I'm pretty sure there will be spoilers in this review. I'm not so sure yet. Hey!!! I can use the new spoiler button feature! I'm excited now.
This wasI'm pretty sure there will be spoilers in this review. I'm not so sure yet. Hey!!! I can use the new spoiler button feature! I'm excited now.
This was my first Lisa McMann novel. I want to read her Wake series, but someone stole them from the library. *shakes fist at sky* So I received a copy of this from SImon & Schuster's Galley Grab and I let out a big ole Napoleon Dynamite "Yehsssss". Unfortunately, from what I read of other reviews, this wasn't McMann's best.
This is about Kendall Fletcher, an OCD teen who lives in the small town of Cryer's Cross, Montana, a place where everyone knows everyone else, which makes it doubly disturbing when a 15 year old girl goes missing without a trace. Kendall tries to keep it together, by playing soccer with her long time best friend (or boyfriend, depending on who you ask), Nico, and practicing her dance moves after a long day of working on the family farm. That is, until Nico also disappears. Conspiracy theories aplenty, Kendall doesn't know what to think, her whirling thoughts fueled by the mysterious Jacian, the new (and incredibly sexy) guy in town. Because of her OCD hyperawareness, Kendall realizes that both the missing girl and Nico sat at the same desk in their small, one-room school house. Coincidence? I THINK NOT. Kendall must dive into the darkest history of the town and it's people to uncover the dangerous truth.
Yeah....I can't wrap my head around the "evil desk" concept either. I tried to find a picture of a desk eating someone through Google, but the Internet has failed me. Yet today Kim managed to find multiple images of Stormtroopers gyrating. Priorities, Google.
All right, this book was okay. I'm not the biggest fan of third person narration anyway. I usually have a hard time connecting with the characters, which was the case here. None of the characters were bad necessarily, they just didn't stand out or make lasting impressions. Although, Jacian was pretty sexy *waggles eyebrow*. I was really hoping for a nekked scene, but I guess shirtless will do.
This book was short, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Its a good thing because it didn't take me four days to read it, but a bad thing in nearly every other regard. It took too long to get to the point. The first half was pretty aimless, wandering around like it had all the time in the world, but halfway through the book it was like McMann went "Shit! I have a hundred pages to finish this thing!". And more time was spent with Jacian offering to give Kendall a ride in his pants home, than any supernatural aspects. Then it all kind of happened at once.
I also wish the supernatural was creepier. Not that desks aren't terrifying and all, but I was expecting a litttttle more. No biggie. (view spoiler)[And one thing I don't get is why those boys who got killed wanted to kill more people. Wouldn't they want to save kids rather than burry them alive? What is the point of the that? Oddly, it is the why and not the how that confuses me most. (hide spoiler)]
And Kendall's OCD.....I'm not sure if I believed it or not. I mean, there were moments when it was great, going into detail about how it affected Kendall's life, like her having to go into her classroom early to fix things the way she likes it, but then at moments it was vague like "Kendall's OCD kicked in". As someone who does not have OCD, what does that mean? I would like an explanation.
Overall, it was okay. An enjoyable way to spend a few hours. I understand it wasn't McMann's best, so I am still eager to read Wake (return it, you thief! I shall hunt you down!) Oh and will this be a series? I'm getting mixed feedback on that. Some reviewers are adamant that it is a stand-alone, but the ending had a sense of ambiguity about it that made me wonder. Although I haven't seen any definite proof of a sequel, I would not be surprised. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
For some reason, My review keeps coming up twice because the "more" is right in the middle of the spoiler, so I'm ad Transformer cat will eat you! RAWR
For some reason, My review keeps coming up twice because the "more" is right in the middle of the spoiler, so I'm adding extra characters to see if it helps.
"Eh." That pretty much sums up my assessment of HAVEN. Kristi Cook is a smart cookie (heh, unintentional pun!). She travels some pretty well-worn territory that is guaranteed to get her a solid YA audience. Her book really doesn't have anything original, but is rather something more like a composite of popular YA series. (view spoiler)[ Like Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, some Shiver, and a little bit of Buffy thrown together in a "girl goes to boarding school" tale. (hide spoiler)] The result left me pretty much uninterested.
