Review Blog

Jan 24 2010

Faketastic By Alexa Young

cover image

Random House Australia, 2009.
At first I thought this was a satire on rich middle school American bitch princesses obsessed with brand names, beauty, boys and fashion. Then I thought it must have been sponsored by various clothing companies in the same way some food magazines use brand name ingredients in recipes. But no, it was a serious, and apparently popular, series, about 13 and 14 year old girls being alternatively friendly and bitchy to each other. Faketastic is the second in the Frenemies series; subtitled When Besties become Worsties.
Avalon Greene and Halley Brandon are friends and neighbours who post a regular fashion advice blog 'dissing' on the clothes the classmates wear to school - and share a dog and love of gymnastics. When their gym team is invited to join the cheer squad to compete in regional finals Avalon sees her chance to become a leader. Halley meanwhile copes uneasily with another friend's boyfriend coming onto her and enlists Avalon's help in coping with this tricky situation. They don't hesitate to use manipulation to get what they want.
The outcomes are all predictable but the cliff hanger ending ensures this soap will continue. As easy as it is to see this as a superficial take on spoilt brat teenage girls there is a ring of truth about the confidences, betrayals and search for trust these teenagers engage in. They are not totally dislikeable, just fickle and a mixture of confidence and insecurity, in the 'it's all about me' way many teenagers this age are.
The bitchy blogs are entertaining but the heavy emphasis on clothes, brand names and beauty is eye-opening to Australians. Adults are in the hazy background, but families are stable and caring. A fun element is the teenage created words, eg, vampiromaniac, tanorexics, cheertastic, etc.
A 'junk food' book for the library but one with the kind of cover many girls 13-15 will grab and read and enjoy but have the sense to see though these superficial types.
Kevyna Gardner

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