Did you know that S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders has the reputation for being one of the first YA booksReview originally posted on Rather Be Reading Blog
Did you know that S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders has the reputation for being one of the first YA books released? And that S.E. Hinton was only 16 years old when she was first published?
Neither did I. Or I did and I forgot. The Outsiders was a huge part of my 8th grade literature class; I remember having to recite a passage in front of the room for one assignment. It’s always been one of my favorite classic reads, which is why I was inspired to take a peek at Some of Tim’s Stories.
It was very refreshing to switch up my reading with a collection of short stories. Hinton’s talents are so evident here because in a few pages she can make you feel so much, and make you feel connected to these characters. As the reader, we are privy to the secret stories that Tim has written about two cousins who grew up so close… it was like they were brothers. Despite their connection, each boy takes a different path in life and we get to see snippets of who they are now, reeling from the pressures of growing up into adults.
For fans of Hinton or those super interested in the writing process, the book wraps up with a detailed interview of the author. She talks in depth about writing The Outsiders, the aftermath of her success, the pressures to continue writing, and even her experience working on the movie. I’m always interested in reading about someone’s craft so it was nice to have the opportunity to know a little bit more about this mysterious figure. Plus, she digs a bit further regarding the stories we just read and it’s super interesting to hear how they came to life.
I really enjoyed reading Some of Tim’s Stories and kept thinking that I needed to read The Outsiders again. It’s time to say hello to an old friend for sure. ...more
Being a “skinny bitch” is all about cutting the crap out of your life and Clem is TRYING to do this but it seems like drama after drama keeps finding its way to her.
She’s lost her job, she’s still not over her ex-boyfriend, and her checking account is about one rent check away from being totally cleaned out. But this girl gets her act together. She’s motivated! With the encouragement of her best friend, Sara, and other close friends, she decides to be her own boss: starting with a vegan cooking class and providing personal chef services. Right around this time, her dream spot for a restaurant is taken over by a NON-VEGAN restaurant! The horror! (It’s called The Silver Steer.) Of course, Zach, the guy opening the business, is super hot and charming and Clem can’t stop thinking about him.
Their “relationship” is anything but easy; I really had no idea if Zach was a good guy or not. I mean, sure, he had nice eyes and was surprisingly generous and wonderful. But then he would do something totally infuriating and, like Clem, I wanted to strangle him and kiss him at the same time. So Zach could be totally pig-headed sometimes while Clem obsessed a bit too much about him being a carnivore. Basically, they had a perfectly fiery love-hate relationship.
So not only is there a great mix of romance and friendship in this book but Clem’s kitchen masterpieces were so mouth-watering, I think my stomach was growling throughout the entire read. (True story: on my lunch break, I was totally craving a tropical fruit scone — where can you buy those?!) I really liked watching this young woman work to get her career revved up. Even when she hit a few roadblocks along the way (would she ever catch a break?), she shook it off, moved forward, and was determined to she find success on her own terms.
I had a total blast reading Skinny Bitch in Love. Zach and Clem’s chemistry, her parent’s farm, trendy L.A. scenes, and Sara’s own journey to cut the crap out of her life made this such a fast-paced read for me. Plus I learned a little bit about the vegan lifestyle! I must also give a nod to Clem’s vegan cooking class who provided some hysterical (and totally nosey) commentary when it came to Clem’s love life. Such a great touch.
I want to tell you that Skinny Bitch in Love is the perfect companion for your summer adventures, but I know you could enjoy this one all year round....more
Full disclosure about me: I’ve been known to get wrapped up in those big headline crimes and when I first read the synopsis about mayhem in Aruba, Natalee Holloway popped into my head. (Teenager who went missing on a school trip to Aruba in 2005.) What about a character in the book stuck in a different country facing murder charges? Instant reminder of the recently published and freed Amanda Knox. (Charged with the murder of her roommate in Italy in 2009.) But Haas manages to make Dangerous Girls completely her own because while this story sometimes alludes to these particular crimes, it makes more a statement about the 24-hour news cycle and how media paints the victim and the accused. And just like I’d been with certain cases, I was completely alert and engrossed with untangling this vacation-turned-tragedy.
Anna and Elise are uber best friends on vacation with their group (including Anna’s boyfriend, Tate) in gorgeous Aruba. They are prepped for a week of partying, the sun, the surf, and just leaving all their worries in Boston behind. But in the opening chapter, we know their hopes for their paradise vacation are all but a pipe dream. Elise is missing, and when they are on the phone alerting the authorities, another in the group discovers her brutally murdered in her bedroom.
