It seems that the contemporary books I count on to lift my spirits have actually been crashing and burning, this one unfortunately not being that one book to break my unlucky streak.
At the end of eighth grade, Lucy Carpenter was mortified when she tried to make a move on her best guy friend, Jackson, wherein he responded, "Don't.” Years later, Lucy, moving in with Mikayla to a quant house, is suddenly thrust back into Jackson's world, but that's where the cliché story ends. Jackson actually ends up falling for Lucy's best friend Mikayla, which causes a series of problems and turmoil. Personally, I felt that Mikayla and Jackson's relationship was so stupid because she didn't even know his name at first and then all of a sudden she was willing throw away her best friend for the sake of a guy she barely knew. If my best friend had bad history with someone, I wouldn't go after that someone if I barely knew him or her. But not only was their relationship rushed and implausible, Mikayla briefly asked Lucy her opinion, and when Lucy replied a vague, "Sure," Mikayla interpreted it as a sign that she was doing things right and shouldn't change the amount of communication she was having with him. If you’re her best friend, you should be able to tell she’s not sincere, and you should be trying to take the relationship slower for the sake of your friend. Maybe it’s unorthodox of me, but personally I believe that a friendship takes precedence over a romance.
How to Meet Boys is told in both Mikayla and Lucy's perspectives, so you see both of them falling for a guy and having their share of romantic moments. I didn't particularly favor any of the relationships featured, and I felt that the conversation between the two couples at times was dry and lifeless.
Basically *and the following is an exaggeration*:
Lucy: hey Love Interest: hey L: what's up you look different LI: nah it's probably just my new watch L: lol cool
Lucy didn't even seem that bothered by Mikayla's relationship with Jackson, but we were told that she isn't supposed to like the idea of her almost-boyfriend and her best friend hooking up. Whenever she's not having a flimsy rant over how upset she is about the whole thing, she’s having a side romance. Since they worked together at Lucy’s grandparent’s store, they spent a lot of time together. By that point, I believed there was more chemistry between Lucy and Jackson than either of the real relationships going. Lucy and Mikayla’s friend dynamic is flimsy at best, and it’s irrelevant to have the fact that they’re best friends thrown in there if they don’t even spend that much time with each other....more
Why does this keep happening to me? All these amazing books that have received a ton of hype, and none of it has been up my alley! Better off Friends is pretty cute, yes, but it also has some flaws that I couldn’t really overlook.
First off, I loved Levi and Macallan’s relationship. They met when Levi first moved from California and soon became best friends. Their conversations are so best-friend material, encompassing everything that two people close to each other would say. I loved how comfortable and easygoing they were towards each other, and it was the small gestures they exchanged that really clinched it for me. There was this one scene where Levi saw Macallan at a restaurant and just put his head on her shoulder while she was order, like it was nothing. Even though I didn’t approve of Levi’s motives, the act in itself was adorable and super cute. Their friendship is the kind of relationship I want to have with someone. I want a best friend as dedicated as they are towards each other!
Past the content of their friendship, I can’t say I loved anything else. I felt like the first half was kind of slow, because I understand that it was to build up the relationship between Levi and Macallan, it wasn’t very interesting. I feel like I was either in the wrong mindset, but I just can’t explain why I felt bored by it. Furthermore, I wasn’t a fan of Levi’s character. I feel like the reason his feelings towards Macallan suddenly changed was groundless. It was a classic best-friend moment, but right after Levi started obsessing over what was going on, and the shift was way too abrupt for my liking....more
Tease would have been a more positive reading experience for me if one thing had happened: Sara was a completely different character entirely. While the idea is creative, Sara’s entire personality ruins the air of melancholy loss and grief.
What angered me the most about Sara was how nonchalant she was about Emma’s suicide. Tease is told in two time frames, before Emma’s suicide and after it. The two together worked well, but I really hated the kind of person she was in both time frames. I could understand her being a complete bully in the before parts, but the fact that she was still a pretty big bully in the after parts was really inexcusable. In those parts, Sara would continuously rant about how she had absolutely nothing to do with Emma’s suicide, when it was obvious she was. At first, she was a little bit of a bystander, acting as the major bully Brielle’s tag-along, adamantly agreeing with the biting jokes she made. But then Sara started joining on making fun of Emma, going out of her way to put her down to make herself feel superior, and there was this one instance when Sara started a string of angry Facebook posts on Emma’s wall, like, “Why are you such a skank?” and “What does it feel like to be a skank?” I get why you may be angry, but it was so stupid how Sara continuously preached her innocence when it was obvious she did participate in the bullying and harassment. No, you obviously aren’t as innocent as you say you are, so if you’re going to keep saying, “Boo hoo, everyone hates me because they all think I killed Emma but I didn’t DO ANYTHING!!!!!” we’re going to have a serious problem,
Another thing I had an issue with was the obvious slut-shaming. Brielle and Sara actively call Emma a slut, because she has a “reputation” for sleeping around, which everyone knows of. Absolutely everyone knows that Emma’s a supposed “slut,” but there’s absolutely no evidence of her reputation. The worst thing she does is hook up with someone once, but Sara and Brielle are doing way worse, so they had no right to be calling her those kinds of things if Emma was only hooking up with one person throughout the entire book. Even then, Brielle would be like, “Eww Emma’s wearing such a slutty outfit, like look at that tight dress!” If it’s not clear enough how much I despise slut-shaming, the two had no right to put Emma down for what she wore, especially since Brielle and Sara also wore the same kinds of clothing.
And what pissed me off even more was that when Sara caught Emma kissing Dylan, she exploded and called Emma all of these vulgar terms like slut and skunk, posting those messages on her Facebook. But when Dylan apologizes, she thinks, “It was all that slut’s fault Dylan cheated on me, but I still love him so I think I’m gonna sleep with him because that’s obviously what he wants.” First of all, it’s so degrading to assume that Emma was the sole perpetrator in the relationship, and that Dylan didn’t have at least one thing to do with the cheating. Another thing, if Sara thinks that sleeping with Dylan is the way to get him back, she shouldn’t be calling Emma the slut. Not that I’m calling Sara one, but her and Brielle’s definition for the word “slut” is exactly what Sara was doing.
It just really pissed me off how she didn’t blame the guy of the relationship because of how men are displayed as the blameless one in cases. Girls are more subject to being called sluts for cheating, but the guy won’t have as heavy of a punishment because society’s taught us that it’s okay that guys can’t control their emotions. It’s okay for a guy to cheat because they can’t help it. You have to be easier on them because that is just their nature. In the world today, we’re constantly glorifying a man’s actions and trying to place the blame on a woman, because they’re assumed to be more subject to labels like this thanks to slut-shaming. And Tease is obviously advocating this kind of action with how often it happens.
