A Little Wanting Song (aka Chasing Charlie Duskin)Author: Cath CrowleyPublication Date: 6/8/10
Publisher: KnopfBlurb (GR):A summer of friendship, romance, and songs in major chords. . .
CHARLIE DUSKIN loves music, and she knows she's good at it. But she only sings when she's alone, on the moonlit porch or in the back room at Old Gus's Secondhand Record and CD Store. Charlie's mom and grandmother have both died, and this summer she's visiting her grandpa in the country, surrounded by ghosts and grieving family, and serving burgers to the local kids at the milk bar. She's got her iPod, her guitar, and all her recording equipment, but she wants more: A friend. A dad who notices her. The chance to show Dave Robbie that she's not entirely unspectacular.
ROSE BUTLER lives next door to Charlie's grandfather and spends her days watching cars pass on the freeway and hanging out with her troublemaker boyfriend. She loves Luke but can't wait to leave their small country town. And she's figured out a way: she's won a scholarship to a science school in the city, and now she has to convince her parents to let her go. This is where Charlie comes in. Charlie, who lives in the city, and whom Rose has ignored for years. Charlie, who just might be Rose's ticket out.
Told in alternating voices and filled with music, friendship, and romance, Charlie and Rose's "little wanting song" is about the kind of longing that begins as a heavy ache but ultimately makes us feel hopeful and wonderfully alive. Review:“We were the only three people awake in a world half asleep and the air felt heavy with maybe.”
The Aussies hit it out of the park again. Seriously, I’m beginning to wonder if there is something in the water down under that allows them to produce amazing YA lit. (or maybe all of it is put through a strainer and only the best of the best is published in the US—either way, I haven’t read a bad Aussie YA book yet) And I can’t wait to get my grubby hands on Graffiti Moon
Charlotte (Charlie) Duskin has been going to stay in her grandparents’ town every summer since she was young. Though she lost her mother several years earlier, her grandmother recently passed away and her father and grandfather are still mourning their losses. Charlie always saw Rose, Dave, and Luke playing around town but was never a part of their fun. Before she left the city for the summer, she had a huge fight with her best friend and was embarrassed in front of tons of her peers. She’s looking for an escape.
Rose Butler feels stuck. She’s lived in the same small town forever and, though she loves her family and her two best friends, she wants to go to school in the city. After taking an entry exam and winning a scholarship, her summer plan is to befriend Charlie Duskin and then return to stay with her family so she can attend the school. Only no one knows about Rose’s plan…and there’s that lovely hump of an entire childhood of being a total jerk to get over.
This author takes several of my pet peeves and then serves them back to me on a silver platter. And they tasted like enchiladas….mmm, enchiladas. We’ve got shifting narrators—usually, this is a major buzzkill for me but I smiled over and over when the author replayed the same conversation from the other side. And a musical theme—I usually tire of that after a chapter or two. I get it, you like the GD guitar. Here, it was endearing. Charlie’s personality and the song lyrics (which are interspersed in the text) are just lovely. I especially loved her snark—“tell anyone who doesn’t like it to shove it up their arse.”
When it comes down to it, this book is between 4 and 5 stars for me but I'm feeling especially happy after reading it so BAM! 5 stars it is. 5/5 stars
Author: Laura Buzo
Publication Date: 8/1/10
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
A wonderful, coming-of-age love story from a fresh new voice in YA ﬁction.
'Miss Amelia Hayes, welcome to The Land of Dreams. I am the staff trainer. I will call you grasshopper and you will call me sensei and I will give you the good oil. Right? And just so you know, I'm open to all kinds of bribery.'
From the moment 15-year-old Amelia begins work on the checkout at Woolworths she is sunk, gone, lost...head-over-heels in love with Chris. Chris is the funny, charming, man-about-Woolies, but he's 21, and the 6-year difference in their ages may as well be 100. Chris and Amelia talk about everything from Second Wave Feminism to Great Expectations and Alien but will he ever look at her in the way she wants him to? And if he does, will it be everything she hopes?Review:
This book spoke to me like only very few do. It fit me like a perfect glove.
