I'm sorry! I just didn't see what everyone else saw. Beautifully written but extremely melodramatic and at times unrealistic, and I just couldn't getI'm sorry! I just didn't see what everyone else saw. Beautifully written but extremely melodramatic and at times unrealistic, and I just couldn't get past that....more
If "Saw", "Scream", and "I Know What You Did Last Summer", took on cyberbullying, Random is what you'd get.
But that doesn't mean it isn't worth the reIf "Saw", "Scream", and "I Know What You Did Last Summer", took on cyberbullying, Random is what you'd get.
But that doesn't mean it isn't worth the read.
Victoria Hershberger(sp?), is preparing to be up all night as she awaits tomorrow's court trial. Her family is strange with her, her friends are nonexistent, and she's been stripped of all her electronic devices. Except for one, outdated flip phone. She's surprised to hear the phone vibrate, and expects it to be another hate call , like the one's her family has been getting since the beginning of her legal ordeal, but she picks up anyway. She braces for the caller to hurl an insult, but instead, he asks her two things: Do you believe in God? Can you give me one good reason not to commit suicide tonight?
This very quick read delves into the world of the bystander. As the tagline on the front of the cover reads, "Not Guilty, does not mean innocent". Readers will catch on pretty quickly to what it is that Tori and her fellow jocks are on trial for, and that despite Tori's seeming lack of guilt, she is clearly not innocent.
There were parts that seemed a little off, but they are tied up somewhat satisfyingly in the end. A quick read, to get teens thinking about just how much guilt there really is, in NOT standing up for others....more
When you think about it, I'm like a 45. Liz is my A side, the song everybody knows, and Gabe is my B side - not played as often but just as good.
When you think about it, I'm like a 45. Liz is my A side, the song everybody knows, and Gabe is my B side - not played as often but just as good.
There really was beautiful music here.
Gabriel Joseph Williams struggles with talking to people. Every conversation and interaction brings about anxiety and frustration, and most at school know him to be quiet and reserved. Very unlike his best friend since kindergarten, the very popular Paige. But after hiding all day at school, he comes alive at night on his new radio show "Beautiful Music for Ugly Children", on the town's low-budget radio station. With a catalog and musical knowledge of everything and everyone from Flo-Rida and Jay-Z to The Rolling Stones and The Sex Pistols, the show is an instant hit and there's seemingly nothing standing between Gabe letting his personal coolness out in his everyday life.
Except for the fact that most of the world knows him as Elizabeth Mary Williams. And he is slowly but surely falling in love with his best friend. And his parents won't make eye contact with him anymore. And his little brother thinks he's a freak. And his only other best friend in the world is a 68 year old man who just may have one day been the most important DJ in America.
Kirstin Cronn-Mills handled the very serious moment of a young transgendered man growing into himself with so much grace and honesty in this book. I felt so much for Gabe. It's has been a long time since I've read a main character who I didn't want to smack. Gabe was not a selfish or pushy person, but he was determined and steady and actually very patient in willing those closest to him into respecting him AS a person. Gentle reminders to his parents when they'd purposefully call him "Liz", or refer to he and Paige as "The Girls".
My dad glances up. "How are you today...Elizabeth?" "I'm Gabe. How are you?"
Moments where he's honest about what the cost of him being himself has brought onto his family,
Instead of storming out, which is my first impulse, I close my eyes and breathe because he's right; this is hard on them. I may be young and stupid, like he said, but they're confused and hurt. Because of me.
And also sad and lonely moments where the vulnerability of knowing that perhaps nowhere is safe,
She'll tell me to go to the police, because she believes in law and order. I, on the other hand, believe the police won't care about someone like me.
The friendship between Gabe and John, his beloved mentor and next door neighbor had that Doc Brown and Marty McFly-ness that was familiar and instantly loveable. Their mutual love and respect for the safety and passion that they both found in music was absolutely palpable. And on the subject of music, while this book did remind me of quite a few others, This Song Will Save Your Life"This Song Will Save Your Life" for example, it was really awesome to see multiple genres overlapped without some jarring explanation, as many books seem to do. For playlists that spanned from Prince to Souljah Boy and back to Elvis, it never felt weird or contrived.
The subject of Gabe's "guyness" was also handled very honestly, even allowing itself to have the humor that sexuality just naturally has sometimes, to trickle in. Searching for ways to use a urinal. Choosing a loose enough shirt that doesn't show the chest binder underneath. It was a very vivid but not heavy-handed look at the worries and cares that Gabe has to live with every single day just to be, and how much those who don't have to live in bodies that don't agree with our minds, take for granted. There was much to be found here about identity's and people not always being who we expect them to be.
