Revenge of the Homecoming Queen by Stephanie Hale
Aspen Brooks, narrator of Stephanie Hale‘s Revenge of the Homecoming Queen, is blond, beautiful, and bright. And she knows it. You could probably describe her with another word that starts with the letter B, despite what Aspen says on page 44. (And some S-words, as well: superficial, snobby, spoiled, stuck-up…)
So when Aspen’s archenemy Angel, who totally does not live up to her name, is voted homecoming queen, Aspen is horrified. She’s been going out with Lucas, the school’s hot starting quarterback for the last two months, and between dating the star quarterback and her own looks and fashion sense, how could anyone else be named homecoming queen? How did she end up a mere princess?
And her day just gets worse from there. There’s graffiti in the girl’s bathroom about her (“Aspen Brooks is a lesbo who wears knockoffs”—and Aspen is more upset about the knockoff part, and that it was written with cheap lipstick, than the allegation about her sexuality). She finds herself strangely attracted to geeky Rand Bachrach, who, thanks to Lucas’ stupid scheme, is the newly named homecoming king. Her best friend is spending way too much time with Angel’s best friend. Angel makes a move, and more, on Lucas, before mysteriously disappearing.
A lesser character would be overwhelmed by all this, but not Aspen. Supremely confident, she’s sure she knows who’s responsible for her plight and is determined to get her life back to normal. Hale says that readers will probably either love or hate Aspen. Well, I didn’t hate her, can’t say I liked her, but I sure found her entertaining. Hale does a wonderful job maintaining Aspen’s voice throughout the book. Her narration is strong—confident and ridiculous-in-a-good-way amusing (in fiction, at any rate, since I doubt I’d feel the same with a real life Aspen-type person), with some of the secondary characters getting laugh out loud funny one-liners. There were parts I couldn’t completely suspend my disbelief over, which I won’t get into here, since it verges on spoiler material. Let’s just say that even though it was over the top, I didn’t mind, because it did fit with the story and ultimately, Aspen’s narration and the above-average mystery by far outweigh the book’s flaws.
Also reviewed by Little Willow (featuring an interview with Stephanie Hale). And I agree that Revenge of the Homecoming Queen is best for high school and up.