This book has been buzzing all over the Internet – bloggers everywhere have been singing its praises. Though I would say it’s not my typical kind of rThis book has been buzzing all over the Internet – bloggers everywhere have been singing its praises. Though I would say it’s not my typical kind of read, I knew that I should pick it up so I could understand what everyone was talking about. (I think this is probably a book that should be added to my list of books that took me out of my comfort zone).
I was captivated from the very beginning with Karou’s world – she is an artist with a fascinating best friend and she’s trying to ditch her cheating ex-boyfriend. I realized immediately that I’d have to pay careful attention to all the names so I could keep track of who everyone was. Karou keeps a sketchbook on hand at all times that she fills with drawings of monsters. Though she’s jokingly told her friends that they’re real, no one believes her. When I was introduced to everyone in the book – both through the drawings she’d done and when she really does visit them – I had to flip back and forth between a few sections so I could imagine exactly what these characters looked like.
They were combinations of humans and animals and in order to find them, they had to give Karou special access to their portal. She grew up without any parents and spends much of her time questioning who she is; the monsters are the only family she’s ever known. I loved the beauty of a girl who was adopted by people (I feel weird continually referring to them as monsters) so different than her. Though this was a completely fictional story, I think it made a beautiful point of how family is who we surround ourselves with and it isn’t necessarily defined by blood.
The heart of the story is about the forbidden love between Akiva, one of the guys who is burning his handprint on the portals around the world, and Karou. There is something deep and gravitational between the two. They’re supposed to hate one another and become enemies; however, their past runs much deeper than Karou knows. When he is reintroduced to her life, she begins to peel away the mystery of her past to find out who she is. My heart pounded with such intensity while I read the parts where these two were together – their love was so fascinating. It made me excited for them, but yet my stomach was in knots because I didn’t know how their story would progress.
Karou and Akiva tell parts of the story – it alternates from each of their perspectives and from past to present day. Because I was given so much information, I wasn’t sure who I was supposed to believe. I rooted for both of them and hoped that their love would prevail. The story is extremely meaty, meaning that there is a ton of detail and description. There’s a lot to be learned, and mixed with the multiple points of view, I found I couldn’t speed read through the book. I took my time and appreciated it so much more.
Taylor’s writing is absolutely wonderful. I think this is the first book I’ve read since the Harry Potter series that I thought, “WOW. She put a lot of effort into completely developing this world.” I feel like she 100% immersed herself in it. When I first began the book, I thought it was going to be about an angel and a devil who were forbidden to fall in love. That was definitely the wrong assumption (you know what they say about people who assume) and I couldn’t have been more intrigued by how rich and new the world was. While it seems like the story is set in Prague, there are so many places to travel to and learn about.
In a nutshell – it’s a story about a forceful attraction between a guy and a girl, a world with so much war going on, and a girl discovering who she is for the first time.
Doesn’t that sound like a recipe for amazing? I definitely vote yes.
I should preface this review with the fact that I didn’t realize this book was the sequel to She’s So Dead to Us until after I had finished the book!I should preface this review with the fact that I didn’t realize this book was the sequel to She’s So Dead to Us until after I had finished the book! Despite that, I never felt lost or confused about what was happening. Scott did an awesome job of informing the reader about everything that should have been learned from the first book.
Ally’s life is just insane. She can’t wait for Jake to finally ask her out, but Shannen – one of her ex-best friends – pulls a stunt that humiliates her in front of all the attendees at Shannen’s birthday party. Ally’s dreams of a relationship with Jake are dashed because he knew the truth that was shared with everyone for months and never mentioned it to Ally. To top it all off, her dad (who has been MIA for 2+ years) suddenly returns to town and is acting like he never abandoned her and her mom. Her summer is full of drama, lies, frustration, boys, and tons of unanswered questions.
The situation that made me feel most uncomfortable in the entire book was Ally’s relationship with her mom. She’s falling in love with another guy and all Ally wants is for her parents to talk and work out their marital problems. I couldn’t help but feel so mad at her mom. She was so caught up in her own life that she didn’t notice how much Ally was struggling with things. Sure, Ally was being a brat and doing a lot of uncharacteristic things to get attention, but her mom was completely absorbed with Gray (who I deep down did not trust).
Ally decided to go away with her mom and Gray for the summer to his beach house. She wants to be away from Jake – can’t forget how he abandoned her. Hammond is one of Ally’s old friends who is still semi-in-love-with-her and is spending the summer at the beach, too. There’s also the local beach boy, Cooper, who is new and different. There’s no lack of options for Ally, and each guy had his charms. The story alternates back and forth between Ally and Jake’s perspectives. I could see how much Jake was still in love with Ally and how sorry he was for what happened at Shannen’s birthday party. I rooted for him despite the anger Ally had toward him. Hammond had a deep crush on her and their past is intriguing. Cooper was fun and laid back, but I didn’t trust him either. I was on pins and needles as the story became more complicated – would Ally end up with one of these guys? If so, WHO?!