From the opening scenes when 15-year old Amelia is totally in love with and obsesses over her too-old-for-her co-worker Chris (oh, those simultaneously horrifying and sweet K-Mart
check-out flashbacks of Justin
, cold sweat, mumbling and crimson cheeks); to the humor, in equal parts witty, deprecating and pain-filled (Chris buys a sixpack of beer on the way to Rino’s. James Squire something-or-other. ‘Special treat,’ he says, parting with a twenty-dollar note. ‘You like beer don’t you?’ I hate beer. Hate it. ‘Yeah!’ Oh, well. Love is pain. Or is it beauty is pain? I wouldn’t know about the latter, but the former makes my sternum ache
); to the characters - Amelia, naive, idealistic and smart, and Chris - love-torn, scared of his future and indecisive; to the not-friendship-not-love relationship between Amelia and Chris that is refreshingly unique; to the conversations about families, feminism, books, love and life; to, of course, the ending which is a heart-aching perfection in my eyes. I loved it all.
I doubt Good Oil
would be everyone's perfect fit, simply because so much of my affection for this book came from the connection to the characters and their peculiar troubles. But it worked wonders for me. 5/5 stars
Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2)Author: Melina Marchetta
Publication Date: 10/3/11
Publisher: Viking AustraliaBlurb (GR): Blood sings to blood, Froi . . .
Those born last will make the first . . .
For Charyn will be barren no more.
Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home... Or so he believes...
Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been trained roughly and lovingly by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds. Here he encounters a damaged people who are not who they seem, and must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad Princess.
And in this barren and mysterious place, he will discover that there is a song sleeping in his blood, and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.
Gripping and intense, complex and richly imagined, Froi of the Exiles
is a dazzling sequel to Finnikin of the Rock
, from the internationally best-selling and multi-award-winning author of Looking for Alibrandi
, Saving Francesca
, On the Jellicoe Road
and The Piper's Son
I’ve been a fan of every other Melina Marchetta
book I’ve read, which is all of them, so it sort of pains me to say that Froi of the Exiles
was frustrating and unsatisfying for me. I’m still going to give it three stars because even when Marchetta is (subjectively to me) not on her game, she still has a way with words that blows nearly every other YA author out of the water. Originally, I tried to keep my review entirely spoiler-free but it just wasn’t happening. There will be a few spoilers but they are ones that are not likely to surprise you while reading the book. Oh, and there will be Finnikin spoilers, just so you know. *sigh* And we’re off…
The number one reason why this book couldn’t work for me was the relationship between Froi and Quintana. It is not a spoiler to reveal something you find out in the first few pages—Quintana has basically been systematically raped for years. While it is happening, she goes off into another place in her mind a la Precious
(based on the novel Push by Sapphire) and her daydreams. She has been maltreated for years and everyone thinks she is more or less insane. Also, she is described as having weird teeth, bird’s nest hair, dirty clothes, and several personalities. Okay, so…
Hot. How could anyone NOT be attracted to that? All jokes aside, I couldn’t get behind a relationship that disgusted me from the onset. To sleep with a girl who has never had a healthy relationship with anyone, especially if you are doing it under even quasi-false pretenses is a bit scary. I don’t want to call it sexual abuse but it kind of felt that way to me. I know many other readers feel that Quintana is an intriguing character and love her down to the ground. To me, she felt like a confused, somewhat simple-minded girl with lots of strength and motivation but who was absolutely vulnerable nonetheless. I don’t require a strong heroine all the time, that isn’t the issue. The issue is a balanced relationship and here, I just never saw it. Near the end of the novel, Quintana shows immense growth as a character and if I read the third book in the series, I think I will enjoy her more. Froi’s decision to sleep with Quintana was morally questionable. It reminded me of United States of Tara
where a woman with multiple personalities and her husband have an agreement that his sleeping with any of her alters is cheating. While her body might be there, her mind isn’t and that isn’t fair to her. Even later in the book, Quintana is randomly growling at points.
