By Charlotte Bernardo and Natalie Zaman
Available now from St. Martin's Griffin
I've read two books set in Rome lately, and I can tell you that I vastly prefer BLONDE OPS. It's a zippy novel about a hacker sent to live with a family friend in Italy for the summer who ends up interning at a fashion magazine edited by that family friend and getting involved in foiling a plot to kidnap the First Lady.
The first thing you should probably know is that the title is a lie. Rebecca "Bec" Jackson has pink hair. It's mentioned so often that, even though the title is cute, it started to bother me.
Second, there is a love triangle. There's local bike messenger Dante (who has useful cousins all about Rome) and visiting fashion blogger Taj (who is also a hacker). Both boys are very attractive, of course, and appreciate all the trouble that Bec manages to get herself into.
Thirdly, BLONDE OPS is full speed ahead. The characters beyond Bec don't get much development, but she is a firecracker. She can't resist prodding her nose where it doesn't belong, and spotting something fishy just makes her more determined to get to the truth. She's quite clever in how she goes about getting information, not just relying on her computer skills. The focus is really on the zany plot, which combines the madness of getting a magazine published with protecting a political figure from a serious threat. It isn't a serious book by any means, but co-authors Charlotte Bernardo and Natalie Zaman clearly know what kind of book they're writing.
BLONDE OPS will appeal to fans of Ally Carter who are looking for more books with a nosy heroine, cloak-and-dagger hijinks, and a cute boy willing to take a few risks himself. There are a few hooks for a sequel, but this adventure stands on its own.