The Fruit of My Lipstick: All About Us, Book 2
Gillian Chang thought that life with her overprotective New York family was stressful. But when she flies thousands of miles away to attend the elite Spencer Academy, a whole new set of problems comes her way. In THE FRUIT OF MY LIPSTICK, the second book in Shelley Adina’s All About Us series, loud-mouthed science whiz Gillian realizes that there’s one problem even hours of studying can’t solve --- love.
After surviving a dramatic first semester at Spencer, Gillian returns from her holiday break expecting to throw herself back into her math, science and music studies. That is, until she begins to fall hard for Lucas Hayes, who is not only cute but a certified physics genius, already planning for his Ph.D. at Stanford. Gillian tries to get his attention just as she would prepare for a chemistry test --- working very hard. And after a disastrous first date, she’s pleased to see her efforts begin to pay off. Before she knows it, she’s able to call brilliant Lucas her boyfriend.
But can she keep him? Gillian can’t help but notice Lucas’s clear admiration of other girls --- particularly one of her biggest rivals, Vanessa. When Gillian realizes that they are all stick-thin, she resolves to undergo a rigid exercise program, to drop some pounds and make her man happy. Unfortunately, her schedule with her expensive new trainer means she will have to give up her graphic design class (her true passion). Her friends point out that this isn’t the only thing she’s giving up either. It seems that now that she’s dating Lucas, friends, family, school and even church have all become secondary priorities. As she further distances her friends and family, Lucas begins to show a side of himself that is less than perfect.
Complicating matters even more is a mystery student at Spencer who has been selling exam copies. If he isn’t identified, then the entire junior class will flunk the semester --- something that Gillian’s overbearing parents certainly would not take kindly to. With the exam thief on the loose, and her boyfriend’s behavior becoming increasingly erratic, Gillian realizes that she needs to reorganize her priorities and reclaim her sense of self worth.
THE FRUIT OF MY LIPSTICK is the follow-up to IT’S ALL ABOUT US, which focused on Gillian’s roommate, Lissa. Fans of the first book undoubtedly will enjoy hearing the story of this formerly secondary character. However, the new entry contains far less of the up-to-date pop-culture references of its predecessor and far more references to the high-pressure world of elite academics. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on the reader. While it isn’t as hip or as light of a read as IT’S ALL ABOUT US, THE FRUIT OF MY LIPSTICK does deal with some important issues that teen girls face: parental pressure, abusive relationships and eating disorders, to name a few. It may also appeal to Asian-American readers, as Gillian finds herself constantly struggling to come to terms with this identity.
Reviewed by Jennifer Crosby on August 11, 2008