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It’s all about the Attitude
Parker Bell knows the secret to beauty is pretty simple–wearing the right clothes isn’t as important as how you feel in them. Popularity is...
It’s all about the Attitude
Parker Bell knows the secret to beauty is pretty simple–wearing the right clothes isn’t as important as how you feel in them. Popularity is like that too. It’s all about attitude. You have to picture who you want to be and then just imagine that’s who you already are.
This year Parker and her three best friends have made their way to the top of the populadder at Wallingford Academy. And they’re ready to use their Aristobrat status to help spread positive vibes throughout the school. But when the girls are assigned to produce the seriously lame school webcast, their popularity plummets! Will this tragedy destroy the girls' status? Or their friendship? Or both?
About the Author
Jennifer SolowJennifer Solow is the acclaimed author of The Booster, and well known for the infamous “Wendy” Snapple campaign. As a professional advertiser, she has worked with Spike Jonze, Spike Lee, and Richard Avedon, among others. The Aristobrats is her first middle grade novel.
From Chapter One
"Exsqueeze-ay moi? Some people are getting dressed in here…”
Parker Bell’s mother, Ellen, had an unfortunate habit of opening her daughter’s door withou...
From Chapter One
"Exsqueeze-ay moi? Some people are getting dressed in here…”
Parker Bell’s mother, Ellen, had an unfortunate habit of opening her daughter’s door without knocking. Parker was still in her pajamas and her room was a mess. Clothing rejects were all over the floor, draped over the antique chaise and dangling from the mahogany Darcy chair. The desk looked like something had exploded on it, and maybe it had—Parker seriously couldn’t remember.
Ellen, a neat freak who’d have a hairy nip fit if the Egyptian cotton bath towels weren’t folded in thirds, frowned at the unrecognizable floor and the searing beauty tools on the furniture. She looked like she might crack in half.
“I may need a search party the next time I come in here, Park.”
Parker offered a morsel of wisdom she’d read once in CosmoGirl. “They say a messy room is the sign of a brilliant mind, Mom.” She tossed a feather-light pashmina into the air and watched it float gracefully onto the ground.
Ellen ignored her compulsion to pick up and fold. “Then you must be a very smart girl,” she said.
“Thank you.” Parker grinned. Another mother-daughter point: scored.
“I just came in to tell you,” Ellen said calmly, “that Armada
will be driving you to school tomorrow because I have a meeting at Siddie’s in the morning.”
Siddie was Sir Sidmund Stryker, aka Sid Stryker, the front man of the legendary band, the Rebels. And Ellen was his architect. Sid hadn’t made a public appearance in nearly a decade, ever since his mother published her tell-all memoir, Rebel Without a Cause: My Life with Sid Stryker. He’d begun renovating the old mansion he bought in Wallingford around the same time and now it was nearly finished. There were only a few people in the world the rock star trusted and Ellen was one of them. She had the alarm code to his house, the floor plans for his bedroom, swatches of fabric for his curtains, and her own schnuggly name for him. Parker found it all a little embarrassing.
“Why tomorrow?” Parker asked. She shouldn’t have cared either way; it wasn’t like she needed her mother to drive her to school. It was the first day of eighth grade, not kindergarten.
“I can move my meeting, sweetheart…” Ellen softened her tone. “If you want me to?” She seemed almost hopeful.
“You don’t need to move your meeting.” Parker tried to sound convincing. Sid was her mother’s only client—Parker knew she had to make accommodations. “It’s just school, Mom. No biggie.”
She collapsed onto her bed and kicked off the furry slippers, looking up through the sheer drapery panels of her canopy bed toward the cottage chandelier that hung from the middle of the ceiling. The polished crystals sparkled in the morning sun. She tried to channel her inner-hypnotist: I am Parker Bell. I am confident, cool, and on top of things.
Ellen cleared a space for herself on the corner of the bed next to Parker’s school uniform. The black watch plaid kilt was made from fine merino wool instead of the cheap polyblend you get now, and the knife pleats were sharper and narrower than the newer ones. It was completely impossible to come by the pure wool version of the Wallingford Academy uniform, unless of course it had been handed down to you.
Parker was a third-generation Wally—one of just a handful of legacy students at the school: an Aristobrat, as most non-legacies called them, usually behind their backs. The title had its advantages but also came with responsibilities—being a legacy wasn’t always as easy as it seemed.
“Who do you think you’ll have for homeroom this year?” Ellen asked. “Death Breath? Barn Yard?” Ellen knew all of the teachers’ nicknames—they hadn’t changed much since she was a Wally.
