The Chaos King -- Laura Ruby
In it, Gurl is settling into her new life as The Richest Girl in the Universe, Georgetta (Georgie) Rose Aster Bloomington, and Bug is working as a model and acting in commercials to earn money so he can support himself, rather than use any of his incarcerated gangster-of-a-father's blood money.
Unfortunately, Georgie has just suffered from an extremely serious growth spurt so her coordination is shot, she's having an extremely hard time dealing with the heiresses* at school, while Bug is completely over-worked and utterly exhausted. Worst of all, their friendship doesn't seem to be surviving the transition.
ALSO: the Professor has disappeared, Bug is attacked by a giant sea monster at a photo shoot and Georgie is startled by two separate late night visits, one from a Punk:
"Just having a friendly chat , is all," the Punk said. "No need to get your blankets in a twist. You can call me--"
"Sid," said Georgie, who knew that all male Punks were called Sid and and female ones called Nancy.
"No!" the Punk bellowed. "I'm not Sid. Never, ever call me Sid. Call me Mandelbrot. That's the name of a famous mathematician, you know. Studied chaos. And I'm the king of chaos, you know?"
"Okay," said Georgie, who didn't know, but also didn't want to find out.
and one from a vampire who offers her a stale bagel. A murder of crows, a giant sloth, a crabby teen poet, a powerful book and a powerful pen all figure in, and Noodle the cat is as brilliant as ever.
While this book didn't grab me as immediately as the first one did, within a couple of chapters I'd been hooked again. I'd forgotten how attached I am to Bug and Georgie and Agnes and Noodle, and how fascinating and fun it is to visit their world. Like the first book, this one works as a stand-alone -- there is some information from the first book that is repeated, but it's minimal, and readers of the first book will probably actually appreciate the reminders, especially if they read The Wall and the Wing last year (as I did) -- and the major story lines are wrapped up at the end.
More importantly (for me), there's a lot of change in this book -- Georgie and Bug are in very different places now than they were, their relationship is changing, and they're growing up. This isn't a static world. I'm looking forward to seeing what will come next for them. Still a great pick for fans of Ibbotson and other comic-fantasy-with-heart, and for those who enjoy fantasy that pokes fun at our own world.
*The ringleader is Roma Radisson, and it seriously took me 150 pages before I realized that she was Paris Hilton, right down to trademarking her lame catchphrase. The fact that I read for so long without the connection hitting is actually a testament to how readable and engrossing the world and characters are -- rather than thinking about parallels to our world, I was caught up in the story and in Laura Ruby's "vast and sparkling city".