Once again, I have been duped into buying a YA novel. Oh, how I wish the words "Young Adult" would be printed in big, screaming red capital letters on...moreOnce again, I have been duped into buying a YA novel. Oh, how I wish the words "Young Adult" would be printed in big, screaming red capital letters on the top of the Amazon page! Though, to be honest, I did not suspect until the girls were brought out of the woods and met their evil stepsister, a textbook YA cliche if there ever was one. This was followed in short order by Carey's first day of school, when we discover that she is supermodel gorgeous (because everyone tells her so, immediately) and the usual Popular Boy is instantly smitten and takes her under his wing even though she is Different From Other Girls. Of course, she is Beautiful and also a Violin Prodigy--that helps, a lot. I was disappointed to think that this novel was devolving into the typical banal YA pablum.
But! But. The writing is lovely, and Carey, despite being Beautiful and Gifted, is quite sympathetic. Her story is horrific and moving and I found myself willing to suspend disbelief, over and over again. The romantic subplot with Popular Boy was unnecessary, in my opinion, but after all the target reader is a young teenaged girl, not an aging cynic like myself.
Maybe it's just me; I don't read much YA Lit because I find it to be superficial, and How To Say Goodbye In Robot is no exception. It is supposedly th...moreMaybe it's just me; I don't read much YA Lit because I find it to be superficial, and How To Say Goodbye In Robot is no exception. It is supposedly the story of the deep and meaningful friendship between two oddballs, but where's the evidence? Bea and Jonah are both fans of a late-night radio talk show (said talk show was frankly ridiculous) and they have a few mild adventures together, but I couldn't really see why Bea formed such a strog attachment to the unlikeable, miserable, manipulative Jonah. Bea's parents were cardboard cut-outs; her mother seemed to be going insane and then inexplicably got all better again, which was blithely explained as the result of therapy, antidepressants, and a few-days' separation from her husband. The father was barely there at all. Bea is allegedly a quirky loner yet she is oddly accepted by her peers, who all seem remarkably benign towards both her and the mysterious "Ghost Boy". Anyone who's actually been a teenager knows that this isn't realistic. Bea and Jonah are both mature enough to go into any bar and order beers without being carded and yet immature enough to think their silly plan of dressing up in disguises and doing a certain highly illegal thing will work. I just couldn't buy any of it.(less)
I don't usually read YA literature, for precisely the way this book started out: High-School Weird Arty Chick has hopeless Crush on Ultra-Cool High Sc...moreI don't usually read YA literature, for precisely the way this book started out: High-School Weird Arty Chick has hopeless Crush on Ultra-Cool High School Dream Boat, and suddenly one day, he Notices Her!!! In a Good Way!!! Blah blah blah, Which, as anyone who has actually gone to high school knows, never ever happens In Real Life. Leave it for the John Hughes movies, right? The saving grace of Dirty Little Secrets is that HSWAC has, you guessed it, a Dirty Little Secret, and it's a real doozy. Most of the novel is taken up with the DLS and HSWAC's attempts to handle it without it getting out, and the author's insight into the cause-and-effect of her dilemma is unflinching and feels very real. Of course there is the obligatory Blossoming Romance and First Kiss (otherwise this book wouldn't be YA) but the struggles of our friend HSWAC to deal with her problem far overshadow the cliches. (less)
This is a Young Adults novel, which I didn't realize when I bought it, but I decided to give it a shot--and I'm glad I did. Unlke other books I've rea...moreThis is a Young Adults novel, which I didn't realize when I bought it, but I decided to give it a shot--and I'm glad I did. Unlke other books I've read whose main character is a young person--in this case a thirteen-year-old girl--I found Wendy to be entirely believable, and I really sympathized with her struggles and uncertainties. All of the characters were flawed but in normal, easy-to-relate-to ways, and there was an equal ammount of nobility to them. Just like real life! I especially liked the little literary theme that ran through the book, as Wendy reads Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl, The Member of the Wedding, Lord of the Flies, The Butcher Boy, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. This is definitely something I would encourage my stepkids to read.(less)
I read this book first as a very young girl and I was absolutely captivated! Egypt has always held a special place in my heart because my grandparents...moreI read this book first as a very young girl and I was absolutely captivated! Egypt has always held a special place in my heart because my grandparents used to travel there and their "slide shows" (remember those?) were fascinating. Granted, the story is melodramatic and some have said they found the romance between Mara and Sheftu off-putting for one reason or another, but to me these elements make for the perfect read for a pre-teen girl. I found a copy of this on Amazon recently and re-read it as a 40-something woman with great pleasure. All the characters were as vivid as I remembered them--bold,brave Mara, suave and courtly Sheftu, the shy Babylonian princess, haughty Hatshepsut...I really believe that this story is as valid today as it was when it was first published. Andif it gets a girl interested in reading more about ancient Egypt (as it did me), can that be a bad thing?(less)