Paradise Lost: A Private Novel, By Kate Brian
Revelation (the previous Private novel) did two things: it wrapped up a plot which was dangerously close to having been drawn out too long and it ended in such a way that when I turned the last page hoping (in vain) for more I let out an audible “Argh!” Two months later Paradise Lost is released and we discover that (spoiler alert!) our favorite Glass-Licker is not dead. Ok, that’s only slightly a spoiler since the series is written in first person and as long as there is news of the next book in the series there’s a good chance she won’t die. I might have to eat those words one of these days.
The “Paradise” in question is St. Barths, where Reed is “dragged” by Noelle, Kiran, and an apologetic Tiffany (apologetic for things which happened in previous novels.) Since we all know that you don’t say No to Noelle, Reed finds herself on the Lange jet heading to stay at the Lange beach house over Christmas vacation. All of this is an attempt to take her mind off of the recent events, namely lots of stalking, deception, being ostracized by the aforementioned Noelle, Kiran, and Tiffany, and death. (This is not Gossip Girl, despite the abundance of couture, underage drinking, and sex.) The group of girls expands to include the previously removed to public-school Taylor, who is not only alive but appears to be thriving outside of the strict confines of Easton Academy and Billings Hall.
Between the shopping, lounging on the beach, and being generally paranoid, Reed finds herself drawn into what the rest of the girls call “The Upton Game,” the goal of which is to be the first girl of the group to “hook up” with Upton Giles who is, according to Noelle, the hottest man on the planet.
Because this is Fun Vacation Reed, she decides to let the other girls have the drama of the chase and just relax. Until she sees him. Naturally, Teen Romance ensues. On its heels are Teen Jealousy, Teen BackStabbing, Teen Pranks, and Teen Paranoia...all sprinkled amidst island fun which includes everything from jet skiing to Casino Night in Couture. And don’t forget the cliff-hanger at the end. The one that sent me to computer to see when the next book is coming out. (No answer on that one.)
I’ve read this entire series, including the prequel. I find the characters believable and the plot engaging. We all knew the rich girls at school who seemed charmed, the boy who was a bit lecherous and the shy boys, the athletes, the whiny-eager-to-please puggle girl (I quoted the book on that one because it fits so well) and in their Private incarnations they could feel two-dimensional...ok I’m not going to lie: some of them do. Luckily for us, Brian has kept those in the background, only showing up to give you a feel for the Very Large Group of privileged teens romping on the island with Reed. The characters in the a-plot, certainly ten books into the series, all feel well rounded to the point that Taylor popping up on the island was like an old friend showing up unexpectedly.
Now when does that next book come out…?