A haunting, compelling story that was almost undone by a few superfluous, cringe-inducing chapters at the end that would make Nicholas Sparks and Mitc...moreA haunting, compelling story that was almost undone by a few superfluous, cringe-inducing chapters at the end that would make Nicholas Sparks and Mitch Albom proud. This was an imperfect novel, for sure, but still one that broached a subject that should be explored more, and brought to life events that were tragically swept under a rug. Like many other reviewers, I wanted more Sarah and less Julia. At one point, Julia's boss tells her re: her story, "But you forgot a couple of things. The cops. The French cops." Julia responds, "He was right, of course. It had never entered my head." I wondered if perhaps that was exchange Tatiana de Rosnay had had with her own boss because I was curious about the cops too, but unfortunately, there is no mention beyond that.
Despite its unevenness, Sarah's Key is worth a read and shows with terrifying detail some of the atrocities that occurred in 1942.
This is a really sweet book. It skews toward the younger end of the YA spectrum, with its first kisses and stolen glances, but there's a charm and inn...moreThis is a really sweet book. It skews toward the younger end of the YA spectrum, with its first kisses and stolen glances, but there's a charm and innocence to it that's really refreshing. It's hard to believe that Belly, the narrator of this book, is the same age as Frankie Spinelli, the narrator of the excellent Saving Francesca. It’s like comparing the high school experience of Grease to that of My So-Called Life -- but the light, airy tone of this book is perfect for its summer setting.
This book reminds me of a more grown up version of The Baby-Sitter’s Club Summer Specials that I used to read as a kid. Jenny Han nails the setting perfectly. You can picture the weathered beach house and the smells and sounds of the beach. Belly is just a bit too childlike for me. Her voice seems the same whether it is in the present (at 15 years old) or in flashbacks (at 10 years old). Nonetheless, this is a great book to get you in the summer mindset.
Shakespeare gave us Puck, Oberon, Titania. Julie Kagawa gives us... Machina. This is A Midsummer Night's Terminator: Rise of the Machines. The story d...moreShakespeare gave us Puck, Oberon, Titania. Julie Kagawa gives us... Machina. This is A Midsummer Night's Terminator: Rise of the Machines. The story doesn't even get going until halfway through the book and the first 50% is painful. It's a good thing my annual pass to Disneyland expired otherwise I'd drop kick Tinkerbell on sight. However, the story does pick up and there are flashes of mediocrity. I gave it an extra star for reminding me of Captain EO. (less)
I finally understand what nerdboys felt towards George Lucas after the release of Episode 1. In fact, I'd rather Francine Pascal had written about Jar...moreI finally understand what nerdboys felt towards George Lucas after the release of Episode 1. In fact, I'd rather Francine Pascal had written about Jar Jar Binks than this. But here's the thing -- I still would've read it. Sweet Valley High is...was such a fond childhood memory for me that no amount of 1 or 2 star reviews would've deterred me from getting it right when it came out. And I'm sure a lot of other people feel the same way. Maybe because I read SVH when I was so impressionable and young (and re-read and re-read them because my mom would only buy me 2 books at a time), I remember so many aspects and details of the characters and the plots. The problem is, I don't think Francine Pascal does.
Sweet Valley Confidential Elizabeth and Jessica are Wakefields in name and matching gold lavaliere necklace only. The characters are unidentifiable, even when accounting for the 10 year lapse since Sweet Valley High. While reading this book, the thought that kept coming up was, Who ARE these people?! And despite Ms. Pascal's references to Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Facebook, AND Twitter, it felt dated and contrived, like when my mom started talking about Facebook after seeing the Time Magazine article last year and acted like it was the coolest, newest thing ever. After the Twitter reference, I thought, No Tumblr??
Bottom line: This book is for diehard Sweet Valley High fans only. It won't make fans of people unfamiliar with the books and it won't treat well the people who so lovingly kept SVH alive all these years.
Update (1 hour after finishing the book): I now have a paralyzing fear that Ann M. Martin is going to write an update to Baby Sitter's Club where it's revealed that Kristy molested all the kids on Kristy's Krushers.