Seven Deadlies: A Cautionary Tale

 Title: Seven Deadlies: A Cautionary Tale
Author: Gigi Levangie
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Release Date: 2013
Source: Chapters
Rating: 3/5
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Perry Gonzalez is not like the other kids in her Beverly Hills high school — a full-blooded Latina on a scholarship, living in a tiny apartment with her mother, she doesn’t have much in common with the spoiled, privileged kids who are chauffered to school every morning.  But Perry is a budding young writer with her sights set on Bennington — and her seven deadly stories are her ticket to the Ivory Tower.  To pay her way, Perry’s been babysitting (correction: teenage-sitting) and tutoring the neighbourhood kids, and she has seen the dark side of adolescence: lust for the “Judas Brothers” that leads to electrocution at a private birthday party concert; wrath that inspires new and perverse family bonds; and greed, in a young Bernie Madoff acolyte who conceives of a copycat Ponzi scheme involving his own grandmother. (Goodreads)

 Written in the style of a university application, Levangie’s novel tells the story of a young Latina named Perry.  She doesn’t quite fit in at her high school populated by rich white kids, but makes the most of it by becoming the go-to tutor, babysitter, therapist, etc… for many of her classmates.  These classmates are the subject of her application letter.

An aspiring English major and writer, Perry Gonzalez is quite the relatable character.  As many English majors and writers might tell you, we were the underdogs of high school, but Perry manages to become the school’s unsung hero.

As the title suggests, Seven Deadlies, shows Perry’s battle with the seven deadly sins — lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.  Each sin is represented by a classmate or “friend,” and Perry must learn to navigate these hardships and ultimately learn to distinguish right from wrong.  Although the situations Perry deals with are extremely exaggerated and entertaining, it is difficult to not self-identify with the children she works with.  My favourite moment in the novel is most likely the most pivotal moment in the story, when Perry gets a major wake-up call and realizes that she is an embodiment of one of the seven deadly sins herself.  It is at this point that she is able to make a difference and help someone in need, find love and manage to feel normal.

The book would have ended perfectly with the arrival of Perry’s rejection letter, as she’s technically only in her first year of high school and nowhere near graduation, however, the novel has a twist end, which in my opinion, ruined the end.   I found this quite unfortunate as, without giving away too much, it was still an extremely entertaining book up until this “afterwards” of sorts, undermined the entire novel.

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