It’s obvious that the Aruban authorities don’t have much experience dealing with a crime of this caliber, and zero in on Anna and Tate as their prime suspects. But Tate comes from an affluent family and sneakily escapes his convictions while Anna is left to await trial. Rethinking every minute of her life since she first met Elise in school, going over every second of their time in Aruba, and wondering if she will ever be home again.
Haas effectively alternates chapters between the present and the past. The story grows more intense because the further you read the more detail you get, those small little details that could uncover what really happened to Elise. I was probably convinced I had figured out the whole thing about five times, even declaring so outloud. But then I kept reading, doubt crept in, and I realized I didn’t know much at all.
That, folks, is the sign of a fantastic thriller.
I had to exercise EXTREME self-control when it came to my reading because I wanted to just plow through the whole thing, skip over paragraphs that I thought could lead to some answer sooner. I actually had to stop myself many times and I’m glad I did. The moments of reprieve, the slow burn made it THAT much better.
Listen, I read Dangerous Girls in less than a day. Elise and Anna’s dependent friendship, the cruelty of Elise’s murder, Anna’s relationship with Tate, the loyalty between their circle of friends, this all encompassing sensuality, and the uncertain future for Anna? I had to get to the bottom of it. All I can say is the ending blew me away so much I was yelling four-letter words at the book, and frantically scrolling back to make sure I had read it right.
But I had, and whoa, Haas sure got me.
Dangerous Girls is one wild, twisty ride; the details felt so real that my first reaction was to Google the heck out of this crime when I was done reading because I had to know more. Only, there was no murder to research. Instead, it’s purely a piece of fiction, so addicting and so dark that I can only call it an experience. ...more
When I reviewed The Wanderer back in March, I figured the multiple storylines served as an introducReview originally posted on Rather Be Reading Blog:
When I reviewed The Wanderer back in March, I figured the multiple storylines served as an introduction to the series and that once Book 2 came out, Carr would follow the typical romance novel format and dedicate each book to one character. Instead The Newcomer followed its predecessor by jumping between the lives of those we met in Book 1. And you know what? I liked this a whole lot. Not only was it a bit more seamless in this book but, as a reader, you are able to grow more attached to the characters and that’s never a bad thing.
So now I can tell you what I loved so much about The Newcomer. There are a good amount of intertwining storylines but the standout for me was Ashley, a teenager dealing with an awful breakup with her college boyfriend. She’s totally blindsided because he was always so devoted and the series of events that followed were heartbreakingly authentic. I wanted to simultaneously punch her ex in the face, and hug her until it stopped hurting. One thing about Carr: she does not shy away from incorporating teens in her books. This is so refreshing, and a great reason for YA fans to try her out.
For all the drama (crazy exes, convict fathers, sexting), there is so much to enjoy about the Thunder Point gang (coolest hottest sex scene EVER, proposals, sweet surprises). By the second chapter, I felt like I was already hanging out with some old friends of mine. Can’t wait for book 3! (I quite literally can’t; I was screaming NOT YET! when I finished.) ...more
Did you ever find yourself in a group of people who were talking about something totally over your hReview originally posted on Rather Be Reading Blog
Did you ever find yourself in a group of people who were talking about something totally over your head and all you could do is just stand there, nodding and smiling?
That’s kind of how I felt when I was reading The Beginning of Everything. I didn’t connect with golden-boy-turned outcast, Ezra, as much as I wanted to. (This might have had something to do with him narrating the story after it happened. The events and after thoughts felt too polished.) And when the quirky Cassie was thrown into the mix, the tone of the story got a little haughty. The literary references, the tid-bits of trivia, and reciting poetry to make a point? I found myself just not relating to the way they communicated with one another, and I wish all of these tidbits felt more down-to-earth.
Schneider does excel when it comes to the chemistry between Ezra and Cassie (a mysterious attraction that reminded me of John Green’s Looking for Alaska) and the rekindled friendship between Ezra and Toby. After years of blending into the popular crowd, I loved that Ezra was able to reconnect with his geeky self and accept that that part of him would always exist. Toby was a loyal friend; the years of silence between them were just water under the bridge. He never held any grudges even though Ezra could have been a better friend.
Also: the Disneyland scenes (minus the earliest one) sprinkled in every once in awhile were awesome.
