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Tagged by Mara Purnhagen
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What is the difference between Graffiti and Art? Mara Purnhagen takes us to Cleary, South Carolina to a town which didn't see much action until they had to answer that one question. Were the Gorillas that were found on several local businesses, including the local high school, graffiti or art? Who was the mastermind behind the Gorillas? Was it more then one person? What was the purpose behind the Gorillas?

Our main character, a very likable, Kate Morgan is who we followed throughout this adventure of finding the vandal(s)... or is it artist(s) Most every character we were introduced to, with the exception of those created meant to irk us, had a personality which set them apart and was very likable. There was somewhere there who almost anyone could relate to.

Not only a mystery, Tagged has a little bit of romance giving this book a second side and another aspect in which offered a solid foundation for an adorable and fun read. Don't let that lead to you believe that it's all a fun loving romance, Kate isn't exactly the most above average of girls who seem to have easy access to whoever and whatever she wants.

On top of the great Gorilla mystery, Kate, and the rest of the town, has to deal with the side effects the school's mean girl, Tiffany, who is having her sweet sixteen filmed for MTV. Did I forget to mention Kate's mom has to provide the cake for the near-royal event and Kate shows up to the party not only in a pair of sweats but ends up framed?

Well written and unique, Mara Purnhagen definitely stands out with this refreshing read. ( )
  StaceyMacWrites | Nov 28, 2010 |
I find Purnhagen quite reminiscent of Meg Cabot — Tagged is a well written book with a great plot and endearing, rootable characters. The romantic entanglements and situations in this story aren’t new or unique to me but I’m the first to admit that this is likely related to my age. I’m certain that middle school and many teen readers may not see how some of the twists and turns will play out quite as readily as I was able to. Regardless, of this issue I still thoroughly enjoyed the story, it was a quick fun read that is definitely worthy of attention.

One of the highlights of the story was Purnhagen’s choice to infuse Tagged with the debate of what defines art versus vandalism. This question arises as a result of a series of graffiti gorillas appearing on the walls of various locations around town (including Kate’s high school). Then when they begin to appear in other, more distant, locations the phenomena sparks interest in the mystery. Who is the artist? Who is the vandal?

To me, this conversation provides the story it’s most thought provoking asset. It gives an outlet for both Kate and her friend Eli reflect on their lives. For Kate, the events surrounding the arrival and movement of the gorillas encourage her to look at the true meaning of friendship and love. She experiences the typical highs and lows of a high schooler — navigating the social classes, falling in love for the first time, dealing with jealousy and spitefulness, and most of all understanding the legalities of the choices one makes.

An touching and humorous read with strongly built characters Tagged is wholesome entertainment with a good set of values behind it. ( )
  galleysmith | Sep 4, 2010 |
From my blog: penultimatepage.com

My Thoughts:

For those of you that don’t know the meaning of “tagged” here is what dictionary.com has to say: ”To mark or vandalize (a surface) with graffiti: tagged the subway walls.”

Tagged was a quick read that I wasn’t too sure about, judging by the cover, but I’m glad I gave it a chance. While the main issue in the book is this giant mural of spray-painted gorillas, it’s really about right and wrong and, as the characters debate frequently, the difference between art and vandalism.

Kate was a plain-Jane, relatable character. All she’s worried about is getting good grades, blending in, and trying not to seem like a snitch as the police chief’s daughter. When the gorillas show up on the wall of the school, Kate tries not to have an opinion. Opinions mean standing out, something Kate has tried hard not to do. However, her coworker at the local coffee shop, Eli, wants to know what she thinks of the newly decorated school. If Kate had stayed the plain-Jane, I would have quickly gotten annoyed. However, with Eli’s help, Kate grows and learns that having an opinion, or standing out for that matter, might not be so bad.

The other characters, like Kate’s best friend Lan, coworker Eli, and popular, stuck up Tiffany, are all well developed and play meaningful roles. They’re not just page-fillers. Lan, though she was a good friend to Kate, got on my nerves a bit. I can’t exactly pinpoint why, she was just a bit annoying to me. Eli is a mysterious, sort of bad boy, which is cool to see in a contemporary YA versus a paranormal where the bad boys grow on trees. Tiffany, ugh. That being said, Tiffany was the antagonist, so I guess “ugh” is probably the correct reaction to her character.

The romances were slightly unpredictable in Tagged, though it was nice to see that Kate had a life outside boys. That’s right, this contemporary YA wasn’t all about the romances, there was a slight aura of mystery hanging in the air the whole time. Who was the tagger? How were they doing this? Clues were dropped at the perfect intervals and all questions were answered in a timely manner, which is big for me. If situations aren’t resolved in a reasonable amount of time, I have been known to stop reading. Thank you, Mara, for keeping me reading.

The Verdict:

Tagged stands apart with it’s focus on the battle between right and wrong, art and vandalism. Quick, concise, and completely relatable, I recommend Tagged to any lover of YA lit. ( )
  emilove | Apr 27, 2010 |
Reviewed by Ashley B for TeensReadToo.com

Kate Morgan arrives at Cleary High like any regular day, but this day turns out different. The school has been tagged; a mural of six gorillas resides on the side of the school building

Being the police chief's daughter, Kate tries to stay out of it. Many people are saying that the gorillas, which are also turning up on other buildings in town, and out of state, are vandalism. Are they? Or are they art?

