Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Aristobrats

Jennifer Solow


It's all about the attitude...

Parker Bell knows the secret to beauty is pretty simple--wearing the right clothes isn't as important as how you feel in them.  Popularity is like that too.  It's all about attitude.  You have to picture who you want to be and then just imagine that's who you already are.

This year Parker and her three best friends have finally made their way to the top of the populadder at Wallingford Academy.  Their Facebook Friend count has never been higher, and as Aristobrats, they've been groomed to lead the school to greatness.  But when the girls are assigned to produce the seriously lame school webcast, their popularity plummets!  Will this tragedy destroy everything they've worked for?  Or their friendship?  Or both?

My Take:

Okay people, let's face facts-Prep School beeyotchy (hey this is a family friendly blog) queen bee books are a dime a dozen.  What's this?  A Prep School beeyotchy queen bee book sans beeyotchiness you say? hmmmmm...now my interest is piqued.  I'll be totally honest and up front, as a lot of the world works their butts off just to make ends meet (me included) I'm not always one to love the sort of characters who have everything they want without having to work and seldom appreciate it.  That being said, I think part of me secretly (or now that I'm telling you, not so secretly) wanted to dislike these characters.  As I sat there literally hot-gluing my shoe back together until I can get a new pair on pay day, found myself liking the girls, even though you can fit my apartment x3 into their closets.  They are actually nice girls who make a concerted effort to be friendly to the less popular on the "populadder."  Of course there are exceptions but hey, these are middle school girls, not saints.  The girls stuck together and put one another before themselves.  While the bulk of the book was centered around their girl's waning popularity and their attempt at reclaiming their rightful places (which refreshingly they had actually worked hard for, rather than a stereotypical entitlement complex) I didn't feel that the book was totally shallow.  The book was peppered with lessons about being yourself, and appreciating your uniqueness.  The main character herself acknowledged that she wasn't the prettiest girl, but that her confidence was what counted.  I liked some of the made up words and phrases, such as one used to illustrate the girls not wanting to be sheep fashion-wise or as they call it, being an "Abercrombie Zombie."  I liked the distinctiveness of each of the main girls, and while most of their superficial qualities (a no limit credit card, chauffers, vacations all over the globe) weren't relatable, their inner struggles were ones each young girl shares-wieght, appearance, puberty, "Does he notice me"?  The Aristobrats is the first in a new series, and I can't wait to read the rest.  This book left plenty of unanswered questions to explore in the next books, but tied the central conflict up neatly to give the book closure.  Overall I felt this book was entirely engaging and though the IMspeak was a bit much for me at times, this book wasn't written for moms in their 20s, but for 13 year olds, and I think the dialogue felt natural and would fit well within that world.  I'd love my little girl to read these books as I think they are very positive in message and very importantly...fun! The price on this book is killer so I rate it a 1, Pay Full Price Guilt Free!

Do you agree with my review?  Do you think I'm totally off base?  Either way I'd love to hear from you, be sure to leave a comment and tell me how you feel!

If this book were a movie, it would be rated G, appropriate for all audiences



Now a few words with the author, Jennifer Solow:


When and why did you begin writing?
I was running an advertising agency in San Francisco. I had flown to New York and was sitting in a business meeting in downtown Manhattan on the morning of 9/11 (the 9/11). I’d always made excuses for why I didn’t write: I’ll wait until I have an office in my house. I’ll wait until the kids are older. I’ll wait until I retire. By the end of that day, in the ashes of the World Trade Center, I truly understood why I couldn’t wait to make my life everything I imagined it could be. In less than a month, I had left my job (and my paycheck) behind and enrolled in my first writing class. An assignment I began in that class went on to become a national bestseller.

What inspired you to write your first book?
Perfume. Namely, Vetiver Parfum by Annick Goutal. I imagined a girl who might wear that perfume: what she might be like, what she might think, what her dark secrets might be. Three years (and a lot of pots of coffee) later, I had a novel.

How did you come up with the title of your current book, The Aristobrats?
Like all good ideas, The Aristobrats, popped out of nowhere and had nothing to do with my own conscious thought. I had a list a really comatastic ideas for a title (e.g., “The Inner Circle” ….zzzzzzz) but I felt like there was something great out there somewhere and that I had to let it come to me. I think I was picking up my daughter from school when it kind of landed at me. It was an “aha” moment.