Hands down, my favorite part of the story was Annie’s observations and notes. Annie is Ally’s best friend who watches all of the rich kids and details her findings in a journal. She hopes to chronicle all of the stories someday into a bestseller. Gosh, that girl was funny! She was dorky and quirky. Being a photographer, I sometimes refer to myself as a professional people watcher. Maybe I related so well to Annie because I, too, am a bit silly and weird – and definitely a people watcher.
This was a really fun, awesome read. I thoroughly enjoyed all the drama and the crazy. I read it so quickly because I just needed to know who Ally would end up with.
If you’re looking for a book that will:
a) remind you of warm beaches and summertime b) provide an interesting and nail-biting love story, or c) make you laugh out loud at random moments
I didn’t know much about Stay with Me when I picked it up from the library. I’ll be honest and say tha[Review originally posted on Rather Be Reading!]
I didn’t know much about Stay with Me when I picked it up from the library. I’ll be honest and say that it was a brand new book and I got really excited to be the first person to read the crisp, new pages. I was immediately caught up in the story becauseStay With Me was told from Mack and Cece’s perspective. I thought the prologue was the climax of the story, therefore I’d know exactly which day everything changed in Mack and Cece’s relationship.
Boy was I wrong.
When the climax of the story hit, Cece and Mack were at the height of their relationship. Each of them was struggling to understand what the other person saw in them. Mack didn’t understand how such a beautiful girl could overlook that he dropped out of school and had spent some time in jail. Cece is brilliant, but maybe carries a few more pounds than she should, and can’t see how a guy as good-looking as Mack would want her. Everyone (but Mack) sees the good in Mack and believes that he will make something of himself.
Until the day that it all goes downhill and Mack does something that rips him away from Cece.
Cece is left waiting on Mack to show up, but he has no way to let her know what happened. Mack begins to think that Cece will be better off if she just continues to live her life and forget he ever existed. I can’t tell you what happens. I just can’t. But I will say that Stay With Me evoked a strong moral struggle inside of me. I was rooting so much for Mack and Cece, but knowing what happened – if it happened in real life – there would be no perfect ending for them.
Stay with Me is a beautiful story about two people who live very different lives than me. It’s a story about redemption and how sometimes we make choices and do things that can utterly change the course of our lives. I loved the side story of the pit bulls. I’m a huge dog lover and Mack has this way with dogs – taking strays or those left to die after fights, nursing them back to life, and training them to be well-behaved animals. The story of the dogs parallels Mack’s life so well – he’s been abandoned by his mother, left beat down by his dad, and he doesn’t believe he can do anything good in his life. He does make a wrong decision and does something so incredibly life-altering, but like the dogs – there’s hope that he can be redeemed....more
Earlier this year, I picked up Small Town Sinners – a great book about a girl struggling to come to terms with her faith, straddling the line betweenEarlier this year, I picked up Small Town Sinners – a great book about a girl struggling to come to terms with her faith, straddling the line between what’s right and wrong, and being a part in her church’s annual production of the Hell House. Addison Blakely seemed like it would be along the same lines – a girl who would have to figure out what she believed, though in a much more indirect way. Addison’s character was witty, smart, and clever. She wasn’t stereotyped as a goody-two-shoes girl, though her classmates were cautious around her because she was a PK (Preacher’s Kid). She had a good sense for what was right and wrong. When she meets Wes, she starts reeling over how badly she wants to be with him and her guard is let down.
Wes rides a motorcycle, wears leather, and has multiple encounters with scantily clad girls. Addison knows she’s not his typical “type,” but she’s drawn to him because she feels there’s something much deeper and he’s putting up a front. I laughed so much at the sarcastic banter exchanged between Wes and Addison. When they began dating, I connected so much with Addison because I remembered exactly how it felt to be struggling with where to drawn the line in my high school relationships. While not every girl may connect with Addison’s struggle to understand Christianity, I do think most girls will connect with the emotional aspect of her relationship with Wes. There were ups and downs, misunderstandings, differences in beliefs, and so many buried issues they both needed to work out with their parents.
Betsey St. Amant did a great job getting her point across in this story without coming across as preachy. She made me remember the days when I was on a long bus ride to New Mexico for a week-long church camp all because I liked a boy. I remembered how hard it was (and sometimes it still continues to be) to define what was right and wrong for myself, even if that meant believing in something different than everyone around me.
- it’s fast paced and there’s never a dull moment - there’s lots of drama and a few details about why Cooper and ElizaThings I loved about this book:
- it’s fast paced and there’s never a dull moment - there’s lots of drama and a few details about why Cooper and Eliza broke up that I had to piece together - it made me think about my fears and what I’d have to act on if something like this happened to me
A few things I’d be nervous to do that Eliza is faced with – singing karaoke in front of a coffee shop full of people, telling one of her closest friends a secret that she’s kept for years, and walking up to a random boy in a club to ask him to dance. All of the things Eliza was forced to do really spoke to her character. She was someone who wasn’t popular and didn’t have a ton of self-confidence. I rooted for her because she was so much more that what she gave herself credit for. I saw how empowered Eliza would feel if she could make herself get past her nerves and conquer her fears.
