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Rich and Mad

Rich and Mad - William Nicholson I'm giving this 2 stars, though I really feel like I mean 1-1/2 stars. It was okay. And in the end, I really didn't like it. But...I don't want to be too harsh. So, here's my review.

First of all, I need to say that this is a British author and though I feel that I am totally down with Britishisms, this book makes me feel like perhaps I'm not as cool as I thought. Either way, if I were a girl in the UK, I might have had a different view of this. I doubt it, but I thought I'd disclaim.

I picked this book up at the library because hello? Did you see the cover? It's steamy hot, right? And the title: Rich and Mad made me think I would be reading something like my favorite fic, with beautiful rich kids running around and making out in phone booths.

Not so much.

Rich and Mad are actually the main characters names. They are in high school and don't really run in the same social circles. Rich has a tremendous crush on Grace, who is Maddy's best friend. Maddy has a crush on one of the most popular boys at school. They kind of commiserate together. This story is a sort of coming-of-age in that Maddy and Rich both have to grow up and realize that although you don't always get what you want, sometimes you get what you never thought you needed. I can't really tell you very much more about the plot, because I would spoil it, but there is a bit of a mystery and there is some humor, as well as some angst. And lots of talk about sex.

There were a couple of things that I did like about this, which upped the rating slightly for me. I liked the characters, even if I didn't agree with much that they did. I especially liked Maddy's friend, Cath, and Joe's brother. I also liked Rich's little sister. lthough I didn't feel like it really fit in with the story of Rich and Mad and/or their crushes, I liked that the situations with each of their families was realistic.

What I didn't like: Basically everything else. There were a couple of swoony moments, but not really anything to write home about. And the progression of the relationships was kind of...off. To go from barely acquaintances to planning sex romps in the woods seemed to be a little rushed to me. I don't know, maybe teenagers really do decide to be in love with whoever will have sex with them, whether it was their intended or not. ::shrugs::

Overall, I would definitely not recommend this to younger teenagers, because although it does have some really good messages about standing up for yourself and not being a doormat, the flippant attitude about sex seems wrong to me. I wouldn't recommend it to older teenagers either, because I feel like the characters are just so immature. So, I don't know who I'd recommend it to. None of my friends, for sure.