Grace sidled up beside me and whispered, 'This was huge, Echo. If Luke's into you again, life will change. Who he talks to and dates changes everyone'Grace sidled up beside me and whispered, 'This was huge, Echo. If Luke's into you again, life will change. Who he talks to and dates changes everyone's opinion. Maybe things will finally get back to normal.' ... 'Luke may love me, but he's not exactly thoughtful.' [...] 'True. He's self-absorbed and has a one-track mind [...]. But you have feelings for him.'
As a small girl I used to love the few stanzas I snapped up of a tragic, traditional ballad about a prince and a princess in love who were first divided by an uncrossable river and then by the death of the boy who braved the waters to be united with his beloved. Stories of bitter-sweet love blossoming against the odds have always held a certain appeal to me. And when I read and enjoyed i.e. Perfect Chemistry, I found that I didn't even mind the occasional extra layer of exaggeration and fluffy drama that accompanies them. But there is a line. I need some flimsy anchor to reality at least, more or less realistic characters with realistic, consistent traits, feelings and reactions, mostly. I have to out myself as someone who has never trodden on American High School grounds. That means I usually stretch my imagination pretty far from what I have experienced during my own teenage years on the old continent and make allowances for all the things completely foreign to me - proms, home rooms, purity issues, the fixation on sports and athletic superiority, the hierarchies, the groups, the unwritten lunch room rules, the rich and mighty who more or less glow in the dark. Yet, here I cannot refrain from pointing out the eerily plastic figurines that make up the horrible cast of the soapless soap called "Pushing the Limits" and their unbelievably strange demeanor. This story is pushing my limits indeed.
It begins already with the premises. For the sake of her own psychological healing heroine Echo is denied the "truth" about what happened to her the night that left her with horribly scarred underarms by both her father and her school therapist. She lost her memory but knows that somehow her mentally ill mother must have been involved, for she has been forbidden to contact her since. Not knowing anything means for Echo that she has no ground on which to deflect the accusatory or morbidly interested stares and whispers of her classmates, who also had not been briefed by anyone before Echo's return to school and consequently assume "failed suicide attempt". In order to completely sever her connection to her artist mother - who is her mother after all - Echo's father, who pushes his daughter to better and better results at school because he wants her to study economics, has forbidden her to attend her beloved art class. Apart from hard-core meddling with her life-defining choices, Daddy isn't really interested. He is busy fondling the pregnant belly of his second wife, Echo's former full-time babysitter, and responding to his Blackberry's beeps. The therapist, who is otherwise described as being of the caring, experienced, no-nonsense sort, doesn't get it at all that her squirming patient is not free to answer freely in the presence of her parents. What kind of therapist is that? What kind of therapy waits for a patient's memory to come back on its own, but removes all anchors to it? At that point I was already silently screaming along with Echo, who narrates her part with an overly snarky, sassy, judgemental voice that doesn't fit her passive, submissive actions in the least.
Noah's case is similarly strange. His parents died in a burning house, which made him and his brothers orphans. In contrast to him, who plays the survival game against abusive, violent adults fostering kids for monetary reasons, the younger boys were lucky enough to be placed into the hands of a loving couple. A couple, who selfishly presses for an adoption and for the termination of Noah's visiting rights - because of his obvious bad influence. Nobody believes Mother-Theresa-Robin-Hood-crossbreed Noah, that he had attacked his brutal foster father only to save another kid. In order to tarnish the intelligent, athletic saint with a proper, shady sheen, the author selected a pot habit and a reputation of sleeping around as persona add-ons. Having occasional sex with willing females in this book automatically equals not being able to love (view spoiler)['You don't love people. You have sex with them. So how could you want to be with me?'(hide spoiler)]. Which in turn is labeled as "not normal". Since "normal" is the goal glove-wearing Echo has to achieve to call her friends friends again, Noah is a big no-no-no (view spoiler)['Yes ... no ... I don't know. I want normal, Noah. Can you give me normal?'(hide spoiler)].
