Kate Brian is the author of the NY Times and USA Today best-selling Private series and it's spin-off series, Privilege. She has also written many other books for teens including Sweet 16 and Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys.
After Isabelle gets dumped yet again by her sleazy boyfriend, her two well-meaning friends invent a dream guy for her, hoping to cheer her up (and keep her from taking him back). Domineering, sharp-tongued Vivi overrides meek Lane's objections and has Lane help create a MySpace page for "Brandon," then gets her younger brother to pretend to be him while IM'ing Izzy; later Vivi bribes Jonathan, a boy from a neighboring school, to pose as Brandon and ask Isabelle to the prom. Readers can guess that this scheme does not turn out to be as "harmless" as Vivi envisions, especially when she herself falls for Jonathan. In fact, except for a few small twists toward the end, the book follows a predictable course, right down to the girls' personal growth (Lane, for example, finally stands up to Vivi). This would be easier to swallow if Brian's (Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys) characterizations were more imaginative or her prose less standard-issue ("Her logic didn't make her heart hurt any less, and it didn't make the unshed tears recede from her eyes"). Ultimately, the inevitable chaos-and happy ending-may be all that keep readers turning pages. Ages 14-up. (Dec.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Gr 7-10-A light, predictable romp. Vivi, Lane, Isabelle, and Curtis have all been friends since middle school. Vivi is the alpha teen among them, and Lane goes along with her even when she knows better. Both girls are concerned when Isabelle's boyfriend is caught kissing someone else: senior prom is a month away, and Izzy has looked forward to it forever. The two devise a plan for Vivi's slightly geeky brother to contact Izzy on MySpace, playing the role of "Brandon"; at a theater audition, the friends meet and induce Jonathan to be the fake boyfriend in person. While Vivi coaches him to be Izzy's dream date, they fall in love. There's more to the plot, of course, but all's well that ends well in this frothy concoction in which characters are likable and supportive of one another, and not too many product names are dropped. The story is pure sugar, but in a world of fast reads where being nasty is considered cool, a little sweetness is welcome.-Tina Zubak, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.