Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Darlings in Love by Melissa Kantor

Victoria, Jane, and Natalya are The Darlings - three best friends who've grown up together. They've always been there for each other, and now things are only getting more complicated. Victoria has an amazing boyfriend, but she doesn't always feel close to him. She loves him, but is that enough? Jane has a chance to play one of her favourite characters on stage opposite one of the hottest guys she's ever seen, but are they right for each other? And is it worth putting up with a very annoying director? Natalya still worries about fitting in at her exclusive private school, but things seem to be looking up for her when she reconnects with someone she thought she'd lost forever. But will reconciling be as smooth as she hopes? In order to get through all of these questions, the Darlings are going to need each other more than ever before.

 The Darlings in Love is a sequel to The Darlings Are Forever, but it's possible to get into the book without having read the first one. Any large bits of necessary plot seem to be filled in fairly early on, with the only puzzling bit of information really being how the girls became friends in the first place since they all seem to have very different lives and attend different schools (I've since found out that this is, in fact, covered extensively in the first book - a book that I plan on picking up). Even that, though, isn't really a problem, because when the girls are together it's clear that they have a deep friendship with each other; this comes through with the characterizations and dialogue. Of course, if I had read the first book, I think I would have been more closely connected to the characters.Victoria suffers from this the most; I was about 100 pages into the novel before she did anything that captures my attention (even now, I had to go back and check that her name was even Victoria). While all three of the girls make questionable moves in the name of love, at least Jane and Natalya actively threw themselves headlong into their bad decisions (not such a great thing in real life, but wonderful to have in a character); Victoria was just so passive. But really, even not feeling connected to her didn't stop me from appreciating her storyline; it might be the one that's most relateable for readers (how do you not lose yourself in a relationship, how do you find balance between your friends/his friends/each other, what happens when you have little in common). There have been a number of books about teens in New York learning about life, love, and friendship, but with its humour, honesty, and strong writing, The Darlings series definitely stands out.

See more at Melissa Kantor's website. There also seems to be a major web presence for The Darlings series at the Disney site.

I received an advance review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Disney-Hyperion.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
The Darlings Are Forever by Melissa Kantor
Girlfriend Material by Melissa Kantor
Ditched by Robin Mellom
The Daughters by Joanna Philbin

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed the first one, and am looking forward to this one!