This leads us to the weirdest portrayal in this limitless young adult wonder: Echo's friends and the life-or-death-question of belonging to the High School caste that counts. Grace, who has tentatively resumed connections to part-time leper Echo, urges her to give-in to Luke's (re)advances (see quote on top). We are speaking here of ultra-jerk Luke, Echo's cast-off, popular-for-no-valid-reason boyfriend, who had pressured her for sex, who 'had' to satisfy his boyish needs elsewhere because of her ongoing reluctance, who is pressuring her now again - which seems to be perfectly acceptable because of his professed "love" for her - and who takes her to watch a contemporary war movie, although it is no secret that her brother died in action. All of Echo's so-called friends are mean, devoid of compassion, hierarchy-obsessed and offer their friendship bound to conditions. That Echo takes their childish stance and their suggestions seriously destroys the picture of above-average intelligence and witty insight the author tries to sell so hard of her. Echo is dense beyond belief. And the "real" good guy is too easy to spot.
Apart from the bad image the book conveys of clueless social workers and psychologists, there is definitely something off in the medication department: Echo is not only supposed to heal herself without working things out with her institutionalized mother, she is also forced to beg her dad for her prescription pills which are unnecessary in his opinion and therefore safely hidden away. A well-placed complaint to her therapist would have been probably sufficient to change the situation. But I wondered why the pills weren't in Echo's own hands in the first place. She is no toddler. She is no prisoner. In addition there is that bizarre scene in which Lila and Echo persuade her self-centered, vapid stepmother to put her on birth control (Lila's idea, by the way). Why doesn't Echo just visit a family planning center or a gynaecologist? In my country - same as in many others - the pill is free of charge for minors. And no doctor or social worker is allowed to disclose to a girl's parents her decision to take it. I refuse to accept that there are no ways in the US to elude parental consent.
Well. There are 60% of plot left that I, as a thinking owner of my life time, declare as being better off in the abandoned e-books folder of my reading device. I do not think that there will be summaries of books to come by this book's author which will lure me into having a try.
I close my case with a conversation Echo has with the ever-loving Luke, the Cute: 'Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine you'd want me back after I became the freak.' [ ...] 'I want you in again and I think the best way for you to fall is to jump. I think we should pick up where we left off. I think we should have sex.' [...] 'What?' 'Not now, but soon. I bet if we do, you'll be in again.' [...] Odd, I'd gotten my wish - I could have sex with someone who loved me - but I'd forgotten to add that I wanted to love him back. 'I don't know.' He simply smiled. 'Sleep on it.' ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
2.5 stars altogether. *** There will be spoilers. But then I have surely been the last girl on the planet to read this book. So what? *** ”His gaze lin2.5 stars altogether. *** There will be spoilers. But then I have surely been the last girl on the planet to read this book. So what? *** ”His gaze lingered on my face, and warmth blossomed in my belly. ‘Maybe I’m just curious why she is so enamoured. Dee doesn’t take well to strangers. None of us do.’” This quote is extracted from one of the 'friendlier' scenes in Jennifer L. Armentrout’s young adult paranormal series starter Obsidian, which openly celebrates the hotness factor of supernatural jerks by calling out to the readers “The jerkier, the hotter! This hero knows that he’s an «asshat», but he likes it that way and doesn’t feel the need to make things right. Hail to the champion of demeaning superpower users!” I am certainly aware of the turn-on-effect the attraction between the moody catch (i.e. Mr. Darcy, Edward Cullen, Damen Auguste or Patch Cipriano) and the average girl with drawbacks (i.e. Lizzy Bennett, Bella Swan, Ever Bloom - such a ridiculous name – or Nora Grey) can have on the female reader.
And I do love Mr. Darcy and Edward as well – especially in those helpless moments in which they realize, that their scheming or their pride has done them in and that love hurts. But in contrast to Damen or Daemon and other “sexy demons” they are finally able to put their earlier off-putting behavior into perspective. Although far from perfect, their efforts to keep a distance to the objects of their desire become relatable somehow. I cannot relate to cruel or deliberately mean, though, and am puzzled that so many girls can. Daemon is Damen’s successor in the shitty-heroine-treatment department: He is equally full of himself and purposefully embarrasses, taunts and insults Katy, but he also feels entitled to account for his modus operandum by stating that he is a guy, that he is just “that awesome” or by changing the subject to something that is basically another way to make Katy squirm or boil in a not so cute way.
