When I picked up Not that kind of Girl, I was expecting light and fluffy. After all, the cover boasts a young, pretty couple in the throes of what looWhen I picked up Not that kind of Girl, I was expecting light and fluffy. After all, the cover boasts a young, pretty couple in the throes of what looks to be a sweet, affectionate kiss. Naturally, I assumed this book would contain a three star YA romance albeit with some added teenage emotional drama for added conflict. In other words, I was expecting a Dessen novel, but what I got was so much more. While I was anticipating a cutesy romance, I received a wonderful tale about what it means to be a teenage girl. A girl who thought she had it all figured out and is now discovering herself for the first time. Sounds cliché I know, but at 25, this book somehow managed to give me some food for thought.
Natalie is a senior in high school. She has spent her school years buried in books and community service in hopes that she can gain entrance into a top college. She has one friend to her name, Autumn, who was ostracized by the remaining student body freshman year after an unfortunate boyfriend fiasco. Most would find Natalie’s world empty and boring. She never goes to parties, has never had a boyfriend or even a first kiss. Her experience has been limited, but that hardly prevents her from having a world view. You see, Natalie learned a great deal from Autumn’s traumatic experience. Boys can’t be trusted, and nothing good can be gained from attempting to earn their attention. Natalie has it all together, she’s pretty, intelligent, accomplished and assumingly intuitive. Never for a moment has Natalie considered the fact that she could be wrong, that being attracted to someone and wanting to be attractive to them in return is the natural order of things. Never has she considered that there could be such a thing as genuine jocksters. But this year, there’s a new freshman girl in town, and she, along with the good looking senior jock, Conner, are about to open Natalie’s eyes to a whole new realm of possibilities.
Not that kind of Girl taps into the very essence of a battle that all young girls face throughout their lives. There’s a fine line between prudishness and whorishness. Women often walk a tightrope on their journey of self discovery. What’s sexually empowering, when does it become slutty, when do we lose control? And how to we maintain that control while delving into our own sexuality? This was a brilliant story that fully encompassed the awkwardness, the impotence, and uncertainty that accompanies our teen years. I felt as though I had been thrown back into high school as the portrayal, verbage, etc. was spot on. I felt Natalie’s joy, fear, pain and frustration and was glad to see her finally come to terms with a very valuable lesson. Siobhan Vivian has written a wonderful story that I would recommend to women of any age. ...more
Several terms come to mind when describing Jellicoe Road, but perhaps what works best is clever. Melina Marchetta has a masterful way with words. HerSeveral terms come to mind when describing Jellicoe Road, but perhaps what works best is clever. Melina Marchetta has a masterful way with words. Her writing is simple and yet effective. She’s down to earth, whilst being thought provoking. Lamb dressed as mutton. I could go into a plot summary for you, but I think it would ruin the experience; therefore, I’ll say this:
There is a story within a story that inevitably intertwines the past to the present, and both are vivid and remarkably told. The dust jacket and/or blubs will present this book as a mystery, but to be frank, that’s a bit false. All mystery dissipates 150 pages in, with the first 50 pages being a bit of a confusing mess. I’ll admit, I had my doubts about Jellicoe Road in the beginning. The narrative hops around way too often, in no seeming order, and there were times when I had no idea who was speaking. But I pressed on, hoping that the story would reveal itself in time if I could only endure for a little longer. I’ll note here that Marchetta has this way of luring you in against your will. In this instance, I was compelled by Taylor Markham, even though there were times that I was a bit put out with her. She’s just so lost, so solitary, so angry and she’s been so betrayed. You want to slap her, then give her a hug. Though, as Marchetta has proven with her other works, her narrator is never the only character to shine albeit they shine through a rain cloud as her characters are almost always emotional train wrecks. Nevertheless, everyone is complex in their own unique, intriguing way. You get the sense that these people exist, somewhere along the Jellicoe Road. Their stories begin to feel like your experiences, their pasts become your memories. You can’t help but fall a little in love with them.
