Perkins' books leave me completely contented and totally mushy. And I'm not a mushy person--I don't get all warm and fuzzy from a good romance. So why...morePerkins' books leave me completely contented and totally mushy. And I'm not a mushy person--I don't get all warm and fuzzy from a good romance. So why I love these books so much is a bit of a mystery. Maybe it's because they're all at once funny and meaningful, totally real and a little magical, typically romantic and full of longing. They capture what it's like to be a teenager in love while possessing a depth of character that leaves you knowing not only that the characters have become something better but also gives you hope that you can be something more in the end as well.(less)
I loved every minute of this book. I have read most of the authors' other works, so I shouldn't have been so surprised with how much I enjoyed reading...moreI loved every minute of this book. I have read most of the authors' other works, so I shouldn't have been so surprised with how much I enjoyed reading every story, every page.
As with any compilation, there were some real standouts, but they were mostly because I could totally relate to them or laughed out loud. "`Mom called, she said you have to go to the prom'" by Adrienne Maria Vrettos was a fantastic story about an uninhibited girl who has the time of her life putting her oddities on display for the world to see. "Prom for Fat Girls" by Rachel Cohn was great because, honestly, what fat girl doesn't want to read about another fat girl getting the guy? And they saved the best for last. John Green's "The Great American Morp" rocked--it was the reason I gave this book five stars rather than four.
Great Authors + Great Stories = A Great Read. (Okay, that was pretty cliché and cheesy even for me.)(less)
I love Nick Hornby. He has an amazing writing style that is the perfect balance of dialogue, narrative and insight. I come away from his books a littl...moreI love Nick Hornby. He has an amazing writing style that is the perfect balance of dialogue, narrative and insight. I come away from his books a little in love with all the characters and feeling totally satisfied.(less)
The premise of this book is wonderful, and the story is pretty moving as well. While a duel third-person close POV is fairly standard for a romance no...moreThe premise of this book is wonderful, and the story is pretty moving as well. While a duel third-person close POV is fairly standard for a romance novel, this one adds a third POV, which I thought was a great choice as Bailey's voice (the only non-romantic lead) kind of makes the story. But the author chose an incredibly difficult narrative perspective. She shifts between childhood, adolescence and adulthood in a nonlinear plot, and she gets mired in the character development somewhere in the teenage years. I didn't buy Fern as an overly innocent teenage ugly duckling. The time shifting got confusing as the date-stamps weren't consistently used. I also had issues with the four friends seemingly instantaneous decision to join the military, blindly following Ambrose into a hell hole.
But there was really a beauty to this story in its non-traditional, pseudo-new adult genera, which I'm generally not a fan of. It dealt really well with PTSD and showed that romantic love won't heal everything. Ambrose faces a crisis of character without being the "perfect" male lead, and he deals with his issues with a therapist. (Halleluiah, someone in a romance novel actually talking to a professional to deal with their issues.) There's talk about faith and death without it being too in-your-face. It tackles some tough emotional issues and faces them head on.
I might have given this book three stars, but it was impressive for a basically self-published book. There was an editor and an agent listed in the acknowledgements, but you could tell this wasn't a big-budge job (no main-stream publisher would confuse an n-dash for an m-dash when formatting a book, and there were enough grammatical errors that I can't believe more than one person edited it). So I gave it an extra star for the potential I see in Amy Harmon's writing. I expect she'll write some wonderful things in the future.
P.S. It kind of annoyed me at how cluelessly Mormon the author is. The preacher's wife uses the term "tender mercies of the Lord," which is not a phrase used in mainstream Christianity but has become a bit of a catch-phrase in Mormon culture. Also, the romantic leads who mysteriously avoid having sex before they're actually married? Another Mormon Mom cop-out. (less)
How long do first impressions last? Luckily for Dash and Lily, first impressions are rewritable. In an adventure full of missed opportunities and misu...moreHow long do first impressions last? Luckily for Dash and Lily, first impressions are rewritable. In an adventure full of missed opportunities and misunderstandings, Dash and Lily break all the rules about friendship and love and acceptance.