Of course the feeble solution presented later is that staying away from the oh-so-special human Katy and preventing the forming intimacy between her and his only sister were necessary to keep his species safely undercover. But this - fully expected - explanation for the heightened jerk-factor did not convince me in the least. There is a huge difference between treating your neighbor like she is dirt - or worse - and keeping your polite distance to someone you are not keen on spending time with. Everyone who is not elephant-skinned gets the signals of disinterest. Plus, the childish, partly hysteric the-likes-of-me-do-not-play-with-the-likes-of-you mantra is rather a perfect trigger of a rising awareness and suspicion than a hint at the desire to be let alone. After the big, long-awaited revelation Daemon justifies his need to let Katy in on the secret by claiming that he had to, because she was about to find out anyway. But then he has his trackable superpower stunts to save her (from being hit by a truck *ding-dong*) in mind, instead of the obvious cause, namely his and bitchy non-girlfriend Ash’s ongoing insistence to differenciate noisily between "us" and "them": ”Daemon was quiet and then he laughed. ‘You’re not really like them.’ ‘Like who?’ […] I had no idea what he meant by the whole not like them or needing a friend like me.” ... Or later ... ”Ash’s smile faded. She took a step back. “This is her?’ […] ‘I can’t do this, Daemon. Maybe you guys can be okay with this, but I am not.’”
Another stupid move of the extraterrestrial team was that they all chose to morph their shape into human supermodels when they took refuge on earth. A great way to blend in with the small-town crowd, really! And I doubted that the US Department of Defence would simply finance a couple of hundred harmless seeming teenagers from space a luxurious life without trying to find foster families or group homes for them.
Katy is not entirely helpless or passive. She loves to make use of her middle finger, she uses spaghetti as a weapon and she tries not be over-rolled, out-smarted or made an example of. Still, there were several things I despised about her: - She is often very, very dense. - Her choice of come-backs was cringeworthily childish most of the time. (i.e. she resorts to claiming dangerous things like “I would not play in your sandbox / kiss you / touch you / share your lollipop if you were the last boy in this universe” while trying to tune down her heartbeat. Naturally he is always able to prove her wrong and makes her drool and stutter wearing that smug smirk of his. I wanted her to stay cool and say something like “So what, slimy Six-Pack? I am a teenager. I have eyes and my glands produce hormones. But that doesn’t mean I want every trollop with a yummy exterior to stick his wiener into my mustard pot. Got it?”) - She goes all Bella and asks the – understandable, but exploitable – question concerning the aliens’ method of reproduction and receives the “typically Deamon” counterquestion as an answer: ”’Are you asking if I am attracted to human girls?’ [...] 'Or are you asking if I am attracted to you?’” - She thinks she is “best friends” with the girl next door after meeting her for a couple of times although it is obvious that the chatty beauty only blathers superficially without sharing something personal. - She admits that Daemon had been right when he warned her not to accept another boy's invitation to the dance, because said jock – who had initially been described like he was a perfectly nice and friendly guy – suddenly had a ‘reputation’ as a date rapist. Sure, her date’s drunken fumbling turned out to be physically aggressive, but Daemon’s own advances did not always fare better in comparison, and Katy could also have accepted, but have made her opinion on drunken driving or casual groping simply clear when it started - instead of waiting until escalation and hanging her head in shameful remorse afterwards. I thought it was too convenient to turn someone else into a really bad boy to make the hero’s equally black armour shine in comparison. Plus I hated that Katy just felt it in “every bone” that Daemon would never hurt her. Screw teenage intuition! - She agrees to take a stroll deep into the woods each time she is asked to - just because Mr. Megajerk thinks he can think and talk better under a canopy. I had the faint impression that the author was a little bit too much in love with the twosome forest scenes in Twilight and was not able to resist the compulsion to sample its scenery (see also the truck fiasco). - Her obsession with the nuances of relationship vocabulary. I have constructed a prototype conversation to highlight my point. You just have to imagine it playing in an endless shuffle loop to grasp how intensely Katy’s thoughts were captivated by the subject: - ’Why do you hate me?’ - 'I don’t hate you, but I hate your stupid kind. I don’t want my only sister to be around the likes of you.’ - 'Oh. What do you mean - the likes of me? Short girls with boobs? But you don’t know me. I dislike you, by the way. So.' - ‘You think? I know you are attracted to me.’ - ‘Attracted, yes, I mean, no way. Attraction is too much. I lust after your body. That is, I like your body. But not like like ... Is that clear?’ - ‘Well. I get mightily turned on by your blush. Here. Let me poke my manly errection into your hip to show you. Wanna tumble me in the lake?’ - ‘Oh! No need to use body language, buddy. I swear, I'll show you my finger, when I've caught my breath. So you like me! I didn’t know that.’ - ‘No. I don’t like you. I am just a guy with a blush fetish.’ - ‘As I said, I don’t like you either. But I kind of like the other you. The secret, sweet one that got snatched away by aliens, you know?’ - ‘Erhem. I pretend now that I didn’t hear you say that. Otherwise you’ll get ideas that I might be one of them ... And I have to stay undetected by all means, because I am by far the strongest and most disciplined one of us.‘
As a relatively tame romance, one which ultimately avoids penetration, Obsidian has its fair share of sexual tension: The countless moments involving grabbed chins, widened eyes, accelerated heartbeats, moved strands of hair, thickened voices, grazed skins and quivering fingers did have their merits. I forked out half a star in appreciation of them.
The first sexy lake scene which shows Daemon trying to coax Katy to skinny dip reminded me of one of my childhood favorites, Pictures of Adam by Myron Levoy, in which 14-years-old, traumatized Adam believes he is an Alien, frightens his potential girl-friend, Lisa, by staying underwater far too long and succeeds in getting her to completely undress and join him in the ice-cold water. Wow. That realistic, tender and funny scene was dripping with hormones and restraint and sweet awkwardness! Dark, smirking Daemon and his confident demonstration of feel-up-skills is nothing in comparison. Maybe Jennifer L. Armentrout read that wonderful book in her youth, too (I think she is a couple of years younger than I, though).
To readers who are fond of books with a lot of intelligent boy-girl-bickering in them I would rather recommend the Australian debut Shadows by Paula Weston. Mysterious, supernatural Rafa knows where to prod and poke to trigger an explosion, but he also knows how to steer clear of the jerk trail. I would categorize the included “almost”-sex scene as being very hot and I extremely enjoyed the heroine’s tendency to swear extensively .
Last I have to add that the extraterrestrial aspects concerning asylum seekers from the galaxy farthest from ours - interesting to learn that the universe has an end – severely disappointed me. Although I couldn’t stand the sickly instant-love story I admit that I would probably prefer the scifi romance Neptune's Tears. But the alien teen romance I am willing to gush about is still somewhere out there in the vast void of writers’ minds. ...more
Pennsylvania was a strange state. No one knew who Ruby was. Should you - like me - love beautiful, dream-like writing and glittering, complex characterPennsylvania was a strange state. No one knew who Ruby was. Should you - like me - love beautiful, dream-like writing and glittering, complex characters who constantly hover just outside your grasp in a gray area between evil, half-good and plain crazy, yet do not mind not getting solid answers at all, there is a serious chance for you to fall for 'Imaginary Girls' by Nova Ren Suma.
