Published by St. Martin's Griffin on May 6th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
Pitched as The Devil Wears Prada meets James Bond for teens, featuring a fashion magazine intern in Rome who uncovers a plot to kidnap the First Lady.
Expelled from yet another boarding school for hacking, sixteen-year-old Rebecca "Bec" Jackson is shipped off to Rome to intern for Parker Phillips, the editor-in-chief of one of the world’s top fashion magazines. But when a mysterious accident lands Parker in a coma, former supermodel and notorious drama queen Candace Worthington takes the reins of the magazine. The First Lady is in Rome for a cover shoot, and all hands are on deck to make sure her visit goes smoothly.
Bec quickly realizes that Parker's "accident" may not have been quite so accidental, and when the First Lady's life is threatened, Bec is determined to uncover the truth. On top of that, Bec must contend with bitchy models, her new boss, Candace, who is just as difficult as the tabloids say, and two guys, a hunky Italian bike messenger with a thousand-watt smile and a fashion blogger with a razor-sharp wit, who are both vying for her heart.
Can Bec catch the person who's after the First Lady, solve the mystery of Parker's accident, and juggle two cute boys at the same time? Blonde Ops is a fun, action-packed romp through the hallways of a fashion magazine and the cobblestone streets of Rome.
Oh dear. Blonde Ops… where did we go wrong? To be fair, I didn’t have EXTREMELY high hopes for this as being like some kind of mindblowingly awesome adventure story, but I hoped for some fun, some intrigue, hopefully some lovely wanderlust-evoking passages about Rome, and maybe a cute romance. Sadly, I didn’t really get any of those things.
First off, the main character is bland as fuck. I can’t get a grip on her personality, because one minute she’s cool and defiant, but the next she just does the stupidest shit ever. I guess reckless is the right word – but she doesn’t have the kind of spark that makes that kind of character exciting or endearing. It really bothered me how there wasn’t really any character built up – Bec felt random to me. Like how she met Parker and only knows her for a day, but when she lands in a coma, Bec acts like it’s the end of the world and is almost crying and yelling at everyone how keeping her condition from her is unfair and whatever. I’m like, you knew this woman for ONE DAY. What even?
Next, I get that this is a young adult spy novel, so I should be expecting a story along the lines of Agent Cody Banks or Get a Clue or another one of the dozens of Disney-esque movies, but the lighthearted tone was not there for me to forgive the terrible plotting – which mostly stems from the revelations at the ending, so sadly, it’s spoiler time. View Spoiler »I just find the plot the most idiotic thing. Taj was trying to kidnap the First Lady so that he could trade her for his BROTHER who is in prison for being a weapons dealer? I don’t feel like this would be an equal trade, for some reason, and I don’t get why he had to go to those lengths. With such hacking skills as he has, couldn’t he have, I dunno, planted some evidence or something to exonerate his brother? I mean, now he went through the process of building himself up for years as an internet fashion celebrity just for THIS moment, that he could get an interview with her, and then kidnap her AFTERWARD – outside the building? And what was with him being in the offices for all the magazine’s other activities with the First Lady anyway? They had a set time to give him a short interview with her. If they really cared about her safety, wouldn’t they just have kept him away for the rest of it? I could go on and on about the stupid plot all day, but I’ll spare you. « Hide Spoiler
But above all it’s that stupid love triangle situation that had me yelling at this book in frustration. Bec shows up in Rome, and when she sees Dante for the first time, he’s immediately in love with her and pursuing her, and the next day they’re making out and whatever. Taj, an INTERNATIONAL CELEBRITY AND FASHION ICON, meets her and soon does the EXACT SAME THING. Then the two boys are in the same vicinity and they glare at each other until the tension is so high that it could easily have turned violent. It’s absolutely fucking ridiculous, not only because I couldn’t see anything so freaking special about Bec in the first place. But this is what happens, I guess, when you try to do a full love triangle in one book of LESS THAN 300 PAGES. Development? What development? Let’s just throw in the drama.
The problem is, I was waiting for there to be something behind that overdramatic love triangle because it felt so off and out of place to me. The way that Dante immediately attached himself to Bec and felt almost possessive about her, and then, as a delivery boy, just worms his way into shoots and the office, and whatever? That’s not normal behavior. Then Taj, same, he’s a celebrity, what interest would he have in her? (Though, I’ll give them the bonding over hacking.) But it was the extent to which their rivalry flared up that made me think those two had to know each other beforehand or have something else going on – because seriously. Well. View Spoiler »Nope. They did not. They both genuinely fell for her within days. Bull – shit. « Hide Spoiler