Perfect Chemistry has everything that I love about contemporary novels: Well-developed characters, an exciting p...moreOriginally posted at Redhead Heroines!
Perfect Chemistry has everything that I love about contemporary novels: Well-developed characters, an exciting plot, tension between the two protagonists, and a dual first-person narrative that is done very well.
In Perfect Chemistry, we meet our first main character: Brittney. Brittney represents for many readers that polished, pretty, popular girl in high school that was at once hated and adored. She is beautiful, affluent, and is girlfriend to the captain of the football team. However, when she is paired with dangerously-sexy Alex Fuentes in Chemistry class, her perfect reputation is definitely on the line.
Perfect Chemistry had very high-stakes for a contemporary novel. Alex is in a gang, forced into the situation when he was young, and often engages in less-than-savory activities, like collecting debts for gang leaders. This makes Brittney's interactions with Alex much more tense, because he is obviously dangerous.
It was very clear from Elkeles' writing that she did a lot of research into common slang terms used by Mexican Americans and gang members. During Alex's portion of the narrative, I felt the authenticity of his interactions with his friends and fellow gang members through the prose.
The clash of cultures in Perfect Chemistry was extremely interesting. Elkeles effectively deconstructs Brittney's affluent family, complete with her disabled sister Shelley and critical mother, as well as Alex's poor family, with his two younger brothers, single mother, and the dynamics of gang-life.
However, while the novel was compulsively readable, the romance palpable, and the characters endearing, I found the perfect ending to be contrived and more than a little cheesy. That, however, is my one major complaint about the novel! The rest of the book was amazing; The plot was fast moving and exciting... I ended up reading most of the novel in one sitting. Elkeles made it easy to get to know her characters, and to eventually love them! Even when they were being infuriating, stupid, and annoying!(less)
Jane has all the mystery, romance, and suspense of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. It is lyrical and intense. At times desperately sad, and at times blissfully wonderful.
What if Mr. Rochester was a rock star? A world-famous, honest to goodness rock star?
I absolutely loved this book. I have always loved the story of Jane Eyre, because of the decidedly different relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester, the way that Jane grows, develops, and always stands up for her beliefs.
Lindner's adaptation of Jane Eyre is absolutely exquisite. I found her story to be a great mimic of the original, but with enough originality of its own to become a new Young Adult Classic. I seriously recommend this book to anyone that is a fan of contemporary novels, romance, and stories where the smart yet plain heroine gets the rock star. :)(less)
You need to read this book. Even if you've already read it, read it again. If you first read a copy from the lib...moreOriginally posted at Redhead Heroines!
You need to read this book. Even if you've already read it, read it again. If you first read a copy from the library, like I did, spend $10 to order it from Amazon, like I did.
I felt an immediate, intense connection to Andi. We are thrown into her hard life as she struggles to succeed in school, compensate for her mother's mental illness, and battle the demons of her brother's death two years ago. Andi takes an anti-anxiety, anti-depression medication called Qwell, which she manipulates depending on her mood. If you know anyone that suffers from depression, or personally suffer from it yourself, Andi's life will certainly ring true.
Music and history reign supreme in Revolution. In the novel, you are only in Andi's head until one-third of the way into the book. That's where we meet Alexandrine, AKA Alex, living in Revolutionary France, acting as companion to the doomed Prince Louis-Charles. Alex's story was extremely riveting and her voice true. I found Alex's journal entries as compelling as Andi's voice in modern-day Paris and New York. Donnelly weaves these two narratives together with seriously impressive skill.
The music aspect comes into the novel right off the bat. Andi plays guitar, sings and writes her own songs. I loved reading about the way that music helped Andi along in the most difficult times of her life. Also, it was interesting to read about the subject of her school project, which is why she was forced to Paris with her father in the first place, Amade Malherbeau.
Just when you think you understand the type of book you've gotten yourself into, Donnelly completely throws a curve-ball and merges Andi and Alex's worlds into one in an amazing, unforgettable way.