I read the eerie, eerie debut novel featuring a tight, strange bond between two sisters, a siren-like femme fatale clutching a whole small-town in her fickle fingers, an alcoholic, hippie mother, some sexual awakening, some painful growing up and growing a conscience, a caring father, deaths, ghosts and hot, lazy summers with a Goodreads group of 'German Girls Reading English Books' - thank you, girls, for voting for this gem as our January group read; without you it would be still gathering dust on my Kindle - and I was delighted by the rich multitude of explanation possibilies the plot offered as our order-seeking minds tried to press the book into a fitting genre corner and to make sense of heroine Chloe's subjective narration. Although only a dozen readers went into discussion, a colorful palette of constructions presented itself - and almost all ideas sounded quite sound: Drugs, dreams, traumata, split personality disorders, deal-offering monsters, paranormal gifts that are limited geographically, even painfully staged pretenses of paranormal gifts to mislead and mind-control the heroine.
... To me, personally, Ruby came across like a twisted and dangerous, yet somehow caring variation of Mary Poppins. I am not exactly sure why. Probably because of her spontaneity, her cheerfulness, her firm reign, her randomly offered secret bits and pieces from her personal Knigge, or simply her magnetic personality?
The book which 'Imaginary Girls' reminded me the strongest of is my beloved 'Chime' - which is not for everyone either. Since Franny Billingsley is so slow in producing another masterpiece I can blissfully roll around in, I am happy when something remotely comparable in style turns up to entertain me in between.
You see, I am rather reluctant to issue a general recommendation, but I also do not want to leave my positive rating uncommented and my praise unuttered. You might be disappointed or frustrated, but you might also miss something unusual and great....more
Brenna's story and the matching character set annoyed the hell out of me. I would have to poke my inner me to elaborate.
Fact is, I had to abandon itBrenna's story and the matching character set annoyed the hell out of me. I would have to poke my inner me to elaborate.
Fact is, I had to abandon it after just reading 11% although I applauded her choice to use her bike as her main means of transport. But in different light ... what is so special about it and why was everybody so concerned about the weather and the bad, bad people wanting to mug school girls pedalling homewards? Never heard of mittens and mufflers?...more
"'I told you that love sucks. But is anyone listening to me? No. England could fall off the map and you’d just smile and keep playing soccer.' JANE IR"'I told you that love sucks. But is anyone listening to me? No. England could fall off the map and you’d just smile and keep playing soccer.' JANE IRANIAN"
Oh, yes, in this sandwiched volume soccer-playing Gracie Faltrain takes control – of lots of things and unfortunately not in a good way at all. When I closed my copy of The Life and Times of Gracie Faltrain, Gracie had finally learned the lesson that soccer is a team sport and that winning takes the combined efforts of all players, but when I delved into the sequel I quickly understood that there is plenty of important stuff Gracie is very far from understanding. Apart from the fact that Gracie needs to become less self-centered and explosive, the most important mantras that have to be forced into her skull are “Winning at all costs might be quite costly” and “Helping others starts with respecting them.” To exchange the second hand-stitched proverb for a simile I could also say that Gracie barrels through people’s lives like a highly-motivated bulldozer driver, who deliberately mistakes rare wildflowers for weeds while keeping his earplugs in to drown out the noise of the tree huggers. Or, if I wanted to express Gracie’s problem without a trace of pomp, I would say: Because Gracie thinks she knows what is best for everybody, she meddles without restraint and without looking back whenever she can:
- For months Gracie is convinced that her best friend calling from overseas will unquestionably be grateful to be interrupted, because it is obvious that Gracie’s problems are more urgent, more severe and much more interesting than the ones she was about to elaborate on. - Gracie pulls all possible strings to “rescue” her quiet, brilliant, library-affine and moderately contented replacement friend Alyce from staying unpopular and - in her unwavable point of view – unhappy forever. (view spoiler)[She forces Alyce to attend parties, to buy different clothes, to flatten her frizzy hair, to tutor a nice, but simple-minded jock for romantic purposes; she ignores her outspoken protest and signs Alyce up for a speech competition; she brazenly avenges every bad word class queen bee Annabelle shoots into her friend's direction - not noticing that crashing into a personal defensive protector actually triggers the inner bully in her arch enemy -, and she makes one of her soccer mates ask the poor girl out to the ball and then brags so loudly about Alyce having scored a date that the embarrassed guy can only save his face by rescinding his invitation. (hide spoiler)] - Although Gracie’s dearest wish is for her parents to mend their relationship, she ruthlessly ruins the first tender moment between them, because she immediately needs them to act on her behalf. - Gracie decides to ignore both her mother’s and her boyfriend’s plea not to do anything and calmly destroys the fine layer of scrab that had recently formed on the festering wound that had been inflicted when Martin’s mother left her family years ago (view spoiler)[by putting an ad into the local paper (hide spoiler)]. - Gracie tries to pressure her boyfriend into ending his friendship with her nemensis by resorting to childish name-calling and popcorn blitzes at the movies. - In order to build up some victory feeling among her team mates Gracie humilitates other soccer teams on the field and then makes sure that they know that they have been bested by someone smaller, quicker and fitter. ”’We’re the only team everyone hates. What does that tell you, Faltrain?’ I ask. 'It tells me we’re better than everyone else, Martin,’ she answers. ‘Faltrain, they should measure your head for science. I reckon it’s the biggest I’ve seen.’ MARTIN KNIGHT”.