There are two twists at the end: one of them totally broke my heart and the other one, well, I think it tied things together a bit too perfectly. I never once suspected the second twist, but I think the book could have easily worked without it. (Sometimes a little mystery is a good thing.) The Beginning of Everything may not have been a perfect read for me, but I am looking forward to see Schneider come into her own as a writer in her next books. ...more
Very few love stories can top the FRIENDS REUNITED SPARKS FLYING approach for me.
From the very minute Justice walks back into Patience’s life in Just One Kiss, the chemistry is alive and swirly; time after time, I couldn’t wait to get back to reading to see if these two characters could finally get it together.
It’s kind of a given in these novels that the characters come with a good amount of baggage. While Patience is wondering if she can trust Justice to stick around, Justice is having his own inner struggle. Is he a violent, heartless man like his father was? Is he capable of being in a loving relationship after the things that he has done? But, friends, how sweet and romantical is it that he cannot stay away from Fool’s Gold because of the Patience he grew up with? Swoon!
Even though Patience’s story is a little more prominent in this one and we get a little too much of Justice’s work partner when we could have had more kissing, I really liked the idea of Justice seeking solace in a place he was ripped from too suddenly as a kid. He’s so comfortable with Patience’s mom, and even Patience’s young daughter warms up to him and asks him if he can “protect” her from a boy at school. (Don’t worry; it’s an adorable little storyline.)
I swear, life just knows when I need a little bit of Fool’s Gold. There’s such a great sense of community there (even if everyone knows the other’s business) and it does truly sound like the perfect place to live. Even more so when Patience gets the capital to start her dream: a coffee shop called Brew-ha-ha. (How adorable is that?) There’s even talk of a Christmas stop opening up in the near future. (I love how I’m always trying to guess if this character will star in the next book.)
Again, I was totally charmed and I can pretty much call Just One Kiss my favorite Mallery book so far. A delicious couple that can’t keep their hands off each other, strong female bonds, a little suspense, and a celebration of small town living. With the warmer weather on its way, I can’t imagine a better pairing than a vacation and a Mallery romance....more
At one point, I didn’t think I would finish Truth or Dare. But it was sort of like a game of Clue, I just had to figure out who was stalking these girls, making them do outrageous things to prevent their deepest, darkest secrets from being exploited. So I kept reading, I got completely sucked in, and I stayed up until almost 2 a.m. to finish.
And I felt major disappointment.
While Green’s writing is pretty strong (especially when it comes to characterization and navigating these tangled plotlines), I felt like Truth or Dare tricked me. Big time. In 400 pages, there was no reason why the ending had to feel rushed, totally lacking emotion, and left me with a cliffhanger.
THE KING OF ALL CLIFFHANGERS.
This is why I rarely invest my time with a series. It has to be getting RAVE reviews from my most-trusted friends for me to pick it up because I refuse to pay for three books just because. I prefer books in a series to hold on to some of its secrets but for them to also feel complete on their own. I don’t want to feel pushed into reading book two for any reason except I want to continue on a journey with these characters. I should never feel like I lost 400 pages of my reading time to be left with not one single resolution.
With three characters like Sydney, Caitlin, and Tenley, there is no shortage of storyline though. Sydney does not come from a well-to-do family like many in Echo Bay and works hard, using photography as a de-stresser, and figuring out what the guy of her dreams (Guinness) really wants from her. Caitlin and Tenley are old best friends, reunited and starting their senior year together. There are some growing pains because Caitlin has a new close friend (Emerson) and Tenley’s not sure where she stands. But she’s super confident and ready to take the school by storm, yet again. She’s always been known for her killer parties and crazy games of truth or dare, which is how our story get its start. With her squeaky clean reputation, Caitlin is involved in every activity imaginable and hoping to win class president, all the while dealing with flashbacks from her kidnapping, unsure that the right man was framed for the act.
Whew! It’s a mouthful, isn’t it?
Super drama (think Gossip Girl), everyone suspecting the other, and the giant mask of a town “curse”… life for these three turns into an even bigger mess than it was initially. It’s pretty terrifying to think that someone knows details about your life that you have never ever shared with anyone.
(One thing I was curious about: how Green would handle new step-siblings with an obvious attraction to each other? Go figure that I found that interesting and hated that a smaller character was sleeping around with the family member of one of our main girls.)