I could see what Cook was trying to do, but unfortunately she never truly succeeded. I could tell that she wanted to have:
1. A smart, enduring heroine. The main character....Violet (yes, I did forget her name for a second), isn't all that original. Although technically smart, as evidenced by her honors classes, Violet was a bit slow on the uptake. Some readers may be frustrated with Violet's denial and disbelief (I just think she's dense). Cook managed to give Violet some powers of her own, but nonetheless Violet has the Bella-syndrome of fainting constantly and having her boyfriend save her. Violet was also just plain old boring. Her voice was bland and nothing she ever did stood out. I know Cook was trying to make her "relatable", but I hate that. I would rather have a main character who pisses me off than one who is bland as corn flakes.
2. A hot, mysterious love interest. Pshhhh. Adrian's such an Edward wannabe. I don't even like Edward, but he still has more personality than this guy.
3. Powerful, intense love.........Nah. I wasn't feeling it in the least. I didn't feel anything. Not a gut-flutter, or spine-tickler. I didn't have to put down the book and start pacing around the room as I do when I get really involved in a book and need to calm down. I wasn't feeling the attraction. I believe Cook tried to make the romance more believable, by making it a little hot-and-cold. But she went a little overboard. I couldn't even tell that they liked each other. One chapter they were all like "I lurrrve you" then the next Violet is all "Fuck you!". Just back and forth through the whole book, but there wasn't enough emotion behind any of the characters to back it up.
With Twilight (yes I'm comparing this book to Twilight because that's really what it deserves), when I was Twi-tard, I would stay awake at night, unable to sleep because I was so immersed in the Twilight universe. It actually made my chest ache, I loved it so much. Now I think its shit, but that's besides the point. This book, no matter how much it tried to, couldn't immerse me like that. It just wasn't enough. It tried to do a little bit of everything and succeeded in nothing.
But I didn't hate it. Which is both a good and bad thing. Books I hate are memorable in how much I dislike them. This book was just boring and on the great shelf of "meh". It just didn't work up enough emotion in me to warrant an overwhelming response. I didn't like it, but I didn't hate it either.
From looking at the other reviews, there are definitely people who enjoy this book. It definitely tailors to a specific audience, one that will most likely enjoy this book. To me, it was merely inoffensive and generic.
Oh, and I think the cover is fugly. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Ari is a freak. With her odd teal eyes and long, silvery hair, she is used to being different, and after spending her life going from foster home to fAri is a freak. With her odd teal eyes and long, silvery hair, she is used to being different, and after spending her life going from foster home to foster home, she is used to being alone. Feeling the need to discover her past, Ari goes to the psychiatric hospital where her mother killed herself 13 years ago. There she given a box with a message from her mother: to run. With foreign sword-weilding figures pursuing her, Ari knows she must return to her birthplace of New Orleans. Now known as New 2, the city rebuilt after the worst storms in history, it is a haven for the odd and different. In New 2, Ari finally feels like she fits in, but really she is only discovering how much she is meant to stand out.
Despite its considerable flaws, I really enjoyed this book. Its high rating is based on my superficial enjoyment of it and nothing else. But I know not everyone will like it. Hey, I know that some won't be able to stand it, but I still liked it, all the same.
Ari was an interesting character. Not a passive heroine (although she does pass out a few times), this girl knows how to kick ass. She calls the main antagonist of the book (whom I shall not reveal) "a fucking bitch", and then punches her in the face! Ohmigod, how that made me giddy! Who does that, except in my wildest imaginings! How many times have I've been reading a book or watching a movie and yell at the protagonist "Just punch her already!" and Ari does it!!! Oh boy, how that made me happy. I will ignore the fact that the antagonist is an all powerful being and should have really incinerated Ari right then and there, but whatever. Ari just won the "most kickass moment of the year" award.
Despite myself, I got really sucked into the story. The scenery was just really awesome. The sunken city of New Orleans is a pretty original place for a young adult novel, and it was refreshing. I think it fitted the craziness of the book really well.
There was something odd about this book, a "twist", if you will that some people will definitely not like. I wasn't expecting it, although it isn't all that hard to figure out. The idea really wasn't that new, but I wasn't expecting it in this setting. It just seemed really odd, but for me, that oddness worked. For some people, it will throw them off. I will admit, I did enjoy the first half of the novel more than the second, because the plot just got more and more convoluted.
There was romance between Ari and a bloke named Sebastian (not enough people use the word "bloke"). It was a fast romance, they had only known each other for a day or so when they started making out, but for me, it seemed fine. It worked, somehow. At least Ari wasn't all like "I looooovvve you! I shall die without your lips on my lips! Your hands on my skin! Your loins on my--*ahem*".....lets move on. They were just two teenagers who liked each other.
