A few quick quotes to demonstrate why I skipped pages 141-217
[Pot] ... "But all that happened like way long ago, and I haven't really done it since. B...moreA few quick quotes to demonstrate why I skipped pages 141-217
[Pot] ... "But all that happened like way long ago, and I haven't really done it since. But not wanting to look like a total geek, I go, 'Yeah, I light up every now and then.' And then I pinch it from his fingers, take a long, deep drag..." (p. 16).
[Popularity] ... "And I'm not used to worrying about stuff like this, 'cause at my old school it was just me, Paige, and Hud... and we didn't really care what everyone else thought. I guess you could say we were geeks, but it didn't matter. But now that it's just me, I admit, it kind of matters," (p 27).
[Pill] ... "[Kristi] tosses something to me, and I close my hand around it. When I open my palm there's a small pill lying there. 'What's this?' "'Take it when you want to chill.'... "Then I take that pill Kristi gave me the other day. Because if I ever needed help chilling, it's right now... "'Um, what was that pill you gave me the other day?' I ask, leaning my head against the neck rest, and totally interrupting her. "'Just valium. Why? Did you take it?' Her eyes light up," (p 88, 100, 101).
[Powder] ... "I just stand there not saying anything because even though I've totally made up my mind that I'm not gonna do it, there's still this tiny part of me that's whispering, 'Why not?' I mean, I've watched Kristi do it, and it's not like it made her all crazy or anything. And it's not like one line's gonna make me an addict... "And when she comes back up [from snorting a line] her eyes are wide and sparkling, and her skin is flushed slightly pink, and she looks so happy and perfect, that I think: What the hell? I mean, it is my birthday. And I'll only do a little bit. And no one will ever find out since it's our secret..." (p 113)
[Pressure] ... "But now it's getting late, and Tyler still hasn't called, and I still haven't picked out an outfit for tomorrow, not to mention the homework I haven't touched all week. It's like there's just not enough time in the day to fit it all in, and it makes me wonder how other people do it. People who have jobs and stuff like Mason. But then again Mason doesn't really have a ton of friends like I do, and it's not like she has to keep a log what she wears from week to week so that she doesn't repeat. I mean, all she cares about is getting into art school, that's her entire focus. I guess it used to be mine, too, but now it doesn't even make the list," (p 138).
[Powder] ... "So I turn off my phone and reach all the way into the back of my nightstand drawer where I've stashed that little vial of coke... I pull the drawer all the way out but I still can't find it, so I dump the contents on the ground... And then I remember how Kristi finished it the last time she was here. And even though I'm pretty wide-awake now and could probably make it without the extra boost, the fact is I kinda want some," (p 139).
That's when I stopped reading. I flipped to the back of the book and then, like, straight out of Mean Girls, the protagonist (who up to this point has been a popularity-hungry loser who did literally anything to be accepted by the cool crowd) has miraculously started to stand up for herself and was able to get everything to fit right in the world again.(less)
140-Character Review: Prinz's passion for music was clear and, although that's not my passion, it stirred my own passions. Good characters, dialogue a...more140-Character Review: Prinz's passion for music was clear and, although that's not my passion, it stirred my own passions. Good characters, dialogue and conflict.
140-Character Recommendation/Market Placement/Entry Point: Fans of YA books that 1) Use music as a motif to tell a story (King Dork) and/or 2) Expose you to a new passion (In the Break).
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)
Tweet-Style Review: "Weakest book in the series. Bad descriptions of sword play battles. If I weren't invested in the series, I'd have given up. But I...moreTweet-Style Review: "Weakest book in the series. Bad descriptions of sword play battles. If I weren't invested in the series, I'd have given up. But I didn’t."(less)
First Line: "If anyone had ever told me I'd leave my big-city job and suburban home for rural country living, I would have declared them a f...moreRating: D-
First Line: "If anyone had ever told me I'd leave my big-city job and suburban home for rural country living, I would have declared them a few bristles short of a brush," (Author's Note, p. xi).
Review: I'm having a hard time writing this negative review because in the last chapter of this book, McCorkindale writes about how she wants to be the next Nora Ephron (not the highest of literary heroes, but to each his own) and what rejection is like. I wish she hadn't written that--and made herself "human"--because I wanted to rip this book to shreds. Instead, I'll just point out, semi-analytically, why I didn't like this book.
I didn't appreciate this memoir because it failed to achieve any discernible mission. There was no direction to the book. In her defense (and in lambaste of her editor), McCorkindale started this venture as emails to her friends back in New Jersey and then branched into a blog which was the genesis for this book. And it read like that. A collection of stories, humorous at times, but without a plot arc. For example, she had one chapter, "Down the Rabbit Hole," that was about her depression (and treatment). It was in no way related to the chapter preceding, "Meet the LOB Squad" (about her friends who share her distinct lack of good breeding), or following, "Jersey Girl" (about her love for trips back to Jersey to reclaim big hair and kitschy gifts). It's just random.
