Summer has always been in the shadow of the sister she never met. Shannon was perfect, beautiful, and ambitious, but she died unexpectedly the first d...moreSummer has always been in the shadow of the sister she never met. Shannon was perfect, beautiful, and ambitious, but she died unexpectedly the first day of her senior year. Summer was born not long afterwards, as a sort of a replacement for dead sibling, but she never fully lives up to her sister, not even bothering to try. Shannon never seemed like a real person to Summer, she was just a face in a frame, a name on a plaque, a forbidden topic for her parents, and a burden over her shoulders. That is, until Summer's aunt gives her the journal her sister kept the summer before she died. Summer finally has a chance to get to know her sister, but is it a chance Summer is going to take? It becomes clear from the first page that Shannon isn't the person she thought she was, and Summer isn't sure she's ready for her sister to become a real being.
Then I Met My Sister is a good story about impressions. We all judge people based on a glance or an assumption. Sometimes its easy to think of people in a superficial way, rather to than to acknowledge their secrets and thoughts and feelings. Summer is content resenting her overbearing mother and her meek father, and doesn't really want to see them any other way, which Shannon's journal is forcing her to do. Summer thinks she is beyond judging people, when she hides behind it herself.
This is a pretty average YA novel, although it does have more substance than most. The topics, although not edgy, are not completely light-hearted either. The book makes you think, makes you acknowledge that your parents aren't just parents, and siblings just aren't siblings, they are people. They make mistakes and they can surprise you. (less)
Damn, I haven't written a review in forever. Seriously, I am like 13 books behind or something. So, I am going backwards, reviewing the freshest ones...moreDamn, I haven't written a review in forever. Seriously, I am like 13 books behind or something. So, I am going backwards, reviewing the freshest ones first. Here goes.
This is my second Simone Elkeles book. I read Perfect Chemistry, and enjoyed it, but for some reason it took me two years to pick up another Elkeles.
I'm not sure if How to Ruin a Summer Vacation was the right one for me. Young Adult books are supposedly marketed for teenagers, but I'm not so sure about that one. Just looking at my friends here on Goodreads, most of them are women who love YA just for the escape it provides from life. Even as an honest-to-goodness teenager, I know very few of my peers actually read YA for fun. I am truly an anomaly. Maybe not here on a book site for nerds, but in real life, definitely. Anyway, what was my point?.....oh, yes. To me, Amy was annoying and stereotypical as a shallow, overdramatic American teen girl. Mehbe to "older" readers of YA (I'm not calling you guys old...just more matured), Amy provides a sense of humorous nostalgia. "Ah yes, I remember those days when I would freak out on people for absolutely no reason and cause people to cry for my own twisted sense of self-satisfaction!" But, gah, Amy was annoying She was almost a caricature, her emotions and reactions were so exaggerated. My God, my mother has my permission to beat me down with a hose if I ever acted that way. Don't get me wrong, I am pretty over-dramatic, but I don't assume I am getting drafted into the Israeli Army just because my father is taking me there on vacation. And she was so bitchy and moody and selfish and self-absorbed and lots of other whiney bad things!
Anyway, besides my intense dislike of Amy, I will grudgingly admit, there were some funny parts, and I was grinning through a lot of it. The romance was pretty heated towards the end, even though I cannot see the reason why anyone would want to kiss Amy apart from finally getting her to shut up.
It wasn't a bad book. I learned a little bit about Israeli culture (my public education failed me in that regard). The star reduction was entirely because of Amy. If you can stand her, there is a good chance you will love this book. (less)
I have been a Caletti fan for a long time. She's an exceptional writer, and her books always have keen observations and a quirky, relatable cast of ch...moreI have been a Caletti fan for a long time. She's an exceptional writer, and her books always have keen observations and a quirky, relatable cast of characters. The Six Rules of Maybe was no exception. It was so adorably Caletti, but the problem was, it was nothing more than that. All I enjoyed about this book were the characters and writing.
