Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lucky, Gorgeous, Brilliant

I am looking forward to the Colorado Teen Literature Conference at the Tivoli on Saturday, April 2nd. In addition to Pete Hautman, the other guest author is Rachel Vail, whose latest books include her critically acclaimed Avery Sisters Trilogy. Lucky, Gorgeous and Brilliant are interconnected sister stories about three girls whose mother, a financial wizard, loses her job. Although their Dad still has his teaching job, the family must adjust to vastly reduced financial circumstances.

The first book, Lucky, introduces 14-year-old Phoebe Avery who has always taken for granted her family wealth and her popularity. When her executive mom loses her job, Phoebe must contemplate giving up her fabulous graduation party and the Vera Wang dress that she plans to wear. Phoebe's older sisters, Allison and Quinn, warn her to keep the family's crisis totally secret. However, her best friend and boyfriend are getting suspicious. Phoebe tries hard to act like nothing is wrong, but when her mother's credit cards are denied while buying Phoebe the Vera Wang dress and her father threatens to cancel her party, she freaks out. What will she do to keep up her reputation as a lucky girl?

Gorgeous, the second book in the trilogy, tells the story of the family’s financial crisis from the perspective of the middle sister Allison, who has always considered herself too plain to notice. One night she dreams she sells her cell phone to the devil in exchange for being gorgeous. She enters the next top teen modeling contest with surprising results. Her parents are not happy with the new Allison, and she also begins to wonder whether her hot new boyfriend and new friends like her only for her looks. To what lengths will she go to be on the cover of a magazine?

The final book in the Avery Sisters Trilogy is told from Quinn’s point of view. The oldest sister, a piano virtuoso who has always been the intelligent responsible one, decides if her mom isn’t perfect, she doesn’t have to be either. She begins to experiment with wild partying and drinking, but will it make her feel better? When she kisses Allison's boyfriend and then her piano teacher, she begins to wonder if she's gone too far. The book is the perfect ending to this inventive trilogy, which tells an addictive family saga from three points of view.

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