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Love Inc. Paperback – 26 Sep 2011
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About the Author
Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout met as teens while working in a public library, where instead of shelving books, they talked about boys, clothes and beauty products. Sandy now works in corporate communications and Yvonne on film and TV camera crews. They still talk about boys, clothes and beauty products, but have decided to share what they'd learnt by collaborating on a number of books for teens, including Love, Inc., Paper Cuts, and The Black Sheep. Both authors live in Toronto, Canada. www.collinsrideout.com www.loveincbook.com
Top customer reviews
Zahra Ahmed-Macduff is a `Scotistani' Texan, half Scottish and half Pakistani, 15 year old high school girl who ends up in group therapy, (affectionately termed `Crazy Class') along with other teens who are not handling their parents' separation well.
Zahra blames her situation on her Pakistani grandparents, who are staying indefinitely and are very antagonistic towards her father. Just as she feels her life can't get any worse, she discovers her boyfriend's been cheating on her with two of the girls she has met at group therapy - Kali and Syd. The three of them decide to take revenge on Rico, aka Rick, aka Eric and form a strong friendship into the bargain. The revenge plan and subsequent actions result in the three girls forming a business together. Love, Inc. provides; mediation services, surveillance, break-up management, matchmaking, relationship coaching and revenge - all for a price! Through word of mouth the cash soon starts pouring in, and whilst each of the girls seem to be achieving strong results in their own areas of Love, Inc. expertise, none of them seem to be making any headway in their own personal and relationship issues within their home environments.
The story is narrated by Zahra, who constantly struggles with self-esteem and her multi-cultural background as she compares herself to the artfully talented, if somewhat loner - Syd and the pretty, musically minded and confident Kali. However, she builds on her confidence through their business and her skill at relationship mediation - something she has also found herself tied up in within her own personal family situation. Zahra dreams of being a celebrity chef one day and one of her coping strategies with her home life is to fantasise about having her own television show, which she would entitle "The Sweet Tooth" and she uses these fantasies throughout the book in various humorous ways as she feels "Everything's Better with a Little Sugar" - her self-claimed motto!
Whilst the book is written from Zahra's perspective, Kali and Syd are fantastic characters in their own right and the three of them together provide an entertaining if somewhat fluffy teenage read! It's fairly well written with some light-hearted humour and the usual love interests along the way, not to mention the added interest Syd's dog Banksy, brings to the mix! Love, Inc. provides the reader, as well as the girls, with a great escape. The cultural differences are handled well and whilst Zahra struggles initially with her Pakistani grandparents, a heart to heart with her Grandmother helps her to come to terms with their concerns and understand her family background, which in turn of course, helps her to move forward with her own personal and family issues.
Verdict: Perhaps a little long, certain aspects seemed to be dragged out a little, although saying that I'm not sure how it could have been reduced. Overall, a fun and humorous read which tackled subjects such as religion and parental separation in an interesting and informative manner.
The story revolves around three girls who meet at therapy. They're there because of their divorced or divorcing parents to ensure they don't go off the rails and when they meet they find out they have a whole lot more in common. It turns out they have all been seeing the same boy who has been willingly triple-timing them. Rather than turning against each other they put their heads together and do something together to teach him a lesson.
The stunt they pull becomes infamous and off the back of it the girls form their own business called "Love Inc" set up to help others deal with all their relationship issues both positive and negative.
The beauty of this book is the relationship built up between the three main characters who start as virtual strangers but end up as the best of friends despite the fact they are all totally different personalities. The story managed to be both funny and heartfelt all the way through. The story would also appeal to a a good mix of different girls as the main characters were so diverse.
All in all a really sweet story which a nice and easy read.
The girls set up their own business to help other girls in their relationship problems. What a novel idea! What is great is that the girls develop a relationship from strangers to best friends. Something good came out of all of it.
I enjoyed it! I'm enjoying a lot of contemporary right now and this one was fun!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Zahara was a great character. She is intelligent, motivated and loving, but she's got a lot to learn about life as well. I thought that the authors here gave us a great mixture of confidence and uncertainty. Zahara is in high school, which is always rough. But, add in that it's a brand new high school, which means she needs all new friends and her parents are going through a separation and it's easy to see why she's having a hard time, and why she's so happy to spend time with Rico, her new boyfriend.
I loved watching Zahara try to regain control of her world. She tends to utilize extreme thinking, swinging from one extremity to the other swiftly, which I thought was perfectly suited to her character. One of my favorite moments was when she decided she was going to take control of her parenting, demote her parents to a back seat role, and just not tell them. :)
When her parents force her into group therapy for kids whose families are going through a split, she's not expecting to gain anything from the 'experience'. But instead of spending a miserable hour with a bunch of weirdos once a week, Zahara discovers two of the best friends a girl could have- and who knew?! The three girls are, at first glance, completely opposite and ill suited for friendship. Zahara, Syd and Kali each have their own issues to work through, but when they realize that the same guy has been playing all three of them, they decide to work out at least one of their issues together, and all sorts of wonderful mayhem ensues. And can I just add that I love the idea of 'framily'? It just worked!
I'll admit that there were times when the plot was a little predictable. I saw several big events coming from a long way off, but I found myself completely okay with that. I never knew exactly how the events would develop and I was enjoying the characters so much I was completely okay with knowing a bit of what's coming up.
I think I've heard mention of a sequel to this in the works, and I have mixed feelings about it. I can see where the authors have room for a sequel, and I even think I know a few of the things that might happen. On the one hand, I definitely feel like this novel could easily stand alone, and a large part of me feels that it should be left to stand alone. I got a great sense of closure and ending from the story, and believe that things are going to work out well for these great people, but that actually needing to read about how they get there would ruin it for me.
The other part of me would love to read what else these girls get themselves into, and how they work out more of what's got them down. And really, it's not like they actually learned their lessons the first time around. :)
I'm sure I'll end up reading the sequel if what I've heard is true, and there really are plans for the second. I can only hope I like the sequel as much I enjoyed the first.
The group is a mix of boys and girls, all of whom have unstable and/or divorcing parents.
There's cynicism aplenty and at first, very little mutual support. When Zahra, Kali and Syd all realize they've been dating the same guy, they suddenly have a target to focus all their anger and frustration. Eric, aka Rico, aka Rick loves his fancy rebuilt car, so the girls hatch a plot to trash and befoul Miss Daisy as he calls his ride. Their scheme is not only well done, but the description as they complete it is funny as heck.
Word gets around and it isn't long before the three girls realize there's plenty of money to be made exacting revenge for other kids, but why stop there. It doesn't take long for them to start taking on spying assignments for other teens who suspect their significant other is cheating on them. It's just a skip and a hop from this to facilitating breakups and finding the perfect match for teens floundering in the dating pool.
Too bad Zahra can't find her own hottie, even though a perfect match is right under her nose. Toss in more and more stress from her grandparents, worry over what's happening to her younger sister, some jobs that go too well and a few that go bad, plus a dog in desperate need of a pacemaker and you have one great read. Teens who like a smart, sassy and funny romance will eat this book up in a couple sessions. It's definitely one to add to any library that likes to provide teens with good reading material.