I read a lot of fantasy and romance. In romance novel series, a significant number of authors have a tendency to bring past couples from other books in as characters. Look! See how happy they are! They were happy then but they are even happier now—look at the babies! While I find it annoying, I don’t always mind when this happens in romance books. I do
mind when it comes up repeatedly in fantasy and Froi is the only book I can think of as an example. Look at Finnikin and Isaboe! They are so unbelievably well-suited to each other. They are so attracted to each other that they do it up against walls and in closets, tra-la-la! If it were just once or twice, I wouldn’t even note it but it made up a large portion of the novel. On a similar note, I now know another thing that I don’t ever want to read about in another fantasy novel: breastfeeding. How long should someone breastfeed a child? I don’t know nor do I care to think about it while I’m reading a fantasy novel. (unless a woman is breastfeeding dragons or something) Froi of the Exiles was something like 620 pages long. Finnikin and Isaboe had their moment in the limelight in the first book of the series. We certainly could’ve gotten a taste of how sublimely perfect they are together and how they can communicate by looks and how they can’t keep their paws off of each other in a few less pages.
The tone of this novel is about 400% darker than any of the author’s other work. That’s fine, I don’t mind dark, nor do I mind sex. (in fact, I enjoy
these two things in books) A friend told me that Froi seemed more realistic because there was so much emphasis put on the seedier elements of the atmosphere during wartime. Everybody seemed to be either having sex or talking about having sex or if not that, murdering other people. I have no experience living in an active warzone but every character seemed to have sex on the mind, even when they weren’t near any actual fighting. Before you go into this one, you should just know that everyone has slept with everyone else or if they haven’t, they’ve certainly thought about it or are going to in the near future. It got to the point where I just rolled my eyes and skimmed over sections of the book and I never, EVER do that with Marchetta books. (by sections I mean a paragraph here or there, not any significant amount of text)
I’ve been putting off this review for ages because I just have a bad taste in my mouth about it. I read it with a friend and our google document has over 20,000 words. I am rereading it and laughing because in Chapter 6 my friend wrote, “In general, I am getting more into it. Not a huge fan of travelling around, but looks like they are almost there.” Hahaha, yeah right. There is just so much movement in this book. Everyone is always going somewhere. Just GET THERE already—collect what you came for and go back, or stay. Whatever. I’d understand it if it was like a quest to Mordor to destroy the ring that binds them all
but that isn’t the case here. (side note: Turns out I also guessed Froi’s father in Chapter 6 as well) Froi basically spends the entire book moving from one place to the next but I was more interested in his story than the other two storylines that appear in the book. When Finnikin and Isaboe aren’t doing it, they are having political meetings with otherzzzzzzzzz, oh sorry, I just fell asleep while I was typing. The other storyline is about Lucian of the Monts, whom I adored in Finnikin but who has turned into a huge douche in Froi. Let’s say it all together now, COMMUNICATION. Learn it, live it, love it.
You know what I was thinking about while I was reading? Every one of Melina Marchetta’s books deals with a child with a missing parent. In Looking for Alibrandi
, Josie’s dad is gone but comes back. In Jellicoe Road
, Taylor’s parents are gone and also the guy in the tree side story. In Saving Francesca
, her mother is lost to depression. In The Piper’s Son
, Tom’s dad was gone to him, and in Finnikin of the Rock
, he grew up with no mother and was missing his father for years. Now we can add Froi, Quintana, and Lucian to the list. Finding family is a huge theme for her--It’s all about who you are and where you came from. I think this is really interesting but I really enjoy stories about people who don’t know where they are from, DON’T find out, but come to terms with it and become their own person. It is always hard to define yourself when people are pointing out the similarities between you and your parents. I’m not going to spoiler who Froi’s parents are but I saw that one coming down the pipeline pretty early.
This review is getting too long. I always start to space out after a few paragraphs of a review so I’m assuming I’m not alone in this. I did not truly enjoy the process of reading this book but on the upside, it seems as if almost everyone else did. If you want to know anything else about what I thought of this book, let’s talk about it in the comments. For now, I’m just going to share some more comment highlights I found in our google document:
“If you are making shadow puppets with someone, it’s safe to say things are getting pretty serious.”