But alas......the ending.......Ari sort of turned into Rose Hathaway at the end there. And there was a semi cliff-hanger. Grrrr. I hate those.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Even though the cover is absolutely grotesque.
Two miscellaneous and spoilerific complaints: (view spoiler)[1. How the fuck am I supposed to know how to pronounce τέρας?! I can't even read it! How hard is it to put it into English, or just use the word "monster"? 2. I did not like the idea of Athena as a bad guy. I'm just not used to it. It was hokey. (hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
If you ever read a Jodi Picoult novel, you know the drill. Multiple perspectives, courtroom tension, controversial topic, a little twist, insightful lIf you ever read a Jodi Picoult novel, you know the drill. Multiple perspectives, courtroom tension, controversial topic, a little twist, insightful little quotes here and there. Lately, though, I haven't really liked her novels, the more of them I read, the less I like them. However, this one wasn't too bad. It wasn't my favorite by any means, but it wasn't her worse either. It divulged into corniness sometimes, but there were some humorous moments that, in retrospect, I really wish I had written them down.
My main complaint of this book is Picoult's one-sidedness about the topic at hand. Usually she is very good at maintaining a sympathetic POV on either side of the case, but in this book it is clear she favored one side. On one hand, we have the religious zealots who will do anything to prevent gay marriage, and on the other hand, we have a lesbian couple just trying to get a baby. Just from that description, you can probably tell what side I favor, and it was just as obvious in Picoult's novel. Her treatment of the Christians in this novel was just so harsh. She portrayed all of them as obnoxious, oppressive fanatics, who hide their fear and hate behind the Bible. There was no one in the book that was mildly religious, just obsessively so. Even though I have been confirmed as a Catholic, I don't really practice any faith, but I still felt kind of offended bythe stance Picoult took. I know she was being sympathetic to the defense of gay marriage, a cause I am all for, but she risked being offensive towards religious people, which I did not like.
A minor complaint, but I also felt the timeline of the story was bit rushed. So all in a period of around six months, the principle character, Zoe, has a miscarriage, gets a divorce, has a new best friend, falls in love with the best friend, embraces lesbianism, gets married, decides to have baby, and gets taken to court............gah. Know what I have accomplished in six months? Poo. All that has changed is that my Senioritis is reaching its boiling point.
Overall, I liked it. Even though my review is mostly criticism, I really liked the book. Enough to give it four stars immediately after reading. In retrospect, perhaps it deserves less, but I will leave it as is. A solid Jodi Picoult. A good transitory novel for readers looking to get into Picoult, as well as a solid read for fans.
Thanks, SImon & Schuster for letting me read an advanced copy. ...more
How many people read this book because they COULDN'T FLIPPIN WAIT AND WAS JUST SOOO EXCITED? How many people read this because theyOkay, show of hands.
How many people read this book because they COULDN'T FLIPPIN WAIT AND WAS JUST SOOO EXCITED? How many people read this because they saw it in the store, and was like "There's a fourth one? Hmmmm"? How many just read this book because it was available to them free through Simon & Schuster's galley grab?
I was the latter. I read the original trilogy a couple years back and I was largely unimpressed. I thought it kind of cliched and melodramatic. I also am not a big fan of Chandler's writing style, which is very similar to L.J. Smith's in that it is very impersonal and dated. Perhaps if I was teen in the 90's I would have loved these books, but there is much deeper and richer paranormal fiction that has been published since then, and the original trilogy pales in comparison.
This new installment is much of the same. Chandler's writing has not evolved much. The gap was only one year for her characters, ten years for her readers. In the original trilogy, there were no cell phones and no GPS, but in attempt to make her work seem more modern, Chandler lays on the technological references so much that it seemed unnatural and not intrinsic to the story.
I see no reason for why this story was continued. It was over and done with no impending loose ends or cliff hangers to prompt its continuation. Perhaps it is the success of the re-publication of the first three books that prompted it.
Ivy still is kind of obnoxious, the little goody-two-shoes that she is. She was perfect, soooooo kind and soooo beautiful, that it is hard to identify with her. Too perfect in that she is boring. I am not friends with boring people in real life. I like my friends loud, obnoxious, and interesting. In real life, Ivy and I would not be friends.
