April 8, 2011

Retro Friday (9) - The True Meaning of Cleavage by Mariah Fredericks

Retro Friday
Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc. Everyone is welcome to join in at any time! 

This week I chose The True Meaning of Cleavage by Mariah Fredericks. This was actually Mrs. Fredericks debut and I loved it, it's one of my Must Books for Girls. Anyway, you can read my original review by clicking here. Or you can check out this Mini-review.

True Meaning
At First Sight: Sari and Jess are about to start high school at Eldrige Alternative and while Sari can't wait, completely ready for something BIG to happen to her,  Jess dreads it a little - wondering if she'll survive or what will happen if something does happen to Sari and nothing happens to her. 

While Jess is still dizzy from the whirlwind of activity and the craziness of the first day, Sari spots the most popular guy at school: David Cole and falls instantly, psycho in love with him. 

From then on, the ongoing story of Sari and David  - which mostly goes on inside of Sari's head, at first - permeates Jess' life. And, as the year progresses, Jess can't stop worrying: worrying about Sari's mood swings and personality switches, about the lengths Sari will go to get and keep David's attention, about Sari getting used, about Sari getting her heart broken. 

At the same time, Jess struggles to get used to high school herself with the overload of work, and the Prada Mafia glaring and her and Sari all the time, and to the general crazy of growing up and (maybe) growing apart from your best friend.

Second Glance: I honestly love this book and this author. And I think that this book gets it: the crazy and the overflow of emotions of when you're fourteen and everything seems both possible and impossible at the same time. And I think Jess was a great narrator: she was honest and real, vulnerable but with her own strengths too, and she never blinded herself to Sari's behavior, she knew Sari was being a bad friend sometimes.
And she also brings some perspective to David's character - with whom she shares a class - on how he really is aside from being the king of the school. 

Jess also has a good relationship with her parents, which I love because I hate when characters have cartoonish parents. And she even develops a bit of a romance with a fellow fan of Hollow Planet. 

Hollow Planet is another thing I loved, it's book series Jess is a fan of, and she's always making references to them, and the epigraphs are bits of the book.

Bottom Line: The True Meaning of Cleavage is one of the books I most often recommend for younger teens. For me its about these two friends who sort of need to grow apart a little to stay the best friends they could be, even if the process hurts.

Favorite Quote: "Over the weekend, I study like mad for my biology final. I read about reproduction, how sperm fertilizes egg, how chromosomes divide, become zygote, become fetus. So that's love. 
I read about arteries, how they carry oxygenated blood from the lungs to the heart to the rest of the body. How once the heart stops, the oxygen to the brain stops and the brain waves cease. So that's death."

"The meeting took place in an ancient grove of oak. They sat among the gnarled roots of a great tree and laid their plans. The future was unknown to them, but they were certain of one thing: Their alliance was strong, their bond unbreakable." Hollow Planet: Destiny's Sword

"At last, the two armies met on the battlefield. There was a terrible silence, followed by the first shriek of war. Followed finally by the even more terrible and lasting silence of loss" - Hollow Planet: Destiny's Sword.

"The victories came where they were not expected. Defeats too. But in the end, their forces emerged intact. Ragged, battered, but still loyal." - Hollow Planet: Thorvald's Hammer.

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