This was originally posted at Into the Wardrobe on May 16, 2008.
Thai American Maya Naravadee is an obedient daughter to her parents and a great older sister to her brother Nat. (Family is number one for Maya!) She works really hard at her family's restaurant, Pailin Thai Cuisine. She's a high school senior who's always gotten straight As. She's even a student tutor. Maya is the "smart chick," a "good girl." (Hahahahahaha, another protagonist I can relate to.:o) )
When Maya's parents attend a wedding and go to a trade show out of town, Maya is in charge of the family restaurant for five days. She has everything under control until she encounters two difficult customers who threaten to contact the Health Department. That night, Maya goes straight home after the dinner shift, too tired from the difficult customers to do the usual restaurant cleanup.
Unfortunately, the angry customers do contact the Health Department, and when the Health Inspector visits the restaurant he encounters the mess Maya left. Pailin Thai Cuisine has six weeks to pay a $10,000 fine for violations. Maya is afraid of her parents' anger and disappointment - they might ship her off to Thailand! She is also worried that they cannot afford the fine. And she is determined to not let anyone else suffer for her mistake. So Maya fixes her original mistake with an elaborate one. She decides to keep the fine a secret from her family and friends. And she decides to pay off the fine herself - by doing the homework of Camden King, the most popular guy in her school, charging a hundred bucks for each assignment. Things start getting even more complicated when Maya falls for the hot Camden!
I was transfixed as Maya's lies snowballed and the cheating scheme started spinning out of control. Maya kept finding herself in a bigger and bigger mess until finally everything was a train wreck!
Okay, I wonder why the girl on the cover is not Asian; and the novel may be just a tiny bit too light and predictable for my personal taste. But man was this an exciting read! She's So Money is smart, sassy, fast-paced, and peppered with funny pop culture references. It was so entertaining, like a good teen flick!
About the Author: Cherry Chevapravatdumrong ("Cherry Cheva") was born in Columbus, OH, and raised in Ann Arbor, MI. She majored in psychology at Yale and earned a J.D. from NYU Law School. While in school, Cherry spent her summers working at law firms and her winter breaks waiting tables at her parents' restaurant, Lotus Thai. She then moved to LA to pursue a career in writing, and is now the only female writer on Fox’s hit TV show "Family Guy." She's So Money is her first novel.
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