I know that this review is all over the place, but that's only because Revolution has so much to offer: Music, history, loss, grief, triumph, mystery and yes, romance. Don't even get me started on the romance in this book. It's definitely one of my favorite love stories in all the young adult fiction that I have ever read. Truly.
Please read this book. You will never, ever forget it!(less)
For starters, the concept was both a pro and a con to this novel. I loved the idea of girls bonding together over their broken hearts, playing funny pranks on those hated stereotypes: the cheating boyfriend and the popular school slut. However, the very nature of this concept guaranteed that the protagonist and her accomplices would need to "learn their lesson," making a majority of the end portion of the novel very preachy.
Another divided aspect of The Karma Club was the main character, Maddy. I found her to be at times funny and heartwarming, and at times shallow and fake. I guess if you think about it, this is probably a good representation of how most teenage girls are at certain points in their life.... huh. Maybe Maddy was a better character than I thought!
However, the things that annoyed me about Maddy were her inability to understand that manipulating people isn't exactly karma-licious, her obsession in the beginning of the novel with being popular, and the way she almost screwed things up with an awesome guy because of the antics of The Karma Club.
However, I will admit that we definitely saw character growth, and Maddy's friendships with Jade and Angie were also tested.
There were many moments in the novel that were cute, funny, and very entertaining! It made for a fast, fun read that, while not the best Contemporary I've read recently, was definitely worth the time.(less)
While not as thrilling and squeal-inducing as Stephanie Perkins' first novel Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and...moreOriginally Posted at Redhead Heroines!
While not as thrilling and squeal-inducing as Stephanie Perkins' first novel Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door was a seriously fun, thoughtful, and well-written contemporary from one of the best new authors in the genre!
Because Lola is a companion novel to Anna, readers that have already read Anna will have a great deal of context about side characters Anna and St. Clair. Those that haven't read Anna should read it right now. Seriously, NOW! will not be lost, however, because the stars of the show are Lola and Cricket Bell.
Cricket. Bell. People--really. This character is incredibly sweet and nerdy and smart and funny and sentimental and thoughtful! But don't get me wrong, he certainly has his flaws... he's too perfect, he's taken, he's fictional... which makes him even more loveable.
In Lola and the Boy Next Door, the story is told through Lola's eyes, who is starting to get even more serious with her hot boyfriend Max when Cricket Bell comes back into town. While Lola is definitely unique and memorable, she was not quite as likable as Anna, to me. I think this has a lot to do with the role that Lola played, as she was already in a relationship when the book started.
Lola's relationship with Max was a great example of the danger that hot, man-whore-ish guys pose in real relationships. He's intimidating and condescending, because Lola is several years younger than he is. In his defense, this is no good reason for Lola to constantly LIE to him about how old she is... but it is understandable when you consider Lola's character.
As the story progresses, it's clear that Perkins has a great handle on storytelling and the progression of themes throughout the book, allowing the characters to grow, the romance to percolate, and the giggles to flow unceasingly! However, Lola is such a flawed character in the beginning of the novel that I wasn't able to say that I LOVED this book.
I had trouble with this one. While I enjoyed the writing, I felt that the structure of the novel lent to a very slow moving and stilted plot, where Ol...moreI had trouble with this one. While I enjoyed the writing, I felt that the structure of the novel lent to a very slow moving and stilted plot, where Oliver was left filling in every single detail of Sam's life. By the last third of the book, I was basically begging for it to end!
The best part of this book was watching Sam's character evolve as she grappled with the convoluted nature of life, death, friendship, fate, and love.(less)
While I was instantly drawn in to Carly's world as a part-time chef and surfing-addict, I wish that I would have been warned about how intense this book is. As you can probably infer from the summary, Carly was viciously and brutally raped two years before the events of this book take place.