Even though I have to admit, that I saw a little something of my younger, impulsive self in Gracie, because I grew up in a family that did not snub shouting, dumping the contents of water bottles and sugar pots on people’s heads or asserting one’s opinion by force as part of the daily war, and because “Live and let live” was a motto that did not come naturally to my parents, Gracie’s enthusiastic hole-digging, which lasted almost 200 of the beautifully worded pages and – regardless of several intervention attempts by her mother - got her in deeper and deeper, was a pretty painful process to behold.
If I had not had the chance to get to know and treasure Gracie so much in the multi-angled first installment, I would probably have lost patience with her antics and rated the story, which is mostly told from Gracie’s one deluded point of view, down quite a bit.
But since it is a middle book, I suffered, but I suffered in hope. ”'Boy meets girl. Girl meets ground.' LOCAL NEWS WEEKLY” writes about a game of Gracie’s team. And so I never really doubted that once Gracie hit the bottom hard she would wake up, come to her senses and finally get it right.
”‘I’ve lost him, haven’t I?’ Love’s like an egg. Break it, and you might still have almost every bit of yolk and white, but there’s no way you’re getting that back in the shell. And even if you could, there’d be still all the cracks. It’s why Mum and Dad are taking all winter to grow the smallest bit of green. It’s why Mrs. Knight never came back. ‘Yes, Gracie, love.’ Mum doesn’t bother lying. ‘I think you’ve lost him for now.’” ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
'Get in.' He demanded. [...] I got in the car, against my better judgement, because I didn’t want to cause a scene. [...] 'You understand that I just'Get in.' He demanded. [...] I got in the car, against my better judgement, because I didn’t want to cause a scene. [...] 'You understand that I just met you, right?' 'Yes. You understand that the woman you were about to have lunch with is my aunt and she just disappeared in a matter of minutes, right? You understand that perhaps there is more going on than you could possibly comprehend, right? You understand that I am trying to get you home safe, right?' His blue eyes pierced me and my body felt numb. I did understand. I handed him my keys. 'My house is at 504 Briarwood Court.'
You like that? Good for you. To me this passage embodies everything I dislike about a certain type of paranormal young adult romance. And although I have read only 7% of the self-published mermaid novel, I can tell that I would label the whole package as unbearably awful. Therefore there is no sense in reading the remaining 93%.
If the 'teaser' above made you kind of excited, you might be pleased to hear that the story deals with a freshly graduated orphan called Seraphin, who has had water phobia since she went into the ocean against her father's explicit prohibition, which is somehow connected to her father's mysterious death. Rich Seraphin has lived for years Cinderella-style with a family friend, who resented her presence in the house. She made do with only one true friend, her biology teacher Ms. Z., who starts blathering about legends and merpeople and guardians and successions and prophecies out of the blue and right on graduation day. After Seraphin has laughingly established that she doesn't believe in mermaids, she witnesses said teacher-friend, who announces that she will have to leave town directly after lunch, to make the biology department's goldfishes do as she says using plain English to communicate at them. Just as Seraphin contemplates becoming a believer (Praised be Nemo!), Ms. Z's grumpy, shy and gorgeous nephew Joseph barges in, flickers his mesmerising eyes from ice to navy blue and back, stops himself from releasing a very secret secret and takes the first-I-have-to-pretend-to-hate-you role with aplomb. Phew! Just in time, because fifteen minutes later he needs to be the ill-tempered-and-tight-lipped-knight-in-shining-armor. Our friendless heroine of the later-to-be-revealed superior qualities is about to faint and cannot drive or think or walk and talk.