All in all, Jellicoe Road won a Printz Award for good reason, and if you can just stick it out for 50 trying pages, you will be more than well compensated. ...more
I finished this one last night and my mental crickets are still chirping. I’m hoping writing this review will help me flesh them out. I loved the formI finished this one last night and my mental crickets are still chirping. I’m hoping writing this review will help me flesh them out. I loved the format. I’m a sucker for stories that are conveyed via letters and/or journal entries, as it leaves no room for vague. You are reading the ramblings of a characters mind, no analysis necessary. The downside to Punkzilla…his mind isn’t anywhere I would want to be. He really is a little punk, though his nickname is derived from his love of punk music, not because he acts like a rat bastard.
Jaime is 13 and living the life of a runaway in Portland, Oregon. He has recently been in contact with his older brother Peter, who is coincidentally dying of cancer. Peter has requested Jaime visit him in Memphis, TN before he passes and in the interim, he wants a detailed description of Jaime’s life since he ran away from Buckner, the Military School he had been banished to, thus explaining why Jaime is writing a series of letters describing his every action prior to and since going AWOL.
Through these letters we learn that Jaime suffers from ADD, along with a meth addiction and an overall lack of conscience, imo. We are also provided with the familial circumstances that caused Jaime and Peter to feel disconnected from their parents and sibling, thus resulting in their breaking from the family unit. As Jaime travels across country, the letters begin to include descriptions of his present journey along with details of his colorful past.
The letters were incredibly well written, too well written in fact, for me to believe they could be written by a 13 year old. This made Jaime’s tale seem contrived, bordering on obscene, as Rapp clearly wrote this book for shock value’s sake. That’s just disgusting, especially when you read some of Jaime’s more morally ambiguous thoughts. While I have no doubt that there are young teens that must survive in similar means, I shudder to think their favorite pastimes would be similar in taste. Nonetheless, the ending made me cry, though I attribute that to Peter, as opposed to Jaime. Peter was a truly endearing, fascinating character and I would have much preferred this story to have been told from his POV. I would give Rapp props if I felt like this book wasn’t exploitive, but I do, so I won’t. Stick to playwriting Adam Rapp, or switch to adult fiction. I'm giving this one two stars in lue of none as the letters truly were well written and would have been captivating if they had come from a character slightly older, late teens perhaps. ...more
*Update* Having just re-read If I Stay, I couldn't not do the same with Where She Went. Time has not lessened my affection for this sequel, but it has*Update* Having just re-read If I Stay, I couldn't not do the same with Where She Went. Time has not lessened my affection for this sequel, but it has irradicated my qualms.
Set over a three day period, we get to witness Adam’s life 3 years after the incident that killed Mia’s family. Shooting Star is now a chart topping band, however Adam is despondent, and oddly detached as he continues to dwell on the life that he has lost rather than the one he has been afforded. On the outside, Adam’s success is a dream come true. He’s been blessed with a God given talent and lucky enough to have been given an outlet to share it. Yet Adam can’t muster up any feelings of contentment. Instead he yearns for a life that he can no longer have, existing as a shadow of his former self, resigned to singing songs born of his misery.
Once again, Forman tugged at my heart strings. Though I didn’t find Where She Went as emotionally devastating as If I Stay, it still left a lingering emotional impact. This is the first book I’ve read that truly encapsulates the depression, bitterness and seemingly never ending misery that coincides with the end of a life changing relationship. While the effects may not as be as permanent as losing someone to death, it is often no less debilitating. More over, it superbly demonstrates the willingness of individuals to lose themselves in grief and refuse to give it up. Adam’s despair and anger were his only link to what he had lost and letting go was yet another loss that he simply couldn’t bear. I cried when he finally found the strength within him to do so.
After countless re-reads, I continously become upset to discover how Mia had hardened herself to Adam, as well as gawk in mock anger when she explains the sense of entitlement she felt as she allowed herself to sever that tie. Reading those passages does not lessen my affection for Mia, it simply shows me another facet to her character.
What I have become pleased to discern upon my countless re-reads is the fact that the famous lifestyle of Adam's character no longer seems jarring to me. I still would have prefered Foreman to have chosen not to write him to be so famous as to have surpased Lady Gaga-esque hype and hysteria, but I have learned to overlook it.