This is learned pretty early on in the novel, as well as the fact that Carly has not told a single soul that this happened to her. The effect of her rape is obvious in her daily life, with her obsession with surfing, her aversion to men, and her shame of not only her own worth, but of her smoking habit.
This was an incredibly tough book to read. Throughout this experience, I kept wanting to shake Carly awake, tell her to get help, tell her that it wasn't her fault. It seems obvious from the outside looking in, which is why Carly notes early on that rape is the perfect crime. It makes the victims hate themselves and blame themselves, when these emotions should be reserved for the aggressor only.
Although much of this book was very tough to get through, I was still compelled to read on by Carly's silly Dutch roommate Hannah ("Go vaginas!"), love-interest Ryan, unexpected friend and synesthesia-ridden Danny, and of course, Carly herself. This book is a very well-written account of rape and it's aftermath, but is also a thoughtful contemporary novel about love and friendship.
This book begs to be read by all those who enjoy a non-formulaic YA novel now and then. However, I also wish to place a disclaimer for those like me that hate to be surprised by certain elements in YA lit. For instance, there are multiple sex scenes in Raw Blue that are pretty graphic for YA. There is also a detailed account of Carly's rape.
First off, the whole teacher/student thing is not that big a deal in A Season of Eden. Eden, the protagonist, is 18, and the teacher, James Christian, is 22. Their close ages make the story much more believable, that a romance could actually form between these two people.
I can definitely see where Laurens is coming from with writing a story like this. As a teenager, I had plenty of teachers, coaches, friend's older brothers that seemed just out of reach. But, that didn't stop me from wishing... ;)
However, I have to say that I do not think that Laurens took full advantage of this concept. I felt that the relationship between Eden and James was well-developed, with Eden's take charge character overwhelming James' shyness. Their relationship was the strong point of the novel.
Eden's character, however, was the weak point. I felt like her entire world revolved around whether or not she would actually "get" James. As a girl from a very wealthy background, little familial support, and mostly vapid relationships with friends and boyfriends, I guess this probably rings true. However, if Eden really was trying to grow and change to become more mature and win James' heart, wouldn't she try and control her drama reflex?!
Also, from the cover of this novel, with the cover model holding the "forbidden fruit," I expected there to be more similarities between this book and the Adam and Eve narrative. I once took a class that studied only Adam and Eve narratives from fiction, movies, and poetry from all genres and time periods, and I found it fascinating! However, I was definitely misled: there is almost no relation to the Adam and Eve narrative whatsoever!
However, there was an interesting discussion on personal worth, sin, and guilt in the novel, as Eden tries to deal with the fact that she is much more... experienced in many walks of life than dear James.
All in all, a refreshing contemporary that, while being a fun, fresh read, does not earn top notch marks from me. It was probably that lazy ending.... :)(less)
When I picked up Like Mandarin, I wasn't thrilled about the concept. A 14 year old girl who becomes "friends" wi...moreOriginally posted at Redhead Heroines!
When I picked up Like Mandarin, I wasn't thrilled about the concept. A 14 year old girl who becomes "friends" with the older, cooler, more mysterious girl that she is seriously obsessed with. Something about this entire plot made me cringe and avoid reading the book!
However, Like Mandarin turned out to be more about friendship, culture, travel, and beauty than anything else, and Hubbard's representation of young Grace's obsession with Mandarin is very accurate, in my opinion.
Although there is not a very exciting plot that keeps the reader turning pages just because they need to find out who the murderer is, I was still anxious to finish the tale and find out whether or not Grace and Mandarin would be able to escape Washokey.
There is something lovely about the way that Hubbard tackled the concept of travel and environment, that stereotypical urge that makes small town peoples want to leave and "see the world." In a way, Hubbard shows through Grace and Mandarin's friendship and adventures that landscape or location does not change your overall human experience. Wherever you go, there will always be people like Mandarin and Grace that want to get out, people like Grace's mother that want to stay, and towns like Washokey that celebrate things like Jackalopes, just to have something to do.
