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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The House of Wacks by Denise Gwen

The House of Wacks by Denise Gwen
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Young Adult
Length: Full (218 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Orchid

Little did Jordan Meadows realize, when Dad insisted she get a job, it would turn out to be such an amazing summer! Who would have guessed that all her eyebrow, bikini, and leg waxes at Tranquility Spa would pay off as job experience? Working behind the scenes on the set of House of Wax IX: Return of the Revengenator, she becomes the go-to girl for paraffin wax. Then she meets Keith Charles, a band nerd from her high school. Between draping his freckled arms with wax and making sure he looks extra clotty, she’s stunned to find herself falling in love with someone outside her own clique. As filming and the summer draw to a close, she’s a changed girl, for sure. She's made friends with people she never would have associated with at North High School, but what about her friends, the awesome foursome? Should she break up with Keith, since he’s not a member of her exclusive, inner circle? Or is it time to branch out and make new friends?

"You, young lady, are getting a job."

These were not the words Jordan Meadows wanted to hear at the beginning of the summer holidays, but her father was adamant. The National Bank of Daddikins was closed. If Jordan wanted money to spend, she had to earn it.

Jordan doesn't realize this summer will push her onto the first step of the ladder to adulthood. A Hollywood film crew hits town and hires high school kids as extras and crew for the making of their B horror movie. To her delight Jordan is hired as part of the make-up crew. Her interest in the job makes her start to question her usual way of life. It also brings her into contact with two boys she wouldn't have condescended to speak to at school.

Most of the pupils at Jordan's school come from reasonably well off families. Keith, one of the theatre geeks from school, is working as an extra and Jordan becomes friendly with him and friendship builds into attraction for each other. The other boy is Ned, a loner who everyone at school makes fun of. By the end of the summer Jordan is forced to choose between her new friends and her closest friends girlfriends who now seem a little shallow. Her choice will affect her life in the new school year.

The House of Wacks is a very entertaining book. This is a story of a teenager on the brink of womanhood who is forced to realize money is not hers for the taking. She is brought face to face with people who have to work for a living and acquaintances from school who are less popular than the clique of four she belongs to. Jordan's first paycheck gives her an unexpected sense of achievement at having earned the money herself. Jordan begins to question herself and her outlook on life. Is she really as shallow as people think she is?

I loved the way the author showed us inside a modern teenage girl's thoughts. Jordan thinks of herself as a good person, and the reader is able to watch the doubts building inside. Inside she is as vulnerable as the next person. Jordan also learns the difference between loving, caring parents and those who try to buy their children's love.

The only thing I couldn't understand was the title of the book. Why The House of Wacks? The film at the center of the book takes place in a waxwork museum. I thought at first the "Wacks" referred to wacky people, but there didn't seem to be anybody who fitted this description. Some of the characters were spoilt, nerdy and geeky and others thought a lot of themselves but Wacky? No.

This aside, the book is a very enjoyable read. I think it would be enjoyed by young adults and adults as both would get a different type of pleasure from the story about teenage life and romance.