Secrets of a Teen Queen

Young Adult - Coming of Age
249 Pages
Reviewed on 09/28/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Anya Valentino is a Danish-American, independent Author, a passionate jetsetter in heels looking for new life experiences and fun.

Her stories brings an alternative perspective to perceived reality from different character's viewpoint and the characters are colorful and never just "black and white". She is a fan of irony and puts reality into a larger life perspective adding a good dash of drama, suspense, romance and humor with a twist.

You never know where the story might take you!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite

I am a very long way from my high school days, but Misunderstood: Secrets of a Teen Queen by Anya Valentino brought those days back to me in a wild literary rush. This story takes place among the elite of Los Angeles. These are kids with closets as big as the room I shared with my brother. Enya is a high school teen queen in Bel Air, with a cook and a driver and a personal assistant, but somehow being rich and beautiful doesn't seem to make being a teenage girl any easier in Bel Air than it was in my hometown or any other town in America. Basically the rich just have more accessories. This is both comforting and disturbing. I kept thinking there must be a better way to help guide teens through the pitfalls and insecurities of adolescence.

Enya and her friends vacation in Copenhagen and seem to lead a life of one party or event after another. So why did I feel so sorry for them? Except for a series of disappearing text messages that threaten to shatter her carefully constructed perfect world, Enya is as confused and angst driven as the famous young male protagonist of that literary classic Catcher in the Rye. The young protagonist feels heartbreakingly authentic. And the sharp, crisp, writing by Anya Valentino with just the right touch of irony and satire lifts Misunderstood: Secrets of a Teen Queen to a level above your average coming of age story.

Jack Magnus

Misunderstood: Secrets of a Teen Queen is a young adult coming of age novel written by Anya Valentino. Eighteen-year-old Enya Utzon has it all: parents who’ve given her enough freedom to live her life on her own terms, the latest in designer clothing courtesy of her personal design stylist and consultant, and a posse of girl and boy friends, including Michael, the Teen King and her supposed consort, and James, who really has her heart. It’s their last year in high school, and Enya wants desperately to get James to realize that she’s in love with him. The high point of her school day is when the two of them go off to French class, and they exchange witty and sometimes silly French puns and plays on words. Michael is gorgeous, with deep brown eyes, but it’s James’ blue eyes and sweet nature that has Enya hooked. When James confides in her that he has a new love interest, Enya’s at a loss to understand how he could consider anyone besides her, but James thinks of her only as a friend, and, perhaps more importantly, the girlfriend of his mate, Michael.

Anya Valentino’s young adult coming of age story, Misunderstood: Secrets of a Teen Queen, is a well-written and absorbing tale. The author adroitly targets the social strains and stresses of high school life even for those on the top of the proverbial heap. While Enya is not a character many readers will feel much empathy with, it is intriguing to consider that even the queens of the teen world are capable of feeling heartache, loneliness and angst. While Michael is ostensibly her official beau, he never became real for me -- the reader never gets to see what makes this young man tick, nor do we really see much of the school/academic life at Bel Air High. This is Enya and James’ story, which works best when they are intellectually at play while speaking French. While Misunderstood is an entertaining look at an elite high school clique, I found I wanted to know more about their actual school experiences, college plans and lives aside from the obsessions with the latest fashions and the next white party. The girls’ trip to Denmark and visit with Enya’s grandparents was a marvelous detour from that one-dimensional world, and I’m hoping that a sequel to Misunderstood will continue to more fully flesh out this Teen Queen and her secrets.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Misunderstood: Secrets of a Teen Queen by Anya Valentino is a flamboyant account of teenage glitz and glamour. At twenty-eight, Enya reflects back on her years at Bel Air High School. She is the queen, and she looks the part. All eyes are on her, all adore her. Enya’s kingdom is full of personal attention - she has a personal trainer, a personal stylist, a personal coach, a personal maid and, of course, a personal assistant. She has a handsome, rich and manicured boyfriend, and a royal court of friends. She is an A-student, a cheerleader, and has everything money can buy. Yet, she is lonely, her life is empty. However, there is more to Enya than meets the eye. Held hidden deep within is a dream, a dream of true love.

Anya Valentino reveals the world of the rich and famous from a teenager’s point of view. The narrative is written as a remembrance, a memoir of sorts, as the main character looks back at her youth. This story depicts the life of the over privileged. It was a blend of Clueless, Beverly Hills 90210 and Legally Blond, complete with bodacious descriptions and designer clothing; it was simply “divalicious.” The narrative revolves around the life of an overly admired teen queen; her real character is masked by her pretentious regal demeanor. However, Valentino gives depth to her protagonist by giving her a hidden past and a secret aspiration. The young adult reader will be caught up in the ostentatious lifestyle portrayed. It is filled with teenage drama and coming of age experiences of Bel Air’s affluent and influential youth.

Kayti Nika Raet

Misunderstood by Anya Valentino is the young adult coming of age story of Enya Utzon – a real Teen Queen, who knows how to walk the talk. As the daughter of a successful and busy business couple, she’s used to being left to herself and having to handle everything on her own. A filthy-rich Teen Queen, Enya lives her life accordingly and with all the luxuries that come with being that. Despite having it all, she still struggles to find true love, and to be recognized by the one man that her heart desires. Only problem is; unlike everyone else, he won’t spare her a look!

Life becomes even more problematic for Enya when she starts receiving a series of mysterious texts that delete themselves shortly after being read. They hint at a past that she’s been trying to suppress and hide for three years. It's only after being completely and publicly humiliated that Enya is forced to take action and find out why these things are happening to her - and if they might have something to do with her shameful past. A past that now is back to haunt her present and she has to do everything within her power to handle it. Enya Utzon is not going down without a fight.

First off, I really love the cover for Misunderstood by Anya Valentino; it's the highlight of the book and really hints at the plot and characters. Fans of Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars, who are looking for another chance to live vicariously through the lives of the fabulously wealthy, will enjoy reading about Enya and her day to day activities. Threaded throughout is the mystery of Enya's past and the looming threat of someone intending to take away her crown as Teen Queen. Peppered with exclamation marks and high school drama, Misunderstood by Anya Valentino is a light, escapist read.

Sarah Jane Ochsner

Such a fun book! A truly great and intriguing read. It is a fun twist that the protagonist in the story is the popular girl and not the unpopular girl becoming popular - also focusing on the not so great things with popularity and being misunderstood. I like how the book also incorporates Enya's roots in both the US and Denmark, drawing influences from both cultures. It adds a nice dimension to the book.

I would definitely recommend this book and look forward to more and exciting work from the truly talented Anya Valentino!