*end of spoilers*
While this book had potential in the summary, I really couldn’t bring myself to like this one even remotely with the slut-shaming, hypocritical characters, and degrading themes towards women....more
At first, I absolutely loved this book. And then right after I made my "I'm stopping my blog" hoorah post, I decided to reread Open Road Summer to make me happy and to hopefully break the pit feeling in my stomach I've had that I'm outgrowing young adult books. However, after rereading this book, I felt absolutely nothing reading it again compared to the first time.
The rating for this one went down from a four and a half star rating to a two star rating. And while it may seem harsh, as I was rereading it, I noticed a particularly disgusting thing: the slut-shaming. Reagan didn’t feel any remorse calling a girl a “slut” or a “skank” or “trashy” if they were wearing tight clothes. Like, if she saw girls hanging around Matt, she’d call them a slut, mainly because she felt threatened by them. Okay, so if you think you’re better than them, then you have nothing to gain by calling them a slut. In reality, she acted the same way that they did. She would adjust her bra for “maximum cleavage” when she saw Max coming towards her, and while there’s nothing WRONG with that, she’s a hypocrite for putting other girls down for doing the same thing. It was absolutely ridiculous how she didn’t even reflect on herself when unfairly labeling other girls for their appearances. She’s expressing herself through her clothes, and that’s completely okay, but if she condemns others for doing the same thing, then we have an issue.
And there was this one time where she described Matt's best friend as "wholesome." Like if you're gonna poorly judge someone as fat from a picture to make yourself feel better, just don't! At least try not to make it sound like you're a sarcastic bitch who's trying to boost your own self esteem by comparing you to others.
Another thing I didn’t particularly like the second time around was how stupid the “drama” was. Most of it involved Dee finding out about some rumor someone was spreading about her (she’s a celebrity, that’s obviously going to happen!) and then freaking out about it. One time, someone got a picture of her while she looked bloated and was like, “IS SHE PREGNANT!?!?!?!?” and Dee had a huge meltdown over the rumor. The only person who even remotely reasonable about this was Reagan, and all she said was that it would blow over. Literally, if Dee just let the rumor sit for a month or even a few weeks, the rumor would die down. Stars rarely ever do something about one little rumor, like if she were to lay low for a few months it'd be obvious she wasn't pregnant like one magazine said. Especially with something like pregnancy. Your stomach grows a lot when you're pregnant, so the rest of Dee's mere existence would directly contradict the one picture.
However, there was something that remained constant throughout both read-throughs—I loved the friendship between Dee and Reagan, especially how Reagan was always there for Dee’s career. Dee, an up-and-coming country singer, was currently on tour, so Reagan had been tagging along for the summer until she entered senior year. This ensued a series of laughs, heart-to-hearts, and all of the things you’d expect in a friendship as close as theirs. I envied how close they were at times, because I want someone that I’m so close with that I would ask them to come on tour with me if I became a famous singer (or vice-versa.)
ORIGINAL REVIEW I started this book at 10 PM on a school night, read straight through the book in one sitting, and ended at 1 AM, feeling a plethora of fuzzy feelings in the pit of my stomach and happy beyond belief. Open Road Summer paves the inspirational story of an unbreakable bond between two imperfect best friends and a heart-tingling romance—it’s addicting and close to perfect.
The one aspect that I was not a fan of was Reagan’s behavior for the shortest period of time at the end. I mean, I know she’s emotionally guarded and trying to work on her quick-to-judge attitude, but she was so stubborn. She wouldn’t listen to anyone, because she thought that she was right, even if what she believed had been taken out of context. It was a fairly ridiculous way of thinking, especially when everyone around her was trying to convince her that she had misconstrued everything. Besides that, Reagan was such a great character with so many different layers. She was sarcastic and witty, a truly delightful protagonist that warranted a fair share of laughs from me. However, we quickly learned that this facetious, flirty side of her was only a front to protect the inner turmoil lurking beneath the surface, evoking a lot of sympathy from me.
When Reagan first met Matt, there was immediately a sense of chemistry between the two, and I loved every minute of it! I was already loved Reagan’s quick wit and snarky personality, but it seemed to amplify when she was around Matt. What worked even better was that he seemed to be able to match her jabs in a round of flirt fighting, filing Open Road Summer’s pages with romantic tension and gooey feelings. The book is split two ways between the romance and the friendship, and I equally loved both. Still, Emery knows how to build a romance between two characters in a way that feels sweet and fervent at the same time. In between their irresistible banter, there were earnest conversations that made my heart melt even further. Everybody has something that haunts them, whether it’s big or small, including Matt and Reagan. I adored their honesty towards each other, how they were able to bare their souls to each other to display their unshakable trust.
And come on, who doesn’t love singers who are also country boys? You get the allure of a Southern boy mixed in with the awesomeness of a singer. Being a singer=at least 20 points on your attractiveness, and the Southern boy probably makes up for the rest of the points, at least in Matt’s case. I just love him! I also love Reagan and Dee’s friendship, especially how Reagan’s there for Dee’s career. Dee, also an up-and-coming country singer, is currently on tour, so Reagan’s been tagging along for the summer until she enters senior year. This ensues a series of laughs, heart-to-hearts, and all of the things you’d expect in a friendship as close as theirs. I envied how close they were at times, because I want someone that I’m so close with that I would ask them to come on tour with me if I became a famous singer (or vice-versa.)...more
While Gwendolyn Heasley’s new novel can at first be dismissed as a lighthearted read about the inevitable struggle between one’s parent and themselves, it quickly morphs into something less simplistic. It endeavors to reach a new type of depth and create a coming-of-age story, when it is very obviously not.
Imogene suffers from a lifestyle under the scrutiny of the majority of the population. In fact, it’s gotten to the point that her classmates teased her about what happened on her blog. While I find it highly unlikely that a mom blog is so popular that Imogene herself gets recognized while shopping in a mall, I understood the sour feelings towards her mom’s blog because it was obvious from very early on that Imogene’s mother treated her like a baby. When her English teacher gives Imogene’s class a project to write a blog themselves, Imogene launches a campaign to escape the ridicule of both her mother and classmates before she formally enters high school. I would label Don’t Call Me Baby as a mix between a middle grade and young adult novel, because of the young age Imogene is portrayed at (15, entering ninth grade) and the superficiality of her problems. The innocence of Imogene and her peers wasn’t quite believable, given the amount of interconnection seen in the novel, when the “popular girl” of the grade attempts to ally with Imogene and takes an assignment seriously, when it was established that she was the stereotypical “popular mean girl.”
Don’t Call Me Baby’s biggest flaw is how abruptly the character development takes place. As soon as she decides to fight back against her mom, the conflict persists for maybe three or four chapters before the book abruptly changes tone and all of a sudden we’re focusing on (view spoiler)[the fact that Sage and Imogene are fighting because Imogene is questioning whether or not she really wants to fight her mom. We’re given NO previous development whatsoever on why Imogene is changing her mind, but after one blog post where Imogene is reflecting on the pros of getting away from the computer and “unplugging,” Sage is accusing her of all these ridiculous things. She’s saying, “Imogene you don’t care about this as much as me, you’re giving up on our goal, you’re such a fake and hypocrite!” Chill out, it’s only one blog post. It really doesn’t matter. But then they’re fighting and ignoring each other without any real explanation. (hide spoiler)] Imogene continuously thinks of new ideas, but they come at spontaneous and awkward intervals, without any previous development or foreshadowing.