BUT, don’t for one second think that I was okay with Eliza being blackmailed by all the 318s just because she’d realize how easy it was to do each task. I mean, how jerky could those guys get? I’ve read several books about mean girls who are terrible to other girls, but I’d never read a book about guys who were so cruel and demanding to a girl. Cooper, the ex-boyfriend, was someone I wanted to trust so badly, but I questioned his involvement with the 318s. There were times I wanted to scream at the pages he still LOVES you, Eliza! Give him a chance! and others where I felt like saying No! Don’t do it! Don’t trust him again!
You should definitely pick up this book if you’re looking for a quick and entertaining read. It was fun for me to put myself in Eliza’s shoes. A few of my fears I wouldn’t want to come face to face with…
- giving a speech in front of a packed room full of people - confronting some of the mean girls I had to deal with in high school
If you kept a notebook of fears, what would you write in it?
Things that intrigued me about this book: it was declared to be a self-discovery tale about a girl who has a lot of growing up to do. It was about a gThings that intrigued me about this book: it was declared to be a self-discovery tale about a girl who has a lot of growing up to do. It was about a girl who has a lot of jacked up family problems. Hey, who doesn't? I did. I wanted to relate to her. I knew there would be a sweet little love story hidden within.
Love story. Self-discovery. Messed-up family.
Count me in.
I read a review about this book before I began that compared it to Saving Francesca. While I do think that if you've read either Fixing Delilah or Saving Francesca, you should read the other... I think Fixing Delilah takes the cake for me. I was quite surprised by this fact because Melina Marchetta is a brilliant author. I thought that nothing would really trump how crazy her family situations are and how sweetly she intertwines a romance.
I was wrong.
Sarah Ockler did a brilliant job with this story. She kept me guessing. What in the world could happen that two sisters would completely cut off all ties with their mother? Will any of these relationships be restored? Will Delilah's mother PLEASE get off the freaking phone? Can I *please* have a bit more Patrick in my life? I had story lines and solutions all figured out in my head, but sure enough, she surprised me and I didn't guess all the details. Some story lines seem like they're done over and over again, and since I felt like I'd just read Saving Francesca - a similar book in theme, I hoped I'd take away something new from this book. I feel like Ockler achieved that. I love the way she writes - how she gave great descriptive names to certain things (like her mother). She had a few fun life lessons thrown in there, and really hit a home run when it came to my emotions. Sometimes I just wanted to cry my way through the pages because things were so out of whack.
As soon as I finish this review, I'm heading over to Ockler's page to find out what else she's written and how I can get my hands on it!...more
When I saw that Looking for Alaska was a Printz award winner and is holding steady at a 4.24 rating on Goodreads, I knew I had to add this book to myWhen I saw that Looking for Alaska was a Printz award winner and is holding steady at a 4.24 rating on Goodreads, I knew I had to add this book to my stack from the library. The story begins with a glimpse into Miles’ life in Florida – lonely and dreadful – where his parents are throwing him a going away party. Two people who stay no longer than an hour show up; everyone else invited skips the party. I connected immediately to this story as Miles is heading to Alabama in search of his own Great Perhaps. He’s hoping to make friends, to have stories to tell later in life, and he’d like to have a girlfriend.
The story begins at ‘one hundred thirty-six days before’. There is no indicator as to what the before will be. Before what? When Miles arrives at the boarding school, he meets his roommate, The Colonel, and the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen, Alaska. Miles has a huge crush on Alaska, and I sort of hoped that the moment defining before and after would be something amazing between these two characters. Green kept me guessing right up until the second everything happened. I have to be honest and say that what happened isn’t what I was expecting; though I loved the book and how everything tied up, this moment changed the dynamic of the book entirely.
I’m at a loss for words because I don’t know how to describe how beautifully this story was written without giving away every secret. Things I can share are how much I loved The Colonel and Miles’ relationship. They were two completely different guys coming from two very different worlds. They meshed together so well, and I couldn’t have been happier when I found out I was going to like the roommate. Miles’ wittiness came out at the new school and his deadpan attitude was perfect.
This review seems so vague, but if anything I encourage you to read this book.
I definitely cannot wait to read more by John Green, and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on Will Grayson, Will Grayson.
Clarity is Kim Harrington’s debut novel. Kim breaks into the awesome Young Adult world with a funny, sarcastic, heart-broken main character, Clarity,Clarity is Kim Harrington’s debut novel. Kim breaks into the awesome Young Adult world with a funny, sarcastic, heart-broken main character, Clarity, who comes from a family of psychics. Just by touching a something, Clare can see visions from the past. When a scandalous murder happens in her touristy hometown, she is recruited to help solve the murder. She works alongside her ex-boyfriend, Justin, that cheated on her, and a new-to-town hottie, Gabriel, that has a major problem with psychics.
