If you enjoy YA chicklit, you will like this book.
On her very first day of work at her small-town grocery store, fifteen-year-old Ronnie develops a giIf you enjoy YA chicklit, you will like this book.
On her very first day of work at her small-town grocery store, fifteen-year-old Ronnie develops a gigantic crush Nick, a good-looking teenage coworker in the produce department. Gregarious Ronnie seeks advice from various fellow grocery baggers and even adult customers on how to snag Nick's attention. Unfortunately, Ronnie is soon informed by older members of the staff that there is a workplace taboo about coworkers from different departments in the store dating. Ronnie considers this a ridiculous rule and refuses to let it impede her numerous comic attempts to catch Nick's eye.
This is a light-hearted, YA, chick lit romp. It is G-rated and suitable for all ages.
Note that this is not a romantic comedy. It is a typical "dating disasters" chick lit comedy.
I rate this story as follows: Heroine: 4 stars Subcharacters: 4 stars Chick Lit Plot: 4 stars Writing: 4 stars Overall: 4 stars...more
Camy Cavanaugh loved playing football as the only girl on the boys' football team until a knee injury sidelined herTerrific YA, girl-power chick lit!
Camy Cavanaugh loved playing football as the only girl on the boys' football team until a knee injury sidelined her permanently. In the three years since then, she has attempted to fill her life with her beloved volunteer job as a peer tutor--in a classroom at her high school with a bird's eye view of the football team and the boy she had a huge crush on in middle school, quarterback Gavin Madison, who hasn't talked to her since her injury. In addition to being an excellent tutor, Camy has better than average computer skills, though not as much as her computer-genius best friend, and she uses these skills to access a secret website populated with girl-bashing members of the football team. When Camy passes on information about this website to the most popular girl in school, a cheerleader and Gavin's current girlfriend, it becomes a trigger for a battle of the sexes that Camy is reluctantly drawn into the middle of.
I'm not normally a fan of chick lit, whether adult or teen versions, but this is one of the best I've ever read, for the primary reason that it is both "girl power" and "girls united" in its major themes. Instead of a cliche "Mean Girl" cheerleader persecuting the "geeky" heroine, they become part of a team of four girls, none of which, in the normal course of events, would have ever been friends because they are very different. In fact, they are so different, it rather reminds me of the unlikely band of female friends in the popular TV series of a few years ago, "Army Wives."
Generally speaking, the central premise of YA chick lit is the exact opposite of the central premise of romance. Chick lit encourages girls to believe that romance is a barrier to making their most important life goals happen, that romance reduces you to something less than you can be. In contrast, the central ideal of romance is the idea of finding a true friend and task partner in life, a pairing that expands the possibilities of both partners and makes each far larger in character and accomplishment than would be possible if they were not together. Fascinatingly, this book takes these opposite contentions and satisfies both of them in one story in an extremely well-written and satisfying way. In fact, I'd say the book is brilliantly written.
I rate this book as follows:
Main Heroine: 4 stars Subcharacters (Female Cohort): 5 stars Main Male Romantic Interest: 4 stars Secondary Male Romantic Interests: 5 stars Chick Lit Plot: 5 stars Romance Subplots: 5 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars...more
Jules is a senior in high school who is a driven overachiever. The motivation given for her over-the-top perfectionism iCute, G-rated chick lit comedy
Jules is a senior in high school who is a driven overachiever. The motivation given for her over-the-top perfectionism is that she believes her two moms--a very loving, supportive lesbian couple who have been together for decades--are spending a fortune raising her, and she feels very guilty if she doesn't make it well worth their while by hyperachieving, due to her very existence costing them so much money. The romantic interest in the story is the titular "new guy," Alex, who was a member of a classic "one hit wonder" boy band several years ago, a band much like the Monkees of the 1960's who were put together by a band promoter, not a group who, as their band's promoters claimed, came together organically on their own. Until she meets Alex, Jules is determined to not date at all until she gets to college, and her huge goal in life is to get accepted into the highly competitive, Ivy League school, Brown University in Rhode Island. But soon after she meets gorgeous, adorable Alex, she can't resist him and soon starts dating him. Unfortunately, when Alex is drawn into taking the side of her greatest rival at the school, and he doesn't understand that in Jules's eyes by doing so he has betrayed her, their two-week romance hits the rocks when Jules dumps him.
