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New Release Review and Giveaway! SURVIVING HIGH SCHOOL by Lele Pons and Melissa de la Cruz

Surviving High School
by Lele Pons & Melissa de la Cruz
Published by: Gallery Books
Publication date: April 5th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Vine superstar Lele Pons—“one of the coolest girls on the web” (Teen Vogue)—teams up with #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz (The Isle of the Lost) in this lovable debut novel about the wilds and wonders of high school that’s as laugh-out-loud addictive as Lele’s popular videos.

Ten million followers and I still sit alone at lunch. Lele is a bulls-eye target at her new school in Miami until, overnight, her digital fame catapults the girl with cheerleader looks, a seriously silly personality, and a self-deprecating funny bone into the popular crowd. Now she’s facing a whole new set of challenges—the relentless drama, the ruthless cliques, the unexpected internet celebrity—all while trying to keep her grades up and make her parents proud.

Filled with the zany enthusiasm that has made Lele into Vine’s most viewed star, this charming novel is proof that high school is a trip. From crushing your crushes (what’s up with that hot transfer student Alexei??) to throwing Insta-fake parties with your BFFs and moaning over homework (GAH) with your frenemies, high school is a rollercoaster of exhilarating highs and totally embarrassing lows. Leave it to Lele to reassure us that falling flat on your face is definitely not the end of the world. Fans of Mean Girls will love this fun and heartwarming fish-out-of-water story.


Entertaining, in a train-wreck kind of way–it’s hard to stop reading, even when Lele goes a little (okay, more than a little) bit off the rails. Short, short chapters (a la James Patterson) make it a really fast read. If you’re a fan of Lele on Vine, you’ll probably really enjoy it. If you’ve never heard of Vine, you’re probably not part of the intended audience.

Lele is a little crazy. a lot insecure, fairly self-involved–in other words, a pretty typical teenager who just happens to make videos on Vine that strike a chord with people. A LOT of people. This book is a “fictional memoir” of the real Lele Pons–inspired by her life but not her actual story. I liked the chapter titles–at least some of them are titles from her videos, so I suspect they might all be–and the way we can watch her “followers” grow as the story progresses. I appreciated the fact that even though she went to a lot of parties she didn’t drink much if at all (as she points out, she already acts drunk while sober–people drink to keep up with her) and when young girls would stop her in the street or at the mall she tried to give them good advice. It’s definitely a more positive look at fame than we often see–it’s not sugar-coated (see “Partied Out”), but she’s also not all about what it can do for her. Not all the time, anyway. I did like when her shoe collection grew from 2 pairs to 15 in a single shopping trip–live the dream!

I don’t know how much of the book was Ms. Pons and how much was Ms. de la Cruz, but the result was a fun collaboration. It’s definitely not for everyone, but again, if you’re a fan, you’ll probably get a kick out of it. I’m definitely not part of the target audience, but it did have me laughing out loud more than once, and I can now say that I’ve watched a half dozen of her videos (“When you leave your crush alone with your mom”–a cautionary tale for the ages.)

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Lele Pons was born in Caracas, Venezuela and moved with her family to Miami when she was five years old. She got her start when she created a page on the video-sharing app Vine in December 2013. Originally intended as a fun outlet to showcase her creativity, her vines evolved into comedic sketches and pulling practical jokes on family and friends. Her following grew from five thousand local followers to more than ten million by November 2015.

Today she is one of the most recognizable names on social media, and has been featured in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Teen Vogue, Time, and more. Lele has been nominated for three Teen Choice Awards, a People’s Choice Award, and a Streamy Award. In 2015, she was invited to the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama to help launch her campaign for disadvantaged kids to go to college. Lele graduated from high school in 2015 and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.


Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of books for readers of all ages, including the Witches of East End, Blue Bloods, and Descendants series.

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