And I feel bad for Will, her current boyfriend, because it is obvious to everyone that she is leading him on. For some reason, Ivy cannot get over the death of her late boyfriend, Tristan, who died over a year before (in their universe at least) in a horrific intentional accident, which is a stupendous oxymoron. Wasn't the whole point of the first three books for Ivy and Tristan to find their closure? If its was closed, why did Chandler feel the need to open it back up? Leave the scab alone, woman. We don't want to see this bloody, puss-filled mess again.
Like I said, much of the same. Ivy is confused and pining, Beth (did Chandler name her after herself) does her psychic stuff, Will kind of follows Ivy around, there are new, frivolous characters that act as filler, there is a new mysterious guy; Tristan is missing, he doesn't get his own page time, and Lacey is kind of irrelevant but pops into the novel whenever she feels the need. It was an obvious filler installment, with a (painful to some) cliffhanger, and more loose ends than a chewed-up rug.
Unnecessary. If you really liked the original Kissed by an Angel trilogy, you'll probably like this one. If you didn't particularly care for the original trilogy, or would like to leave it as is, then you are not missing much. ...more
I knew something about this book before I cracked open the pages, even though I was reading an ARC. That's the kind of buzz this book has been gettingI knew something about this book before I cracked open the pages, even though I was reading an ARC. That's the kind of buzz this book has been getting. Honestly, I would have read this book for the cover alone. God, that is some gorgeous cover art. And I was prepared to hate this book. I thought it was going to be a book with a pretty cover, titillating premise (OMGzzz polygamy!), but with no substance. Overall, Wither exceed my expectations.
Let's start out with the bad things.
The world building. I am not the first person to point out how much this sucked. Dystopia's are so successful and interesting, because they set up the possibility of maybe. In a good dystopia, we are able to see some aspects of our society magnified and twisted in a way that terrifies us and makes us question the world we live in. There really is no basis for polygamy or child brides that is present in our society. I'm not going to say that it doesn't happen, because we've all seen the Lifetime specials and newsreports. But one reason why polygamy and child brides are so interesting is because, in Western Society, they are considered obsolete and taboo. I feel like the premise was just designed to intrigue readers, and if the story, with the prose and the characters, were under different circumstances, this book would have garnered five stars from me
Don't get me started on the science of this book. It is nothing but pseudo-science, and curious and careful readers will get pissed off at the impossibility of it all. Supposedly, this book takes seventy years in the future (or sixty, or something like that). Scientists have issued a "cure" for cancer to all individuals (Which is highly unlikely. Some people refuse the flu vaccine, what basis do they have to receive a barely test cure?), but with disastrous results. The first generation grew up fine and hardy, but their children, and their grandchildren, are dying off after adolescents, girls at twenty, boys at 25 from some mysterious infection. There is absolutely no basis in science for a disease that kills off people so suddenly, or so without a cause. Even for the most fatal of hereditary diseases, the victims are usually given decades of wiggle room. It just doesn't make sense, especially that women die younger than men. Statistically-speaking, men die from more diseases than women do, and generally have a lower life expectancy. Clearly everything is a plot device, which does not make for good world building.
Also supposedly, the whole word except for the smallest bit of North America has been killed off in some cataclysmic war, in the process melting all the ice caps and sinking all the continents. Yet, North America appears to be functioning just fine, albeit with better technology than nowadays........I really hope people understand how IMPOSSIBLE this is. Common sense demands it. For the sake of DeStefano's intelligence, I really hope this turns out to be a rouse. Kind of like how Linden is shielded from the world outside of his estate, I hope Rhine has been shielded from the rest of the world entirely.
And one more random nitpicky comment......why would the snatchers (is that what they are called? I forget...) wear uniforms? Wouldn't it make more sense for them to wear street clothing? That is like a serial killer walking around with a bloody knife and a t-shirt that says "I KILL YOUR CHILDREN".
Now unto the good things. Obviously, from my rating, the good things win out. If the good things weren't as good, I would have absolutely detested this book.
The prose......oh, it was lovely. Beautiful, and delicate, it grabbed me from the first page. I was expecting some serviceable, generic words-on-a-page, but instead there was just pleasantness. DeStefano has a way of making the most desperate situations hopeful, and Rhine's emotions bled off the page. I strongly recommend listening to wistful instrumental music while reading this book. It's reaaaaaally nice.
