Homzie, Hillary. The Hot List.
The number one cause of death in people aged 25-40 is apparently fictional parenthood. In the vast majority of the books I read for the 48 Hour Reading Challenge, at least one parent was dead; in several cases both were. Parents who managed to live through the process of having children inevitably divorced.
Sophie’s mother is dead, and her father is dating a teacher at the school she attends and where he is principal. This teacher has a daughter, Nia, whom Sophie dislikes but who is spending more and more time with Sophie’s best friend, Maddie. After Maddie and Sophie post a “hot list” on the bathroom stall in the girls’ room, the school is all atwitter about the relative hotness of the boys, and soon a similar list is made for the girls. Maddie and Nia make the list; Sophie does not. Sophie starts to spend less time with Maddie and more with Squid, a boy who desperately wants to make the hot list but whose flamboyant geekiness makes this impossible. Sophie tries to help him be “cool” so that she doesn’t have to think about her father dating and her best friend being mad at her. Does the hot list make that much difference? Will Sophie ever make it on the list, or, at the very least, get to talk to Hayden, her nominee for the list?
Strengths: The Mix series is very popular with the girls at my school, and the whole complex issue of changing friendships is something they always like to read.
Weaknesses: Parts of this dragged. Some editing would have tightened up the story and made it a little better.