“And why make out Froi is some legend in the art of tongue work? AWKWARD.”
“HELLO, people. Wake up and realize that Beatriss needs people to work the land and there are bajillions of Charynites just chillin’ with their vegetable patches and nowhere to go. Problem, meet solution.”
“ ‘Just ask me! Just ask me! I can’t say the answer without you asking the question!’ Bitch, please. If you can say it when he asks, you can say it anytime.”
“RAPE.GRAVINAS. STOP PLANTING VEGETABLES!”
“Everyone’s stories/pasts are so DRAMATIC. This is real, solid DAYS OF OUR LIVES stuff.”
“I am quick to say, ‘because she is an idiot.’”
“Everyone’s life sucks. Everything is more convoluted than it should ever be. ALWAYS BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR A TWIN.”
“That meeting with the Belegonian dude? www.snoozefest.com.”
“Yes, I noticed that smooth segue.”
“Why are all the characters such hardened tools? Where is the relaxed, carefree character? Where is MM’s (Saving Francesca
- type) humor? …It is not a relaxing read.”
“Why is she always growling?”
“I just love it when guys take my hand and then put it on their crotch.”
“Maybe Froi and Quintana are somehow brother and sister and it is incest and the little king will come out with extra limbs. Or maybe some cannibalism. You know they’ve been having crop problems. Next step: People eating people.” 3/5 stars
Author: Cat Patrick
Publication Date: 6/7/11
Publisher: Little Brown
Blurb (GR): Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her whole world disappears. In the morning, all that's left is a note telling her about a day she can't remember. The whole scenario doesn't exactly make high school or dating that hot guy whose name she can't seem to recall any easier. But when London starts experiencing disturbing visions she can't make sense of, she realizes it's time to learn a little more about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.
Part psychological drama, part romance, and part mystery, this thought-provoking novel will inspire readers to consider the what-if's in their own lives and recognize the power they have to control their destinies
London’s mother and best friend know of her memory situation but there is no mention of anyone else knowing—do her peers her teachers know? I feel it is unbelievable if they don’t. There is no way that someone can write notes for their entire life and keep them detailed enough to pass as a normal in everyday life. Right? Think of all the details. Updating herself on every day of her life every single morning? I’m skeptical. Another point that creeped me out a bit was London’s relationship with Luke. If every day is the first day you are meeting someone, it is beyond creepy that you would ever sleep with him. Or love him. Sure, I can see London trusting herself in her notes but she really had no reason to because she repeatedly wrote what she wanted
next-day London to know, not what actually happened or what she needed to know. Neither Luke nor London are having a normal relationship here and I didn’t find myself rooting for either of them.
The mystery element of this book builds slowly and then just punches you in the face at the end. In a bad way. I know I would’ve enjoyed this book more if the unraveling was simpler. (click to see the spoilers through my Goodreads review)
And I know that television shows exaggerate the amount of evidence that DNA and bodies can confirm but (also, spoiler on Goodreads review)
All in all, I still thought this book was an okay read. The problems I had were all plot and character related rather than dealing with the writing style. I’ll read more of this author's works.3/5 stars
You had me, Cat Patrick. You had me for a significant portion of this novel. Then you totally lost me. You did, however, inspire me to read up on short-term memory loss. For those of you wondering what the heck that has to with anything, this book’s main character is a teenage girl who “resets” every morning around 4am. Each night, she writes notes for herself of things she needs to read for school, what she should wear tomorrow, and any developments with family and friends. The entire book keeps the reader wondering what the impetus for the memory loss was and whether London Lane (yes) will be able to regain some of her lost memories.
What Can't WaitAuthor: Ashley Hope PérezPublication Date: 3/28/11Publisher: Carolrhoda LabBlurb (GR):"Another day finished, gracias a Dios."
