In this flawed but fun novel, 19-year-old Jane Roberts, new to Los Angeles, and her best friend Scarlett are discovered by a producer who wants to cast them in a "reality version of Sex and the City." Jane (who is, in the producer's eyes, "fresh, innocent, vulnerable. Perfect") and Scarlett ("a gorgeous brainiac") jump at the chance to star in L.A. Candy, alongside two other girls: "spoiled, rich heiress" Madison and "loveable ditz" Gaby. Immediately famous, they enjoy new apartments, designer clothes and easy access to L.A. hot spots. Readers get a behind-the-scenes look at the production of a reality show, including how supposedly spontaneous scenes are set up and shot and reshot, presumably inspired by debut author Conrad's own experiences on The Hills. Jane, who "no longer thought about an outfit as being complete without a mike under her clothes, taped to her skin," predictably becomes the breakout star of the show and learns the high price of fame. The climactic cliffhanger ending and lack of resolution hurt the book's ability to stand on its own, but this guilty pleasure should leave readers eager for more. Ages 14-up. (June) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Gr 9 Up-After high school, two best friends move to Los Angeles hoping to start "a new and amazing life," but their existence is anything but glamorous. Jane is an intern for a famous event planner and Scarlett is a freshman at U.S.C. However, things change quickly when a TV producer asks them to be in a new reality series along with Madison and Gaby, following their lives as they try to make it in L.A. After signing on, the two friends move into a posh apartment and get into the hottest clubs. Scarlett is skeptical about all the attention, but Jane enjoys being in the limelight. When Jane becomes the show's star, Madison is jealous and plots to bring her down. By story's end, Jane learns that having cameras follow you everywhere isn't what it is cracked up to be. The cliff-hanger climax indicates that there will be more to come. Conrad writes from experience (she stars in MTV's The Hills) and the result is a light read that will leave readers wanting more. The novel contains underage drinking and sexual liaisons, activities that are realistic for the lifestyle of the young women portrayed.-Shannon Seglin, Patrick Henry Library, Vienna, VA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.