In spite of the fact that this story is one that has become exceedingly familiar, my love for it endures. Shocking as it is to discover that this devoted couple is no longer together at the start of this book, I remain grateful that Forman made these characters work for their ending in spite of all the tragedy they had already been through. Afterall, the most powerful books are the ones that reflect life's true design, and since when has anything in life worth having come easy? ...more
This is my second read of “The Disreputable History” and while I initially gave it a three star rating, I have since decided to give it an additionalThis is my second read of “The Disreputable History” and while I initially gave it a three star rating, I have since decided to give it an additional star. I would; however, like to note that Frankie still grates on me like sandpaper on bare ass.
When I first read this book, I was thrown off the story as there isn’t a single “likeable” character that isn’t minor (i.e. Trish and Zada). The book’s heroine, Frankie, is described as attractive and intelligent, but as the story progresses, it is easy to ascertain that she is also deluded, hypocritical and pig headed. She makes terrible choices and yet is the first to throw stones on the choices and actions of others. I found it irritatingly duplicitous that she judged all her female peers for daring to enjoy being “feminine” (i.e. cooking and crafts) and yet was frustrated by the boys at her school for judging her for her gender. Was she not just as guilty? Furthermore, she secretly mocks these girls for being at these boys beck and call when Frankie’s every action is geared toward earning their approval. Even after the fallout and Frankie’s supposed self awareness takes hold, Frankie’s heart surges when Alpha praises her, this from a boy who treats women like dirt and whose entire persona is a lie. Even on the last page, she is pinning away after her ex, Matthew, hoping to earn a place in his good graces, until he makes it clear he has no interest, and then of course, she is better than him, he lacks awareness, etc. Yeah, right.
So as I was saying, I was initially deterred by a book that possessed an unlikable heroine, a cheating ex-boyfriend, a patronizing current boyfriend, and a lying, arrogant womanaziser. If this book was meant to be about feminism, Lockhart missed the mark in Frankie. She isn’t a feminist; she’s a judgmental whack job, Zada and Trish, however, would have fit the bill perfectly. But then, I thought about it, and realized that perhaps that is the beauty of it. E.Lockhart has endeared herself to me as a favorite author because she pens such honest, authentic characters. I don’t like Frankie, I don’t respect her choices, I disagree with her assumptions, but there is no denying she is affecting, and more to the point, she is bona fide.
“The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks” may make you grit your teeth, role your eyes, and dislike Frankie, but it will also force you to turn the pages for sheer readability, and perhaps may also cause you to realize that there is no such things as flawless, authentic characters, in life or in books, which for me, was the true moral of the story. ...more
Comparatively speaking, Hold Still is well done. It is always refreshing to see a young adult author, a new one at that, who isn’t reduced to writingComparatively speaking, Hold Still is well done. It is always refreshing to see a young adult author, a new one at that, who isn’t reduced to writing about paranormal romance, popular clichés, or originating as a geeky outcast only to later ditch the glasses, swap out the t-shirt for a sundress and become part of the popular cliché. Hold Still actually attempts to flesh out a harsh reality, a reality that sadly, many teens may one day be forced to face. With that said, I couldn’t give it more than three stars.
In my opinion, Hold Still isn’t honest enough. Let’s face it, contrary to the realities that even the best YA books present, many teenagers can’t boast of having even one friend, much less several. There are many teens who eat lunch in the bathroom stalls because no one, not even the fellow outcasts will be seen with them and they can’t bring themselves to eat alone publicly. Teens that are taunted mercilessly in the halls and can’t brag of having a secret artistic talent that makes them oh so special. Teens who don’t have that one great teacher take notice of them. Teens who are just sort of there, blending in to the background. They spend their weekends alone in their rooms, watching MTV all weekend until they are forced to face the torture that is known as high school once again. They don’t have boys clamoring to take them out, much less the hottest boy in school, and they don’t have girls who try repeatedly to be their friend. Just once I would love to see this teen girl, this normal but ever ignored teen girl, written about. I have yet to find her. What would happen to this girl, if the one friend she had, the one person who bothered to invest in her, took her own life and left her alone? We have yet to know, as that book has not been penned. What has been penned is Hold Still a half hearted attempt to address this very question.