My last few complaints were slightly nitpicky, like how unrealistic and unprofessional the Mommylicious blog sounds, and the ignorance of the main character. She jokingly asks what a CD is, because just because you’re fifteen means that you’re too young to understand what a CD is. CDs still exist, I have dozens of CDs, and I’m the same age. It’s absolutely ridiculous how much the younger generation is dismissed as an ignorant generation in Don’t Call Me Baby. Furthermore, with the number of allusions made, all of them are thoroughly explained upon delivery. As soon as a cougar is mentioned, Imogene takes it upon herself to explain it to her audience, which in reality is only herself since it’s her inner dialogue. The word “swag” is explained as party favors for bloggers, and while it may be a term that needs explaining, it shouldn’t need an outright definition compared to maybe an inference.
While this could have been a lighthearted book, another issue is how Gwendolyn attempts to give it an added depth by reflecting on the simple nature of teenagers and growing up. If it were not for the absurdity of the story beforehand, I would’ve bought it. But it remains that the lack of development and naïveté behind our leading and supporting characters produced an inability to even entertain the idea of this book being more than a “cute” book. I was originally holding this at a three-star rating, because it was decent, however I lowered it because of the anticlimactic ending and the overall rushed pacing, topped with an unfortunately failed attempt to provide depth.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
When I found this on my Kindle library, possessing no previous knowledge of where or when I downloaded it, I decided to start reading, even though it seemed like a long shot after the first few chapters. However, still I journeyed on, and still found nothing too special about this book.
Tess was way too focused on the romance, overall. The book centered around two things: the romance and her efforts to try to keep a pixieball alive. The pixieball is supposedly a rare breed, the last one of its kind, that her grandpa stole and grew himself. Her mother carried on the tradition, caring for it, and now it’s her turn. However, it’s gotten sick, therefore Henry and Tess are in an “urgent” race to find a cure for whatever disease Pix (her name for the pixieball) has. But, even though the pixieball is super important to her, enough that she’s willing to go through all the crap she goes through to try and save it, she doesn’t care when it comes down to the plant, or Henry. Sure, she cares about Pix, but when Henry tries to talk about saving it, Tess is more focused on how much they’re making out and the idea of them two together. Henry’s trying really hard to immortalize Pix, and Tess is more concerned that a letter heading says, “Dear Tess and Henry.” She’s more interested in the fact that their names are together on a freaking letter than on her plant that’s dying! And she constantly tries to make out with him when he seems like he may not be in the mood or want to talk about something on his mind.
Speaking of their romance, there was absolutely no chemistry between the two. Their “I really like you” statements could have held the equivalent passion as if they were acquaintances who barely knew each other in high school catching up on the side of the road. Their dialogue and conversations were bland, holding no substance or meaning. The beginning was cute, but when the story morphed into Pix’s illness, I was hoping that the character development would begin. There were some nice sentiments made in The Last Forever, like how not everything is picturesque and perfect like in movies and television series, but in the end it wasn’t quite what I was expecting or needing to compensate for the disposable romance and static characters.
During the first few chapters, Tess actually had a boyfriend named Dillon. But then it was dismissed within three sentences, something like, “Oh, apparently Dillon broke up with me…” and then Tess was free to chase after Henry Lark. It was an easy sentence to overlook, and because I was already disinterested in the story, I skipped over what I thought was a useless two sentences. Turns out, it was those sentences that freed up Tess’s relationship status. I had to look back and double-check when I remembered she previously had a boyfriend. When I found and familiarized myself with the section in question, I realized that it had been glossed over and glorified. It wasn’t memorable enough for me to remember it or for it to properly register in my brain. There wasn’t even a telltale reason why he decided to break up with her, but whatever. No development needed there....more
After falling in love with My Life After Now, I had high hopes for The Summer I Wasn’t Me, but unfortunately several aspects proved detrimental to my overall enjoyment of the book.
First and foremost, I appreciated Jessica’s choice to tackle a subject such as LGBTQIAPK (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, interest, asexual, and kinky, according to Why We Need More Sex Labels). While only the lesbian and gay portions of the acronym were addressed, the concept of a “de-gayifying” camp was absolutely absurd. The majority of the world population knows that you’re born with your sexuality, but I went with the idea that your sexuality could be changed at a camp, because it was meant to instill a sense of outrage in The Summer I Wasn’t Me’s audience. That did not mean I was okay with what happened later on in the book. The camp seemed to revolve around the idea that its attendants were gay or lesbian because they were raised with skewed perceptions of gender roles. The girls were taught that their real role in society was to look pretty and perform “feminine” actions, like cleaning and taking care of the house. The boys were taught to play sports and do the heavy-lifting in a relationship. It got to the point where it made me see red, but I went along with it, because, again, that was part of the camp’s characterization.
”Think about it, Lexi. Your whole life, your parents have given you mixed signals about the roles of men and women. Your mother worked out of the home. She dressed like a man. She shared the head of household duties with your father, thereby reducing his masculine identity.”
However, I don’t understand how brainwashing a bunch of kids into believing in a medieval set of gender roles “cures” the disease of being gay? If a woman acts like a man, does it mean that she’s gay? Today, there are people who strictly follow the Bible’s teachings and believe that women should behave traditionally. Even if you do identify with those teachings, you can’t deny that women and men’s roles in society are blurring together. Stay-at-home dads and stay-at-home moms exist, women are gaining rights across the board, and that’s been a great step for feminism in the last century! So, if there are that many people who are going against “traditional” gender roles, does that mean that all of their children are gay? Mr. Martin, the person in charge of the camp, blamed Lexi’s lack of real parental figures, a mom that stays at home and a dad who works everyday, for her being lesbian. That was really stupid, and the fact that Lexi went along with what he said and didn’t even think about calling him out for his blunder.
