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Zipped (Readers Circle) by Laura McNeal
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Zipped (Readers Circle)

by Laura McNeal

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I keep reading the McNeal's books. I like them, but I realize they have a formula: Good Girl, her Girlfriend who is good but susceptible to a Bad Boy, the Bad Boy who has a Quirky Way of Speaking, and a Sweet but Troubled Boy.

It's not a bad thing, though. When I was a kid I ate books like this up like they were soft pretzels with cheese dip. They're warm and filling and tasty.

( )
  periwinklejane | Mar 30, 2013 |
Zipped is the second in a series of three young adult books set in a small town near Syracuse, New York. (The books are connected only in the sense of having the same mise-en-scène.)

Mick Nichols, 15, is close to his dad and his pretty stepmom Nora, has a crush on a girl in school named Lisa, and is generally pretty happy. But as the story opens, Mick discovers, through the e-mail trash in the family computer, that Nora is having an affair. He is devastated: hurt, angry, maybe even jealous. And he doesn’t know what he is going to do with the information.

Meanwhile, he manages to befriend Lisa, but she is not exactly available. She is Mormon, and she is interested in the older but handsome and flirtatious Mormon missionary in town, Joe Keesler.

Lisa thinks Joe is also interested in her, but isn’t sure. And Mick, getting nowhere with Lisa, is surprised to find himself having a relationship of sorts with the beautiful Myra Vidal, five years older and the winner of the Miss Jemison Beauty Contest when she was high school senior.

Lisa and Mick’s two best friends also embark upon new relationships. Lisa has been best friends with Janice forever, but lately they have grown apart. Still, they hang around together because they always have, but it has gotten awkward. And Janice has started a very inappropriate relationship with a very sleazy guy, Maurice. Mick’s best friend Reece made a sort of “Cyrano” play for an attractive girl he liked, and to his surprise she saw through him and liked him for himself.

The winding, unwinding, and rewinding of these relationships take place in a backdrop of family troubles, issues of gender preference, ethnic prejudice, and sexual harassment. The stories, like the characters, are complex and nuanced, and while reading, I felt as if I were immersed in a real place, discovering both the flaws and redeeming qualities of real people.

Evaluation: These are engaging characters who seem human in every way: they make mistakes; they hope, dream, hurt, recover, grow, and love. The McNeals don’t make perfect characters, but they construct even the less likable characters with compassion and understanding. And the nice characters? They are sometimes cowardly, sometimes brave, sometimes funny, and generally charming: in short, just like people you love to know in real life.

Note: Zipped won the 2004 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Children’s Literature ( )
  nbmars | Jan 18, 2013 |
Mick Nichols has a lot going on in his life. He descovers that his stepmother is having an affair, and doesn't know what to do about it; is trying to do something about his feelings for Lisa Doyle; and is now friends with college girl Myra. In the meantime, there are robberies at a home for older people, and Lisa's friend Janice is getting mixed up with the wrong person.

'm not sure how to describe this book. It had romance in it, some mystery, and life problems... but I'm not sure. If you read the back of the book, it makes it seem like all the problems in the book are connected, which they really aren't. The cover doesn't totally make sense (Yes, there is a little devil figurine in the book, but I see no connection of that with the story.) And there was a large amount of vulgarity in this book. Overall, I'm not sure what to think of this book. ( )
  lauren97224 | Sep 27, 2009 |
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It wasn't a normal Thursday, but all day long it had seemed like one, so when the final bell rang, Mick Nichols did what he normally did.
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The first 50 pages of Zipped by Laura McNeal consist of a 15 year old boy, Mick Nichols and the people who surround him. Mick's father is married to a woman by the name of Nora Mercer-Nichols, which Mick enjoys being around. He has little communication with his mother since she lives in San Francisco, so he shares his interests with Nora. One of Mick's interests is playing the piano, and because of this, Nora refers to Mick as Maestro. Another, more personal, interest of Mick's is Lisa Doyle. Lisa Doyle is a red-haired Mormon girl that plays field-hockey at Melville Junior High and applies for the same job as Mick. |

Although Mick has hardly crossed a word with Lisa, he seems to have specific feelings for her that he can't quite explain; according to Nora, Mick is "smitten." Mick and Nora's connection turns tables when Mick mischievously goes through her e-mails and discovers her well-kept secret. Nora is having a dalliance with a man whose name is Alexander Selkirk. After making this discovery, Mick's image of Nora changes and he becomes bothered by plenty of Nora's usual habits. He begins to feel irritated by her and his thoughts become absorbed in the dalliance as he becomes more and more curious about who Nora's paramour may be.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375830987, Paperback)

WHEN 15-YEAR-OLD MICK Nichols opens the wrong e-mail, he learns a terrible secret: His stepmother is having an affair with a man named Alexander Selkirk. Mick is stunned. Should he tell his father, confront his stepmother, or keep it all to himself? And who, exactly, is Alexander Selkirk? Mick becomes obsessed with the infidelity, in spite of some serious distractions. Distractions like Lisa Doyle, the religious field-hockey player with the coppery red hair. Like the surprising (but appreciated) affections of Myra Vidal, a famously gorgeous college freshman with a secret of her own. And at the moment Mick discovers Selkirk’s true identity, he realizes his problems are all zipped up together—and that he may have to go to drastic lengths to untangle them.

“The McNeals spin a wonderfully rich story.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A well-honed novel. . . . Readers will be sucked in.”—Publishers Weekly


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:59 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

At the end of their sophomore year in high school, the lives of four teenagers are woven together as they start a tough new job, face family problems, deal with changing friendships, and find love.

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