Guess who’s back, he’s back again! No, it’s not the Real Slim Shady, it’s Rich Cameron, the main character of Jean Blasiar’s Poor Rich, in her latest novel in the series about the now fifteen-year-old’s life, Richer. Can a teen with asthma, a heart condition, divorced parents, and a gay father who lives with his lover, find happiness and success in life? Yeah, he can, if he also writes songs for the rock band Apollo, is friends with one of the school’s jocks (Huey), and has one of the coolest pets with one of the coolest pet names ever, the parrot U2!
Is Richer as good as the excellent introduction to the series of novels featuring Rich Cameron? Let’s face it; often, sequels just aren’t as good as the first book in a series, and sometimes, they downright suck! But, not to fear–Richer is also a great novel, a fun, feel-good read that will leave you wanting to read even more about Rich’s on-going adventures and life. It’s not only as good as the first novel–IMHO, it’s even better! This is because, though I enjoyed reading the second half of Poor Rich, which is primarily made up of short stories that Rich wrote, Richer is entirely about Rich’s life and exploits, so to me, it is even better, because it flows better, and Rich’s life is a pretty interesting one, with rarely a dull moment in it.
What makes Richer a fantastic book, one that you shouldn’t hesitate plucking down your money for through this web site, or at a bookstore? I like the sense of optimism that pervades the novel, the feeling that despite some of the travails and problems Rich faces, there are enough pleasant, happy, and–dare I say it?–enriching moments to outweigh the negative things he faces. He becomes stronger inside for enduring such problems, like when some teens at his school taunt him by calling him derogatory names like Fag (he isn’t one, not that that’s important), because his father is gay, and because he has asthma and loves literature and creative writing.
Also, something else I liked about this sequel is that Rich’s Mom finally kicks his stepfather, Steve, out of the house, and divorces him. He let his macho behavior control him too much, and I didn’t like it when he ridiculed or belittled Rich. Perhaps Rich was made the stronger and better person for it. Steve’s behavior was one of the hurdles Rich had to overcome in the first book, so he served as one more obstacle; but, other than that, and that he was another way for Rich to grow as a person, I didn’t particularly care for him.