Both also very integral parts of the story were the Ugly Children's Brigade - a group of Gabe's radio fans who listen every night and act out the positive affirmation actions he proposes, and the Twin Cities Vibe Radio Contest - which could be the key to a life outside of this town, and a job. While both of these had some fantastical and YA cliche'd elements to them, neither were very "Fairytale" in execution, and readers of the "New Adult" genre will appreciate the author's aversion to wrapping either of them up with a neat bow.
The afterword also includes a pretty interesting note on sexuality and gender, as well as some information on where to go for support and information.
This book made me happy, and sad, and most importantly, aware. I loved it. ...more
How often do we classify one another by what we believe they are, as opposed to who they really are? And how often do we pigeonhole ourselves by tryinHow often do we classify one another by what we believe they are, as opposed to who they really are? And how often do we pigeonhole ourselves by trying to hold up to the standards that our stereotypes set for us? These are the questions that I found myself asking while reading about Rafe. Tired of being classified as "the gay guy, Rafe", he sets out to recreate himself by going away to boarding school. He doesn't plan on saying he isn't gay , but he just has no plans on shouting from the rooftops that he is. But is denying who you are, in any form, fair to yourself or those you love?
Very often, I've been "the black girl", in class, or other social/professional/educational settings. It is clear to me, often from the first day, that I will have to be on guard and ready to defend or explain any facet of my ethnicity that comes into play. No matter how welcoming and unassuming my counterparts actually are towards me, I am almost always "at the ready". It can be exhausting.
So I was very understanding of why Rafe felt the need to try out his grand experiment. The desire for him to quench the part of his identity that was just a guy, had overpowered his need to be "the gay guy", and he knew, that for all the supportiveness he was receiving at home, there just wouldn't be room for both in the eyes of those who loved him.
I appreciated Rafe's humor and honesty, and the overall and overwhelming support and encouragement he received from the adults in this book. There is a romance nestled in here that made me give the people's eyebrow, but other than that, I really liked it a lot. Watching Rafe learn that to love himself, he needed to learn to accept and love ALL of himself, was an entertaining journey....more
Travis Coates died of cancer five years ago. Or at least, his body did. His head was cryogenically preserved until which time that a donor body could bTravis Coates died of cancer five years ago. Or at least, his body did. His head was cryogenically preserved until which time that a donor body could be collected for him to be reanimated with. Sounds crazy, right?
Well it sounded that way to his girlfriend, best friend, and parents also, when he told them five years ago that he'd be ending his fight with cancer and flying to Denver for the operation that would hopefully give him a second chance at life. For five years, they mourned him, and continued with life, until a crazy thing happened.
Now, Travis is back, and feeling as though he only just told them goodbye when the anesthesia set in. So finding out that his girlfriend is now 21 and engaged, or that his best friend is living at college, is a shock to say the least. His parents are oddly the same, and his room is some "gray ikea nightmare" that he's never seen before. And worst of all, he's back in high school, and back in the same alegebra class he hated the first time.
What I loved about this book was how effortlessly it read. It was a one-sitting read, in fact. Travis was a very believable 16 year old boy, trapped in a 22 year old brain, blessed with a new 16 year old body. Every little thing that one would think to be a quirky and humorous thought, (what's it like to have another person's private parts, or how weird would it be to have an entire body to reject rather than an organ), was included. Travis was very present and understanding of how weird everything about his second chance at life was, and he made light of it in order to make sense of it for himself and those around him. He was a really cool kid, who had awful luck the first go round, and you couldn't help but feel bad for him even though he'd clearly been given a second chance.
The love story of he and Cate, the girlfriend who'd had to watch him wither away, was almost toothache painful to read, because it was so honest. He was just on the verge of living a wonderful life until that stupid cancer just came in and pulled the rug right out from under everyone. Travis' anger and frustration was palpable. I know what it feels like to overcome something and still be furious that you can't recover the things you lost along the way.
The author doesn't spend too much time on the particulars, which to me felt like an episode of Futurama anyway, and didn't focus on the religious or scientific implications either. That said, nothing felt completely ridiculous, and I was quite taken with how seamlessly, no head pun intended, the merger of fact and clear fantasy were intertwined.
I won't post any spoilers, but I definitely recommend this one to anyone looking for a great male protagonist, and a touching but entertaining story. ...more
Ann's parents have started two separate families, neither of which she feels truly a party of. Her older brother has gone away to college and seeminglAnn's parents have started two separate families, neither of which she feels truly a party of. Her older brother has gone away to college and seemingly disowned them all. Her best friend Cassie has found new best friends while Ann wasn't watching. But food hasn't moved an inch. Or rather it has, but those inches have been on her waistline.
