Okay book--I finished it, but not good enough to get me to read the rest of the series, and not good enough to get me to hold on to it and loan it to...moreOkay book--I finished it, but not good enough to get me to read the rest of the series, and not good enough to get me to hold on to it and loan it to others.(less)
Cute book--dramatic without being over the top. Good enough to get me to read other books by this author, not good enough to get me to hold on to it a...moreCute book--dramatic without being over the top. Good enough to get me to read other books by this author, not good enough to get me to hold on to it and loan it to others.(less)
Good introduction to the series. I've got the first couple on hold at the library because I'm looking forward to reading more about this quaint villag...moreGood introduction to the series. I've got the first couple on hold at the library because I'm looking forward to reading more about this quaint village. (less)
Loved this first foray into the novelization of the historical King and Lady Macbeth (as opposed to Shakespeare's)--my first read, obviously not the f...moreLoved this first foray into the novelization of the historical King and Lady Macbeth (as opposed to Shakespeare's)--my first read, obviously not the first one ever written. Opened me up to a whole new exciting topic for reading.
Relatively good story on the "woman behind the man" of Shakespeare. I don't read (or in this case, listen to) a lot of historical fiction, but charmin...moreRelatively good story on the "woman behind the man" of Shakespeare. I don't read (or in this case, listen to) a lot of historical fiction, but charming books like this make me want to change this.
I really enjoyed the character of Agnes and actually wish she hadn't been in a relationship with Will because I didn't particularly care for him.
Tweet-Style Review: "I already knew (and sort of liked) the characters. Kind of repetitive (always saying, 'Schwenks don’t make decisions') with tellin...moreTweet-Style Review: "I already knew (and sort of liked) the characters. Kind of repetitive (always saying, 'Schwenks don’t make decisions') with telling, rather than showing in her writing."(less)
Tweet-Style Review: "Best conflict in the series. Wasn’t sure how D.J. would decide. Glad D.J. started to stand up for herself (especially to Brian). G...moreTweet-Style Review: "Best conflict in the series. Wasn’t sure how D.J. would decide. Glad D.J. started to stand up for herself (especially to Brian). Good resolution of the trilogy."(less)
Review This book was a humorous and irreverent look at college life amongst the elite from an outsider's perspective. (The author went to an...moreRating B-
Review This book was a humorous and irreverent look at college life amongst the elite from an outsider's perspective. (The author went to an Ivy League school, so I'm not sure how much of this is his revisionist's history.)
The characters in this book were over-the-top, but they were meant to be. (Hello? One is a vampire. Obvious farce.) And it worked. The caricatures all played off each other--the motivated one, the jaded one, the "President," etc.--and created a campus full of life and color.
The pacing of the book kept you reading consistently with plenty of hijinks spattered throughout to ensure that you didn't have to read too much anti-elitism without a laugh or too along the way.
Hart was a good narrator, he was never whiny, even when any normal person would have been. (Hello? He was dragged behind a hearse in an attempt to kill him. Let the complaining begin.) But he wasn't Mary Sunshine either. He saw the crap that was going on around him, but he knew that griping never really did anybody any good. He had a good (fictitious) upbringing in that regard.
All those things said, an enjoyable book that includes laughs, some thoughts on society's classes, melancholy, and friendships. Nothing ground-breaking, but still a fun read.
Recommendation This book is a mix of Looking for Alaska and Carter Finally Gets It. So if you enjoyed either of those books (like me), then you'll probably like this one as well. (less)
Review Warning: If you're the kind of person who hates to read a book, and not read any really great stuff until page 256 (of 284), then don'...moreRating C+
Review Warning: If you're the kind of person who hates to read a book, and not read any really great stuff until page 256 (of 284), then don't read this book. Let me give you a little break-down of how this book goes, for reference:
Pages 1-42: Introductory scenes to remind us of characters and relationships and events that ocurred in Tips... and set up the scenario/scene/timeline for Love... Pages 43-82: Set up of the "big hook"/problem of this book Pages 83-256: Belle thinks a lot about the problem(s) in this book, thinks some more, some interesting kissing, etc. Pages 256-275: Climax Pages 276-280: Resolution-ish
The book doesn't sound that great, right? Well, here's why I gave the book this rating: I am somebody who can fall in love with characters and can stand to read about them doing not too much of anything.
Granted, I think that Belle was way too whiny in this book (instead of just being honest about stuff, she whined and complained and internalized and freaked out about stuff), and I think that this book was a vanity piece because Jones loved these characters, she saw an idea for a climax via a country music video (which she admits on her website) and she filled the bulk of the book (the "rising action") with whining.
But I really, really like Tom. And the hook of the book could have been so awesome--and I wanted to read that. Sure, I wanted way more in the way of resolution--I wanted to know what Shawn thought about "the problem" and how it worked out, etc., but that's probably why I sent an email to Carrie Jones asking, "Can you please write another book so I know how things turn out?" That's how much I like these characters.
Also, she does a better job of making Dylan less of a gay charicature. (Plus, I gave her a decent score because she did the repetitive writing thing, thing, thing a lot less in this book.)
Recommendation Fans of Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend could probably enjoy reading more about these characters. Otherwise, don't bother. (less)
Review My thoughts on this book could not possibly be more mixed. No siree. That would not be feasible.
On the plus side: I am so hard-core lov...moreRating C
Review My thoughts on this book could not possibly be more mixed. No siree. That would not be feasible.
On the plus side: I am so hard-core loving the relationship between Belle and her rebound guy (Tom) that I'm going to rush to the library tonight and get the second book in this little saga (Love (And Other Uses for Duct Tape)). And I'll probably read it tonight. Other pluses are that I totally think that Dylan's angst is semi-believeable (in so much as I know what it's like to come out as a gay guy in a small town at the age of 17); I like a lot of the other supporting characters and the narrator doesn't completely get on my nerves. Several of her lists are well-balanced (whiny, depressed, etc., without being too whiny, depressed, etc.).