Some of the things he said were so unrealistic, and the methods used to alleviate each teen’s “gayness” were uncalled for and completely cruel. Another question I’d like to address: how was the camp still running? Some of the aforementioned methods deployed in order to guide each patient, for lack of a better term, towards the Land of the Straight, made them cry. It was quite unorthodox, but since I don’t know what one would actually do to relieve the unfortunate state of being gay (that was a completely sarcastic statement), I blindly continued in the beginning. However, in the end, things got intense and crazy, but still nobody questioned what was going on. If I was at this camp and was forced to do things that I didn’t want to do, things that made me cry, I’d want out of that camp immediately. There was another instance where I was questioning why New Horizons Camp was still running, because it was obvious that after the camp was over, each patient was free to go home and tell their parents everything that happened. How come nobody even bothered to tell their parents or another trustworthy individual about what the camp was truly like?...more
Originally I was so sure I wouldn’t enjoy this one, from the beginning that was mediocre, nothing that assured a pleasant reading experience, Luckily, after a few chapters everything turned around for the better. I was dumbfounded by Morgan’s cold attitude towards everybody that she encountered. Her persona was shrouded with coldness and it was like she had drawn “ice queen” onto her forehead in Sharpie. However, despite how forcefully she tried to shove people away, it didn’t bother me. I was more concerned with how little was given about her past. Morgan was closed off because of a video that had gone viral a few months ago, one that we don’t fully realize until much later in the book. It was the embarrassment of her life, and she was always mortified when people teased her about it. The “big reveal” of what the video really was about came a little later than I had anticipated and hoped, but I liked how it was handled.
This book is a book that gets better and better as the plot goes on. It starts with Morgan embarking on a journey with two friends to find her father, but ends by bringing the plot full circle in a classic bildungsroman. Her relationship with Amy and Adam, two coworkers at an amusement park that managed to force their way into her dad search, truly spoke to me. Janet made it possible for three teens who previously had nothing to do with each other grow together and become best friends. Their friend dynamic wasn’t one that was forced or rushed; with Amy’s passion and tenacity, Adam’s dorky tendencies, and Morgan’s drive, the trio shared memories that I didn’t think that they would. Amidst these bonding sessions, there was a telltale shift from Morgan’s guarded self to an open, willing character that could still dish out some heavy sass when needed.
16 Things I Thought Were True focused on the motif of lies and deception, each character seeming to hold a secret or suppress a truth. I appreciated how often it was incorporated into the story line without it becoming repetitious, a new lie seeming to occur at every turn. It was surprising how many characters were keeping secrets from others, revealing how even the most open person has one thing that they don’t want anybody else to know. With that being said, when the final reveal came along, it felt anticlimactic. The last secret we were left underwhelmed at first, but it wasn’t that big of an issue. The story continued to progress and transform at the end, becoming more than just a goose chase across the country. Janet Gurtler’s most recent novel is inspiring, bringing into light the power of friendship and the power of one’s own mind....more
i personally loved this one it's all about gossip and how rumors are harder than expected and overall it was just such a well done story with the narri personally loved this one it's all about gossip and how rumors are harder than expected and overall it was just such a well done story with the narratives and their relationship to alice, the unfolding of events, etc. etc. but the only thing i wasn't a fan of was how everything was in the past tense when some of it would be a memory and some would the equivalent of the present bc i thought it was all in retrospect when it really wasn't...more
The Romeo Club is cute and nerdy, the perfect combination for someone who’s a fan of romances that start between long-time friends and subsequently develop into something more.
When Delyla Denson helps her brother get a date with his long-time crush, his friends find out about it and want the same advice, which sets the stage for our story. As she helps CC, Kevin, and Trey land the girls they have their eyes on, Delyla deals with her fair share of drama, such as conflicting feelings towards her neighbor and brother’s best friend, Trey. I really liked the idea of the whole Romeo Club (what Delyla called her match-making “services,” so to speak); it was cute and funny, although I felt like the beginning was rushed. Within the very first chapter, she was helping her brother hook up with someone and then in the next chapter all of her brother’s friends knew about it and wanted to get in on the action. Either way, after I recovered from the abrupt shift, I began to enjoy it all.
I found that I actually related fairly well to The Romeo Club, mainly because it was a lot of back and forth in terms of her affection for Trey and vice-versa. It wasn’t something I noticed until three fourths of the way through the book, but it set up grounds to which I could sympathize with the overall conflict. However, despite how much I sympathized with Delyla, I wasn’t a fan of her whole “sabotage” mentality. It’s mentioned in passing in the synopsis, but when I fully got a taste of what was going on, I can’t say I was an advocate for her behavior in trying to ruin Trey’s love life for her own selfish reasons. Especially when you spend that much time setting a guy up with a girl he seems to really like, you can’t just abruptly switch to the sabotage with a capital S tactic.
I wasn’t particularly to fond of the whole subplot of Jimbo, the neighbor’s horny dog. While he was there purely for comedic relief, more times than not I was wondering how he was even relevant. He basically was there to steal the neighborhood’s belongings, and somehow, Delyla would ALWAYS catch Jimbo in the act of stealing something, take it from him, and then the stolen item’s owner would conveniently show up. Upon seeing the lost item in Delyla’s hand instead of Jimbo’s, they’d be like, “You’re so disgusting and foul, I can’t believe you’d steal something like this!!!” even though she would try to explain that it was the dog. What was even the point of that? I didn’t quite understand why that part was even included because it felt like it weighed the entire book down, and not even the neighbors’ wrath towards her, but the inclusion of Jimbo and his owners’ characters.
Despite how negative my review makes this book out to be, The Romeo Club is a flamboyant read, and I would recommend it to fans of high school romances....more
after rereading this book yesterday i've realized that there a few issues in the book like how in the end Anna cries SO. FREAKING. MUCH. that it kindafter rereading this book yesterday i've realized that there a few issues in the book like how in the end Anna cries SO. FREAKING. MUCH. that it kind of gets old but overall this book is so sweet and adorable and honestly a perfect book...more
This book is raw. It’s empowering. It’s beautiful and reckless at the same time. It made me feel emotions that no other book has ever made me feel before.
Wintergirls pivots around a girl named Lia who’s suffering from anorexia and coping with the death of her bulimic ex-best friend Cassie. I never had doubts on whether I would enjoy this book or not, because it’s painful from the very first pagel. As someone who looks in the mirror and sees all of the things wrong with her body, who steps on a scale five times a day (no matter how unhealthy that habit is) and feels even more worthless every time, Lia spoke to me immediately. As someone who watches everything she eats, as someone who feels lonely daily, Lia’s struggle and her spiral into darkness tugged at my heart. Anorexia and eating disorders are serious diseases, ones that I feel are easily dismissed as a “cry for attention” in society. However, Laurie exposes anorexia for what it truly is, a reckless disease that corrupts the brain. Lia measures the calories of everything she eats, vowing to only consume 500 calories a day. Where outsiders see a skinny girl, Lia sees a bulbous waste of space. Her days are measured in the amount of weight she can lose, how small she can possibly get.
I lift my arm out of the water. It's a log. Put it back in and it blows up even bigger. People see the log and call it a twig. They yell at me because I can't see what they see. Nobody can explain to me why my eyes work different than theirs. Nobody can make it stop.