Overall, Like Mandarin is a thoughtful contemporary novel that is a light, fast read!(less)
Graffiti Moon is quite simply, the most delicious book I've read in recent memory. It is poignant and at times h...moreAlso posted at Redhead Heroines!
Graffiti Moon is quite simply, the most delicious book I've read in recent memory. It is poignant and at times heart breaking. It is lyrical and quick and hilarious and romantic. It is not just about Lucy, Ed, Poet, Shadow, Leo, Jazz, Daisy, Dylan, Bert, and Al, even though they are important.
It is about the incredible ability of art to translate from that kind of high-art that you see in museums to the kind of high-art that sprays from Shadow's brain onto a brick wall. (Little bird, what are you thinking? You come from a can.)
It is about that feeling that you get sometimes (I got a good feeling... I got a bad feeling... as many of the characters in Graffiti Moon say) that is more about the people you're with than the time of night or the excellence of the party you're at. It's more about how your feelings are echoed by those around you in a recited haiku or a bicycle helmet with lightning on it or a brick wall that traps birds in mid-air.
But if this review doesn't quite do it for you, (don't be embarrassed if it doesn't, I'm not doing a very good job at it), then you'll be happy to hear that Graffiti Moon is also incredibly entertaining. It takes place during one long crazy night after Year 12 and involves some illegal activity, a few parties, an even more cases of mistaken identity. Let the hilarity ensue!(less)
In Perfect Chemistry, Brittney and Alex sucked me in, and it was no different of Kiara and Carlos in Rules of Attraction. The story itself was completely unique, as were the characters. Although, Carlos is most certainly related to Alex, in that he tends to act like a total JACKASS throughout a large part of the book.
But an entertaining jackass that you want to hug and smack in the face at the same time.
Kiara is a refreshing love interest, even more not Carlos' type than Brittney was for Alex. She is sporty, smart, and completely uninterested in flirting with Carlos. She would rather work on fixing up her car or climb a mountain (literally) than go shopping or put on makeup.
Carlos is also completely not Kiara's type. He is irresponsible, popular, and HOT. But this doesn't stop sparks from flying when they are forced to interact with each other.
I love how both Carlos and Kiara were able to help the other with their main issue or problem. This isn't to say that the issue is solved completely, but they are each given the support and help that is immediately needed at that time. You see both characters grow as they get to know each other.
This book is an incredibly exciting, fast-paced read, filled with all kinds of tension: tons of family tension and even more sexual tension. But not between the family members. Ew.
Elkeles did a great job at blending the serious aspects of each character's issues with the romance and lighthearted banter that makes you smile, laugh, and literally squeal uncontrollably at times.
If you're in the mood for an addicting, fun, and sometimes heart-breaking contemporary novel, than Simone Elkeles is your girl!!(less)
From the blurb on the cover, you would expect this novel to be romantic and cheesy, dealing you extraordinary and unbelievable events on every page.
But this is so, so not what this book is about.
Yes, Hadley and Oliver do have a chance meeting. Yes, there are "twists of fate" and "quirks of timing" that are romantic and sweet. But no, this book is not the touchy-feely, chance-happening-with-a-beautiful-stranger book that will either sweep you off your feet or make you puke, because it is believable.
When Hadley and Oliver meet, there are no perfect one-liners or smoldering glances, because when you meet a stranger, especially a handsome stranger, it is bound to be a little awkward in real life. It is no different in The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Hadley knows that when she agrees to let Oliver help her with her bags that he is a complete stranger, yet her circumstances, as well his, make it possible for them to connect despite their disconnect.
While most of Hadley and Oliver's interactions are endearing, they are also seared with grief and heartache, both known and unknown, as well as the uncertainty that comes with getting to know a person and trying to decide when they actually qualify as a friend instead of a stranger.
