I like going back to reread my favorites every summer (cough, the entire Harry Potter series) but I started off this summer with a bang, with books I didn't think I'd like.
It's no secret to those who know me that I'm obsessed with Meg Cabot. I think she's a genius. I think J.K. Rowling is a genius too, but I value Meg's opinion on everything, not just books. She once had a pink streak in her hair, just because. While she was in her 40s. She writes from the point of view of teenage girls, and it's convincing. I see parts of myself in all of her characters. Plus, she's so great to her readers. It's really a shame she didn't want kids because she would've been awesome at being a mom, I'm sure of it. She probably deserves her own post in this blog.
I was iffy about her Airhead series, featuring a typically beautiful model on the cover. I read the summary on Amazon and thought it wouldn't be anything special. I gave the book a chance and read it, and I instantly loved it. It's narrated by Em, your standard 16-year-old social pariah, which is Meg's go-to character because she figures lots of readers can relate to social outcast-type characters, and she's right. Anyway, Em has a little accident, and the next thing you know she wakes up inside the body of the person she least wants to be - teen supermodel sensation Nikki Howard. Yep, she had a brain transplant, thanks to the company Nikki works for, Stark Enterprises, which is basically Disney + Wal-Mart + any other major corporation rolled into one. She has to stick to Nikki's modeling contract, and no one outside of her family can know that she's really herself, Em Watts. She can't even tell her best friend (and the boy she's secretly in love with), Christopher.
I'm kind of ashamed for having my doubts...of course if Meg Cabot wrote it, it's awesome. Period. Airhead did not disappoint. I'm no 12-year-old, but it was fascinating seeing this incredibly glamorous life through Nikki's eyes, in a nicer way than the cynically trashy narrative of the Gossip Girl books.
The second book in the series, Being Nikki, kept me glued the entire plane ride home from California. There is a definite sci-fi twist to this story because of the whole brain-transplant thing. It gets creepier in the sequel. I won't spoil it for you, but Stark has something dark hidden under their spotless exterior. Meg Cabot also plays up the romance thing, as usual, with Christopher (and the many celebrity boys who are in love with Nikki - her body, anyway).
Finally, the recently released Runaway wraps up the trilogy, and last night I sped-read to get to the end. I totally saw what was coming, but that doesn't mean I wasn't on the edge of my seat. I won't spoil the ending, but it was freaky, y'all. Go buy all three books, or at least borrow them from me.
On the other end of the spectrum, my new favorite celebrity is Chelsea Handler, comedian and star of late-night show Chelsea Lately. She's confident, she's funny, and she's hot, aight? Look at her!
I never thought I'd read her books based on the titles: My Horizontal Life and Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea. Well out of pure curiosity I picked up the latter in the little bookshop in Santa Ana's airport. And I laughed so raucously on the plane that I disturbed the people sitting around me. Yesterday I bought My Horizontal Life at Barnes and Noble and finished it today. Chelsea is a dirty girl and writes wildly inappropriate things, but dude, she's hilarious. She uses my favorite brand of comedy, and that is dry sarcasm. Plus, I admire someone who speaks so frankly about herself and life in general. Here's my $15.99, Chelsea, thanks for making me laugh harder than I have in ages. (Plus, for those who might be shocked by the content of her books, Chelsea confesses at the end of her first book that she realizes her life really is horizontal, because it's not going anywhere thanks to all her one-night stands. She decides to get more serious about her life. So she throws in a lesson with all the laughs.)
I'll probably get started on her third book, "Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang," tomorrow. If I can keep a straight face in front of customers, which I doubt.
What have you been reading lately?