Crap, what is this heroine’s name? I have momentarily forgotten it and I just read it, Jesus Christ. Its there on the tip of my brain…Screw it, I’m going to look it up.
Caitlin! Now I remember, our heroine and narrator’s name is Caitlin. Judging by the fact that I couldn’t even remember her name, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that despite her tale of grief, she isn’t memorable and fails to make much of an impression. She is a cardboard cut out of the typical YA girl. She has a lone friend, Ingrid, who takes her own life. Now Caitlin is alone, but as luck would have it, there is a new girl in school who tries to befriend Caitlin, who Caitlin spurns, but later becomes friends with. Ha, my ass, tell me one person this has actually happened to? Girls are not the forgiving sort and I say this as a female. If you spurn a teen girl, there is no forgiveness to be had for you unless she too is equally desperate for a friend. And even if you do become besties, she will never forget that you rejected her. That is just the way it works. But I digress, when Caitlin isn’t rejecting the one person who would have her friendship, she is angsting over how to sabotage her photography, which she is brilliant at. Furthermore, she has Taylor, a popular, good looking boy paying special attention to her and wanting to be there for her in a flirty yet unforceful way. Again I say give me a break. From the time of puberty, boys are filled with nothing but ulterior motives that they hope will lead to sex.
So, while I’m glad that Hold Still attempts to tackle a serious issue, I wish it would have told it in a way that is true to life, devastating and miserable, leaving a wound that only a large amount of time can really begin to heal. Lovely artwork though! ...more
A special Thank you goes out to my matey T for recommending this book to me, great choice mon amie. :) No review I’m capable of writing will do this bA special Thank you goes out to my matey T for recommending this book to me, great choice mon amie. :) No review I’m capable of writing will do this book justice, so I’ll keep it short and sweet. Lips Touch is stunning and reminiscent of my childhood favorite, Robin McKinley, and it is because of books like Lips Touch, that I fell in love with the YA fantasy genre so many years ago. Filled with inventive lore, gorgeously flowing language, and unique illustrations, Lips Touch is nothing short of a delight.
Made up of a collection of three short stories, Lips Touch takes readers through a journey where kisses transform, sometimes beginning, and other times ending lives. While the first story, Goblin Fruit, was my personal favorite of the three, each story offers an enchanting and fantastical new lore, including goblins, demons, and soul snatching, body wrenching immortals. My only complaint is that each of these stories would have made for a fantastic book in their own right, and I wish that I could have read more about these characters, especially Kizzy. ...more
If this book ever gets interesting, it happens much too late in the novel. A hundred pages into this 200 page book and I was still unaware of any plotIf this book ever gets interesting, it happens much too late in the novel. A hundred pages into this 200 page book and I was still unaware of any plot or point.
Was I supposed to feel sorry for Deanna? Yes she has a bad reputation, but last I checked, 13 year olds who get caught doing the deed in the back of a popular 17 year olds truck by their dad don't exactly garner respect and admiration of others. Furthermore, Deanna has exactly two friends and she spends much of her time lusting after one and being jealous of the other.
I suppose there are some good messages contained in this book; however, I don't think making the heroine unsympathetic is any way to drive those messages home. It's never too late to become a good person, but books require character from the start. ...more
An Abundance of Katherines contains the typical John Green formula; however, unlike John's other successes, this book lacked the humorous best friendAn Abundance of Katherines contains the typical John Green formula; however, unlike John's other successes, this book lacked the humorous best friend and possessed a nerd narrator obsessed with math. As I detest math, I found no joy in reading a book whose plot revolved around theorems. I was not at all surprised that this narrator had found himself dumped by a succession of Katherine's as protractors will not keep a lady warm at night. The only reason I saved this book from being placed on my shite book shelf was because that vomiting sequence in the first chapter was described very well and because I have a bit of a shameless crush on John Green. I do enjoy his writing, but I doubt I will read more of his works as they are all the same....more
The Knife of Never Letting Go demonstrates my qualms with male authors perfectly. The story as a whole was a good one, and rather suspenseful to boot,The Knife of Never Letting Go demonstrates my qualms with male authors perfectly. The story as a whole was a good one, and rather suspenseful to boot, but as is usually is the case with books written by male authors, the characters never became alive for me.
