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The Au Pairs    by Melissa de la Cruz order for
Au Pairs
by Melissa de la Cruz
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Three teens are in for the summer of their lives working as au pairs for a very wealthy New York family in the Hamptons. They are all there for different reasons, but the $10,000 incentive (for watching four children from July 4 through Labor Day) makes the deal pretty sweet.

Eliza Thompson used to be the queen of the richest-of-the-rich clique in New York City. But when her father was indicted for fraud and the family ended up bankrupt, they were forced to move to Buffalo and live like the rest of the world. The catch is, Eliza hasn't told any of her rich friends about her family's misfortunes. Can she successfully attend parties and pretend she's a part of their world while working as a glorified babysitter? Mara Waters has her future all planned. For this small town girl, the money she'll earn this summer will pay for a used car and most of her first year at college She doesn't want to leave her boyfriend Jim, but when she meets her employer's gorgeous son Ryan, Mara starts to wonder whether her plans are all they're cracked up to be. Jacqui Velasco met Luca, an American tourist, when he came to visit her native Brazil. After a steamy romance, he promised to get in contact with her when he got home, but she hasn't heard from him. Jacqui took the job as an au pair to see if she can find him again and rekindle their relationship. Is Luca as good as she remembers?

The girls all come from different worlds, and are trying to achieve different goals this summer ... but it won't turn out to be anything like they imagine. This is a fantastic journey into the lives of the rich and famous, and how they spend their summers. Eliza, Mara, and Jacqui are all thoroughly well drawn characters and endearing in their own ways. Eliza and Jacqui have their snobby sides, but are also sensitive. They learn a lot about themselves and how to treat others over the course of the summer. The author infuses a fair amount of humor into the plot, including in chapter headings that are funny and insightful. Teens will enjoy all the pop culture references - celebrity name dropping, clothing and makeup styles, and the in hot party spots all make this a trendy book. The Au Pairs is a hot, fun summer read, sure to please.

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