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The Blonde of the Joke
Synopses & Reviews
"There are three and only three rules for shoplifting," Francie instructed me.
From the very first day Val meets the outrageously blond Francie, she realizes that Francie has the gutsy courage and determination Val has always envied. But Francie sees something in Val too—something that Val's never noticed. "You've got that sneaky thing about you," she says. "I bet you have a dark past."
And just like that, the blonde and the brunette become partners in crime.
Thanks to Francie, Val is suddenly taking risks, taking charge, and taking what she deserves. But as the stakes get higher, Francie and Val find themselves more and more tangled in a thrilling web of love, lies, and shoplifting. Soon it becomes clear that the darkest secrets have yet to be discovered. . . .
"Madison's (the Lulu Dark series) surreal novel elevates suburbia — and the mall in particular — to an almost mythic status, at once mundane and rife with potential. Timid high school student Valentina's life changes dramatically when new girl Francie flounces into class wearing a lime green 'whore's raincoat,' meant to cover up the aqua tube top and gold hot pants she's wearing underneath ('Francie was that kind of girl. Blonde. Big boobs. Total slut'). Francie, a force of nature, befriends Val, giving her an exuberant new look, teaching her to shoplift and awakening a whole other side of the girl. But exterior radiance doesn't mask the inner problems both girls wrestle with. Madison's dreamlike prose imbues the most ordinary of moments with cosmic significance ('At the mall, in the beginning of October, there was this whiff of something: like newness, or the future. Or maybe I was just mistaking the smell of Cinnabons and makeup'). It can occasionally feel like the story is about to sink under the portentousness of it all, but it's more likely that readers will soak up every bit of it. Ages 14 — up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Bennett Madison learned everything he knows about shoplifting from working at the Gap, where his facility with a price gun earned him the esteemed title of Markdown Specialist, and he learned everything he knows about blondes from attending Sarah Lawrence College, where his four years of lackluster study failed to earn him a diploma. He has spent time as a phone psychic, a receptionist, and a layabout, and his greatest unfulfilled ambition is either to go on Survivoror to write X-Men comic books. He lives in New York City.
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