Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Book Review: "Sorority Girls: I'm Going To Get Your Boyfriend" by Marjorie Sharmat

"An idea was running through my head. A wild, unchallenging, marvelously imprudent and unsound idea. I stared at Danielle Chardson. Watch out, Ms Chardson, I thought. We're in hot competition, you and I. And here's the zinger: I'm going to get your boyfriend."

In spare, minimalist prose, Sharmat weaves a complex tale around a young, well-to-do Arizona woman named Rona Dunne. Dunne, president of her high school sorority, finds herself working for a public-relations company backing corrupt politician Brutus "Captain Concrete" Devile. There she finds a passionate and illicit love for her handsome, sapphire-eyed boss, Salem Astor. Dunne must struggle with her blossoming love for Astor; her franchise aspirations for the most popular sorority at Palm Canyon High School; and political scandal in her town.

During her lengthy term as Chi Kappa president, Dunne establishes a long tradition of loyalty and popularity, but she guards an innermost secret: her public mask hides her true, rebellious streak. With only her English-born maid Rachel as a trusted friend, Dunne must choose between what is morally sound and what could expose her dirty family secret. Is Astor her true love, or is he part of the web of evil surrounding the corrupt politican's public relations?

Though this plot is filled with dark twists as it develops, the plot is not the focus of this unusual "crime noir" mystery. Sharmat instead focuses on the blossoming relationship between Dunne and Astor, and the ensuing love triangle created with Astor's mistress, Danielle Chardson. The tension heats up as Chardson and Dunne clash in the Scream Room during a meeting with the evil Councilman.

Giving new meaning to the adage of writing workshops that a writer should "recreate, not just tell about," Sharmat presents vibrant inner monologue to give her readers a deep understanding of Dunne's moral situation.

One of the most unusual and intelligent mysteries I've read in years, "Sorority Girls: I'm Going To Get Your Boyfriend" is also unique, a novel in which every word counts, even when those words are not adding to the plot.

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