Seventeen-year-old Marisa's mother has been saying this for as long as Marisa can remember. Her parents came to Houston from Mexico. They work hard, and they expect Marisa to help her familia. And they expect her to marry a boy from the neighborhood, to settle down, and to have grandbabies. If she wants a job, she could always be an assistant manager at the local grocery store.
At school, it's another story. Marisa's calc teacher expects her to ace the AP test and to get into an engineering program in Austin—a city that seems unimaginably far away. When her home life becomes unbearable, Marisa seeks comfort elsewhere—and suddenly neither her best friend nor boyfriend can get through to her. Caught between the expectations of two different worlds, Marisa isn't sure what she wants—other than a life where she doesn't end each day thanking God it's over. What Can't Wait
—the gripping debut novel from Ashley Hope Pérez—tells the story of one girl's survival in a world in which family needs trump individual success, and self-reliance the only key that can unlock the door to the future.Review:
When I saw that this book was not only about the Mexican-American experience but that it also included a teenage girl who excelled in math, I couldn’t wait to read it. (the Mexican experience aspect because I find it fascinating and the math thing to stick it to my 5th grade science teacher who told my mom that it was no big deal that I sucked at circuitry because I was a girl and would obviously never need to know anything about it) The only other YA books that I’ve read involving Mexican teenagers are Simone Elkeles
’s Fuentes brothers books, and those are firmly anchored by their romantic plotlines. While I enjoyed those books, I’m happy to say that What Can’t Wait
is not carried by Marisa’s romantic life. Instead, we follow Marisa Moreno through her senior year of high school. No one in her family has ever gone to college but Marisa and several people who surround her believe that she has what it takes to achieve something more. Her attempts are thwarted left and right but she doesn't give in. I have to say, I always find it refreshing when a teenage protagonist is a hard worker and grounded in reality. So many YA books are based around trivialities but this one deals with several more serious issues. Yes, I remember how ridiculous many of my teenage concerns were and recognize that these books of which I speak are probably very true to actual teenage concerns and life. I guess I just like things a little more gritty. The tone of this novel is realistic, a little on the dark side, but decidedly optimistic. And the pacing is quick yet steady; I never felt like the story was rushed or that there was lag.
This book gives of a Dairy Queen
series vibe, and we all know what a good thing that is. The family situation is quite similar as well—a teenage girl who has to work hard for her family to the detriment of her schoolwork, her friendships, her love life, and her future, a dad who just doesn’t get it, a mother who seems like a pushover in many cases, and siblings who often compound family stress. There isn't much in the way of descriptive writing going on but I truly didn't mind--Ashley Hope Pérez
wrote a book that feels
like we are reading Marisa's journal of her entire year. (perhaps that is another reason I kept thinking of DJ Schwenk?)
I checked out the publisher of this novel because I had never encountered them before and I thought perhaps Carolrhoda was a word in a different language—as it turns out, the origin of the imprint name is quite a touching story. The head of Lerner Publishing Group, Carolrhoda Press’ parent company, named the imprint after his wife’s lifelong best friend who died too young of breast cancer. She was in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia and worked to bring more books to children worldwide. Carolrhoda Lab
, an offshoot of Carolrhoda Press, is a smaller imprint dedicated to publishing , “distinctive, provocative, boundary-pushing fiction for teens and their sympathizers.” (I chuckled at the teen sympathizers line—I suppose I don’t mind being labeled as such) After reading this work, I am certainly going to see what else this imprint has to offer.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley
for allowing me to read this one!4/5 stars
Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Publication Date: 6/28/11
Publisher: Simon PulseBlurb (GR):
Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.Review:
I was talking to Lyndsey
