45 Pounds (More of Less), which I loved, and her new book has a lot in common with her first--same great setting, wonderfully complex characters, humor and heart--plus a few fun differences.
Charlotte Pringle and her best friend Lydia have a Grand Plan--go to cosmetology school, work while they earn their business degrees, open their own salon, and live happily ever after. With a mom who wants her to give up on cosmetology and go to a real college, the Grand Plan is especially important to Charlotte--and so is winning the Winter Style Showcase. But winning is not so easy when no one else shares your vision, your family has their own drama that demands attention, cute boys are distracting at every turn, and your best friend suddenly seems to have her own plan--one that she doesn't share.
I adore this book. It's smart and funny and sassy, and Charlotte is a girl who just does not give up. I love that we get to see a story about working teens, and teens who are still in high school but pursuing vocational training, and who love what they do. That was a nice change of pace from the books where the teenagers are taking AP everything and focused on tests and exams and what they're supposed to major in. The teens in this book are still worried about their futures, but seeing vocational schools and other training programs as another option alongside college was refreshing.
Charlotte's story is also pretty fast-paced, even though it spans a couple of months. She's driven to succeed, and she's very smart and talented. What trips her up isn't a lack of skill, but simply life. Sometimes the hardest lesson to learn is that no matter how talented we are or how solid our plans are, life gets in the way, and when that happens, we have to take a step back and re-adjust. At the beginning of the story, it's Charlotte's way or nothing, and over the course of the story she has to learn that other people's opinions, desires, and talents have value, and just because something doesn't go the way you expect it to doesn't mean the dream is over. Added in is a healthy balance of friendship, school, boy, and family drama, and the result is a story that many readers not only need, but will definitely relate to.
Also--how awesome is that cover? So pretty and flirty and sassy!
Charlotte Cuts it Out is out now! Thanks to the author for an advanced copy!