For Ruby, her friends are like her lifeline. First, there’s Beth, the girl who has been with Ruby through all of her family problems and is always the...moreFor Ruby, her friends are like her lifeline. First, there’s Beth, the girl who has been with Ruby through all of her family problems and is always there to offer good advice. There’s also Maria, who is the most experienced with boys and is very supportive. The latest addition to their group is Katherine, the bad girl, who is going through family problems of her own and seems to not like Ruby that much.
Things go askew when Ruby’s father, who abandoned her family many years earlier, shows up for her sixteenth birthday party. All the feelings and memories that Ruby has been trying to bury resurface. Ruby seems to have a fear of hooking up until she meets the new guy Charlie. But her mom is acting strangely as well as her best friend Beth. Things only get worse when Ruby finds out that Beth stole a letter her father left for her.
Throughout the story, Ruby realizes that she can’t always rely on her friends, because no matter how much she wants to think that they are always loyal, they are bound to let her down sometimes. Ruby also comes to terms with her mom, and the terrible secret that broke up her parents’ marriage so many years ago. Although her reunion with her father isn’t perfect, it is the best that can be expected under such conditions.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story, especially because it was through Ruby’s perspective. It was easy to understand her point of view and feelings in most situations she was in. This novel was truly heartfelt, and I even cried at several points. I recommend this book to fans of Sarah Dessen, because the stories are similar in many aspects. I look forward to more books from Siobhan Vivian, because this debut novel was amazing.
The Monster Blood Tattoo series continues with this next installment. Lamplighter is twice as thick as its preceding story, Foundling, but that doesn’...moreThe Monster Blood Tattoo series continues with this next installment. Lamplighter is twice as thick as its preceding story, Foundling, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is twice as good.
For those of you who haven’t read the first in the series, main character Rossamünd is a foundling who embarks on an adventure to reach a city called High Vesting in order to begin training as a lamplighter. On this journey, he encounters a wide cast of characters including leers, massacars, lahzars, and even monsters.
The second book continues immediately after the first left off. Rossamünd makes it to High Vesting in the nick of time to begin his training. The first time he goes out to practice his lamplighting with the other prentices, they are set upon by a large monster, a horn-ed nicker to be specific, and two others. With the aid of a group of calendars, they manage to destroy the monsters. However, with that, they also learn that there is to be a female prentice named Threnody.
Rossamünd and Threnody become unexpected allies as they train and work together. Many characters from the first book come back into play, such as Europe the lahzar, Master Sebastipole, Master Fransitart, Master Craumpalin, and Freckles the glamgorn bogle. New characters include Mister Numps, and numerous others employed as lamplighters or related services. I found that it was very hard to keep track of all the different names.
I found Lamplighter harder to read than Foundling for several reasons, but mostly because of sheer size. The second story was about twice the size of the first. The wording was strange at times, the descriptions repetitive or drawn out and boring. The new terms used made the story hard to understand, especially where the new monetary system and months were concerned. There were a lot of subplots within the story that were hard to keep track of, and unlike the first book, there wasn’t a clear goal of the story. It merely followed Rossamünd’s journeys, but I couldn’t really find a point to those journeys. I also felt that this story was a bit too much like Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and Eragon, although fans of those stories would probably like this one.
What also bothered me was that Rossamünd was also called clever, but to me, he never seemed to be. I figured out many unsolved problems of his before he did. Rossamünd also seemed to contradict himself a lot and could never seem to make up his mind unless it was done for him. His relationship with Threnody was awkward at best and very repetitive. Reading this second book almost discouraged me from wanting to read the rest of the story when it comes out.
However, I did like the ending of the story. The last hundred pages or so redeem the story’s other faults. If the books are named after Rossamünd’s occupations during them, then there is good reason to believe the third book will be called Factotum. Despite the length of this book, I am looking forward to the next installment in the series, and I hope the sheer size of this book will not daunt others from reading it.
It’s winter break, and Samantha, Jeremy, her dad, and her new step-mom, Kathy are taking a vacation in Vermont. All Sam wants to do is relax and find...moreIt’s winter break, and Samantha, Jeremy, her dad, and her new step-mom, Kathy are taking a vacation in Vermont. All Sam wants to do is relax and find a cute guy to kiss. But things are turning out so perfect. The inn they are staying at has no people that are her age with the exception of the owner’s strange son Eric. Her brother is immature, her best friend Phoebe is acting strange and distant, and she and Kathy can’t manage to get along. It seems that Sam will have to spend winter break sulking in her room with only her books and cards for company.
When she does decide to venture outside and join a skiing class, she meets Drew, a blond skier who brags he’s been to the Olympic Trials. Sam’s first impression is that he looks like a Ken doll and that he is way out of her league, but she soon finds out he’s more than interested in her. After some very excellent kissing, she realizes what a jerk he is because he only wants to get into her pants.