Teens struggling with their body image and self-esteem will find solace in this book, in its powerful message to its readers. There were times where the hopelessness of Lia’s situation affected me, forcing me to put down the book and think about what was happening. Being in her mind truly made me uncomfortable, but almost relieved in a sick, morbid way. In seventh grade, I underwent a week where I stopped eating, taking in 500-600 calories a day, and I lost five pounds in a week. But during that week, I was always hungry, irritated, and tired. To imagine Lia going through the same thing every day of her life finally solidified my feelings towards this book. Laurie nailed Lia’s character and her struggle with disease.The character development blew me away, with Lia’s ups and downs. She went from “doing okay” to “spiraling downwards again” to “binge eating” to “feeling horrible about myself I’m a disgrace to mankind.” Her character was unpredictable, her inner dialogue reflecting that. She battled her body’s desire to eat a certain food and starved herself to the brink of death, and nowhere along the way did I fail to recognize the storm of thoughts churning within her.
085.00 is possible. I've been there before, in dangerland, sweet buzzing high gingersmoke air, crafty trolls hiding under bridges. But 085.00 makes me want 075.00. To get there I'll need to crack open my bones with a silver mallet and dig out my marrow with a long-handled spoon.
I almost never highlight the writing style of a book, but the writing was gorgeous. It perfectly mirrored Lia’s emotions, crossing out her traitorous thoughts of eating, and exemplifying her perception of herself and her guilt over Cassie’s death. Paragraphs would be left open ended so Laurie could insert phrases like “stupid/fat/bitch/stupid” to bring out Lia’s perception of herself. The metaphors used in Wintergirls are beautiful, and I imagined a wispy ballerina floating through the book, dancing and dropping comparisons like feather-light bombs. The language is breath-taking, propelling the book forward and keeping its reader captivated until the last twisted page. Wintergirls is dark and bleak and desperate, but Laurie balances all of those aspects deftly with the power of her words, finishing the book with a wholesome feeling and wonderful ending. My only advice to those who choose to venture into the depths of this book: good luck, because you’re in for a wild, wild ride....more
At first, I was skeptical at the idea of one girl living in a household with twelve Walter boys (technically eleven, but the other girl was a tomboy and considered a guy). But since I was looking on Wattpad and stumbled across this one before I was asked to join the tour, I jumped at the chance at reviewing a book that I was already slightly familiar with. My Life With the Walter Boys is comical, endearing, and romantic, with Jackie struggling to fit in amongst this rowdy group of boys. I was really expecting for Jackie to bond with the younger boys as well as with the older boys, and Ali luckily satisfied my needs. While each relationship wasn’t fully fleshed out between the boys, it was like she was a part of the family. I also appreciated how there was animosity and welcoming towards a new addition to the family, because twelve children is already spreading the parents of the family thin. The different effects and responses to Jackie’s moving in provided a realistic perspective of what was going on inside the Walter household.
There is an obvious issue with the romance, and that’s in the love triangle. It sort of reminded me of The Summer I Turned Pretty’s relationship structure, but it wasn’t tiring to me. I ended up liking it to an extent. enjoying the tender moments that Cole and Jackie shared together, but hating how he strung her along because he was conflicted for his feelings towards her. I liked the comfort of Alex and Jackie’s relationship, but I didn’t like how Cole was constantly trying to break them apart so he could have her. The drama infused throughout the relationship was understandable, and a narcotic side of me enjoyed Cole’s volatility, Jackie’s indecision, and Alex’s oblivion. The banter between Jackie and Cole always managed to make me laugh, their witty remarks fresh and enlightening. While the romance isn't anything particularly special, it's very cute and endearing.
Besides the romantic relationships, there was also plenty of friendships forming. The one I’d like to highlight was between Nathan and Jackie. Their platonic friendship spoke to me because they were truly like the brother-sister pair that was reminiscent of my relationship with my brother. Another thing I’d like to point out, the negative aspects of the book, was Jackie and Sammy’s relationship. Sammy, Jackie’s best friend from her old town, played a relatively minor role in the book, even though she was Jackie’s best friend. After two conversations, Jackie stopped talking to Sammy, which baffled me because they were, I repeat, best friends. With new friendships and relationships budding, it would have been nice for her to at least hold on to one old friendship. Finally, my last quibble had to do with Jackie’s coping process. Her entire family died in a car accident, and even though she felt like she was betraying her family by allowing herself to fall in love again, she didn’t seem that affected by it. If I were her, I’d be crying every night, having nightmares, etc. etc. I didn’t mind that she was happy, but I wanted her healing process to play a role in the book. Instead, it was mostly romance and drama.
My Life With the Walter Boys is a quick read that had me cracking up with Cole and Jackie’s fun interactions. The book is like whipped cream: light, sweet, and oh-so delicious—perfect for anyone in the mood to let loose and relax....more
Side Effects May Vary, contrary to the positive reviews everywhere, was a strong miss for me. I found the main characters annoying, the pacing disarming, the severe gender stereotyping, and the organization messy. I was looking for a cancer book that would punch me in the gut with redemption and justification, but ultimately my gut was untouched and rather disappointed.
First of all, the pacing was rather a mess. We have four different perspectives happening, Alice and Harvey now, and Alice and Harvey then. Not only were Alice and Harvey’s individual voices impossible to tell apart most of the time, but the “then” and “now” scenes were completely jumbled up. We’d randomly have five chapters now, and then ten chapters then, and so on and so forth. It was disorganized, and the plot suffered because of it. The “then” was mostly to establish what Alice did when she first found out she had cancer, but with the lack of a pattern in the chapters, it seemed easier just to split the book into two parts, one half detailing what she went through before she went into remission, and the other half about how she coped with the consequences, as opposed to jumbled up chapters that confused and bored me.
Our two main characters, Alice and Harvey, are well-developed, with a palpable and sound characterization. By the end, I made the conclusion that Side Effects May Vary isn’t really about Alice; it’s about Harvey and his unrequited love for Alice. Either that or this book lost its way in my brain, because while Alice was the one dealing with leukemia, this book strongly focused on the hot-and-cold relationship of Alice and Harvey. Bluntly, Alice was a bitch, and Harvey was a pushover. Alice repeatedly used Harvey for her twisted bucket list of people she wanted to screw over. Personally, I understood why she may have held angry feelings towards these people, but the way she acted outside of those instances were unforgivable. In maybe the second chapter, after Alice finds out she’s in remission, there’s a chapter where she and Harvey are sharing an intimate moment together. Then in the next chapter, she’s hooking up with another guy and is apathetic towards Harvey when he catches her in the process of hooking up. Around halfway through the book, pages and pages later, Alice began harping on and on about how Harvey started dating another girl and how Alice had finally chose him, but he instead went and chose another girl. I would’ve been slightly sympathetic if she hadn’t done the same thing to him earlier with Eric.
Harvey, who was even worse than Alice, was a total pushover. He submitted to everything Alice told him to do, and even when everybody knew that he was being used by her, he seemed okay with it.
”You are in love with me, and you always have been. But this is the truth, Harvey: I don’t love you. Not at all. Not you, not anyone, and anything.” And because that wasn’t enough, because I hadn’t done enough damage, I said, “You’re sad and pathetic. You have no spine, and the fact that you think someone like me could ever love someone like you only proves my point.
