Sad, funny and very realistic (no high-school fairytale) Underprivileged high-school senior Ashley Hannigan tries hard not to drop out of school during...moreSad, funny and very realistic (no high-school fairytale) Underprivileged high-school senior Ashley Hannigan tries hard not to drop out of school during the last months. She has more detentions lined-up than days left to sit them off, works her butt off at a pizza parlor in a Romping Rat costume, lives with three siblings and another in the making in a house that is constantly under repair, because her dad has more enthusiasm than time or money, and dates bass-ass TJ, who is not allowed to show himself on school-grounds anymore, but is proud to have secured a one-room-flat with a curtained-off loo for himself and the woman of his dreams. Ashley's best friend is Natalia, daughter of the Russian immigrants next door (Nat's grandmother as well as Ash's mother's numerous sisters provide the light and hilarious moments during the story's course) and head of the prom committee. When the prom is in danger of being canceled, because a teacher stole the prom money, Natalia is devastated and Ashley - prom hater superieur - finds herself up to her neck involved in reorganizing a cheaper alternative - just in order to fulfill her best-friends dream, her life and her attitude towards herself and her future slowly begin to change. The story about a normal kid, bored, down-to-earth, without big dreams and almost no chance against a prejudiced vice principal, touches a core, when that kid decides to get her friend a night to remember no matter the hardship. I can understand that reviewers say Ashley is a heroine, who is hard to like. I liked her nevertheless. But she is no princess, even if her father calls her that. She is an underdog. And I was very pleased to see that things turned out realistically fine for her.(less)
Exactly as stated on the backcover, but different from what I expected. Dumb of me, I know. The story deals with sophomore Frankie Landau-Banks, who a...moreExactly as stated on the backcover, but different from what I expected. Dumb of me, I know. The story deals with sophomore Frankie Landau-Banks, who attends a posh preparatory boarding-school, and her evolution from a mostly overlooked, harmless geek living in her sister's shadow to the successful undercover leader of the all-male secret society "The Bassets", all the while trying to be acknowledged for her exceptional brains instead of for her cute figure and other characteristics that are obligatory for being Matthew Livingston's girlfriend. This was clear to me, somehow before reading the book, yes. But - how can I say it - the story turned out to read less than a story and more like a psychological analysis of the involved characters as props for real-life people instead:It's like these moral tales written for young people a hundred years ago (but rolled-up the other way). Pretty-wrapped into a story are hidden theories on how girls behave when trying to keep a boyfriend, who likes to brag and keeps attending boring drinking-parties (You can almost see the check-boxes: Dear reader, in which category do you sort yourself?), on why guys become members in all-male-secret-societies and do useless stuff there anyway, on why girls are always expected to be non-competitive and so on. These musings are not uninteresting, but they are offered under the pretense to tell a story, they have an academic, almost clinical, by-taste, which keeps the reader from getting close to Frankie and they are simply too many. And - even if it is always made clear, that small-time guerrilla Frankie does not fit any category - often enough I glimpsed a raised finger indicating, what a modern, feminist girl is supposed to think, to do, to feel concerning her place in this world. Maybe it is an age thing. But I did not like it. In addition the so-called story ends with Frankie being unsatisfied with herself and being misunderstood by everybody. Ahh, the burden of a genius. Or what?(less)