This marks the opening of the fantastic curtain: I am sure there will be a lot of mistrust and bickering and withholding of information. There will be fulfilments of prophecies that demand sacrifices of vast proportions to be made. And there will be goldfish lingo to be learned. In the end there will be peace and harmony in Earth’s oceans again. How inspiring! But alas, I cannot stay. You tell me, if I am right. But make it quick, okay?
Disclosure: I received a Smashwords Coupon from the author to download the e-book for free. ...more
Oh, this book has exhausted me. During the second half I cried so much that I was getting concerned about dehydration. I think I have to drink two litOh, this book has exhausted me. During the second half I cried so much that I was getting concerned about dehydration. I think I have to drink two liters of water or juice now to compensate for all the tears I've shed. I am not sure why Bindy has moved me so much. She has this kind of different view of the world and she is so supersmart. She wants her worthless father and her busy mom to take the time to respond to her mails to help her decide and she is so very lonely. It felt like watching someone through his own opera glass and thus understanding basically what makes that someone tick, yet seeing what that someone cannot see: That she is living her life, apart from the rest of humanity, in a parallel universe. For example when Bindy, in her own focused strange way cooks up ways to help her school-mates to gain better grades and to get on with their lives (aka fighting their inner "teenage monsters"), but nobody is able to grasp what she is doing and why. So Bindy's attempts at being charitable and good disintegrate into smoke and make her appear even freakier in the eyes of the student body. And this inability to communicate, to connect with the world around her - even with her loving aunt and uncle and cute cousin Bella - is responsible for Bindy's mental abilities and physical health going slowly down the drain without anybody going farther than making check-up appointments for her, which are repeatedly ignored by her. All the pointless struggle, all the sadness and the crucial turning point when Bindy spontaneously opens up messed with my heart thoroughly and turned me into this sobbing, snot-dripping wreck. I know this is not really a review, but I am not functioning correctly again yet. When you glimpse at my rating you can see that I actually liked this book although usually I resent books that make me cry. And I liked it - and especially Bindy - although it was completely lacking Moriarty's trademark humor, the healthy dose of romance I normaly crave in each and every young adult book, and - with the exception from the end and a few letter responses from teachers, parents and officials - the use of multiple points of view, which you quickly start taking for granted after having read one or two of Jaclyn Moriarty's funnily gleaming literary gems.
Note on the series: I have not read the Ashbury books in the chronological order and I don't think you have to. I recommend to take the chance and read any of these books should you stumble upon one of the installments randomly.
"Please Ignore Vera Dietz" is a well written problem-oriented book.
It tells the story of 18-years-old Vera who recently lost her best and probably on"Please Ignore Vera Dietz" is a well written problem-oriented book.