I cared for all the characters, even the ones I was initially supposed to hate. DeStefano made me feel for the characters before I even realized what she was doing. The oblivious, charming Linden, the overeager, selfish Cecily, and the exotic, melancholy Jenna......the only character I really didn't care about was Gabriel, the love interest for Rhine. He wasn't really established enough yet, something I am looking forward to in future books. He wasn't a bad character, and Rhine and he were at least friends initially, and not the "I shall die without you"-type couples that so often populate today's YA novels.
I expected to feel nothing for this book, but instead I felt my heart breaking and my lips smiling.
Yes, the book has copious faults, but please try to look past them. For me, the writing and character building triumph over the sucktastic world building. Wither is a prime example of a fine young talent trying too hard to make her book marketable.
Alas, I am eagerly waiting for the next book. ...more
Janie's first few weeks of high school haven't exactly lived up to her dreams. All of her friends have different classes, and she has been marked as aJanie's first few weeks of high school haven't exactly lived up to her dreams. All of her friends have different classes, and she has been marked as an outcast ever since she came to school with goat poo on her shoes. Janie wants to be "normal", which is hard when your parents are hippy-esque farmers. On her journey to get to the magical land of boyfriends, football games, and parties, Janie gets a little....lost. She learns to play the bass, is arrested for trespassing, steals a giant wooden cross, and befriends a rather large boy named Monster (thats his real name). Pretty soon Janie is so past normal, she may actually be where she is meant to be.
Do not assume too much from this book. It's clean, quirky, and perfect for younger teens. It was delightful, easy, and light.
But it was nothing more than that. It was not hysterical. It was not ridiculous. It was not so truthful that it ached. It was like a water-downed Stargirl, or an unfunny Dairy Queen.
It was fine. Nothing was blatantly wrong or flawed with it, but if you compare it to other books in the same vein, it just doesn't hold up.
However, I do think middle school girls would like it. Perhaps it will give them insight on what to expect in the next few years. It's not really scandalous enough to be enjoyable for high school kids, I think, who want some more dirty drama.
Thank you, S&S Galleygrab for providing me with a copy. ...more
Up until a few months ago, Cassel Sharpe has spent his whole life feeling ordinary and inferior in a family full of powerful workers. Now he knows theUp until a few months ago, Cassel Sharpe has spent his whole life feeling ordinary and inferior in a family full of powerful workers. Now he knows the truth: he is the most powerful of them all. He is able to transform anything- including people- into anything else with a single touch of his hand. Cassel is still struggling to extract the truth from a life-time of lies when the Feds come to Cassel with the news that his eldest brother, a notorious hitman, has been murdered, and they need Cassel to help find the killer. Cassel isn't so sure he wants to help the police, however, because doing so would put him in a direct collision course with the area's most dangerous crime lord, who also happens to be the father of the girl he is in love with. Soon Cassel will discover the web of lies is thicker than he ever could have imagined, and he will have to use his Curse and his skills to determine the truth in a world where no one can be trusted.
This second installment in the Curse Workers series is just as good as-perhaps better-than the first. The twists just kept coming! Every chapter did that shoulder-tap thing, where they would tap me on one shoulder, and have me look like an idiot when I would glare at empty air. "Haha, gotcha!"
And the plot is intelligent too. Its not just a romance with some conflict thrown around it. Cassel is actually smarter and more informed than his reader, which as how it should be. There is nothing worst than waiting for a narrator to figure something out that you figured out 5 chapters ago.
The characters were complex, and multi-layered. I didn't exactly feel for them, but they sure were interesting. I really am starting to warm up to Cassel, though. Holly Black has succeeded in making a believable male narrator, which is often difficult for female authors to do.
I also love how original and refreshing this book is. There is no other fantasy book out there like it, I'm sure. I love how the magic has consequences, and isn't just limitless power. You wanna erase someone's memories? Say goodbye to a few of your own. You wanna kill someone? No more thumb for you. You wanna transform things? You spend a minute or two in shape-shifting hell.
I like that.
However, I still feel like something is missing. I cannot think of anything wrong with the book exactly, but, yet, it remains off my favorite shelf. Who know? Maybe the third one will break that wall.
I can't wait until the next one!!
Oh, and I love the Jace cameo, Holly. Really subtle. *winks*...more
I always knew you had it in you, Caletti. I've read a few books of yours, and while they were good, certainly more substantial than most YA literatureI always knew you had it in you, Caletti. I've read a few books of yours, and while they were good, certainly more substantial than most YA literature, there has always been something missing. I think, whatever that is, you've found it.