After Alice acts like a total bitch to him, he still chooses to go back to her and he still loves her, no matter how bitchy she acts towards him. Harvey actually was a sweet guy, which made Alice deserve him even less because she insinuates that she’s almost better than him, in a way, and even when she tries to act nice, she ruins it with a complete move that made me want to punch her, even if she was in remission.
”You can’t apologize for my feelings and expect things to be better.” He paused. “Especially not when you’re the reason for them.”
I knew what he was talking about, but that hadn’t been what I meant. I didn’t think. “Harvey—“
“No,” he said. “An apology like that makes it sound like you had nothing to do with why I was mad when you were what got me all angry in the first place.” His voice rose with each word. “That’s not okay.”
“I—I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to sound that way.” I almost said it, that I was sorry for how I'd acted and what I did, but instead I said, “Do you want to write up your own apology and I can sign it? Would that work for you?”
Jesus Christ, Alice, just because you had cancer doesn’t mean that you can alienate your best friend and expect him to continue to be your friend after you said something like that. She constantly acted like the world owed her something for making her go through cancer, and while cancer is a devastating disease, she did not have the right to say, “I felt like the universe owed me this.” The universe doesn’t owe anybody anything. As pessimistic as it may sound, her having cancer doesn’t make her special. Cancer is devastating, tragic, and I wouldn’t wish it upon anybody, but people unfortunately still get it, and those who do may be entitled to certain things, but it doesn’t give them the right to act like they’re special or that everybody around them owes them something because they had cancer, which is exactly what Alice did. She was reckless, angry, and didn’t seem to care how she could hurt those around her.
During the “then” chapters, while Alice was going through chemo, I had a question gnawing at my mind: Where were her parents? Harvey was the one driving her to and from her chemo sessions, and wouldn’t you think that her parents would have wanted to be around for something like that? And when she was executing all of her pranks and screwing over all the people who had originally screwed her over, where were her parents? Where were the authority figures that disciplined her or at least Harvey? The stuff they did was serious, and there is no way that the principal didn’t know about what they did.
Finally, the stereotyping used in Side Effects May Vary. A certain scene in general pissed me off, and it was when Alice met Tyson, a gay boy, in the bathroom. Even though they had never really talked before, Tyson started confessing pretty much his entire life story to her, even though no earlier relationship was established. Tyson then proceeded to start crying in the middle of his story, and while it may be true for some guys, it’s an overused gay stereotype. All the gay guys are over emotional, and at first I let it go, but as the trend of stereotyping continued, it was harder to let go.
It wasn’t really a guy car, but it was my car. —Harvey
Because gender stereotyping is totally okay, and admitting that having a car that’s “girly” isn’t something he’s completely comfortable with is also okay, like “girly” things signify weakness and that you’re a pussy, whereas guy things must signify manliness. Another example was when Harvey was confronting Alice about her always using him, and after she dismisses him quickly even though she knows he’s right, he throws this line at her:
"You never surprise me, Alice, which is such a disappointment.” —Harvey
That line was completely unnecessary in what they were talking about. Like “you’re such a disappointment because you always use me and I always know that you’re using me.” But Alice is really shocked by what he said, and how I interpreted was that even though he knew that she was using her, he constantly kept coming to her, indicating how much of a pushover he was and how much of a manipulator Alice was. Out of context, Harvey’s saying that it’s Alice’s job to surprise him and keep him on his toes, even though that’s not what a girl or guy’s role should ever be in a relationship. While the irrelevant translation means nothing towards the actual book, that piece of dialogue should have been worded differently, like, “You’re never going to change, Alice, which is such a disappointment.” Something like that, something that didn’t offend me as extremely as it did. It’s nitpicky beyond nitpicky, but with the earlier instance (not all covered in this review), that one line really affected me.
While I understand why some people could have enjoyed this book, it was extremely hard for me to. The stereotyping thrown everywhere and Alice’s character pissed me off to the point of no return, and I was extremely apathetic towards Side Effects May Vary....more
As soon as I began this one, I had fluttery feelings and expectations for what would happen during the book. I was expecting Finn to be a strong force in the book, showing up in almost every other scene. In freshman year, scrawny Finn had a huge crush on Anna, and they were dating for a while, until during the dance Anna ditched Finn on the dance floor and completely burned him. Shortly thereafter, Finn moved away from Los Angeles and didn’t come back until senior year, where he has magically transformed from scrawny, awkward Finn into tall, hot Finn. It seems like the plot device where the nerdy boy with glasses transforms into a hot boy is overused and oftentimes a superficial way of giving a protagonist a reason to like the love interest. It's as if being hot is one of the deciding factors that someone should have feelings for another person, and I would have been slightly turned off by the prospect of that, had it not been for the earlier development of how Anna grew to appreciate freshman Finn's quirks and nerdy tendencies before his physical transformation. When we are reintroduced to new and improved Finn, my heart began pounding in anticipation for what would happen to move their romance forward.
However, I was slightly disappointed with how little Finn was even incorporated into the book. Instead of a focus on rekindling the romance between the two and having them fall in love again, what we really saw was Anna third wheeling like a boss most of the time with either her father and Ginny or Lily and Finn. I skimmed over a lot of the sections in the middle, wiling myself to get through them because I still held out hope that the next scene would feature Finn. However, Anna and Finn rarely got any alone time to bond, except for maybe one or two incidents. Finn and Anna should have done more things together, and they probably lived near each other because they used to be in the same carpool. Without the development in the middle, the ending came off as abrupt and sprung on us in a random manner.
The Last Best Kiss has its fair share of annoying characters. Anna, the youngest child and sister to Lizzie and Molly, had not only a negligent father but also an absent mother. With her dysfunctional family, there was room to develop the family, but Lizzie and their father were intolerable. Lizzie acted as though Molly and Anna were inferior to her because they took after their mother, but that was made them better. Who would want to be like their father, who was selfish and conniving? Lizzie also was selfish, and she held herself on a pedestal of impossibly high standards. There were also flaws within Anna’s circle of friends, Lily for example. She cared about nothing else than herself, and she always had to have her way. She truly was the definition of a spoiled brat, always expecting to get what she wanted when she wanted it. Finally, Lucy was possibly another illogical character. She constantly obsessed over her grade, and she annoyed everyone else about how she stressed over it. If it was any indication to how positively annoying it was, the way Lucy was written almost made it seem that any semi-intelligent person had to be anal and naggy about this sort of thing.
