Title: Love Inc.
Author: Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout
Concepts: entrepreneurship, services, business startups, barter, money
Review: Fifteen-year-old Zahra and her new friends Kali and Syd did not intentionally set out to form their own company. Rather, the pieces all fell into place shortly after they met in group therapy for teens in difficult family situations, when they found out that the same boy had been dating each of them simultaneously. Such a cheat deserved revenge and the scheme that the girls cooked up was so outlandish that the results made the press, with clients who would pay for various relationship services not far behind.
Their consulting business, Love Inc., had a straightforward mission: to bring people together in happiness until a relationship runs its course and then help them to find closure. Their services included surveillance, mediation, breakup management, matchmaking, and relationship coaching, with fees averaging out to about thirty dollars per hour. Each girl would get one quarter of the cash, with the remainder going back to the company. Barter instead of cash worked as well, with all in-kind payments auctioned for money on eBay. Their other service, revenge, remained off the formal menu so as to protect the integrity of their enterprise, but they would consider customer requests on a case-by-case basis. The girls liked the control that the added cash gave them over their lives, but little did they expect some of the complications that could arise from the sparks that their services had the potential to send flying.
This young-adult novel wraps an informative lesson about entrepreneurship and startup companies into a delightfully entertaining story about teenage romance, friendship, and family relations. The authors do a good job in developing the personalities of the main characters and communicating what makes them tick. The book is rather long due to a growing number of sub-plots and secondary characters, but it still makes for a fun read with substantive content.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children