Initial Final Page Thoughts. OK, so I have to admit I originally picked this book up with every intention of laughing at it as opposed to with it. But Ms Elkeles definitely got the last laugh because this book and I had a whale of a time together and I'm thinking of proposing soon. Also: Some Things I Will Never Understand. Why some girls (and some boys…) where leggings as pants. How they get the tiny writing to go all the way through Blackpool Rock. Dr Who. My 8 times table. Olly Murs. Why so many people prefer Perfect Chemistry over this book. I don’t know whether I have to hand in my YA reader card in to someone or get a strike against my name or something… but I much much muuuuuch preferred this book.
High Points. Carlos. Kiara. Being a badass. Perky privates. Shared bathrooms. Mountain walks. Homecoming dances. Lake side canoodles. Magnetic cookies. Chicas. Cowboys. The Ultimate Queers. Mr Westford’s Home for Wayward Boys. Swapping germs.
Low Points. I didn’t really like the whole gangbanger (LOL) thing in this book. In Perfect Chemistry it worked with Alex’s character but with Carlos it just seemed like Ms Elkeles was like “Meep, we need more angst. I know… I’ll add a gang! That worked for the first one!” Also… the whole pretend boyfriend/girlfriend thing. I have no idea why Carlos and Kiara did that at all. It just seemed a bit random…. I probably don’t need to tell you that the epilogue made me want to claw my eyes out but not as much as the first one.
Hero. Hola Carlos. Oh wait… sorry, I know you don’t like white kids try and sound Mexican. I’m sorry but you might have to get over that if we’re going to hang out because I like to pretend I’m Mexican on a regular basis. I thought you were going to be a mini-version of Ale-ale-Alejandro but, by gum, was I wrong about you! Maybe I have a defective girl gene because Alex never did anything for me but Carlos, amigo… sorry friend… you were a million times better. Especially in this book because yawn, Alex. Have you always been so dull? I thought you were a much more entertaining narrator than your older hermano brother. Where he was funny, you were hysterical. Where he was a bit cheeky, you were a full on rummon. Where he was cute with Brittany, you were a bona fide BOTS (Bringer of the Swoon) with Kiara. Also you said things like this:
“Ever since I got fired from the sugar mill two months ago, I’ve lived la vida loca.”
“Whether Alex wants to admit it or not, being a badass is my legacy.”
“Hell, I could write a book on kissing chicas if I wanted to.”
(For the record, I would be all over that book like a rash.)
PERFECTO. I mean… um perfect. So yeah, whatever with your Ale-Ale-Alejandro. I’m a Carlos girl, through and through.
Heroine. And so, it seems, is our Kiara. Oh what a little sweetheart. I wish my occasional stutter was as endearing as yours. I also wish I had a sexy Latina in the next room that walked around in his undies… maybe one day. I was nervous about you when I read the synopsis. Oh she’s shy. Oh and she has a stutter. Oh and she wears oversized t-shirts. She’s really awkward. And don’t even mention the fact that she has a ponytail… eeerrrurrgh. What kind of self-respecting girl wears a ponytail?! But don’t worry because a sexy Latina is going to bring her out of her shell. So what did our sexy Latina do to bring Kiara out of her shell? Nada. Sorry…. Nothing. Because she did it all on her own. I loved that she gave as good as she got and never let Carlos get away with crossing the line. Also, even though I kinda wanted a make-over scene, I liked that Kiara didn’t change anything about herself and Carlos didn’t push it. He didn’t make her change out of her oversized t-shirts and tell her she had car grease all over her face and he only asked her to put on high heels because he’s a bit of a perve. But that’s why we love him! Also, I loved how she was just as naughty as Carlos. That bit in her parent’s living room?! Eh up. You know what they say about the quiet ones….we’re awesome.
“I want to make sure Kiara’s got a boyfriend who has more to offer than a hot bod and a face that could make angels weep.”
