Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sparkle Sparkle!

I know you're not supposed to judge books by their covers, but I have to confess: I do it all the time. A good cover will draw me towards a book I normally wouldn't read, but a bad cover, oooohhhh.... a bad cover can drive me screaming from the bookshelf, trembling in fear.

Not really, but it sounded good, didn't it? Anyway, I'm getting ready for the Mock Printz discussion, which focuses on teen books. And I've read a lot of books on the list, but not all, and I have a bunch to work through.

One of those books is Bad Kitty by Michelle Jaffe. And to be honest, I read this one first because I thought I would like it the least. Judging by it's cover (I know!) which is pink and features a sparkly silver cat, this book is capital G-I-R-L-Y -- totally not my cup of tea. I'm really glad that I read it though, because Bad Kitty is seriously awesome.

Jaz is a sixteen year old with a serious gift for getting into impossible situations, and a keen interest in crime and detection. She’s always getting into trouble with her genius, massively over-protective father. After losing out on a sweet internship in the LAPD crime lab, she’s suffering through a family vacation at the Venetian hotel in Vegas with the Thwarter (dad), Sherri! (step-mom), her evil cousin Ashley and Ashley's hench-twin Veronique. To make things more bearable, Jaz has decided to be a Model Daughter, just like the one’s in the Hallmark ads.

However, when a three-legged cat lands on her chest down by the pool, it gets the naturally nosy Jaz and her three best friends into a complicated situation involving supermodels, murderers, hot British guys, BeDazzlers, guns, underwear and cosmetics used as forensic tools. My favorite thing about this book is how funny it is. Jaz seems like she'd be really cool to hang out with, as she's sarcastic and smart, and all her friends are crazy, but in the fun way. Jaffe puts a lot of entertaining details that make me smile, like Sherri!, who spells her name with an exclamation point, or the fact that Jaz wears Kermit the Frog underwear.

If you a reader who demands a stark realism from your books, you might want to skip this, as the predicaments Jaz and her posse get into are pretty far-fetched, and Jaz and her rich, gorgeous friends are sort of unbelievable too. Normally the "too perfect" syndrome turns me off from a book, but Bad Kitty is so much fun,fast-paced, witty and fizzy, that I really didn't mind at all.

I probably won't stop judging books by their covers, but at least I've learned that some pink and sparkly books are worth a second look.

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