Yeah, okay, so this is the Incest Book. That's all I knew about it going in, so I was rather surprised to find that it's also a heartbreakingly accuraYeah, okay, so this is the Incest Book. That's all I knew about it going in, so I was rather surprised to find that it's also a heartbreakingly accurate portrait of a family in crisis. Their dad is long gone, and their mother is an alcoholic who treats them with a level of neglect so profound that it's basically child abuse. So Maya and Lochan, the oldest kids, are put into the position of being parents to their three younger siblings, in addition to going to school and still basically being kids themselves. They live in perpetual fear of social services finding out about their situation, but at times I was like Jesus Christ, I'm pretty sure social services taking over your family would be better than this. Dear parents everywhere: Take some fucking responsibility for your kids, even if you never wanted them.
In contrast to that, Maya and Lochan's love story seems kind of incidental, at least at first. The way their romance is described is typical of YA "forbidden love" romance, with the melodrama and the jealousy and the FEELINGS, so I wasn't all that invested in it for most of the book. I cared way more about what was going to happen to their family than what would happen to their romance. But in the end, both stories came together in a conclusion that actually made me cry. I got the feeling that things weren't going to end happily for our couple—how could they?—but I wasn't expecting actual tears, so, good job, Suzuma.
A couple of notes:
- This is set in the UK, and everything is British, so it really threw me when the characters kept talking about "soccer." Doesn't everyone know by now that there's a difference between American football and rest-of-the-world football? If not, they should learn, not have everything Americanized for them. Grr.
- The book is told in alternating perspectives between Maya and Lochan, and Lochan's voice sounded much more authentic and unique to me. His descriptions of his social anxiety and panic attacks were vivid and detailed. Maya's sections were fine, but there was nothing to really distinguish them as coming from Maya.
- Incest in fiction has never really bothered me. It only bothers me when it seems unrealistic, and I had a bit of trouble grasping why Maya and Lochan were so drawn to each other romantically when most siblings are disgusted at the very thought. But consensual incest does happen, even among siblings who were raised together. It probably happens more often than people think, given that the taboo against incest keeps people from speaking up. Regardless of how often it happens, though, I'm pretty sure consensual incest shouldn't be illegal. There's no justification for making it against the law, except "but it's gross," which is no justification at all.
- Everything about sex in this book is very carefully written. To most readers, it's clear what's going on, but for a younger reader who doesn't know much about sex, there are no explicit terms or "bad words" to spell it out for you. It's a difficult line to walk in YA fiction, but Suzuma does it pretty well.
- I definitely see why people get to the end of this book and immediately hit the five-star rating button, but the rest of the book didn't live up to the ending for me. It just wasn't well-written enough. So, three stars for the book. Four for the ending....more
Like Etienne St. Clair, Cricket Bell charms the reader as well as the main character--I kind of wanJust as sweet and sexy as Anna and the French Kiss.
Like Etienne St. Clair, Cricket Bell charms the reader as well as the main character--I kind of wanted to make out with him myself by the end. I also adored the descriptions of Lola's many outfits. Perkins has a great eye for details that make the characters come to life. Can't wait to read Isla and the Happily Ever After!...more
Going into this, I didn't know it was going to be an epistolary novel, written entirely in emails. I miUtterly charming, like everything Cabot writes.
Going into this, I didn't know it was going to be an epistolary novel, written entirely in emails. I might not have been as interested if I had known, but Meg Cabot pulls it off with style. The email format allows for a lot of hilarious irony, and reading between the lines actually makes the story more fun.
The plot is a romance classic: Boy meets girl. Boy pretends to be someone else. Boy and girl fall in love. Girl finds out boy isn't who he says he is. Hijinks ensue! The heroine, Mel, is the prototypical Meg Cabot character: a Midwestern transplant to New York who's funny, sweet, concerned about others, and kind to animals and old ladies. There are a lot of celebrity-gossip references that are a little dated now, but not too dated. There's also a bit of an attempted-murder mystery going on.