I'm a huge fan of YA comedy, and there is not nearly enough of it offered by publishers or indie authors in my opinion, so I was delighted to encounter this book. My only quibble with the book is the way the publisher has chosen to market it as primarily a romance novel. The center of Jules's story universe is not "the new boy," Alex, as one would expect in a romance novel. Instead, the main plot, what one might call the "A Plot," is a comedic, chick lit version of a classic, YA storyline, the "coming of age" plot. In contrast, the romance is a secondary B Plot in that Jules and Alex spend most of the book not on stage together.
Once I got clear in my mind what kind of story this actually is, I was able to go with the flow of it and enjoy it. If I were thinking of it as a romance, however, I would be disappointed in that we never really get to know Alex. His personality isn't very well developed, though I will say that what we do know of him is sympathetic. He's a very sweet, understanding, mellow guy with a strong sense of tolerance and a well-developed sense of humor--all traits he definitely needs to handle being in a relationship with Jules who, as I've indicated, is very tightly wound.
Anyone who enjoys situation comedies, with their high population of slightly (or totally) narcissistic comic characters, will recognize in Jules a classic comic character who is frequently self-absorbed in her singleminded pursuit of her goals, sometimes to the point of not noticing she is running down other people in her path on her way to where she wants to go. However, like most sympathetic comic characters, she has many redeeming characteristics, in particular her love and loyalty for her pets and her parents. I always enjoy plots, as well, where the lead protagonist's greatest strength is her greatest flaw. In this case her virtue/vice it is her enormous self-discipline. In the positive this trait has brought Jules enormous academic success. In the negative in this story it gives her an imbalanced life and leads her to inadvertently harm herself and others.
There is an excellent growth arc in this book, and overall Jules is a likeable character.
This book is G-rated, without swearing, drinking, drugs or underage sex and, as such, can be enjoyed by all ages.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 4 stars Subcharacters: 4 stars Romantic Interest: 4 stars Coming of Age Plot: 4 stars Romance Subplot: 3 stars Writing: 4 stars Overall: 4 stars
REVIEWER DISCLOSURE: I received an Advance Reviewer Copy (ARC) of this book from NetGalley. The publisher's projected release date is April 5, 2016....more
Fans of "putting on a play" young-adult comedies, such as "Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To Do List" by Janette Ralli Terrific YA romantic comedy
Fans of "putting on a play" young-adult comedies, such as "Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To Do List" by Janette Rallison, classic John Hughes teen comedies such as "Sixteen Candles" from 1984, or the adult romantic comedy movie, "You've Got Mail," will greatly enjoy this fast, fun comedy of errors.
Cassie is an almost-sixteen sophomore who has never been kissed, mainly because, as a shy introvert, she's never dated. Her two best friends insist it's past time for her to launch herself into the world of dating, and they set a deadline that before she turns sixteen in a few weeks, she must kiss a high school boy. Ideally, it would be someone she is attracted to and is dating, but her friends proclaim that being kissed is the paramount necessity, and they have a ten-step plan for accomplishing the goal of shoving Cassie out of her shell.
When they announce their mission to Cassie, it immediately becomes obvious to her friends that though Cassie is at the Volkswagen (or even motor scooter) level of the school's social hierarchy, she has Ferrari tastes. Gorgeous, popular Ryan is, even as a sophomore, one of the hottest guys in school, way out of Cassie's league, and she's had a hopeless crush on him for ages. Not only doesn't he even know she's alive, he has a girlfriend, a cheerleader named Amber who is Cassie's complete opposite. She's as good-looking and outgoing as Ryan, a co-equal member of the school's elite, and her family is almost as prosperous as his. What Ryan doesn't seem to realize, though, is a major flaw in Amber that is glaringly evident to everyone else at school--she doesn't know the meaning of fidelity, as she blatantly cheats on him with multiple boys.
As part of their plan to put Cassie where she has a chance to interact with kissable boys, her friends urge Cassie to try out for the school play, something her BFF's do every year and Cassie never has. No one is surprised when Ryan wins the male lead and Amber is selected as his leading lady, and Cassie is relieved that she herself is only offered a small, non-speaking part. But unfortunately for her issues with shyness, Cassie is also chosen as Amber's understudy. Because of Amber's flakiness about showing up for play practice, the director commands Cassie to take Amber's place, and she's overwhelmed by the simultaneously thrilling and terrifying experience of acting the part of Ryan's beloved on stage.
This is an extremely cute story that is a terrific combination of chick-lit-style, comic, relationship disasters and sweetly sexy romance. Cassie is the classic, naive heroine, and Ryan is a fascinating combination of socially savvy male and seemingly clueless cuckold. In the midst of the comedy, though, Ryan's motivation for staying loyal to his unfaithful girlfriend is carefully and believably exposed.
