There are so many good things to come out of this book about a very terrible thing.
1. The repeated message of "you did not do anything to make this haThere are so many good things to come out of this book about a very terrible thing.
1. The repeated message of "you did not do anything to make this happen". Being raped is not the victim's fault and the author, the narrator, and various characters in the book hammer this home over and over again. Hermione knows she didn't do anything wrong and that anyone who thinks that way can gfto, including her boyfriend, to whom she says, “If you think I'm going to apologize for being drugged and raped, you have another thing coming.” Preach, girl.
2. The support system and cast of characters around Hermione is varied and well constructed. The author notes at the end that all rape victims might not have this support system Hermione does, and that's unfortunate. I'm glad Hermione has a Polly and supportive parents.
3. I'm going to spoiler cut this because it's all about how Hermione handles some post-assault stuff and is going to be spoilery. (view spoiler)[Options. It would have been so easy to turn this into an after school special about how to have your rapists' baby and survive that. I have so much respect for the author for doing the harder thing, which is speak out about how abortion is an option and sometimes the right choice for a girl in Hermione's position. I'm glad Hermione didn't waver in her choice and did, in the end, what was best for her. (hide spoiler)]
4. How religion played a role in the story, which I'm also going to spoiler cut. (view spoiler)[When Hermione goes to see the local pastor and ask for the church to stop praying for her, the pastor tells her,
“You just want your business back,” he says. “As you should. It’s between you and God, and whomever else you choose to be involved. My door is, at least metaphorically, always open. If someone starts throwing around stupid words like ‘It’s a gift,’ or ‘It’s in God’s plan,’ you come right here, and I’ll find you ten ways in which it isn’t.”
I love this so so so much. Again, this could have been an easy moment the shove religion down our throats, but instead it's a great moment where the reverend is open-minded and supportive of her choices. (hide spoiler)]
5. Lastly, this quote, which makes me love Polly so much:
“And if someone does figure it out and starts a rumour, we’ll just deal with it,” Polly says. “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, and all that crap.” “Do you ever dream of the day when your life can no longer be adequately summarized by Kelly Clarkson songs?” I ask. “All the time,” Polly says.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Delightful, predictable, swoony. I'm a sucker for the "falling in love with your best friend" trope, so that worked for me. I'll definitely tune in foDelightful, predictable, swoony. I'm a sucker for the "falling in love with your best friend" trope, so that worked for me. I'll definitely tune in for the next book in the series.
(One downside, as someone whose dad just had a double bypass and spent two weeks in the hospital, a heads up about the dad health issues would have helped. As it was, I spent like 10 minutes crying in the lobby of a fancy hotel in Kentucky while speech and debaters (I was chaperoning a tournament) judged me.)...more
Rainbow Rowell gave me my favorite exclamation in Eleanor & Park when Park says, "Jesus fuck". How do I feel about this book...?
I pickeRainbow Rowell gave me my favorite exclamation in Eleanor & Park when Park says, "Jesus fuck". How do I feel about this book...?
I picked this up because someone touted it as the next Gone Girl and/or The Girl on the Train, but I don't think it compare to either.
This is an incredibly compelling book but it's also one that makes you feel disgusting and uncomfortable the entire time you're reading it. I can usually deal with weird stuff, but Teo is legitimately a psychopath and pretty much everything he did and said made me shudder.
The writing feels really stilted, understandable because it's the author's English language debut, but the awkward phrasing and style both adds to and detracts from the story. Better writing could have won me over.
Overall, the story is interesting, but it was just OK for me....more
This was really a 3-star book bumped up by several mitigating factors that are particularly important to me:
-Sex positivity! While our MC, Jessie, doeThis was really a 3-star book bumped up by several mitigating factors that are particularly important to me:
-Sex positivity! While our MC, Jessie, doesn't have sex, her bff does, and she's smart and honest about it. She makes the decision that is best for her, weighing consequences and personal choice. They talk protection at length and no one makes anyone feel bad about their decisions. LOVE IT!
-This isn't a story where we're shocked by who the mysterious online boy is. We know who he is. And if you don't know who he is, you're a terrible reader. Instead, it's a story about Jessie figuring it out. We get to watch her waffle (no pun intended) back and forth between boys and finally come to terms with the obvious answer. That said, the ending is really satisfying, in a totally cute romcom kind of way (this is coming from someone who hates romcoms).
-This is definitely an Issues book (dead parents, dead siblings, heroin overdose, money issues, sex, etc.) but it never seems issuey. Everything is very matter-of-fact and crucial to the story/character development.
-The three things discussion is near and dear to my heart. The concept has the possibility to get cheesy in moments, but it works for these characters and their story arc.