“That’s as easy to answer as who’ll win the award for Best Liplock.” Parker couldn’t begin to worry about teachers—there was enough to stress out about already. “I mean, you can make an educated guess but you don’t know for sure until your name is called.”
Ellen rolled her eyes at the remark.
“Did you see my note?” Ellen nodded at Parker’s laptop, an ultra-slim, 17-inch, top-of-the-line Orion notebook in a hot pink protective case. “I sent it last week.”
“I’m…not sure.” Parker lied on the grounds that the truth may incriminate her. “I’m so backblogged it’s not even funny.”
Ellen rested her hand on her hip and raised a suspicious eyebrow. She took a deep breath, surveyed the messy room once more, then puffed out her cheeks like she was about to deliver some earth-shattering news.
“Eighth grade is a tough year, Park,” Ellen warned for about the hundredth time in a month.
Like I need to be reminded.
At Wallingford Academy, eighth grade was the most important year of school (understatement), and very possibly of your whole life (seriously). When you thought about it (which Parker did several dozen times a day for the last three years), it was the last time in your life you didn’t have to stress about the big stuff: directed study proposals, application deadlines, dieting for prom, dieting for college, dieting for glamorous fundraisers…adulthood. On the other hand, it was the year when who you were—and who you ever would be—was pretty much set in stone. Success or failure hinged on the tiniest moments, the smallest details. Long story short? If you ruled eighth grade, the rest of your future was pretty much golden.
“And I know the possibility of leaving isn’t something you really want to talk about, sweetheart,” Ellen said gently. “But we have to talk about it eventually.”
Parker closed her eyes tightly and tried to push the painful thought away. It was easy to pretend they were just like everybody else, but they weren’t. The big house, and everything in it, was all they’d inherited from Parker’s grandmother when she’d died. And an antique chair or a crystal wall sconce didn’t pay the tuition at Wallingford; Ellen did. They weren’t poor, but compared to Parker’s friends, they might as well have been. Parker had always known that Siddie’s remodeling gig would be over one of these days—and one of these days was getting closer and closer.
“We’re okay on taxes for now. That should take us through the fall,” Ellen said. “So at least we have that.”
The fall? Parker tried to picture where that would get her.
“You could sell my furniture on eBay,” Parker suggested. “I don’t really need it.” She tried to look sincere but it was hard sitting there on her canopy bed leaning against her goose down pillows. Frankly, she looked like someone who needed furniture.
“I hate the idea of leaving as much as you do. I know how hard it will be.” Ellen smiled. It was a sympathetic-mom smile, the kind moms give you when your goldfish dies. “I just want things to be perfect for you, Parker.”
“Things are perfect,” Parker assured her. “Absolutely, totally, unbelievably perfect.” She thought about school and her friends and the bottom nearly dropped out of her stomach. “I need this year, Mom. I’ve been waiting forever for it.”
Ellen smiled again. This time it was the I-was-your-age-once smile. “You just promise me you’ll make the best of whatever time you have left at Wallingford. There are great opportunities there for you,” she said. “And you shouldn’t waste a second of it on things that don’t matter. You hear that, Park?”
Parker resisted the temptation to pull out an enormous pair of aviator sunglasses and hide behind them until the next century. “I wasn’t planning on wasting anything,” she reminded her mother. It’s me, remember?
Ellen stood up from the bed and buttoned her suit jacket in Parker’s mirror. “And who knows…maybe Siddie will want to rip everything out and start over.”
With any luck.
“Before picking up The Aristobrats, I was expecting just your typical mean-girls novel, a la The Clique. However, The Aristobrats had something that the Clique and other books ...
“Before picking up The Aristobrats, I was expecting just your typical mean-girls novel, a la The Clique. However, The Aristobrats had something that the Clique and other books in the same genre lack. The popular girls are actually--gasp--friendly, and Ms. Solow actually projects some surprisingly good morals into her story, including the value of friendship and the real way to get to popularity.
The Aristobrats still has the same humor, label-dropping (though not as obnoxious as in The Clique) and attitude as similar books in the genre, but it also presents readers with four strong protagonists who have good ethics and are thoroughly relatable: how refreshing... Ms. Solow has a strong, appealing writing style that sucks the reader into the quick-moving story. I definitely recommend this book to middle-school girls who want a bit of glitz and glam embedded in an overall fresh and lively quality read.” - Bookworm Readers
“This novel puts me in the mindset of the wildly popular 'Clique' series. It was seriously cute. There was so much girl power and talk of besties you couldn't help to fall in love with the four friends in this novel. It was a refreshing read, taking back to the side of YA for younger readers (I recommend ages 10-14 for this one), because the focus was on the the struggle of popularity and true friends.