Clara is at the age when she is supposed to spending time with her friends in the last summer before college and her future starts. Instead, her and her father have packed their bags and are leaving town to spend the summer in small coastal town where no one knows who they are. A place where no one can find them.
Clara is escaping from her ex-boyfriend, Christian, an intense, needy boy who just isn't able to let her ago. After nearly two years of jealous accusations, futile discussions, criticisms, and endless and insistent reassurances, Clara has decided she has had enough, although Christian is determined to do anything to make her stay.
I loved this book because it featured an abusive relationship in a realistic light. These relationships are not romantic. They are unhealthy and tragic and just wrong. What I loved about Clara is that she understood that. Once she saw Christian for what he was - a psychologically disturbed young man, she was scared, and rightfully so. And she wasn't weak for falling for him in the first place. Perhaps as a reader, we were able to look into her life, as she did in retrospect, and pick out all the clues and warning signs, but I don't think anyone should blame her or assign guilt. I just like how the relationship and its aftermath was portrayed. Realistically, yet somehow sympathetically. I've never been in anything close to such a destructive romance, but I was still able to relate to Clara perfectly. I understand that it was not her fault, it was something that happened to her, and she was brave to handle it as she did. Quite a refreshing outlook in comparison to other YA novels that portray abusive (because either emotionally or physically, it is abusive) relationships as romantic, can't-live-without-you, I-know-what's-best-for-you, let-me-watch-you-while-you-sleep love.
I also love the relationship between Clara and her father. I wish I had such an awesome relationship with my father. They were open with each other, had good witty banter, were friends but it was still clear it was a father/daughter relationship. Kind of like the relationship between Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. Clara's father was an influential and active part of Clara's life, and was his own character with his own complexities. Unlike most YA novels, he is not just a plot device.
One thing I've loved about every Caletti novel I've read is the writing. I just think she is spectacular. Although some of her syntax may be clumsy, her prose is overall lyrical and very, very truthful. Every chapter is like a goldmine, with little nuggets of awesome found everywhere. She has a way of taking the most ordinary, every day things and relating it to the meaning of the universe or something. People have a way of not noticing ordinary things, just because we become so accustomed to them. Caletti has a habit of pointing out the overlooked things, and casting them in a new, sometimes bittersweet, light.
I also loved the footnotes. They were so cute. And often very, very funny. Clara is quirky, charming, and real.
The only aspect of the novel that didn't exactly hit home with me was the rather optimistic relationship between Clara and Finn. It was cute and all, but perhaps a bit too fast and unrealistic. I think perhaps it sends the wrong message that in order to get over one relationship, one must enter a new one. I didn't think it was necessary to the story, and the book would have been just as powerful if they had stayed friends.
This book is surprisingly tense. It had me turning the pages long after I should have stopped. I was just racing for the relief of all that tension. The novel felt like all along it was building towards something that would culminate in one big dramatic explosion. That didn't happen. I would even venture to say the ending was a tad bit melodramatic. But I don't think that is a bad thing. If anything, it only adds to how true this book is. Real life is not a movie or a story. Life doesn't end after the final scene of the film or the final chapter of a novel. It's an ongoing reel, full of ups and downs. It doesn't have one big moment. It's all one big moment.
Overall, a powerful, truthful novel. Caletti has climbed her way to a well-deserved spot amongst my favorite authors. God, I hope this book is a commercial success. It needs to be.
Thank you, Simon & Schuster Galleygrab for providing me with an ARC copy :) It has been greatly appreciated.
Honestly, I did not completely finish Boyfriends with Girlfriends. I read the first 80 pages, then decided I did not want to spend any more time on itHonestly, I did not completely finish Boyfriends with Girlfriends. I read the first 80 pages, then decided I did not want to spend any more time on it. I skimmed, and it doesn't appear I would have benefitted much from finishing it.
I've never read a book by Alex Sanchez, even though I have heard of Rainbow Boys and all the hype that surrounds it. When I got a free copy of this from Simon & Schuster's Galleygrab, I thought I would test the waters before borrowing his other books from the library.