This is the third Meg Cabot series I've read and while Heather Wells is still my favorite, I liked this one a lot. Cabot is comfort reading for me, and this book was no exception....more
Lizzie isn't quite as naive in this one as she was in Queen of Babble, and she no longer says "stiffy" (a vast improvement). There are still a lot ofLizzie isn't quite as naive in this one as she was in Queen of Babble, and she no longer says "stiffy" (a vast improvement). There are still a lot of things that go over her head, though, but when she wises up, she adapts admirably. I still prefer Heather Wells' cynicism, but I can't help but root for Lizzie as she tries to make it in New York on her own.
My favorite parts are actually the restoring-wedding-dresses parts, because there Lizzie is really able to shine and show her competence. Also, fashion nerdery. Lizzie understands the language of fashion, how a garment can say multiple things, and that's never more true than at weddings, when everyone is watching.
I predicted most of the romantic plot twists from a mile away, but Meg Cabot's books are always so much fun that I don't really care. And they're always hilarious. Can't wait to read the next one after that cliffhanger ending!...more
Dear Sarah Dessen, HOW ARE YOUR BOOKS SO GOOD. NO BUT FOR REAL THOUGH. Sincerely, a fan who read almost all of this book in one sitting and cried likeDear Sarah Dessen, HOW ARE YOUR BOOKS SO GOOD. NO BUT FOR REAL THOUGH. Sincerely, a fan who read almost all of this book in one sitting and cried like a baby....more
I spent the first third of this book worrying I was going to hate it. Instead of the delightful snark and mystery-solvingOkay, Meg Cabot, you got me.
I spent the first third of this book worrying I was going to hate it. Instead of the delightful snark and mystery-solving of the Size 12 Is Not Fat series, this one starts with a heroine who is impossibly naive, shallow and insecure, in love with a guy who is obviously a huge asshole, and showing a tendency to embarrass herself at every turn. I hate humor that relies entirely on embarrassment, and I was worried the whole book was going to be like that.
Thankfully, it wasn't. Once Lizzie wised up and dumped the boyfriend, the book got 300% better, and I read the rest of it with a silly grin on my face. This was the book I was hoping for. Delightful romance, believable character growth, and hilarity. I loved Lizzie's fashion Sherlock Scan abilities, and I recommend Google Image-searching the clothes she wears in the book, because they are totally cute.
Lizzie's penchant for saying the first thing that pops into her head is of course why the book is called Queen of Babble, and it gets her into a lot of sticky situations. But, interestingly, it can also get her out of them. Her big mouth is what leads her to the realization that the jerk boyfriend is no good, and at several points it forces the other characters to be more honest and reveal more of their true selves. I really like that Lizzie's gift of gab is presented as a strength as well as a fault.
I'll definitely be reading the other books in this series....more
Like all of my favorite YA books, Sarah Dessen's books make me want to be a teenager again. To have that transformative experience that comes when eveLike all of my favorite YA books, Sarah Dessen's books make me want to be a teenager again. To have that transformative experience that comes when everything in your life is changing, and you can't help but change, too....more
This book is pretty cute. I expected to like Maureen Johnson's story and John Green's story, but I was surprised how much I liked Lauren Myracle's. I'This book is pretty cute. I expected to like Maureen Johnson's story and John Green's story, but I was surprised how much I liked Lauren Myracle's. I'd never read anything by her before.
The whole time I was reading Lauren's story, I kept thinking "these are the kind of girls I would never have been friends with in high school." They're the popular, mainstream girls who are bright and bubbly with lots of girl friends, while I'd rather hang out with John Green's smart, slightly tortured misfits. I don't tend to read about kids without problems. But even though this was a "popular girls" story, I still liked and empathized with the characters, and the story brought a smile to my face.
This book is good romantic fluff, funny and comforting, perfect for the holidays....more