Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Blonde Ops by Charlotte Bennardo & Natalie Zaman

Title: Blonde Ops
Author: Charlotte Bennardo & Natalie Zaman
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Pitched as The Devil Wears Prada meets James Bond for teens, featuring a fashion magazine intern in Rome who uncovers a plot to kidnap the First Lady.

Expelled from yet another boarding school for hacking, sixteen-year-old Rebecca “Bec” Jackson is shipped off to Rome to intern for Parker Phillips, the editor-in-chief of one of the world’s top fashion magazines. But when a mysterious accident lands Parker in a coma, former supermodel and notorious drama queen Candace Worthington takes the reins of the magazine. The First Lady is in Rome for a cover shoot, and all hands are on deck to make sure her visit goes smoothly.

Bec quickly realizes that Parker’s “accident” may not have been quite so accidental, and when the First Lady’s life is threatened, Bec is determined to uncover the truth. On top of that, Bec must content with bitchy models, her new boss, Candace, who is just as difficult as the tabloids say, and two guys, a hunky Italian bike messenger with a thousand-watt smile and a fashion blogger with a razor-sharp wit, who are both vying for her heart.

Can Bec catch the person who’s after the First Lady, solve the mystery of Parker’s accident, and juggle two cute boys at the same time? Blonde Ops is a fun, action-packed romp through the hallways of a fashion magazine and the cobblestone streets of Rome.

Much like I’m a sucker for a good, traditional contemporary story, I’m also a sucker for contemporaries that have some sort of twist. In the case of Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman’s Blonde Ops, the twist involved a teenaged hacker trying to figure out who wants to kidnap the First Lady. Needless to say, I got sucked in and I enjoyed every page of it.

Bec Jackson has been expelled for hacking from more boarding schools than she can count. Her parents don’t know what to do with her anymore. In effort to help Bec things around, her mother ships her off to Rome to inter for Parker Philips at one of the world’s top fashion magazines. But from the moment Bec gets to Rome, things seem to be going wrong everywhere. First a car accident lands Parker in a coma, leading to her being replaced by a former supermodel. The more Bec looks into Parker’s accident, the more convinced she becomes that it wasn’t an accident and that someone might be planning to harm the First Lady during her upcoming visit. With the help of some of her new colleagues and hot Italian bike messenger, Bec sets out to catch the person who’s after the First Lady. But can she do it before the culprit puts their plan in action?

When I first read the synopsis for Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman’s Blonde Ops, I knew I was interested in reading it. I just knew it was going to be a fun story, filled with mystery. Plus it was set in Rome, so that made it that much better. And I enjoyed every page of the story. Though I’ll admit, there was good chunk of time at the beginning of the story that I kept picturing the movie When In Rome with the Olsen twins—the one where they discover someone is trying to sabotage the fashion company they are interning at for the summer. Once I moved on from that though, I really got into the story. Granted, I had a good idea of who was responsible for the plot against the First Lady pretty early on, it wasn’t clear until well into the story how it all fit together. And looking back on it, there were clues that I missed. It was just a fun story, though. I got sucked into it, reading page after page, unable to put the book down. And sure, the mystery aspect kept me reading, but what really drew me into the story was Bec, herself. 

I loved Bec right from the start. She was definitely different and she wasn’t what I expected but that’s actually what made me like her as much as I did. And really, she’s kinda hard to put into words. For starters, she’s a hacker and she’s not afraid to put her skills to good (and not so good) use. And because of that, and her general curiosity and need to know everything, she often put herself in some pretty bad and awkward situations. Half the time, I wanted to shake my head at her plans, but they were entertaining all the same. My one issue with Bec was her romantic life. Granted, in the end it kind of resolved itself, but I was a little annoyed at the fact that she was basically dating both Taj and Dante at the same time. Sure, it made for some funny moments when the two boys were trying to prove they were the best for Bec’s sake, but still. Since the focus of the story wasn’t on the romance, though, it all took a back seat to the plot to harm the First Lady. Regardless of it all, I still loved Bec.

I really enjoyed Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman’s Blonde Ops. It was a fun story that sucked me right in. If you’re looking for a fun story filled with action, twists and romance, then Blonde Ops is the perfect book for you.

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