It tells the story of 18-years-old Vera who recently lost her best and probably only friend Charlie Kahn twice: First a few months ago when the a group of up-to-no-goods called The Detentionsheads, led by notorious liar and exaggerator Jenny Flick, decided to assimilate Charlie into their group and reached their goal by systematically alienating Charlie from Vera (lies, rumours, ridicule), and last and finally when some prank or coup involving cruel abuse of animal center pets and The Detentionheads caused Charlie's sudden death. Vera admits to the reader that - in contrast to the police - she knows the exact circumstances of her former friends demise and that someone - who is not Charlie as everybody presumes - is to blame. Because of this exclusive knowledge and her refusal to act on it Vera feels haunted by Charlie - whom she loves and hates - and by their shared past as neighbors and playmates. Vera had a harmonious childhood, which is rather surprising since her parents, both high-school drop-outs had her at 18, and her father, a teenaged alcoholic, stopped drinking only when he recognized that this baby daughter’s life was endangered because of his problem. After her mom left the family to become a Las Vegas dancer, her father’s only concern became to keep Vera from fatefully following her parents’ steps. His motto: „Fight you destiny and ignore everybody else’s problems“. Vera isn’t good at either: She always resented not being allowed to get help when noise errupted next door and lately she has to stock up her secret stash of Vodka coolers under her driver’s seat pretty often. Charlie’s life seemed to be much more normal to the outsider, but Vera knew – without having to talk to Charlie about it – that behind closed doors violence and abused ruled the house, which resulted in Charlie acting aloof and cool, rebelling against his weak mom, dressing in dirty and torn rags, keeping her and everybody else at distance and having trust issues even with his oldest friend.
A friend of mine said he couldn’t comprehend why Vera had been friends with Charlie in the first place and what she admired in him. I did not ask myself these questions, although I did not like Charlie. First, because if you admire someone from early childhood on it sticks. My brother did not stop hanging around a slightly older kid from our neighborhood even after that thug almost suffocated him by stuffing grass down his throat to amuse his entroutage. Second, because broken kids sometime develop some addictive or interesting traits: They manage to repaint their reality in brighter colors because they have to cope. Others naturally get sucked in easily. Charlie used to pray to the Great Hunter and he built his tree house – his means of escape – with unmatched enthusiasm.
So, you see: I think this book deals with serious problems (domestic violence, bullies, alcoholism, repeating the past, finding your way ...) and it depicts them in a realistic way. I even liked Vera and her dad, even her mom. But when I noticed I was flicking the pages quicker and quicker not because I was so excited, but because I hoped the story would end soon, I decided to call it quits at page 139.
For me, personally, it is absolutely necessary that a book offers me enjoyment. I like to ponder about a story and I admire stories that delve under the surface, but I need hope throughout the book and I need a little fun. I was never able to connect to those young adult books that solely dealt with teenage drinking or drugs or rape or unemployment or mental deseases in order to cause awareness. (= No Christiane F. for me, please). Consequently I was looking for the secenes that made Ellen Hopkins publish the blurb „Brilliant. Funny. Really special.“ to no avail and I was severely disappointed. Others have different expectations when reading a problem-focused story and these expectations are obiously met (see average rating). So do not be put off because of my taste in YA. But if you are rather like me, I recommend Sweethearts by Sarah Zarr or Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson. Both do not paint pink, but offer a certain something, too. ...more
I've only read about 37 pages, but after setting the book aside two months ago I cannot muster enough motivation to pick it up again. I liked both EnnI've only read about 37 pages, but after setting the book aside two months ago I cannot muster enough motivation to pick it up again. I liked both Enna and Isi so much in The Goose Girl, but somehow Enna has become boring and Isi has become unsure, unstable and weak and ill at ease with her husband. Since I own Forest Born already I plan to skip the volume in between and give the last one a try....more
I've almost finished the first of the two novels combined in this book. And I liked it, really. But It was quite bleak and I needed something to liftI've almost finished the first of the two novels combined in this book. And I liked it, really. But It was quite bleak and I needed something to lift me up last fall. Therefore I stopped to switch to a lighter and brighter fare in between. Somehow I never had the will to pick it up again. I am sure I am missing something, because I don't finish this. That's the reason it hovered so long in the current-reading status....more
A lot of creepy suspense, an interesting heroine - who I in spite of the first-person-narration never really got to know - and a certain Veronica-MarsA lot of creepy suspense, an interesting heroine - who I in spite of the first-person-narration never really got to know - and a certain Veronica-Mars-in-Private-School feel, but a not so very unexpected mystery, a lot of repetitive scenes, a half-hearted boy-girl friendship, a half-hearted romance and a half-hearted, truly deflatingly unsatisfactory ending, which I really didn't like. ...more