Harrington has a really good grasp on what a sixteen-year-old would act like, feel, and think. I was humored by Clare’s running dialogue in her head about how she was so confused by Gabriel, how much she didn’t trust Justin, and how difficult it was for her to choose the right clothes. Clare had a huge secret to hide because her brother, Perry, was involved with the girl who was murdered. She wanted to make sure he didn’t get in trouble for a crime he didn’t commit so she frantically tries to find ways to use her psychic ability for clues.
Once I really got into the storyline of them finding the killer, I could.not.put.this.book.down. I tried to figure the plot out by all the clues we were given in the book, but Harrington did a great job of not making things too obvious. In the end, I was still really surprised by what happened. I love when I can’t figure out every detail!
I’m super excited for the companion novel coming out next March, Perception. It’s already on my to-read list.
I picked up The Piper's Son simply because I am in love with Melina Marchetta's writing. I've never loved a lot of description, back-stories, or tangeI picked up The Piper's Son simply because I am in love with Melina Marchetta's writing. I've never loved a lot of description, back-stories, or tangents in a book until I read Jellicoe Road by Marchetta. Since then, I've picked up two of her other books and devoured them. I am not a fan of books written mostly from a male perspective either, but I didn't care. I knew there would be something about this book that would change my mind.
The Piper's Son is a multipe-point-of-view book. This crazy, messed-up-family story is told mostly from Tom's perspective. Georgie is his aunt and I'd say about one out of every five or so chapters were written from her point of view. While I loved Georgie and her overall character, these were the chapters I looked least forward to. It made the story a bit more complicated to follow. I wasn't exactly sure why she was tied into the story as much as she was until the end. I realized her story supported the theme of new beginnings and the power of redemption - something every member of this family needed.
Tom's character was frustrating and difficult to like in the beginning. I didn't remember a lot about him from Saving Francesca, but I was kind of glad Marchetta chose him to write this novel. He was gritty, raw, and completely unlikeable in the beginning chapters. I loved seeing Francesca and the other girls make appearances throughout the novel; it made me feel as if a larger story was being continued, as opposed to two different novels altogether.
Marchetta proved once again how brilliant she is at taking messed up, fractured families and putting them back together again. I had never read a story with so many complexities, so much hurt. There were so many interwoven historical ties that made the story a bit complicated to understand until I learned all of the characters. (She does a superb job of incorporating so many characters, but with each novel of hers I've read, I have to accept that there will be a ton of people and I'll eventually figure out who they all are). Because of this family's history, a few names were repeated and used again - that added one element of frustration that I felt was a bit unnecessary.
One of my very favorite pieces of the entire book were the emails Tom, Tara, and Georgie wrote. This is where I felt everyone's wittiness and honesty came out full force.
Cannot wait to see what Marchetta's next book will be....more
Oh, let me count the ways I love Kody Keplinger. Can I first take a moment to give her major props for being eighteen years old and in her senior yearOh, let me count the ways I love Kody Keplinger. Can I first take a moment to give her major props for being eighteen years old and in her senior year of high school when she wrote this book? Wow to how un-accomplished I felt when I read that on the back flap of the book.
Just by the title of the book I felt certain that I’d be able to connect with the story. Designated Ugly Fat Friend = DUFF. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that in a circle of friends, this term implies that one girl isn’t quite up to par so that everyone else looks prettier by comparison. Did you ever have those moments in high school (and, hello, let’s just be real for a minute – even today) where you felt uglier than your friends? Less than? Substandard?
I did. I got my curves at an early age and begrudgingly welcomed womanhood into my life a lot earlier than I would have liked, all while the rest of my friends remained sticks. Bianca’s two best friends, Casey and Jessica, were characters I admired. Though Bianca did feel like the “ugliest” friend, I didn’t ever feel like she was treated in any way that suggested she was being used by them. I applaud Keplinger for keeping it real and for really bringing out our girly insecurities. In the end, she makes a beautiful point about how we’re all insecure. We all have our baggage and issues.
Bianca chooses deal with her drama in a very physical way. Whereas I go shopping when I’m feeling down and blue, Bianca starts a fling with Wesley – the very boy who calls her out as the DUFF. Their relationship is unhealthy and wrong on so many levels; they’re both using each other and not dealing with any of the issues in real life. Despite their very sexual relationship and Wesley’s womanizer attitude, I admired the boy. He stood up for Bianca at all the right times, he said some of the funniest things that made me belly laugh and want to read through the pages as fast as I could to discover what happened when everything imploded in their lives.
This was my first Keplinger novel, but I’ll definitely be picking up another soon. In fact, Shut Out was released September 5, 2011. Oh, happy day!
I think this sets the tone for the entire book. “There’s always that one girl. She’s desperate and she’s weird and she’s jealous, and you’re stuck witI think this sets the tone for the entire book. “There’s always that one girl. She’s desperate and she’s weird and she’s jealous, and you’re stuck with her, no matter how hard you try to get her off your back. Just throw some self-esteem issues into the mix and you have Kara” (page 51). That quote is from Regina, the main character, talking about Kara – the girl who destroys her life. Kara has always been on the outskirts of the Fearsome Five. When she sees her opportunity to bring Regina down so she can step into the spotlight, she does whatever it takes.
The truth is that Anna’s boyfriend tries to rape Regina while Anna is passed out drunk. Kara is the person Regina runs to for help, but somehow, messed-up Kara convinces Regina it would be best to stay quiet and pretend it never happened.
But over the weekend she runs to Anna and tells her Regina slept with him on purpose.
I promise I’m not throwing out any spoilers above. All of this goes down at the very beginning of the book. The book is about the cruelty of girls; it is hands down the most screwed up story I’ve ever read about the popular “it” girls. Summers created a lot of tense moments throughout the entire book that left me wanting to hurriedly flip to the next page so I wouldn’t have to suffer through the bad stuff anymore.
Anna and Kara were such despicable characters. They had me hurting from the inside out. Just when I thought things would get better, they pulled out an even more evil practical joke. I saw some pretty malicious things in junior high and high school, but never to this extreme. So much of me questioned why Regina wouldn’t have stood up for herself before things got so bad or why she was ever friends with Anna to begin with. But then I think back to those moments where I was in that exact situation, fearing for my life and frozen in time because if I said anything to my real-life-mean-girls, the next target would end up being me.
Summers is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I love, love, love her writing style. She included a lot of reprieves with only a few words on some pages; those words would speak volumes.
There was so much I could connect to in this book. I wish these types of situations didn’t exist, but the truth is, they do. To parents of teenage daughters, I recommend you read this book. It’s so easy to distance ourselves from the cruelty of high school because we want to forget how terrible it was.
Saving June has left me emotionally raw and ripped to pieces.
We are introduced to Harper after June’s funeral. June is her older sister who committedSaving June has left me emotionally raw and ripped to pieces.
We are introduced to Harper after June’s funeral. June is her older sister who committed suicide – she and Harper were night and day different. June was very willing and eager to please, make perfect grades, and was surrounded by tons of friends. Harper was disobedient, a less than ideal student, and had only one close friend. When June dies, no one knows why. She leaves behind no note. Harper rummaged through her room and found something that reminded her how badly June wanted to escape Michigan to live in California. It’s then that she realizes that she has to find a way to scatter her sister’s ashes there.
She and her best friend, Laney, devise a plan to road trip to California, but have no means of transportation. A boy June used to tutor, Jake, offers to drive them in his van. The unlikely threesome set off on an adventure to discover answers about why June might have chosen to take her own life. There’s such a mix of tender emotion and rage – Why would June do this? Is God real? How could everyone have overlooked the signs? Harrington did a beautiful job setting up the story so that we would feel exactly how Harper would have. Lost, confused, hurting, mad, depressed, dejected – but most of all, ignorant.
There’s so little we know about June and Jake. Did they date? If they didn’t know each other well, why would he offer to drive over two thousand miles to help out these two girls? Jake’s character was so mysterious and multi-layered. I really enjoyed getting to know more about him. One of my favorite character traits was his love for music – I constantly have music playing while I work, but I wouldn’t say I’m a music snob. Jake kind of was. He tossed out so many bands and songs that I felt like I should grab a notebook to scribble them all down. (Instead, Harrington did something incredibly awesome – before her acknowledgements, she included several playlists!)
Jake and Harper do not have an easy relationship; by all outer appearances, these two would seem to hate one another. Their banter is humorous and they’re brutally honest with one another. So many things go unsaid between Harper and everyone else in her life – Jake seems like a breath of fresh air, telling her exactly how he feels and laying everything on the line. Laney was such a supportive best friend, in many ways even Harper couldn’t see or understand. I loved the dynamic between them and the ways they learned to be supportive and strong together.
This story is so beautifully written. When I wasn’t reading, I was constantly thinking about it and when I’d have my next chance to sit down to read. I read all through Thanksgiving day while my family sat down to watch football. It’s just that wonderful. Kudos to Hannah Harrington for such a beautiful debut novel!
The best piece of advice I can give to a future reader would be that this isn't a book to be read and forgotten. I don't think it's possible to forgetThe best piece of advice I can give to a future reader would be that this isn't a book to be read and forgotten. I don't think it's possible to forget some of the topics, lessons, or pictures that were painted in this book. Overall, reading North of Beautiful was a learning experience - in terms of mapping - and a statement - regarding beauty, self, and love.
As Terra grows to accept her port-stained self, the conversation about the port-wine stain lessens. Simultaneously, her love for her mother blossoms. It's a huge take-away lesson that as we come to understand ourselves more, we also understand those around us better. As Terra begins to accept her beauty - and to define what beauty actually is to her and not what society/magazines/culture defines it as - she also begins to accept her Mom.