This book is an example of the whole being greater than its parts. When I first met Dash, I was disappointed by his bah-humbugness, and Lily was so lovable, she was, well, quite annoying. Dash was just a little too metrosexual and Lily was just a little too childish for me to ever believe them as real people let alone romantic leads. But I kept reading because a book beginning in The Strand with a Moleskine Notebook has to be a good, right? And somewhere between an ugly Beatles Muppet and a missing majorette boot, I was introduced to this secondary cast of characters I began to love, so I had to love Dash and Lily because Aunt Ida and Mark and Sofia and Boomer love them. Through them, I began to see that Lily's perpetual positivity hides her fear of loneliness and Dash's snarl is only temporary until he can find fanciful.
As it turns out, this novel is the anti-fairy tale. It's an exploration of a slow-burning love that grows by choice instead of lust. The characters have this wholesome innocence (a description I never expected to use about a Cohn/Levithan novel) overshadowed only by their desire to live life. While I still don't like the melodramatic baby-catching scene (it reminded me a little too much of Will Grayson Will Grayson), and I felt this book digressed from the rawness of Nick Norah's Infinite Playlist and the fullness of characters in Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List (in part because the Dasha and Lily are younger characters), the romance and truthfulness of this novel stole my heart. Unlike most romantic comedies, I found myself wondering if they would ever come together in the end and if this mismatched pair would ever realize that together, they are greater than their parts.(less)
The beginning was a bit rough with some really cliche descriptions and romantic troupes, but the characters were engaging, the issues felt authentic,...moreThe beginning was a bit rough with some really cliche descriptions and romantic troupes, but the characters were engaging, the issues felt authentic, and even the premise of a guy who can't say no to a dare was kind of fun. Plus, there's baseball. 'Nough said.(less)
I more than most can understand that being an offbeat teenager can make you feel isolated and vulnerable and desperate all at the same time. With so m...moreI more than most can understand that being an offbeat teenager can make you feel isolated and vulnerable and desperate all at the same time. With so many books about popular kids using and abusing their equally popular cronies or dorky kids managing to infiltrate the ranks of the cool, its nice to read a book about teens just being teens and learning to love themselves by accepting who they are.
For Kristi Carmichael listening to opera music, playing stealth practical jokes, making her own “found” clothing and reading people’s darkest thoughts protects her. After her dad walked out on her mother, Kristi didn’t think she could ever trust anyone again, and she goes to great lengths to keep everyone at bay so she doesn’t have to be hurt again. Then Mallory, a fiery-haired temperamental teen enrolls in their ex-hippie run private school, and she thinks she has finally found a friend who understands her. But maybe it’s Kristi who needs to be the one to offer a little understanding of her own.
This book was a wonderful, innovative alternative to your standard YA self-image novel. The character descriptions are spot-on—my personal favorite is Kristi’s description of Mallory’s hair: “His hair is neon orange, and it’s bushy and very long. He has it crammed into a ponytail, but it looks like any second the rubber band will explode and his hair will escape to roam the earth, staging military coups and taking high-profile hostages.” And Kristi’s narrative voice is so raw and real I kept reading it aloud to whomever happened to be in the room (“How many lives does Puberty have to ruin before it is finally stopped?”).
For a girl who would take Carmen over the JoBros any day and who thinks her boobs are too big and has too much junk in her trunk, this book was easy to connect with. But it’s also for anyone who thinks they aren’t good enough or just a little too different or has maybe been hurt one time too many. It was a joy to read. (less)
The last book left me with so many questions. Will Georgia go with the Italian Stallion or the Sex God? Or will she figure out Dave the Laugh is her d...moreThe last book left me with so many questions. Will Georgia go with the Italian Stallion or the Sex God? Or will she figure out Dave the Laugh is her destiny? Will the old ones ever let Georgia talk on the phone again? Will Libby finally stop wetting the bed? How much longer can Angus survive with all his antics?
Book nine may not answer all of these questions, but it sure was a fun ride. This series is one of the best out there for teenage girls. The characters are kooky and lovable, the situations are believable and fun and the craziness never ends. Georgia has a way of boiling people down to their basics and telling everything how it is with her very own brand of lingo.
After Dave the Laugh pulls Georgia out of the pond where her bum landed and they lock lips for an accidental snog fest, Georgia must decide once and for all who her one true luuurve will be. But it's not easy with her mum and vati who just don't want to grow up, the minxes in the ace gang getting out of hand and boys breathing down her neck in every direction, Georgia is about to have a nervy b. Ah, if only all teenagers could have Georgia's problems.
It's like reading Bridget Jones' Diary for teens. But without all the F-wording. And the pop culture references. And obsession with Colin Firth. Okay, so it's really nothing like Bridget Jones, but it's in journal format and by a British author and really funny. So don't be a wet Lindsey, pull out your Viking horn hat and brush up on your snog scale, Georgia is back with some new amazing adverturosity.(less)
I kind of want to give this book two different ratings, so instead I split the difference.
The "read it in the context of its time" me wanted to give i...moreI kind of want to give this book two different ratings, so instead I split the difference.
The "read it in the context of its time" me wanted to give it five stars, because this book really was monumental back in 1942. It was pretty much the first young adult book ever published, and it tackled totally new issues for it's day peer pressure, first love and family dynamics from a teen perspective. The voice is all young adult with the internal angst and self doubt. It's also thanks to this book that a lot of the YA fiction published today is in first-person present. Want to know who started that trend? Maureen Daly, that's who.
The "modern reader looking for a book that means something" me wanted to give this book three starts. This book has...issues, and not in a good "issue book" kind of way. The internal dialogue is kind of all over the place, it never fully explores anything of substance, and the pacing is almost agonizingly slow compared to books currently being published. The descriptive language seems forced, and I didn't really see much of a change in the character by the end. But surprisingly, I really liked the ending--not your typical summer romance novel.
So if you're going to read this book, be prepared to spend a little time on it so you can absorb it in it's full historical context. But even as a "modern reader," it's worth a look.(less)
Katie is your classic teenage perfectionist--top student, Homecoming Queen hopeful, beauty pageant contestant, football star's girlfriend, movie star'...moreKatie is your classic teenage perfectionist--top student, Homecoming Queen hopeful, beauty pageant contestant, football star's girlfriend, movie star's girlfriend. Okay, so maybe her life isn't so perfect after all.
She is cheating on her ultra-perfect boyfriend, thinks her best friend is a ditz and doesn't even like the clams that sustain her hometown's economy. Katie spends her life lying to make everyone like her, and she's miserable.
She's miserable, that is, until her old friend Tommy moves back to town after being run out four years before for a heinous crime no one talks about. Now she just wishes the earth would open up and swallow her and get it over with, especially when she starts getting the tinglies from her head to her toes when she sees what a hottie Tommy has become.
As with any Meg Cabot book, you really get into the mind of the main character. Though Katie does some pretty horrible things, you learn to love her well-meaning deceptions and root for her despite the fact that she doesn't always root for herself.
This is a wonderful book with characters that are true to life and situations that could turn anyone into the blundering idiot that Katie so often becomes when trying to hide her true feelings. The only thing keeping this book from being a perfect five is its close resemblance to other Cabot books--the love stories are becoming a little repetitive--and the ending wraps up just a little too neatly.
A little bit of mystery, a dash of sports, some big fat lies and a lot of fun, "Pants on Fire" is well worth the quiet evening it will take to read.(less)
This book really bordered on three and four stars for me. The end was really good (and I mean really good) but the beginning was kind of slow and the...moreThis book really bordered on three and four stars for me. The end was really good (and I mean really good) but the beginning was kind of slow and the middle just didn't stack up to Keyes usual standards. So after much deliberation, I gave it a tentative four stars.(less)