de la Cruz, Melissa. The Au Pairs. Simon & Schuster, 2005. ISBN 978-0689873195 320 pp. $
McLaughlin and Kraus’s The Nanny Diaries (St. Martin, 2002) meets von Ziegesar’s Gossip Girls (Little, Brown, 2002) in this high fashion, air-kissing, celebrity-sprinkled whirl of fluff. Three unique chicas –one exotic exchange student (Jacqui), one plain Jane from suburbia (Mara), and one former society girl (Eliza) find themselves sharing a summer nanny job (and a staff bedroom) in the Hamptons. Juggling boys, babysitting, and beaches is a challenge that can only be accomplished if they work together despite their differences. Their reward? A summer of jet-setting at parties and a salary of $10,000.
The author weaves three predictable stories together with ease and allows her characters to have neat, happy endings. The characters genuinely learn something about themselves by the end, and have some effect on their young charges as well. And, their situations and observations along the way are laugh-out-loud funny.
Less snottily sophisticated or scathingly judgmental than its contemporaries, Au Pairs is the perfect beach read for fans of Sex & the City or Gilmore Girls – light, fun and flippant. Libraries on a shoestring budget can wait for the paperback edition.