Review: Blonde Ops by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman

May Contain Spoilers


I had really high hopes for Blonde Ops, and while some were met, the overall pacing of the story disappointed.  It started out so promisingly, too!  Bec has been kicked out of yet another boarding school, and she’s returning home in disgrace.  A bit too smart for her own good, she was caught hacking into the school’s database to change her grades.  In retrospect, it wasn’t the brightest thing she could have done – it would have been far better to wait until after classes were out for the semester, because the likelihood of her getting busted would have been much less.  This turns out to be Bec’s greatest fault: she is impulsive and usually doesn’t think before she acts, which causes so much grief for her.

While she’s not eager to endure her mother’s wrath, she thinks that she’ll be spending a few weeks on an island paradise while her mom works on closing a business deal.  No such luck, though the alternative isn’t half bad.  She’s sent to Rome, where she will help her mom’s college buddy work on her fashion magazine.  What this really means is that Bec will be an unpaid, overworked intern, someone who gets all of the crappy jobs nobody else wants to do.  Chafing at being a grunt for the summer, things suddenly start looking up when she meets Dante.  He’s a delivery  boy and he rides a Vespa.  He’s also hot, hot, hot!

Things take a sudden turn for the worse when Parker, her mom’s friend, is seriously injured in an accident.  When drama queen Candace takes her place, Bec starts to wonder if things can get any more glum.  Candace doesn’t trust her, and she won’t divulge many details about Parker – like which hospital she’s at and what her condition is.   Turns out that Candace and Parker are secret agents, and it’s their duty to ensure the safety of the First Lady during her visit to Rome.  With Parker out of commission, Candace is freaking out and starting to suspect everyone of being out to get the First Lady.  All Bec wants to do is make sure Parker is okay, and catch whoever was responsible for hurting her.

I loved the beginning and the end of Blonde Ops.  It’s the middle that didn’t hold my attention, but in all fairness, I don’t usually enjoy mysteries for just that reason.  I get bored while the protagonist puzzles out a solution to all of the bad things that are happening, and unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened here.  I was hoping for a faster paced story, with more action.  If I hadn’t liked Bec so much, I don’t know if I would have stuck through to the end.  It didn’t help that I have zero interest in fashion magazines or clothing (just look at my wardrobe and you will immediately see what I mean!).  The setting helped, though.  I got a great sense of Rome as Bec dashed around town with Dante or Taj.

Despite an engaging protagonist, Blonde Ops didn’t really click for me, but if you are into fashion  and mysteries, it will probably work better for you.

Grade:  C+/B-

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Expelled from yet another boarding school for hacking, sixteen-year-old Rebecca “Bec” Jackson is shipped off to Rome to intern for Parker Phillips, the editor-in-chief of one of the world’s top fashion magazines. But when a mysterious accident lands Parker in a coma, former supermodel and notorious drama queen Candace Worthington takes the reins of the magazine. The First Lady is in Rome for a cover shoot, and all hands are on deck to make sure her visit goes smoothly.

Bec quickly realizes that Parker’s “accident” may not have been quite so accidental, and when the First Lady’s life is threatened, Bec is determined to uncover the truth. On top of that, Bec must contend with bitchy models, her new boss, Candace, who is just as difficult as the tabloids say, and two guys, a hunky Italian bike messenger with a thousand-watt smile and a fashion blogger with a razor-sharp wit, who are both vying for her heart.

Can Bec catch the person who’s after the First Lady, solve the mystery of Parker’s accident, and juggle two cute boys at the same time? Blonde Ops is a fun, action-packed romp through the hallways of a fashion magazine and the cobblestone streets of Rome by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman.