Book Review: On re-reading One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

One for the Money (Stephanie Plum, #1) My book club is discussing One for the Money by Janet Evanovich this month, the first book in the wildly popular Stephanie Plum series which is being made into a movie (finally) at the end of the month, starring Katherine Heigl.

Here’s a description of the book from Goodreads.com:

Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash–fast–but times are tough, and soon she’s forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family.

Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie’s bail bonding company. She’s got no experience. But that doesn’t matter. Neither does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants to the time Steph hit him with her father’s Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water–wanted for murder.

Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained in the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn’t. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she’ll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight–and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man.

The Plum books are a favorite guilty pleasure of mine. I’ve been reading them for years and always enjoy sinking my teeth into the newest edition, though for the past couple of years I’ve had a harder time keeping up. I think I’m three books behind now, mostly because my list of books I want to read keeps getting more and more intimidating.

Anyway, I was thrilled when my book club voted for this book because having already read it, I was pretty sure I could breeze through a re-reading and that it would give me more time to get through other books, too. Plus any opportunity to debate the Ranger vs Morelli thing is a-okay by me (who needs Edward or Jacob when you can have either of these fine men?). But I was a little worried about how re-reading this book would go. Would I be able to get into it? What if, much like trying to reread The Babysitters Club books, I enjoyed it less this time around?

Well, ten days later or so and I can say – these books are worth re-reading. One for the Money was every bit as good this time around as the first and the plot was just hazy enough in my mind that it was easy to re-read and not feel like a walking spoiler alert. I even forgot most of the details of the end of this one it turns out! And I’m so glad to have brushed up on the story now before seeing the movie so that I can expertly critique it!

Some thoughts:

When I first heard that Katherine Heigl was playing Stephanie I was a little bit skeptical. She simply isn’t how I pictured Stephanie Plum, even with her hair dyed. But I re-read the book while picturing Katie as the main role and I have to say, it works. I think she’ll pull it off really well.

I think we can all agree that the Plum books are a light read – they aren’t classically well written and some of the snootier book critics probably wouldn’t give them the time of day. I thought about this a lot, too, while reading it – what is it about these books that appeals so much?

These are not the best written books of all time, but I think they are cleverly written – with witty dialogue and loveable (if at times dense) characters that you’ll want to root for. I’ve always liked Stephanie Plum because I feel I can relate to her normality – she’s not extraordinary or blessed with super powers or years of training, which I guess makes me feel like I could find myself in her situation – like I could be a bounty hunter, too! Though I’ll skip the spandex shorts and baggy t-shirts, thanks!

I also think these books are a great light mystery – they are suspenseful but they aren’t going to keep me awake at night checking all the locks on my windows. They are only half predictable in that you might gather the idea of what’s going on and whodunnit, but you probably won’t get the whole picture before Evanovich wants you to. So you can feel clever without feeling bored.

These books may not be for everyone – I think Prose readers might not be into it in particular, but I’m definitely more in love with the series than ever and really looking forward to finally seeing it on the big screen!