How did you come up with the names of your characters?  Do they carry any significance?
I spent a lot of time studying my favorite fictional group of friends: the Sex and the City girls. “Parker” is named after Sarah Jessica Parker so I’d always remember what I was trying to aspire to. I’d named a character “Ikea” in an earlier work that was never published. I just thought it was really funny and wouldn’t quite let it go. Plum gets some of her cues from a character I adore: Violet in The Incredibles. Kiki is just “Kiki”. She already had her name when she walked through my door.

How much of the book is realistic?
Wallingford Academy has a lot of similarities to my alma mater, Winchester-Thurston. I also have lifelong friends, not unlike the four friends in the Aristobrats. My mother is the headmistress of a private school, but she’s nothing like Miss Hotchkiss, “The Terminator.” Hmm…at least not that I’m aware.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Mostly I wanted a book that I would be proud to have my own daughter read. There are lots of messages layered into the book about not being afraid to make mistakes, about living life to the fullest because our time here is short. But I think the most important message is that is doesn’t matter how many Facebook Friends you have – it’s the real friends who count. These are lessons for me more than anyone – the important things I need to remember.

If you had to choose one book to read the rest of your life, and nothing else, what book would it be and why?
It’s actually a play, but I’d read Hamlet. I think there are so many ways of reading that story so that it’s completely different every time. I’d never get bored – I’d just imagine new settings, new actors, and new interpretations each time I read it.
       
 If you had to choose something besides writing, what career would you choose and why?
I’d be a farmer. Or Lady Gaga. Or a combination of both.

Where can readers of The Book Buff find out more about you, The Aristobrats, and upcoming projects?

 
Jennifer Solow
http://www.jennifersolow.com/

The Aristobrats
http://www.jennifersolow.com/the-aristobrats/

The video trailer for the book
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIDoIA7XivM

Jennifer on Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Jennifer-Solow/139693322731542?ref=ts


Check out the Aristobrats quiz here...http://www.jennifersolow.com/the-aristobrats/
 
***FTC Disclosure:  This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review, no other compensation was given, all opinions are my own***

If you are interested in purchasing The Aristobrats, please consider supporting The Book Buff by purchasing from the following Amazon link, thank you!














90 comments:

Anne said...

Love the review. I don't think this is really my thing, but its nice to see that people are able to change tween literature, to keep it with the times.... much like Sweet Valley High... definitely if you are in that age group. If not, it probably won't appeal to you stylistically. :) Thanks!

Jennifer Mathis said...

I think my daughter would really enjoy this book

meandi09@yahoo.com

Tonibelle said...

Tweeted the Giveaway - http://twitter.com/tonibelle/status/24063932158

Tonibelle said...

I visited Jennifer's Blog = and commented. I must say, if I don't win, I'll be looking for a copy of this for my daughter in the bookstore, but apparently it's already sold out - it may be hard to find. Hope I win!! :)

3 Boys and an Old Lady said...

I took the quiz and I'm most like Parker.

tclarkusa at gmail dot com

My So Called Homeschool Life said...

I visited Jennifer's blog but didn't see anywhere to comment. This looks like something my daughters would really love to read. Love your review and totally appreciate the "rating" info! ruthie.joyce1@gmail.com

MusingMom6 said...

I RT'd your tweet about the giveaway

MusingMom6 said...

I am a follower!

Pamela S said...

Follower GFC Thanks so much! pamelashockley(AT)aol(DOT)com

Pamela S said...

Added your button to my blog #1
http://pammiejammie.blogspot.com/

Pamela S said...

Added your button to my blog #2
http://pammiejammie.blogspot.com/

Jennifer Solow said...

Okay - so I'd give you all my web designer's email but since he's a really nice guy and pretty much worked for free (and a few bats of my eyelashes, which ain't worth much), I'll just say - I'd LOVE to hear your comments anyway and I'm sorry my blog seems to be rejecting that particular form of your personal expression.

PLEASE! YES! Say hello! My personal email is jennifer@jennifersolow.com. Hearing from you is THE BEST part of the writing process (for me anyway).

