fascinating story here is that it is very autobiographical. The author has lived this story. She has seen the devil in it, and she has made a raging success not only of this book series, but of her TV shows and her clothing design business. Wow! She appears to have wrestled the devil to the ground and used him as a step stool to reach her aspirations. Why can’t this novel’s characters do the same?
This book is very popular with teen girls–the slippery slope of transition from girl to woman must feel at times like being on reality TV. And while the plot is predictable, it doesn’t lag and the characters do snag the reader. It is really only kept from being a good read by its insistence on keeping up its deal with the devil.