Boyfriends with Girlfriends is about four teenagers, two sets of best friends coming to terms with their sexuality. Lance is a virginal out-of-the closet gay, who is looking for his first real boyfriend; Allie, Lance's best friend, who is restless with her relationship with her boyfriend, and is maybeperhaps interested in girls; Sergio, a bisexual guy struggling to get over his ex-girlfriend; and Kimiko, Sergio's cross-dressing best friend who is developing a serious crush on Allie.
This novel, although I admire it for embracing topics most YA don't even touch, is spectacularly heavy-handed. From the first page the reader is bombarded with gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual in a way that was incredibly awkward. Not because I am awkward around the topic of homosexuality, but just because it was treated in a way that I felt wasn't genuine. Have any of you ever seen The Secret Life of the American Teenager and cringe over the complete illegitimacy? That's kind of what is was like for me. In this novel these teenagers do nothing except discuss their sexuality. Nothing. The book was 99% dialogue which consisted of mostly: "Do you think I'm bisexual?" "Do you believe in bisexuality?" "Does so-and-so like me?" "Should I go out with so-and-so?" "Should I break up with so-and-so?" It was annoying and boring. I would have enjoyed it more if there was more to the story than that.
But this might just be me. I am a heterosexual girl and I've never been anything but heterosexual. Perhaps gay or questioning teenagers really do spend hours discussing their sexuality on end. I don't think so, but I honestly can't attest to it. It just seems kind of hypocritical to me. Many of the problems that my gay or bisexual friends face are not routed in homophobia, but being judged and defined by which gender they are attracted to. These kids in the book are so eager to define themselves, at least in the beginning anyway. Why? Isn't it more important to just like who you like? Keep in mind that I did not finish this book entirely, so maybe that message was in there.
Another thing that really bothered me was the writing style. I already mentioned before that the book was nearly all dialogue, with very little time being devoted to setting or exposition. Also, the point of view was positively rogue. It would leap from place to place, from character to character, sometimes in a single paragraph. It sometimes got a little confusing.
But overall, it was very quick read. I'm sure there will be people who shall love this book's frankness, and there will be those who absolutely relate to a character. This book was not for me, but that doesn't mean I shall discourage anyone from reading it. I recommend trying it. Perhaps it will give insight or perspective.
Oh, and the last scene of the book was a same-sex couple kissing under a rainbow kite. ROFL. I honestly don't know whether that was meant to be cheeky or not.
Are you surprised by the three-star rating? Are you that amazed that I actually enjoyed a summer romance book? Well, I kind of surprised myself.
I amAre you surprised by the three-star rating? Are you that amazed that I actually enjoyed a summer romance book? Well, I kind of surprised myself.
I am not a sappy-sap type. Saccharine romances annoy me to no end. And trust me, this book had some gag-me-with-a-spoon moments. And it was certainly frilly. Nothing too deep or controversial. No excessive cussing, no sex, just kissing and hurt feelings. It should have been quite boring actually, added on to the fact that there were no surprises in this book. It was simple and predictable.
So what made me enjoy this book? The atmosphere, mostly. Dalton did an excellent job in creating the feel of a small beach town. The town was close-knit, with everyone knowing everyone else's business. Anna had an expected feeling of claustrophobia in her desire to leave her town and build a new life for herself in a bustling city like New York. Yet, she never was bitter about it. She understood that despite small annoyances and gripes, her town was her family. She loved her life, and she made the reader love it too. Anna appreciated the quirkiness of her town and knew it was special. I loved the setting, from the sticky counters of the icecream shop to the feeling of cool sand on a summer night. Dalton truly invoked the experience of summer.
Also, I did not mind the characters. While they were not particularly memorable, they acted like teenagers. When realistic fiction books portray teenagers, they usually go for the edgier stuff like drinking and sex. Dalton portrays the opposing side, the side that is still awkward and childlike in so many ways. Not all teenagers are jaded and miserable, and Dalton's characters are refreshingly sweet. Anna and Will are cute, to say the least. Their first date was so painfully realistic from every misplaced phrase and awkward silence. Most dates in generally are not suave and sexy, they take a whole lotta work and a whole lotta fretting (at least from my experience). Anna was in puppy love, and understandably so. Will was an attractive, nice guy. The perfect first boyfriend. And their relationship was a healthy one, and even though it seemed doomed, I thought the ending captured the feeling of summer perfectly. Kind of like icecream, it's delicious, but can't last forever. That what makes it so special and bittersweet.
Overall, a cute summer-y read that has me wishing I was out on a beach somewhere. God, I miss summer. ...more