This is a cute series. Read book one of the Aristobrats series if you're into Clique and Babysitters Club type novels.” - Reading, Writing and Waiting
“If Harrison's The Clique books are constantly checked out of your library, go ahead and get this one.” - Ms. Yingling Reads
“I would completely recommend this for younger girls (maybe as young as 8).” - One Book At A Time
“I loved that there really were no mean girls in this book, because one thing The Clique movie taught me is that there are often mean girls in fancy middle schools. I think books the heavily involve friendship are far superior to books that don't, especially when the friendship rings true, such as in the case of The Aristobrats. I could totally see why these girls were friends, even if two of the girls (Kiki and Plum) did not get as much page-time. I loved seeing them support each other, especially since everything around them was changing. This life-changing business was also a nice addition to the novel-- I thought the girls' reactions were realistic and added a bit more drama and excitement to the book.
...a stinking cute read with some lovely universal themes and situations.” - Frenetic Reader
“The Aristobrats was an entertaining and original start to what I'm sure will be a very fun series.
In middle school I loved reading series like The Clique and Gossip Girl. They were my guilty pleasure reads that I could finish in a couple of hours. The Aristobrats was similar but it was much more positive and full of girl power. While Parker and her three besties are all about being popular and setting new trends, they also care about other people and just want to be kind and positive. Other students look up to Parker and the Aristobrats and the name isn't demeaning at all- it's a compliment.
The Aristobrats will appeal to 10-14 year old girls the most, but I think older readers will enjoy it as well. Filled with positive messages and great friendships, I can't wait to see where this series goes next. I'm hoping to hear more about Kiki, Parker, Ikea, and Plum!
Cover comments: This cover is perfect. The school crest, friendship ring, and, most importantly, the four main characters are all represented. It's cute, eye catching, and really suits the story.” - Kelsey the Book Scout
“I am a sucker for girl books and series, so I was extremely excited to get my hands on this book. I was slightly worried because these types of girls I know I would never hang out with when I was in school and vise versa. However, I have personally experienced both the so-called popular “mean girls” and the very nice popular girls. Yes, thank goodness they exist also! Trust me they do!
I would put the Lylas in the very nice popular girls category in a heartbeat. Even I would love to hang out with them, that is if they’d accept me.” - Imaginary Dreamer
“Fresh, fabulous, and a completely cute middle-grade novel.
The story is fun to follow, and it's nice to see a group of girls committed to being the nice popular girls. Not that these girls are always nice, but as a whole, they are pretty sweet. With each new dramatic issue (this is middle school, after all), the girls have to figure out a way to the top.
Highlights: Friendship is the obvious motif, and it's a great theme to have. The school the girls go to is very high tech, thanks to Fitz Orion, a computer mogul. There are "Spy Feeds", where you can watch any class you want and check up on people. I thought that just so completely cool, and definitely different from other things I've read.” - YA Book Queen
“...a fun, character-driven book...” - The Page Flipper
“I definitely recommend this book for young readers and after they finish I'm sure they'll be wondering how the 4 friends will deal with the next crisis!” - Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot
“At first glance, The Aristobrats sounds like it will be a book about popular girls who are mean and only care about themselves. Take another look. It’s actually a book that teaches important lessons about friendship and self-confidence. Although the girls are way too concerned about their status at the beginning of the story, they are always very nice to the other girls at school. I liked that.
I love books like this where the tween/young-teen female characters have good hearts and evolve in a positive way. Oh, and the amazing school setting didn’t hurt either. If you are a little out-of-touch with tween-speak, there’s a handy glossary at the end to help you out.
I am looking forward to the sequel, Stay Pretty, Wallingford!” - Reading Vacation
“ The Aristobrats is the first in a new series, and I can't wait to read the rest. This book left plenty of unanswered questions to explore in the next books, but tied the central conflict up neatly to give the book closure. Overall I felt this book was entirely engaging and though the IMspeak was a bit much for me at times, this book wasn't written for moms in their 20s, but for 13 year olds, and I think the dialogue felt natural and would fit well within that world. I'd love my little girl to read these books as I think they are very positive in message and very importantly...fun! The price on this book is killer so I rate it a 1, Pay Full Price Guilt Free!” - The Book Buff
“...perfectly preppy...” - readergrlz
“...contains a great message about friendship and I'm sure tween readers will adore it.” - I’m A Reader Not A Writer
“...simply delightful. ...it is loads of fun, as well as a good message for the young ladies we know, without being preachy or tedious.” - The Preppy Princess
“...fun new Tween novel with an internet twist!” - There’s A Book!
Length: 8.25 in
Width: 5.5 in
Weight: 10.32 oz
Page Count: 224 pages