The story is narrated by Todd who is Twelve years and thirteen months old. On the cusp of being a man, and yet still spurned as he is technically a boy, Todd is forced to spend time with his only companion, his dog, Manchee. What would seem slightly isolating is made less so by an odd quirk in this alternate universe called Noise. The Noise allows men and animals alike to hear and share their thoughts, voluntarily, and more often than not, involuntarily. One day, while playing in the swamp, Todd hears and odd thing, or rather, he doesn’t hear a thing. Suddenly, life as Todd knows it is about to change and everything he thought was true proves to be false.
While I’ll admit to finding this plot intriguing, I was incredibly annoyed throughout much of the story. First of all, Todd would often be given bits of information, while we, the readers are left in the dark. That is very very grating and a major writing no no. If the writer is unwilling to inform their readers at that time, they should not inform their narrator. Second, both Todd and Viola caused me a great deal of frustration throughout various points of the story. At first, I loathed Viola, her silence, and her condescending nature. Once I finally managed to tolerate her, I began to detest Todd. Seriously, it felt like the author couldn’t move his story along without making his characters stupid or completely unbelievable, which brings me to Aaron. Aaron is a beast that I can’t exactly tackle in this review as it is very spoilerish, so I’ll just say that throughout the story, I was expecting Aaron to have some sort deep dark secret identity that he does not have. Not only was this a major let down, it made the events surrounding his character entirely unbelievable. Lastly, Ness killed the only decent character in the story. I can’t even begin to tell you how miffed I was to be reduced to tears by this writer. Normally I am a huge fan of having a good cry, but I felt as though Ness was playing with my emotions because his book was otherwise crap and needed a sympathy vote.
Overall, I’ll give the book 3 stars for inventiveness and for the fact that the author is clearly willing to sucker punch his characters and his readers. ...more
At first I was a bit put out with this book. I don’t know what it is about male authors, but they can be down right infuriating. Men truly do think onAt first I was a bit put out with this book. I don’t know what it is about male authors, but they can be down right infuriating. Men truly do think on a different wave length and speak another language than women. I was becoming rather frustrated with the lack of information being given, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to endure that sort of aggravation for 300 plus pages. Luckily around page 60 or so, Dashner hit his stride and I became enthralled with this story.
It’s so difficult to write a review that divulges information about the plot without simultaneously giving the plot away. Dashner mastered the art of dolling out need to know information in spades while maintaining an air of mystery that keeps you immersed in the story, craving for more.
The Maze Runner begins with Thomas finding himself memory-less, surrounded by teenage boys of varying ages, in a strange place called the Glade. Thomas immediately begins asking questions, attempting to get his bearings, though answers aren’t forth coming, and the Gladers are none to helpful. Nonetheless, life doesn’t seem too shabby in the Glade. There is a homestead, crops, barns filled with livestock, the sun always shines, and various supplies appear in “the box” each week upon request. There even appears to be order within the Glade, though it is filled with nothing but testosterone fueled teenage boys. There appears to be only a handful of rules, 1. Never threaten your fellow Gladers, 2. Everyone must pull their weight, 3. No one is allowed in the Maze aside from runners, 4. No one is allowed in the Maze after dark. Though the rules are rather self-explanatory, their necessity becomes all to clear once Thomas is allowed to know what lurks behind the stone walls protecting the Glade. While no one knows how they came to arrive in the Glade, why they were sent, or who sent them, they all strive towards a common goal, solving the Maze and leaving the Glade. But once the first ever girl arrives into the Glade, a trigger is pulled, and the stakes for survival are raised.