LOL. Oh Carlos, I love your ego. AlsoBeyoncelookssofitinthisvideoitmakesmewanttocry.
Sadness Scale. 3/10. Unless you find all the Alejandro and Brittany ANGST seeping into this story heart breaking you’ll be absolutely fine. Although…. There is a brief mention of Paco. PACOOOOO.
Recommended For. People who were born to be a badass. People who think that just kissing in the rain is too tame. People who like orange marmalade cookies. People who will never stop using random Spanish words incorrectly in conversation.
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“But there is something wonderful about Dauntless chaos.”
Initial Final Page Thoughts. Duh duh duuuh.
High Points. Tris (occasionally). Chri3.5 stars.
“But there is something wonderful about Dauntless chaos.”
Initial Final Page Thoughts. Duh duh duuuh.
High Points. Tris (occasionally). Christina. Will. Uriah. Stiffs. Jumping off trains. Boys with piercings. Simulations. Ferris wheels. Zip-wires. Paintballing. Danger. The first to jump. Scoreboards. FIGHT.FIGHT.FIGHT. Blood and gore. Corrupt governments. Knife throwing. Boys with fingers so long that can span a girl’s ribcage….wait, what?
Low Points. I’m always better reading this kind of book in one go because that way I can turn my brain off and just go with it. But, as I mentioned earlier, my Kindle broke and it was a disaster. And during the break I took from this book, my highly intellectual brain switched itself back on and started picking and asking questions that I couldn't ignore. Maybe this is because, if I were a character in this book, I would be factionless for I am neither brave, clever, truthful, caring or selfless. And, well, we all know how shifty those factionless are. Also, what was up with Creepy Fingers McGee as the love interest? *shudders*
Heroine. I went through stages of absolutely loving Tris and then wanting to throttle her. My notes are as erratic as Tris’ emotions! I liked it when she was brutal and strong and selfish and resourceful and when she climbed Ferris Wheels. But then as the book progressed, poor Tris stumbled blindly into the trap that so often befalls our dystopian heroines: “I’m-special-therefore-I-simper”. Yack. Badass Tris next time, please.
Love Interest. Besides my suspicions that Mr Four is in fact some kind of Creature from the Black Lagoon, I didn’t actually mind him. Although I am getting a bit tired of these love interests who scare our poor heroines. How can you be focussed on the swoon when you’re quaking in your boots? I think, though, that Four was more the “strong and silent” type as opposed to the “intimidating and douche” type.
I much preferred both of these characters when they weren’t in luurve though. It says quite a bit that I was more taken the love lives of Tris’ friends, doesn’t it?
OK, I have LOTS of reasons why I’ve picked this song. First-up, Ms Swift is my ultimate guilty pleasure and so, it seems, are dystopian YA novels. Secondly, it’s called Fearless... which is a synonym for Dauntless. BOOM. Also, this song is saccharine to the max like the love story in this book. And finally, it features the following line: You put your eyes on me.
Um.... whaaa? You put your eyes on me? Surely that can’t be sanitary. But it reminded me of a scene in Divergent when our intrepid hero Four reaches up to Tris from below her on a ladder and grabs onto her hips. I tried to picture that for ten minutes until I remembered that, of course, Four is a mutant like the boy that Ms Swift is canoodling with, so it all made sense.
Also, how awesome would it be to see T-Swift jump out of a moving train?!
She’d land safely, of course!
Sadness Scale. 4/10. This book was incredibly gruesome. High point. A lot of people died. Again, high point. My most beloved character died. Low point. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what I like to call “The Mockingjay Effect”. Why do authors feel the need to just hack at all the lovely characters and kill them in horrific brutal ways in the last chapter for NO REASON?! OK, OK… I’m being sensitive. It’s still a sore subject. If you’ve read this book you’ll know who I mean. IT WAS NOT NECESSARY. *sobs into copy of Mockingjay* Other than that, you’ll be fine.
