Sarah (nicknamed Bean) is used to living in the shadow of her dashing older sister Scarlett. Whereas Scarlet is popular, beautiful and graceful, BeanSarah (nicknamed Bean) is used to living in the shadow of her dashing older sister Scarlett. Whereas Scarlet is popular, beautiful and graceful, Bean is used to being regarded as geeky and logical, as someone who is more interested about the gathering of information than socializing with her peers. After Bean gets dumped by her boyfriend for being too logical and for rather watching the world than living in it, she thinks that in order for her to be desirable as a friend or even a romantic interest for someone, she needs to be more like Scarlett. When she travels to Cape Cod with her family for the summer, she devices “Project Scarlett”, an attempt to fit in and to see what is it in Scarlett that makes her so popular and so on demand among her peers.
Though Bean only turns 16 in this novel (which means that she is 8 years younger than me), I would it quite easy to identify with her. She's academically inclined and tends to always take the logical route when it comes to making decisions. She has a tendency to overthink EVERYTHING, which is definitely something I am able to identify and she tends to think that in order for her to be liked by other people, she needs to be something else than she actually is. She is more of a watcher, as someone who studies the way the people around her act, rather than a doer. Between Us and the Moon is a story of her coming to the realization that rather than being someone else, it is okay for her to be just as she is and that for people to like her, she needs to be honest and true to herself and those around her.
Bean's “project Scarlett” proves to be a success when she meets Andrew on the beach. The only problem is that whereas Bean is hardly 16, Andrew is already 19. Thinking that age is just a number, Bean lies that she is 18 and about to start at MIT. As the relationship between the two develops, Bean gets more and more uncomfortable about the fact that she is lying for Andrew. But how can she be honest when she knows that he will probably freak out and leave her. The more time they spend together, the more Bean starts to realize that Andrew really seems to like the real her with the geekiness and all. Though it could be argued that the whole relationship is built on a lie, I felt like the feelings between the two characters were real. Though I was able to understand Bean's decision to keep up with the lie, I was occasionally annoyed by her naivety and her irresponsibility – rather than thinking much about the consequences of the lie for Andrew, she is frequently occupied with thinking how the reveal of the lie would affect her. I think it is with this treatment of the relationship that Bean's young age becomes most evident – she is inexperienced with relationships and in love with someone she knows that probably would discard her if he knew her real age.
The family dynamics of Between Us and the Moon were to some extent even more interesting to read about than the relationship between Bean and Andrew. For most of the time, though her parents love her, it seems like they don't really see the real her – they expect certain type of behavior from her and do not seem to notice the changes that are taken place as a result of “project Scarlett”. The problematic relationship between Bean and Scarlett is interesting, but unfortunately one that is not discovered enough within the novel. For too long, Scarlett seems like the stereotypical mean girl/sister and when she finally is given some depth, it feels like it is too little too late.
Between Us and the Moon is a well written, slow-burning novel that impressed me with character development, especially when it comes to the main character Bean. Within the narrative, she grows from an unsure, naïve and occasionally irresponsible (in relation to Andrew) girl to a young woman capable of embracing her true self and the fact that it is okay for her to be just the way she is. Though I did enjoy the romance between Bean and Andrew, I found myself more attached to Bean and her growth, cheering for her and her development as a character. Despite the fact that Bean annoyed me at points in addition to the slightly unbelievable time Bean is able to keep up with her lie, Between Us and the Moon kept me entertained and really made me look forward to summer....more
I have been a fan of Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries series since I read the first book when I was probably like 10 years old. Mia Thermopolis is still o I have been a fan of Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries series since I read the first book when I was probably like 10 years old. Mia Thermopolis is still one of my favorite female fictional characters and I am still desperately in love with Michael. When I heard about the fact that Cabot is extending the series, writing a book about Mia as an adult, I seriously felt like throwing a party. When I was given the opportunity to review From the Notebooks of a Middle-School Princess, Cabot's first book in the spin-off series of Princess Diaries, which will be released a couple of months prior to the new Princess Diaries book, I jumped right in despite the fact that I normally do not review middle-grade novels.