A cute retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, The Last Best Kiss will be for any fan of Jane Austen retellings and a must-read if only for Finn’s personality and the first and last portions....more
Due to my recent hunger for a cute contemporary to bring me to a different carefree world, I loved Ask Again Later. There was a certain flippancy about the whole thing, and combined with how much parallel universes appeal to me. Liz Czukas has a talent for handling the two universes, overlapping prom events effortlessly and avoiding redundancy with those overlaps. After Heart was asked to prom twice by two different people, she was torn between who she planned to take, even though both didn’t view her romantically. One was her brother Phil’s best friend Troy, who had been recently been dumped by her girlfriend, making Heart a pity date. The other one was one of her theatre geek friends, who only wanted to go with her as friends. Heart decided to settle the matter by flipping a coin, and then lived both prom nights until they overlapped into one specific scene. I loved how awkward her prom experience was, from a care package she received from her aunt, her multiple mishaps, and the differences in her two nights, despite the same general events.
My least favorite character was by far Heart’s brother Phil. First, he forced his best friend onto her, completely disregarding her feelings towards what was going on. Second, when she was having a bad prom night and wanted to go home, Phil basically told Heart to stop acting like a baby and to suck it up. Third, he made her to go to a party in the limo with him even though she was feeling hesitant and wanted to go to the party with her friends. What kind of jerk brother manipulates his own sister like that? It also infuriated me that the choice where Heart chose to go with the theatre geek was by far the better choice, and she wouldn’t have been conflicted if it were not for Phil’s epic douchery. However, Heart kept defending him and other characters were fabricating excuses at his expense to explain for his behavior.
I felt a connection to Heart as soon as I was introduced to her and her snarky attitude. She had a sarcastic joke for everything, and the way she could make light of any and every awkward situation was a trait to admire. If there was any indication of this quality, it was in her inner dialogue, how she commented on everything that happened to her. Inner dialogue is always a perfect opportunity to build one’s character and personality, like how hilarious or serious they can be. Another character I found to be hilarious through dialogue and how we saw him through Heart’s eyes was Schroeder. Whenever he was mentioned, I felt a small joyful pang in my chest at his presence. It was obvious from the beginning his opinion of Heart, but how he handled the situations they were put in were heartwarming.
An adorable debut, Liz Czukas brings snark and romance, ridiculousness and parallel universes, and wraps them into a pretty package that will make readers everywhere laugh and cherish Heart’s bumbling yet memorable prom story....more
After loving Send Me a Sign, I had high hopes for Bright Before Sunrise. Tiffany Schmidt is a fantastic author, and I don’t question her talent for making me zoom through a book. She captured my attention and this book very easily could’ve been a five-star read. Her writing is good, addictive even, almost enough to mask what went wrong, but in hindsight the story very strongly lacked in development.
While this book is definitely cute and worth reading, I had a few issues with it. For one, Brighton seriously got on my nerves. For a book that takes place over the events of one day, it’s difficult for much character development to occur without the threat of a cheesy plot line. Tiffany prevented the cheesy plot by minimizing the character development, however with a character such as Brighton’s, this worked out to be a disadvantage. Brighton was sheltered, naïve, passive, and most importantly weak. She infuriated me with how pathetic she could come across. I understood that it was part of her upbringing, but her constant choice to be passive didn’t work. She said yes to everything, cowered under the possibility of something unexpected or foreign for a good three-fourths of the book.There was no solid development behind why she chose to constantly act that way, because this book happens so quickly. She redeemed herself by the end when she finally chose to do something unpredictable, and her passivity was very subtle.
As I said above, Tiffany is talented. Her writing makes you turn the pages obsessively, almost overlooking the obvious problems. For example, Jonah’s character fascinated me with his thinly veiled anger towards the town of Cross Pointe. I didn’t particularly enjoy how he constantly stereotyped Cross Pointe students. I’m from a particularly rich town, and one of my close friends is new to my school and district as of the beginning of this year. She’s from a town kind of similar to Hamilton, Jonah’s old town, where some of the people from that area aren’t also the richest. And a lot of her old friends think that we’re all stuck up snobs because we’re from a good town, like all of the Hamilton kids think of Cross Pointe. It didn’t particularly help that the Cross Pointe students were also portrayed as shallow characters who only cared about materialistic items. As someone who’s from a town similar to Cross Pointe, I hated how they justified Jonah’s unfair perception or “rich kids". For example, Brighton would be having a conversation with one of her fiends wheel all of a sudden someone would run over, screaming, “THIS IS IMPORTANT” and would immediately launch into a discussion about which senior picture she should use. Brighton then went on to defend her, saying that any other day, that’s what she would deem as important, too. While I understand that it may be prioritized to an extent, what your yearbook picture will look like is not that important enough to cut someone off mid-sentence to bitch on about your own problems about whether or not you need to get a retake.
Finally, there was the insta-love. I accepted it, and I even enjoyed it, actually, reminding me slightly of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Jonah and Brighton were cute together, I’ll admit it. At first, I was rooting for them and that they would improve as a pairing, Jonah looking past his constant stereotyping and Brighton going against her rude, impulsive nature. Tiffany’s writing style makes the insta-attraction seem anything but insta-attraction, until I noticed a small slip. Brighton could take one look at Jonah and recognize what he was feeling based on his facial expression, like “His mouth was slightly open and he sniffed. That meant he was annoyed at what was going on.” (not an actual quote, but a similar example) It takes more than a few hours to recognize someone’s facial expression like that, unless you’ve been stalking them like it’s your job. That was a little unrealistic, and I deemed it as a result of the insta-love. They went from hate to like-like too quickly. While it was only “like” and not full-out love, it rubbed me the wrong way how close they got so quickly....more
So I’m a little late to board the Jenny Han train, and seeing as this is my very first novel by her, I’m a little surprised by how little emotion I felt by this one. at first, I went in with an open mind, ready to experience Belly's relationship with the two brothers. I’ve always enjoyed rooting for the boy who’s darker and more mysterious than the other choice, and in this case it was Conrad, Belly’s childhood crush. He was aloof, which immediately appealed to me. However, throughout the book all he did was blow off Belly and act like a total jerk. There was no chemistry between Belly and Conrad, which was what I was expecting. But then he was supposedly supposed to have feelings for Belly, which he never showed. He continually chose to be a complete jerk to everybody around him, and it was hard to continue rooting for him. From the flashbacks that Jenny wrote about, Conrad was a decent character that sometimes could care about Belly, but there was no trace of him as an 18-year-old.
Another issue I had was with Belly. She was so childish all the time.She never stopped thinking about herself, and she whined about Jeremiah, Conrad, and Cam all at the same time. What’s the point of the time flashbacks if they don’t at least show her character progression? But instead, her 16/17-year-old self sounded exactly like her 11/14-year-old self. She didn’t grow up at all from who she was as a child. and her immaturity bothered me. She had three different guys gunning after her, and her personality made it hard to believe that so many people would like her at the same time, especially two brothers. Also, the way that Jenny wrote the book made it seem like Conrad and Jeremiah only started liking her because she grew up and became “pretty.” They never seemed to like her until they saw her this one summer and were all, “Oh my God you’re hot now!”
