by Luisa Plaja (Corgi, 2012)
I think the target market for this book is probably a bit younger than I would normally go for - aged 13-14, perhaps - but nevertheless it was a fun little read. Lex is what she calls 'an Improver'. She is always being called to see Mr Trench in his office, and now he has a novel form of punishment for her: she and her fellow Improver Drew must take his half-term film course, along with their more studious school friends who have already signed up by choice (shock horror).
At the same time, Lex and her friend George are helping test a Sims-esque computer game for his father. Things get interesting when they realise that the changes they're making to their avatar settings in the game - in Life, Looks and Love - are miraculously coming true, and they decide that this is their chance to do a little sneaky matchmaking. But does Lex want to be with her perfect ex Matt, or with rebellious Drew? Can George handle all the attention he's suddenly getting from the ladies? And more importantly - how on earth will they deal with the fall-out when the game expires at the end of the week?
Although I'm not a huge fan of 'high school' fiction - I've done it once, I don't want to relive it now - I actually rather enjoyed this one. The quirky premise drew me in, and I liked the fact that the sparkling humour - which occasionally felt a little forced - was mostly spot on and really made me chuckle! It's also a British novel, which makes a nice change when it comes to the pop culture references, in particular. A smart, fluffy read that proved to be a great diversion during a busy weekend at work - though I'd probably recommend that on this occasion, you buy it for the teenage girl in your life rather than for yourself...
- "The trouble with the world is that everyone fancies the wrong person. We're all in a love-chain made of broken links."
- "It's amazing how quickly you get used to changes - welcome changes, anyway."
Note: Many thanks to the lovely folks at Random House Children's Books, who sent me this book in return for an honest review.