Recap: When Wendy Sloane returns home from college to her small Pennsylvania town, she anticipates a quiet summer, catching up with her mother and grandpa and working at the small independent bookstore her family owns. It certainly starts out that way. But Wendy has a secret, one that no one, not even her mother knows. She wants to be a writer. This particular summer is the summer when Wendy starts to face her fears and works to accomplish her goals. She tells her mother about her plans to be a writer, while she works on her first book.
But she also uses the summer to play one big trick on her small town. Taking after her grandpa, the town trickster himself, Wendy paints a horrific display on the outside of her family’s bookstore. She’s on a mission to prove how easily people’s opinions can be swayed and how important it is to think for yourself. Her scheme sends the townspeople in a dither, all thanks to the power of persuasion — something that Wendy realizes is strong enough to rule the world.
Analysis: Jade Heasley writes this coming-of-age story with wit and charm. A light and easy read, I came to enjoy Wendy’s spunky, motivated attitude. She’s a tough girl, and it’s that spirit that helps her pull off the big stunt without turning people against her.
How to Rule the World is a fun book that kept me interested and didn’t force me to think too much. It did have a few flaws however. Parts of the book seemed preachy; as much as I liked Wendy, she was also a bit of a goody-goody, turning down dates with the town “bad boy,” instead of exploring her crush, as I imagine most 19-year-old girls would. Not to mention, she speaks very philosophically for a teenager. I understood that she’s a writer, and with that, comes more analytical thinking than the average person, but it still seemed a bit unlikely for someone her age.
There were also portions of the book that seemed irrelevant or forced, particularly the sections about her father. Since Wendy lives with her mother and grandpa, the author does have to explain where her father is. We get a few glimpses into the bad relationship he had with Wendy’s mom, their divorce, and one angry phone dialogue between Wendy and her dad, but it felt forced, as though the reader is meant to hate the father very quickly without very much reason.
That being said, it’s still a story with a good message to enjoy growing up and never give up on your dreams.
MVP: Wendy. Wise for her age and determined, she’s the girl young girls want to be, young boys want to date, and mothers want to have as their own daughter.
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