Through the course of her very short relationship with Drew, she makes friends with Liz, Heidi, and Deana. She also befriends a girl from Texas named Ashley whose favorite phrase is “tote hilare”. After running into Eric, the inn keeper’s son, several times, she realizes that she really likes him, and things go on from there.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I was glad it wasn’t completely a romance novel, but I was disappointed that Sam and her friend, Phoebe didn’t make up their friendship by the end of the story, but it’s refreshing that everything doesn’t turn out perfectly. I was also glad that Sam was able to figure out what she wanted in her life. The cover is really cute too! This book is perfect for reading by the fire in the dead of winter. I recommend this book for fans of the Summer Boys series by Hailey Abbott because it’s basically the same idea in the opposite season.
It’s kind of funny how you might know someone for a really long time and never truly know them. Marla thought she knew her best friend Gwen, but she n...moreIt’s kind of funny how you might know someone for a really long time and never truly know them. Marla thought she knew her best friend Gwen, but she never knew Gwen could write so much.
The story starts out with Marla in Paris, meeting her fiancé’s parents. However, most of the story is told from Gwen’s point of view through the journals she sends to Marla. Gwen is going on a trip with her boyfriend of almost three months, Coop, and Coop’s best friend from college, Dannika. What Coop doesn’t know is that Gwen has massive jealousy problems, and the fact that Dannika is a beautiful blonde in a yoga-toned body doesn’t help.
As one would expect, the story ends well. I found many parallels between Notes from the Backseat and Faking 19. The main characters are two girls who have been best friends since high school. There is a divorce involved in both, and the girls from those families come to terms with or learn to accept their fathers. And of course, there’s the happy ending.
There’s a repeated phrase in this novel that really stuck with me: “We are not out parents.” It shows that no matter what our parents do, we can always blaze our own trail because we’re not destined to follow directly in their footsteps, as realized by Gwen and her new friend Joni. That’s the phrase that helped Joni get through her wedding and Gwen come to accept her dad’s mistakes.
What I like best about this novel was the descriptiveness. Gwen, Coop, and Dannika do a lot of driving, and each new scene and setting is exquisitely described. I felt like I was there beside them. I also really appreciated the complicated personalities of the characters. All the jealousy, anger, and finally happiness makes them seem human.
I would recommend this book to teens, although I believe it was aimed at an older audience. There are some mature scenes, so it would be best for older teens to read.
The Maximum Ride series has been one of my favorite series for a while now, though I am still in the process of collecting it, and I would highly reco...moreThe Maximum Ride series has been one of my favorite series for a while now, though I am still in the process of collecting it, and I would highly recommend it.
Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports is the third in the Maximum Ride series. If you're new to this series, it is about winged kids and genetic experiments. There's drama, action, and even some romance; a little bit of something for everyone.
It's hard to say which of the three so far was the best; they're all fantastic. Also, there's going to be another one coming out called The Final Warning. I read an excerpt, and it seems okay so far. I'll probably read and review it when it comes out.
I think everyone should read the Maximum Ride series; it should be mandatory because they are such great books!
As a child, Jennifer Harris was a social outcast. She was nicknamed the Fattifier, because she was chubby, and made fun of for her lisp. Her only frie...moreAs a child, Jennifer Harris was a social outcast. She was nicknamed the Fattifier, because she was chubby, and made fun of for her lisp. Her only friend was another outcast named Cameron Quirk. They were always there for each other, and Cameron made everything bearable for Jennifer. And when he suddenly leaves without even saying goodbye, Jennifer is devastated. She thinks that he is dead, and no one tells her otherwise.
Now Jennifer Harris is Jenna Vaughn. Her mom got married and Jennifer changed her name and her personality. She’s got friends, a first boyfriend, and a loving family, all that she could ever want. But she can never forget Cameron, and memories of him haunt her constantly. So when Cameron just shows up one day at school, everything is changed for her.
Throughout the story, Jenna has flashbacks to when she was Jennifer. And Jenna is not quite sure if she likes who she is now, and not sure if she wants to become Jennifer again. When Cameron was her best friend, she could be anyone she wanted to be, but as Jenna, her whole life seems to be a lie.
Sweethearts was a beautiful story about how the strongest bonds of friendship can span any distance or amount of time. It was one of the saddest and most romantic books I have read in a long time, and it made me cry. It was filled with such raw emotion that I felt I was inside Jenna’s head, living her life with her. And while the ending isn’t perfect, it is filled with contentment and hope.
I highly recommend Sweethearts to everyone, especially girls who can’t let go of their childhood sweethearts. It was a beautiful story, and I am glad I took the time to read this incredible story. I hope all of you get to read it too.