The book starts out, as stated above in the first line that was quoted, with Susan talking about how she was moving to Virginia reluctantly. And you assume, or at least I did, that she'd eventually come to embrace her farming life. And, in her defense (and in lambaste of her editor), there is a tiny shred of that--roughly five pages worth of material out of 300+--but it's definitely not enough to substantiate the premise of this book. Additionally, there wasn't even many stories about how her New Jersey upbringing got her into farming faux pas; mostly it was her complaining about the cows (aka, "the girls"), the chickens, her husband, her sons, and the farm smells (and dirt/mud). There are times when some of her writing is funny, but I don't need to read more than one passage dedicated to her search for the perfect push-up and/or her complaining about her cleavage curse.
Her writing style relied upon two things:
1. Alliteration and/or "Catchy" Turns of Phrase: "Together we replaced the perch, and I went back to the piano, but only after carefully... digging out the livestock detritus packed between my piggies," (pp. 247-8). That was her way of saying, "After I cleaned cow manure out from between my toes." Either way, it's not that interesting of a side note. My advice: Make the story interesting and then the writing. One is not a substitute for the other. Just tell us interesting stuff, don't try to be clever. Unless, of course, you are clever, but 99% of the time writers aren't nearly as clever as they think they are. I know I'm not.
2. Lists: "True, I'm free of the sight and smell of the pigs that whizzed wherever they pleased during my morning and evening commutes, but they've been replaced by bulls. And cows. And deer. And dogs. And groundhogs. And foxes. And horses. And hens," (p. 212). Yeah, we get it--lots of animals pee on farms. Dial it back.
Recommendation: Skip this book. Instead, if you want your rural fix, read a piece of good literature that is set on a farm (perhaps A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley).(less)
I read this book in about two hours. It was quick, it was funny, it was British, and there was enough to get me to go back to the 1/2-Price Bookstore...moreI read this book in about two hours. It was quick, it was funny, it was British, and there was enough to get me to go back to the 1/2-Price Bookstore (where I picked up this book) and grab the next one in the series. Georgia is hilarious (and so are the mad-cap situations she gets herself into) and the "Sex God" seems interesting--the 14-year-old/18-year-old relationship should be a good, fun read.
This isn't a book that you're going to be writing any reports on, that's not Rennison's point, but it is one that will cause you to laugh out loud... which earns her a B+ in my literary grade book.(less)
Review How can I say anything bad about this book? I can't. The only bad reviews this book gets are from people who were expecting a modern r...moreRating A+
Review How can I say anything bad about this book? I can't. The only bad reviews this book gets are from people who were expecting a modern re-telling of Hamlet to have a twist ending. It doesn't. The same person who did the killing in Shakespeare's classic did the killing in Something Rotten. New endings and surprise twists aren't the purpose of this book.
This book is so beautiful in it's simplicity, wit, and ability to get you to want to read Shakespeare. I am now yearning to go back and re-read Hamlet and pick up on all the things I missed because I didn't understand them (and my high school English teachers didn't have the time, curriculum-wise, to move beyond "Who are the characters?" and "What is the plot?"). Symbolism is rife, dialogue is rich, and now it makes sense.
I think this book (and Gratz's two follow-up Horatio Wilkes mysteries that tackle Macbeth and A Midsummer's Night's Dream) should be required reading in high school before Shakespeare. The added beauty of this book is that, although it's clean enough to slip right into any high school without making waves with the book-banning legislators, it's relatable, relatively contemporary (save Gratz's affinity for outdated cult-classic music that most kids have never heard of these days), and honest. Drinking happens, sex is alluded to, and high school is really high school. But it's all done so well.
A+ (+++) for him, and I'll be getting the rest in this series for darned sure. (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)
My local Christian book store was having a liquidation sale, so I bought this book which is the third (and final) installment of the Ashley Stockingda...moreMy local Christian book store was having a liquidation sale, so I bought this book which is the third (and final) installment of the Ashley Stockingdale series. I had read the previous two a couple of years back and then gotten off the series because Billerbeck was a little too churchy-preachy for me (granted, I'm a Christian, but rather than you coming right out and telling me what she's struggling with and how she's overcoming it, or not, just let me figure it out on my own). Anyway, I decided it might be good to read how somebody else is writing about virtue and waiting... something that I did not find in hardly any of the afore-mentioned YA novels. Billerbeck's still super preach-y, but Dr. Kevin Novak is a dream, and if you're in to Christian chick lit, you can't get much better than Billerbeck.(less)