I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.
LOVE AND MUDDY PUDDLES is a cute story about a teen girl named Coco who gets the bad news she and her family are moving from the city to a farm out in the country. Well, it's bad news for her while everyone else - her parents, twin sister, and older brother - are all stoked about the move. Coco has just hit the popularity lottery after a lot of hard work and doesn't want to give it up. Moving to a farm? Social suicide!
From what I'm about to say you might think I didn't like Coco, but I actually did. Yes, she was superficial and cared way too much about what Saffron and the group thought about her, but I think it's normal behavior for her age. I understood how she felt insecure, jealous, and overlooked by everyone because her twin sister excels at everything she does. It was easy to see Coco is still quite young and has a lot of life ahead of her to experience.
Picture the clique from Mean Girls as thirteen-year-olds, and you've got the idea of what Saffron and the group are like. I never cared much about being in the popular crowd, so I couldn't relate with her on working so hard to make it into the exclusive group. It just didn't seem worth it to me - Coco had to watch everything she said and did so carefully it was comical. Painfully comical.
Luckily, the entire book isn't about Coco trying to say all the right things, talk to the right people, and wear the right clothes. Once she and her family move to the farm, she soon meets Cupcake - one of the horses belonging to a neighbor. The bond that forms between Coco and Cupcake is unique, and this is when Coco really starts to shine. She begins learning how she's special in her own way from her twin and that it's okay to be a girl with character rather than a girl with a great manicure. Not that there's anything wrong with having a great manicure!
And then there was James. The initial meeting between Coco and James gets off to a rocky start when Coco thinks she's better than him and can talk down to him. She was in for a huge surprise because he speaks his mind and isn't interested in playing games. I thought he was a great person for Coco to be around - just the person who could help her see things beyond the surface.
Love and Muddy Puddles was a terrifically cute and witty story. Coco was so clueless in the beginning, and it was a pleasure to see her transform throughout the story. The cast of characters will grow on you quickly, and while you might be able to guess the story's ending, it's still enjoyable to see how exactly it plays out.