The way that Smith infused this quirky love story with Hadley's past experiences with her father, her parent's failed marriage, and the anger/confusion/grief that comes along with these types of situations was poignant and emotional. I felt very connected to Hadley during these moments. The story was definitely richer with the addition of a complicated, messy divorce, as well as Oliver's own story. Without these serious elements, the story would have felt like just another teen romance; without substance and not worth your time.
After reading this story straight through, I pre-ordered the hardback version, which I plan on marking up with my favorite lines and quotes.
If you love contemporary stories, or books about travel, or stories that are as heartbreaking as they are heartfelt, or books that aren't cookie-cutter, or novels that are written by a clearly talented author, then please. Please. Buy this book. (less)
I had a veritable love/hate relationship with this book.
There were awesomely funny, sexy, and surprising moments that made me flip through the pages... only to be stopped in my tracks by a contrived situation or cheesy dialogue.
I think that one of the major successes of this book is that it showcases the life of a serious female athlete. I grew up playing high school and club volleyball my entire life, later playing at a Division I school. I liked how Kenneally portrayed Jordan as focused and driven. She took her sport seriously, almost too seriously, and she made a conscious effort to train, take care of her body, and be a good captain to her teammates.
However, because I am often forced to listen to college football games while reading or making jewelry on Saturdays, I literally cringed every time that Jordan mentioned playing football for Alabama. The complete impossibility of this had me frustrated from the start of the novel, because while I am willing to suspend my slight disbelief that a girl can become the best quarterback in the entire state of Tennessee, there is simply no way to even hope that a girl can earn a full-ride football scholarship to play for the Crimson Tide.
Seriously. There's no way.
Because this novel is part of the contemporary genre, one would expect the situations in the book to be realistic... a story that people can imagine actually playing out in their own lives today or tomorrow. I think this is the reason why I ended up feeling disappointed with this book. Because the situation itself was a bit ridiculous, that of Jordan actually thinking she could start at quarterback for a top-ranked football team, the dialogue between her and her teammates felt stilted and cheesy.
However, despite this major problem I had with the book, I was pleasantly surprised by the romance story! Kenneally did a great job at keeping the relationships realistic, complicated, and surprising. Although there is a near case of insta-love between Jordan and Ty, the way that their relationship progresses is not typical of YA lit these days. And I have to say, I am very happy with how the story ended.
That being said, I think that Catching Jordan would have been much more successful had Kenneally opted to make the sports angle of the story more believable. This would have better served the story by not turning around the general stereotype of football as a man's sport into a situation that is just as equally ridiculous and frustrating.
All in all, an entertaining, albeit somewhat cheesy, contemporary read that will appeal to athletes and sports lovers!(less)
I started reading The Disreputable History one night and did not go to bed until after 2:00 AM, after I'd turned...moreOriginally Posted at Redhead Heroines!
I started reading The Disreputable History one night and did not go to bed until after 2:00 AM, after I'd turned the final pages.
This book immediately drew me in. The narrative is 3rd person, but you never feel distanced from Frankie's thoughts or feelings. In all actuality, the writing actually helps to further develop Frankie's world and everyone in it.
I loved that not only is The Disreputable History about prep school, pranks, secret societies, late night parties, and other thoroughly entertaining events that make for a fast read, but Frankie also struggles to see how she fits in as a girlfriend, sister, young woman, friend, and student.
How does she reconcile all of these traditional notions with her thoroughly real and physical self?
This is something that Frankie continually struggles with and puzzles out, to the delight and entertainment of all those reading her story.
Here is an awesome example of Frankie's wit and her love for the underused words in the English language:
"I have a serious and justified love for Kermit that I will parage to the end." "Parage?" "Parage. The neglected positive of disparage." "You mean defend. You will defend Kermit to the end." "Parage." "Praise?" "Parage. I will parage him. And Animal, too. I love Animal..." Trish changed the subject. "We should do facials and paint our toenails Friday before they pick us up. What do you say, blow through dinner and come back here for girlie stuff?" Frankie said, "You're on. When we're finished, we'll be absolutely sheveled." "You'll be sheveled," said Trish. "I'm a normal person."
