Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Book Review: The Naughty List by Suzanne Young


As if being a purrfect cheerleader isn’t enough responsibility! Tessa Crimson’s the sweet and spunky leader of the SOS (Society of Smitten Kittens), a cheer squad–turned–spy society dedicated to bringing dastardly boyfriends to justice, one cheater at a time. Boyfriend-busting wouldn’t be so bad . . . except that so far, every suspect on the Naughty List has been proven 100% guilty!

When Tessa’s own boyfriend shows up on the List, she turns her sleuthing skills on him. Is Aiden just as naughty as all the rest, or will Tessa’s sneaky ways end in catastrophe?

The Naughty List
. Is your boyfriend on it?


Flirty and fun, The Naughty List is an entertaining read but holds plenty of drama and emotion. Young does an incredible job blending the various aspects of this book, investing the reader in the plot line early on. From the start, the reader is smoothly eased into the set up, falling into a well paced plot and wanting to know how things will play out.

Tess is a very lively character, full of pep and unique euphemisms. Though she’s head cheerleader and certainly has her vanity and ditz type of moments, she is an intelligent, strong willed character. She has a very interesting outlook on life and Young does a fantastic job bringing this character to life. As with any good character, Tess holds her own flaws and as the story progresses, she finds certain aspects of her life falling more out of control. Her story is an engaging one, pulling the reader on the same emotional roller coaster she experiences and though there is certainly a “stereotypical” couple set up, this book is anything but cliché and mundane. She is easy to like for any reader, no matter what their high school experience had been like. Though she may be popular, she is far from cruel and holds herself to very high standards in her appearance, behaviors and treatment of others.

Aiden is Tess’ boyfriend and the captain of the basketball team. They are the perfect couple, having a long two year relationship under their belts. Lust and love are intermixed for them, playing off smoothly for their situation. Tess has her boyfriend and perfect social life, but hidden beneath it is her SOS related activities. Aiden is attractive and certainly horny but he is very caring and sweet- and, despite being a jock, he has a brain! Once again, Young casts a perfect blend between stereotypical jock and realistic character holding his own ability to think and experience a range of emotions. Aiden is a very likable character because of how well developed he is and many of the scenes with him and Tess are cute, fun and enjoyable.

Christian is another very well built character, shifting between being likable and irritating. His motivations are not easily discernible as his actions switch often, helping build mystery with the book. He is attractive with a good sense of humor but holds darker qualities, making both Tess and the reader question him. He is a vital part of the plot and an intriguing addition in general and despite some of his actions, Young still pitches him in a way to garner at least some sympathy from readers.

Although her parents are not constantly around due to their musical jobs and therefore many late nights at gigs, they trust Tess- a trust she has earned. Tess’ relationship with her parents is refreshingly open apart from her secret regarding SOS. It is their late nights that allow her to sneak around and spy on potential cheaters but the reader never gets the sense her parents neglect her. This is a strong feature of the book for me, and despite their late nights and travel, it is clear how much Tess’ parents care for her and how active they are in her life.

The plot is amusing, propelled easily by Young’s strong writing and her innate ability to possess a very vivid YA voice. Tess’ mentality comes through easily, with everything sliding along smoothly on the pages, even when her comments are airheaded or shallow. Although some aspects of the plot were predictable, it’s to be expected with the story line and premise- and with the way Young chose to play things out. Although obviously and necessarily extreme in how many cheaters these girls found in their school, the number of cheaters and cases explored made for a great plot set up and the case reports were fantastic additions. The entire operation was well thought out and executed and it brought a certain spark to the book as a whole.

With some incredibly intense and emotional scenes to break up the flirty, overall fun nature of this story, The Naughty List is a fantastic read. Tess and Aiden’s relationship is a beautifully played out one, holding all the truth of teenage love and showing how two teens can be in a long relationship. Even when things start being turned upside down, Young continues to hold a teenage state of mind and responses. Everything leads up to a very fantastic ending, leaving the book open for the sequel but providing plenty of closure for the events of The Naughty List.

Source: Signed copy received from author as part of a prize pack
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Razorbill (February 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595142789
ISBN-13: 978-1595142788

Author's Website


  1. I enjoyed this book as much as you did. I loved everything about it.

    Great review =)

  2. Yay I'm glad you liked it! I really liked this one too, the characters were awesome. I can't wait to read the sequel! :D

  3. Excellent review :D! I agree, even though Christian wasn't the sweetest of characters but I still sort of liked him... I'm looking forward to the sequel (and your review for it!)

  4. great review! i'm really looking forward to reading this. it's getting so much positive feedback!