There are so many conversational points that can come from this book. One of the biggest was the huge contrast between her mother and father. Her dad struck a cord somewhere deep down inside me. I have never read about a more infuriating character. I wanted to hop through the pages to punch him on behalf of the entire family. I'm not sure that in any future novel I'll ever be able to read "chuckle, chuckle" without thinking of him. It was that impactful. I felt that much hatred toward that man. I could feel the mental anguish he put the entire family through.
I really can't write a review that does justice to Justina Chen Headley's beautiful writing. I can't tell you too much about the novel that would make sense to you without having to explain the parallels and the context. Please, just read this book. So. Beautiful....more
I tried to keep up with how I felt about this book as I was reading it...
Very simplified writing. Very short book, in general. Not much character buildI tried to keep up with how I felt about this book as I was reading it...
Very simplified writing. Very short book, in general. Not much character building. I have no sense of what the characters even look like - other than Sean and Adam looking alike. Even Lori cannot tell them apart, but this makes little sense to me because Adam is her best guy-friend, and Sean is the "love of her life".
Fast, fun read, but I enjoyed Jenny Han's summer series more - it was more complex, there was more to read, there was a greater understanding of the relationships. Overall, I'm glad I had a fun beach book to read, but I'm so disappointed in the lack of content. Everything moved and progressed so quickly. The story felt as if it was over in the blink of an eye. I didn't understand any relationships other than Sean and Adam's - two close-in-age-brothers who fought and competed over absolutely everything. Tammy was a character kind of thrown in there. Lori (the main character) was somewhat mentored by her old nanny, Frances. There were just a bunch of "kind of good" moments.
Though I'm pretty surprised this was published in 2007, I feel like Echols' current (i.e. Love Story) publications are much, much better written. Her character development has come a long way since The Boys Next Door....more
Francesca's world is turned upside down when her mother forces her to attend a school that was previously an all-boys school. She's one of 30 girls whFrancesca's world is turned upside down when her mother forces her to attend a school that was previously an all-boys school. She's one of 30 girls who will be attending school with 750 boys. In addition to losing all her friends and switching schools, her mother quits getting out of bed every morning. She is suffering from depression and no one in her family knows how to deal with it - how to make things go back to normal.
This book is very much about Francesca's search to find who she is. So much of her is being what her mom doesn't want her to be. To be exactly what her mother expects her to be (some days). She begins to make friends with the most unlikely group of girls and guys. She falls for an unavailable guy (he's in a relationship) and doesn't understand how he keeps leading her on anyway.
I found this to be a quick and easy read. I got into the story from the very beginning. I adore Melina Marchetta's writing style. I laughed at the banter. I understood Frankie's situation. I liked the stream-of-consciousness writing. Oftentimes I find myself drawn to a lot of dialogue, but there was a decent amount of background information built into this book and I found every bit of it interesting.
I highly recommend that if you've read this book and enjoyed it, go read Jellicoe Road by Marchetta. She's absolutely brilliant....more
So what would you do if the entire school was grieving a girl you’d never met but thought you wanted to[Review originally posted on Rather be Reading]
So what would you do if the entire school was grieving a girl you’d never met but thought you wanted to replace?
Imagine that you move into a new house. You are trying to settle there, but you also see how everyone else did things before you. How they lived and loved. The people that they surrounded themselves with. It’s like you’re surrounded by their shadows. Aside from you, the house is empty and abandoned – those people are long gone with absolutely no explanation for their disappearance. All the things and people they loved remain. You’re pushed to be a replacement. You’re constantly reminded of how those other people did things better, bigger, differently than you. You can’t replace them. In fact, you don’t want to.
It sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it?
For the new girl, it was. This new girl, nameless until the end of the book, was given the chance I wish I’d had. A chance to go to boarding school and to break out of the mold of her hometown. As a huge fan of Harry Potter, when she’s finally accepted her senior year, she expects lifelong friendships to be formed just like the ones of Harry, Hermoione, and Ron.
The reality is much different.
She’s constantly compared to a girl she doesn’t know and one she may never know if Becca doesn’t return. She’s not trying to replace Becca and while she doesn’t make an effort to be Miss Popularity, everyone assumes she’s trying to make them forget their lost friend.
The story is told from Becca and the new girl’s perspectives. We go back in time to get the truth about Becca’s life and we learn of the many lies she told to everyone at the school. We see present day from the new girl’s point of view. The stories blend easily and effortlessly together. With subtle hints we’re able to piece together the puzzle of Becca’s disappearance. This book was full of confusing friendships and dating relationships, incredible amounts of animosity, and raging emotions over the loss of Becca.
Speaking of insane emotions – Dana, the new girl’s roommate, was full of them. This chick was seriously messed up. She ranged from nice to deceptive to downright aggressive; she seemed extremely bi-polar. I had no love whatsoever for Dana; she treated everyone with such contempt. There were hints that she knew the truth about what happened to Becca and I just couldn’t wait for her to spill everything. Her behavior was so suspicious, and she seemed extremely protective over the two men that were in Becca’s life.
