Big Book,  YA

Love Inc

Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout
Make up, break up, or take up with someone new…Love, Inc. does it all!
Zahra, Kali and Syd would never have met if their parents’ marriages hadn’t fallen apart. But when the three girls collide in group counselling, they discover they have something else in common: they’ve each been triple-timed by the same wicked charmer, Eric, aka Rico, aka Rick. Talk about eye-opening therapy. Now all three girls have one mission: to show that cheater the error of his ways. Project Payback is such a success, the girls soon have clients lining up for the consulting services. Is your boyfriend acting shady? Dying to know if your crush is into you? Need matchmaking expertise? Look no further than Love, Inc.

Zahra Ahmed-Macduff is a ‘Scotistani’ Texan, half Scottish and half Pakistani, 15 year old high school girl who ends up in group therapy, (affectionately termed ‘Crazy Class’) along with other teens who are not handling their parents’ separation well.
Zahra blames her situation on her Pakistani grandparents, who are staying indefinitely and are very antagonistic towards her father. Just as she feels her life can’t get any worse, she discovers her boyfriend’s been cheating on her with two of the girls she has met at group therapy – Kali and Syd. The three of them decide to take revenge on Rico, aka Rick, aka Eric and form a strong friendship into the bargain. The revenge plan and subsequent actions result in the three girls forming a business together. Love, Inc. provides; mediation services, surveillance, break-up management, matchmaking, relationship coaching and revenge – all for a price! Through word of mouth the cash soon starts pouring in, and whilst each of the girls seem to be achieving strong results in their own areas of Love, Inc. expertise, none of them seem to be making any headway in their own personal and relationship issues within their home environments.
The story is narrated by Zahra, who constantly struggles with self-esteem and her multi-cultural background as she compares herself to the artfully talented, if somewhat loner – Syd and the pretty, musically minded and confident Kali. However, she builds on her confidence through their business and her skill at relationship mediation – something she has also found herself tied up in within her own personal family situation. Zahra dreams of being a celebrity chef one day and one of her coping strategies with her home life is to fantasise about having her own television show, which she would entitle “The Sweet Tooth” and she uses these fantasies throughout the book in various humorous ways as she feels “Everything’s Better with a Little Sugar” – her self-claimed motto!
Whilst the book is written from Zahra’s perspective, Kali and Syd are fantastic characters in their own right and the three of them together provide an entertaining if somewhat fluffy teenage read! It’s fairly well written with some light-hearted humour and the usual love interests along the way, not to mention the added interest Syd’s dog Banksy, brings to the mix! Love, Inc. provides the reader, as well as the girls, with a great escape. The cultural differences are handled well and whilst Zahra struggles initially with her Pakistani grandparents, a heart to heart with her Grandmother helps her to come to terms with their concerns and understand her family background, which in turn of course, helps her to move forward with her own personal and family issues.
Verdict: Perhaps a little long, certain aspects seemed to be dragged out a little, although saying that I’m not sure how it could have been reduced. Overall, a fun and humorous read which tackled subjects such as religion and parental separation in an interesting and informative manner.
Reviewed by Jane

Publisher: Allison & Busby Ltd
Publication Date: September 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 445
Genre: Romance, Humour
Age: YA
Reviewer: Jane
Source: Received at event
Challenge: N/A

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