Quentin 'Q' Jacobsen considers growing up next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman the miracle of his life. Though they were friends as children, now in hig...moreQuentin 'Q' Jacobsen considers growing up next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman the miracle of his life. Though they were friends as children, now in high school Q and Margo move in different social circles. Margo is adventurous, popular, idolized; nerdy Q is in the school band crowd, though he himself is not musical. Through the years since their friendship, Q has loved Margo from afar, so when she comes tapping on his window in the night, only a few weeks before graduation, to ensnare Q in one of her wild plans, he can't say no. In the morning, Margo is gone. While many other people in her life believe this is just another one of Margo's awesome adventures, Q can't stop thinking about her cryptic words, clues she seems to have left just for him, and a disturbing event from their childhood. What does Margo mean that she is 'never coming back?' Paper Towns is a funny and thoughtful mix of teenage introspection and antics. John Green seems well aware of the tropes of young adult literature (the road trip, the party, the unattainable girl) and plays off them to say something really important about what it means to know another person. (less)
Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series is one of the few series that keep getting better with each book. In this third installment, Cammie and her roomm...moreAlly Carter's Gallagher Girls series is one of the few series that keep getting better with each book. In this third installment, Cammie and her roommates and best friends Bex, Macey, and Liz enter their junior year at the top secret spy school - the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. But before the school year starts, Cammie visits Macey at a political convention in Boston, where Macey's father is set to accept the vice-presidential bid in the upcoming election. A high-stakes scuffle on the convention center rooftop turns out not to be the CovOps pop quiz that Cammie and Macey hoped, but a very real kidnapping attempt. The semester is definitely going to be different, with Cammie's aunt turning up as Macey's round-the-clock secret service agent sworn to take a bullet for the girl, lessons in disguise, life on the campaign trail, and uncovering the truth behind the attempted kidnapping. As the girls get older, the dangers of their future careers become a lot more real. This book has a little less romance than the previous two, but a lot more action and a lot more character development. Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover also doesn't end so tidily as the other two, which leaves the reader wringing her hands for more. (less)
Around the middle of the novel, Renee and her friend are in a bookstore, and she describes him flipping through a teen vampire romance - a bit of a no...moreAround the middle of the novel, Renee and her friend are in a bookstore, and she describes him flipping through a teen vampire romance - a bit of a nod to Dead Beautiful's paranormal predecessor. Like Bella, Renee comes to a new school and instantly falls for the most dreamy and mysterious guy on campus: his only friends are (were) a small, cultish group, he's beautiful, his hands are cold, he never eats, he never sleeps, he seems older than he is, he's her lab partner, and he warns his new girl OVER and OVER that he's dangerous, he's a monster, is she sure she wants to get involved? But I guess Renee never read Twilight (fyi, Renee's Edward, Dante, is NOT a vampire, tg), because she takes forever to figure him out. MUCH longer than Bella, and, I hope, the readers. Yes, Renee is a bit slow, and the big reveal at the end comes a bit late.
But I like this book. I like the cool, creepy campus of Renee's boarding school, Gottfried Academy, her friends, the romantic element, and the mysteries of her parents' deaths and the Gottfried curse. I thought I would give the book four stars for sure, it was so engrossing, until I got to the end. The ending was so rushed, many things over explained (things I'd figured out way earlier in the novel) and other things just glossed over (the things I hadn't quite got yet). The setting, characters, mystery, and mythology for most of the book was layered, interesting, intelligent, and MORE than the love story. But the ending came and knocked everything down. I would have liked to know what happened with Gideon, the headmistress, Eleanor, Nathanial, and the rest of the school that played such a big part in the novel, but at the end it's like that was only a set up for undying, self-sacrificing teenage love. Dang it.(less)