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Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite
I am a very long way from my high school days, but Misunderstood: Secrets of a Teen Queen by Anya Valentino brought those days back to me in a wild literary rush. This story takes place among the elite of Los Angeles. These are kids with closets as big as the room I shared with my brother. Enya is a high school teen queen in Bel Air, with a cook and a driver and a personal assistant, but somehow being rich and beautiful doesn't seem to make being a teenage girl any easier in Bel Air than it was in my hometown or any other town in America. Basically the rich just have more accessories. This is both comforting and disturbing. I kept thinking there must be a better way to help guide teens through the pitfalls and insecurities of adolescence.
Enya and her friends vacation in Copenhagen and seem to lead a life of one party or event after another. So why did I feel so sorry for them? Except for a series of disappearing text messages that threaten to shatter her carefully constructed perfect world, Enya is as confused and angst driven as the famous young male protagonist of that literary classic Catcher in the Rye. The young protagonist feels heartbreakingly authentic. And the sharp, crisp, writing by Anya Valentino with just the right touch of irony and satire lifts Misunderstood: Secrets of a Teen Queen to a level above your average coming of age story.