Pub. Date: September 2008
Age Range: Young Adult
Source: from blogger Lenore
You can take the girl out of Brooklyn-or can you?
Waitressing at an exclusive tennis and squash club isn't all it's cracked up to be. Just ask Adora Benet. For as long as she can remember, summer has meant European vacations and sleepaway camp. But this summer is different. While her friends scatter the globe for adventures of their own, Dora finds herself stuck in Brooklyn, learning the true meaning of a dollar.
Fortunately for this working girl, there are fringe benefits that come with the territory: cool older friends who really know how to party, for one thing. And an unexpected gig at a veterinarian's office with a totally hot doctor. Soon Dora's boring summer turns into her first taste of real life. But with all these new responsibilities and thrilling relationships, freedom can get a little scary sometimes . . .
Goofy, truthful and teenagerish, Fringe Benefits was a suitable read for summer. Despite its usual bad-time-turns-out-to-be-more-interesting-than-ever, this book had something quite nice in it. Maybe it was the friendly tone - which made you couldn't but feel as if you were talking to a real 11th grader, or perhaps it was just the meanings lied in normal happenings.
Adora had planned out a lovely summer ahead. She imagined hanging about the town with her two best friends, spending time with her boyfriend Noel and having a job to earn money for whatever she wanted to buy. Suddenly, everything went upside down. Everyone seemed to have their own plans, unexpected or not, and Dora wasn't a part of those. She was left behind, practically alone (if excluding her nagging and overprotective parents). The beginning of the story was really funny, because I found us exactly like Dora. When things didn't go according to plans, teenagers usually made a fuss over it and so did Dora. She couldn't stop whining and, even though didn't mean to, made everyone who was to go felt bad. I also liked the part when she talked about how she wanted a job, but wouldn't consider it joyful anymore once her parents forced her to work. Stubbornness, another thing young adults couldn't get rid of.
The story progressed with Dora finding new things that spiced up her summer. She worked at a good restaurant, made friend with a seemingly perfect girl and met with a super duper hot vet. Naive Dora adored the soon to be singer Stella and thought she was falling for the caring and charming Zach. But things weren't going well at all. She soon found the people she just got to know not exactly as nice as she expected. There were mixed emotions in this part and to me the author managed to pull them off. Dora was hopeful, then a moment later, totally hopeless. Like a young girl should act, Valerie let Dora reacted to the situation in a very natural way. She freaked out and messed it up. My favorite part was her parents' lecture on how wrong she was to accuse Zach and Stella. I had thought Dora was right. Then again, after hearing the speech, I changed my mind. Good thing to find out different thoughts from different generation.
The end was cute but nothing really impressive. I liked Noel's return and his present for Dora though. I think you would, too.