Friday, February 17, 2006

"Brainstorm," I say.
Everyone stops what they are doing to look at me.
"You must create your own fun," I say as I pull the glitter pencils out of my hair and tape them onto my shirt.
Sid removes his headphones and pulls his head back to make the announcement.
"Pencil Day!"
Perla laughs. Kenji digs into his bag and starts looking for pencils
Halfway through the day, everyone has covered themselves with pens or pencils.
Halfway through the day, the tape no longer has the strength to keep the pencils in their place, and they start to drop off my shirt. They are jumping ship. The pencils are bailing.
They might just have the right idea.

Libby is the idea girl. She's the original thinker. She is the Queen of Cool, and everyone follows her lead. But lately, nothing about her seems very original - everything seems boring and pointless. Verging on "meltdown," Libby signs up for an internship at the LA Zoo. She's immediately sorry, but it's too late to back out. Her friends think she's crazy, and Libby's inclined to agree when she's teamed up with Tina, a dwarf, and Sheldon, who never talks - at least, not so you can hear him. They're total dorks - and they don't even know it. Or maybe they just don't care. Because Libby's beginning to realize that everything isn't boring, if you become a doer instead of a talker.

I loved, loved, loved Cecil Castellucci's Boy Proof, and I read her blog regularly & like her quirky way of thinking. Queen of Cool isn't quite as great as Boy Proof, but it's still a good read. Libby and her friends seem like cardboard characters, but that's the point. They are. When Libby begins to change, we begin to see her flesh out, gain depth - but not enough to fully engage the reader. Libby's growing - but why? What is she thinking? She doesn't fully explore any of her new ideas or the things she does. We see her change by her actions, but we're left uncertain of her motives.
However, the characters of Tina and Sheldon are bright spots, and Perla, Kenji and Libby's other friends are fun to hate. Teens will love the Queen of Cool.

Castellucci, Cecil. The Queen of Cool. Candlewick: Cambridge, 2006. ISBN 0763627208. $15.99

What I'm reading: Avalon High by Meg Cabot
On my bookshelf: Ready or Not by Cabot; Thou Shalt Not Dump the Skater Dude... by Graham; and some comics - Blue Monday, Sidekicks, Pounded & more.


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