A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this book features lots of designer name dropping, some swearing, and a young couple who decides to have sex for the first time (though they don't end up actually doing it). The twins also spend time with men who have gotten out of jail (their father and Lauren's boyfriend's brother), attend the funeral of someone who is shot, and discover that their stepfather runs a gang.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Twins enjoy the princess life in Atlanta: attending the "premier, predominantly African-American private institution of learning in the Atlanta area," shopping for designer clothes, driving luxury cars, and generally having it all. But when good girl Sydney starts spending time with her father, who is just out of prison, and sexy Lauren hooks up with a boy from the right side of the tracks, they begin to find cracks in their perfect life -- including that their stepfather may actually be a mobster.
Is it any good?
Readers who like reading series about rich girls with problems will likely enjoy this debut about African-American twins growing up spoiled in Atlanta. At least as much as Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars or any other series. This book is contrived down to the last detail -- even Sydney's and Lauren's opposite natures seem scripted -- but it has all the stuff that many of today's teens are gripped by: It's packed with labels. It has romance. It even has intrigue: The girls discover that their father is not a car dealer, but rather a mobster.
The Duke twins don't give you a lot to like. Both seem self-centered, though Sydney is more concerned with good-girl appearances, while Lauren has a bit of a bad-girl rep. But there is probably enough drama here between Lauren's relationship with a boy from the poor side of town, and the girls' recent revelation about the stepfather who has always bought them everything, to keep readers looking forward to the next installment. Hopefully, next time around the girls will gain a bit more depth -- and maybe actually solve a few of their problems.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of series about rich girls. What is it about these books that are appealing? Like most of the books, Hotlanta is filled with lots of designer labels, makeup, and cars. Why do the authors label-drop like this? Does it make you more aware of labels? Does it make you want to buy more designer goods?