The season / Sarah MacLean.
Booklist Reviews 2009 February #2
MacLean s debut plays with English high society: girls in swishy-satiny fabrics at balls; brooding, port-swilling boys; chaste but thrillingly clandestine kisses; and, oh yeah, a murder mystery. If this sounds like the makings of a Regency-romance primer for the middle-school set, that s not far off. Alex, no blushing maiden, approaches her first "season," when she is officially up for sale on the meat market, and balks at the idea of being married off to the highest bidder. But her mother insists that she marry well. It s a good thing she begins to notice her brothers closest friend, Gavin, er, Lord Blackmoor. She notices his broad shoulders, gray eyes, and the knot in his cravat. She even notices his odd behavior around her, which obviously is nothing more than his worry that his father s "accidental" death wasn t all that accidental. Alex proceeds to do a lot more noticing en route to solving the mystery, as does Gavin. Bottom line: this is a good suggestion for readers looking for a PG version of a bodice ripper. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.
PW Reviews 2009 March #1
In Regency London, Alexandra is about to embark on her first season of balls and dinners, and while nothing "would steer her mother from the course of marrying off her only daughter," 17-year-old Alex is put off by men's seeming lack of interest in women with "any amount" of intelligence ("Evidently, it scares eligible gentlemen off"). Her opinions about romance change when she develops feelings for her brothers' friend Gavin, who is mourning the sudden death of his father (making Gavin the new earl of Blackmoor). Mac-Lean's debut is well paced, and as readers fill up on descriptions of dresses and society's rules, another plot line develops: Alex overhears a conversation proving that Gavin's father was murdered, and she puts her relationship, reputation and life in danger to help him. Readers will appreciate the clique lit/historical romance hybrid: headstrong Alex rolls her eyes and gossips with friends, but still knows the steps to the quadrille. Clever conversation in the spirit of Jane Austen makes this quite a page turner. Ages 12–up. (Mar.)[Page 63]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.