After reading "Seventh Heaven" I resolved to put a lid on ploughing through Princess Mia's diary which had become extremely difficult to bear. Those l...moreAfter reading "Seventh Heaven" I resolved to put a lid on ploughing through Princess Mia's diary which had become extremely difficult to bear. Those little faults of Mia that made her so endearing in the first volumes wore my nerves thin when they became more and more pronounced instead of maturing off. In addition there was all this worrying about staying a virgin until graduation and finding out whether Michael loved her or loved her not - and what about his virginity... Now I was given volume 10. And I thought: well, mightn't it be nice to know the end of all the struggle. So I skipped volume 8 and 9 (which has proven to be a good idea: I missed two years of depression, therapist sessions, novel writing, I-hate-Mia-Campaigns made by Lilly and smooching the horrible aristocracy leech Jean-Paul Abernathy IV) and got to read a highly predictable, only moderately annoying, but rather satisfying end of the series.(less)
So sad ... I am still stunned. Just as "Saving Francesca" and "Looking for Alibrandi" by Marchetta, this book has made me cry. But additionally it has...moreSo sad ... I am still stunned. Just as "Saving Francesca" and "Looking for Alibrandi" by Marchetta, this book has made me cry. But additionally it has made me sit in silent stupor on the sofa afterwards, because even the hopeful and positive ending could not erase the enormous sadness the story instilled in me. It is difficult to explain without giving to much away concerning the mystery of Taylor Markham's past which unravels piece by piece. Taylor is a state ward in an Australian boarding school. She was abandoned by her drug-addicted mother at a Seven-Eleven and almost immediately found by a woman named Hannah when she was eleven years old. Before Jellicoe Boarding School Taylor lived with Hannah for a year, who is a counselor at Taylor's dormitory now. As newly elected head of her house Taylor is responsible for the well-being of her house-mates, but also for the traditional territorial wars with the so-called Townies and the Cadets, a bunch of boys from a military school camping in the woods. Taylor's past catches up with her, when she has to negotiate with moody cadet Jonah Griggs. Four years ago she got rather close to him him when she tried to run away to find her mother and he was trying to go back to his family. Taylor still blames him for getting caught, for betraying her. The situation gets even messier, when Hannah suddenly disappears without telling Taylor. Taylor begins to realise how much Hannah means to her and that there might be a connection between the story Hannah has been writing about five kids living on Jellicoe Road twenty years before, Hannah's distance and her own life. The narration alternates between the present told from Taylor's point of view and snippets from Hannah's manuscript. I read and read and felt so sorry for Taylor, for Hannah, for Jonah, for the five friends, for Jessa, the Hermit and other people. Not likely to forget them. No.(less)
***Read for the first time: July 20th 2008*** 4 stars. ***Re-read on July 11th 2013*** 5 stars.
It is really astonishing how much of Josie's extraordin...more***Read for the first time: July 20th 2008*** 4 stars. ***Re-read on July 11th 2013*** 5 stars.
It is really astonishing how much of Josie's extraordinary, lively character I had forgotten in mere 5 years. I still do not love her as much as Francesca Spinelli, but I adore her a big, fat lot. And it's funny to think that by now I am even older than her mother Christina.(less)
Hallie Palmer rules! "Heart's Desire" is not as good as "Beginner's Luck". The storyline is not as fresh and unpredictable and the inner monologue is...moreHallie Palmer rules! "Heart's Desire" is not as good as "Beginner's Luck". The storyline is not as fresh and unpredictable and the inner monologue is not as amusing, but I still like Hallie and Hallie's process in growing up with the help of the extraordinary Stocktons very well. The subject of Hallie's "first time" is also tackled. And I was very grateful, that Ms Pedersen uses the opportunity to show a different - but multi-layered - view (through the eyes of unconventional Olivia Stockton) than most of the US-YA-novels obsessed with virginity or some other superfluous message.(less)