The plot, unfortunately, was dull and meandering. The initial set-up is like an indulgent Lifetime movie, full of drama and potential family blow-outs. But Caletti actually treated the situation realistically, making the story true to life, but it felt robbed of its deliciousness. If the background cast of characters hadn't been so absorbing, there would be no meat to this novel. Caletti's strength lays in the development and personalities of her characters, making her books seem more like character-studies.
But I certainly did enjoy this novel. Scarlet, Hayden and Zeus (yes, I'm mentioning the dog) were adorable and flawed, and even the characters you weren't supposed to love, like Juliet, had redeemable qualities. This book is about personal costs and family. Is another person's happiness worth more than your own? Are nice people always doomed to be trod on by those more selfish?
So, in all honesty, 3.5 stars. I enjoyed the Caletti-ness of it, but it wasn't her best one. Strong on character, weak on plot.(less)
Andi Alpers, a troubled Brooklyn teen, is always one step away from the edge. The only thing keeping her going over is her love of music, but even tha...moreAndi Alpers, a troubled Brooklyn teen, is always one step away from the edge. The only thing keeping her going over is her love of music, but even that doesn't seem enough at times. Two years ago her younger brother, the glue keeping her family together, died. Now her mother, a talented French painter, is suffering from a psychotic break down, and her father, a workaholic scientist, refuses to acknowledge his old family while he lives a new life. Andi is content with flunking out of her prestigious liberal high school, but her father, in a rare burst of parental concern, forces her to come with him to Paris so she can focus on working on a project that might save her grade. Her father is called to Paris because a colleague of his, a famous historian, needs his help in identifying a shriveled up heart encased in crystal that might just belong to the young Louis XVII, the son of King Louis XVI, who was guillotined in the French Revolution. While shifting through some artifacts, Andi discovers the long-hidden journal of Alexandrine, an aspiring actress and companion to young Louis, who is struggling to save herself and her charge. Whilst reading this diary, the fates of the two young women are woven together, and Andi will come to discover that internal revolutions are just as affecting as external ones.
I loved this book. It was lovely. The writing was beautiful, lyrical, and intricate. Andi was intriguing and relatable. Sometimes her constant negative attitude, especially towards the beginning, could become bothersome, but she was extremely interesting. Her sarcastic comments were often funny, and she had a lot going on underneath the surface. Her feelings, as well as her love for music, seemed to transcend the page. I loved Alexandrine too. Although she was in the book less than Andi, her role in it was just as vital. One thing I loved about this story was how everything connected. I could mentally see the puzzle pieces coming together, and it was a thrill to watch everything unfold. Also, I learned a buttload about the French Revolution, but it never seemed like I was reading a text book. I can tell Ms. Donnelly did her research, and it was very in-depth and well-done.
The only thing I did not like were the hints of the supernatural. To explain myself without giving away to much of the plot, I will say that this book is a lot like the movie Happy Feet. I do not mean to allude that there were dancing penguins in the streets of Paris. But, you know how towards the end of the movie, the plot does a complete 360, and the film is no longer about cute tap-dancing birds, but rather some heavy-handed environmental message? This book is kind of like that. Towards the end, it took a really sharp turn, and I'm not sure whether what happened was real or not. I mean, I guess it worked, but it shook me out of the story for a little bit. That's what kept me from giving this novel 5 stars.
Anyway, I recommend this book. I recommend it to fans of A Northern Light. I recommend it to fans of historical-fiction. I recommend it to those interested in a more personal look at the French Revolution. I recommend it to music lovers. And I recommend it for anyone looking for a satisfying, thought-provoking read.
An awesome read that will stay with me. I have a feeling it will help me when my history class studies the French Revolution next month. (less)
I think that the marketing of this book is extremely misleading. It looks like a young adult book, with the intense, older-looking model on the front...moreI think that the marketing of this book is extremely misleading. It looks like a young adult book, with the intense, older-looking model on the front cover, and the synopsis does not mention that Irene is only 13. Once you open up the book, however, it is clear that Irene is young. I would not have read this book if I knew Irene's intended age, because realistic middle-grade fiction does not interest me. This book is just another example of that.