Max and Johnny were two boys that utterly complicated the entire situation. Somehow Becca was involved with BOTH of these boys. When they would pop in and out of the new girl’s life, I questioned their character and trustworthiness. I felt extremely protective over this girl who just seemed to be thrown to the wolves. She had absolutely no one she could talk to, and I just wanted to be there to help her through all the drama. I’m a girl who enjoys a good love story, but things were so mixed up that I actually preferred her staying away from the boys because I didn’t want her heart to be broken. (Or for Dana to go psycho on her.)
This story was meaty and complicated. It moved swiftly and though the story is dense, it never felt overwhelming. With the alternating points of view and flashbacks, this story could have been difficult to follow. There is a lot to take in and Harbison did a great job making sure everything flowed well. I felt so compelled to read as fast as I could so I would figure out what happened to Becca. (And, if I’m being honest, I wanted to know the new girl’s name.)
New Girl will hit bookshelves on January 31st. Don’t forget to add it to your to-read list and pick up a copy! You’ll anxiously be awaiting answers, but it’s definitely unpredictable and worth the wait....more
In my quest to read more books with male characters, I was intrigued by Baxter – a boy who wishes there were some things he could forget, even though In my quest to read more books with male characters, I was intrigued by Baxter – a boy who wishes there were some things he could forget, even though it was impossible due to his perfect photographic memory. He wishes he could forget how Dink screwed up he and his mom’s lives when he used Baxter for his memory to steal credit card information. With Dink just out of jail, he’s sure to come after them again because Baxter has something he’s sure Dink wants. One thing he’s glad he cannot forget is his kindergarten crush, Halle.
Halle moved away to the small mining town where Baxter and his mom relocate. Coincidence? Not so much. He hopes to reconnect with her without her recalling him as the boy who could recite her favorite television shows verbatim when she was five. Luckily for Baxter, Halle’s family still lives in the same town; he pretends to mess up on tests and is assigned a tutor who turns out to be none other than our leading lady. Baxter walks a fine line between allowing Halle to get to know him without revealing too much about his past. He doesn’t want to be seen as a freak.
While he’s trying to figure out his relationship with Halle and make new friends, he’s tortured by memories of Dink. Small hints that the ex-convict knows their whereabouts start to surface and Baxter doesn’t know how to handle his fear. Does he tell his Mom? Is Dink just trying to scare him? Should they move again and will he have to leave Halle behind just when he’s reconnected with her?
This book made me think so much – I am not one of the people who has memories from when I was super young. I just don’t. While Baxter did, he could never turn them off. He relived emotions and tough moments; scents evoked certain flashbacks. His mind was constantly running a loop of memories. Though I wish there were more I could remember about my past, I’ve decided I’m quite content with what I can because only the important events, people, and defining moments stay with me.
So what would you choose if you had the choice – to remember it all or to have fragmented memories? Read Baxter’s story and see if that helps you decide…
I understood Mclean's need to reinvent herself. I liked the parallels of her reinventing herself in each new place to be someone different as comparedI understood Mclean's need to reinvent herself. I liked the parallels of her reinventing herself in each new place to be someone different as compared to moving around and having no sense of home or place. I enjoyed that she chose to be "her" during their time at Lakeview, and that she fell into finding out who she was again without taking on any personas.
A few things I didn't understand were a) the pacing of the book and b) a few of the relationships. Without direct timing references in the writing, I would have felt that just a few short weeks had passed instead of months or a semester. Dessen (at least in the other books of hers I've read) very slow builds relationships. Mcleans's relationship with Dave was virtually non-existent. I think if you understand that this book is more about Mclean's self-discovery than about a blossoming relationship with a great boy, then the story is more impactful.
Not one of my favorite of Dessen's books or relationships. ...more
I love that these two authors came together to write this book; Neilly and Dec were such different, unique characters. The first few chapters were a lI love that these two authors came together to write this book; Neilly and Dec were such different, unique characters. The first few chapters were a little difficult for me to get through. I thought that I was going to have to trudge through Dec's sexual explorations and thoughts the entire time. Instead, he became my favorite character. He was hiding so much beneath his metal exterior.
This books tackles some serious topics- homosexuality, gay marriage, religion, sexuality in general. It may have been a bit much to take on in one book, but I love the friendship between the two main characters that came from it all. ...more
This was my very first Sarah Dessen book to read. I've seen her books everywhere and had to finally give into my curiosity. Was her writing as good asThis was my very first Sarah Dessen book to read. I've seen her books everywhere and had to finally give into my curiosity. Was her writing as good as the reviews inside proclaimed them to be?
I think I chose the best book of hers to begin with. Operative word: begin. I will definitely be reading more of Dessen's work. I loved Auden's character - brilliant beyond words, but so utterly disastrous socially speaking. The poor girl begged for her parent's attention and approval, and because they were brilliant, driven adults, Auden assumed she would find their respect by making the best grades, getting in to the best school, and working far beyond what was required of her. Despite her best efforts, she still doesn't get the recognition she yearns for. She moves to Colby to spend her last free summer before college with her father, new-stepmother, and newborn step-sister.