Food is a welcome friend. It's something she can control, and something soothing. Something that makes the pain go away.
That is, until she's shopping with her super-skinny mom and nothing fits. She's resolved to just give up, and continue to swallow her sorrow (pun intended), until her Aunt Jackie announces that she and her partner Chris are getting married. Worse yet, she wants Ann to participate in a choreographed dance with the family during the reception AND she wants her oldest niece to stand up for her as a bridesmaid. Even worse still, they're getting married in two months.
As happy as Ann is for her aunts wedding, she can't help but to focus on the huge elephant in the room. Herself. She immediately decides that she needs to lose about 45 pounds, for her to feel and look her best at the wedding. No matter what.
Step one: Order the S2S Weight Loss System Step two: Get a job to pay for the S2S Weight Loss System Step three: Tell no one, let no one see you cry, and find out the name of the cute boy who keeps appearing.
As a plus-sized girl myself, I was really in tune with a lot of Ann's feelings in this funny, quick read. Her descriptions of self-consciousness and nerves were almost painful to read they were so very familiar; from fear of saying the wrong thing during a phone call, to dancing in public, Ann was a relate-able and real character. I was also impressed with the author's ability to amplify the very real every-day weight remarks that many of us wade through without realizing.
Ann's tepid family life was beautifully dysfunctional and not in so much of a predictable way that it got boring. There were also some pretty cool nods to stores like Torrid(SnapZ in the book), where the clothes function on a sliding size scale, and programs like Nutri-System(S2S) and Weight Watchers.
The very real issue of stress eating was captured realistically and weight esteem issues in general were seen from a lot of different angles. I also really liked the love story that emerged pretty sweetly and that it showed just how much when someone really likes you, they don't care about the extra things YOU may be obsessing about for yourself.
I enjoyed this book a lot. Even more so because it gently conveyed that while the weight struggle is real, the self-love struggle is even more vital. ...more
If I don't know WHO I am, I cannot allow the rest of the world to decide WHAT I am. Astrid Jones and her family are transplants to Unity Valley; a perIf I don't know WHO I am, I cannot allow the rest of the world to decide WHAT I am. Astrid Jones and her family are transplants to Unity Valley; a perfect northeastern town full of perfect people. Living with perfect people makes it extremely hard to accept the fact that her newest love interest is a girl.
I'm reminded of how perfect my love for A.S. King is through this amazing story.
My ACT score was in the 20's. Nobody cares about that anymore.
My GPA has always been "above average" No one wants to hear about it.
My life has been careMy ACT score was in the 20's. Nobody cares about that anymore.
My GPA has always been "above average" No one wants to hear about it.
My life has been carefully controlled by grades, scores, ratings and rank since before I was even aware of it, all under the premise that if I scored well enough, the finances that I didn't have wouldn't matter. That without these scores, I was doomed to only achieve the levels my money would allow. The rich children would have better opportunities, but the well-scored could always level the field through merit-based scholarship.
Recently, I've begun to monitor my Klout score. Klout is an algorithim calculations based website that monitors your social media influence. Higher scores reflect the amount of people on the web that value what you talk about and share. Companies use these scores to pinpoint the best people to help market their products. For instance, a high klout score with an emphasis on Cars, may get you a free week-long test drive from a car company.
On the surface these things sound AWESOME. No more is it about "who you know", or "what you have", but it's about YOU. Who you are. What you do. Fair and impartial, technology does the work that humans have failed at.
That said, let me just start this review by admitting that the most chilling thing that hit me almost immediately, was that Imani, our main character's "score" in this book is 64... My Klout "score" is 64. We're ALREADY scoring and charting and tagging ourselves into a fresh new caste system. One where everyone is "better" because no one is.
Oh my gosh where do I even begin.
Imani LeMonde is a member of the Scored. Like most of the other scored in her high school, Imani abides by Score Corp.'s "Fitness" guidelines: Peer Group, Self-Control?, Congruity, and Rapport. She violates the Peer Group requirement flagrantly by hanging out with her friend Cady. Cady's score has been dropping drastically low due to her love affair with an unscored boy.
Imani wants to stand by her friend, but when her own score drops down to the 60's, the decision seems practically made for her. Low scores equal no college, and she has to go to college. The guilt by association stems so far that her own little brother won't let the "eyes", cameras that document and monitor the scored, see him talk to her.