In the thick of Truth or Dare, I felt just as glued to growing mystery and suspense as I did reading R.L. Stine books (Goosebumps and his other thrillers) back in the day. I was slowly going through the cast of characters trying to figure out the culprit before I hit the last page, but, alas, I feel like I ended the book with less knowledge than I had when I started. And the worst part? Less of a desire to find out the particulars.
Talk about addicting. And also dangerous. I’m pretty sure I didn’t take many breaths at all during my reading of The Mourning Hours (just about a 24-hour period, to be precise).
Paula Treick DeBoard immediately opens The Mourning Hours with a ton of mystery. A young woman is returning home for the first time in a long time; she is nervous and fidgety and when she gets pulled over by a cop for speeding, she is hoping and praying he doesn’t recognize her last name. Before Kirsten reaches her final destination, we are transported many years back to her family’s farm and her 9-year old self.
This year was a complete turning point once her older brother/wrestling team star, Johnny, starts dating Stacy, a well-to-do girl from his high school. At first, Kirsten is totally enchanted by how gorgeous Stacy is, and how in love Johnny and Stacy seem. But, despite her age, Kirsten still sees how her mom is super concerned by how all encompassing their relationship is, how Johnny and Stacy have this electric and kind of scary chemistry when they fight, and Stacy’s tendency to show up everywhere.
When Stacy disappears during a snow storm one night, Johnny is the last person to have seen her and the only person of interest. Kirsten feels guilty because she had seen them fighting earlier but is assured by her aunt that telling the police about that won’t help. In the meantime, the cute little town turns on Johnny and the entire family and things start really falling apart all over the place.
It’s such an interesting choice to give a 9-year old the narrating baton. It’s smart because Kirsten was never going to know everything that was going on (no matter how nosey she was) and she was just too young to understand what was happening in her home. It’s truly heartbreaking to see this family put through the ringer by their own neighbors and each other. I found myself constantly questioning Johnny’s actions: was he innocent or did he really have something to do with Stacy’s disappearance?
THIS was why I had to finish The Mourning Hours as soon as possible. I needed answers. Would we ever know what happened to Stacy? Would we ever hear the full truth from Johnny? DeBoard sets up the Hammarstrom’s as such a solid family unit, and it is so tragic to see how this one event and lack of knowing just how to handle it really changes them. The fact that I couldn’t tell if the parents really believed in Johnny’s innocence also raised the stakes.
DeBoard’s writing is really well-done. She realistically maneuvers her way into the brain of a 9-year-old kid (who just wants her parents to realize all this mayhem is going to make her miss her spelling bee) during this tramatic life event and also does a nice (yet subtle) job of drawing parallels between nature and real life; the importance of the natural order of things on the farm directly relates to the spiraling that occurs after Stacy’s disappearance.
If you are looking for something a little bit different, The Mourning Hours is the way to go....more
One minute, Margaret is making her way through a crowd at a Hollywood premiere, trying to see her favorite movie stars. And the next she is having her very own screen test at Olympus Studios. As Margaret, she has a poster of Dane Forrest in her bedroom, and as Margo Sterling, she is acting right beside him.
All the reading Margo does in the gossip rags back home in no way prepares her for what Hollywood is really like. Everyone may look glam and fabulous on the outside, but underneath there is a ton to hide. Author Rachel Shukert has painted such a vivid world in Starstruck, it felt like an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at 1930s Hollywood. The inside deals, the importance of appearances, how everything that looks perfect is primped, primed, and polished until it sparkles and shines (even if it hurts). Shukert peels the curtain back on the romance of this era, revealing intricate and frustrating truths.
But Margo has given up her “home” in Pasadena, her disapproving parents, and even her best friend to see if she can make something of herself in this demanding world. It seems everyone has a double identity, something to hide in Starstruck, including Gabby, an actress destined to always play second fiddle to a big star. Spiraling under the demands of her mother, a studio, and her own addictions. Then there is Amanda, an ex-”party girl for hire” who hopes to shred her old image in the name of true love.
It’s not every day I can sit here and babble on about how a young adult novel is so literary. But, folks, this one is. From the structure, to the immersive setting filled to the brim with fantastic little details, the dialogue you can hear so perfectly in your head, and this equilibrium of emotion. Nothing feels over-dramatic (unless it has to be), nothing seems unbelievable, and Shukert manages to naturally weave in political proclamations from the support of Hitler to emphasis on women’s roles in society.
Starstuck has challenging word choices, unexpected twist and turns, and a mystery that sneakily creeps along through the lives of these three woman. At times, it felt like fiction disguised in young adult packaging. The tone and even the plotting seem wise beyond its years, even though our main characters are mostly 18 and under. It was so refreshing to have my feet firmly planted in a novel, truly taking my time in it instead of breezing through. This is a book to be experienced.
Along with its complexities, I can also promise swoony romance (I could almost hear the sweeping music in the background), handsome (yet flawed) leading men, dapper fashion choices, and a plenty of red lipstick and champagne. I certainly have to raise my glass to Shukert who has successfully hooked me with this trilogy (when I am not usually one for a series in the first place) and made me want to watch Busby Berkeley musicals back to back....more
If Bella Vista were a true destination, I would be writing this review from a plane.
(Did I mention it is next door to a vineyard and there is absolutely no cell phone service?)
Tess is a major workaholic who thinks a martini olive is a sufficient dinner. She lives alone in San Francisco but has some great friends and an awesome job uncovering antiques for their owners. (I found this career so intriguing!) When the gorgeous Dominic shows up unexpectedly at her office , he comes with unbelievable news: the grandfather she never knew existed is in serious condition at a hospital because of a fall. She also has a half-sister and stands to inherit half of an apple orchard she has never seen before.
It’s no surprise she has a panic attack right then and there.
With orders from the doctor to exercise, relax, and refrain from caffeine or alcohol, Tess begrudgingly travels to Bella Vista to find out just what’s going on with this mysterious “family.” At Bella Vista, she finds utter paradise: a place rich with her own family history, at peace with nature, and brimming with secrets. (As you can imagine, all this “quiet” makes our city girl very nervous.) Tess can’t help but grow attached to the place, despite her own belief that she doesn’t belong there. She finds a quiet camaraderie with her sister, Isabel (an impressive chef who chose to stay close to home), and a growing connection to Dominic. (Banker by day, winemaker by night, divorcee and executor of Magnus’ will.)
Unfortunately, a pretty terrible secret threatens the livelihood of many who work at Bella Vista and also the family’s legacy. Without Magnus to give them any answers, Tess taps into her day job to find a happy ending for everyone.
This is where The Apple Orchard starts to depend on shifts between past and present to catch readers up on the histories of many of these characters, including Magnus’ childhood during World War II and the tragedy he experienced, as well as Tess’s mom and the real story of her pregnancy. (One that she has managed to keep buried for 29 years.) The historical fiction portions of the story were really great to read and Wiggs develops the family lineage really well (even if there are a few too many coincidences); her inclusion of these mysteries and journeys into the past make The Apple Orchard more than just your typical fluffy read.
So what about the romance? Tess is your typical “afraid of commitment and opening herself up to someone” female heroine while Dominic is divorced (crazy ex!) with two small kids. He’s known around town as a total caregiver (he loves to save dogs) and Tess, well, she needs a little caring in her life. I really liked their teasing and how supportive he was when Tess was thrown into a crazy situation. Plus all their sweet moments revolved around wine, which is just instantaneously sexy to me.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed my time with The Apple Orchard. Despite a few issues (not enough POV changes and some predictability), there’s certainly a little bit of everything for any reader — mystery, love, historical elements, and family — and the addition of delicious sounding recipes doesn’t hurt either....more
Walker is a hat-tippin, horse-riding gentlemen with a soft spot for country star, Casey Alder, and her two fantastic kids. Two kids that are his, evidence of two passionate nights with a woman he has been forced to love from afar. Kind of crazy isn’t it? Despite Casey’s popularity, the tabloids and the gossip columnists have not uncovered the fact that her kids were not product of test-tube pregnancies. But as they grow older, the resemblance becomes more evident, and Casey and Walker believe they finally have to tell their kids the truth.
I love that Casey and Walker have a history that spans the years when they were young and on the cusp of success. While I wish that Miller concentrated on their earlier moments together instead of informing readers in bits and pieces, this really amped up the tension between the two. THEY CANNOT KEEP THEIR HANDS OFF ONE ANOTHER.
Casey’s resolution to all the lies and craziness is marriage. Telling the kids the truth and then getting hitched to Walker. I don’t know if I necessarily agree with that jump in her decision making process. It seems hard enough to deal with a daughter who is very hurt and it felt the the decision was more about appeasing her fans and the public then her kids. But it also forces them Casey and Walker to share a bed. So there is that. (Although it is NOT cool to not tell your partner that the condom broke. I don’t care how old you are or what the circumstances.)
Despite that hiccup, I was really impressed with Miller’s dialogue. It’s often the case with romance novels that everything starts to blend together and I thought she did a nice job of bringing humor and affection to the story. It’s also interesting to see what happens to two characters who made certain choices when they were young, and watch them wrestle with those choices years later — not necessarily regretting them but certainly figuring out where they could have done better.
If you like a mega-country setting or are a fan of the television show, Nashville, I’d say you best pick this one up. Though I warn you, the country tunes will be two-stepping in your head for sure....more
One thing that I absolutely love about reading is discovering books set in places you know. Right away, I felt bonded to Rules of Summer because of buzzwords like Montauk Highway, Hamptons, and even Stony Brook. I spent my freshman and sophomore year of college out in Southampton, and even though my school was in debt and closed (true story), the Hamptons are such a special place to me. (Like where I went on a first date with my husband.)
Summer is all about that escape. Rory has an opportunity to hang out in the Hamptons; sure she is working but the “away from her mother and all her drama” makes the free board and no pay worth it. For Isobel Rule, she’s back in the fray, returning to a family she never felt a part of, and friends she suddenly finds totally superficial. Her solace is all about the surf. These two girls come from totally different worlds but are forced together when Rory is recruited to give Isobel driving lessons.
I have to applaud Philbin here because she doesn’t prolong the whole “these girls have it out for each other” thing we see in a lot of books. While they really have no reason to be friends, there’s no reason for them not to be either. I’m glad we got the positive side of the coin here because Isobel needs a voice of reason and someone on her side and Rory really needs to let loose and enjoy herself for once. The girls are able to give each other those things, and, just in time, because…
BOYS. There are two of them. And they are very cute. (In fact, I like to call this book Nantucket Blue x 2 because we get to see two girls fall in love for the first time in Rules of Summer.) Isobel meets Mike when she gets caught in the surf, and oh did it remind me of the anxiety and excitement of falling so hard, you are practically sinking. She is so used to playing a game with guys that when she finally feels serious about someone, she’s not too sure how to act. (Especially since he’s older and a lot more experienced.) Their chemistry is so gosh-darn pulsating that I think it took away from Rory’s own forbidden romance a bit. While still sweet and fun, hers felt a bit rushed and not as thoroughly explored. (Notice how I didn’t tell you who Rory’s mystery guy is.)
So what’s at stake in Rules of Summer? A ton. Family secrets come rushing out, Rory is not exactly truthful with Isobel about her love life, and is Isobel’s relationship forever? Let’s not forget Mrs. Rule either — this lady may look sweet and kind but she “rules” a.k.a. dominates with an iron fist. What does this mean for both Isobel and Rory?
Even though the end shows up a little too abruptly and some big moments aren’t given the attention they deserve, Rules of Summer had me practically hearing the roar of the ocean in my backyard and truly invested in the lives of these two girls. And the good news? There’s a sequel in the works! I’m so looking forward to that! ...more
I went into True with a very open mind. But my mind gradually began to close as early as the first chapter when Rory is the victim of a sexual assault. Her friends do not respond by throwing this asshole out of the apartment or even genuinely consoling Rory. Instead, Tyler (her future love interest) offers her a beer and punches the asshole out because he kicked Rory. Nothing about the actions of her crowd felt emphatically appalled.
But I continued on, giving True a chance to redeem itself. I found myself very caught up in Tyler and Rory’s chemistry — the bad boy and the smart college gal; opposites attract and all that — even though Tyler has been in a friends-with-benefits situation with one of Rory’s friends. They start to help each other out in school (he’s a pro at English and she’s great at science and math) and Rory finds herself sharing inside info with him about her life that she always keeps to herself.
Just when things start to get good, Rory finds out that her best friends paid Tyler money to sleep with her. I mean — can you imagine? Is virginity THAT horrible? Is that really the best SOLUTION that Rory’s friends come up with to solve this problem? (Their thought, not mine.) Again, I was seriously questioning why Rory was friends with these girls to begin with. If they weren’t going to accept Rory’s choices, I wish that she would have at least stood up for herself. (Though, I am happy to report Rory doesn’t rush into sex after all of this pressure from her friends either.)
Even though she attempts to ignore Tyler, Rory soon finds herself caught up in him and his entire family situation: young siblings who are stuck with their druggie mother. Tyler is determined to get his associates degree, become an EMT, and take custody of his siblings away from his mother. McCarthy brings a ton of personality to the story with the introduction of Tyler’s brothers and I enjoyed their scenes so much. Tyler’s loyalty and his determination to take care of them were his most attractive qualities.
