Saturday, November 29, 2008

Kitty Kitty by Michele Jaffe

Seventeen-year-old amateur sleuth Jasmine Callihan attracts trouble even when she's trying to be a Model Daughter. On the day before school was to start, her evil father, Dadzilla, announced they were moving to Venice for an indefinite period of time. Jas misses Jack, her rock star boyfriend and her friends in California but she has been banned from using the internet ever since her dad saw the bill for the time she spent fourteen hours hitting the GET MAIL button, praying for Jack's name to pop into her inbox. Jas's new friend from Italian class, Arabella, is fun - but paranoid. She thinks someone is trying to kill her.

When Arabella ends up dead, Jas doesn't believe that it is suicide. She immediately gets embroiled in something dastardly. Her trusty friends introduced in two earlier novels (Bad Kitty and Bad Kitty: Catnipped) fly in from the U.S. to help keep Jas from the same fate as Arabella.

Polly has couture superpower; the ability to outdress anyone. Roxy's superpower is to be able to build things, like a taser out of tweezers. Tom's superpower is to perfectly imitate anyone's voice. Jack's superpower is to disable people with his smile. Poor Jasmine! Her only superpower is that she is attractive to cats.

When Polly arrives, she is horrified to find Jas wearing white leather pants. It doesn't take her long to restyle them into a cute pant-jacket. "The waist of the pants was now the neck of the jacket, and one of the pockets went across the front with a button. Polly was just explaining the safety features of the ensemble - 'The button on the front can be used as a cutting device, the hem of the dress detaches for restraining your hair or bad guys, the pocket can be ripped off and has been reinforced with your Wonderbra underwires to function as a throwing star, the cuff has a two-way radio built in, and we added a Skittles-based tracking device to your boots' - when her phone rang."

Jasmine's first person voice is highly entertaining. At a solemn, conversation-stopper moment "we all got really silent and stared at our nails like we were trying to be best friends with them. Hello tiny pals! Look at you putting the CUTE in CUTICLE!" After a long stretch of little sleep, she declares, "my bed looked like a slice of linen meringue pie and I dove right into it."

Madcap thrills, a touch of danger, amusing sartorial commentary and general hilarity ensue. In the end, everything is "hunky with a side of dory."

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