In the meantime, her History teacher, Mr. Carol has assigned an essay project that could help Imani get the money she needs to go to college anyway. To apply for a scholarship, Mr. Carol would like for the scored students in his class to write an argument against the idea of the score, and for this unscored students to write in favor of it. While he himself is firmly against the score, and makes some hilarious comments on it throughout the book, he mainly believes this will open the eyes of all of his students, and perhaps get them some college money.
To write the paper, Imani secretly and reluctantly teams up with Diego, an unscored but wealthy classmate, and soon everything she thought she felt about the score, and herself begins to shift. There were mild similarities to Scott Westerfeld's "Uglies" series, spying, trusting the enemy, friendship and betrayal, but Imani and Cady's relationship was far more of a catalyst for the rest of the story, than the radically flimsy one of Tally and Shay in Uglies.
There were things about this book that I loved, mainly the ideas behind it, and that there were no real right or wrong answers. A score system could even things out, but it could also open the door to much more sinister forms of discrimination. A new caste system that would appear so right on the outside, that people won't even know where to begin to tear it down.
There were also a few little things that I didn't like however. For one, Imani is a mixed-race girl, but the cover art doesn't illustrate this at all. The subject and comparison between racism, sexism and "score-ism" is referenced a lot in the story, but I still found it really easy to forget about her heritage.
In fact, this brings me to another thing that bugged me. Imani Jane LeMonde's father is black, and his speech is littered with "Don't's" "Aint's", phrases like "family don't mean nothing no more", and talk of "The Man"... Seriously, was that to remind us that he's black? I was not a fan of that.
The phrasing used by her father wouldn't have stood out if the other words and writing in the book weren't all so thick. The subject matter wouldn't necessarily go over teens heads I don't believe, but the words used get a little technical and over-political at times.
Like others have said, the ending left MUCH to be desired. It did however, seem prime for a sequel but unlike all the other books out these days, didn't say that it would be. To not revisit this topic though, would be seriously unfortunate. I hope she does.On the whole though, I really enjoyed this short read.
While I mildy enjoyed McLaughlin's Cycler, I found this to be more her stride. ...more
Brooklyn Pierce is no stranger to catastrophic trouble. When she was two years old, she captured the hearts of millions when she fell down a mine shafBrooklyn Pierce is no stranger to catastrophic trouble. When she was two years old, she captured the hearts of millions when she fell down a mine shaft and was trapped for fifty-two hours. Now, at 15 years old, "Baby" Brooklyn is re-examining her life. Because "when you're being handcuffed and lowered into the backseat of a squad car," you kind of have to. She's just let a load of peer-pressure by her best friend Shayne Kingsley land her in serious trouble. Again.
This time, things can't be smoothed over by a flip of Shayne's gorgeous blonde hair, or by her quick ideas on what Brooks should say. No, burning down one of her mother's model homes can't be fixed by anyone but Brooklyn herself, by completing 200 hours of community service at a nearby nursing home and devoting her time to helping rebuild the home. Instead of focusing on the trouble she's in though, Brooklyn is more concerned with finding out what has happened to Shayne, since she hasn't seen or heard from her since they were busted by the cops.
One day back in school and she quickly learns that it is no accident she hasn't heard from Shayne. She's been discarded by the queen of the school. Her five-year friendship is over and she's suddenly a nobody.
With no one but herself to talk to, Brooks is convinced that its her bad decision skill that are once again the blame for the predicament she's found herself in, and she's tired of making the wrong decisions. This is how she makes what might be her best decision yet, to start MyLifeundecided.com.
For the next however-many blog posts, Brooks is giving every decision she is faced with over to her readers. From joining the debate team to which book to read in English Lit, she isn't making any choices on her own. Hey, if American can choose our next big superstar, actor or singer, how hard is it for them to decide whether she should read The Grapes of Wrath?
As a blogger, I was impressed with the idea of this story. Who wouldn't enjoy letting other people handle some of life's tougher choices? But Brooklyn herself was such a well-developed character that the blog played second-fiddle to her antics. She did not exaggerate about those bad decisions of hers, either. She truly made some doozies. LOL
The love/hate relationship between Shayne and Brooklyn, as well as Brooklyn's dependence on it was very familiar. I could relate to her frustration and confusion, her feelings about being and the humor of her voice was great. Being in first-person made the story fast paced and simple to follow.
The blog readers didn't disappoint either. Their advice to Brooklyn, through polls and comments was great. They steer her towards the tougher choices as opposed to the easy ones she would have made on her own and provide suggestions on dating, friendship and schoolwork. The course they steer her toward makes her teachers and parents happy, but frustrate Brooklyn. While I'd hope that in real life, no teen would attempt a similar project, I'd hope that they would get readers such as these if they did. And Brooklyn tries her best to stick to their decisions.
