Thursday, May 5, 2016

"Surviving High School" by Lele Pons

Surviving High School
by Lele Pons and Melissa de la Cruz

Surviving High School is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Vine superstar Lele Pons -  "one of the coolest girls on the web" (Teen Vogue) - teams up with #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz (The Isle of the Lost) in this lovable debut novel about the wilds and wonders of high school that’s as laugh-out-loud addictive as Lele’s popular videos.
Ten million followers and I still sit alone at lunch. Lele is a bulls-eye target at her new school in Miami until, overnight, her digital fame catapults the girl with cheerleader looks, a seriously silly personality, and a self-deprecating funny bone into the popular crowd. Now she’s facing a whole new set of challenges - the relentless drama, the ruthless cliques, the unexpected internet celebrity - all while trying to keep her grades up and make her parents proud.
Filled with the zany enthusiasm that has made Lele into Vine’s most viewed star, this charming novel is proof that high school is a trip. From crushing your crushes (what’s up with that hot transfer student Alexei??) to throwing Insta-fake parties with your BFFs and moaning over homework (GAH) with your frenemies, high school is a rollercoaster of exhilarating highs and totally embarrassing lows. Leave it to Lele to reassure us that falling flat on your face is definitely not the end of the world. Fans of Mean Girls will love this fun and heartwarming fish-out-of-water story.

Book Video

Click below to read an excerpt.

Praise for the Book
"The story moved along very smoothly and quickly. It was easy to read and the chapters were broken down just right. They were just the right length. This is one of those books that you can fly through. It was a fun read. The dialogue was very easy to follow and written in an way that is easy for teenagers to relate to. I would highly recommend this book to those teenage girls who feel socially awkward and are just trying to find a way to cope with the stress of every day high school life. Lele will put your mind at ease and help you feel more relaxed knowing you are not the only one who has to go through these struggles. It is a fun read to get you through the struggles of everyday life and help you feel a bit better about life in general." ~ Bookaholic Banter
"This is absolutely what I hoped for. The humor she brings with her vines definitely comes across with this hilarious book. Love it. It should be a movie." ~ Mark Todd
"I have been following Lele for 2 years and I'm excited to see this book. It is so good you should buy it too." ~ Amazon Customer
"Incredibly well written book!" ~ Jason
"I just love it." ~ Victor H. B.
"Everything I expected. It was amazing. I love Lele and how she showed her personality in the book was amazing. I loved it." ~ Ldlaldkc

They're hope for us all. 
Take a look at yearbook pics from Lele's freshman and senior years.

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
Surviving High School is the fictional memoir of Lele (pronounced "leh-leh") Pons, social media and Internet sensation, and the first Vine user to reach one billion loops. For those of you who don't know, Vine is a social media platform where you can share 6-second video loops.
Lele takes us from the time she grew up living in a barn in Caracas, Venezuela, to her time at a small Catholic School in Miami, to being a sixteen-year-old beginning her junior year at Miami High School. Starting off as the weird outcast, things start looking up on her second day of school when she hits it off with Alexei, the hot guy newly transferred from Belgium. Then she befriends, Darcy, the girl who always seems to witness her most clumsy moments. Meanwhile, she has to deal with mean girl Yvette and her minions, for whom Lele and Darcy constantly try to find a collective name (they settle on "Sausages" for a while - you'll see why).
Turns out Lele has a knack for using her humor and honesty to make friends. It also doesn't help being famous. Each chapter charts Lele's growth in number of Vine Followers, from 0 to over 10 million, with most chapters leading to the filming of a Vine on the topic of the day. Throughout the narration, Lele makes cute little "notes to self" about Vine ideas. In fact, she sees her life as a series of Vines and, with her tendency to be overly dramatic, she's a natural. Lele documents her missteps so that other outcasts like her won't feel like they're alone. She's "taking over the world one Vine at a time." But, as her fame explodes, Lele has less and less time for schoolwork, and making Vines begins to feel like a full-time job. She starts to resent the fact that everyone thinks they know her, she can't say anything serious without everyone thinking she's trying to be funny, and she discovers that living on social media means you can't even get away with skipping school! Looks like fame really does have its downside.
This book has a central message of discovering and embracing your "you-ness". The authors do a great job of channeling Lele's sixteen-year-old character and her friends; they remind me of my sixteen-year-old daughter and her friends, always worried about looks, hair, makeup, body shape - and obsessing over boys they've only just met (or haven't even met in person yet). Although I'm guessing Lele's character is slightly exaggerated for comic effect! Yvette's comment about losing your virginity is sad but probably true for this millennial generation. Throughout the course of the book, we see Lele grow and mature, as she starts believing in herself and becomes a role-model for young girls all around the world. But she never stops being herself. As Lele says, "On Vine I can rewrite history to make it the way I want it to be, I can re-create reality to match the vision in my mind, the version of reality that transcends the mundane. It's my playground, my laboratory, my escape, and my sanctuary." And that's what makes her such a good story-teller.
Warnings: some swear words in Spanish, sexual references, drug references, underage drinking.
Still not sure what a vine is? Here's an example that actually features in the book:
Three signs that show a person is Latin.

About the Authors
Lele Pons was born in Caracas, Venezuela and moved with her family to Miami when she was five years old. She got her start when she created a page on the video-sharing app Vine in December 2013. Originally intended as a fun outlet to showcase her creativity, her vines evolved into comedic sketches and pulling practical jokes on family and friends. Her following grew from five thousand local followers to more than ten million by November 2015.
Today she is one of the most recognizable names on social media, and has been featured in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Teen Vogue, Time, and more. Lele has been nominated for three Teen Choice Awards, a People’s Choice Award, and a Streamy Award. In 2015, she was invited to the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama to help launch her campaign for disadvantaged kids to go to college. Lele graduated from high school in 2015 and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of books for readers of all ages, including the Witches of East End, Blue Bloods, and The Descendants series.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of two print copies of Surviving High School by Lele Pons and Melissa de la Cruz (US only).

Book Links