Despite the fact that I didn’t have an emotional reaction (crying when it was clear that I was meant to), I couldn’t set this book down. I wasn’t scared for any of the characters, my heart didn’t race, but I desperately wanted to solve the freakin mystery. Luckily, there is a conclusion of sorts; however, this is clearly a series as you gain new information that tickles your intrigue before coming to a major halt. Grr. So like all the other suckers, I’m sure I’ll be reading the sequel. ...more
This was a cute story, though at 200 and some odd pages, I would say that there is maybe 50 pages worth of content in this book; therefore, it is moreThis was a cute story, though at 200 and some odd pages, I would say that there is maybe 50 pages worth of content in this book; therefore, it is more a short story than anything else. There wasn't much to glean from the narrator other than the fact that she is a boy crazy teenager with a messed up homelife. She is typical in everyway down to the way she treats others and in the way she views the world. I would say that Murphey/Robin is by far the best and most interesting character and I would have enjoyed this book much more if he had been the narrator. The story ends rather abruptly and I would have liked to have seen how Sophie and Robin navigate their way through their new and budding relationship. Despite my lack of love for Fee, it was kinda cute reading the scenes where these two were together. All in all, it was an okay read but there was nothing truly memorable about it....more
This book is laugh out loud funny! The proper English slang took some getting used to, but luckily the author has included a glossary in the back.
GeorThis book is laugh out loud funny! The proper English slang took some getting used to, but luckily the author has included a glossary in the back.
Georgia is full of hilariosity and she along with her Ace Gang, mad sister, and fat vati will have you laughing like a loon on loon tablets. Gee is neither kind nor cruel, smart nor intelligent, but witty she is and she is forever getting herself into a jam due to her neurotic nature and obsession with boys, make up and hair.
Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging won't enrich your life. It's not meaningful, unless its serves as a trumpeter for individuality, you won't learn life lessons, but it's great for a laugh and serves as a reminder of how silly and daft we females once were. Enjoyable book! ...more
I honestly don't know how to do this book justice. I can certainly see how Anderson earned her stellar reputation. Speak is truly extraordinary and exI honestly don't know how to do this book justice. I can certainly see how Anderson earned her stellar reputation. Speak is truly extraordinary and expertly done.
At the start of her Freshman year, Melinda finds herself a social pariah, having been dumped by all of her friends after attending a summer bash gone wrong, resulting in Melinda calling the cops and earning herself a leper status. While the events that occurred at the party remain a mystery until nearly the end of the story, Melinda's torment, shame and silence are evident from page one. As a reader, it is not hard to guess what happened that night, but everyone in Melinda's life are completely oblivious as to what plagues her day in and day out. What follows is a truly heart wrenching story about a broken girl trying puzzle out the pieces of herself.
I was floored by Anderson's use of language and imagery. Melinda's thoughts, fears and silence were palpable and I am amazed at how Anderson was able to impose Melinda's silence on readers through the use of words. I especially enjoyed the incorporation of art, not only in this book, but in Melinda’s life. It was a superb way to allow Melinda to express herself when words were beyond her reach. Amazing book! ...more
I am in awe of this author’s talent. I hated this book, and loved it. It’s cruel, and frustrating, unfair, and yet it’s also sad, and hopeful, and honI am in awe of this author’s talent. I hated this book, and loved it. It’s cruel, and frustrating, unfair, and yet it’s also sad, and hopeful, and honest and authentic. I’m not sure how everyone else feels about their High School experience, but I despised mine. You couldn’t pay me to go back. However, this story was so vivid, that I felt as though I could smell the grease from the cafeteria, feel the rough tile on the bathroom floor and the chill of that cold fateful night. I even cringed at the hurt that all these characters so casually inflicted upon one another, so I guess I went back after all.
Sam is not a nice girl. In fact, she is a bit of a bitch. Scratch that, she is a bitch. She doesn’t set out to maliciously attack anyone, but she doesn’t stand against it either. She won’t instigate the chant of “psycho” at the school outcast, but she shouts it just as loudly as her group of popular she witches. Worse, she actually believes that others should just accept the way they are mercilessly attacked because she was once mocked in the third grade for blushing, as if blushing were the equivalent to being called a whore, who bared the goods for grass when the person at the butt of that malicious lie doesn’t smoke or has even been kissed. Naturally, when Samantha meets an unfortunate end after forcing us to spend a day in her insipid world, I hardly felt bad for her. How sad is that? A teen girl dies tragically, and I thought she got what she deserved. Thus is the beauty of this book.
