Jan 24, 2010

The lip gloss menagerie continues!

Triple Fault
Canterwood Crest #4
by Jessica Burkhart

Three Strikes, They're On The Outs...
One: Heather pretending to date Jacob, just to mess with Sasha.
Two: A new girl who is so competitive, she makes Heather look tame.
Three: A former BFF with a new hobby: stealing boyfriends.

You expect some statement at the end of this list that collects everything together in a cohesive manner, but you don't get one. Therefore this is an odd little summary that sort of gets to the point of the three books previous (although I can't remember Chasing Blue, no matter how hard I try), but doesn't get to the heart of the matter (or any matter, actually) of this book. Intriguing! Let's take a closer look.

Jasmine, bitchy girl from book(s) previous, now inhabits Canterwood Crest. Sasha spends a lot of time feeling alternatively justified in hating her, and feeling sorry for her when the Trio makes this girl's life a living hell. No one really feels sorry for Jasmine, but since she does attempt to put some minimal effort into making friends initially, Sasha develops this tiny little soft spot that will be used against her later.

As we discovered in Behind the Bit, Callie is a boyfriend stealing, passive-aggressive, ultra competitive, borderline animal abuser. Shocking? Perhaps so. Not too recently, she was in like with Eric, but randomly showed up after break with Jacob, Sasha's almost boyfriend. During all of this, Sasha realized how awesome Eric is and decides he is the one. Awkwardness abounds when she still refuses to speak to Callie and Jacob, but will not tell anyone about Eric because to tell someone would be giving Heather an opportunity to break them up because Heather apparently loves to randomly cause chaos like that.

Eventually Callie and Jacob get back in her good graces, Callie becomes passive-aggressively ultra competitive with Sasha again (healthy!), but Sasha still holds back on telling anyone about Eric, flustering his poor, patient soul. Will Sasha ever man up? Will Eric be doomed to secret boyfriend status forever? Will Jasmine ever get a life? Will Callie ever be a genuine friend and stop being so passive-aggressive? I have so many questions!

Thankfully, Paige has a party. It's one of those parties that people dream up and never actually get around to hosting, but no matter. Paige is the new host of Teen Cuisine, in which she bakes things with real butter and a hell of a lot of confectioner's sugar. Sasha intends to tell everyone about Eric at the party, announcement style, as if everyone at the party really actually cares who she is dating. But Jasmine steps in to inform Sasha that she already told Callie and guess what? Callie flipped the hell out! Sasha, because she is exceptionally gullible, believes this completely. Eventually, Sasha does man up and tells Jacob and Callie herself. They have no idea what she's talking about, and appear to not really care. Sasha is free to go on dates with Eric, and I am still not exactly clear on what a date between thirteen-year-old kids really even entails, but I'm pretty sure I am going to find out soon. I am thrilled about this, let me tell you.

And then Jasmine's evil plan to get on the advanced team is set into motion: Allison and Julia are caught cheating on a history exam. Apparently Allison and Julia aren't the cheating type, so hello cliffhanger. Who will be on the advanced team now? What will become of Allison and Julia? What movie will Eric and Sasha see on their hypothetical date? WHAT LIP GLOSS WILL SHE WEAR?

- I sort of love Sasha and Eric. I heart them. I admit it.

- These books are like experiencing sugar shock. In fact, I am pretty positive no one eats if the food isn't laced with sugar or chocolate.

- I am still not sure why Jasmine is at Canterwood. Did I miss the answer to this somehow? It is possible I did, but it does seem weird to me that she's, you know, there.

- Mistakes: spiraling in. I'm a tad dyslexic concerning right and left. Learning riding aids has been a magical and hilarious experience! So I tend to forgive these mistakes in fiction. That said, you can't ask a horse to spiral in when your leg is telling it to spiral out. That whole sequence of Sasha spiraling in on Charm totally would have earned her a larger circle instead of a smaller one. You were looking for outside leg there, Sash.

I still really enjoy these books, even if the sparkly sugar texting melodrama is well past me.


Heather said...

Oh, Mara, just you wait! You will love the next few books. But the time passage slows to a crawl, I think the book Little White Lies only covered one week's worth.

Heather becomes more awesome with every book. She's the child Brad Townsend should have had.

coulrophobic agnostic said...

I'm trying to develop an interest in these books, but they sound so...much like everything I read as a kid fifteen years ago.

Sasha just strikes me as the typical heroine, the girl everyone likes for no real reason unless they're "bad" characters. People are evil and sucky for no reason, no gray areas.

I may be asking too much of YA horse books, but there are a few really good ones out there. I have high standards, I guess.

Mara said...

Actually, I think for middle grade it is far more advanced than typical horse fiction of its kind. There are things that have started to bug me (Jasmine's weird evilness, Sasha's golden retriever personality that is liked by all except Heather, for no real reason, the unrelenting melodrama, etc), but I do think there are more gray areas than you normally find. Not to mention, these kids don't get everything they want (even when they're so filthy rich) and there are consequences for their actions, which is RARE in middle grade horse fiction.

I'd give them a shot. They're not great, but they're at least refreshing.

coulrophobic agnostic said...

sadly my library doesn't have them...I'll have to check bookmooch.

Anonymous said...

FYI, Jasmine came to Canterwood because her "old instructor was getting soft".

Shadowhawke said...

What about the palomino arabian?
I am I the only one bugged by that?

Read the first 3.... waiting to find 4. Library doesn't have it.