about how it feels to have a brother and the best example I could come up with is this: It feels like that force when you try to put two similar magnetic poles together, but right at that moment when it starts to push away. The love I have for my brother is so strong but he repulses me at the same time. I mean, he’s great as an adult but he is the same kid who once filled his Skeletor action figure with urine and sprayed all 3 of his sisters with it. He is the same brother who once fed 4-year old Flann a concoction of mostly Tabasco sauce while we were being babysat. (My mother made him drink it when she came home, FYI) He is the same brother who used to put his stuffed Hulk Hogan resting above his doorframe so if we tried to come in, it’d fall on us. And he is the same kid that said, “Polly want a cracker?” like a parrot all the way from Texas to Seattle on a road trip. (according to my mother) How anyone could ever be attracted to their sibling is beyond me. I do understand that it happens, usually in highly stressful family situations, but I just couldn’t get over my repulsion while I was reading Forbidden
. I wonder what the correlation is between people who enjoyed this book and whether or not they have brothers. Oh, I guess I was assuming that everyone who would read this review would already know what this book is about. If you don’t, SURPRISE! It’s about incest. (well, really it is about being in a terrible family situation)
This is written in first-person present, which really isn’t my favorite style, but I couldn’t get over the following:
“Summer gives way to autumn. The air turns sharper, the days grow shorter, gray clouds and persistent drizzle alternating with cold blue skies and bracing winds. Willa loses her third tooth, Tiffin attempts to cut his own hair when a supply teacher mistakes him for a girl…” What
is this? Most of the book reads like personal journal entries from Lochan and Maya’s present alternating perspectives but every once in a while there would be sections of text that were reflections on long periods of time. Overall, I thought the dual perspectives were successful but who writes their present thoughts like this?Dear diary,
Winter approaches faster than usual this year. Crisp, frigid air creeps into town with snowstorms right behind it. I made chicken casserole for dinner tonight. I cooked the chicken too long so it was a bit dry.
A bit jarring, eh? That’s an extreme example of what I am talking about but you get the point.
I want to make a comment on the names in this book but can someone named Flannery actually do that with a straight face? I’m not even going to tell you my other family members’ names—let’s just say it would be the pot calling the kettle black on this one. (though we DO all have Irish names so at least there’s a theme!) Willa, Tiffin, Kit, Maya, and Lochan? It reminded me of that quote from Baby Mama when the one mother reminds her kids that they have a playdate later with Wingspan and Banjo.
I found the whole story a bit predictable but was it entertaining? Definitely. And the sex scenes were really well-done, even though it makes me feel really creepy and dirty to say so. I have absolutely no idea what makes people love or hate this—my Goodreads friends are all over the spectrum and not in a predictable way. If you can stomach reading about an incestuous relationship, give it a go. It is worth the read but it was just a 2.5-3 for me.
Thanks for sending me a copy, Arlene:) 3.5/5 stars
Where She Went
Author: Gayle Forman
Publication Date: 4/25/11
Publisher: Dutton JuvenileBlurb (GR):
It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.
Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay
, Where She Went
explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.Review:
My heart gushed rivers of love when I reviewed If I Stay
. I listened to the audiobook and just adored it because it felt like Gayle Forman
tapped into my heartbeat and the rhythm beat right through to the end. I put off reading Where She Went
because I wasn’t ready for another heartache. As it turns out, this is a rare instance where the sequel (or companion) has an entirely different tone than its predecessor. Rightly so, as Where She Went
is told from Adam Wilde’s point of view, whereas If I Stay
was primarily about Mia, his ex-girlfriend. In regards to spoilers, it is near impossible to have anything to say about this book without spoilering things about the first, but I think WSW can stand on its own even if you do
know the setup. That said, I’m not going to use spoiler html on anything related to If I Stay
. Since Mia decided to come out of her comatose state, she’s been studying at Juilliard. Adam’s band, Shooting Star, shot to the top of the charts and he is recognized everywhere he goes. The band’s two albums are filled with songs Adam wrote, and it should come as no surprise who served as the inspiration for all the lyrics. While he is dating a famous actress and has achieved so much musical success, Adam is disillusioned with life and the way Mia left things when she cut him off cold. Before he embarks on a world tour, he goes to one of Mia’s cello performances and gets the chance to speak with her afterward. Cue the life and relationship analysis…