The Summer I Turned Pretty, not only lacks in characterization, but it also lacks in plot. I feel like the only substance was Belly whining about her life and stringing Cam along. All three of her romances popped out of nowhere, with absolutely no development, and it almost seemed like we were expected to follow along and blindly accept their romances. I felt that it was kind of forced at certain points, and I couldn’t relate to their emotions. There was no connection between me and any of the characters, which was the biggest flaw. With contemporaries, I’m pick about how believable the romance is as well as how well I can relate to each individual character, which unfortunately didn’t happen here....more
Love and Other Perishable Items is a book that demands attention and, more importantly, time to bask in its glory. With this book, I wasn’t captured by it to an extent that I fell in love, but this is a book that requires appreciation above all else. Laura Buzo’s writing style is simplistic, but requires a certain level of thought behind it. This book is split into two perspectives, one of Amelia’s narrative, and another excerpts from Chris’s notebook. Even though these two points of views are split into chunks, for example the first one hundred pages Amelia’s point of view, the next Chris’s random scribblings, these voices are distinct and telltale. You can feel the innocence and quiet admiration of Amelia, the desperation and recklessness of Chris. By the format of the words alone you can tell who’s speaking, but there’s a telltale difference in the two narratives.
Reading this book also gives you a feeling of inadequacy. Amelia and Chris are such smart and eloquent characters, discussing Gatsby on their lunch break, calling each other to lament over Great Expectations, recommending each other books at their leisure. They’re the kind of characters that made me want to strive for something greater in my own reading selection. They reminded me of hipsters in the modern world who have the best taste in music, can name the most obscure bands that produce the best music. Amelia, being only fifteen, had already immersed herself into this world of classics and fine literature. Chris, in his final year of uni, had this respect for Amelia for reading these books, and she often ranted to him about her distaste for certain characters and endings.
Something that I must point out is how simply gorgeous their discussions were. Feminism became a theme through a certain section, and they had a scintillating conversation about how it actually seemed to hinder the working class of women. Amelia reasoned how after women got rights and the ability work and vote, they were expected to work and support the house as well as take care of the kids and household. They gained freedoms but also gained a larger workload, something that made me put down the book and ponder what she meant by it. Her passion for feminism and the ideas she circulated in her head never failed to intrigue me and capture my appreciation.
Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo is reminiscent of Eleanor and Park as well the writings of John Green. Told from the two perspectives of each character, this book is insightful and intelligent, exploring the ups and downs of love and literature. Being in Amelia and Chris’s minds was truly a pleasure. ...more
I didn’t expect to like this one. The beginning was slightly rocky, but the last half was fantastic and well-developed. Sawyer, widowed after her husband Grayson was murdered, returns to her hometown of Willowhaven, where she runs into her old boyfriend, Dean Preston. Dean, having left Sawyer unpredictably when they were eighteen, and Sawyer rekindle their old relationship, despite Sawyer’s hesitation to talk to Dean in order to spare her heart getting broken again. At first, it was a lot of the same back and forth action. Sawyer and Dean would bump into each other while doing errands, Dean would attempt to flirt with Sawyer, she would shut him down and run away, and repeat. For the first third or so, that’s all that they seemed to do, run into each other, act awkward, leave, and wallow in their feeeeeelings. As much as this portion was needed to establish the later story and build a relationship between the two, it felt particularly redundant and slow after a certain amount of encounters with each other.
Sawyer and Dean’s relationship, having already been developed before the book started, had the potential to either be well-developed aspect to the story that enhanced the overall book or a poorly-handled subject. With the flashbacks in the middle of a scene to inform us on both Sawyer and Dean’s romance in high school as well as Sawyer and Grayson’s relationship before Grayson died, I didn’t feel as if I was in the dark with the intricacies of their stories. We got memories on a need-to-know basis, giving us backstory whenever a character brought up their past or it would enhance the story to get a certain moment in time. In the beginning, flashbacks were doled out to form a strong foundation and expose Sawyer and Dean or Sawyer and Grayson’s relationship. As the plot progressed, the flashbacks were used as fine details when Sawyer and Dean began to grow closer again. I loved how Mindy handled the flashbacks and used them to her advantage. With them, you weren’t expected to just believe everything as it was thrown at you; there was a layer underneath it.
The cute thing about Me After You was how the chemistry between Sawyer and Dean. They had never stopped loving each other, and it was almost as if they were falling in love with each other again. They definitely had a natural chemistry and I loved their romance. It’s typical of a new adult romance, and there was nothing particularly steamy or special about their romance, but the circumstances under which they fell in love and the struggles of their romance compensated for it. Challenge after challenge was thrust onto them, and between all of it, they managed to find each other. Even though both of the characters had already grown up between high school and the beginning of the book, there was also more to be said about their development after they found each other. Sawyer came to terms with her grief over Grayson and learned to be happy again.
Me After You by Mindy Hayes is a perfect book to read when you’re in the mood for a carefree book that also contains a darker undertone. Right after finishing, you’ll feel warm inside, and if you read this book in the right mindset, you’ll love it....more
A charming and quaint novel, Real Prom Queens of Westfield High combines the popularity climb of Mean Girls and the drama of any reality TV show.
In Laurie's most recent book, she illustrates the manipulative nature of reality television show producers, willing to do anything to increase their ratings and gain the audience's favor. Taking this concept further by exposing three teenagers who have been voted Westfield High's "least likely to become Prom Queen" adds to the absurdity and lightheartedness of this book. Three junior girls at the very bottom of the social ladder are chosen, transformed into beautiful seniors over the summer, compete for the title of prom queen as the rest of the world watches. Shannon is one of those three teens that gets chosen due to her title of "Elf Ucker" that equals social obscurity. From the very beginning I knew I would like Shannon from how misguided she was as a character, because even though she had a naïve quality to her, she made up for it with her quirky inner dialogue. By the end, she developed into a mature person who still had quirks but was able to proudly announce them.
As Shannon went through Prom Queen Boot Camp, she learned all of the physical things that would endear herself to all of her fellow students. The right way to smile, the right body language to give off, etc., etc. This book has "Disney channel movie" stamped all over it, in the sense that it's perfect for that audience and enforces the bonds of friendship and staying true to oneself. There are so many ways that Laurie could have decided to carry out the story, from the popularity corrupting each person, the show's viewers turning against them, or them losing things that were important to them. Surprisingly, each of those aspects was subtly incorporated so that it wasn't too much to handle but it also didn't leave you pining for more development.
The perfect way to describe this novel is ridiculous but adorable, highly enjoyable but also requires a small window of forgiveness for its clichés. What's a good book exploiting the flaws of America's media and our source of entertainment without overly used plot points? From the popular girl hellbent on destroying our protagonist's social life single-handedly to an extravaganza of an ending, the similarities make this a 100% Disney-channel worthy movie. A definite recommendation for the contemporary genre's younger audience, Real Prom Queens of Westfield High deserves a crown for its spunk and attitude as Shannon struts her way to the top....more