Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 7 to 12
The enthralling sequel to Me and the Blondes, shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award
Life is almost ... well ... potentially perfect for Sophie Kandinsky. As it turns out, the Blondes were as dazzled by her as she was by them, and Sophie enters grade ten at Northern Heights smack in the centre of the power grid. There will be no more cascading lies and secrets from her, but the Blondes—now that’s another story. And her eccentric Aunties are still peppering Sophie with their eccentric advice on life, love, and how to land the elusive Luke Pearson. But in the end, the best and biggest news is also the worst. After seven years, Sophie’s beloved Papa is finally out of prison. Papa is home. Trouble is ... he’s supposed to be dead. No more lies? No more secrets?
"[Teresa Toten] writes with insight and compassion about the complex moral universe of adolescence."
— Quill & Quire
"Toten captures perfectly the easy camaraderie of girls who trust each other enough to play Truth or Dare and challenge each other to develop into good people."
About the author
TERESA TOTEN won the Governor General’s Literary Award in Canada for The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, which also won the American Library Association’s Schneider Family Book Award, and was chosen by the International Board on Books for Young People as one of its Outstanding Books for Young People With Disabilities in 2015. She is the author of the international bestseller Beware that Girl and the acclaimed Blondes series, as well as The Game, The Onlyhouse, and, with Eric Walters, The Taming. Teresa lives in Toronto, Ontario. Visit her online at www.teresatoten.com and on Facebook, and follow her at @TTotenAuthor on Twitter.
Better than BlondeSophie Kandinsky, the heroine of Me and the Blondes, is now in Grade 10, secure with her three blonde friends. She wants to be a normal 15-year-old, seeking information about passion and sex in Rosemary Rogers’ Sweet Savage Love and other romance novels, enjoying the preparations for Auntie Luba’s and Mike’s Slovakian /Macedonian wedding extravaganza, and agonizing over her huge – and possibly reciprocated – crush on Luke Pearson.
Sophie’s life, however, still has too many secrets. Her Blondes know all about her father, now released from prison after a wrongful conviction, but Sophie has to keep quiet about all the secrets they have told her. Sophie and her father, likewise, are keeping his drinking from her mother and the formidable Aunties. Everyone is promising her that they will come clean or that things will be all right – until the crises erupt, at home and at school.
Set in the mid-1970s, Better than Blonde has lots of period details – the cars, the girdles, the dating rules and the consequences of unplanned pregnancies. Nevertheless, much of Sophie’s story is timeless. How do you keep your friends’ secrets? When your friends talk about sex and you don’t really understand the details yet, how do you extract the information while not looking uncool? Should you practice nodding ironically in the mirror to achieve just the right look? What happens to your own resolutions about the opposite sex when the boy of your dreams kisses you?
While the tone is slightly darker than in Me and the Blondes, Teresa Toten writes with candour, humour, insight and fondness for all her characters. It is good to have another chance to enjoy Sophie and her Blondes.
Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2007. Vol.30 No.3.
Better than BlondeLife is almost... well... potentially perfect for Sophie. There won’t be any more lies and secrets from her. Then her Papa is released from prison, but the trouble is he’s supposed to be dead. The hilarious sequel to Me and the Blondes.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2008.