Without a doubt, you will love reading about Frankie and her shenanigans! And if you're anything like me, after you finish this book, you will want to pick up anything else that E. Lockhart has written and devour it whole!(less)
While there is certainly a lot to like about Amplified, the book fails to offer something new, interesting, or v...moreOriginally posted at Redhead Heroines.
While there is certainly a lot to like about Amplified, the book fails to offer something new, interesting, or valuable to the genre.
Despite the personal quirks that make Jasmine a successful protagonist, her personal situation is one giant cliché. Privileged daughter of a rich but distant, critical, and disapproving father decides to throw her amazing opportunities to the wolves in order to pursue a dream that seems frivolous and impossible. While there is a slight twist in the story involving Jasmine's mother, the overused plot device is not appreciated.
Jasmine's naive character and extreme self-consciousness are outweighed only by her determination to not give in to her father's expectations, essentially equating her with a petulant three year old who refuses to eat her vegetables just because someone told her to.
This affects the rest of the novel greatly, as it is difficult to feel compassion for a protagonist who is stubborn simply for the sake of being stubborn. In other words, rather than feeling she is justified for her actions, the reader is forced to view Jasmine's actions as reactions to what is expected of her by others around her.
The plot of Amplified revolves on Jasmine's ability to assimilate into the life she thought she wanted. There is a great pace to this story, with plenty of tension created between Jasmine and the other characters. On the surface, Amplified is a very successful YA contemporary novel: it is entertaining, contains a clear-cut message, and provides memorable characters.
However, where Amplified fails is in its ability to merge all of these elements together in a way that is not plagued by cliché and predictability. Because the premise for the entire novel is a cliché, the book seems to be doomed from the start.
Despite these rather large pitfalls, the book is carefully written, which prevents it from receiving a far lower rating than it does here.
A note on the setting of the novel: Amplified portrays Santa Cruz in a very balanced, but almost caricatured version of itself.
I grew up just a half hour from Santa Cruz and spent a large portion of my time there. I have ridden the unnamed rollercoaster at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk that frightens Jasmine to death in the beginning of the novel, the Giant Dipper, and let me tell you: that rollercoaster is just not scary. Even for a ten year old.
Yes, there are a lot of weirdos in Santa Cruz. A lot of eccentric, tattooed musician-types, surfer hippie dudes, and everything in between. But not everyone there is like that, which is what Amplified seems to portray in descriptions of the locals.
For those looking for a very entertaining and quick surface-read, Amplified is a great choice. But for readers who need less cliché and more meaning, their time will be better spent with another book.(less)
A Little Wanting Song is an amazing young adult contemporary novel that manages to make seemingly unremarkable c...moreOriginally posted at Redhead Heroines!
A Little Wanting Song is an amazing young adult contemporary novel that manages to make seemingly unremarkable characters three dimensional. Cath Crowley creates characters that we both love and hate, makes them bend a little and break a little... with a whole lot of fun, mischief, and love along the way!
Throughout this book, both Charlie and Rose come to realize that people and places that they have known their whole lives are... different. Not what they thought. Unknown. And as their friendship grows and breaks and grows, as romance begins and ends, each girl realizes that not only did they not understand each other, but they did not understand themselves.
Like Graffiti Moon, this novel is largely a coming-of-age, character driven work. However, also like Graffiti Moon, it is fast-paced, entertaining, and very very un-boring!(less)
Written with unique rhythm and lyricism, I Am The Messenger is one of my favorite young adult books ever.
It's that good.
To give those that haven't read this book a better idea of just what the heck it's about, we'll start with the bank robbery.
Because even if the gunman is useless (and we all know it), this scene is incredibly funny and surprising, and it changes Ed's life forever.
