Friday, March 12, 2010

Review: Dirty Laundry by Daniel Ehrenhaft

Dirty Laundry
Daniel Ehrenhaft

My Rating:

The School: The Winchester School of the Arts, nick-named "The Laundromat" because it's where better schools send their "dirty laundry." Get kicked out of Exeter, Hotch-kiss, or Choate? End up at Winchester.

The Girl: Carli, a gorgeous pigtailed Hollywood actress going undercover at Winchester to research her role.

The Boy: Fun (short for Fellini Udall Newport), an embittered senior and graffiti artist who was almost expelled - until his dad (and a lot of money) convinced the headmaster to let him work off his crime as Carli's assistant.

The Problem: Beautiful, talented senior Darcy Novak, one of the least screwed-up people at Winchester, has disappeared.

As Carli and Fun discover each other's hidden talents, there's a villain setting them up. Can they save Darcy - and themselves - or will they wash out?

My Review:

Dirty Laundry was one of those books I picked up on a whim. I was at the library, with a stack of suggested books and it caught my eye. After passing it for the third time I finally picked it up because it had a cute cover, the plot sounded interesting and I thought why not. If it sucks, I'll have one bad review for my blog to give it street cred.

I'm extremely happy I did because Dirty Laundry ended surprising me. The book revolves around two main characters, Carli and Fun. Carli is a C-list actress who has been cast as the lead in a new show about private school. She's sent off to Winchester School of the Arts in order to "get into character", using her characters names and observing the behavior of other students. That is where Fun comes in, he's the son of Carli's boss and has agreed to work as Carli's personal assistant in order to not be expelled for all the graffiti he's done on campus.

As for the school, Winchester is the place where all the bad apples end up after being expelled from other boarding schools. So it's an interesting array of characters and staff that Carli interacts with upon arriving at the school. Most of whom are focused on Darcy, one of the more stable students who had mysteriously disappeared at the start of the book and the surrounding investigation.

The narration in the book switches back and forth between Carli and Fun, along with the occasional police transcript, IM conversation or blog entry by Nails. It can be a bit jarring at first but after the first part of the book it gets into a good flow and works well.

The book also gets points because, despite a cast of unbalanced boarding school students, it stays mostly within the realm of reality and the ending is quirky but not over the top.

It's not a perfect book, Carli's shame spirals are overdone in the first part of the book and Fun's a bit to stand offish to really get into. That and the interaction between the two isn't explored to the extent that I hoped it would be. The few scenes they have together are awesome, but most of the book is spent with them in a group or separately.

Dirty Laundry isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea but it was one I strongly enjoyed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I saw this one at my library and wasn't sure If I wanted to borrow it or not. I'll have to keep an eye out for it next time. I very much enjoyed your review! :D