Release Date: July 3, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (Macmillan)
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC received from publisher
Being America’s favorite heiress is a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.
Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Blvd either.
Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteen birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.
In a hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and, regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have 52 reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.
Tell Me More: If I had to narrow down my experience with this story to one word, it would definitely be “surprise.” Jessica Brody’s tale of a pampered, spoiled heiress may not sound like it has substance, but the layers of characterization, humour and just plain good writing made me believe in it from page one.
Surprise #1: Lexington Larrabee was a great character. While real-life people like her may be lambasted as much as they are adored in popular culture, I genuinely enjoyed Lexi’s idiosyncrasies. I could relate to her frustrations, even if I’ve never worried about losing a multi-million dollar trust fund. It was obvious from the start that Lexi’s self-esteem issues and attitude were the products of a not-so-healthy family life, and Brody handles each of these aspects with an understanding heart. There was a real optimistic teenage spirit to this story–you get the sense that Lexi’s determination to get what she wants is also what’s going to lead her to the right place. There’s also a brilliant family dynamic that I won’t discuss for fear of spoiling the plot, but suffice to say that this is a contemporary story that you could never have expected. And that leads us to…
Surprise #2: Nothing could have prepared me for the sheer hilarity of this book. Lexi is placed in awkward situation upon awkward situation, she deals with people who do jobs she never knew existed, she experiences the fallout of her own mistakes. All of these things are not only written well for the development of the story, but they are also really funny to read about. Brody has a way of finding the humour in any situation, and she plays it off Lexi’s own honest lack of knowledge about the real world without being condescending. I loved knowing that readers from any part of the economic spectrum could find ways to relate to Lexi and her journey. Many of Lexi’s experiences actually reminded me of my own, as I’d grown up with a nanny and housemaid who ensured that I didn’t have to do chores. Remembering how I’d had to learn to do the laundry and clean the house properly made Lexi’s experiences more real–and more funny–to me.
The Final Say: YA needs more genuinely funny and heartwarming stories like 52 Reasons. Take this one to the beach. And school. And L.A. And New York. Just take it and love it.