I'm back for Book Club Friday with The Nerdy Katie and Blonde Undercover Blonde! I went from reading zero books in my first trimester to four already in my second. It feels great to get back into that habit. This week, I'll be sharing the next two installments in the Private series: Invitation Only and Untouchable:
"Reed Brennan's future is looking as bright as the two-karat diamonds in her new housemates' ears. Being accepted to the most prestigious private boarding school in the country wasn't enough for Reed. She had to break every rule to do it, but she has accomplished the impossible: Reed is a Billings Girl now. And with her new status come respect, envy, and, most important, opportunity. Not to mention the parties. Unfortunately, at the next illicit party in the Easton campus woods, her roommate snaps some pictures of Reed in more than one compromising position. She uses the photos to blackmail Reed: Dig up dirt on the most powerful and popular Billings Girls or she will have Reed expelled. And speaking of parties, the Legacy is coming up. It's the invitation-only Halloween party in NYC and it's rumored that Thomas -- Reed's MIA boyfriend -- will be making an appearance there. Too bad Reed isn't even close to invited. Life as a Billings Girl is every bit as glamorous as Reed imagined. What she didn't bargain for is the tangled web of private lies these girls weave."
Untouchable (I edited this synopsis quite a bit because there are several spoilers):
"...Life at Easton Academy begins to feel very different. Taylor is acting like the poster child for Prozac, Kiran is spiking her cornflakes, Noelle is being kind of...nice, and Arianna keeps floating along as if nothing has happened. Thanksgiving break arrives and Reed and Josh find themselves alone on campus. They are forced to confront the feelings they've been hiding. Those feelings combined with an empty campus result in the hottest hookup Reed could possibly imagine. But when Reed breaks the news about Josh to the Billings Girls, there's no fun game of tell-all...The perfect life Reed has constructed as a Billings Girl begins to crumble..."
I read the first book in this series, Private, back in April when I received it in a blog book swap, and as soon as I finished reading it, I immediately purchased the second book in the series. However, I ended up taking a long break in between finishing the first and second book because the boarding school antics in Invitation Only became just a bit grating and repetitive. I especially didn't like the continual hazing of Reed. Last week, however, I picked back up with the book because I was flying from Houston to New York, and I needed easy, no-minded reading for the plane. Suffice to say, I barreled through Invitation Only fairly quickly on the plane, and once we reached the Tampa Airport--which provides free wifi--I immediately bought Untouchable.
The third book in the series, Untouchable, is much better because by then, Reed has a murder mystery on her hands. The intrigue keeps you turning the page, plus her newest romance is quite sweet--much better than the first. Frankly, I think you can skip Invitation Only and really not miss all that much.
While the series is really quite fun, and I greatly enjoy escaping into a world where a girl can be given platinum diamond earrings on her first date with someone, I sometimes wish this series would take itself just a little less seriously. Take Sookie Stackhouse for example: she will often openly mock the crazy encounters and characters in her life and marvel at the incredibly turns her life has taken. In Invitation Only and Untouchable, Reed experiences many extreme events in a two month period, all in an incredibly ostentatious world. I know that this is more young adult fiction, but on occasion, I would love for the author, Kate Brien, to allow the novels to make fun of themselves.
Nonetheless, the Private series continues to be pure escapism. I definitely recommend it for traveling...or when you just need a break from the real world!