Heart- and gut-wrenchingly good. I just ordered the sequel although still have 14 new books waiting to be read. The plot: Tomboy D.J. Schwenks is 15 g...moreHeart- and gut-wrenchingly good. I just ordered the sequel although still have 14 new books waiting to be read. The plot: Tomboy D.J. Schwenks is 15 going on 16, lives on a dairy farm and does almost all the hard work. In fact she is even flunking grades in order to get the barn clean and the cows milked and fed. Her father has an injured hip, started doing housework instead of farm work and just loves to complain about his daughter's working style. D.J.'s real passion is American football, but her school does not have a girls' team. Trying out for playing is not recommended anyway when you consider what happened to her older brothers, both famous quarterbacks at college. They dared to tell their father that they did not want to inherit the farm and were thrown out past Christmas. So D.J. has decided to shut up and do what is expected from her. Same seems to work for her younger brother Curtis, who does not talk at all, helps her on the farm, collects animal skulls and seems to enjoy his visits to the dentist. D.J.s view of her own situation gets shook up during summer holidays, when the football coach of the enemy school sends his quarterback Brian over to help on the farm and get trained by D.J. He sneers and calls D.J. a cow who just swallows what has been thrown into her trough. My opinion: This is the kind of story that sticks. I cried several time reading this novel. It was so sad but heart-warming to live through D.J.'s self-reflection, her learning to think for herself, the slow meltdown of the whole family never talking problems thoroughly through and the bitter-sweet experience of falling in love for the first time. What got to me hardest was D.J.'s parents' attitude towards her running the farm and messing up her grades in school for the family's sake. It is even more shocking when you take in mind, that D.J.'s mom is the principal of the local primary school.(less)
Review in German (01.11.2008) : My most excellent young adult novel. Bitte mehr davon! My Most Excellent Year ist einer dieser Romane, bei denen alle...moreReview in German (01.11.2008) : My most excellent young adult novel. Bitte mehr davon! My Most Excellent Year ist einer dieser Romane, bei denen alle Fäden am Ende zu meiner Zufriedenheit verknüpft worden sind und Story und Charaktere mir so sympathisch waren, dass ich sie sofort nach dem Zuklappen des Buches bereits vermisste. Der Klappentext sagt eigenlich schon viel - obwohl sie kurz ist. Ich führe etwas aus: Hauptaktionspunkt der vielschichtigen, mehrere Jahre abdeckenden Geschichte ist eine High School in Boston (In der Nähe des Fenway Park, dem Stadion der Red Sox). Sie setzt sich zusammen aus für die Schule geschriebenen Berichten (z.B. mit dem TItel "My most excellent year"), Tagebucheinträgen, Listen, Lexikonartikeln, Chatprotokollen, Briefen und E-Mails.
Die Hauptfiguren sind: * T.C. Keller, der bewusst seine Noten auf einem niedrigen Level hält, mit Leidenschaft Baseball spielt, mit seinen Vater (Witwer) zusammenlebt, nach Außen als ein oberflächlicher Jock wirkt und große Anstrengungen unternimmt, die kühle, intelligente Alejandra Perez für sich zu gewinnen.
* Augie Wong, seit der Grunddschule T.C.s selbsterwählter Bruder. Sein Vater hat ein Buchladencafé, seine Mutter ist eine feministische Theaterkritikerin. Augie liebt Broadway-Musicals und Musical-Verfilmungen. Er kann alle weiblichen Parts auswendig und weiß nicht, dass er schwul ist (alle anderen wissen es), bis er sich in Andy Wrexler, Mädchenheld, verliebt. Augie bekommt die Leitung des jährlichen Theaterstücks der Schule zugesprochen.
* Alejandra Perez, Diplomatentochter, fühlt sich schon etwas zu T.C. hingezogen, schämt sich aber dafür, einen oberflächlichen Hohlkopf zu mögen. Ale geht offiziell zum Französisch-Unterricht, nimmt aber heimlich Stunden im Tanzen und Singen.
* Teddy Keller, T.C.s Vater, freut sich, dass sein Sohn wegen mangelnden Einsatzes so oft zu seiner Beratungslehrerin Lori muss, die er seit Jahren erfolglos zu einem Date überreden versucht.
* Hucky Harper, Heimkind, gehöhrlos und fünfjährig, beobachtet immer das Baseball-Training im Fenway Park zu. Dort lernt er T.C. kennen. Er schaut jeden Tag die Mary-Poppins-Verfilmung mit Julie Andrews an und wartet darauf, dass Mary Poppins kommt, um ihn zu retten.
Die Art, wie jede dieser Personen sich um die Probleme der anderen Personen sorgt, sich dabei positiv verändert, selbstkritisch und humorvoll ihre Situation und ihre Vergangenheit betrachtet, ist einfach nur schön gemacht. Ich konnte kaum fassen, dass dieses Buch von einem Mann geschrieben wurde. Seit Liebste Abby vom Autorenduo Hadley Irwin habe ich kein so gutes Buch über männliche Teenager mehr gelesen.
First read first in 2008. I need multiple reading dates, Godoreads!(less)