Ed and his friends are caught in a bank while some idiot tries to rob the place. For some mysterious reason, Ed has the nerve to run after the gunman, pick up the gun he so clumsily dropped during his escape, and stops the bad guy before he can get away with the cash.
After that, Ed becomes a short-term celebrity, being recognized on the street by strangers as "that guy who stopped the bank robbery." Then, the first ace arrives in his mailbox. No name on the envelope, no postage, just a battered playing card, the ace of diamonds, with three addresses and times scrawled in pen on the face. After it becomes clear to Ed that the sender of the card is serious about him doing something with the ace, he begins to investigate.
What results from this situation is heartbreak, compassion, bravery, beauty and empathy. The journey that Ed takes is incredible, and we learn that even when we believe that we could never be better, that we could never just come out and tell the truth, that we could never leave our comfort zone, we have the potential to do great things every single day.
From the opening scene at the bank, just one of many hilarious situations, you are pulled into Ed Kennedy's world. I love the way that each of Ed's best friends, Marv, Ritchie, and Audrey, are given their own dimension. We see them through Ed's eyes. We observe them, we watch them struggle and grow, we watch Ed's perceptions of them change.
One of the most resonating messages in I Am The Messenger is that every person has some great need within them that they try to hide or avoid or work around like a giant pothole in your driveway. These needs are often most visible to those that know you best, like friends and family members, but most of the time, they are ignored. Never acknowledged or talked about, because they are difficult.
Although much of this novel is serious and compelling, the narrative is lightened by humor and the camaraderie between Ed and his friends. Ed as a main character is fantastic... he is richly drawn, a supremely regular person that becomes epic and unforgettable.
I Am The Messenger is a truly unique and memorable young adult novel that will leave its mark on every reader that follows the journey of Ed Kennedy. Please, please read this book!!(less)
I was on the fence with this review, barely able to decide between a C+ or a B- grade, because while Amy and Rog...moreOriginally posted at Redhead Heroines!
I was on the fence with this review, barely able to decide between a C+ or a B- grade, because while Amy and Roger's Epic Detour was definitely entertaining, the characters were mostly shallow and forgettable, and I couldn't get past some of the over-done YA clichés in this book.
It seems like so many Contemporary YA books these days start out with a premise that just does not seem very relateable to teens these days. What kind of parent would allow their teenage daughter to drive across the United States with an hot, older college guy? On their own? Staying in hotel rooms?
Also, what kind of teenage girl would be opposed to this situation? I would love to read a book where the main character has the same motivations as an actual person, rather than acting against all common instincts of today's teenagers. Yes, this makes for an interesting situation, but no, it is not a teenage girl's natural reaction to sulk about being forced into a few days of road trip with a seriously hot older guy.
Despite this natural aversion that I faced with this book, I was definitely drawn into the story. I liked the way that Amy and Roger were forced into a situation that made them get to know each other and develop a friendship fairly quickly. I liked the awkwardness and sexual tension between them. I liked most of the characters that they met along the way. I liked the inclusion of playlists for each chapter section, even if the lists of unknown artists was almost purposefully pretentious.
Because the characters in this road-trip circumstance did not know each other previously, the author was tasked with developing their relationship as the plot moved along. I felt that this was done fairly well and the book was a very fast and fun read. However, when all is said and done, the relationship between Amy and Roger, as well as their individual characters, were mostly forgettable.
By the end of the novel, I felt that I had literally traveled with these characters across the United States. It was not a good feeling. I felt cramped and frustrated with the characters for not coming to terms with their individual problems sooner. I felt like the culmination of the relationship between Roger and Amy was disappointing.
Overall, an entertaining, but skip-able, YA Contemporary!(less)
You are probably wondering whether or not you should read Feeling Sorry for Celia. I know this about you because you're reading this revi...moreDear Reader:
You are probably wondering whether or not you should read Feeling Sorry for Celia. I know this about you because you're reading this review of the book, which is supposed to tell you whether or not you should read it. If you think about it, this makes book reviewers pretty arrogant people.
