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The Au Pairs
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Melissa de la Cruz is a senior fashion editor at hintmag.com. She is the author of several books and has written for many online publications. Originally from New York, she now lives in Pasadena, California.

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Lurking just below the surface of de la Cruz's (Cat's Meow) over-the-top fantasy of high life in the Hamptons is a trio of fairly ordinary teen romances. Anna and Kevin Perry (whose power-elite mores and conspicuous consumption recall many Nanny Diaries parents) hire three very different girls as summer au pairs. Former Park Avenue princess Eliza (recently dethroned and exiled to Buffalo, due to her father's financial shenanigans) wants nothing more than to claw her way back to the top of the social heap-until a romance with dreamy gardener Jeremy causes her to reexamine her values. Mara likes the lavish pay, which she banks for college tuition, plus she finds herself enjoying the vacation from her lunkish boyfriend-and only Mara is even slightly surprised when her friendship with the eldest Perry son turns into something more. Brazilian bombshell Jacqui has come to the Hamptons in search of Luca, the American with whom she had a memorable fling back in Sao Paolo, who seems the only male in the world to appreciate her mind more than her stunning looks. A flurry of name- dropping, shopping sprees, gala parties and binge drinking may not be enough to distract from the predictability of each plot line, nor to lure readers to further adventures (the stage is set for a sequel when the au pairs are invited back for Christmas in Palm Beach). A beach read without a doubt. Ages 14-up. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Gr 9 Up-Sun and sea, hot parties, hot guys, and the promise of $10,000 for taking care of four overprivileged, undersupervised kids. This is the life that awaits three teens during a summer in New York's exclusive Hamptons. Eliza, whose father's fortune fell, is hoping to recapture some of the glamour and luxury of her former life by taking this position where her family once had a summer home. Mara is looking for a way out of her small hometown and a way to earn enough money for a car and college tuition. Jacqui, a Brazilian beauty used to getting everything she wants, is looking for the one thing that eludes her: true love. The three are hired by the Perrys and wade through problematic relationships, power struggles, and the ever-important social scene. De la Cruz name-drops and power-shops throughout, creating an entertaining vision of how "the other half" lives. The Au Pairs offers wealth, status, steamy sex, lots of heavy drinking, changing values, and juicy fun on the East Coast for fans of Zoey Dean's "The A-List" series and Cecily von Ziegesar's "Gossip Girl" series (both Little, Brown).-Tracy Karbel, Glenside Public Library District, Glendale Heights, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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