Teens and even some adults will enjoy reading about how these few weeks of change, help steer Baby Brooklyn into growing up and finally learning how to take responsibility and control for her own decisions and choices.
So... Yeah. This book was NOT what I expected it to be. From the description, I was truly expecting a humorous journey through the life of Spencer Davis,So... Yeah. This book was NOT what I expected it to be. From the description, I was truly expecting a humorous journey through the life of Spencer Davis, proud virgin. What I got was a journey through the life of Spencer Davis,...um, Just kinda waiting on someone to give it to.
I'm not a prude, and I'm not a stranger to books that cover the sexual ideas and philosophies of teenaagers, but this book left me unsatisfied.
Spencer Davis has just turned 16. And in her house that means her first trip to the gynecologist and a brand new shiny pack of birth control pills. The first date in the stirrups proves to be mortifying but not fatal and Spencer is less than enthused about receiving this rites of passage because she personally can't see herself needing the pills. She isn't very much like the other members of her "Crew", who are very much sexually active.
There's Morgan and Justin, the on-again/off-again couple, who are currently Off again now that Morgan has learned that Justin had sex with school H.B.I.C. Shelby. Then Ryan, the school clown who changes girls like underwear...and maybe more often, whose mom wants Spencer to be the one that grounds him. Zachary and Allysa(Soon-Yi) are the only other virgins in the Crew, but Zachary is tired of his gentleman reputation and Allysa wants to have a one-night stand so that she can just get the whole virginity thing "out of the way".
Spencer isn't interested in any flings or one-night-stands, though her mother assures her that it may happen so fast that she will be glad she was prepared. First of all, she's a size 13, and can't imagine finding a man who wants to see the body she normally hides underneath sweatshirts and baggy pants. She also believes sex should mean something and wants her first time to be with someone who makes her tingle all over her body, and not just in her nether regions.
Then suddenly, (and I mean like same week, suddenly), there appears in the school a new student. Benjamin Hopkins walks up and asks her for directions to the main office and Spencer is suddenly twitterpated. She can barely remember her name, and by the time she gets to Chemistry class and finds that Ben is her new lab partner, she can hardly even speak. Yet she somehow speaks well enough to agree to let Ben copy her notes.
And thus begins my loss of interest in Ms.Davis. I can totally understand the urgency and unexpected ways love or in this case "lust" can creep up on adults and teenagers alike, but for Spencer to go from "never have I ever" to "Bring it On", was unbelievable for me. The fact that she didn't really "know" Ben, I could get over, but the way she quickly fell into letting him copy her homework, slob her down and grope her up...confused me and made it seem as though her primary issue was more about her body image than her actual concern for her virginity. I also grew frustrated with how easily the reader could see where Spencer's true affections and issues laid, while she was clueless.
The real stories were with Spencer's friends...but even they became cliche after a short while unfortunately. This book closed sweetly enough, but without much to write home about. It could fit comfortably into any booklist that contains Forever by Judy Blume...which says something in and of itself. ...more
I sit here stunned after completing this book. Such a poetic and yet simplistic force that was far more than what the book description says. While theI sit here stunned after completing this book. Such a poetic and yet simplistic force that was far more than what the book description says. While the title reads true, and the bulk of this story is dramatically centered around Imani, the infant of a child-mom, this story reached deep into the mind and heart of Tasha Dawson, her mother. Tasha is a fourteen year old who lives in what I consider any urban location, where drugs, violence, and harsh reality interfere with the simple acts of growing up. An unwanted encounter finds her pregnant and at odds with her mother, Earlene. The usual questions of "what will you do with your life", and "how will you go to college" are quieted only a bit when as time goes on Tasha becomes the very best mother she can. This story deals with the first year of Imani's life and how Tasha fights to maintain grades, peace of mind, and find spiritual understanding while witnessing the realities around her, stumbling through them and growing up along with her baby.
I was absolutely blown away by not only the beauty of this book, but by the honesty of it. I could see these scenes, and hear these thoughts as though I was there myself. The ease with which Ms. Porter's words weave the reader in and out of rather complex conversations and thoughts was like having a gentle hand along your back. Tasha was a gentle and innocent character that I couldn't help but love from the very first page. She knows what she believes are her setbacks, but the world around her, including the reader can see so much more.
I haven't shed tears while reading a book for some time...but this book left both my cheeks moist. Absolutely riveting and beautiful. ...more