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The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball    by Risa Green order for
Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball
by Risa Green
Order:  USA  Can
Sourcebooks, 2010 (2010)

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* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

The majority of teen girls I have come across (including myself and my friends when we were that age) would jump at the chance to have a little magic in their lives, which is a major reason why Risa Green's The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball is so appealing. Despite having an element of fantasy, this is a spot-on tale of three high school friends learning about themselves and each other.

Erin Channing wishes her life could be more interesting so she had something to write about in her essay submission for her AP Art History class's trip to Italy. Only five students will be chosen and she has the GPA part of the criteria in the bag - if her life was more exciting, she would have the essay portion, too. Little does she know how exciting her life is about to get.

When her Aunt Kiki dies, after not having spoken to Erin or her mother for the past year, Erin suddenly finds herself the new owner of a Pink Crystal Ball, a fortunetelling toy, along with a set of clues on how to use it. Erin, being highly science-minded, cannot figure out why her aunt would leave her such a strange gift. Lindsay, Erin's new agey friend, though, thinks that this particular Pink Crystal Ball has magical properties.

At the urging of her other best friend, Samantha, Erin makes a wish to it, although she does not believe in it. Her thoughts change, though, the next day when her wish comes true. Now Erin is starting to believe, but her life goes from boring to messed-up when she tries helping her friends with their wishes and gets her own real wish in turn.

I immediately connected with Erin because she reminded me a lot of myself in high school a smart, average-looking girl who has a major problem thinking outside of the box. All of her feelings were realistic, and the situations she and her friends found themselves in are all believable for this day and age. No character was a complete goody-goody, but then no character was a complete mean-girl, either even the mean girl. In this, Green managed to capture the essence of high school social relations, an important feat in penning an excellent YA novel.

The plot itself was also highly realistic, even if it did involve a Pink Crystal Ball. Learning to think outside the box, accept others, and making the correct choices is a major part of growing up, and this was brought out expertly without ever preaching. If you are looking for a fun, exciting, can't-put-it-down, non-vampire teen read, The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball is an excellent pick. Risa Green shows that she can capture a reader by fully immersing them into a realistic teen character.

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