From the Notebooks of a Middle-School Princess introduces us to Olivia Grace, a 12 year old girl living in New Jersey. Her mother died when she was only a baby and though she keeps in contact with her father, she has never seen him. Living with her aunt and her family, Olivia is trying to navigate through the halls of middle-school. As a result of a very unexpected chain of events, Olivia learns that her father is the prince of Genovia. Not only does she become a princess, she also gains a family – a sister, a grandmother and two adorable dogs. But becoming a princess does not come without problems and for the first time in her life, Olivia is really made to question what she wants from life.
This book was so adorable! This is exactly the type of book I know I would have loved reading back in the day. Olivia is funny and honest and it really was a pleasure to read her thoughts about herself and the people that surround her. I loved how Cabot brings diversity to the Princess Diaries world by portraying Olivia as a child of white father and a black mother and how she very gently points out to her readers that despite the fact that Olivia looks a bit different than her other family members, she still is essentially the same (which I think is a very important thing to note for young readers).
This book will be a brilliant extension of the Princess Diaries series for a new generation of readers – with an introduction of new main character in a very contemporary setting, Cabot not only gives old fans of Mia a chance to see her again through the eyes of a new character, but also makes it possible for new readers to first encounter this novel and then possible the original Princess Diaries novels. I really hope this one will be translated to Finnish so I can share it with my cousin's two girls – I bet they would love this one just as much as I loved Princess Diaries when I was their age.
When I saw the promotional material for this novel compare it to Joss Whedon's legendary Firefly, I instantly knew I would have to read it. Firefly isWhen I saw the promotional material for this novel compare it to Joss Whedon's legendary Firefly, I instantly knew I would have to read it. Firefly is not only one of my favorite shows, but arguably one of the best shows ever to grace television. I still find it difficult to understand it was cancelled and can just imagine how well it would do within the contemporary television environment. So yes, the Firefly reference made me very excited. And though this book directly isn't like Firefly, I did remind me of the show in some ways (the language, the racing aspect, the outsiders vs. the corporations), which I really enjoyed because any sort of reference to Firefly is a welcome one.
Phee lives in Castra, a planet controlled by six corporates. Following on the footsteps of her father who mysteriously disappeared when she was very young, Phee lives for rally racing. Along with her best friend Bear (Barrett), Phee participates in illegal races on the streets of Castra, constantly in fear of getting caught. When a race goes awry and Phee is taken into custody, she is forced to make a decision – either be sent to a juvenile delinquency centre or joining the racing time of Charles Benroyal, one of the sixers and the owner of the Benroyal Corp. Both choices mean imprisonment for Phee and Bear, but at least the choice to race for Benroyal means that Phee can continue doing what she loves, even when she needs to work for someone that represents something she despites. As Phee gets deeper into the world of corporation racing, she realizes that Benroyal is controlling much more than just the corporation and soon it becomes her responsibility to reveal the truth to everyone and to take Benroyal down.
I LOVE Phee. She is strong, independent, funny and kickass. I feel like too often in YA books like this, the female heroine is instantly established as something special, as someone whose destiny it is to do a certain task. Phee definitely is special, but at the beginning of this novel, she's just a normal girl, trying to find her way around the dangerous side of Castra. After her father mysteriously disappeared, she has been living with Bear and his family. When she's taken into drive for Benroyal and the world of corporation racing, she is forced to change, but at the same time, she stays true to her values. She has been forced to work for the enemy, but at the same time, she has been given a chance to do what she really loves. Throughout this novel, I felt like Phee's confusement about what is right or wrong and how she should feel felt so realistic and honest. This confusement and facing difficult decisions made it much more easier to like and identify with Phee – she's not perfect but rather just trying to navigate her way in a world unknown to her. She knows her own strengths and flaws and most importantly, she is not afraid to speak for herself!
Though there's a hint of a love triangle here, I wasn't really put back by it since for the duration of the novel it is kind of obvious who the right guy for Phee is. The fact that she meets someone she never thought she would connect with helps in her character development and very quickly the scenes between Phee and Cash became my favorite ones. What I really appreciated is the fact that Martin mostly keeps the romance in the background and rather focuses on the story of Phee and her growth. Yes, I do love romance, but I also love awesome coming-of-age stories, especially when they focus on awesome kickass heroines.
