Your Own Worst Enemy by Gordon Jack (448 pages)
Overview: Stacey is going to be class president. It doesn't matter that two more candidates just threw their hat into the ring. She's been in student government since freshman year. She's running on a recycling program, her best friend, Brian is running her campaign. Obviously, she's perfect for the job. But Julia, the new student from Canada, and Brians new crush, might pose a real threat. She's made powerful alliances as she advocates from the school's minorities, and she's running on a no homework platform. She's different. And then there's Tony who's swept the freshman vote. He doesn't even want to win. He just wants chocolate milk back in the classroom. Overall: 4
Characters: 4 I enjoyed reading about all the characters. Like the plot, they're all a bit larger than life, but they're compelling as well. Stacy has a thirst for power because she thinks that's her destiny. Her parents have gone through a nasty divorce, and she only has Brian to count as a friend.
Then there's Julia whose Mom sent her away to live with her aunt after a near tragedy in her town. She can't have a lock on her door or use her phone in her room. But, at school, after her poster is vandalized with racist text, she becomes a rallying cry for people to stand up against racism. She becomes loved. The twist though, is she doesn't even know her own ethnic background.
Tony just happens to be angry about the milk within earshot of Kyle, a freshman who's power thirsty. The race makes him realize that maybe he should start thinking about his life more deeply.
Plot: 4 There are plenty of hijinks to fill the close to five hundred pages. From chocolate milk riots to quinceañera dressed girls silently protesting, there's never a dull moment. Everyone has their own ideas of campaign initiatives and how to react when they succeed or fail. And then there's Brain who brings the usual teen book confusion between is best friend and his crush.
Writing: 5 I'm surprised to say that I honestly can't complain about how long this book was. The pacing is so fast that I finished it faster than I've read some much shorter books. There's laughs all the way through, and, though it manages to tackle politics, race and racial identity, and other issues, the pace never slows. It takes the serious parts seriously, but it fits the story so well.
I also think that Jack has given some of the best third person prose I've ever read. Each chapter moves through so many characters, but I felt like I got to know all of their voices individually. I really loved the different voices and the third person POV on the whole.