Title: The Queen of Cool
Author: Cecil Castellucci
Pub. Date: March 2006
Main Themes: Popularity, Family, Friendship, Identity, Internships
Plot (from back of ARC):
"On the outside, Libby Brin is the most popular girl in school. She has the hippest friends, the hottest boyfriend, the trendiest clothes, and the most easygoing parents. But on the inside, Libby is dying - of boredom.
And then one day Libby surprises everyone, including herself, when she signs up for an internship at the Los Angeles Zoo. Her friends think the zoo is for losers, but for Libby, at least it's something to do, something different. Unfortunately, working as an intern is not exactly glamorous, and worse, it means Libby has to tea up with two nerds - Tina (aka "Tiny"), a Little Person and aspiring actress, and Sheldon, an introverted boy with a brilliant, inquiring mind.
But what happens when Libby realizes she actually enjoys working at the zoo... and may even like Tina and Sheldon? Will the Queen of Cool have to give up her crown?"
This book has been sitting on my shelf since 2006 - and I'm not even sure where I got it from. It is slim book and I totally forgot about it even being on the bookshelf until I was going through books to take with me when I move downstate. I found this one right next to Boy Proof, Castellucci's first novel, and was intrigued by the summary on the book. It helped that this book is pretty short, but I completely devoured this book. I had forgotten how much I loved Castellucci's writing and story telling!
Libby, as expected, was a snobby rich girl at the beginning of the novel. Despite that, I found that there was something I liked about her. I think everyone can relate in a least a small part to the feelings Libby has about the monotony of the same friends and meaningless activities day after day. It really is Libby's transformations and the lessons she learns that make the book though.
I really enjoyed many of the minor characters in the book, including Tina, Sheldon, and Sid. I wish that there was continuation of this book just so that I wouldn't have to give these amazing characters up! Tina was one of the most inspiring characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading - she was so strong and confident in herself despite overwhelming adversity and judgement!
I thought the zoo internship was an interesting idea. Having Libby become a better observer and a hard worker played a big role in her changes throughout the book. Plus, zoos are awesome! :)
Ratings (out of 10):
Writing style: 10
Total: 50/50 (A!)
The Queen of Cool was a 2006 release, but if you missed it you should definitely check it out! I really shouldn't have waited until now to read it. Cecil Castelucci is a wonderfully talented writer...