L. A. Summer: Friends Till the Blood End by Sheryl Mallory-Johnson
IQ "But nobody told her anything about being in love and wanting to give the boy she loved something to guarantee he would never forget her."
I'm positive that millions of teenage girls throughout time and around the world have felt and wondered the same thing as the IQ. I know I have wondered about. How do you keep a boy's affection without comprosing yourself? Especially when you will only be with him for summer and you've never had a boyfriend before? That's essentially what the main character, Mikki is trying to figure out.
Mikki is spending the summer in Los Angeles with her best friend Stacy, whom she hasn't seen in six years since Mikki moved from L.A. to Boone, Texas. Both girls are worried that they won't get along anymore and that they have changed a lot but they really want to see each other again. Also, Stacy has another best friend, Carlette who moved into Mikki's old house in L.A. Carlette fears that Mikki will replace her for the summer but she also wants to meet Mikki. While in L.A. Mikki meets a guy (Dominick) who seems perfect and she falls in love. Stacy thinks Dominick is a womanizing jerk and tries to warn Mikki, but Mikki ignores her. Carlette is dating an older man whose living a not-so-great lifestyle. Add to all that Carlette's overprotective mother, Stacy's cop father and Mikki's parents trying to get her to leave L.A. early and there's a lot going on in the book.
In all honesty, the writing isn't fantastic in the book, but the story is an important one. Especially for all girls who've never had a boyfriend before and may not know how to handle having one.
None of the characters were all that lovable (except maybe Keith who is Stacy's special guy friend). Mikki could have been a really great and lovable character, but she was always bragging about her grades and her GPA which grew annoying after a while. Also (and this is probably just me), but her naivete was irritating. I've never been a big fan of naive characters, but I feel that with some different characterizations and actions, Mikki could have been an enjoyably innocent character. I didn't like Stacy because she didn't help out her friends as well as she could have. This is minor, but many of the expressions Stacy used seemed a bit strange (maybe they're just West Coast expressions that I, as a Midwesterner don't understand) for example, whenever Stacy's thoughts were expressed, she would say "yaw". I'm presuming she meant ya'll. Also when she was laughing in her thoughts, she would think LOL. I don't believe that many teenagers use text/IM speak in their thoughts. Carlette was an ok friend. Sure, she had her good moments, but I didn't understand why Stacy was friends with her. Fianlly a minor complaint; Mikki lives in Boone, Texas. Carlette dates a guy named Bone. The names were too similar for my taste.
What I did like about the book: the relationships in it are pretty realistic. The friendship between Mikki and Stacy had its ups and downs like all close friendships. Some of their arguements were serious, but some were deep. I agree with Mikki up to a point that best friends "shouldn't judge you or put you down for your choices. They should respect you and support your decisions." Best friends should also not support your decisions when they are dangerous to you or others (like being anorexic, bullying people, having sex with multiple guys, etc.), but they shouldn't judge you for doing it. They should just help you make a better decision and if necessary, get her/him the helps he/she needs. The relationship between Keith and Stacy was very realistic as well, Keith wants to be more than friends, but Stacy is cautious. Mikki and Dominick's relationship was an interesting one as well. Dominick is an interesting character. I think the most important relationship is between Carlette and Bone (a young girl with a 20 something guy).
There is going to be a sequel and even though the characters aren't lovable, they are interesting and I look forward to seeing what happens to them next summer. The sequel is called L.A. Summer: Sweat and Tears. L.A. Summer: Friends Till the Blood End is a likable read and it's not too preachy. High school and up