Ruditis, Paul. Rainbow Party. Simon Pulse, 2005. ISBN 978-1416902355 256 pp. $12.95
Gin, a sophomore girl with a “reputation,” is hosting an oral sex party after school. Each of the six girls attending will wear a different color lipstick and the six guys will try to get a rainbow.
The titillating subject matter of this book will attract some curious readers, but anyone expecting a pleasurable or informative read will be sadly disappointed. The characters are stereotypes, the dialogue is often stilted and unrealistic , and the somewhat predictable ending is disappointing.
The invited guests include:
- Sandy, Gin’s only friend, who is innocent and naive — she wants to decorate for the party with balloons and streamers because “That’s what she did when she had the Hello Kitty party for her last birthday” (10).
- Hunter, the male slut, and his “friend with benefits” Perry, a closeted homosexual.
- Average-girl Skye, her cheating boyfriend Rod, and her best friend Vi who secretly wants Rod.
- Rusty, the boastful jock who Sandy likes, and Brick, the jock who made the mistake of admitting he’s a virgin.
- Jade, the popular but mysterious sophomore class president.
- Rose & Ash, the class couple, who are all lovey-dovey but apparently don’t talk to each other about serious issues.
With so many characters, the author doesn’t have time for any real character development and resorts to telling instead of showing: “Jade never got in trouble for anything. She never actually did anything to get in trouble for. Jade was always working on some kind of cause, whether it was food drives, or social events, or student protests. If Jade headed up the committee, students would line up to join” (68).
The plot structure is appropriate for building anticipation and would be effective if the reader cared about the characters. Each chapter starts with the time and describes what each character is doing in the final hours before the start of the party.
Parents would likely be shocked by the topic of the book, but might be mollified by the lesson that oral sex is indeed sex and that you can get an STD from it — “thirty-nine members of the sophomore class had gotten gonorrhea. Of that thirty-nine only two–or possibly three–were supposed to be at [the rainbow] party” (237).
Large, urban libraries may want to purchase this book because of the level of interest it will likely generate, but once people have read it, it’s unlikely they will recommend it to their friends. Small, rural, and school libraries will want to pass.
Review by Liz