-The brother-sister relationship between Theo and Jessie was fantastic. It wasn't instant friendship, but the growing of their relationship over the course of the book seemed real and complicated and full of sass and weed.
But some some cons that didn't detract from my reading experience...except the last one:
-Characters are super rich and white. I mean, it's LA. Diversity is obvious. Any POC would have been welcome, although there is one gay character.
-MC let go of breath she didn't even know she was holding! UGH.
-No teacher would spend TWO MONTHS studying a poem, much less make kids spend those two months talking about a poem once a week with no discernible outcome. Stupid moments like this are what lose me in YA stories....more
I understand why everyone is in love with with book...I just didn't fall in love with it. The premise is interesting, the writing is compelling, but iI understand why everyone is in love with with book...I just didn't fall in love with it. The premise is interesting, the writing is compelling, but it didn't bowl me over like it did with so many other people....more
After the adorable prequel, this was fun, ridiculous, and predictable read, which made for a very entertaining Monday night. I will totally read howevAfter the adorable prequel, this was fun, ridiculous, and predictable read, which made for a very entertaining Monday night. I will totally read however many of these Jen Meyers writes....more
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC. I've been looking forward to this book since I finished Amy Spalding's last book.
Here's the thing thThanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC. I've been looking forward to this book since I finished Amy Spalding's last book.
Here's the thing though, I wanted to badly to love this book, but I didn't. If this review was based on swoon alone, I'd give it 5 stars, but everything else involved ruined that.
First thing, attention authors of YA, if you are going to write about teenagers and high schools, I really recommend you have a teacher beta your books. If not, you write things that make me, as a high school teacher, really mad. Example, it doesn't take a teacher five minutes to take attendance. I realize your characters need that time to catch up on their lives, but it takes me 15 second, 30 seconds at most, to take attendance. By you pointing out that the teacher has to take attendance by looking around and then the kids get five minutes you talk, you just lost any sense of realism you had going. Also, OMFG a student can't be a replacement for a substitute teacher!!!!! Yeah, Jules is super responsible, but she can't be in charge of the class for a week. That's so fucking illegal and gives me hives just to read about. There has to be an adult in that classroom.
Second thing, Jules is insufferable. Yeah, she talks like a teenager and has a great voice, which is awesome and what I love about YA, but she's basically a terrible person. She can't take 30 seconds and text her best friend back but then feels bad when her friends get mad at her for being incommunicado, even though she never ever texts them back. I get she's focused on a boy, but that doesn't excuse her shitty behavior to her friends, to her boyfriend, to her parents, and to everyone else she's shitty to. I also don't even understand why Alex likes her. She's obsessed with the paper (which isn't a bad thing) to a point that makes her awful to be around.
Listen, I'm not going to stop reading Amy Spalding books, and I'm going to continue to recommend them to my students, because I do like her writing style and her stories and she's awesome on social media. But there are a few things that lost me here. I'll do a reread when the book comes out and see if those things still annoy me....more
First, thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book.
I wanted to much to love this book. I was intrigued by the premise and the coverFirst, thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book.
I wanted to much to love this book. I was intrigued by the premise and the cover is so beautiful. In the end though, it just didn't do it for me. There were things I really liked, but overall it was just OK for me.
-The writing is great. While the book was too long (see cons), the writing, at points, was really beautiful.
-The plot is something different, although it ended up being really different from what I was expecting. I expected a fun last romp in Aberdeen, not the (view spoiler)[vast government conspiracy and where Keeley's dad wanted to take everyone down with him (hide spoiler)].
-Female friendship positivity. I like that Morgan dumps her boyfriend for saying mean things about her friend. More often in YA we see girls throwing each other over for a boy.
-Sex positivity. There's no stigma to having sex. It could happen or it couldn't, but no one is shaming anyone about it.
- Too loooooooooong. OK, 400 pages isn't that long of a book, but the plot just dragged on in points. There could be so much cut out to make way for an engaging plot that doesn't leave the reader bored and stuck in the rain and mud/
-Sterotypical teenage boys. Usually a fan of swoon, I didn't find Jesse Ford charming at all. He seemed douchey from the beginning and I didn't root for his and Keeley's relationship at all. (view spoiler)[I knew from when he was introduced that Levi was going to be the last boy with Keeley, because Jesse was too manic pixie dream boy to be the boy she ends of with. (hide spoiler)]
-Keeley was kind of awful, and not in the people who pick up a YA think "Ugh, teenagers acting like teenagers!" way. Wes was right, she's obnoxious. She doesn't think about other people. Even as Elise is leaving and her life is in upheaval, Keeley is still thinking about herself and how best to win over her best friend. I DO NOT think you have to like a main character to like a book, but Keeley's annoyingness just added my meh feeling about this book.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more