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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Suddenly Singapore (Coral Cove Book 3) by Laura Kennedy is a young adult thriller/mystery that centers around the adventures of a seventeen-year-old Floridian beauty, Brooke Bentley. Brooke should be experiencing her senior year at high school in Florida, enjoying her friends and the attentions of her boyfriend, but instead, she is jetting halfway around the world with her mother and younger brother to join her father who has been appointed to manage a hotel construction in Singapore, a job that will take around a year to complete. Brooke and her brother will attend the highly prestigious and exclusive Marlborough Academy with the sons and daughters of Singapore’s rich and powerful movers and shakers. She will have to deal with making new friends, exotic new foods, a foreign language, and a pace of life she will find very different from her laid-back days back in Florida. In Toy, a chubby, shy girl and Mu, a sweet, gay boy, she quickly finds acceptance and friendship but what really excites her is the possibility of joining the exclusive clique club known as the Chameleons, to which only the super-popular girls are privileged to belong. Brooke will discover the joys and excitement of the metropolis that is Singapore, along with her share of adventure and danger, not to mention a touch of romance. This year in a foreign country will be like nothing she has experienced before.
Suddenly Singapore could best be described as “mean girls go Asian." Author Laura Kennedy has created an interesting character in Brooke. She is young, blonde, vivacious, and beautiful, which allows her to run with the popular, cliquey girls but she is also moral, kind-hearted, and sweet, which allows her to also empathize and befriend those who don’t always make the list of popular girls. I think it was her difference, her uniqueness as a blonde American that both made her stand out as different and strange, yet equally allowed her to fit in as someone unique and worthy of interest to the other young adults, especially in her school. I particularly enjoyed the breadth of characters that made up the Chameleons, with their wealthy pampered existence of maids, drivers, and beautiful houses that didn’t necessarily guarantee self-love, self-confidence, self-worth, and of course, happiness. Their often seemingly vacuous existence emphasized the idea that money definitely does not buy happiness. The plot was twisty enough to keep me interested as a reader and I did enjoy the opportunity to vicariously visit and picture the many attractions that make Singapore such an interesting city. The exotic location chosen by the author definitely gives the story a more exciting and magical feel. The writing was simple, straightforward and propelled the reader onward in such a way that it was easy to read the entire book in one sitting. For something entertaining, without requiring too much in-depth thought, this is a thoroughly readable young adult adventure that I can recommend.