In case the title of this post isn’t enough, I will begin by stating that this is not a good book. The plot is both contrived and almost overwhelmingly predictable, the characters are mere caricatures of African-American Atlanta society girls, and the editing is poor. I don’t really care about any of this because RELUCTANT READER GIRLS LOVE THIS BOOK!
Hotlanta by Denene Millner and Mitzi Miller is about twin sisters who are amongst the wealthiest people in Atlanta. Sydney spends her time working on various volunteer and fund raising committees with her seemingly perfect boyfriend. Lauren leads the dance squad, tries out for dancing spots in hip-hop videos, and flirts with all the best boys. The girls were born in the projects, but now, thanks to their entrepreneurial step-father, are living like heiresses. Their biological father has been incarcerated since the girls were young. The key turning points in the plot occur when Lauren starts dating a young man from the “wrong” side of town, Sydney’s perfect boyfriend proves to be not-so-perfect, and the girls’ father is released from prison.
The plot follows the traditional urban fiction plot established by such books as Coldest Winter Ever and Bitch (surprise! the step-dad is secretly a drug lord!), but lacks the gratuitous sex and violence. There is, however, enough brand-name dropping and rich-girl backstabbing to hold the attention of younger teens who regularly read the stronger stuff, or would if they were going to read instead of living their own drama-filled lives. Think cleaner African-American Gossip Girl. So far the teens I’ve talked with have loved it, and I’ve been able to successfully recommend it to some of my toughest patrons. The teens who read this kind of book love the familiarity of story as well as being held by the suspense, and are also glad that it’s only the first in a series of three.