Blonde Ops by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman, St. Martin’s Press (May 6, 2014) , ISBN: 9781250030399. Reviewed by John R. Clark, MLIS.
Are the rules there to be followed, bent a bit, or kicked aside? Bec Jackson, age sixteen, hovers somewhere between bent and kicked depending on the situation. Her tech skills are better than average, her execution and patience, not so much. In fact it’s these weaknesses that got her kicked out of yet another fancy private school.
Instead of sending her to a new school, her Type A parents arrange for her to fly to Rome where she’ll either intern or be babysat with/by Parker Phillips, her mother’s best friend from college. Despite some feelings of anger and rebellion, Bec has to admit that being in Rome, working for the editor of the fancy monthly fashion magazine, Edge, with her new credit card and three months in a fancy hotel room is appealing.
When Bec realizes she’s more a gofer than an intern and a mysterious accident lands Parker in a hospital, but nobody seems to know which one, that should be a sufficient reality check. Things, however, get better and worse, depending on what you look at. First there’s the impending arrival of the First Lady to do some photo shoots in order to promote her charity. Then there’s the really scary Candace, who steps in to run things, not to mention two hot guys. There’s Dante, the Vespa-driving courier, sweet, and happy to show her his Italy, then Taj, a mysterious and magnetic teen fashion blogger appears on the scene and Bec is torn.
Add in a Marx Brothers-like cast of characters, some magazine staffers, some secret service agents and a few who might be red herrings, and you have a delightful romp. Part romance, part mystery, all fun, it’s a great read for teens who like suspending a bit of reality to enjoy a good literary ride.