11 October 2011

Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman

Sirenz Bookplate

Bickering frenemies Meg and Shar are doing some serious damage at a midnight sample sale when they find themselves arguing over a pair of shoes—with fatal consequences. One innocent bystander later, the girls are suddenly at the mercy of Hades—the god of the underworld—himself. To make them atone for what they’ve done, Hades forces the teens to become special-assignment Sirens, luring to the Underworld any individual whose unholy contract is up.

But just because they have an otherworldly part-time job now doesn’t mean Meg and Shar can ignore life’s drudgeries (work) or pleasures (fashion!). Finding that delicate balance between their old and new responsibilities turns out to be harder than they expected, especially when an entire pantheon of Greek deities decides to get involved. Then there’s the matter of the fine print in their contracts . . .

A lot of people rage at stereotypes and their use in books. And it’s true, stereotypes can be very one-sided and flat, leading to characters that seem dull and predictable. This can make you forget, though, that stereotypes can be used by a skillful writer to make wonderful characters. This book is an excellent example of that. Meg and Shar start out as very stereotypical high school girls. Meg is a goth, angry at the world and rejecting the mainstream. Shar is a princess, always chasing the trendy clothes and the gorgeous boys. Along their journey, though, their stereotypes are only starting points, and they react and grow along very realistic but unpredictable lines that make their characters shine.

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