Recommended For. People who are looking for a book where you can just turn off your brain and enjoy. People who are more forgiving of heroines who change from being awesome to annoying. People who think that doors on trains are overrated. People who find mutants sexy, thank you very much. People who like to jump from great heights and just cross their fingers there is a safety net there. People who want to join my own faction- “Arty Folk”… um, I’m still working on the name.
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“Alex probably brings his dates sharp knives as gifts, in case she’ll need one when she’s out on a date with him.”
Initial Final Page Thoughts. Well c“Alex probably brings his dates sharp knives as gifts, in case she’ll need one when she’s out on a date with him.”
Initial Final Page Thoughts. Well considering I thought I was going to read about two pages of this book before giving up, I’m surprised how much I enjoyed this one. Maybe I am a girl after all. Gosh.
High Points. Brittany. Alex. PacoPacoPaco. Pom squad. Garages. Motorcycles. Science projects. Beaches. Leather jackets. Bandanas. Chichis. The phrase “ripped bod”. Muffins. Hand warmers…and sex.
Low Points. I’ll be the first person to admit that I get unnecessarily angry about epilogues. WHY? Why are they needed? Books, as a rule, are better just left with an ambiguous ending. Because us readers like to fill in the blanks, don’t we? We like to get our own way. We like to give our beloved characters a happy ending. We like to give our most hated characters a quick shove off a cliff. Most epilogues force characters into ridiculous situations that are either twee, implausible or just so sickly sweet you just want to throw not the book out of the window, but yourself. This epilogue was one of them. I was half expecting Albus Severus Potter to be chilling out in the back of that classroom as they all come up with the cure for the common cold. Also…. There seemed to be a whole lot of nothing happening in some chapters and then A MILLION things happening in others. And, I think the American definition of ‘gangbanger’ is different to the British one. If not… Alex just got a whole lot more interesting.
Heroine. Oh, I loved Brittany. Like most people who’ve read this book I had pretty much decided I was going to hate her and read her sections with a scowl on my face. But, out of the two, I actually preferred Brittany’s chapters over Alex’s. I’ll go into this more later, but her narration seemed more natural and her feelings and thoughts were a lot more believable. Even though I don’t think we’d be friends if I had attended this Fairfield (My school was actually called Fairfield…. But unfortunately my chemistry lessons contained more old, wooden desks that put ladders in your tights when you get near to them rather than sexy Mexicano lovers that put ladders in your tights when you get near to them.), I still liked you. It’s just that we have absolutely nothing in common except we occasionally use muffin analogies to describe the state of our life. But you were lovely and sweet and caring and a bit of a saucy minx when you wanted to be. Car garages, eh?
Hero. Alright, Alejandro. Sorry, I know you don’t like being called that. But I like to say it… and then sing it. Badly. But we’ll stick with Alex. You were very cute and I liked that you were a bit of a one and talked about chichis and how you’d keep the light on and all sorts of things to make a good girl like me blush. I also loved your history and your background and how you were loyal and were a good hermano to the mini-Alex’s that ran around in the background. Also, you sound so effin’ hot it’s insane. But, going back to the reason why I wasn’t 100% sold on your chapters… saying things like “She’s like a mystery, and all I can think about is unravelling the clues” and “We’re actors in our lives, pretendin’ to be who we want people to think we are” is a sure fire way of getting a slap from moi. Seriously, I know you’re not rotten to the core. You’re all gooey in the middle and being a gang-whatever doesn’t define who you truly are on the inside. You don’t have to keep trying to convince me. I get it… you’re deep.
“Problem is, the bathroom pass can’t help you escape life”.
I’ve chosen this song because it’s one of the few modern love songs that isn’t overly sappy and vile and errrrugh. And I just think this entire album is genius. AND this song is before Mr Banks gets dumped unceremoniously, goes to prison and then kills someone in self-defence and everything is still lovely and cute and sexysexy. But don’t worry guys! We know our Alejandro doesn’t share that same fate thanks to that cracking epilogue.