The book, I hear, is available once again and I appreciate your support (this week more than ever). With booksellers confused, out of stock and my friends & family unable to buy my book...well, it's been a pulling-out-hair kinda week. "Arista WHATS?" was not exactly the answer I was hoping for when I called my local Barnes & Noble!

Thanks again for all your comments. People like you keep me writing.

xx

Define You Photography said...

Love all your vintage Pics on here!
Love ANY good reads about teen gals!

JillianB
http://defineyouphotography.blogspot.com

Rachellev said...

is it international?

The Book Buff said...

Oops! Sorry guys, I will consult the author and get back to you on that one!

The Book Buff said...

Okeedokee, the giveaway is open to US and Canada :) I have amended the giveaway guidelines above to reflect this

Leah said...

i just took the quiz & i got Parker.

stripesnspots14(at)hotmail(dot)com

Leah said...

Put it on twitter:
http://twitter.com/RowOarDie14/status/24819445554

stripesnspots14(at)hotmail(dot)com

Emma B. said...

New GFC follower

cheapskate4life at hotmail.com

Emma B. said...

I am most like Parker according to the quiz... Is that good or bad, lol?

cheapskate4life at hotmail.com

The Book Buff said...

@ Emma B, I'm Parker too, she is sort of the leader. I don't think any of them are bad because all the main girls are pretty nice and have cute quirky personalities :)

Kristin said...

I am a follower

tin678@gmail.com

Kristin said...

I took the quiz and I got Plum!

tin678@gmail.com

Kristin said...

I am a follower.

tin678@gmail.com

Kristin said...

put the book buff button on my sidebar......

tin678@gmail.com

Kristin said...

I loved your review of the book, it as very indepth, you do a very good job of letting us know if it is something we would be interested in reading or not. I am always impressed in all your great book reviews. Keep up the great work.

Ashley R said...

I am a follower!

prickslikethorn@gmail.com

Ashley R said...

I took the quick and I'm most like Parker!

prickslikethorn@gmail.com

Lynette said...

Ok - this is the book for my daughter.
I'm following you with GFC and Twitter (@picpocketbooks).

lmattke (@) picpocketbooks (dot) com

Lynette said...

I left a comment on your post of The Island.


lmattke (@) picpocketbooks (dot) com

Alexa said...

I took the quiz and I got Ikea.

Tracy said...

i took the quiz and got ikea

Ejona said...

I got Kiki :) I've got the killer shoe collection lol

Monta said...

I'm Ikea, is that a good thing?

Lindsay said...

I'm like Parker. Haven't read these books so I hope parker is cool. :)

Lindsay said...

I put a link on my blog at jeffandlindsaystonefamily.blogspot.com. It has a link to your blog and mentions the survey.

Marie said...

I got Plum. I hope she's the best one!

Ross, Toby and Holden said...

Apparently I am parker too. She must be amazing. Maybe I'll have to find out...

Judith Leger said...

I'm Parker

Judith Leger said...

I got Parker!

kristy eléna said...

hi darling, i took the quiz and got parker. is that all i had to do? let me know!

my email is kristyquinnn@gmail.com

and my blog is: Vogue Gone Rogue

MarthaE said...

Hi Kate! I may be a bit old for this one but I took the quiz to support you! I am most like Parker.
Best of luck. MarthaE
mesreadsATgmail.com

Jennifer Shirk said...

The books sounds really cute.

I took the quiz. I'm most like Ikea. :)

Anna said...

i'm apparently ikea (?!?!?) makes me want to read the book. crossing your fingers that you win the contest!

http://www.moanasaves.com

Anonymous said...

Angela here from SwankyMoms.com! I am just glad people are writing something other than vampire books! Thank you! I took the quiz and I am Ikea.

Chastity said...

Woo hoo, I'm most like Kiki.

Cute little quiz and sounds like a cute book too! Maybe I'll have to get it for my niece or daughter.

If you'd like to see if I'm really like Kiki, check out http://myraysofusunshine.com

Jenn said...

So..... I'm a Parker. Hope that's a good thing. Gonna have to check this book out to see. :)

Tracey L Alley said...