Tracked is paced brilliantly and Martin's prose with its fast-paced description and witty banter made this one of those books that was just impossible to put down. The vivid characters and the dialogue between them is definitely something that reminded me of Firefly with its very distinctive characters and character relationships. I loved how the rally crew kind of became its own family unit (like the Serenity crew on Firefly). The way Martin builds this fictional world, explaining the politics of the corporations and the relations Castra has with other planets is well established. As I kept reading, I became so immersed with this world that I actually started to threat the ending of the novel. And really, I never thought I would be this excited about a book that focuses on racing – those who know me know that I don't care about cars AT ALL.
Goodreads does not mention yet whether this novel is a standalone or a part of a series. It could work as a standalone – the end is satisfying and leaves room for interpretation. I am really hoping though that this is a series because the way the novel ends leaves so much potential for a follow-up!
Tracked is definitely one of the best YA sci-fi novels I have read in a long time. With a likable protagonist, fast-paced plot and just a pinch of romance, it's a novel that kept me excited to turn the pages until the very end. Martin's world building is strong and vivid and I salute her creating such an awesome female protagonist. Tracked is a brilliant debut for an author I definitely want to read more from. ...more
After seeing your beautiful cover, I wanted to like you so badly. I wanted to read you, love you and buy you to my own collection.Dear Winner's Curse,
After seeing your beautiful cover, I wanted to like you so badly. I wanted to read you, love you and buy you to my own collection. My expectations for you were extremely high. And the way other people, readers that opinions matter to me, talked about you, I was sure that we would connect. But alas, rather than writing a love letter for you, I have to write something else.
Don't worry, this isn't a hate letter. I almost wish that I could write a hate letter, because that way I would feel at least something towards you. Because right now I don't feel anything. I feel like reading you did not do anything for me. Like someone could erase those two nights I spend with you and I wouldn't really even notice it (expect then I would not have a memory from those awesome Twizzlers I ate while spending time with you).
I was so excited to meet Kestrel, even if her name sounds kind of weird. I was also really looking forward to meeting Arin, mostly because his name reminds me of someone I know. I had heard such praise about your world building that I was sure I would be able to delve right in. But no! Rather than finding myself immersed with your world building, I was bored. I feel like nothing happened. Yes, Kestrel buys a slave. But after that there's a lot of stuff that did not feel move the story forward at all. Or at least that is how I feel.
The more and more I read you, I started to find it harder and harder to like Kestrel. I constantly felt like she has no idea what she is doing or what she wants from life. And I do get that we all struggle with questions like that sometimes and that I in no way can put myself in the shoes of Kestler, but hey, I needed something to grasp into and unfortunately I did not find it from you. Yes, she cares for her family, but outside of that, it feels like it is all the same what happens to people. Someone else, someone who really liked this book, might interpret this differently, but I just want to say how I felt. I constantly also felt that though she tries to seem like she does not care about her superior status, she acts differently. And that kind of behaviour always annoys me to no end. Given, she proves herself towards the end, but by then, it feels like too little too late.
This love story of Kestrel and Arin? When did it really happen? Did I miss something? Yes, Kestrel is constantly feeling like she shouldn't feel anything towards Arin, but she can't help it. I do get that this whole forbidden love thing is usually a fundamental part of books similar to you, but after a while it just gets annoying, especially since you know that in the end it is going to happen anyway. I wasn't looking for any grand romantic moments or clichés, but I didn't want to feel like I missed the whole falling-in-love process either.
When it comes to Arin, I felt even less that towards Kestrel. Like seriously, I felt nothing. And I must admit at points I was kind of terrified of him. Yes, he's protective, but seriously.... sometimes you can go too far. Once again, this is a point I feel a lot of people are going to disagree with me.
I think one of the reasons why I felt so disconnected from you is the fact that I am not a regular fantasy reader. Maybe as someone who extensively reads fantasy, I could have appreciated your very slow-building plot a bit more. One aspect that I did find interesting was the politics of your world, the division of the people into different groups and so on, but unfortunately that wasn't enough. I also had some problems with the way you were written. The style your author uses is very fast-paced and unfortunately I did not work for me when it felt like nothing really happened in your most part.
Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe I started with you thinking that I am going to meet my new favourite book. Maybe at the point when I noticed that I am not connecting with you, I gave up and started to look for flaws. I still don't quite know what happened, and since I did not feel any sort of connection with you, I probably won't even think about it too much.
You and I were not meant to be, but hey, don't despair. It seems like you are getting plenty of love elsewhere.