Please be aware that Shrimp is the second book in a series. In order to give even the briefest synopsis, this review does contain spoilers to the firsPlease be aware that Shrimp is the second book in a series. In order to give even the briefest synopsis, this review does contain spoilers to the first book.
Shrimp basically picks up right where Gingerbread left off. Cyd Charisse returns from New York City after getting to know her bio-dad Frank and her half-sibs Danny and lisBETH. Back in San Francisco, Cyd's only goal is to get back with her "one true love" Shrimp. And to avoid her mother's endless stack of college applications. CC (as she is now known) survives her senior year of high school with her two new friends Heather and Autumn at her side. Getting away from problems of his own, half-brother Danny visits CC on the west coast and brings her back to NYC for a long weekend away. During her second visit, CC is torn between her old life in San Francisco and the possibility of a new life in New York. CC realizes that growing up is hard to do, and that she needs to make some tough decisions soon that may or may not include Shrimp.
Well, I did not give Gingerbread a very good review, and I'm afraid this one isn't going to be much better. I do want to stress that I enjoyed the story, characters, and writing. I just can't get into Cyd Charisse. I have trouble reading about main characters I can't relate to, and this was my problem with Gingerbread and Shrimp. I'm moving along and am about half-way through the third and final installment of the series, Cupcake. Why, you ask? I told you, I am no quitter!
Initial Reaction: When you've had a bad day, you need three things: a bubble bath, chocolate, and this book. It was the perfect blend of sweetness andInitial Reaction: When you've had a bad day, you need three things: a bubble bath, chocolate, and this book. It was the perfect blend of sweetness and humor and great friends and steamy romance. Loved it.
Review: Can I just say how much I lovelovelove feel-good contemporaries that are more than just fluff? Smart Girls Get What They Want is about exactly what the title implies. Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are smart girls. They may not have overflowing social calendars or afternoons filled with extracurriculars, but who cares? They're totally going to Harvard/Princeton/Dartmouth and will have plenty of time for that later. Except when they find Neerja's sister's empty yearbook, they panic. What if by only worrying about life after high school they are missing out on some of life's greatest experiences? The three girls decide right then and there to make the most of high school, and not just in the academic sense. After all, they are smart girls. Who says they can't have everything they want?
One of the things I liked most about this novel was the meaningfulness of it. The girls didn't just want to let loose and party. They each faced some major obstacles and took on their fears. Of course they had a lot of fun on the way, but I really appreciated the way they remained themselves but became better versions. I loved that there was such a positive message throughout the story without it feeling preachy or condescending. I also loved the confidence these girls had in themselves, and in each other, and their attractiveness. Too often the smart girls are the mousy-haired, glasses-wearing loners. It was very refreshing to see three beautiful girls rocking the books who weren't constantly moaning about their insecurities.
There was a small love triangle, but it did not provoke one single eye roll from me. Both boys were not without merit (at least in the beginning), and I could see it going either way. Of course, as the story progressed things were more clear, and I was very happy with the outcome. I really appreciated the poetry-loving jock and may have even swooned a time or two.
Smart Girls was a smartly written, humorous contemporary I wish was around when I was in high school. Then maybe I could have been more like Gigi, Bea, and Neerja. Sarah Strohmeyer did a fantastic job of erasing stereotypes and giving value to being a smart girl.
FTC: I was gifted with an ARC of this novel, which was picked up at ALA Midwinter. Sash for the win!
I'm actually going to start this review by telling you a little bit about me. Just trust me and go with it. I read lots of blogs, but I very seldom reI'm actually going to start this review by telling you a little bit about me. Just trust me and go with it. I read lots of blogs, but I very seldom read through the actual reviews. I hate being spoiled and even though most bloggers give adequate spoiler warnings, I'd rather be completely surprised when I pick up a book. So, you will often hear see me say that I had no idea what a book was about before picking it up. I also never go to the library with a list. I go, pick up any new books I have on hold, and browse the shelves looking for something to catch my eye. This is how I found Skunk Girl. I didn't remember who had read it, what it was about, or if it was even good for that matter. I recognized it, laughed at the inside cover, and placed it in my bag. I was in no real hurry to read it since I had so many other goodies in my pile, but when I finally did, boy was I surprised.
Nina Khan just wants to be a normal teenager, except she's kind of a freak. She's hairy, Muslim, and under lockdown by her very strict, Pakistani parents. Luckily for her though, her American friends love her anyway. Nina is used to the social restrictions her family believes in; however, when cutie Asher Richelli starts paying her attention, she is determined to break away. In the end Nina learns that her family really isn't that bad and that some of the things she wished for are overrated.
I loved Nina's story. She was such a diverse character! I know, I know - it's mostly because she is a person of color with a completely different culture than my own, but I had to say it. Nina's narrative takes us straight into her head and lets us see, and feel, and think the things that she is seeing, and feeling, and thinking. Feeling so close to a character is always a good thing in my book, and her witty humor only added to my love for this debut novel. I hear Karim is working on a new book, and I cannot wait to read it.
I think it is so important for stories like Nina's to be told. Please check out Reading in Color and S. Krishna's Books if you aren't already familiar. Both of these blogs feature books by and/or about people of color, and both hold challenges with tons of suggestions for books like Skunk Girl.
I couldn't get past the first hundred pages. The storyline was promising, but unfortunately the characters and plot lacked the oomph I was looking forI couldn't get past the first hundred pages. The storyline was promising, but unfortunately the characters and plot lacked the oomph I was looking for. There were a lot of random bits of information thrown around and way too many technical terms for ridiculously simple things that greatly interrupted the flow (and evoked several eye rolls). I happened to glance at the last page to find that this was apparently book one of a series. I can't say that I'll be looking for book two. ...more
Being a child of the nineties, I am no stranger to boy band fandom. So the thought of three girls traveling across the country in a beat up camper allBeing a child of the nineties, I am no stranger to boy band fandom. So the thought of three girls traveling across the country in a beat up camper all for their favorite band's reunion show gets me pretty excited. I also get pretty excited about post-high school YA and multiple points of view - another few things that can be found in this novel.
When Alice's parents gift her with a running Pea Pod after graduation, her mind instantly flies to a summer-long road trip with her best friend. Friend going to China nixes any plan for cross-country travel until Alice hears about Level3 playing a one-time show a few thousand miles away. Alice jumps on the opportunity knowing she can't make the trip without her childhood friends Tiernan and Summer by her side. Only problem is they haven't spoken to one another since the beginning of high school.
What ensues is a mostly believable, often hilarious tale of three girls coming together for a common love. I love the way each character gives her own perspective. It gives the story diversity, and the reader has a better understanding of each girl. None of them are perfect - all have made mistakes, and in hearing each voice there is no enemy. I can't help wanting them all to push aside the past and be besties again.
I wasn't completely in love with this novel, but most of it worked for me. There was definitely a certain spark it lacked, keeping it from becoming a favorite; however, as a debut I thought it was a really good example of a feel-good, girls-rule contemporary. I am looking forward to Hilary's future novels. Will one of them feature these three..?
FTC: I received an ARC of this novel as part of the Teen Book Scene blog tour in exchange for an honest review and a promotional post.