Publication Date: October 17, 2013
Perry Gonzalez is not like the other kids in her Beverly Hills high school—a full-blooded Latina on a scholarship, living in a tiny apartment with her mother, she doesn’t have much in common with the spoiled, privileged kids who are chauffeured to school every morning. But Perry is a budding young writer with her sights set on Bennington—and her seven deadly stories are her ticket to the Ivory Tower. To pay her way, Perry’s been babysitting (correction: teenage-sitting) and tutoring the neighborhood kids, and she has seen the dark side of adolescence: lust for the “Judas Brothers” that leads to electrocution at a private birthday party concert; wrath that inspires new and perverse family bonds; and greed, in a young Bernie Madoff acolyte who conceives of a copycat Ponzi scheme involving his own grandmother.
ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT
Perry Gonzales is a scholarship student at an elite Beverly Hills private school with her sights set on an elite college. The story is told in the form of letters to the admissions officer there and with wonderfully dark humor that will appeal to adults as much as it will to teens. Perry has built a business as a tutor and somewhat babysitter to the kids she attends school with, discovering their "sins" and telling their cautionary tale so that others might learn from their mistakes. She explores all of the deadliest sins with elements that will make any freshman gasp with immediate comprehension.
Wrath is my particular favorite where the oldest son finds such anger when his mother gives birth to twins that he cannot be trusted to be alone with them, so his mother hires Perry so she can get an hour or two of sleep. But being angry does have consequences and in this case, they are quite dire. Lust takes the form of a teen so spoiled that she does everything in her power, from hunger to breathing strikes, to have the Judas Brothers perform just for her. Pride takes a parent's demand for absolute perfection creates absolute devastation for perfect scholar/athlete. Greed, of course, has a horrible ending as well as envy, gluttony and sloth proving that karma always comes back.
I fell in love with Perry's voice and her relationship with her mother. As a single mother, Ylena Marie, works as a nurse to support her daughter and gives no quarter. Whenever Perry finds she cannot cope or resolve an issue, her mother is there with wisdom and just the right words. The ending really caught me off guard with a big surprise. I was also excited to see that this book has been optioned by MTV which is wonderful news since my favorite show, Awkward, plays along the same lines with a very cerebral main character. Well, now that I have officially read every book Gigi has written, it is time for me to look to next year when I better get another one!
About the Author
Gigi Levangie Grazer is the bestselling author of five previous novels, including The After Wife and The New York Times bestseller The Starter Wife, which was adapted for USA Network. She is the author of the screenplay for Stepmom, which starred Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon, and has written for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, and other publications. She lives in Los Angeles with her two children and one miniature dachshund.
Yes, the author has an adorable dachshund named Peanut.
PLEASE WELCOME GIGI TO BOOKHOUNDS
1. What inspired me to want to tell Perry’s story?
Just as there’s a part of me (or any author) in a story’s protagonist, I think Perry speaks to that aspect of my life that always lingers in the background. I have always felt like an outsider, even when it looks like I’m dancing around on the inside. Perry is a scholarship student, a bright, observant girl who is bound and determined to lift herself out of her life circumstances. In the meantime, she gathers intel as only an outsider can. I also wanted to create a young girl who, although well aware of whatever material things she lacks, is comfortable in her own skin. She knows her strengths – her intellect, her confidence – and she’s honest about her weaknesses. To me, she’s generally bad ass, and I love bad ass women.
2. What does Wrath look like?
In my mind, he’s a large, carrot-topped mountain of a kid – whose face turns bright red and freckles turn purple when he’s angry – which is much of the time. I grew up with redheads in my family – I’m sort of an honorary redhead – so I’m familiar with the visual. In fact, it’s sort of indelible in my brain.
3. What’s your favorite part about the Wankre’s story?
I just love Prudence and Mabel, the twin girls. I love how they communicate without using the spoken word. I love their sensibilities – and their sense of practicality about the situation. In the end, they’re not intimidated – they solve the problem.
4. Can’t Wrath be used for good?
Oh, absolutely. Wrath is anger – all anger is, is energy. It’s about focusing and manipulating the same energy one would use in a case of road rage to fuel something positive – whether it’s writing, cooking dinner for your family, running around the block, voting, protesting. Hey, if you’re alive, you’re going to get angry. I’ve heard – especially in women, that depression is ‘anger turned inwards’. Well, f-ck that! Anger is better than depression! As a society, we label women as being “angry” sometimes when they’re more likely strongly opinionated. I happen to be strongly opinionated. : ).
5. What is the best way to get revenge?
Focus and work hard at what you love. Revenge can be used as motivation – but it by its nature, it means you are focused on the other. Focus on yourself. Being at peace is the best revenge. So do whatever brings you peace – that will really piss people off.
6. Why does Wrath always want to be right?
Fear. Fear of being vulnerable. Fear of being exposed. We all know people like this – but you know, there’s that saying – “Would you rather be right or be happy?” Man, I’d rather be happy. But that’s probably because I’m already right. ; ).
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