Find an updated review for this book on my blog: Natflix&Books where I explain the jump from four to five stars.
I loved Girls in White Dresses. I...more Find an updated review for this book on my blog: Natflix&Books where I explain the jump from four to five stars.
I loved Girls in White Dresses. I flew through it, ignoring almost everything else to get to the end. Each chapter is written like a short story, which is my favorite format for a novel. It is melancholy and funny and just oh-so-true. It tells the stories of a group of friends after college as they start to navigate their lives in the city. Their jobs and relationships, wedding showers of friends they are mostly happy for, actual weddings, pregnancy, holding on to the guys who aren't really right because at least they aren't alone, the fading of friendship with girls they were so close to during those college years.
My only complaint, and the reason I can not give this book five stars is that it was impossible to keep all of the girls straight. There are a couple of girls who are the 'main characters', but some of the stories were about girls who were mentioned earlier, but I couldn't remember details--and I read this almost straight through. Even with some of the more prominent characters, I would ask, 'now, Lauren was the waitress with the bad bartender boyfriend, right?' and have to flip back to make sure that I was thinking of the right character. If this was intentional on the author's part, a kind of statement about how girls of this age are all the same, then she did it brilliantly. Regardless, it was was sometimes confusing, and slowed down the narrative.
Don't let that deter you, though. I honestly did love this book. I loved the style, I cared about the characters, her writing is fresh and introspective and I wished it was longer. I can't wait to see what Jennifer Close writes next. (less)
So E. Lockhart is amazing. She just is. Her Ruby books (the Boyfriend List, etc) are absolutely wonderful and this book, The Disreputable History of F...moreSo E. Lockhart is amazing. She just is. Her Ruby books (the Boyfriend List, etc) are absolutely wonderful and this book, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, is spectacular. Ms. Lockhart has this way of writing these seemingly innocent YA adult books that appear to be about boys and cuteness, but that is not what they are. Frankie and Ruby are smart, deep, complicated teenage girls that could be anyone. They could be your best friend, sister or next-door neighbor. Urgh, I want to say they could be you--that is just too cheesy--but it's true.
Frankie is the girl I wish I had been in high school. She's who I wish I was now, years past my teenaged self. She is brilliant and funny and just a little boy-crazy. She is a sophomore at Alabaster, a prestigous boarding school, that her father and sister attended before her. She is newly hot and has caught the eye of a popular senior boy named Matthew. Matthew comes with a group of boys that are fun to be around and Frankie enjoys the perks of being Matthew's girlfriend and being in this group of popular upperclassmen.
It is during their first date, a late-night party on the golf course, that Frankie realizes that Matthew is a part of an 'old-boys' secret society. The same society that her own father was a part of during his time at Alabaster. She realizes that not only is he a member, but that he and his best friend, a boy named Alpha, are the leaders. Frustrated that she is unable to infiltrate this club because of her sex and angry that Matthew keeps his membership a secret, Frankie finds a way to control its members from the outside. Her own relationship with Alpha is complicated and there is an unspoken power-play between the two for Matthew's attention, which may or may not be spawned from their own sexual attraction. The love interest(s) in this book aren't what it is about. Frankie's relationships with other people are important, but the heart of this book is Frankie's brain, which is what makes it so special and wonderful.
What makes it unique is that the reader can see the way Frankie's mind and opinions are changing. She is enrolled in a class that is studying the panopticon, which is a theory that the threat of always being watched makes the actual watching almost completely unnecessary, which is opening her mind to her world at a boarding school. The class is exploring the ways in which different groups around America have shaken up the establishment. Excerpts from papers she writes for this class are sprinkled throughout the text showing the way her schooling is affecting her thinking--which is almost never explored in YA fiction.
Frankie doesn't just want to be the cute girlfriend of the popular boy. It isn't enough. She wants for people to see her as she sees herself. As intelligent and witty and worthwhile. This book is an ode to girl-power and should be mandatory reading for girls of all ages. (less)
I've spent the past few days re-reading some old favorites, starting with this. Anna and the French Kiss is an awesome book. It's quick and satisfying...moreI've spent the past few days re-reading some old favorites, starting with this. Anna and the French Kiss is an awesome book. It's quick and satisfying and well-written. Anna is one of those rare teen girl characters that rings completely true. The intense concurrent crushes, the family relationships, the friendships at the new school. What makes this book is will-they or won't-they relationship between her and St. Clair, the yummy English/American who has a college freshman girlfriend. The budding romance from friendship is just like high school and made me look back on my own delicious teenage crush with a halcyon fondness. I highly recommend this book to girls and women everywhere and my only complaint is the stupid title that makes it somewhat embarrassing to read in public. (less)
I finished re-reading the Hunger Games last night. If it's possible, I might have enjoyed it more on the second read. Knowing what was coming made me...moreI finished re-reading the Hunger Games last night. If it's possible, I might have enjoyed it more on the second read. Knowing what was coming made me savor the book-unlike the first time when I was just breathlessly reading to get to the end. If you haven't read it, the Hunger Games is a look into a dystopian future where North America has been divided into 12 districts that are each responsible for one export: coal, fish, agriculture, etc. It focuses on Katniss, a teenager from district 12 (coal) who illegally hunts outside of her districts gates to keep her younger sister and mother alive. Each year there is a lottery (so like Shirley Jackson's) in which a girl and a boy from each district are chosen to take part in the hunger games, a fight to the death contest, set up by those in charge in the 'capital', the epicenter of this new world. When Katniss' sister is drawn, she quickly volunteers to take her place. The book follows Katniss on her journey to the capital and into the brutally violent contest. It is an amazing book and even if you don't normally like YA or dystopian futures or fiction or strong female leads or anything else that might make you hesitate to read this-read it anyway.
I adore this series and cannot wait to see what Suzanne Collins writes next. My hope is that the movies don't create the same type of backlash that the Twilight movies did, because the Hunger Games is brillant and deserves the recognization the Hollywood treatment will bring. (less)
Knowing the movie is about to be released on netflix, I picked this up for the fourth or fifth time before watching what I know is going to be an awfu...moreKnowing the movie is about to be released on netflix, I picked this up for the fourth or fifth time before watching what I know is going to be an awful interpretation. I just can't help it, I love to watch the movies adaptations of books I've read. And yes, I am one of those super annoying people who always say 'the book was better', with very few exceptations (The Virgin Suicides being one). What I know before even going in is that there is just no way to capture on screen the truly complicated nature of Rachel's and Darcy's friendship and how Rachel feels about it, about her relationship with Dexter, her ambivalence toward her job, etc. While all of these can be portrayed, it's obvious from the previews that they are going in a rom-com direction. Looking at the pink cover with its engangement ring as an 'o' in borrowed, one would think this is the obvious choice, but while Something Borrowed is chick-lit, it isn't just fluff. Emily Giffin's writing is simply breathtaking. She draws you into her novels, especially the first three, from the first page. You don't just care about the characters, you feel like you know them. Her writing is fluid, and funny, and thoughtful and just plain special. If you enjoy the chick-lit genre I cannot recommend this book enough.