In addition to the comedy created by the main storyline of the kissless Cassie, there are many moments of laugh-out-loud humor generated by the antics of two marvelous subcharacters who are my particular favorites in this book, the school's coach, who also teaches science, and Cassie's younger brother.
Though this isn't a traditional romance in the sense that Ryan is not technically available to potentially date Cassie for most of the book, the plot device of a central romantic conflict of one of the romantic protagonists being tied up in a relationship with an unfaithful partner is a popular, time-honored trope in romantic comedy movies, and it works very well in this book.
I am a huge fan of comedy in general, and romantic comedy in particular, and I am always delighted when I am fortunate enough to encounter YA romantic comedy. It is, sadly, far too rare, with so much emphasis in the YA market on melodramatic plots, whether in the form of family/social drama or horrifying dystopians. It is the proverbial cherry on the top of the sundae when the YA, romantic-comedy author I discover has as much talent as Emily Evans. In my humble opinion, she is a rising star worthy of the ranks of YA luminaries such as Janette Rallison, and I have read with delight every romantic comedy she's written so far.
Parental Guidance: As is the case with all YA books by Ms. Evans, this is a "clean read," with no more overt sexuality contained in the book than kissing, no swearing, and no drunken, underage parties.
I purchased this book in a Kindle edition, and it is well edited and well formatted.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 5 stars Hero: 5 stars Subcharacters: 5 stars (I'd give the coach and the heroine's brother 6 stars if I could!) Comedy-of-Errors Plot: 5 stars Romance Plot: 5 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars
Terrific fourth installment in a fun, paranormal, chick-lit series
Heather Tildy has a much more stressful than normal transition from middle school toTerrific fourth installment in a fun, paranormal, chick-lit series
Heather Tildy has a much more stressful than normal transition from middle school to high school as she begins her freshman year, because she is a ghost handler who is in between assignments and wide open to be latched onto by an opportunistic ghost. Up until the moment the ghost Heather is currently wrangling fulfills what it is hanging around for and moves on, no other ghost can make demands on Heather. But once that ghost is gone, Heather is vulnerable to the next ghost who manages to get its hooks into her.
When ghosts at her school realize that Heather can see and hear them, they loudly plead with her to help them, and Heather knows from hard experience that she has very limited time to size up her numerous petitioners and choose the least-worst from among them. Even though she's, by now, handled multiple ghosts, she still hasn't figured out how to improve the quality of the ghosts accosting her, and she ends up stuck with a middle-aged battle-axe who is the worst ghost poor Heather has had to deal with so far.
The ghost is a control-freak lunch lady who steamrolls the hapless Heather into acting as her living instrument to spread a rigorous regimen of healthy eating. Since Heather lives in Pecan Hills, a backwater area in Georgia where a diet loaded down with fried and processed junk is epidemic among the local population, this is an enormous feat to attempt in her own family, let alone in her school and beyond.
This book is fourth in a series, and I had not read any of the other books before this one. I was easily able to follow the plot, though, because the author does a great job filling in important backstory, including just enough crucial information to avoid confusion, but not so much as to slow down the forward action of the current book.
Heather is a very sympathetic heroine. Though she is constantly overwhelmed by her ghost-handler destiny, she never gives up or gives in, and her many misadventures with ghosts provide lots of laughs.
The Southern setting created by this Georgian author adds uniqueness to the story and is very well done. As someone who was born and raised in the southern part of Missouri and spent time as an adult living in Georgia, I find the Southern culture presented in the story delightfully authentic.
Each book in this series provides Heather with a new love interest and, as is common with chick lit compared to romance novels, the focus is on girl power and dating disasters rather than achieving a committed, romantic relationship.
