so … who’ll be paski in the movie?

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

Just finished Haters by Alisa Valdex-Rodriguez.  Good read. The plot is typical YA teenlit stuff.  Paski Archuleta moves with her hippy artist dad from Taos New Mexico to Aliso Viejo in Orange County, California.  From the first day that she's there, she realizes that things are different in SoCal where everyone looks like they model or are waiting for their moment in the sun on Empty V (ha, ha, ha …).  At school she learns to navigate the halls of Aliso Niguel High where money is everything and the beautiful rich "Haters" rule.  Along the way, Paski meets beautiful nice boy Chris (who'll probably be played by some teen hunky guy from One Tree Hill that I can't tell from another teen hunky guy on One Tree Hill); Tina, the outsider nice girl who doesn't quite fit in, but is really the true friend that will last (who'll be played by someone like Heather Matarazzo, but younger since reliably  excellent Heather'll be a bit long in the tooth to still be playing high schoolers by the time this one gets made); and queen beeyach Jessica Nguyen (nice touch, having the beeyach be an Asian girl … she'll have to be played by a newcomer because there are no young Asian girl pop stars to fill the role that might go to some marginally talented pop singer with 8-pack abs and only one name, if the character was white … at least that I'm aware of).  Valdes-Rodriguez's writing is definitely a cut above the typical "teen girl who is popular at her hickville high school goes to a new school in trendy but shallow SoCal and meets up with mean girls who run the school" fare. On the "let's teach teenagers some good life lessons based on themes derived from ABC After School Specials" scale, I'd rate this one about a 6.  Paski learns that she needs to embrace her individual gifts, not worry too much about being popular, and to stop worrying about people other than her good friends and family think.  I know, that sounds like a "excuse me, I'm going to vomit now" 10, but Valdes-Rodriguez writes with such skill that she pulls off the pedantic moments pretty painlessly so it gets a 6 (just a tad bothersome at points) instead. 

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