Lulu Dark and the Summer of the Fox -- Bennett Madison

Lulu and I go way back.  In case you haven't already been introduced:

My junior year at Orchard Academy had finished off with, shall we say, a bang.  A big bang.  I'm not going to go into too much detail, but the bottom line is that having your purse stolen is traumatic.  Having your purse stolen by a criminally psychotic wannabe scenester who also has taken your identity, your reputation, and your rock-star-would-be boyfriend is not traumatic.  It's--I don't know--it's just so much worse than that.  I tried to find a word for it in my thesaurus, but there isn't one.  At least, not one that doesn't belittle the plight of POWs and victims of famine.  I guess we can call it beyond suck.

Lulu Dark and the Summer of the FoxEven though she spent the entirety of the last book solving a mystery, she still isn't keen on the idea of being a girl detective:

"We're being followed!" Daisy yelped.  "There's a goon hot on our trail!"

"Oh, please."  I sighed.  "This is not Veronica Mars.  In real life, mysteries happen once in a lifetime, not once a week."

(Okay, you got me.  I totally only included that because of my VM obsession.  Sorry.  Back to Lulu.)

She's having problems with Charlie, her oldest and best friend, now boyfriend:

"That's not even the start of it," I said.  "He's completely lost his personality since we first kissed!  He says, 'Let's go to the movies,' and I'm like, 'Okay!  What movie?' and he's like,'What movie do you want to see?' And I'm like, 'I don't know, what were you thinking of?' and he's like, 'Whatever would make you happy, Lulu!' And I'm like, 'For the love of God, have an opinion or I'm going to kill myself!'"

All of this is already going on before the actual mystery even begins, so poor Lulu has a pretty full plate. 

The mystery itself involves Lulu's mother, the semi-famous middle-aged B-movie blonde screamer, Isabelle Dark, the teen actress Lisa Lincoln (Yes, by the way.  I gave in after a few chapters and allowed myself to read her name as Lindsey Lohan.  It just made things easier.), The Fox, a mysterious prankster that seems bent of wreaking havoc on movie sets, and yes, very briefly, a pink Vespa.

Of course, our heroine uses her trademark vigor:

All I wanted to do was hang out on the couch, eat junk food, and read.  I was working my way through Madame Bovary, which I was enjoying thoroughly.  For a couple of days I considered becoming a libertine, but in the end it seemed like too much work, so I gave up the idea and decided just to become fat instead.


Here's a piece of advice:  When at a crossroads, apply ChapStick.  ChapStick is, like, the great clarifier.  I whipped out a tube of eucalyptus and smeared on a fresh coat.  I think it was the smell that did it.  A thought occurred to me.

And maturity:

"Aaaghhh!" I shouted again, dropping my teaspoon with a clatter and throwing my hands into the air.  The girl at the table next to us turned her head and glared.  I looked straight at her and crossed my eyes until she looked away.

to ultimately solve the mystery and save the day.

Note to fellow librarians/booksellers:  After reading the first book, it occurred to me that Meg Cabot fans would like her -- after this one, it struck me that some Gossip Girl fans might as well, so long as they don't mind the adventure/mystery angle.  Name-brand fashion, gossip, romance and rich people abound, and I personally feel much less guilty about recommending these because they're actually decently written.  Might be worth a try.

Lulu Dark is a riot.  May there be many, many sequels to come.  (They should always come out late-spring/early summer.  Perfect beach books.)