Told in seven chapters, each representing the same day, Before I Fall tells the story of a typically popular girl, who gets six days to right some wrongs. Make no mistake. I hardly think one day is sufficient to mend the hurt that these girls created. It in no way rectifies the things that Samantha has done, but it’s a start in the right direction. Rather, I felt this story allowed readers to realize that there is depth to us all, even the bitches and we all have thoughts that should shame us. The character development of all the characters was astounding, and the character growth, drastic though it may be, was entirely believable. ...more
What can I say about Hate List that could ever do it justice? This book was eerie. I connected to it on such a personal level that it sort of freakedWhat can I say about Hate List that could ever do it justice? This book was eerie. I connected to it on such a personal level that it sort of freaked me out. I’m really hoping that this fact is due to the talent of Jennifer Brown. For once, I can truly say that I have found a writer that can tap into what it really feels like to be a teenager, an honest to goodness, authentic teen. Not the nice goodie two shoes we so often read about, not the one’s who cuss, sneak off with boys and fight with their parents, all the while possessing an adult-like intelligence and perspective on their life choices that far surpasses their years. Nope, Brown has created a real live teenager, and while the image isn’t pretty, I thought it was beautiful.
Valerie is an outcast, dreading the impending doom that is synonymous with the start of a new school year. Lucky for Valerie, this is her last. Her senior year is about to commence. But Valerie is petrified to return. The school, which was never one to house happy memories is now fraught with feelings of regret, terror, guilt and death. Valerie hasn’t walked into the commons since last May, on that fateful day that ended lives, including the life of her boyfriend, Nick. To some, Valerie is a hero, a girl who stopped a crazed gunman, even though that gunman was her boyfriend, someone she loved. But to many others, Valerie is nothing more than Sister Death, a girl with dyed hair and cut up jeans, a girl they enjoyed tormenting, a girl who co-authored the hate list that inspired a troubled teen to seek vengeance for them both.
Frankly, this book is brilliant. It doesn’t sugar coat teenagedom, or life for that matter. There is hate in this world, and all sorts of actions that illicit this hate. There are bad people in this world and they come in a variety of forms. How many of us have delivered a snide comment in jest, or to illicit a laugh from our friends, not meaning and true harm to anyone? I’m sure all of us would raise our hands if we were being honest. But how would you feel if that comment caused someone true emotional pain? Would you continue with your words, or would that knowledge give you pause? And what of those people who think nothing of tormenting others, who wouldn’t stop their hurtful actions once they were made aware of the harm they were causing, do they deserve punishment for inflicting pain without conscience?
In my opinion, no one in this book is innocent, and no one is truly wretched. Not even Nick. Hate List is filled with a host of authentic characters. There’s no bow to be tied around the end, no happy ending. It’s a story about life with all its joys and sorrows, trials, tribulations and unexpectancies. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but loath two characters, but it wasn’t who I was expecting to dislike. Valerie’s parents are utter failures. Such people shouldn’t be allowed to spawn children. Yes they are successful, yes they provide Valerie with every material item that she could want or need, but they failed her in every way that mattered. I can’t help but think that the real individuals to blame for the tragedy within this book are the parents. Parents who don’t see the pain within their children, or the evil that they can posses. Worse, her parents go on to blame her for their own failures, which is simply disgusting. If anyone reading this review belongs to parents such as these, I’m sorry.
Nevertheless, in spite of its somber tone, Hate List is an inspiring, and dare I say hopeful book. It certainly serves as a beacon of truth. Valerie is a normal girl, her feelings are natural, and while she may have been extreme at times, this too was natural. Who hasn’t. I can only pray that those who read this book will be as touched as I was and perhaps have little more understanding for those around us. ...more
Virginia is a big girl, both in size and personality. As the youngest sibling of three in an accomplished, attractive and brunette family, Virginia feVirginia is a big girl, both in size and personality. As the youngest sibling of three in an accomplished, attractive and brunette family, Virginia feels out of place with her blonde hair, voluptuous figure, and unconventional likes. Convinced she must have been switched at birth, Gin has difficulty relating to anyone in her family, though she is fairly close to her older sister and idolizes her older brother, Byron. Nevertheless, Gin feels inferior to her perceived perfect family. Her mother’s vigorous exercise routines and preoccupation with weight gain in addition to her father's obvious eye for svelte women do nothing to help her self esteem. Before long, Virginia develops a go to life guide also known as "The Fat Girls Code of Conduct". It's both sad and endearing to see that Virginia's guide is astute, witty and yet self depreciating.
