She’s So Money by Cherry Cheva
High school senior Maya works at her parents’ restaurant, takes a ton of AP classes, and tutors “students who are…not so much like” her, as Principal Davis puts it. Unfortunately for Maya, the student she had been tutoring just got an A on his latest math test and his parents refuse to pay for any more tutoring. So Principal Davis assigns Maya to another student. Camden King. Ew.
Camden King is rich, hot, popular, lazy, and generally content to coast along on these traits alone. During his second “tutoring” session with Maya, he offers her $100 to do his math homework. Good girl that she is, Maya refuses. But when her parents leave her in charge of their restaurant, setting off a chain of events that leads to a $10,000 fine from the Health Department, Maya freaks out.
Maya knows that cheating is wrong, but she fears the alternative is worst. Afraid her family can’t afford the fine and believing that since it’s her fault, she should be responsible for paying it off, Maya thinks doing Camden’s homework is the only choice she has if she wants to pay off the fine without her parents finding out about it. When Camden tells a couple of his friends that he’s paying someone to do his homework and they want in, Maya recruits a couple of her friends to help do all the homework, and the whole thing turns into a cheating ring.
It’s only February, but Cherry Cheva‘s She’s So Money gets my vote for funniest book of the year. Who knew a book about 1) a smart good girl and 2) cheating could be so hilarious? (Although—and I think this should be totally obvious, but I’m going to say it anyway—if you don’t think cheating should ever be a laughing matter, you should probably skip this book.) While the book is seriously funny, it never devolves into slapstick or being funny just for the sake of being funny. The humor gives us insight to the characters, and it’s the kind of sarcastic and, okay, rather sitcomish funny repartee you always wished you were capable of coming up with in your own life.
“Nice butt,” Camden said from behind me. I quickly sat up. “Too bad your personality doesn’t match it,” he added.
“And too bad your brains don’t match your dad’s bank account,” I shot back. “If they did, we wouldn’t be here.”
Camden stared at me for a moment, opening his mouth and then closing it again before breaking into a grin. “Wow,” he finally said as he got out a mechanical pencil and started clicking it noisily. “You’re an interesting one. Most girls are so stunned by this whole business”—he waved the pencil at himself—”that they can’t even attempt to be bitchy.”
“Well, I’m not and I can,” I said.
“I don’t know if I like you or hate you.”
“Hate me. It’ll make us even,” I said. “Now shut up and open your math book.”
And do you know how hard it was to pick just one part to quote? (Okay, two, with the line from Principal Davis.) Again, this is one funny book. But… She’s So Money is also one of those books that I really enjoyed as I read it but did not quite hold up upon further reflection. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the book a lot and, obviously, think it’s an absolute riot, but I somehow didn’t love it *after* finishing it the way I loved reading it. If that makes sense. Still, I am definitely looking forward to more books by Cherry Cheva, and I’m sure teens will, too, once they’ve read She’s So Money.