Like I should know you well enough to know if this book is any good for you. Who am I? A complete stranger. Yes, a slightly clever stranger who reads lots of books, but still a stranger.
In my opinion, you shouldn't care so much about the opinions of strangers. I know that you care about the opinions of strangers because you're reading the opinion of a stranger right this second.
See? You're still here. You care.
But in this case, maybe you should care about what people say about this book. Maybe they'll tell you that this is the best book they've ever read. If they do tell you that, you should buy a copy of the book as soon as possible. Or request it at your local library. If you're bored while waiting for the library to get the book for you, you can think about things that are purple. What are some really purple things?
Or maybe they'll say that this book is not worth the time, because they thought it was about the circus when they picked it up. I understand why someone might think that because there is a girl on a tightrope on the cover of the book. But it turns out the book is really just about some people named Elizabeth, Celia, Christina (NOT TINA), the mysterious J_____, and Saxton.
Which is actually kind of boring compared to the circus.
Then there will be some opinions that gently say that the book is readable and slightly entertaining and those are really no help at all, because why else would the book be published if it wasn't at least slightly entertaining, hmm?
I think that with any of these options, you're pretty much screwed, because you can never know what you'll think of the book until you actually read it. But you're not reading the book, are you? You're still reading the strangely written review of the book from a complete stranger, which I've already told you, is pretty much useless.
So go read the book already.
The Society of Why Book Reviews Are Silly, But Sometimes Helpful, But Sometimes Completely Off-Base, and Why Don't You Just Read The Book Yourself Already?!... Oh Yeah, Because You're Still Reading This Review(less)
From the description of this book and the notoriety of the author, one expects The Absolutely True Diar...moreOriginally posted at the Redhead Heroines blog!
From the description of this book and the notoriety of the author, one expects The Absolutely True Diary to be heavy--weighed down by societal issues, controversial topics, and generally dense material.
But it's not. Diary is intensely readable. Once you fall into Junior's head, it seems almost effortless to read this book.
But Alexie is so deceiving. He talks about zits and pretty white girls and basketball woes one minute, then throws in a racial slur or two, an unexpected and tragic death, and general heartbreak another minute. But still, the narrative does not slow. Still Junior keeps his composure. Still the book is readable and enjoyable at that.
The characters in Diary seemed doomed to live their lives according to their circumstances: those born poor and Indian will die poor and Indian. Those born rich and white will die rich and white. Those born ignorant will die ignorant.
And just when it seems like one of them managed to escape, (Junior attending Reardan rather than the Rez school, his sister Mary following her true love to Montana), they fall right back into their innate conditions again.
The complications that arise when these characters try to break free from their social circumstances show that Diary is not simply an issue novel, because no issues are solved. The closest that the novel comes to a resolution is with Junior and Rowdy's relationship, but even this is not cut-and-dry.
At some points, the honesty of Diary is exhausting. It's difficult to know what to do when 13 year old Junior says with a straight face:
"It sucks to be poor, and it sucks to feel that you somehow deserve to be poor," (13).
"I don't know if hope is white. But I do know that hope for me is like some kind of mythical creature," (51).
"'Just remember this,' my father said. 'Those white people aren't better than you.' But he was so wrong. And he knew he was wrong. He was the Indian father of a loser Indian son living in a world built for winners," (55).
"There are all kinds of addicts, I guess. We all have pain. And we all look for ways to make that pain go away," (107)
"I was half Indian in one place and half white in the other. It was like being Indian was my job, but it was only a part-time job. And it didn't pay very well," (118).
With such constant honesty, it's difficult to take a consistent message from Diary, to know what to glean from the text.
However, perhaps Diary's greatest success is the authenticity of Junior. The reader can never second-guess Junior's narrative, because he doesn't leave anything out. He is a true protagonist and through him, Alexie delivers a true portrait of a modern Native American existence that is as heartbreaking as it is readable.(less)