This book is G-rated, and girls as young as ten will enjoy it. But Heather's adventures are so clever and entertaining, that girls and women of all ages, especially fans of the paranormal and comedy, will love both this particular book and the entire series.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 5 stars Subcharacters: 5 stars Fantasy World-Building: 5 stars Writing: 5 stars Chick-Lit Plot: 5 stars Overall: 5
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley. ...more
When seventeen-year-old Brooke Thomas is invited by Cassie Deegan, the most popular girl in school, to join a secreA fun read for fans of YA chick lit
When seventeen-year-old Brooke Thomas is invited by Cassie Deegan, the most popular girl in school, to join a secret club, Brooke eagerly anticipates that membership will greatly improve her lowly social status. But at the initiation meeting, she learns that the group is called the Boy Swap Club, and the only reason Brooke has been invited to join is because she has "a desirable boyfriend," a fellow band geek Brook has been dating for four months. Brooke agrees with the assessment about her boyfriend Chris, whom she regards as quite handsome, though she hadn't until now realized that the popular girls shared her opinion. Confused and overwhelmed by what is at stake in the Boy Swap Club, Brooke allows herself to be pressured into signing a pledge that consists of four startling rules:
1) Never hog your boyfriend all to yourself. 2) Never get mad at a sister member for dating your guy. 3) Don't go all the way with any of the swapped guys. 4) And never, ever, fall in love with any guys involved in the swap.
Within days of committing herself to the club, Brooke painfully discovers that these rules have concrete consequences when Cassie starts hitting on Chris, and Brooke's assumption that her boyfriend would never cheat on her is proved horrifyingly incorrect.
This book reads like a classic plot for a comic teen movie such as "Mean Girls," and I can easily imagine it optioned to become a film. As is typical for chick lit, the story focuses almost exclusively on girl power rather than romance, though there is a bit of romance in a significant subplot. There are many humorous moments as mild-mannered Brooke becomes the "worm that turned," working hard to outwit Cassie and beat her at her own game.
Fans of YA chick lit will find this an entertaining read.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 5 stars Subcharacters: 5 stars Chick Lit Plot: 4 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author to enable me to read it so I could write a review. ...more
Conclusion of a trilogy of young adult, time travel novels with a romance subplot
This is the third and final book of the Ruby Red Trilogy. These youngConclusion of a trilogy of young adult, time travel novels with a romance subplot
This is the third and final book of the Ruby Red Trilogy. These young-adult, time-travel novels are by a German author and have been translated, to date, into 26 languages.
Sixteen-year-old heroine Gwyneth Shepherd (Gwen) is the "Ruby," a crucial addition to an existing, mysterious Circle of Twelve who are all time travelers. The main villain of the series is Count Saint-Germain, the founder of the Circle. He was born in 1703, and was the first to utilize a chronograph to prevent uncontrolled time jumps. In addition to the ability to travel through time, he has several other magical abilities which are revealed in this book.
In Book 1, Ruby Red, we are introduced to Gwen's world. Her cousin Charlotte Montrose, who is almost exactly Gwen's age, has been trained all her life as the one person of her family this generation who is presumed to have inherited the time travel gene--until the day that, out of the blue, Gwen has a terrifying experience of unexpected and uncontrolled time travel. From that moment on, it becomes obvious that she, not Charlotte, is the Ruby, their family's designated time traveler.
In Ruby Red and its sequel, Sapphire Blue, Gwen struggles to catch up with all the studies she needs to complete in order to safely time travel. Her assigned companion for all of her official time-travel excursions is handsome, arrogant, eighteen-year-old Gideon de Villiers, who is the Diamond of the Circle of Twelve. Gwen and Gideon experience many misadventures of varying complexity and danger in Books 1 and 2, and those adventures continue in Emerald Green. Across all three books, Gwen grows increasingly infatuated with Gideon, in spite of the fact that he blows hot and cold in the romantic interest he displays toward her.
In addition to being a time traveler, Gwen can see ghosts, and in Sapphire Blue, she acquires a quirkily bizarre companion named Xemerius. He is the ghost of a demon in the form of a stone gargoyle whom only Gwen can see. To me, he is reminiscent of Quasimodo's humorous gargoyle companions, Victor, Hugo, and Laverne, in Disney's animated movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Xemerius is extremely chatty and disruptive of Gwen's life, but he proves his worth as a valuable friend to Gwen on multiple occasions by running spying missions for her to discover what the adults who are part of the Circle are hiding from her.
I would not label this series "paranormal romance," because the romance with Gideon is not the main focus of the story, and it is very slow to develop. Instead, the A-Plot consists of Gwen's time travel adventures and the mystery of who the villain is and what he wants. In short, if readers approach this series not expecting intensity and passion between Gwen and Gideon, they can avoid needless disappointment. My own labeling of this series is that it is chick-lit time travel, because Gwen is a classic, chick-lit, adorably hapless, slapstick heroine. I don't personally see that as a negative. I'm always happy to discover any YA book, in a field saturated with extremely dark, post-Hunger Games dystopians, that is light and humorous in tone.