Like Tyler’s brothers, my favorite parts of True were Rory’s video chats with her dorky (yet adorable) dad and even her science nerdiness. (Reminded me of Anatomy of a Single Girl.) I wish there had been more emphasis on these details, instead of the more infuriating ones. I haven’t read a ton of new adult books yet, but I can see the “guilty pleasure” pull of it. The sex, the attraction, the drama! It’s definitely all here in True, but it’s also hard for me to ignore the very serious situations that were repeatedly swept under the rug.
Reading True was a bit like suspending reality with the added task of forgetting my own morals. For this reason, I am so curious about New Adult and its growing popularity. I don’t necessarily read romance novels for their complex plotlines or character development but, instead, to watch two characters fall in love. So I’m left to wonder what role does New Adult play in our reading lives?...more
I know a lot of people don't trust when celebrities write books but I do like Hilary's writing here. It's not the smoothest, there's a lot more tellinI know a lot of people don't trust when celebrities write books but I do like Hilary's writing here. It's not the smoothest, there's a lot more telling than showing, but the story she has created is really intriguing + the chemistry between Sage and Clea is hard to deny.
I've heard the second book in the series is an improvement + I'm looking forward to it....more
Criminal was one of those books I had to hide in another room so I wouldn’t be tempted to keep pReview originally published on Rather Be Reading Blog:
Criminal was one of those books I had to hide in another room so I wouldn’t be tempted to keep picking it up way way past my bedtime.
Terra Elan McVoy, queen of summer camp and girls being friends with boys, has created such a tense, horrifying, addicting read in 288 short pages. Nikki is a down on her luck teenager with an addict for a mother, finding a sense of home living with her best friend, Bird, and her baby daughter. But her whole life changes when she meets Dee and falls desperately in love. The desperate kind of love that makes you forget everything else, leaves you so undone, that everything else seems unimportant.
Dee is passionate when he’s sexy and when he’s angry, and makes Nikki feel worthwhile and safe. He’s the kind of guy that really knows how to manipulate a situation, knows how to use sex to his advantage and gets Nikki involved in a heartless crime. Before she even knows what’s happening he gives her a disguise, tells her where to drive and when to wait for him. Nikki is scared but not sure what to do, and when she hears the gunshots and sees Dee’s face afterwards, she’s still not sure what to feel.
The next morning Dee is questioned by the cops and promises to contact Nikki when he can. Nikki goes nuts trying to say the right things to the cops when they come to question her, and keeping everything from Bird is really hard. When she realizes the murder Dee has committed may get Bird in big trouble, Nikki confesses just enough to clear Bird from the crime but not enough to keep herself out of jail.
Does this sound like your typical YA?
McVoy has branched out so much; it’s like Criminal is from a different planetary system. Her succinct writing style, the oodles of research that had to be done, and the fact that as a reader, I couldn’t figure out if I thought Nikki was incredibly weak for not standing up to Dee before he killed someone or just totally helpless in the heat of the moment, or if she was really at fault or not when she had no idea what he was planning. Every time she texted him (and wasn’t supposed to), my brain was screaming “Nooo Nikki! Don’t you know they will have a record of those texts to use against you?” (Cue everything I learned from the Casey Anthony trial.)
It’s amazing — even though Nikki is now IN jail, obviously strained her friendship with Bird and lost her job, she still can’t believe anything bad about Dee. She’s afraid FOR him. I kept wondering when she would finally break, when she would finally start to feel angry because she still felt attached to him after the “foundation” of their relationship started to crack. After the authorities let a few of his lies loose. It’s kind of like watching someone wind down from the biggest high of their life and finally be forced to make make do with truth.
In the jail, with this group of girls, and having the opportunity to incarcerate Dee by spilling every detail she can think of, Nikki grows and changes in ways I didn’t fathom. For awhile, she’s detached, guilty, bored, obsessed, apprehensive, difficult. But jail is kind of this blessing; it’s a controlled environment, something she is not used to with her addict mom’s antics, or the disdain she felt from Bird when she was dating Dee. Even when things start to click for Nikki, her life is not without consequence and big unfortunate changes.
Criminal is such a tight, well-written story yet still leaves a lot of room for discussion. I really appreciated the leaps that McVoy took with her writing this go-around; this story about power, lust, and love never felt over-dramatized or black and white. And the fact that I was able to discuss the details at length with my husband just proved to me how versatile a book it was for readers, being able to satisfy a larger audience. ...more
A ghost story? Who am I? Or should I say: “Boo am I”? (Horrible joke, I apologize.)