Several reviewers have mentioned that this book wasn’t as enjoyable as it could’ve been because Adam seems overly angst-ridden for nearly the entire thing. Sure, I can see that. The whole thing just felt over-the-top, I agree, but I just loved the two of them together so I wanted
to think their relationship could define Adam’s whole being, his anger, his disillusionment. I wanted
to believe that he was missing his perfect complement. It was so interesting to me because the first book felt like an exercise in grief at the time I listened to it. I see now that, just like in life, the time right after a death is surreal. It doesn’t hit home for everyone at the same time. That
book is about losing someone. (or many someones) This book is about the actual recognition of loss and the crisis that follows, whether it be from the end of a life or the end of a meaningful relationship. As someone who has seen what a terrible breakup can do to a person, it didn’t feel like Adam’s actions were beyond the realm of possibility. True, he was sometimes a prick. True, it didn’t seem like he tried to move on. I was just rooting for him to get his own life back together. Where She Went
reads like a novella. I watched as the percentage completed on my Kindle just flew by. For me, there were a few negative points—the lyrics at the beginning of each chapter (not because they were awful, only because it is cliché) and Mia, for starters. She came off as self-involved and I didn’t enjoy how aloof she seemed. I felt like I was holding my breath through a tunnel until the two of them actually start talking about something real
. After that point, it was a much more comfortable read, despite the plot remaining heavy.
I was both happy and disappointed at the conclusion of Where She Went.
I have to spoiler it and, for that, I apologize. **SPOILERS**I don’t think I’m encouraged by Adam and Mia getting back together right away. Mia has had 3 years to build up a life for herself. She said herself that Juilliard was more than she ever thought it could be. She thought of Adam but he didn’t define her. Adam, on the other hand, spent the last three years missing her, writing songs about her, and taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills to compensate for the void. He never had that time after the breakup to actually figure out who he is. They get back together—great, except I am still unsure how much he understands about himself. He seemed so willing to just give everything up for her…and I kind of believe he would do just that if she asked him. That’s depressing.**END SPOILERS**
Many people loved Adam in If I Stay
and if you were one of them, I’m fairly confident you’ll enjoy this one as well. Forman does a good job of creating a realistic male voice and painting raw emotions on the page. And to the rest of you, if you can handle the angst and the foreverlove foreverandalways, give it a try. Hey, at least there’s not a love triangle.
I loved this video. The author gives a tour of many of the sites from Mia and Adam's whirlwind NYC adventure.
Finding Cassie Crazy (aka The Year of Secret Assignments)
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
Publication Date: My version is 2004, original publication in 2003
Publisher: Loads, but the version I read (the cover on the far right) is Young Picador
Finding Cassie Crazy has been recommended to me by several
Invidivuals. I’m kicking myself for
Not reading it sooner because I found it hilarious. I’ve been
Delaying writing a review for it, though, because
Ican’t figure out what was so special about it beyond its humor.
Nothing is so spectacular about the plot (pen pals from private and public school), but each of the
Girls and, well, most of the guy characters were
Charismatic and/or charming. The
Author of this series, of which Finding Cassie Crazy is second, is a former lawyer and it
Shows in her jokes. I laughed out loud when Emily’s brother
Served her papers to summon her to dinner.
Icould connect with each pair of pen friends (Aussie word for pen pals), though I got
Excited every time I read about Lydia and Seb, as they seemed to
Care about each other and their friends the most. (and I liked their “dating”)
Released in the US under the title of “The Year of Secret Assignments,” for reasons
Absolutely unknown to me (what the heck is wrong with the title “Finding Cassie Crazy”?),
Zis book is lots of fun. (You have to say this line with an accent. I bet you were wondering how I’d work a ‘z’ in here.)
You should read this.
