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How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-boyfriend
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 is pretty clean. Passionate kisses aren't described beyond saying their power "stopped time." The twins don't serve alcohol at their party, but three drunk guys show up; Giovanna takes the responsibility to drive them home. Giovanna sometimes talks about how her mother's death took away some of Dante's spirit.
What's the story?
When Giovanna's twin brother decides to take on the school's popular clique and run for student body president, she knows she has to support him. So she does -- by dumping her boyfriend Jesse when he signs on as the rich, popular kid's campaign manager.
A few disaster blind dates later, and it's clear the break-up was a mistake. Can she win Jesse back -- and save her brother's doomed campaign? It's going to be a bumpy ride for emotional Giovanna -- who's prone to making embarrassing mistakes.
Is it any good?
It's easy for readers to relate to "emotional" Giovanna: This book is full of disasters, from bad blind dates to a really bad party, all played for laughs. Really, funny is pretty much all this book has going for it. Giovanna's relationship with Jesse -- which she ends in a passionate moment and quickly regrets -- is never really in jeopardy (they continue flirting/fighting until the book's inevitable romantic conclusion). Other storylines, such as Giovanna's tense relationship with her stepmother or her mother's tragic death, aren't developed, and many of the secondary characters remain flat.
But in the end, this is good, clean fun with a happy ending for everyone. It's a fun enough summer read by the beach/pool/mall food court.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Daphne's advice on how to win Jesse back: "If you come crawling back to him, it's like admitting you aren't capable of doing better. He'll think you're a B-list girl ... The trick is to make other people think you're A-list." Can you think of other media that has used this idea -- that a makeover and a string of dates is the way to attract the guy you want? Is there any truth behind what Daphne is saying? How does it work out for Giovanna?