Boy/Girl Angst Level. 6/10. It could’ve been a lot worse. I liked Alex and Brittany together, I thought they made a great couple… but I couldn’t help but wish they had had more ‘Urgh, I hate you’ moments before they decided that they were going to be soul mates. I don’t know… but I loved their banter and their…wait for it... wait for it… chemistry when they were all fizzy and zingy and snarky with each other. Sure, they could be soulmates eventually… but I wanted more oomph.
Sadness Scale. 5/10. I wanted this book to be sadder and all the elements were there but, like I said before, the pacing kind of prevented it. It seemed the truly sad and distressing moments were kind of just brushed over. Especially the bit at the end! Ohhh. Recommended For. People who are looking for a slightly predictable yet still fun romance book. People who don’t mind a book about chemistry that isn’t actually about chemistry. Unless we count the cure for Alzheimer’s. But it’s probably best if we don’t. People who always add “And to sex” under their breath when they are making toasts. People who think garages are for sexytime. People who wish their driving instructor was a boy with a leather jacket (although a lovely Welshman with a ton of patience at me squealing whenever a sheep got too close to the dry stone walls that lined the windy (and icy) roads of Llanberis would always be my second choice). People who wish their teenage rebellion involved a sexy boy on a motorbike. People who use delicious baked treats to describe their mental states.
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“A brush with extinction does not excuse unladylike behaviour. You weren’t raised in a barn.”
Initial Final Page Thoughts. Holy moly, I just finished“A brush with extinction does not excuse unladylike behaviour. You weren’t raised in a barn.”
Initial Final Page Thoughts. Holy moly, I just finished a vampbook with a smile on my face. WHAT.
High Points. Pearl. I was snickering here, there and everywhere with this book. Prom. Queen Molly Ringwald. Learning about American High School culture from John Hughes films… which I TOTALLY never did (Love you Duckie.) All you people are vampires… and your stories aren’t stale. Unicorns. Ice-cream. Sunrises. Training sessions. Vampire hunters. Coffee-sodden blood. Family connections. Feasts. Boys who write poetry.
Low Points. Jadrien. That’s right. There’s a character called Jadrien.
JADRIEN?! I think my heart stopped when I read that little nugget because my body was trying to put me out of my misery at the HORROR of the name Jadrien. I think that merging two names together is even worse than giving a common name a weird spelling (For example: Mykal, Rycharde, Gneil (silent G, obvz) ) But I’m just going to hope/pretend/assume it’s tongue in cheek and swiftly move on. This whole story was a bit ridiculous… but I think it was because I kept forgetting I was reading a book about vampires and were-unicorns.
Heroine. Getting over the fact that your name is Pearl Rose Sange (yes. SERIOUSLY), I thought you were awesome. And not even awesome for a vampire. You were legitimately awesome and very funny and sarcastic and you had steel-toe boots and you’re not a girly girl who is too preoccupied with a mirror (BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE A REFLECTION. Lolz) And you were a cute friend to Bethany (who probably should be referred to in a Best Friend section, but I don’t really have much to say about her. She was fine and suitably ditzy and peripheral, which all good bff’s must be). You are a bit sceptical about the power and the glory of St Molly Ringwald and John Hughes films and you lots well-earned Brownie points with that (just because you’re moody and angsty does NOT mean you can take their names in vain, Missy.)BUT… you save yourself by liking to watch sunrises.
Which is nice, because I like sunrises, too.
Love Interest. Evan was cute and wrote poetry and he was funny and he was clever and he was just a bit… wet. And… um… This is going to be a minute spoiler but if you have ever read a paranormal YA or a book in general, then you’ll have guessed what happens within the first chapter or so. But if you don’t want to know… skip, skip, skip. *sigh*… Let’s just say his extra sparkly, glittery appendage would be inconvenient and problematic and ridiculous.
