The A-List (novel)
|Genre||Young adult literature
Ages 15 and up
|Publisher||Megan Tingley Publishers|
|LC Class||PZ7.D3473 Aae 2003|
|Followed by||Girls on Film|
The A-List follows the character of Anna Percy, who has been raised in New York City's Upper East Side. Anna has grown up living a life of privilege and many rules, which she somewhat jokingly refers to as "This is How We Do Things Big Book, East Coast WASP Edition". Anna moves out to Los Angeles with her father in the hopes of getting an internship in the entertainment industry as well as to reinvent herself in a new environment. While traveling to LA, Anna meets the handsome Ben Birnbaum, with whom she has an immediate connection. Ben chases away Anna's awful seatmate, Rick Resnick, and invites her to the wedding of A-lister Jackson Sharpe, which she accepts. Once Anna arrives in LA, she is upset that her father stood her up at the airport in order to indulge in marijuana, but Jonathan insists that he has changed and wants to have a better relationship with his daughter. Anna is not entirely convinced, because even though her father now wears jeans and appears more laid back, his new girlfriend Margaret Cunningham is a dead ringer for Anna's mother, Jane Percy.
Later at the wedding, Anna meets Samantha "Sam Sharpe, the witty daughter of Jackson Sharpe who is insecure about her looks; Camilla "Cammie" Sheppard, the sexiest and most devious girl alive who is Ben's ex-girlfriend and wants him back; and Delia "Dee" Young, a spacey but sweet girl who secretly hooked up with Ben when she was on a college tour at Princeton. All three of Ben's three close female friends who are all secretly in love with him. Ben and Anna try to pretend they've been dating at Princeton but Rick Resnick was also invited at the wedding and exposes how the two truly met. The three girls spend the rest of the night cutting down Anna or trying to steal Ben away from her, culminating in Cammie ripping Anna's dress. Sam gets soundly rejected, and goes to cry in the bathroom where Anna is freshening up. Sam apologizes for mistreating her and the two bond.
Sam invites Anna to attend a Warner Brothers New Year's Eve bash after the wedding. A jealous Cammie attempts to break up Anna and Ben by convincing a big producer that Anna is a hooker so he will hit on her, but it backfires. After the party Cammie goes to her mother's grave to confess how much she really loves Ben and wants him back while Sam and a group of partiers goes to her father's house to get drunk, and Ben and Anna go to his father's boat to have sex. However, Anna changes her mind and admits to Ben that she is not ready. Ben appears to be understanding but he deserts Anna when she falls asleep.
During a charity project with Sam, Cammie, Dee and their other friends, Anna gets food poisoning from an expired yogurt she'd eaten earlier in the day. Dee takes Anna home and while caring for Anna, Dee confesses that people look down on her because of her short stature and her spirituality. Dee also confesses that she believes that she's pregnant with Ben's baby, which shocks Anna and makes her wonder what kind of person Ben truly is.
At the end of the book, Anna's internship has fallen through due to Margaret Cunningham leaving her company to start her own agency Apex so Anna is forced to enroll at Beverly Hills High. She has also broken up with Ben and refuses to take his calls but Sam and Dee show genuine interest in becoming friends with Anna, Cammie beings to feel threatened.
Critical reception for The A-List has been mixed. Kirkus Reviews called the book "fast-paced but uninspired", saying that "teens will get the thrill of seeing how the super-rich live, coupled with the heartening insight that money doesn’t guarantee happiness". The School Library Journal wrote that "Fans of the series will flock to this book, but they may be a tad disappointed with the replay."