Maggie Dempsey is a pro at fitting in. That’s because she never stays in one place for more than eight months. And that’s because her parents are all...moreMaggie Dempsey is a pro at fitting in. That’s because she never stays in one place for more than eight months. And that’s because her parents are all about “going somewhere.” They don’t see it as “leaving,” unlike Maggie, who’s had to leave behind a best friend and a boyfriend in Portland, Oregon. Maggie is tired of being hurt, so she comes up with Operation Avoid Friends: she’s going to be unpopular.
This is harder than it sounds. Maggie has to come up with ridiculous schemes in order to seem like a complete freak that no one should hang out with. But the hottest guy at the school won’t leave her alone. Maggie is starting to form friendships with members of the Helping Hands club. And people start to copy her elaborate and crazy costumes that she wears to school. It’s almost seems that Maggie is…popular.
I thought that How Not to be Popular was one of the best and most refreshing books I’ve read in a while. Maggie’s character is laugh-out-loud hilarious, and so are her parents. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Maggie’s story and her struggles between wanting to have the easy way out and being herself. The plot was easy to follow and fun to read, although some parts of the story were more emotional. I highly recommend this book for teens, and I hope Jennifer Ziegler writes more fabulous novels like this one.
One day, Virginia Blackstone, or Ginny, receives a letter from her dead aunt with instructions to go to a Chinese restaurant. There, Ginny receives a...moreOne day, Virginia Blackstone, or Ginny, receives a letter from her dead aunt with instructions to go to a Chinese restaurant. There, Ginny receives a bundle of twelve letters, for a grand total of thirteen, thus naming the novel. Four simple rules are laid down by Peg, Ginny’s aunt, and there are more instructions enclosed in each letter, to be opened at a specific place and time. All Ginny needs to do to begin her journey is fly to London. And so she does.
Ginny embarks on a crazy, all-over-the-place trip that takes her around Europe, to places that were significant to her aunt Peg. Along the way, she meets a playwright and used-to-be-thief named Keith, who she maybe falls in love with, many old friends of Peg, some new friends in various cities, and even an uncle she never knew she had. And during this journey, Ginny learns a lot about herself and her aunt Peg.
I found 13 Little Blue Envelopes to be a very well-written novel. Maureen Johnson is an amazing author and has proved herself again. I especially liked traveling with Ginny to all those amazing European cities and feeling like I was there beside her. Ginny's relationship with Keith is especially cute too. There were some parts of the book where I was a little confused, but the issue was always cleared up soon after. The idea behind the novel is original, and I found myself wishing I had a crazy aunt to send me on a strange trip to Europe. This was a realistic and very enjoyable read. I highly recommend this, and other Maureen Johnson books.
It’s the week before high school graduation, and Alexa St. Laurent has scored two invitations to the hottest event of the year: Margaux Eklundstrom’s...moreIt’s the week before high school graduation, and Alexa St. Laurent has scored two invitations to the hottest event of the year: Margaux Eklundstrom’s wedding. There’s no doubt who she’s inviting to come with her: her best friend Holly Jacobson. Neither girl can wait to get to Los Angeles, Alexa because she wants to hang with celebrities and Holly because she’s impatient to leave behind her parents’ and boyfriend’s expectations. But L.A. turns out to be different than each girl expected. With so many choices ahead of them and so many opportunities for having fun, there’s only one thing for sure: L.A. could change everything.
The latest and last of Alexa and Holly’s exciting vacations, Hollywood Hills is certainly the sweetest and most memorable. It’s not necessary to have read the story’s prequels, South Beach and French Kiss, to understand Hollywood Hills; in fact, this was the case the first time I read this book. However, the background is a plus, particularly because it details the development of Alexa and Holly’s current relationship. By now, their friendship is pretty much rock solid, and the girls rely on each other for fashion advice and moral support. Alexa’s and Holly’s characters don’t mature much through the course of this book, because each girl has more or less established who she is before this story even started, so most of the book is plain and simple guilty pleasure. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, and Friedman does a wonderful job of making this story about true friendship and love amidst the glitz and fake glamour or Hollywood. This is a very cute and satisfying read perfect for summer.
Fans of South Beach and French Kiss, both by Aimee Friedman, will enjoy Hollywood Hills, as will readers who liked Summer Boys and Summer Girls, both by Hailey Abbott.
Katya Wilder, better known as Katie, is tired of being the last one in her family to know everything. So when she finally finds out that she has to mo...moreKatya Wilder, better known as Katie, is tired of being the last one in her family to know everything. So when she finally finds out that she has to move from New York City to some little town neat Canada called Fir Lake, it’s natural that she freaks out. After all, she has to leave behind the only place she’s ever called home, the prestigious Anna Pavlova dancing school, and all her dancing friends.
