This is a pretty standard riches-to-rags/fish-out-of-water story. Our heroine is 17-year-old Victoria Julianne Van Wyck:
My friends call me Jewels because of my family's money; the European press calls me "Brat" or "La Terreur Americain"--and that's on good days. My mother calls me Victoria: "You were named after a queen, the least you can do is act like a lady" (yeah right), and my father calls me "you," as in: "What sort of trouble have you got yourself into this time?"
This is a rather narrow-minded overreaction to what I would describe as my natural thirst for adventure.
By page fifteen, Victoria's parents have informed her that the Cosa Nostra is bent on assassinating the entire family due to some shady business dealings on her father's part. She is sent to Wahoo, Nebraska to hide out with her crabby bodyguard, Rhodes Scholar Adam York.
Not the Best Book Ever, but a good pick for fans of the Rich Girl books I've been sampling lately -- she's rich (though doesn't have access to her money), loves clothes (though rarely mentions brands by name), and is a spoiled brat (though she's funny, which always makes up for a lot of pillish behavior).
She's much smarter than any of the girls in the series books -- and even better, she isn't afraid to show it. She chucks out names of philosophers and authors, is so fluent in French that she puts her teacher to shame, and studies hard. She even (GASP!) reads for entertainment! All that and she has a very original voice -- she manages to use "Kafkaesque" and "barf" in the same paragraph.
Parents who are concerned about the sexual content in Gossip Girl, etc., will be happy to know that Victoria sees things a bit differently:
A word here about European boys. The rich ones, no matter what nationality, have one thing in common--all they want is to do you. They might not know you, they might not even like you; the point is, you are a contest for them, nothing more. American girls are especially prized. Why? Because they hate the U.S. in Europe now, and what better way to show off their machismo than with your sexual humiliation.
My advice? Never, ever become a trophy. The moment you give in, the party's over. You're no longer Cinderella, you're the pumpkin.
My parents didn't teach me that, although they'd be happy to know I'm still a virgin.
Then again, parents might not appreciate her bluntness about sex. There's some amount of drinking, though by the end of the book, she's sworn it off. It's an odd book, age-wise. Worldly but still innocent.