In all seriousness, Life After Theft was exactly what I needed after a long string of contemporaries; it was fast-paced, entertaining, and made me laugh out loud a few times. Plus it’s always refreshing to read from a male’s POV once in awhile.
Poor Jeff. Starting a brand new school where his only friend is a ghost. Not just any ghost but Kimberlee, a super popular gal who had an affection for stealing from anyone and everything. Because Jeff is the only person who could see and hear her after a year of this “purgatory”, she convinces (forces?) him to help her with a project: return the piles and piles of stolen stuff and maybe, just maybe, she will move on to the after-life.
Two main details I liked here: 1) Jeff outwardly cannot believe that Kimberlee is a ghost. He doesn’t immediately believe it and tra-la-la move on, like many characters in paranormals/supernaturals under unusual circumstances. He thinks he’s losing his mind. 2) Kimberlee is not very likeable. (Like ever.) In fact, she’s kind of a bitch, even when she knows Jeff is doing her a huge favor. Their banter really pushed the story along.
As you can imagine, the reappearance of year-old stuff stirs many emotions at Jeff’s new school — most people are thrilled to get their belongings back while others like their slightly evil principal is determined to apprehend the thief and teach them a hard-hitting lesson. You know, total chaos. For Jeff though, Kimberlee’s project helps his connect to his new surroundings, and even make some new friends including Sera, a gorgeous girl he spotted on his first day of school.
Just like any high school story, there’s a ton of drama to go around including who Kimberlee really was and why Sera likes to keep a ton of secrets. In many instances, Pike’s story seems a little thin; I would have preferred to see more tension between Jeff and Sera before they were so over-the-moon for one another and the male friendships could have used more attention too. Plus, from the get-go, I was really curious why Jeff was the only one who could help Kimberlee and that answer was never revealed.
Life After Theft woke up that supernatural side of my brain that is pretty much covered in dust and left me with one final thought: I must read more about ghosts! Please shower me with suggestions, if you can!...more
» She isn’t embarrassed that a sports bra is her favorite undergarment. » She carries around a lucky rabbit’s foot that her dad gave her. » She loves her computer so much that she named him Hector + she’s basically a computer genius. » She’s confident without being braggy, and she really treasures her friendships.
Can you see why I was rooting for Audrey so much during The Boyfriend App? After all she had been through with her dad’s sudden death, the rough (and unnecessary) treatment from her ex-best friend, I just wanted her to build the most amazing app, win the contest, and maybe even get the boy.
Unfortunately, nothing came that easy for her. I don’t know if it was the book cover or the synopsis that made me think so but The Boyfriend App is more than some fluffy high school story. Sise manages to weave in a ton of technical terms, really emphasizing Audrey’s tech strengths and also truly describing the major digital influences that have infilitrated the life of today’s teenager. It was fun to read about Audrey’s cousin, Lindsay, and her successful fashion blog, and even the use of social media to market The Boyfriend App. (But then again, I love this stuff!)
Just as Audrey’s app gains popularity and starts to change the way people perceive her, Sise introduces an interesting and unexpected layer to the plot. I’m not sure if she meant to make some grand statement about the influence technology has on our society (are we being brainwashed?) but she certainly threw me for some very welcome, refreshing loops (that included a makeout scene in the cafeteria that felt like a food fight a.k.a total chaos!).
One detail I absolutely loved was how culturally diverse Audrey’s high school was. This is probably one of the first books that reminded me so much of my own high school experience in that way. And you know, her friends just rocked. I loved that Lindsay, a family member!, was her best friend and always had her back, and I also appreciated how much Audrey wanted to keep these friends, even so much as to pretend she didn’t like Aidan as much as she did because she didn’t want to lose him completely. (Though, at times, I just wanted to be like: Girl, he LIKES you. Believe it! because she doubts his every move so much.)
I really enjoyed The Boyfriend App for all of its quirks and especially the chances that Sise took with her plot and her characters. It was a really fun ride that had me scratching my head (that’s how you build apps?!), laughing out loud (the geeky boy discovering the importance of a signature accessory), and reeling over the “will they won’t they” couple of the season. (And wondering if someone was going to lock the ex-best friend in a closet and throw away the key — oh the joys of a bully!)
Katie Sise is definitely an author I will be looking forward to reading in the future!...more