I fancied Jadrien. I’d just call him Jay. He had the gift of the gab and that is important.... also he sounded HOTHOT.
“To you,” he said, “I surrender my heart and soul.” She rolled her eyes. “Very romantic, considering you have neither.”
My heels are all worn down My loyalties are torn I’m finding different paths now I never saw before
And it hurts less every day The paths lead me away Lead me away from those Blood thirsty bastards.
Also, I wonder if Mr Barat is still in contact with Pete Doherty… I imagine his blood would be worth millions on the vamp scene.
Boy Angst. 2/10. YES. That’s right. 2 measly points for boy angst. Which I have to hold my hands up and admit I thought it was going to be off the scale in this department. Vampires do that to me. I just assume they’re all DRAMATIC. Pearl was a badass and even though there may have been a few eye-rolls (We get it… he has warm eyes that search you)… they were minimal. HURRAH. Although…. *sigh*… I’m about 90% sure that there is going to be a sequel and it has potential to be more angst-ridden.
Sadness Scale. 1/10. What? You mean a book about vamps being stabbed by shiny unicorns isn’t sad and hard-hitting and thought-provoking? HOLD THE PHONE, I’VE BEEN DUPED. Sometimes you just need a book that is just funny and there’s no angst and there’s no hidden agenda and it doesn’t make you learn things about morals and whatnot. The 1 point is for Ashlynne and her family.
Recommended For. I don’t normally compare books with other books because I don’t think it’s really fair… but this book reeeeaally reminded me of Hex Hall and Ms Hawkins’ humour. So if you like that kind of thing, you’ll probably like this. People who want to put their brain on pause for a bit and just have a bit of a laugh. People who just want to eat ice-cream without drama and nearly dying. People who think about food in the middle of a miracle. People who wished their prom had eight cardboard cut outs of a certain Mr Pattinson in a character that you’ve probably never heard of (and I’m not talking about good ole Cedders). People who understand the importance of Molly Ringwald. People who don’t immediately assume that because a boy sparkles that he’s a vampire…. He could just be a unicorn…. Or really bad at arts and crafts.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers.
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“What can I say; I have a thing for guys in period dress, okay? That’s just who I am.”
Initial Final Page Thoughts. This book3.5 stars... rounded up.
“What can I say; I have a thing for guys in period dress, okay? That’s just who I am.”
Initial Final Page Thoughts. This book was like the younger tag-along sibling of Jellicoe Road and Frankie Landau-Banks. Very cute, a bit silly, surprisingly funny, sometimes annoying but ultimately, wholly charming.
High Points. Chelsea. Fiona. Ice cream connoisseurs. History. Original and hilarious setting. “Pony tails are just a deal breaker to me.” YES. Essex Village. Renactmentland. Secret loves. Kidnapping. Pranks. Petticoats and bonnets. Trampolines. Redcoats. Cheerleaders. Telephones. Family secrets.
Low Points. Chelsea started to grate on me a bit. I don’t like it when fictional best friends fight. There were a lot of unnecessarily long paragraphs about METAPHORS and HIDDEN DEPTHS and LATE NIGHT LIFE CHATS and it sometimes got a bit BORING.. I mean boring sorry... got carried away with the capitalisations. I liked what Ms Sales was saying but I didn't think it really fit with the tone of the book on some occasions and it often felt quite jarring. Like I was laughing one minute and then something serious was mentioned and I felt guilty for laughing and I had to be all serious all of a sudden. Chelsea, mate, you’re sixteen… there’s plenty of time to have angsty boy times and intense talks with a boy you have only just met. Please, just enjoy jumping on a trampoline with said cute boy. And that’s not a euphemism… *clutches pearls* Also, there is a bit at the end that really reminded me of the bit in Mean Girls when Cady gets Prom Queen and the principal says “You know, winners aren’t required to make a speech.” Which made me laugh and think I need to watch that film again soon….
