Very rarely will I ever gush about a book. This is one of those rare times. I love "Viola in Reel Life" by Adiana Trigiani. I actually finished about half this book in less than an hour (something I haven't done in a very, very long time) and put it down for a few days just to savor the thought of the ending. This book had a lot I could relate to- I picked it up as my "vacation" book while I was traveling, so I too was leaving New York City behind, just Viola. I can also relate to her experiences going to a school she wasn't super excited about; in my case, it was a NH prep school in the good part of town. For Viola, it's in Indiana. Hers was worse.
Viola has a cutting, witty personality that I think many girls (and even none girls) can relate to. She manages to be hip and cool without being overly whiny. That is always on the plus side. With her and her roommates, it gets a little too much like a certain sisterhood involving pants a little too fast, but I do like that she befriends one of them, Marisol, a little better than the rest- especially when they are both stuck at the school for Christmas. I would have liked it a little more if Viola had some more conflict within her perfect room, maybe with Romy the sports star, but alas. Viola is not even really given a proper nemesis; but since this is the start of a possible multi-book series, that can totally be something that develops down the line. I also like how Viola handles her men; she doesn't seem to care that much on the outside, but internally she's not thinking about a lot else. Her documentary filmmaker parents are cool, and I like her strained relationship with them, but the emotions they stir in Viola definitely made me see her as a little less cool, a little more vulnerable. This is worth the read for people of any age, especially is you like your protagonist sassy and cool, which I always do.