From The Critics
The debut volume of the Boyfriends and Girlfriends series sports a snazzy die-cut cover with a collage of snapshot-style photographs of wholesome kids who would not be out of place on the set of Beverly Hills, 90210. Within, ``handwritten'' autobiographical fragments intercut the straightforward third-person narrative. High school senior Zoey, her boyfriend Jake and their gang are an especially close-knit group, having grown up on tiny Chatham Island off the Maine coast. Old alliances--especially Zoey and Jake's long-term relationship--are thrown off-balance when sexy loner Lucas Cabral returns to the island after spending two years in a reform school for his role in the drunk-driving accident that killed Jake's beloved older brother. A relatively lighthearted subplot chronicles feisty African American Aisha's efforts to avoid embarking on a romance with her potential soul mate. With its enticing, gossipy story lines and better-than-average character development (seductive, manipulative, Claire, who seems poised to become the series villainess, is more unhappy and confused than evil), this novel is likely to hook its intended audience. Ages 12-up.