I first read about If I Was Your Girl on BookRiot, I think -- but I picked it up entirely independently of the article I read, based on the beautifulI first read about If I Was Your Girl on BookRiot, I think -- but I picked it up entirely independently of the article I read, based on the beautiful cover alone, not realizing it was the same book I'd added to my endless list of books to hurry up and just read already.
And, for what it is, I think If I Was Your Girl is a pretty important book. I mean, how many mainstream Young Adult novels are tackling the perspective of a transgendered teenager? For a while, I was a little frustrated with the story -- mostly, I think, because everything was just TOO perfect. Amanda was not only passable as a female, she was a noticeably beautiful female that immediately attracted the most popular kids at her new school. Her family had no issues with paying for a seemingly expensive surgery, from which she had nothing but flawless results and amazingly smooth transitions. How relateable can the story really be if it could only happen in a setting of absolute perfection?
But, once I finished the novel and read the author's note at the very end, I think I understood that the pristine nature of Amanda and her situation were entirely intentional -- to remove any boundaries between the average YA reader and the notion of understanding the pure humanness of the character.
I think Russo accomplished everything she set out to express in If I Was Your Girl and I definitely look forward to seeing what she writes next....more
Since I reviewed Book 1 last year, after receiving an advanced copy from NetGalley, I figured I may as well go on and review Book 2. Since the first iSince I reviewed Book 1 last year, after receiving an advanced copy from NetGalley, I figured I may as well go on and review Book 2. Since the first installment was a cute, fun, breezy read, it was pretty safe to assume that the second would be a quick entertainment after a long day at work.
And, for the most part, it was pretty good. Book 2 has Pippa scheming to find her mother a husband in time for Valentine's Day, which leads her to set her sights on her teacher. In order to get him to initiate a parent-teacher conference, Pippa experiments with a wacky assortment of ways to be a nuisance to her classmates, all in hopes of finding a little happiness for her mom.
While the mother-teacher love match was an interesting enough backdrop, it was really the lessons on genuineness and friendship that made the story even cuter. Just like the previous installment, Love and Chicken Nuggets will be loads of fun for early chapter readers or younger children seeking a bedtime story that's relateable and entertaining too.
Thanks to NetGalley for providing an advanced copy of both books for the purposes of providing an honest review....more
When Rose was a little girl, a tragic biking accident left her in a coma, fighting for her life -- but this was the event that truly changed her lifeWhen Rose was a little girl, a tragic biking accident left her in a coma, fighting for her life -- but this was the event that truly changed her life forever... or at least the parts that happened while she was asleep...
She remembers the dream vividly; not only because it was spectacular, but because it would be the same dream that she would revisit every single night, even throughout her adult life. It was just Rose and Hugo, the cute, sweet little boy who would be her guide every night on a magical island in which the duo had one goal -- to reach the mystical castle at the end of an eternally long path in order to free the victims who were awaiting their help.
Every single night, Rose and Hugo fought monsters, overcame obstacles, reconciled young emotions, and reached a tiny step further towards their ultimate goal. Hugo remained Rose's hero -- and the man of her dreams -- from childhood, throughout her perilous teenage years, and into her life as a wife and mother of two young boys.
And although Rose has told her husband and her children about Hugo... in enough detail that her children recreate the world from her dreams in order to play Hugo and Rose through their crayons and Lego maps, there is something that is intensely personal about Hugo that causes Rose to withdraw from her real life a little more each day. But, of course, Rose can maintain a working divide between her dreams and her reality, because (after all) nothing about Hugo or her feelings for him can ever be as real as the relationship that she has with her real life husband or her children....
....except, that is, for that one hectic day when Rose came face-to-face with Hugo, alive in the flesh, working the drive-thru at a small town restaurant where her kids have demanded to stop for kids' meals. He's older and balder and rounder than the Hugo in her dreams, but Rose is more positive than anything she's known in her life so far that this is truly her childhood hero, free from her dream world, living and breathing in a place that Rose would never expect.
But, that was just a dream, and there's no way that any of these fantasies could really become reality... right?
Soon Rose's life... her family ... her identity... and her sanity are all brought into question by a chance encounter with a man that she should have never had the chance to meet.
And suddenly, the lines between reality and fantasy become so blurred, stretched, and confused that Rose finds herself unable to find her place in a world that contains her husband, her children.... and.... her Hugo....
I had so much fun with Hugo and Rose, not only because the plot was so engaging and interesting, but also because the whole premise of dreams seeping into a reality left me curious about the direction the story could ultimately take as either an alluring fantasy story or a perplexing psychological drama. Is Rose having an identity crisis or a schizophrenic break? There were just so many possibilities that kept me wrapped up in the characters and their struggles, right up to the very last page.
And yes, there were times that the character of Rose was frustratingly selfish, unrelateable, and obnoxious... and it's undeniable that the character of Hugo tended to be ridiculously useless... and terrible... but, at least for me, the flaws of the characters worked to make their overlying struggles seem a little more relateable and realistic overall. And then the conclusion --which I definitely won't spoil -- felt a little silly to me at first, I could still appreciate the way that everything tied together and rounded out the story without really sacrificing my entertainment from start to finish.
While no story can be perfect, I really and truly did love reading Hugo & Rose and I recommend it to anyone who appreciates a story of domestic self-discovery with a bit of a backdrop of magical imagination.