Katie refuses to accept the new town that she lives in and all the people who live there. Her sister Michaela, by contrast, seems to fit right in. She’s accepted at the popular table, and with all her new friends, it seems as if she doesn’t have time for Katie anymore. But what hurts Katie most of all is that her sister used to be so close to her, and now Michaela doesn’t tell her anything.
It’s this hurt that influences Katie to grow apart from her sister. But some good things do result from this: Katie finds a friend in Autumn, a girl who likes both camping and dancing. Katie also finds out that the dancing school in Fir Lake is nothing in comparison with Anna Pavlova’s, and that she likes yoga. The story follows Katie as she struggles to make her way through her first year in high school, along with her boy, friendship, and sisterly problems.
The Year My Sister Got Lucky was an incredibly well-written book about sisterhood. Even though I do not have the same sisterly bond with my sister as Katie has with Michaela, it was very easy to understand where Katie was coming from. All she really wanted when moving to the new town was for things to be normal and for her sister to be the same. But her sister didn’t have the same idea, and because Michaela kept this secret from Katie, things started to get difficult between them. Katie’s struggles are very realistic, and many times, I felt like I was inside her head and because we are so similar. Everything made sense in this book, and I like that because I didn’t have to figure everything out for myself.
I highly recommend The Year My Sister Got Lucky to all girls. In my opinion, it is Aimee Friedman’s best novel yet. I look forward to more novels of this depth and style from her.
She’s So Money is the story of a Thai teenage girl named Maya living in Michigan. She’s the nerdy smart girl who tutors for extra money. She’s the gir...moreShe’s So Money is the story of a Thai teenage girl named Maya living in Michigan. She’s the nerdy smart girl who tutors for extra money. She’s the girl who waitresses at her parents’ Thai restaurant for tips which go into the college fund. She’s also the girl who’s never been kissed, wants to go to Stanford, pisses off one unhappy vegan customer, and now has to come up with $10,000 in fines to pay the Health Department.
That’s right; the one time Maya’s parents leave Maya is charge of the restaurant, nearly everything that can go wrong does. The angry vegan customer threatens to call the Health Department, and at first Maya doesn’t take her seriously. Unfortunately, she and her brother also decide to save cleaning up the restaurant for the next day. That leads to the large fine. Maya is too ashamed to tell her parents, her brother, or her friends. All that’s left to do is come up with the money to pay the debt. The only problem is how. Maya then makes the decision to do other people’s homework for money.
When I first saw this book, I have to admit that I was a little skeptical because the cover was a little over the top. But, I tried not to judge and started reading. I was very impressed. Cherry Cheva does a fantastic job of portraying the strict Asian parents of the geeky Asian girl (and I would know). Some of the characters were stereotyped, such as the nerdy Asian kid and the ditzy popular girls. There were a couple slightly unexpected twists, but the plot was overall straightforward. It seemed a little unrealistic that the popular guy Camden fell for Maya in the end, because things like those almost never happen in real life, but it was cute anyway.
I definitely recommend this novel to all people interested in accurate representations and stories of high school. The novel is very funny, and readers who liked The Squad series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes will especially appreciate the humor. I also think readers who liked How Not to be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler will also find She’s So Money a fun read.
Everyone knows what senior year means: it’s party time!
At least, that’s what it’s like for best friends Alex and M. During the week, they do their sch...moreEveryone knows what senior year means: it’s party time!
At least, that’s what it’s like for best friends Alex and M. During the week, they do their schoolwork, but on the weekends, they let loose and get wild. After their traditional weekend snack, they go shopping or to whatever party sounds interesting. And everything seems to be going great, until the seams in Alex’s life start fraying.
Despite giving off the appearance that her life is perfect, Alex’s life is far from it. Her parents split when she was young. Now her dad is busy working and hitting on other women while her mom just ignores her. Alex’s grades are steadily declining until she’s failing, loses her scholarship, and even faces the possibility of not graduating with her class. On top of that, there are problems with her best friend M and also with an older guy Connor. It might not seem that Alex and M could have difficulties with their friendship because they’ve known each other since Alex moved to Orange County. And as for Connor, he just seems like the perfect British hottie.
Throughout the book, Alex is forced to reevaluate her life and what she wants. There are some harsh realizations she is forced to face about her M and others about her dad. She has to figure out what she wants to do with her life, but for Alex, that’s a lot easier said than done. She can’t figure out where she wants to go, and since her grades have hit a new low, she might not even be able to attend college.
Of course, this is the kind of book that won’t be good unless it has a happy ending, which it does. I was glad that the ending wasn’t too perfect, because then it wouldn’t be realistic. In my opinion, Faking 19 was a very well-told story that could happen in real life. I appreciated how the story sounded like it could take place where I live. Contrary to what a reader might infer from the title of this book, Faking 19 is not all about fake IDs to get into the next hottest club. It’s more of a story of a girl finding herself and discovering what she wants. I would recommend this book for a light read.