If you were a young reader in the 80's and early 90's, you could NOT have missed the sensation of The Baby Sitter's Club. I devoured the series as a c...moreIf you were a young reader in the 80's and early 90's, you could NOT have missed the sensation of The Baby Sitter's Club. I devoured the series as a child, even going so far as to try and create my own real life club or preteen baby sitters, which ultimately ended in nothing but disaster. But even these crazy experiences were not enough to detract from the magic and fun of this series.
Somehow, I missed this spin-off series, which starts with DAWN: DIARY ONE of the California Diaries. All avid BSC fans remember when free spirited, hippie child Dawn ended up moving back to California, where her father, brother, and old best friend Sunny lived. However, since the main series focused primarily on the club itself, there really wasn't much said about Dawn during the time that she was away.
Well, Ann M. Martin fixed that with the release of the CALIFORNIA DIARIES series, which was released back in the 90's but was apparently released by Open Media in 2014 (YAY!). This first installment describes, in diary format, Dawn's experiences with being an 8th grader in a school of high schoole students who seem so much older and more mature and sophisticated. Dawn, and best friend Sunny, try to fit in with the crowd by attending a secret party thrown by the upperclassmen, which turns out to be a nightmare that not only ends with the girls experiencing underage drinking and hazing from the older kids at school... it also breaks up a friendship that Dawn was really counting on to get her through these days in California.
While I would probably prefer to see a series focused more on Stacy or Claudia, my two favorites from the BSC, I did still feel tons of nostalgia from revisting at least one of my old, childhood friends --- and I will definitely finish this sub-series if Open Media ends up releasing them all on e-book! In fact, let's release all the old Super Specials too, while we're at it! I so miss those books!
Thank you to the publisher for allowing me to travel back to my days of childhood innocent through a copy of this novel provided for the purposes of presenting an honest review. If you, like I, adored The Baby Sitter's Club but never quite got around to the CALIFORNIA DIARIES back in your day, I definitely recommend that you pick up at least this first book, to make your middle school dreams come true for at least an hour or two of your day!(less)
This is a pretty decent guide to nutritious, vegan smoothies, although I'm not so sure about some of the combinations (like the one with peaches, pear...moreThis is a pretty decent guide to nutritious, vegan smoothies, although I'm not so sure about some of the combinations (like the one with peaches, pears,and cooked peas... um, what?). I've never heard of matcha green tea before, but the rest of the ingredients seemed relatively easy to obtain.
I like that the nutritional facts were included with each smoothie, as well, including calories, carbs, and protein. (less)
Such a blast from the past! I absolutely ADORED The Boxcar Children in my early elementary school days -- so finding the graphic novel of the first bo...moreSuch a blast from the past! I absolutely ADORED The Boxcar Children in my early elementary school days -- so finding the graphic novel of the first book was AMAZING -- of course!!!(less)
Believe it or not, I actually do hate writing negative reviews -- especially when a book has been kindly provided to me expressly for the purpose of w...moreBelieve it or not, I actually do hate writing negative reviews -- especially when a book has been kindly provided to me expressly for the purpose of writing said review.
But I hate lying more than I hate negativity, so here we go....
Usually I start out with a lovely, flowy description of the plot. However, I think I can sum that up in just one sentence. So, here we go....
A girl cheats on her boyfriend with a pothead, ends up dead, everyone thinks it's suicide, she thinks it was murder, she stays around as some kind of ghost figure and tries to solve her alleged murder, then tries to make out (make up?) with her boyfriend too.
So, why the one star?
Mostly, it's because I hate all of the characters. Every single one of them.
Let's start with the main character, Cassidy. She's just not the brightest bulb in the lamp, if you catch my drift. She's flighty, both in life and death, supposedly focusing on solving a murder, except she really spends more time daydreaming about kissing her boyfriend and trying to find a way to get him back even though she's dead. She's melodramatic, immature, and incredibly slow to catch on to every blatant hint thrown her way. She's so unlikeable that I, as a reader, had a hard time trying to even CARE who killed her (or why).
Now, we can move on to Ethan, the boyfriend. What is there to even say about him? NOTHING. He's unremarkable, boring, and unmemorable. I had to stop and look up his name before even writing about him. That's how little I could care about him.
Then there is Caleb, the pothead. Cassidy thinks she cheated on Ethan with Caleb, and in her pseudo-attempts at crime solving she really doesn't give a single positive quality about the guy that would make me even believe she'd cheat on her random boyfriend with this other random dude. She thinks Caleb may have killed her, although the only memorable flashback she even describes is the one where lover boy Caleb gave her a marijuana brownie before she "fell" off a bridge and died.
Drew, who is Ethan's best friend and Cassidy's best friend's boyfriend. Again, not one single positive quality is given to Drew, who is described mostly as a raging psychopath. Copy and paste that description for the other friend, whose name I already forgot. Those two were pretty much interchangeable to me throughout the story.
And then Cassidy's best friends? Apparently Cassidy has lousy taste, not only in men, but in friends as well. Aimee, at least, seems to care that her friend is dead. Besides the hints of ambivalence from Ethan, I'm pretty sure that nobody else in the book, including her friends and family, even CARE that Cassidy is dead. I'm not even sure that Cassidy's lingering ghost spirit cares that she is dead, beyond the fact that she can no longer kiss boys. And then the other alleged best friend? Madison? Can someone REALLY be completely oblivious to the fact that the person they see for hours every single day is a psychopathic stalker? Cassidy vaguely considers that her best friends may have played a role in her death -- although, again, she seems more concerned with daydreaming about kissing Ethan than about considering why she was surrounded by such a bunch of juvenile delinquents.
By the end, in all honesty, I couldn't care less why Cassidy died or who was involved. All of her friends were idiots, and nothing in the story seemed believeable enough to feel the least bit relatable or interesting. And, oh, the melodrama! I get that teenagers are full of raging hormones and confusion and despair, but murdering people over crushes or kisses or relationships that won't last beyond graduation? Good grief.
In trying to decide the intended audience for My Last Kiss, I can only think that this would be appealing to younger teenage girls with low expectations of men, friends, and literature. I really enjoyed the premise of the story, I think, but the horrific cast of characters killed it for me in the end.(less)