The Ashleys #1: There's a New Name in School
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that it's all about the $2000 purses and $900 sweaters here. When they aren't shopping, the characters are scheming to get to the top of the social ladder or scheming to stay there. Parents are either absent, turning a blind eye, or trying to buy acceptance like their middle schoolers. The book is not as mean or racy as others in this genre, but it's far from sweet.
What's the story?
There is a reigning clique in Miss Gamble's Preparatory School for Girls. The Ashleys are perfect at being perfect. The right clothes, hair, friends, the right name: Ashley. When Lauren gets an extreme makeover in time for 7th grade she decides that the Ashleys' reign should come to an end.
Is it any good?
While full of name brands and catty behavior, this book isn't as cruel and risqué as other clique books -- and thankfully, this light diversion is also a fast-paced read. Popular author Melissa de la Cruz makes her characters easy to relate to and root for, despite their cattiness. Readers will want Lauren Page to overcome her awkward past, but most likely will cringe when she starts to imitate the bad behavior of the Ashleys, like ditching her old "uncool" friends.
Pretty girls say and do mean things, and parental figures are usually nowhere to be found, so there's plenty to talk about with tweens/teens for parents who allow some guilty-pleasure reading now and then. At least the sexual content is dialed down a few notches here. Now that the Gossip Girl books are also a TV show, you'd almost call this book refreshing. Almost.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about peer pressure, materialism, and self-acceptance. Do you feel pressure to act a certain way around your friends? Why is it more important to be yourself?