Monday, June 28, 2010

Pretty on the Outside by Kate Kingsley

Pretty on the Outside by Kate Kingsley
Publication Date/Version: April 2010/Paperback
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Publicist/Publisher (Thanks!)

Alice and Tally have ruled St. Cecilia's, their private boarding school just outside of London, for years. As everyone comes back for their junior year, the girls can't wait to start partying in London and jetting off to Paris and Rome. As Alice begins to realize that she has more than friendly feelings for Tristan, her long time best friend, she thinks the excitement of a new crush will make this year the best yet. But when Dylan, the American girl Tristan summered with in the Hamptons transfers to St. Cecilia's, the girls' perfect lives spiral into broken hearts, jealousies, and revenge plots that will change everything.

At St. Cecilia's, an all-girls private school, Alice and Tally have always ruled. As best friends, they know the ins and outs of Cecilia's. They sneak out, board jets to Paris, and hang out with Hasted House boys. The new girl, Dylan, stirs up trouble among the girls. Dylan had a fling with Tristan and she still wants to be with him. Alice, however, wants Tristan as well. A battle begins, and no one is safe.

Joining the ranks of The It Girl and Private, Pretty on the Outside is the feisty start to a juicy series. With loads of drama, it's sure to please to guilty side in all of us.

Admit it. You've got a guilty pleasure for all things wild, girly, and crazy. We all do. For those times when you need to escape from the seriousness of life, this new series will take you away. It's all that you expect, plus a few surprises. Be warned: this book is not for young readers, as it is filled with drugs, drinking, and hooking up.

Alice and Tally are your typical, teenage fiction boarding school queens. They're intimidating, and they know it. The two best friends get what they want, and they're used to being on top. When Dylan, the new girl, threatens this balance, St. Cecilia's turns a bit cutthroat. Dylan wants to get with Tristan, but so does Alice. As you can imagine, this doesn't go over too well. In a whirlwind of bad ideas, boys, and booze, St. Cecilia's and Hasted House, their male counterpart, are headlong into a battle of love.

As you may expect, I had a lot of fun with Pretty on the Outside, but I didn't find a lot of depth. I knew that I wouldn't though, so I took the book as what it was supposed to be, and I enjoyed it the whole time. It was perfect for a very rare guilty read. Alice and Tally are those girls. The ones everyone wants to be, but hates at the same time. It was fun to step into their lives, as well as get an occasional glimpse of Tristan's point of view. The book was told mainly by Alice and Tally, but we got a different character's outlook every once in a while, which made the story fresh.

One of the things that irks me most about these kinds of books is the constant name and label dropping that goes on. The name dropping happened in the first couple of chapters of Pretty on the Outside, but I never once read a brand name. I was pleasantly surprised! There was no Gucci this, Prada that. Sure they talked about clothes a bit, but more about what they actually looked like than how much they cost.

I enjoyed the wild antics, as I lived vicariously through their experiences. A girl like me would never even think of doing half the things they did, and I believe almost all readers can relate with me on that point. Because of that, I enjoyed the escape into no rules and total freedom, even if it wasn't my own.

Overall: Feisty and fresh. Perfect for that rare guilty pleasure read.

My Advice: Borrow it or buy it. I'm actually looking forward to collecting the series, as long as it isn't 12 freakin' books long.

Cover: Really like it! It's actually much more symbolic than I expected. The clothes are pretty, but the black figures represent the girls' tainted hearts.. Plus, it's just simple and nice to look at.

*This was read as a part of the 2010 Debut Author Challenge and the 100+ Reading Challenge

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