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"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book."
Summary: High school: done! Graduation is over. Before they go on their separate ways for school, Fiona, Yoli, Alma, and Killian — together since fourth grade — are celebrating their friendship with a Caribbean cruise. At the senior carnival, the girls get a tarot reading. Madame Fortuna predicts that their friendship will be strained, and that one of the girls won't come back. Eager to discount Madame Fortuna's prediction, they are surprised to find out just how right she may be. Adventure, memories, and self discovery await them on the Temptress. This is YA novel that is Chicklit set on the sea. This is mature reading meant for high school students (high interest / low readability).
Type of Reading: anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 12 and up; read yourself: 13 and up
Young Reader Reaction: This is a good what-to-do-after-high-school attention grabber. What I liked the most is that you can relate to all four friends, and each of them could be your friend from high school. You can relate to the fear of wondering if your friendship will last forever. The descriptions of the cruise makes you feel like you are there, and the story unfolds in a way that it keeps you hanging. I wanted to know what the girls would decide to do at the end of their cruise; and most of all if Fiona is happy with her decision. This is a very good “friends forever” book; it is very realistic when it comes to friendship problems. Check it out at the library. It's very good, but I didn't feel like I needed to rush out and buy it. Girls 14 to 18 years old would enjoy this book.
Adult Reader Reaction: Yeah! This is refreshing if for no other reason than the characters are strong Latinas. The author offers readers four personalities, though we generally see the world from Fiona's perspective. Although the book is well written and the plot is solid, I found some of the events a little unsettling. The characters make bad choices (which we all do/did), but the outcomes are presented in a way that almost glorifies them (e.g., underage drinking).
Pros: Teens (particularly seniors in high school) will relate to the girls' emotions, their feelings about change, and the dynamics of friendship. This is a good beach-read.
Cons: Although billed as a book for kids 12-year-old and up, given some of the graphic descriptions, language, and events, some may find this more suitable for teens 14 and older.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a fast, recreational read when you're looking for something "current." It's classic/stereo-typical beach reading.
Educational Themes: This would be an excellent book-club choice for teen girls who are working with mentors. There is plenty to talk about: choices, change, friendship, relationships, sex, goals, and responsibility.
Notes: The Reading Tub, Inc. read an advance reader version of this book.
Literary Categories: Fiction - young adult, adventure, friendship, mystery