Monday, July 4, 2011

The Book Addict Reviews: Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook

Genre: Young Adult, Bullies
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Author Info: Website | Goodreads
Rating: 3 stars
Book picked up in Paperbackswap game.
In A Nutshell:
It is hard to say that I enjoyed this book because I do not feel like it is a book that is meant to be enjoyed.  It was meant to make the reader think, and I finished the book with a lot to think about.  This book would be an excellent book club selection because it is definitely a book you will want to discuss.

For anyone who has been hurt by a friend (or more precisely a former friend), it sometimes seems like Karma is taking too long to balance out or make that person pay for the wrong.  Helen Worthington has spent three years obsessing over the wrong done to her by her ex-best friend.  So when circumstances give her a chance to go back and face her ex-best friend, she takes it as an opportunity to give karma a push in the right direction.  But Karma really does not need the help.  It balances things out naturally and in its own time.  And Helen (AKA Claire Dantes) learns that revenge can have its own consequences.

After reading Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood, I had a lot to think about:
1) The desire for revenge is very seductive, but the quest for revenge can be all-consuming.  At first, the reader really feels as though Helen (Claire) deserves to see Lauren fall from grace.  It seems like that would be poetic justice, but poetic justice at what cost?  Helen's whole life centers on ruining Lauren's life.  What Helen eats, how she dresses, and who she hangs out with are all related to this goal of getting revenge.  Helen cannot even answer any question about what she wants for herself or what she wants to do after high school.  She has spent no time thinking about that.  She has to get revenge, but what will she do after?
2) Not everything is as it appears from the outside looking in.  Lauren seems to have everything she wants or at least everything she wanted when she betrayed her best friend.  But is that really the case?  Is Lauren really happy with the life she has?  What about the future?  Will Lauren be happy after high school when the school play and cheerleading are over?  Or is there more to Lauren's story than meets the eye?
3) What are friends for?  The book centers on the end of a long-standing friendship.  Lauren is painted from the very beginning as a less-than honorable friend.  But many of the friendships in the book seem less than ideal.  Claire (Helen) is using her friendship with Brenda as part of her revenge plan.  Kyla is friends with Lauren because it's expected but would easily move on if that expectation changed.

I would love to read a sequel to this book because the final chapter really brought out some of the better qualities of each of the characters.  I would love to see those qualities in action.

After reading this book, I want to find other books by Eileen Cook.

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