Apparently I'm most like Parker but I think this is a book more for my nieces than me

Avid Book Reader said...

Don't know if this is good or bad, but I too am most like Parker =)

Lou Rohde said...

Apparently I am most like Parker. Good? Bad? Is she cool? LOL. Good luck!

Lou

Kim said...

This sounds intersting....I really hope you win the contest!

I am a follower....

I also took your test....it says I'm 'Ikea' :)

Good luck!

alittlesanity@gmail.com

Callista said...

I got parker on the quiz. Hope that's a good thing!

callista83 AT cogeco DOT ca

Callista said...

I am now a follower

callista83 AT cogeco DOT ca

Vivienne Diane Neal said...

I have not read the book, but judging from the two chapters, the book would make a great movie. I placed the link to the quiz on my Facebook page at http://facebook.com/viviennedianeneal and selected like it. I also took the quiz to support you. Much success and best wishes to you.

abitosunshine said...

I took the quiz and I'm an Aristobrat most like Parker!

Good luck to you!

abitosunshine said...

I've posted the Aristobrat results in the sidebar at: http://ruthireads.blogspot.com

abitosunshine said...

I Twitter tweeted this giveaway:
http://twitter.com/abitosunshine/status/26483142326

abitosunshine said...

I GFC/Follow your blog!
http:ruthireads.blogspot.com

abitosunshine said...

The Book Buff button is in my sidebar at http://ruthireads.blogspot.com

Melissa said...

Hello : ) the quiz and it said that I am most like Plum... i hope you win the contest!!

Kristen Lovelace said...

I am most like Parker! I hope that's a good thing, haven't read the book myself but maybe now I will so I can read about myself/aka Parker ;)

Nancy Freitag said...

Looks like there are a few of us that are most like Parker!

Sydney Davis said...

I am Parker. I guess now I have to read the whole book to determine if that is a good thing!

Tom Kepler said...

I was most like Parker. I think it was the "needing a padded bra" comment that cinched the deal.

http://www.tomkeplerswritingblog.com/

djones said...

I took the quiz and it said I was most like Ikea.

dorlitaj@gmail.com

K.C. and Ipuna said...

Wow! Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the information!

K.C. and Ipuna said...

Wow! Looks like a great book! Thanks!

K.C. and Ipuna said...

Wow! Looks like a great book! Thanks!

Susan said...

Took the quiz, I'm like Parker, the leader :)

Page said...

I am Parker_ book sounds way fun I'll have to check it out

Books and Bane said...

I took the quiz and I got Plum!

nedsped at verizon dot net

Ash said...

I am like Plum go me.

Gracie said...

I got Plum, her names a little weird, but so am I so I guess we match :)

Anonymous said...

I took the little quiz-I'm Parker!

-Granny Dorthy

Nancye said...

Sounds like a great book! Please count me in!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Tweet! Tweet!
@NancyeDavis

http://twitter.com/NancyeDavis/status/27502187367

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Follower

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

I commented on the Aug. 19th post: "The Best For You"

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

A way to improve this blog: make the giveaway sign-ups a little shorter and less confusing.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

I visited Jennifer Solow's blog and I commented on the "Who Made the Best Sellers List" post.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Jessie said...

I took the quiz and I am most like Parker!

I also said I liked Aristobrats on Facebook.

Lydia said...

I'm most like Parker :)

Anonymous said...

Im not the girly girl porular glam type of girl. but this book seems to help girls learn to love who and what they are and how to grow up in the real world. though i would love it if there was more action parts in the book. go Kaitlyn

love Amanda

Allyn said...

Took the quiz, got Ikea, also "liked" on facebook.

Anonymous said...

took the quiz, got Plum posted quiz on my FB also :)

-Amanda

TracyLee said...

I got Ikea. Was that a good one? I also posted a link to the quiz on my Facebook page.

Devin said...

Took quiz, got Ikea. Liked and posted on facebook.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Parker -- and now I HAVE to read this book (and mention it on my blog!). Best of luck to you on the contest!

The Book Buff said...

The GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED


Congrats to 3 Boys and an Old Lady and Pamela S! Your copies of The Aristobrats are on their way to you!

MarthaE said...

Congrats to the winners. Enjoy :)

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