Despite Virginia’s size, her feelings of inadequacy, longing, and unattractiveness have been felt by all, making her undeniably relatable. I felt her observations about her peers were spot on and but in spite of that, her assumptions about her family and more importantly, herself, leave something to be desired. Consequently, one event shakes Virginia’s long standing, high esteem for her family.
“The Earth, My Butt, and other Big Round Things” is the story of a girl, struggling to find her place, accept her size, and take charge of her life. While I found Virginia’s voice to be relatable and incisive, I can’t in good conscious give it more than a three star rating. Byron’s actions felt like a contrived plot device that distracted me from Virginia’s voice. It would have been more prudent for the author to allow Virginia to come into her own acceptance and revelations of the imperfections of her family on her own accord, not via a familial incident. Nevertheless, this story is an enjoyable read that I would certainly recommend to female readers. ...more
Like all of Lockhart’s books, Dramarama tackles issues relating to individuality and self discovery. At the start, we are introduced to Sarah aka, SayLike all of Lockhart’s books, Dramarama tackles issues relating to individuality and self discovery. At the start, we are introduced to Sarah aka, Sayde and her best friend Demi. Sayde and Demi have dynamic and dramatic personalities with larger than life dreams for themselves and their futures. Discontent with their small town life, they will do anything they can to get away from the monotony that fills their lives. With their love of all things Broadway, Sayde and Demi audition for a chance to join a summer performing arts program at Wildwood Academy of Fine Arts. When they are both accepted, it seems inevitable that both of their dreams will come true.
While Demi thrives at Wildwood, scoring two lead roles in highlight plays and a loving boyfriend in the equally talented Lyle, Sayde is less fortunate. Despite her years of dance training, Sayde lacks skills in singing and acting. Turns out that Sayde isn’t as talented as she lead herself to believe, and by means of dealing with her dwindling hopes and crushed dreams, Sayde lashes out at her friends and teachers.
Dramarama is another excellent tale woven by the masterful E.Lockhart and shows us all what it means to dream big, fall down and change course. I’m so glad that I got walk a mile in Sadye’s shoes as she serves as an excellent reminder that dreams really do come true, even if they don’t come in the form that you had originally hoped. Great book. ...more
What can I say? Ruby Oliver has dazzled me yet again. She is the voice of the female species, or at least, the neurotic halfRe-read in February 2012.
What can I say? Ruby Oliver has dazzled me yet again. She is the voice of the female species, or at least, the neurotic half of it. Regardless of how many times I revisit Ruby's story, I never fail to find something new to love about her. She's the kind of girl we've all been and while we, as Ruby, should all strive to be better, who she is is kind of awesome. Over the years, The Ruby Oliver series has become a bit of a guilty pleasure. Something that I delve into when I'm feeling girly and want something light to read without having to make allowances in the character/plot/dialog department.
In The Treasure Map of Boys, it seems dear Roo can't catch a break. Just when she has finally gotten a handle on her panic attacks, formed a new group of friends, and has begun an enjoyable internship at the city zoo, it’s all turned on its feet.
Roo gets fired Jackson sends her a frog laden with meaning Noel is flirting and sending her notes Gideon sits with his thigh touching hers Nora is ignoring her once again And Roo has just met Doctor Z’s fungi footed boyfriend. Could things get any more complicated?
The answer is yes, yes they can. The Treasure Map of Boys does not disappoint. Filled with bake sale stand offs, emulsions of the kitchen variety, hair band therapy, goat correspondence, Operation Sophomore Love, bodyguard duty and more, we are once again transported into the quirky, neurotic mind of our beloved Ruby Oliver. ...more