I really enjoyed the length of this novel - it allowed for perfect pacing, characterization, and for the build-up to happen gradually without seeming too abrupt. There was one point where I felt something was a little out of character and the decision was made too much on a whim, but I think Dessen did a good job by explaining the decision throughout the remainder of the book.
I can't wait to pick up another of her books. Which do you recommend next?...more
I began Populazzi hoping to read something that was light-hearted and fun. Cara is going into her junior year of high school with a big book from herI began Populazzi hoping to read something that was light-hearted and fun. Cara is going into her junior year of high school with a big book from her best friend, Claudia, that details how to move up the social ladder. Claudia’s plan never felt extremely convincing to me, and I immediately thought I would be able to predict the outcome and ending. Cara didn’t seem overly excited to be reinventing herself either and for that reason alone, I didn’t understand why she so easily went along with all of the plans to change.
As I got deeper into the book, I realized Cara was just like me as a high school girl. She was searching for who she was. She didn’t know which group of people she belonged to and she wasn’t comfortable enough with who she was not to care if she wasn’t the most popular girl in school. Pretty much every girl can relate to how Cara felt as she waded through all the drama. Young girls will relate to Cara’s soul-searching, and adults will have flash backs to those not-so-glorious days when we were so self-conscious. I reflected a lot on who I was back then, and I came to realize that Claudia’s plan would have been the greatest idea to 16-year-old-me. As an adult, I found it transparent and saw all the fatal flaws…especially when they pertained to the resident-geek-crush, Archer.
I adored Archer’s character. He was the boy I hoped Cara would realize was perfect for her, but of course she made so many mistakes throughout her climb that Allen had me convinced that wasn’t a possibility. The book felt so much longer than it was because Cara had to go through so much before becoming true to herself. Allen definitely did not make Cara’s journey an easy one, which made the story all the more convincing.
Overall, I enjoyed this book so much. Some parts were laugh-out-loud funny and others I was cringing hoping all the bad would quickly pass. I think any girl who remembers what it’s like to find out who you are in high school and any girl currently going through that part of her life should definitely pick up this book.
Anna is a junior in high school. For nine years, she has been living with the memories of her mother's death. Her mother drowned in the ocean. Anna haAnna is a junior in high school. For nine years, she has been living with the memories of her mother's death. Her mother drowned in the ocean. Anna has few answers, but many questions. While she does not have the most open relationship with her father, she becomes flooded with even more questions when they move back to the town he met her mother in. The novel was ultimately a tale about forgiveness. There were so many things Anna had to work through with her father, memories of her mother she had never sorted out, and so much blame.
Overall, I really liked the novel. Kirby writes beautifully. This was not a novel that I plowed through. Some parts of it were slow or harder to read. It took approximately 100 pages for me to begin questioning when the pace of the book was going to pick up. I wasn't sure what the major climax of the story would be. Most aspects of the story were slowly and methodically planned out. Anna's relationship with Tyler was very timid. Her relationships with her new friends was very surface level - it took a long while for Anna to spill the beans to Ashley about what happened to her mother. I anticipated a big talk with her father at some point, but there was much dancing around the "big talk" and lots of avoidance on both of their parts.
Overall, I think I would have liked the story a bit more without the dreams Anna was having. I often skimmed them or skipped right over them. I also would have enjoyed the novel a bit more if the pace had been a bit faster. I might have felt more like I was searching for answers too if I were wanting to devour the pages. ...more
Lacey Anne Byer lives in a small, Christian town known for their yearly production of Hell House her evangelical church puts on. Hell House is a playLacey Anne Byer lives in a small, Christian town known for their yearly production of Hell House her evangelical church puts on. Hell House is a play in which several scenes are acted out. It's harsh. Brutal. Very conservative. Each year the production leads several people to begin a relationship with Jesus. For Lacey, life is very black and white. Until she re-meets Ty, a boy she knew growing up.
Several serious things happen through the course of the book (an actual pregnancy, the questioning of one friend's sexuality, a drunk driving incident). Ty is deeply questioning how he feels about Chrisitanity, especially Lacey's church's stance on everything. Slowly Lacey begins to realize that nothing is easily categorized and many things are much harder to deal with when they're happening to people you love and care about.
I had read brilliant reviews of this book. I am a Chrisitan and found it so encouraging that so many non-Christians were reading this book and finding it interesting. It quickly moved to the top of my to-be-read list. There were still moments in this book that made me cringe. Especially moments in the beginning of the book when Lacey freely speaks and voices her opinion about things. Her opinion sometimes differed from mine; her church was much more charismatic than mine (with the speaking in tongues). Ultimately, I am glad I read this book. I think it's a beautiful story of a girl who begins to believe on her own - to question and understand things on her own. Not to simply accept the answers her parents have given her, but to question, grow, and formulate her own answers. To understand God on her own. I think this is something most people go through - with the end result being very different for each person. ...more