Birthday Vicious (The Ashleys) by Melissa de la Cruz

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Birthday Vicious (The Ashleys) by Melissa de la Cruz

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The rich are different - even when they're girls just coming into their teens. Money isn't everything - sometimes it doesn't buy what the girls want. It's third in an ongoing series but reads well as a standalone and there's no great feeling of needing to buy other books in the series. A good, but rather shallow story, cautiously recommended for the tweenage girl.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: January 2009
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's
ISBN: 978-1847382610

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Ashley Spencer is the social queen of Miss Gamble's Preparatory School for Girls in San Francisco and just a month before her thirteenth birthday she's planning the party that will eclipse all other parties. As excess is piled on excess every other girl in the class is longing for an invite and silly money is being spent on dresses and accessories for the big day. Newest member of the Ashleys, Lauren, is ambivalent about the group. Part of her says that she's working from within to destroy them, but then why is she so reluctant to admit to them that she's friendly with Sadie, a girl who used to go to the school some years ago and who is very much not a part of the group?

I thought I was going to hate this book dedicated as it is to a group of spoilt young girls whose main interest in life is what they can buy, but there's an anarchic streak in Melissa de la Cruz as she gently (and occasionally not so gently) highlights the excesses of the way the girls live. Yes, the celebrity culture is all there, but there's no suggestion that it's having the money that's going to make the girls happy. Quite often the reverse happens.

There's some comment about size, but no great emphasis on it and even some negative comment about the girls who can't be seen eating or whose lips see the passage of very little food. I was a little perturbed at the subtle message that there had to be a boyfriend at least in the background – this seemed to be a little too much pressure for girls barely into their teens.

It's not great literature and it's not a book that's going to stand the test of times with its constant references to current fashion trends, but it's not going to do any damage and it just might give a tweenager cause for thought about celebrity culture. It's shallow and you'd just hate your children to be like this, but any young girl with an interest in fashion is likely to enjoy the good fast moving story and engaging characters. Give them the book and make certain you discuss it with them.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Slightly older girls are likely to enjoy Beautiful Americans by Lucy Silag but for the younger teens we can recommend the adventures of Shiraz Bailey Wood.

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Buy Birthday Vicious (The Ashleys) by Melissa de la Cruz at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Birthday Vicious (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 Birthday Vicious (The Ashleys) by Melissa de la Cruz at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Birthday Vicious (The Ashleys) by Melissa de la Cruz at


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