On the hugely negatively side: I cannot stand the author's writing. I read the back flap which says this lovely lady used to edit poetry magazines and it comes through in her writing (I think). And not in a good way. In a way that she tried to make this prose sound like poetry and was repetitive. I was over, over, over it. (Because she did that thing I just did where she uses the same word three times.) She does this over, over, over again in the book. It drove me batty!
Also, I was thoroughly annoyed that we got fantastic "remembrances" of romantic and/or hot scenes between Dylan and Belle and I can't get a second base with Tom? C'mon. That's why I'm reading the second book. I need to see if this girl can do her business with a straight guy. (Plus, have I ever mentioned that I have a very weird interest in reading books about sexually-confused young adults? Please do not speculate in the comments regarding what you think that may or may not mean about me.)
Recommendation I'm holding off on this until after I've read the next book. Check back later for edits.(less)
Review I adored this very cute and fun read. I appreciated that I didn't see absolutely everything coming from a mile away, that the parents w...moreRating B
Review I adored this very cute and fun read. I appreciated that I didn't see absolutely everything coming from a mile away, that the parents were dynamic characters (maybe I only love that because I'm an adult), and that the love triange was fun to read. I loved Rachel's voice--she was quite spot-on in her YA voice, but also not 100% self-absorbed or whiny. She was funny. What you'd hope your diary would have sounded like when you lamented having huge hair.
My minor drawback, and this could be because I'm a gentile, is that it was hard to figure out the significance of the Jewish religion v. ethnicity. It was seemingly very important to Rachel and her family, but then you find out that it's maybe not such a big idea, but it could be, etc. There was some back and forth with that that got to be a little wishy-washy to me, and struck me as trying to make something important sound socially acceptable; if marrying someone with like spiritual beliefs and/or sense of cultural identity is important to you, go ahead and say it. I don't think that means that you're necessarily saying anyone who is not one of God's Chosen Race is bad, it's just that you (personally) wouldn't marry them. However, maybe Schorr was trying to make the point that it's a confusing issue for Jewish girls as they come of age, but that wasn't entirely clear. (Especially based on the resolution of who Rachel ends up with that I won't spoil for you.)
Recommendation Fans of Lisa Loeb's short-lived Reality TV show, "#1 Single." (I think there are similar YA writers, but because the faith/ethnicity/religion is so important to the plot of this book, I'll leave these recommendations brief.) (less)
Review Hannah is an interesting character, and you get enough of a glimpse at her home life that her ever-so-slightly whiny inner monologues a...moreRating B
Review Hannah is an interesting character, and you get enough of a glimpse at her home life that her ever-so-slightly whiny inner monologues are understandable. But the best part of the book is that Scott does a good job of portraying Hannah's parents in a two-dimensional light as well--they're clearly not perfect (or even close), but they're sufficiently complex and interesting to read about.
The rising action of the book and the climax were pretty gripping (as far as contemporary YA fiction goes) and caused a lump to rise in the back of my throat. Sure, I knew what was going to happen with Hannah's love interests, but there was enough meat on the bones of this story to make it a satisfying read.
Note: I read this book because I'd previously read Scott's Perfect You, which wasn't that great, but had a teaser for this book in the back, and this book was far better. I'd encourage anybody who had even a little bit of interest in Scott's earlier works (even if it wasn't jaw-dropping awe) to give this one a shot.
Recommendation Anybody who is a fan of light, fun YA fiction (with romantic undertones and family drama) should enjoy a good bit of quick reading in this one. (less)
Review There was so much I liked about this book and only a little bit that I didn't like (but it's a pretty major thing).
What I did like: the seduction by the teacher (which, I believe, is actually called "grooming" when it comes to child molestation) scenes are done really tastefully and are told from Josh's POV and are so eye-opening. That sounds weird to say, and you might think, 'Why would you want to have your eyes opened to that?' And I guess the reason I found this book so fabulous is that every year I volunteer at a camp for kids who are in the CPS system because they've been abused (physically or sexually) or neglected. It's reality, but everyone likes to pretend it doesn't happen. But I think books like this, that show how it can happen even in white middle-class America, and the effects it has on kids, can help open the discussion up so that we can start to really address the underlying issues and start to move toward solutions.
Lyga thanks a number of people at the back of the book in the acknowledgements section, but I didn't see anyone who gave him insights into the psychological profile of sexually abused kids. I don't know if he did a lot of reading, or how he did it, but Josh's confusion and misinterpretations and latent manifestations of the misplaced shame and guilt were so poignant. Very well done.
What I didn't like: The resolution of the student/teacher situation. Most notably I didn't like how it happened, or more specifically, where it happened. The situation was just so unbelievable. And everything else up to that point (up to page 392 of 410) was so believable and well done that it just left a sour taste at an otherwise exceptionally well written book.
This book isn't funny or exciting or even easy to read. But it's good and worth your time. Sure, most teens who might pick up this book are past the point where they might be prime targets for predators, but this book is fantastic reading material for parents of young children and tweens. I don't mean this to be all, "Lock up your children!" because it's more than that. It's about abuse and its effects (there are long-term effects to all forms of abuse) and it shows what life after abuse is like for the victim (and a small glimpse at the life of the predator).
I don't know that this is the best book I've ever read from a literary stand-point (okay, I know it isn't... the dialogue was really lacking in some parts), but the way the subject matter is handled earned this a good grade in my book.
Recommendation Anyone who doesn't want to have their head stuck in the sand. (less)