I experienced the first two books in this trilogy as audiobooks, but I was not patient enough to wait for the audiobook version of Emerald Green as the third and final book of this internationally bestselling series, so I snagged the first copy I could lay my hands on through Amazon's Vine program. However, if the audiobook that eventually comes out is of the same quality as the other two, it will be well worth owning.
The world-building and magic of this series is not particularly complex, and it is G-rated enough that all ages can potentially enjoy it, from preteen to adult. It is very much a "clean read" series, avoiding swearing, sexual situations, and drugs. There is only one scene involving drinking in Book 2 when Gwen accidentally gets drunk at an 18th century party because she doesn't realize there is strong liquor in the delicious punch.
Ghost Handlers #1, fun, chick lit, ghost story for young teens
This is the first book in a fun, paranormal YA series about Heather Tiley, a fourteen-y Ghost Handlers #1, fun, chick lit, ghost story for young teens
This is the first book in a fun, paranormal YA series about Heather Tiley, a fourteen-year-old girl who attracts ghosts.
It's the summer before her freshman year and geeky Heather, who has endured years of ridicule from her peers because she suffers from multiple skin and respiratory allergies, is determined to reinvent herself by convincing her pretty, popular, older sister Audrey to back her as she enters the brave new world of high school in the fall. Unfortunately, just as Heather is reaching out to win over her sister, Heather's first period arrives, accompanied by a disastrous development--Heather can see ghosts, and most of them are unnervingly demanding.
The only silver lining in this horrifying situation is that Heather can apparently only be compelled to wrangle one ghost at a time. But the one who latches onto her is an overwhelmingly boisterous ten-year-old girl from the 1800's named Amy who makes incessant demands on Heather to entertain her.
The only way for Heather to offload Amy, and escape the embarrassing situations she constantly creates, is to figure out what is holding the little girl in this realm. But Amy refuses to cooperate, and it will take every bit of ingenuity Heather can muster to ferret out the mischievous ghost's secrets.
It was a treat discovering this lighthearted, G-rated, YA paranormal novel in the midst of a sea of dark, R-rated YA in today's marketplace. There is a tendency among many reviewers to label any book that is not "edgy" as "middle-grade," but I do not view this book that way. Yes, it is a "clean" enough read that girls as young as 10-11 can safely read it, but it is a solid-enough story that teens as old as 15 will enjoy it as well, and adults who are fans of the YA genre will definitely find this a very entertaining read. The story is filled with comic adventure, the characters are lively and three-dimensional, and Heather is a likeable, warm-heartedly hapless heroine.
I would label this book as both a comic coming-of-age tale and chick lit. The emphasis is on Heather's various relationships, family, friends, social enemies and, of course, ghosts.
Young adult, multicultural, "clean read" chick lit
Holly is a fifteen-year-old Korean-American whose three best friends are a geeky boy who is ChineseYoung adult, multicultural, "clean read" chick lit
Holly is a fifteen-year-old Korean-American whose three best friends are a geeky boy who is Chinese-American, a beautiful, rich girl who is Persian-American, and a Euro-American girl whose parents are hippie types. They attend a public high school in San Diego, and Holly writes a snappy column in her school newspaper about surviving life as a sophomore.
This humorous, chick-lit, multicultural, young-adult novel alternates between Holly's school life and her home life in a large, extended Korean family. Holly has a quite assertive temperament, and she is constantly butting heads with her mother, who is even more forceful and stubborn than Holly. Like most teenagers, Holly is striving to discover her own unique personality and life goals, something that the American culture of individualism strongly encourages. Unfortunately, her mother, as a first-generation immigrant from a country with a more communal approach to life, feels that Holly's desire to be independent is a slap in the face of the values of respect and obedience that her mother prizes.
I had an opportunity some years ago to form friendships with young women who had recently immigrated to the US from Korea and others whose mothers were first-generation Korean immigrants. Based on that experience, from my perspective, the portrayal of Korean-American family life in this novel seems accurately and sympathetically done. I also see some fascinating resemblances in Holly's parents to my own German-American grandparents, who were the offspring of immigrants and who taught values to their children similar to those of Holly's family, loyalty and strong interconnection between the members of their large, extended family of 12 children and over 50 grandchildren. Like Holly's family, we frequently got together to socialize, and my aunts and uncles were a constant support network to each other. As the saying goes, we are a nation of immigrants, and a story like this is a vivid and fascinating reminder to all of us of our own first-generation-American roots.
I found Holly's relationships outside her family to be of great interest as well. Her snarky observations of high school life in general are humorously entertaining, and I really enjoyed her close connections with her three best friends.
