Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Loser/Queen by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Cammy Hall is what anyone would describe as a loser. She lives with her grandparents and has adopted their way of life… right down to the comfortable shoes and early bedtime. And can she help it that she actually likes to knit?

At school, her skills with knitting needles and some yarn go completely unappreciated: people like Bekka Bell reign while Cammy and her best friend, the fearless Danish exchange student Gerdi, watch from the sidelines. Cammy’s used to being an outsider; after years of humiliating moments, her goal is simply to fly under the radar. Then she suddenly starts receiving mysterious text messages that lead her right to all the embarrassing secrets about the most popular kids in school. Cammy never expected to be able to climb up the high school food chain, and the agenda of the texter may be questionable—but how can she possibly give up the chance to be Queen?

This is the print version of the groundbreaking online interactive serial LOSER/QUEEN that premiered in July 2010 on www.loserqueen.com. Each week, readers voted on major plot twists. The winning choice was then incorporated into the next week's chapters. Now that voting—and the book—are complete, LOSER/QUEEN will be published as a paperback and packed with extras from the author… and readers will have the opportunity to own the book they helped create!

When I first received this book (which admittedly what quite a while ago), I had no idea that Jodi Lynn Anderson had created such a fun and unique, interactive way to truly get her readers involved. I would have loved to see some of the major plot turns that people were able to vote on. In the end the book turned into a great story about what it is like to be at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to high school. It's a book about changing your popularity status and the (sometimes hurtful) steps you have to take to achieve your goal. Cammy was a character that was easy to relate to, because in her resides a little of all of us.

Cammy has been invisible all her life, embarrassing moments seem to stalk her and she has grown tired of it. Her best friend, a foreign exchange student, named Gerdi, is an outcast herself; but she always believed in herself where Cammy could not do the same. When mysterious texts begin telling Cammy ways to get back at the 'popular' kids, she jumps at the chance to become someone different. As her status within the school changes, the more strained her friendship with Gerdi becomes. And the closer she becomes to the other students, the less she enjoys hurting them. But the mysterious texter won't allow Cammy to stop, and when the truth behind the pranks is revealed, she has no proof that she is doing another person's bidding and takes the blame. Now everyone she has hurt, including a boy that gave her her very first kiss, has turned their backs on her. When she turns to Gerdi to mend their friendship, Cammy discovers that Gerdi has returned to Denmark--and that she really didn't know her friend at all. In the end, Cammy does learn that true friendship cannot be gained by tricks and deception; and she does find the courage to change her life in her own way and not as someone's puppet.

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