How to Be Bad tells the story of three girls who head out on a roadtrip through the state of Florida, each one trying to escape from something differ...more How to Be Bad tells the story of three girls who head out on a roadtrip through the state of Florida, each one trying to escape from something different. There is Jesse, the devout Christian who has recently learned her partying mom has cancer; Mel, who feels lost both in her own family and in her new town 9and possibly in her gigantic house); and Vicks, who hasn't heard from her boyfriend much since he left for college, and is struggling with trying to be the bad-ass she and her friends think she is. All three girls work together at the Waffle House (sorry, ladies!), and while Vicks and Jesse are BFF, Mel is the new girl who is invited mostly because she can foot the bill along the way. Each girl is written by one of the three co-authors, and the story is told in alternating points-of-view.
I enjoyed this book on several levels. First, I'm a sucker for stories of female friendship. I loved seeing the girls rework their dynamic and come together, even as various things threaten their relationships; this is one of those stories where the characters dig deeper into one another, suffer through upheaval, and come out closer for it. I had a sort of triumvirate best friend-ship in high school, and I can totally relate to what a balancing act that is, especially when at any given moment one of the group is upset or angry at another. Second, I enjoyed the roadtrip. When I took my big cross-country trip a few years ago, Florida was one of my favorite legs of the journey. I, too, have been to Wakulla Springs (we went to see manatees, but alas, thanks to hurricane Dennis, it was too murky to see them), and seen Joe the stuffed 'gator. I've been to Disney World in the sticky, humid heat after a storm. Heck, I've even eaten at the Awful Waffle. The authors did a great job with this. Third, I enjoyed the actual plot. I liked the voice of each of the girls, and I loved how the chapters intersected and yet held their own storyline. Finally, I liked the characters. In a book like this, it's really the characters that hold you, and HTBB succeeds on this level. I was worried I wouldn't like Jesse, who is, as Vicks calls her, "a christianpants," but I actually found her incredibly sympathetic and, ultimately, probably my favorite of the three girls. I also, however, liked Vicks and Mel; Vicks was absolutely the girl I am most like, and Mel was endearing in her insecurity.
I found this to be an excellent read for teen girls, quite along the lines of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. There is mild profanity (mostly "ass," which Jesse changes to "bottom" in her chapters, with amusing results, e.g., "badbottom" and "tightbottom"), and some talk of sex. Regarding the sex, though, what I really appreciated was that, because of the varying viewpoints of the girls, we get differing opinions on sex and virginity, and as this is a debate every teen girl must have with herself, I found it refreshing that it was left up to the reader to decide. There is nothing graphic presented within the text, though. I've read Lauren Myracle before, and liked her, and now I will search out E. Lockhart and Sarah Mylnowski, thanks to this novel.
By the way, I found the title misleading; this book is far more touching than the cheeky title suggests. No one is trying to be "bad," just to figure out how to deal with the curveballs life throws.(less)
This is a YA novel from Women of the Otherworld series author Kelley Armstrong. While it clearly takes place in the same universe (ie, the same rules...moreThis is a YA novel from Women of the Otherworld series author Kelley Armstrong. While it clearly takes place in the same universe (ie, the same rules are followed), it's not part of that series. However, you will find all the necromancers, half-demons, sorcerers, werewolves, and so on, you've come to expect from Armstrong- just with a YA slant.
This book follows the story of Chloe, a teen necromancer just beginning to come into her own powers, unaware of what she is and what that means. The onset of Chloe's abilities leads to a major meltdown in school, which in turn leads to her placement in a house for mentally ill teens. Once at Lyle House, Chloe discovers that some of her fellow patients are as unusual as she is, and the game is afoot.
This is absolutely the first novel in a series, and ends on a cliffhanger. However, Armstrong offers some interesting characters, a few big plot twists, and a good set-up for the rest of the series. Hopefully, if she chooses to shift POVs in each book as she does in her adult series, this series will give her the opportunity to write from the guys' POV (I would love a Derek book), something I know she wishes to be able to do with the WotO. Either way, I'm looking forward to the next installment.(less)
This is one of my all time favorite books, so my rating may be a little high because of the sentimental attachment I have for the series. I first read...moreThis is one of my all time favorite books, so my rating may be a little high because of the sentimental attachment I have for the series. I first read the Vampire Diaries back in high school, so at least 15 years ago. I would finish book four and go right back to book one. I think it's awesome that the books are being released in these combined trade paperbacks, and for a good price (looks like they are doing the same for Smith's Secret Circle series, as well). I guess SMeyer was good for at least one thing: paranormal YA renaissance.
In fact, if you read this series, you will note a few similarities to Twilight; just remember, Smith did it fifteen yeas ago, and she did it better. The story features a popular girl, Elena, who is strangely attracted to the new guy at school, an Italian exchange student named Stefan. Strange things begin happening in their small, Southern town, and it's not long before people are looking at Stefan with a wary eye. Elena discovers Stefan's secrets, and a new world of intrigue and terror opens up as they fall for one another, and the town is threatened by a dark menace.
So yes, vampires in daylight, in high school, and a love story. But this series has plot right out the gate, antagonists with depth, and a love story that takes time to grow. If you were disappointed with how Twilight ended, or even if you loved Twilight and want something similar, give this series a try. It's a terrific YA vampire series with characters you will fall in love with.(less)