This book is G-rated enough for preteens in that it avoids foul language, sexual situations, drinking and drugs. However, I would not therefore assume it is a "middle-grade" novel, as I've noticed some YA reviewers tend to do for any teen novel that is not "gritty" in its subject matter. This is definitely YA fiction, with a story line that is interesting enough that readers of all ages will enjoy it.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 4 stars Subcharacters: 4 stars Family Dramedy Plot: 4 stars School Reporter Plot: 4 stars Writing: 4 stars Overall: 4 stars...more
Chelsea Halloway reigns supreme at her high school, but her home life is a shambles due to her parents' goiBook 3 of the YA, chick-lit, Awkward series
Chelsea Halloway reigns supreme at her high school, but her home life is a shambles due to her parents' going through a vicious divorce. In addition, her mother frequently belittles Chelsea's intelligence, and it's impossible for her to avoid taking those cutting comments seriously because Chelsea's boyfriend recently dumped her for the smartest girl in school. Then, as if her life wasn't already in bad enough shape, Chelsea's parents decide to ship her off to Cambodia for a study-abroad trip. Chelsea is completely out of her element, not only because it is a foreign country whose language she doesn't speak, but because everyone else on the trip is a college student. Worst of all, their group runs afoul of a dangerous drug lord, and it's clear to Chelsea that the professor in charge of their trip isn't capable of saving them. It's up to her to figure out a way to get them all out of the country alive.
This is the third book in the young-adult, chick-lit, Awkward series. It has a hugely different focus than the first two books, not merely because the protagonist is the quintessential "Mean Girl" who has been an unlikeable antagonist in the first two books, but also because the setting is completely different. Rather than occurring in the familiar YA setting of a typical high school in the United States, it takes place in an exotic, foreign country, and the story includes elements of action-adventure, rather than the non-dangerous, chick-lit, comedy of errors offered in the rest of this series. There is still plenty of humor, though, and Chelsea is a sympathetic heroine because she grows tremendously in this story, demonstrating a great deal of moral and physical courage under very trying circumstances.
There is a romantic subplot in this book, but the main focus is "girl power," as is the case for both of the other books in this series. Overall, this is an amusing and endearing chick lit novel, and anyone who enjoys that type of comedy will find this an entertaining read.
Wonderful young-adult chick lit with a terrific romantic subplot
Seventeen-year-old Mackenzie Wellesley is an excellent student, but she's unfortunatelWonderful young-adult chick lit with a terrific romantic subplot
Seventeen-year-old Mackenzie Wellesley is an excellent student, but she's unfortunately both socially and physically awkward. Her clumsiness has become a way of life for her during the past ten years, ever since she tripped at a ballet recital, yanked down a curtain, and exposed her father's kissing her dancing instructor. Mack has blamed herself for the resulting divorce, and has been estranged from her father ever since, because he remarried, moved out of state and essentially abandoned poor Mack. As a result, she has been distrustful of the entire male sex, other than her kind and light-hearted, gay best friend Corey, and she has never dated. In addition, Mack has purposely chosen to remain socially invisible, existing on the outskirts of the various social groups at her high school. Her only relationship other than Corey is her other best friend, Jane, a fellow, studious, introverted geek, until the day that Mack accidentally knocks down a huge football player with her backpack. While he is lying, stunned, on the ground, Mack assumes his life is in danger, and unknown to her, a fellow student records her hysterical and wildly funny attempt at administering CPR on the fallen jock. When the video is posted on YouTube, Mack becomes an overnight sensation, originally due to being a laughingstock, but soon after because a famous boy band cuts clips of the infamous CPR video into their own music video of one of their most popular songs. This new mashup video receives millions of hits, and paparazzi begin stalking Mack everywhere she goes.
This is a humorous and endearing chick lit novel. Mack is an extremely sympathetic heroine, and her overwhelmed but witty reactions to the events surrounding her YouTube fame are enormously entertaining. I love her existing best friends Corey and Jane, as well as the new friends Mack makes after she is catapulted from obscurity to a national limelight.
I was also delighted with the terrific romance subplot. Mack's love interest, Logan, is a great guy, and the repartee between him and Mack is my favorite part of the book. Amidst all the other craziness befalling poor Mack, there isn't as much on-stage time with Logan as I would personally have liked, because he is one of the best YA male love interests I've read this year--not just a handsome face but compassionate, responsible and very smart.
