[ARC Review] Blonde Ops by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Title: Blonde Ops
Author: Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman
Series: None
Genre: YA Contemporary, Mystery
Format: Hardcover, 288 pages
Release Date: May 6th 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

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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 contend 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.

When I saw Blonde Ops I knew that I wanted to read it because I was in desperate need of a light and fun read. I will admit that this book is fun at times, and I love a good mystery, especially when that includes a plot to kidnap the first lady of the USA. But for me, Blonde Ops was a slower read than what I was hoping for.

What I loved the most about this book was the narrator, Bec Jackson, because she was everything I love in a character. She was witty and sarcastic, as well as independent and free spirited. From the very first page I loved her because her voice is so strong, and her personality comes through every word. The same cannot be said for the secondary characters. I found most of them to be a bit two dimensional at times with little to no impact on the actual story line. It is a very big pet peeve of mine when reading to find character that have no relation to what happens in the story, and I found a few in this book.

The pacing of this book was a bit slow for me at times, even though I loved the mystery aspect of the story. I found that the beginning was quite slow, then the middle sped up a little bit, then it slowed down again, and finally went full speed with a couple of chapters left. I found that inconsistency in pace that hindered my enjoyment of the book because my emotions were going from happy to intrigued and then to frustrated too many times.

My biggest dislike in any YA novel is the love triangle, and this one had one from the get-go. And I very much disliked it all the way through the book. Even though the authors explain why there were two love interests I found them both to be a bit boring. I never really had any particular feelings towards any of them, and honestly I never really saw what Bec saw in them. They were kind of like a distraction from the real plot of the book, which annoyed me even more.

Overall Blonde Ops is a great mystery read that ultimately lags at times throughout the novel. The main character makes up for the lack of interesting secondary characters, and the end result was a great surprise and a fun end to the book. Ultimately this book was not my favorite but I do think it is a great read for those interested in a fun witty character that tries to solves a very interesting mystery.

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