Everything I Was is about loneliness and figuring out that your parents are real people after all. When you are a kid, your parents are infallible. They are always right and do what is right. Then come the moments when your realize that they make mistakes and have faults, just like everyone else.
Irene's father has just lost his job, and they are forced to live with her grandfather as they are no longer able to afford their Manhattan penthouse. Irene's mother can't seem to grasp that they aren't rich anymore, and continues to spend and spend, making excuses up as she goes. Irene sees what her mother is doing is hurting the family, causing tension between her mother and her father, and she hates her mother for it. Irene leaves her grandfather's country home as often as she can, making friends with a family with kids her age. She finds this family remarkable, the way they laugh together, play together, how they can own so little but have so much. With a crush on the oldest boy and friends with the older girl, Irene is sure this is where she wants to stay. But when Irene's mother tries to get them to move back into a stuffy Manhattan apartment, Irene must not only face her mother's faults, but challenge them head on.
This book would have made a good YA book if all the kids had their ages bumped up and if the content was a bit edgier. I mean, if you are going to market it as a YA book, why not?
Two stars, because it was not anything special, but it wasn't terrible either. (less)
Even though I have A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF HOMEWORK to get done, I knew I wasn't going to be able to focus on anything until I finished this book.
This bo...moreEven though I have A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF HOMEWORK to get done, I knew I wasn't going to be able to focus on anything until I finished this book.
This book is about Amy Curry, who's life has recently went very much downhill. Her father died in a car accident, her mother packed up everything to go to Connecticut, and her twin brother is in rehab. Amy, who was left behind in California to finish her junior year, isn't too happy about having to go cross country in the family car, driven by a boy she's never met. The aforementioned boy is Roger, a college kid who is still hung up on his ex. Although Amy's mother has the trip very carefully laid out, Roger and Amy can't help but make some very unexpected stops along the way. It turns out this trip might be exactly what they both need.
I was really surprised about how much I love this book. It seemed to be so unassuming but soon enough I was sucked in like this *makes whooshing noises*. I just couldn't put it down. I don't know what it was that made this book so absorbing. Was it the excellent writing? The spot-on characters? The quirky humor? The slow-building romance? Amy's travel journal and all the bits and scraps they pick up on the way? I would have to say all of it. I really can't think of anything I didn't like about it, which is rare because I'm usually such a whiner.
There is something appealing about spending a week or so with a stranger, going to places neither of you have ever been. This is now something I want to experience. I need to now find myself a cute college boy, and somehow convince him to go on a cross-country road trip. Shouldn't be too hard (TWSS).
Anyway, this book was cute, but not in a sappy gooey way, but a indie film kind of way. I really need to expand on my adjectives. I am rambling a bit, so I would suggest you abort reading this review now, if you haven't already. This is also one of those books where I want more (transcontinental road trip, anyone?), but I'm glad there is no sequel. A sequel would ruin it. And if I see one, I shall be very upset. But perhaps something similar from Ms. Matson would be nice.
Oh, and Ms. Matson, has very good taste in music, if I may say so, assuming Roger is anything to go by. Okay, I really should stop typing now, as I am afraid I shall embarrass myself if I don't cease shortly. I talk fancy-ish sometimes.
Amy is going to Connecticut! That's where I live! She is right, though. It really is quite pretty, although we don't have much to do. And we don't have any cool food chains. McDonald's and Dunkin Donuts is pretty much it. We have casinos though, and lots of cows, and our state insect is the praying mantis. Did you know they are the only insect who can turn their head? I learned that from a Snapple cap. And we have Benedict Arnold. He's a traitor, though, so we don't like to claim him much.
Before this I've only read another book by Deb Caletti (The Nature of Jade), and it was just okay. Thankfully, I liked this one much much better.
This...moreBefore this I've only read another book by Deb Caletti (The Nature of Jade), and it was just okay. Thankfully, I liked this one much much better.
