That’s What’s Up by Paula Chase

Book Info
That’s What’s Up by Paula Chase
©2008 Kensington Publishing Group, New York, NY
ISBN 978-0758225825

Plot Summary
It’s Spring at Del Rio Bay High in Maryland, and Mina Mooney is finally dating her crush Brian. She was also accepted to be a member of the varsity cheer squad which has subsequently launched her into the esteemed Upper Circle in social status. For Mina, things seem like they couldn’t be better; Extreme Nationals cheer competition is coming up and she is feeling relief from the truce offered by her long time enemy, Jessica. Unfortunately for Mina, the relief won’t last for long since the truce is part of a bigger plan that Jessica has at play. This Spring Break has a lot in store for Mina and the clique sisters including boys, backstabbing and betrayal.

Reader’s Annotation
Spring Break is approaching in Del Rio Bay and things couldn’t seem more perfect for Mina Mooney. She got the boy, a spot on the varsity cheer squad and has climbed the social ladder into the Upper Circle. But is it really everything she thought it would be?

Critical Evaluation
The third book in the Del Rio Bay Clique novels keeps the drama alive in this urban chick lit series. Chase has a good mastery of teenage vernacular, utilizing believable slang and conversational style with her urban styled characters. She also continues to do a great job of developing the friendships and bonds between the core group of friends, however I found myself getting bored and even annoyed with the novel’s main character Mina. Chase somewhat redeemed herself through the backstabbing Jessica who will make the reader’s blood boil with her cruel and conniving ways. It’s difficult to be overly critical of this style of literature, since I don’t really think it’s supposed to be taken very seriously and I liken it to eating candy or reading celebrity gossip: a guilty pleasure. It also serves the purpose of appealing to a niche that might not otherwise be keen to get into reading.

Information about the Author
Paula Chase Hyman lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters. A former competitive cheer coach, her writing has appeared in Girls’ Life, Sweet 16, and Upscale magazine. She’s a founding member of The Brown Bookshelf, a national initiative dedicated to spotlighting African American children’s lit authors flying under the radar.

She doesn’t mind being known as a Jane of all trades, Queen of none. But a single theme has followed throughout her career in communications—keeping her finger on the pulse of teen culture. From starting her own mentoring group at Annapolis Senior High School in ’94 to coaching her Green Hornet cheerleaders to Grand Champion (ahem, twice), Chase-Hyman refuses to squash her inner teen diva. Luckily, her long memory for all things young led to a career writing young adult novels.

Visit the author’s website.

Genre
Realistic Fiction, Chick Lit, Urban Lit

Curriculum Ties
N/A

Booktalking Ideas
Mina always seems to attract drama. Could she have done anything different to avoid it in this story?

Why do you think Jessica is so cruel? Can people be intrinsically evil or mean?

Reading Level/ Interest Age
14+

Challenge Issues
N/A

Why Included?
I used to work for a bookseller, and was always curious about these books I would order with titles like “Shortie Like Mine” and “Who You Wit?” I hadn’t really been exposed to urban lit before that, and was always curious to see what these books were all about.

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