I love it when I win a book and then I absolutely adore it. Of course, I’d already read a book by Jen Malone, so I had high expectations for YOU’RE INVITED, the first in a new series she’s co-writing with Gail Nall. In any case, it didn’t disappoint. Here are the details about the book.
Twelve-year-old Sadie loves helping her mom with her wedding planning business, and with Sadie’s mad organizational skills, she’s a natural! That’s why it’s so devastating when her mother “fires” her after a Little Mermaid–themed wedding goes awry.
Enter Sadie’s best friends: sporty Vi, ace student Lauren, and boy-crazy Becca. The girls decide that in order to get Sadie’s mom to reconsider, they have to make her see how amazing Sadie is at party planning. Except no one’s gonna hire a twelve-year-old to plan a wedding. A birthday party, though? Definite possibility.
Before long, RSVP—your one-stop shop for the most creative parties in town—is born. Of course, Sadie can’t wait to prove herself to her mom, but the other girls also have their reasons for enlisting: Vi has her eye on the perfect gift for her hardworking dad, and Becca’s all aflush at the thought of connecting with Ryan, the new Irish cutie in town. And though Lauren thinks she’s too busy with summer studies to “officially” join, she’s willing to help out in any way she can.
But in this particular party-planning business, nothing goes according to plan! Sadie’s mom is a perpetual no-show, Vi’s archrival is dead set on ruining her summer, Becca can’t seem to get Ryan to glance in her direction, and Lauren keeps choosing studying over her friends. Is the girls’ friendship strong enough to survive a business? Or does RSVP spell the end of these BFFs?
Here are the five things I loved best:
1. The parties – From opening with a Little Mermaid-themed wedding complete with mermaid bridesmaids and a sheepdog ring bearer and some unwelcome seagulls to a boy band-themed birthday party for an eight-year-old, the parties are both fun and hilarious. I loved the creativity and how each girl brought unique ideas to the events.
2. The character arcs – It’s challenging to write a complete character arc for one main character, let alone four, yet these ladies successfully followed all four girls through the story. Each girl had something to learn, and with it being a series, the story had to be left open for them to learn even more in future stories. That’s quite the challenge, but I believe they met it.
3. The individual voices – I loved how you could begin reading a chapter and immediately know which girl was talking–also not easy with four twelve-year-old girls who hang out together and are likely to use the same language. But based on their interests and focus, it was always clear whose mind the reader was in.
4. The chapter intros – Each girl had a special intro for her chapters (which also helped with setting the stage for who was up). Becca had her horoscopes, Sadie with her checklists, Lauren defining a new word, and Vi jotting down a recipe. Loved it!
5. The humor – I laughed a lot with this book and read a few passages out to my kids. They’re a little young for this book yet, but they thought the initial scene with the Little Mermaid wedding that gets Sadie fired was hilarious. Just think–dog, seagulls, mermaid dresses. Well, you probably have to read it. Anyway, that’s just the beginning!
I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, especially as this one ended with a bit of a cliffhanger. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the girls next!
Has anyone else read YOU’RE INVITED yet? Let me know what you thought!