This book was totally enjoyable from the very beginning. I was drawn in at the start. The plot was lifelike, and I liked the characters. When first meeting Eli, I couldn't even tell that Kate was interested in him romantically, but perhaps she was in denial, since he was in a relationship, and she even told her best friend and parents that "he is just a friend I work with."

I loved the relationship between Kate and Lan, her best friend. I could tell they were really close, and yet she wasn't even around all that much. That's a good kind of friendship to have; it's like the finish-each other's-sentences kind of friendship. I would have liked Kate's photography to be a larger part of the novel, because we don't learn how much she enjoys it until the last chapter.

But if you're up for a fast and fun read, find TAGGED when it comes out! ( )
  GeniusJen | Feb 27, 2010 |
Tagged by Mara Purnhagen isn't a book I've seen around the blogosphere too much, but I think it's just as deserving of attention as the plethora of contemporary high-school based novels I've seen. Tagged was a quick, and by quick I mean 3 hours non-stop, read. Kate Morgan is basically your average jane-high-school, except, well, her dad's the police chief, and she does what she can to blend in. Kate's boring life changes though when she shows up and someone has painted gorillas on the school wall. The gorillas create a buzz, and Kate is left to decide if they are art or vandalism.

I definitely found myself rooting for Kate. She's quite a vanilla character, but there's something about her that I couldn't help but cheer for. Perhaps it is that she is hard-working, and I admire that. Or maybe it's that she's a fabulous friend. Or perhaps it is that she decides what is best for herself, not some guy. She's very understated, she's not an in your face main-character, but like I said, there's something altogether admirable about her.Also, she has an awesome best friend. Lan, her BFF, is Vietnamese-American, she's got an opinion and isn't afraid to express it. Oh yah and she's an Asian girl with an attitude, even though she is good at science, but not so good at history. Still, I loved how Lan was such a good listener, and how she was always trying to get Kate to try new food. Lan is awesome. If anything read this book to meet Lan. As far as male leads go, the main boy of the book is interesting, if only because there's mystery and who doesn't love a little bit of intrigue. Of course there has to be some romance elements to this book, it is put out by HarlequinnTeen after all!

Of course, the pacing of Tagged was fast. There wasn't a dull moment where I was pondering what to read next, as I so often do during boring books. I loved all of the questions asked about art within this book, although I really do know nothing about art. I also loved how much time the characters spent in their history classroom debating things, but I am a bit biased towards that. Plus there's bits about finding one's passion, which I think teens should start exploring in high school, and never really stop exploring. Also, I enjoyed reading about Kate's job at Something's Brewing, a local coffee shop owned by an elderly lady. Sassy elderly ladies are the best.

I wish I could have delved more into the characters, but I will take this book to be nothing more than what it is, a contemporary novel about high schoolers, doing high school things, dealing with a bit of wackiness every now and then. I definitely recommend this book to you if you've got three hours out of your day to spare, or want something light to read. Really, this book is at heart something perfect for it's line, a fast-paced read guaranteed to absorb you if only for a little bit. ( )
  booksandwine | Feb 23, 2010 |
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When I got off the bus that crisp January morning and stepped onto the parking lot, the only thing I could see was a crowd of students gathered near the east wall of our school.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0373210078, Paperback)

Can Kate Morgan stand up for herself—without being labeled a snitch?

Kate is just as confused as her best friend, Lan, when she arrives at Cleary High to find the building's been "tagged" with a life-size graffiti mural. Could the culprit be one of their friends or classmates? And is the kind-of-amazing creation really vandalism, or a work of art? She's tempted to stay out of it—mostly because, as the police chief's daughter, she's worried about being labeled a snitch. But when the same mysterious graffiti starts appearing throughout the state, putting more pressure on the authorities to catch the vandal, her investigative instincts kick in.

Now Eli, Kate's favorite coworker at the local coffee shop, is MIA. With Lan preoccupied with her own boy troubles, Kate needs to figure out some things on her own. Like why she can't stop thinking about Eli. And what she will do when all the clues about the graffiti point to someone she's close to…

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:31 -0400)

"Can Kate Morgan stand up for herself--without being labeled a snitch? Kate is just as confused as her best friend, Lan, when she arrives at Cleary High to find the building's been 'tagged' with a life-size graffiti mural. Could the culprit be one of their friends or classmates? And is the kind-of-amazing creation really vandalism, or a work of art? She's tempted to stay out of it--mostly because, as the police chief's daughter, she's worried about being labeled a snitch. But when the same mysterious graffiti starts appearing throughout the state, putting more pressure on the authorities to catch the vandal, her investigative instincts kick in. Now Eli, Kate's favorite coworker at the local coffee shop, is MIA. With Lan preoccupied with her own boy troubles, Kate needs to figure out some things on her own. Like why she can't stop thinking about Eli. And what she will do when all the clues about the graffiti point to someone she's close to"--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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