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Monday, May 30, 2011

Swept Away - Nicole O'Dell

Released April 2011

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Swept Away is another collection in Nicole O'Dell's Scenarios series. There are two books in this collection, each sets up a dilemma a teen girl faces and readers choose the ending.

High Stakes shares a snippet from Amber's life. She and her best friend are competing for the honor of being class valedictorian, as well as the only girls to not have missed a day of school. Best of all, the winner gets a new car from a local dealer. Rules are the winner must have the highest GPA and never have missed a day of school. Amber goes to school sick to make sure she's in the running. Her parents' car is 12 years old and on its last legs, and she knows how much they need it. When her cousin gives her copies of all the final exams, she knows she can ace the tests, but at what cost?

Essence of Lilly finds Lilly enduring regular fights between her mother and stepfather. She cannot understand why her mother stays in the relationship. Every week there's another screaming match that winds up with dishes or lamps being thrown, her mother on the floor in tears, and her stepfather storming off. Soon, Lilly's boyfriend invites her for a sleepover. Lilly must decide if she's truly ready for a sexual relationship or not.

I really enjoy the Scenarios series. They're not quite as complex as the Choose Your Own Adventure books from my childhood, but they still have that same feel. The author sets up the story and readers choose between two paths. Of course, I always read both paths and figure most readers would. It's a great way for teens to see how their choices do play out.

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