I'm looking forward to reading more books by this talented author. Mack's friend Jane has her own novel in the sequel, Invisible.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 5 stars Subcharacters; 5 stars Chick-Lit Plot: 5 stars Romantic Subplot with Logan: 5 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars
Sixteen-year-old Maggie is a brilliant safecracker who's been helping her international-spy parents with theirHilarious YA, chick-lit, spy-caper novel
Sixteen-year-old Maggie is a brilliant safecracker who's been helping her international-spy parents with their assignments since early childhood, the three of them assuming a string of false identities as they expose high-level crime all over the planet. In the course of Maggie's adventurous life, however, there is one experience she's never had--high school. Until the moment she's offered her first solo assignment in New York City, she's always been home schooled. Now she'll attend a $30,000/year exclusive private school in Manhattan in order to befriend Jesse, a boy her age who is the son of a mega-rich media mogul who is about to break a story that could ruin the lives of Maggie and her parents--and many other spies in their secret organization. Maggie is thrilled to have a chance to prove her mettle as a spy, but two major problems stand in her way: she's intensely attracted to handsome, witty Jesse, and she forms an unlikely but important friendship with Roux, a former Mean Girl who has been a social outcast since the previous school year when she slept with her best friend's boyfriend.
This book is primarily a chick-lit, spy-caper novel, and Maggie's relationships with her unconventional-but-loving parents and her lock-picking mentor, Angelo (who may or may not be an assassin) are simply terrific. Angelo is one of the most amazing characters I've seen in a YA novel in years. His tenderness toward Maggie is lovely, and the mysterious nature of his spy work adds an additional dimension to him that is fascinating. The requisite orphaning necessary for all YA protagonists so they can fight their own battles is not achieved via the common means employed in YA of parental neglect, incompetence, or general cluelessness. Instead it happens because of the nature of Maggie's spy assignment.
I loved Maggie's friendship with Roux, who is both extremely funny and very touching as she learns the true meaning of friendship for the first time ever as she connects with Maggie.
The romance with Jesse is absolutely wonderful. I am a sucker for clever repartee between the heroine and her love interest in a comedy, and this book is full of funny dialogue between them.
Both relationships are a first for Maggie, who has never had the chance to be around kids her age. All three teens have been wounded by past life experiences, and it is very moving to see how being together strengthens and heals all of them.
There is plenty of action-adventure in the story as well. The climax is very exciting, and the resolution of the story is supremely emotionally satisfying.
I have no idea if the author plans a sequel, but if she does, there is plenty of room for more comic spy adventures for Maggie and crew. I'm also very grateful that all the loose ends are tied up in this story so we are not left with an aggravating cliffhanger.
Fans of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series will love this book, as will fans of Investigating the Hottie by Juli Alexander.
Seventeen-year-old Dessy Gherkin is a straight-A student from small-town Ohio who receives the chance of a lifetimA wild romp of young-adult chick lit
Seventeen-year-old Dessy Gherkin is a straight-A student from small-town Ohio who receives the chance of a lifetime due to the intervention of her adventurous, long-time best friend, Veronica Knox. Without Dessy's knowledge, Veronica submits a humorous essay the two of them wrote together to a prestigious writing program which will be held in Prague the summer before their senior year. Amazingly, they are both accepted and assigned to the fiction workshop led by Veronica's mother, a famous literary novelist. They are the only two high school students among dozens of college students attending the writing program.
Dessy had been moping the entire month prior to the trip to Prague, because her boyfriend and fellow geek, Hamilton Stacks, dumped her, giving the excuse that he was heading to university and didn't want to maintain a long-distance relationship. Bouncy, bossy Veronica is determined to take Dessy's mind off Hamilton, whom Dessy persists in believing will eventually come back to her, in spite of glaring evidence to the contrary. Veronica insists that the cure for Dessy's Hamilton fixation is to get interested in other guys, and Prague is just the place to do it. Rather than taking the writing workshop seriously, Veronica is determined to spend her time hunting down "hot-dudes," and drags the reluctant Veronica along with her.
This is a hilarious buddy story with the classic chick-lit theme of dating disasters. Dessy is the "straight man" of this sprightly pairing, playing the part of the stooge and comic foil, who is constantly shocked, awed, or physically bowled over by the wild and crazy antics of willful Veronica.