This book was about Cassie Morgan, who has divorced parents, and a step-father who is a famous violinst. To the outside world, Dino may seem like a genius musician and composer from a small town in Italy, but Cassie knows the truth. Dino is a terrifying, selfish, insane bully, who just gets crazier and more paranoid every day. Cassie can't imagine why her mom fell for him, and doesn't want anything to do with love....that is, until she meets Ian Waters, Dino's new protege.
I really liked this book. I found Cassie to be a wonderful narrator. She was both funny and insightful. There were many parts where I was nodding in agreement or stifling laughter. Denifite quotable material. Initally though, I didn't quite like the style. It seemed a little too informal for my taste, but I quickly got over it.
I found the characters lively and three-dimensional. Except for Ian. I did not like him. He was hardly in the book, which made the romance seem improbable. I liked this book, but I wouldn't consider it a romance. In fact, it would have been fine without any romantic aspects at all. Just the family dynamic seemed enough.
I was also surprised with how everything turned out. It's not a suspenseful edge-of-your-seat book, but is certainly absorbing.
I will definitely be checking out more of Deb Caletti's books in the future. (less)
The narrator of this novel, Ashley, is a self-proclaimed "normal" high school senior who has no desire to go to her prom. However, she gets roped into...moreThe narrator of this novel, Ashley, is a self-proclaimed "normal" high school senior who has no desire to go to her prom. However, she gets roped into making the prom happen when her best friend and prom enthusiast, Nat, needs her help when a teacher steals the funding. Ashley is an average kid with average problems, but her wit and insight, along with an eccentric cast, really make this book shine. Don't be fooled by the girly title and cover, this is a book you don't want to miss. I've read it twice now, and its just entertaining. (less)
First thing first: I love Sarah Dessen. She is a remarkable YA author, and writes with a distinct style and her books have substance. More than I can...moreFirst thing first: I love Sarah Dessen. She is a remarkable YA author, and writes with a distinct style and her books have substance. More than I can say for some other YA writer's out there. (I do NOT have a specific vampire novelist in mind...)
Anyway, Sarah Dessen is dependable. Her work is always something I can come back to after a literary dry spell. That being said, this book in particular wasn't my favorite. I had a feeling it wasn't going to be, which is why I was in no rush to read it. I waited for it to come to me...and then it was time.
It's about Auden, a girl having the summer of her life before going off to college in the fall. Auden is a studious girl, her parents always have valued academics over fun, so much that Auden never got the childhood she deserved. While she is staying with her father's new wife and baby for the summer in a quiet beach town, she meets Eli-- a fellow insomniac and a former BMX-er (yes, that's a word) with some issued. Together, they just might be what the other one needs.
The characters, with the exception of Eli, were awesome. It has always amazed me how Sarah can give each character such a specific personality. They are complex, flawed, likable, and fun. And they all have their issues. But then there was Eli....him and me just never hit it off, okay? Auden was a little predictable, but hey, aren't they all? (Props for using a quote from the book)
The writing was good. There were many moments of what I call "quotable material". Although sometimes, Auden's thoughts would jump from the past to the present, and the transistion wasn't always smooth. One moment she will be working, the next spent with Eli, then it will go back to her working. My easily-confused brain took a while to figure that out.
But *sigh* the plot....Sarah, can't we spice it up a little? This is coming from a long-devoted fan. Sure, this book is awesome to a girl who hasn't read the same thing five times before, but that's not me. I'm sure if you read more than one Sarah Dessen book, you know the formula. Girl with personal issues does something out of character, leading to new experiences, new quirky friends, and of course, a sweet sensitive guy with issues of his own. She grows and develops as a person for while until something bad happens that sends her back into her little hole. Then she reaches some epiphany and everything is all happy again.
One thing I loved was all the little Easter eggs hidden through-out. We get returning characters from Keeping the Moon and The Truth about Forever, which are my two favorites. I love cameo appearances. They make my soul happy.
Anyway, did I like it? Yes, I did become absorbed. Was it my favorite? No. Oh and I have a rating clarification. I would give it 3.5 stars if it was possible. It feels like more than a three, but giving it a four seemed too misleading. (less)