Lipgloss Jungle (The Ashleys) by Melissa de la Cruz

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Lipgloss Jungle (The Ashleys) by Melissa de la Cruz

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Lauren wants to change the face of her school's elite cliques forever in this tween fiction that is shallow and samey, but pretty harmless nonetheless.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: August 2009
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Books
ISBN: 978-1847386502

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One Ashley, two Ashleys, three Ashleys,... four? Lauren is a gal on a mission, to infiltrate The Ashleys, a super sleek clique at her posh prep school, and bring them down from the inside. Sure, she may be at a slight disadvantage, what with not being called Ashley, and boasting new money rather than the more desirable, classical old kind, but she's up for the challenge. But, in a world where some girls are more equal than others, and queen bees rule supreme, Lauren will have to work hard if she's to gain the girls' trust and respect, and gain a place in the inner circle.

These girls really do live in a shiny, lipglossed world. It's one that would have been completely alien to me as a year 6 or year 7 student, about the target age for this novel, but is probably somewhat familiar to the Gossip Girl generation, a show to which this book bears remarkable similarities. That said, there did seem to be some incongruences in the story. On the one hand, we're supposed to believe these girls are living Life with a capital L, complete with Blackberry Pearls, designer togs, chauffeurs and bodyguards. On the other hand one of them readily admits she barely knows how to kiss. It's something about the ages that seemed a little off to me – at times they appear much older than their supposed 13 years, at others they're very clearly little girls.

It's just a bit too familiar, from the title, a take on another novel/TV show to the highs and lows of prep school which seem to be all the rage at the moment. The book has a vague plot, though each of the gang has their own random tangents, but is quite a decent read and I didn't find the characters irritating or too off the wall. It's a no-thinking read but the writing is good, to the extent, in fact, that I think the author's wasted writing this sort of disposable fiction.

The same thing we said about a previous title in the series stands too: this is a book that may work in 2009, but will be hopelessly out-dated in a few years, when Hollywood stars fade, technology moves on and the various faces of current advertising campaigns are no more... That doesn't mean it's an all together bad read, just one you might want to borrow rather than invest in, and one that wouldn't really do as a future hand-me-down to a younger sister.

Not the sort of book that will change the world, this is nonetheless harmless tween fiction that stays safely away from what many parents would consider inappropriate topics. One to pick up when you want a break from any awkward questions, because it's almost guaranteed none will come out of reading this, and the worst you might be asked is, 'Mum, why don't we have a butler?'

Thanks go to the publishers for sending us this latest update on the exploits of the Ashleys.

For a British school adventure aimed at the same kind of age group, have a look at Ooh, La, La, Connie Pickles by Sabine Durrant in which our heroine heads off to la belle France. The Ashleys would be everso jealous!

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Buy Lipgloss Jungle (The Ashleys) by Melissa de la Cruz at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lipgloss Jungle (The Ashleys) by Melissa de la Cruz at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Lipgloss Jungle (The Ashleys) by Melissa de la Cruz at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lipgloss Jungle (The Ashleys) by Melissa de la Cruz at


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