Veronica's continual volley of her personal impressions of the people around her, her endless plots for for the greater glory of her life and Dessy's, and her occasional startlingly accurate insights fuel this book from start to finish. Beneath all the comedy, though, there is a strong coming-of-age throughline. Dessy begins this story emotionally dependent on the important people in her life, to the extent that, in every area outside her studies she is a passive follower. Veronica has always taken advantage of that, because she loves to lead, and she starts out the book dragging Dessy behind her everywhere she goes. Over the course of this fast-paced, witty novel, though, both girls learn to moderate the extremes they've been living, and their relationship survives and prospers because they both share the important virtue of loyalty to and support for each other.
As someone who has attended many literary-fiction workshops while in grad school, I personally thought the author does a dead-on send-up of the unconsciously comic, self-involved pretentiousness of the participants of such workshops. The author also does a great job with her unusual setting, bringing Prague alive for her audience without ever sliding into boring travelogue.
Fans of Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski, the Demon Princess series by Michelle Rowen, and the Magic in Manhattan series by Sarah Mlynowski will especially enjoy this book.
I read this as a Kindle edition. It is well-formatted and edited.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 4 stars Subcharacters: 4 stars Chick-Lit Plot: 5 stars Setting: 5 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 4.5 stars rounded to 5 stars ...more
Seventeen-year-old Devi Banks will graduate high school in a few weeks, and the sole thing she's dedicated hersCute contemporary, paranormal chick lit
Seventeen-year-old Devi Banks will graduate high school in a few weeks, and the sole thing she's dedicated herself to for the past three and a half years, her relationship with her boyfriend Bryan, has blown up in her face. He is planning to attend a university in Montreal, and he doesn't want them to have a long-distance relationship. He and Devi have been joined at the hip for so long, he claims he needs to rediscover who he is separate from her.
Devi is heartbroken--and enraged. She sacrificed everything for Bryan, and she has nothing to show for it. Because she let her grades slide and participated in no extracurricular activities, her qualifications for admission at a university are so poor, her only option is to attend a community college. She also has no one to mourn her losses with her, because she abandoned her three best friends soon after she started dating Bryan, and her parents are too wrapped up in their own misery to care about Devi's. Her father was laid off, and her mother is working a job she hates to replace his lost income.
While standing by a fountain in the mall where people regularly toss in nickles to make a wish, Devi wishes she could go back in time to her freshman year when she began dating Bryan and warn her younger self to avoid him like the plague. Immediately after that, Devi's cell phone slips out of her hand and lands in the fountain far enough away that she has to wade in and get it. After much hassle, she locates it lying on top of a pile of make-a-wish nickles. Water destroys cell phones, but after Devi retrieves hers, she frantically starts jabbing buttons, just in case, and discovers there is only one thing it can do: place one-way calls to a strange girl who insists her name is Devi Banks.
After multiple laugh-out-loud moments of back-and-forth confusion, Devi discovers to her amazement that the strange girl is herself--at 14! Somehow, some way, her wish has been granted to nip in the bud a number of bad freshman decisions that have led to her current dead-end life.
Older Devi nicknames the younger version of herself "Frosh," but dubs herself, "Ivy," the favorite name of both the younger and older Devi, and this is only the beginning of Ivy-Devi taking complete control of Frosh-Devi's life. Frosh is naive and impressionable, and the much more forceful Ivy easily overwhelms her. Ivy insists that Frosh overcome her natural tendency to laziness, not in a gradual way, but going from one extreme to the other, studying like crazy and pursuing multiple extracurricular activities, so that Ivy can get into a decent university. The biggest demand of all, though, is that Frosh absolutely refuse to have anything to do with Bryan when he asks her out for their fateful first date.
This is delightful chick lit with a wonderful, paranormal, time-travel twist. Though Ivy has the laudable intention of providing both herself and Frosh with a better future, her misguided methods involve comic extremes, and there is a great deal of amusing irony in the fact that Ivy is constantly nagging Frosh to work harder than Ivy ever did in her life. It is also funny in a mind-bending way to observe Ivy's world warping around her like a cosmic kaliedoscope in response to every destiny-changing action that Ivy pushes Frosh to take.
The juxtaposition of sweet, naive Frosh with cynical, narcissistic Ivy, as two sides of the same Devi Banks, has the happy effect of allowing the reader to experience Ivy as more sympathetic than she would otherwise be. She isn't just running roughshod over any young girl who looks up to her--she's running roughshod over a version of herself.
Finally, in spite of all the madcap mayhem, the author subtly conveys a significant "girl power" message: getting obsessed with a boyfriend in high school can result in losing important female friendships and detrimentally impacting a girl's higher-education opportunities.
I read this book as a Kindle version, and it is well formatted and edited.