How mortified would you be if one of your teachers read one of your private notes or letters out loud in front...moreReviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com
How mortified would you be if one of your teachers read one of your private notes or letters out loud in front of the class? Take that mortification times one hundred, and that's what happens to Laura Amores on the last day of class. Except this letter is from her girlfriend and describes in detail their forbidden love. By the end of the school day, previous friends have deserted her, the nuns at her school have expelled her, and her mother has kicked her out of the house. At least until she changes her ways and falls in love with a boy.
Thankfully, Laura (who has many nicknames throughout the story) has a good friend in Soli and her mother, Viva. They let Laura stay with them indefinitely.
The story only gets worse for Laura. The girl she is in love with leaves Miami for Cuba. To add pain to heartache, Marlena tells Laura over the phone that she realizes their love was wrong and sinful and she is going to marry the man her family wants her to wed.
Laura struggles throughout the book to come to terms with who she is. She has dated boys in the past, but only Marlena has sent sparks through her body. Is she gay? Is she bi-sexual? Was it only Marlena that caused these feelings?
Laura meets many interesting people during the course of the story. They all help Laura define who she is and who she will become. She is determined to win back her mother's love. But in the end, is it really so important to have someone love who they want you to be but not who you are? Laura struggles with society's negative opinions of anyone not heterosexual or who is different from the norm.
Ms. Dole is a fresh new voice in the GLBTQ genre. She speaks frankly about the issue for teens to grasp and understand. The story is not always easy to read, but it's one that you'll be glad that you have. It will bring a deeper understanding of those that may seem different than you, but who just want to be loved and understood like everyone should be. (less)
Reviewed by Randstostipher "tallnlankyrn" Nguyen for TeensReadToo.com
Survival of the fittest was always a theory that described nature. But for Alison...moreReviewed by Randstostipher "tallnlankyrn" Nguyen for TeensReadToo.com
Survival of the fittest was always a theory that described nature. But for Alison, this theory is perfect for her family.
Alison thought she had a pretty good life, except for the parts where her parents hardly acknowledged her until they needed a favor. But then the FBI came knocking at her door and arrested her mom, accusing her of embezzlement. With her mom in jail, there is no one who Alison can turn to (like there was anyone before). With her dad left, who has no idea how to take care of the situation, aunts and uncles who only care about Grandma Diamond's fortunes, and a boyfriend who is becoming pretty distant, the only person Alison finds comfort in is her cousin, Lily.
Lily is pretty ecstatic that Alison's mom was arrested (of course, she would never say that to Alison). But the one thing that Lily wants the most is to see her perfect cousin get knocked off her high horse and become the biggest loser both at school and in the real world. It may take a while, but Lily is definitely ready to see her cousin go down, and her first move is Chad, Alison's boyfriend.
Chad is beginning to feel like his and Alison's relationship is drifting apart, and is seeing an opportunity to open up with her cousin, Lily. Not only would he be dating the hottest girl in school, but all the popularity and money that comes along with Lily is a pretty good incentive. Just as long as no one finds out about his financial status or what he has to worry about in his house. If he did start to date Lily, it would not only hurt Alison but also his best friend, Tom.
Tom has a huge crush on Lily (but of course it is a secret). With his twin sister, Zoey, back home, after being kicked out of her fifth school, Tom just wants to live his life without any inclusion of his father, and hopes that Lily sees how he would be a better boyfriend for her. It's not so easy, though, since his sister has gotten weirder and the reason why she got kicked out of the last school might just ruin his reputation.
Zoey is back and ready to take revenge on Alison, who she thought was her friend but betrayed her at the worst possible moment. But will Zoey really turn on Alison, since she is the only friend and ally she has?
Everyone has their secrets, and everyone has their strategies. Let the games begin.
Not only devious but also very entertaining, PLAYING WITH FIRE is one book that you will want to read. Just be glad that their secrets aren't your secrets, even if they may be little. (less)
For teenager Lucy Beauregard, love seems incomprehensible. It's not that she doesn't want to be in lov...moreReviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com
For teenager Lucy Beauregard, love seems incomprehensible. It's not that she doesn't want to be in love someday, or even that she doesn't imagine the guy she might fall in love with -- it's just that she doesn't really understand love. Sure, she gets the basic idea, but deep down, real true love? What is it, really? And how do you know you're in it? How do you find it?
Lucy dated a guy last year; he was her first real kiss. At the time she thought she loved him. But now, he doesn't seem to matter so much. If it was really love, wouldn't it still matter? Is love what her best friend, Mary Jordan, has with her boyfriend? Then why does it get so confusing? Lucy's other best friend, Evie, seems to have some good theories. Surprising for someone whose own family breaks her heart over and over. And what about the new teacher who seems to be hitting on Lucy, even though she knows his wife and babysits for them? Lucy's only real example of love used to be her parents, but now even that looks like it's falling apart.
It seems like the harder Lucy tries to understand it all, the further she gets from it. It's all awfully confusing and difficult for something that seems like it should be natural and effortless!
Lucy learns some unbelievable things about life, people, heartache, pain, and yes, love, before the end of this story. At the end she's still the same Lucy, but stronger and wiser, and, at the same time, more willing to let go.
I love how perfect this book is! Love can seem confusing, and scary, and painful, and difficult. And it's all multiplied when you're just starting to figure it all out. I remember how tortured and intimidating everything about love and dating felt; this book took me completely back there. But it's also sweet and simple and wonderful in the most unexpected ways, just like this story. If you pay attention, the best lesson about love is in here. Just in case you miss it though, I'll tell you: No one can love you if you don't love yourself. Someone else can't make you whole. You have to do that yourself first.
A wonderful book about love and life, blended magically with a cajun soul. (less)
Seventeen-year-old Ethan Keller lives a simple life, spending his days working as a clerk in his small town's gene...moreReviewed by Cat for TeensReadToo.com
Seventeen-year-old Ethan Keller lives a simple life, spending his days working as a clerk in his small town's general store, and his evenings at his widowed mother's boarding house dinner table.
Ethan's never considered a life beyond the sheltered reach of a dutiful second son trying to keep his older brother, Willie, out of trouble, finding snippets of time to indulge his love of reading and dreaming of buying a colt or filly of his own some day.
All of that changes when a charismatic and persistent young cowboy named Travis Cain walks into his life.
Sensing a kindred spirit, Travis dares Ethan to dream beyond that which he's ever dared, and soon convinces Ethan to sign on to the Hayward Ranch's summer cattle drive. During the journey from Texas to Cheyenne, Ethan and Travis test the limits of their endurance, explore the bonds of true friendship, and discover a love that will eventually risk everything they hold dear.
In THE FILLY, author Mark R. Probst combines the tender beauty of love - be it the blossoming romance between two young men at a time when the only term to characterize their relationship came in the form of Biblical condemnation, the fierce protectiveness of families for their own, or friendships forged in the most dire of circumstances - with the gritty, bare-boned realism of life in the old west.
There were a few times when I was jarred from the narrative by an inconsistency of language, a bit of cardboard characterization among many of the novel's secondary players, and an ending that came too abruptly for my personal taste, but these factors were far outweighed by the depth and sensitivity in Mr. Probst's depictions of Ethan, Travis, and their relationship.