Joëlle Anthony’s sophomore novel is a harsh and severe look into the life of struggling teen Jamie, in the aftermath of her refusal to join a cult. ThJoëlle Anthony’s sophomore novel is a harsh and severe look into the life of struggling teen Jamie, in the aftermath of her refusal to join a cult. The Church of the Right & the Real looks okay from the outside. Members are religious and kind and care for one another, but in reality, they worship a man who claims he is the Jesus and they give up their life at the drop of a hat. When Jamie’s dad gets sucked in, brainwashed, marries another member, and kicks Jamie to the curb, her life falls apart. But with her dreams of NYC and more determination and strength than most others her age, she manages. Barely.
Jamie is easily one of the strongest female heroines I’ve read. Despite losing everything, she soldiers on and fights to follow her dreams. She suffers, sure, but at one point, she realizes she’s just getting by and that’s not enough. Not to make a life. So she changes that. Readers will be completely taken by Jamie; by her will to move on, but also by her need to do something to save her father. Even though she has so many strengths, Anthony is sure to make her vulnerable, because she is vulnerable. A 17 year old girl, all alone for the first time ever cannot have it easy, and Jamie doesn’t.
But that’s where the big, hulking, scary motel neighbor LaVon comes in. He’s incredible and I love him! LaVon and Jamie almost have that parent/child relationship that’s lacking because Jamie’s dad lost his marbles and joined a cult. LaVon's there for Jamie when no one else is. He's not perfect and he's certainly a little terrifying, but he's there.
The story deals with quite a few issues, but there’s also this deliciously sweet and perfect build-up to a relationship for Jamie. She has a boyfriend who’s a member of the Right & the Real and there’s clearly a lot of struggle for them because of it, but Jamie sticks to her guns when it’s the hardest. She stands up for her beliefs and she grows so much throughout the book because of it. The new guy Trent also sneaks into the story and brings a lighthearted edge to an otherwise serious plot. He is fabulous in so many ways and I want him for myself.
The Right & The Real is one of those books that take you by surprise. You pick it up expecting a good story, but then find yourself unable to put it down. I was reading into the late hours of the night/wee hours of the morning because I had to know how Jamie would survive, if her dad would wake up, whether or not the Right & the Real would win, if she’d dump her somewhat douchey boyfriend, and if she could let the harmless flirting with coffee boy Trent turn into something more. Believe me when I say that the love story aspect plays very little into the plot, but the characters, oh the characters, they are phenomenal. Read it for Jamie. Read it every little thing I said here and for every little thing I had to leave out. You won’t be disappointed....more
Mermaids, mermaids, mermaids…they are everywhere, but I can’t complain. Anna Davies’ new tale with the tagline of ‘some things have to be bel3.5 stars
Mermaids, mermaids, mermaids…they are everywhere, but I can’t complain. Anna Davies’ new tale with the tagline of ‘some things have to be believed to be seen’ isn’t quite as enchanting as most mermaid stories would seem to be, but that is what makes it stand out and work so well.
From the first page, we meet fun-loving, realistic Miranda. She’s a girl with a great life, despite losing her parents as a child. She lives on the idyllic island of Whym with a wealthy grandma and a great younger brother. She has great friends and a wonderful boyfriend, but small town superstitions run rampant, and when a tragic ‘accident’ causes the death of half of her group, Miranda is devastated.
This mermaid story never truly feels like it’s a mermaid story. Sure, there’s some alluring mermaid and betwitxmen (never heard of them before) lore, but it’s more about Miranda coping in the aftermath of great loss. I could be a little biased here, but I believe the greatest strength that Wrecked has, is that in light of all the fantastical elements, the story comes across as quite realistic; it seems more like a contemporary read than a fantasy read.
All in all, Wrecked has a lot of great things going for it. Miranda is a strong, even though she may see herself as weak; she’s easy to relate to, even though she’s experienced trauma that few ever will. The other, more minor characters are all presented in a very skewed, one dimensional way, but it still works out.
Miranda’s savior and the mermaid element in the story, Christian, doesn’t have quite the depth that is needed to really connect with him; and he brings in that insta-love aspect that so many YA books have, but I got over that easily. Because when he’s around Miranda, he changes her, helping her move past all the terrible things in her life, and I can get behind a guy (or betwixtmen) who can do that.
Wrecked was an easy, enjoyable read, with some new (at least to me) mermaid lore. It’s not the most inventive tale or something full of constant action, but the emotional punch it packed was surprisingly realistic and effective. Regardless of the fact that I really did enjoy it, I have to say that I hated the ended. It felt far too rushed and anticlimactic. Aside from that though, it’s a mermaid story that even fantasy haters will enjoy....more
There are some books that are so perfectly perfect that they make the reader swoon along with them. The Statistical Probability of Love at First SightThere are some books that are so perfectly perfect that they make the reader swoon along with them. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is one of those books. It’s romantic and heartfelt and so much more than just that – focusing on more than just the romance and allowing the reader to see true love in more ways than one.
There’s still plenty of romance. And it’s magnificently done, invoking butterflies and blushes and longing. Brit boy Oliver is sexy (he’s British, so obviously he’s sexy) and intelligent and quirky and funny and absolutely adorable in his randomness. He makes Hadley’s heart race and will do the same to the reader. Considering that a third of the book takes place in an airport/airplane, these two need to have some serious chemistry to keep the reader hooked.
On top of a romance that feels epic, there’s the backstory to both Hadley and Oliver. Hadley’s family dynamic is so well-crafted that I was there with her, the entire way, partially hating her father, while hoping the two of them could work everything out. The father/daughter relationship has just the right amount of angst and bitterness, then Smith throws in flashbacks of tenderness and undeniable love.
Hadley is everything readers could want her to be. She’s young and angry at her father, angry at her mother, but vulnerable and not jaded enough to have a complete disbelief in love. This book had me smiling from that very first page. Jennifer E. Smith knows how to write characters that the reader will feel an instant attachment to, and give us a story that is impossible to put down.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight will sway even the most reluctant romantics with its delightful humor, heartfelt characters, and the idea that maybe love at first sight is possible. Smith’s collection of fate, coincidence, and love made me smile, it made me laugh, and it even made me tear up – it’s that good. As far as contemporary YA goes, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is one of the best and a definite must read....more