"Empress of the World" - Sara Ryan - 2001

Another summer book, this time at an institute for high school honor students.  The protagonist Nicola makes real friends for the time and falls in love for the first time.  She falls for a beautiful dancer named Battle and navigates the ups and downs of teenage relationships.  First love is always awkward and tough.  Nic and Battle are not only dealing with homophobic jerks, but the feelings and opinions of  their friends and each other.  Two such friends are the accepting teenage boy from San Francisco who has a crush on the flamboyant dresser/computer geek, Katrina.

A blog called "Bookshelves of Doom" posted this 2007 review saying, 

" I do think that this book is a good example of why to avoid detailed descriptions of clothing in anything other than genre fiction: 
Katrina has a white dress with pictures of buildings and people silk-screened onto it in black--it's like she's wearing a silent movie--neon green tights, and purple combat boots.  She has her hair up, clipped into several clothespins that she has spray-painted silver Heck, give her a crimping iron and some squiggly earrings and you'd have a Claudia Kishi original. " Yeah, that's probably true.  I hate when romance novelists describe clothing, and Claudia's outfits seem ridiculous now, but I loved them back in the day.  Which might explain why I also owned neon green tights, purple combat boots and did random things with my hair.  I guess that's why I don't mind the descriptions, I get a little nostalgic - and I would have loved tights with a pattern of the word fuck on them! Still would, in fact!

I enjoyed "Empress of the World" very much, so I was excited to find out Ryan published a sequel in 2007 focusing on Battle's life the summer before college called, The Rules for Hearts.  The description sounds fantastic, I can't wait to read about a co-op theater!