I would like to come clean before I start my review. I only read the first 4 chapters of the book. I didn't stop because of laziness or because it was hard to read (not hard to read at all. I would say it is about 5th grade level reading comprehension). I stopped reading because of the ridiculous portrayal of the "typical Orange County students." I am a senior at Aliso Niguel High School and I've been attending for 4 years. Her portrait of students at Aliso is biased and naive.
Rodriguez may as well be one of the viewers of television programs such as "The O.C." who believe that Orange County consists of people like that. Of course there are the rich and self-centered, ignorant teenagers. However, Rodriguez tends to focus only on them. It is an unfair portrayal and prejudice against Orange County kids. We are not all like that.
Also, the character of "Mr. Big." She hasn't got us fooled. Those of us who actually do attend the high school know who she is referring to. She could not be more wrong. The man that she bases her character on (whether she actually met him is unsure) is a self-less, caring man who will do anything to help his students succeed. Even if her "Mr. Big" and the real teacher was as she claimed "a coincidence," what does that say about teachers at Aliso Niguel? Because she tends to focus more on the scandal between "Mr. Big" and the students in the book, she is showing bias by failing to focus on the moral teachers.
Honestly, even Rodriguez had chosen a different school to pick on, I don't think I could finish the book because her writing level suits that of a fifth-grader rather than "young adult." Her character analysis is shallow and inconsistent. The main character Paksi is disappointing as a heroine of the book. Her views are skewed and she tends to - as the author does - believe that the popular, rich crowd rules the school. It could not be more untrue.
Before Rodriguez writes anymore books, I would that wish she will open her eyes to the high school system and accept that certain stereotypes are not always true. A student does not have to be rich or stuck-up to be popular. Popularity is in the eyes of the beholders.
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