Tuesday, May 06, 2014
Properly Scandalous (Mina V. Esguerra)
Properly Scandalous moves fast. It sets a brisk pace and urges you to keep up. It's fascinating to see a scam unfold before your eyes and it's definitely a credit to Ms Esguerra that she can write something as deliciously diabolical as these then turn around and write a sweet YA romance.
One detail that I enjoy about the books is Ms Esguerra's deliberate use of colorful surnames. Scandalous has a Polly Masmagiting and an Esperanza Mandawit, for example. They're not quite the familiar surnames that you'd associate with Manila's high society (or even those climbing the social ladder), but I find that they serve a two-fold purpose: 1) they bring levity to a scene; and 2) they certainly help disassociate the events of the book from real people.
Plus, it maintains a great cast of characters. Scandalous even fleshes out previously secondary characters like Alexander and Wendy (they were my favorites from the beginning, I dunno why). Jane and her group live in a world with so much artifice but I still find myself drawn to the people behind their masks. By the way, their gang deserves a monicker. I'm just out of ideas at the moment.
The Scambitious series is one of my favorite among Ms Esguerra's works. There's a sharpness here that I rarely see in Filipino chick lit, and I don't mean the bitchy kind. It glints with a different kind of polish and charm. The dialogue is snappy but it doesn't take itself seriously. It moves in different circles: parties and bars and high-end condos on one hand, trashy gossip blogs and forums on the other. These worlds are brought together with convincing realism, walking the thin line between these two highly exaggerated worlds.
NOTE: Properly Scandalous is available on Smashwords. Holler if you want a gift code to get it free. Also, that's my old friend and fashion blogger Alex Lapa on the cover. She is one of my long-time blog readers. ;)