Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Winner Takes All

Winner Takes All (Candy Apple Book)
Jenny Santana
Scholastic, 2010
$5.99, Paperback
May 7th, 2012

Genre: Realistic, School Story
Age: 8+
Description: Seventh grader Celia Martinez has big plans for the seventh grade and their soon to be newly appointed class representative. However, she’s not the one running. After winning a science fair competition, Celia’s been labeled a nerd among her peers and she feels that the class representative election has always been won based on popularity. With the nerd label, no one will vote for her yet she has awesome ideas that will really make the year super fun and successful. Enter Mariela Cruz, Celia’s best friend. Mari happens to be a drama queen—she’s just gotten the lead in her school’s play and she’s pretty well known among her peers. Celia is hoping that Mari will enter the election in her place, Celia will coach her on everything to say, and then when Mari hopefully wins Celia can plan everything using Mari as the vessel to communicate her awesome ideas. Unfortunately, she didn’t plan on two things—Mari being so overwhelmed with having to memorize the lines for her play AND election debates and what not and the fact that Mari’s only running mate happens to be Celia’s crush—Laz Crespi, the big man on campus. Will Celia’s plan totally backfire on her?
Opinion: While I’ve read the Poison Apple books (a line focusing on stories with a supernatural twist) and am eagerly awaiting the new Rotten Apple imprint (out in August with a focus on zombies) this was another book (actually the first) in the Candy Apple line which is marketed as “sweet, fresh, fun, take a bite!” While as a series one would expect the quality to waiver from book to book with different authors writing them, it was actually quite entertaining. It’s nothing new to the genre but the writing is lively and the characters are engaging enough. It was a super fun read. I think a lot of readers can relate with Celia in this book. She’s been dubbed a nerd by everyone and really just wants to be her class’s representative because she does have awesome ideas. She’s caught between promising her best friend she’ll do all the work and not cause Mari to loose her spot in the play but also has to go up against her crush. It’s a lot of embarrassing situations and stressful ones as she tries to navigate through the mess she’s gotten stuck in.

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