Heroine. Well, when I say you started to grate on me… I mean that I wanted to you to stop talking about Ezra and just call Fiona and eat ice cream and tell you to shut the eff up. Because Fiona and I pretty much had the same mind. You were funny, appreciated history (sometimes I wish I had taken A-Level history) and you love ice-cream. BUT…You were a bit whingey and you were a bit stupid when it came to the people of the male disposition but you get Brownie points for wanting to get over McDouche. Even if you dragged your heels in actually doing it… And also you can work a historically accurate costume. Praise needs to be given for that. It takes a real woman to look good in a historically accurate costume.
Best Friend. YES. I loved Fiona. Although she did let Chelsea get away with a lot of her whinging. If I were ever to moan that much about a boy I just know my friend would throw a dollop of ice-cream at me which I would proceed to eat anyway…. Waste not want not. But I liked their ending.
Love Interest. Ezra= yuck. Why was he even still in the picture? He had absolutely no personality and he was definitely not someone who is worth all the pining he got. In a word… yawn. Dan= OK, now we’re getting somewhere. Although, I feel I don’t really you well enough. I would like to have had a bit getting to know you style flirty conversations (But not about difficult family situations…. Because we’ve only just met. And it would be intense.)
So… what’s your favourite colour? Why do you like the Sex Pistols so much? Why don’t you brush your hair?
Although why there was even a competition between a boy who wears historically accurate costumes (It actually reminds me of when I visited Warwick Castle and there was a bloke in a powdered wig who was pleasing to look at but he was, I repeat, in a powdered wig and it was confusing to say the least) and a boy who doesn’t like sledging… I don’t know.
Theme Tune. History- Funeral For a Friend. See, we were having fun weren’t we? Talking about boys in period costume and messy hair and crooked grins and stuff and then BAM… I hit you with this song. About metaphors and history and love and ANGST. Kinda ruined the mood, did it not? This is how I felt about this book a little. FUN FACT: FFAF are from Wales which is where I first encountered people who thought it was socially acceptable to dress in chainmail and walk around the streets re-enacting things with blunt swords and beards and dressed like wizards. Yeah.. the jury’s still out on this one.
I'm going to shake these reviews up a bit from now on to make things a bit clearer in determining the sadness of the book and the amount of love-related angst.
Boy/Girl Angst Level. 9/10. Jeez. OK. Well… this book had the usual amount of boy angst you can expect when the heroine is confused about which boy she loves. I mean… I guess I need to cut Chelsea some slack. It is difficult to choose between a complete loser who doesn’t have a personality and treated you like crap and a cute boy with a bit of a rebellious side but actually truly cares about you and he’s a great big brother and he looks good in tweed pants and braces. It completely needs a bajillion pages to work it out. Harumph.
Sadness Scale. 2/10. This book was very tame in the sadness scale because it was mostly funtimes all around so I didn’t get choked up about anything. I did like the part where Chelsea was looking through the memory box and remembering her relationship how it really was as opposed to the rose-tinted view she had before. I thought how Ms Sales depicted that bitter-sweet feeling of looking back into the past and being almost afraid to move on was interesting and realistic and almost excused the way Chelsea was behaving towards Ezra.
And also, Dan’s history was interesting… would have liked to have explored that a bit more.
Recommended For. People who like history. People who would choose the boring boy over the cute boy with a lopsided grin. People who are wondering what the girl on the cover of this book licking rain has anything to do with this book… SPOILER: Nothing. People who are wondering how one would go about becoming an ice-cream tester. People who think that trampolines are for jumping on, not oversharing on. People who want a surfer soul connection. People who always wonder whether the people in museums/history villagers are hot under all that material. People who want to know where the toilets are.
I received a copy of this from the publisher.
You can find this review and other exciting things on my blog here. ...more