Don't you miss doing acrostics in school? It was always hard to think of 'y' adjectives for my name. Don't worry, I got to include fun, fiesty, fabulous, and the other 'f' adjectives that not too many people get:) Acrostics remind me of that part in Ferris Bueller's Day Off when he gives advice about how to fake sick. "The key to faking out the parents is the clammy hands. It's a good non-specific symptom; I'm a big believer in it. A lot of people will tell you that a good phony fever is a dead lock, but, uh... you get a nervous mother, you could wind up in a doctor's office. That's worse than school. You fake a stomach cramp, and when you're bent over, moaning and wailing, you lick your palms. It's a little childish and stupid, but then, so is high school." Acrostics are a little childish and stupid but I'll be damned if they're not pretty fun to create.
I bet you thought I was going to put a video from Ferris Bueller, right? WRONG! This is my blog and I felt like putting a completely unrelated one from Goonies. I'm feeling pretty good about my choice.
At the top of this post, I included several of the covers for this book. I have to admit, I'm a bit mystified at the fruit cover. It looks like several other books in the series also have fruit covers--maybe they are related to a plotline in a different book? The strawberry isn't relevant to Finding Cassie Crazy at all. I think my favorite cover is the one with the three girls on it. Perfection.
Anyway, this book is a fun read for those who enjoy epistolary YA and don't take things too seriously.
Psych Major Syndrome
Author: Alicia Thompson
Publication Date: 8/11/09
Blurb (GR): Using the skills you've learned so far in Introduction to Psychology, please write a brief self-assessment describing how things are going in your freshman year.
The Patient, Leigh Nolan (that would be me), has just started her first year at Stiles College. She has decided to major in psychology (even though her parents would rather she study Tarot cards, not Rorschach blots).
Patient has always been very good at helping her friends with their problems, but when it comes to solving her own...not so much.
Patient has a tendency to overanalyze things, particularly when the opposite sex is involved. Like why doesn't Andrew, her boyfriend of over a year, ever invite her to spend the night? Or why can't she commit to taking the next step in their relationship? And why does his roommate Nathan dislike her so much? More importantly, why did Nathan have a starring role in a much-more-than-friendly dream?
Aggravating factors include hyper-competitive fellow psych majors, a professor who’s badly in need of her own psychoanalysis, and mentoring a middle-school-aged girl who thinks Patient is, in a word, naive.
Psych Major Syndrome
In the movie So I Married An Axe Murderer
, which is mega-quotable, Mike Myers’ dad (also played by Mike Myers, but with a Scottish accent) says that he believes there is a pentaverate of rich people that run everything in the world. My favorite member of the pentaverate is Colonel Sanders. (“because he puts an addictive chemical in his chicken that makes you crave it fortnightly, smartass!”) Anyway, I’ve started my own collection of people—the hilarious YA authors. Remember that old show called “Celebrity Poker” where we’d just watch a bunch of random celebrities play poker and shoot the shit for an hour? (or at least I did that?) Well, I’d love to watch the hilarious YA authors do their thing in an enclosed space. Who’d be funnier? I really don’t know.
Let’s meet the lineup:
Well, since you are reading my Psych Major Syndrome
review, I bet you know the first player: Alicia Thompson
. Next up is Lish McBride
, who rocked my funny bone in Hold Me Closer Necromancer
. In corner number three, Leila Sales
, who cracked me up twice, first in Past Perfect
(which is actually her sophomore effort coming out in a few months) and then in Mostly Good Girls
. The fourth corner is saved for Megan McCafferty
and the first few Jessica Darling books. (don’t fault her too much for the later ones!) I haven’t read her books in a few years but I think 18-year-old Flann might come after me with a cleaver if I don’t include her since she was my original funny YA love. Oh, you thought we were in a four-cornered room? Well, the joke's on you because I’m also including Louise Rennison
in our pentagonal room. Her Georgia Nicolson series, though I’ve only read a few of them, is pretty hilarious. Some might try to argue that John Green
belongs in here. Shush your mouth because while he is
funny, his books aren’t consistently hilarious—it’s just every once in a while. A special mention must be put in here, though, for the Aussies. Their sense of humor always gets me. I particularly enjoy Lili Wilkinson
’s jokes as well as the queen’s (The double-M, as if you didn’t know) and Laura Buzo
's. If I hadn’t decided before I wrote this paragraph that there would be 5 people, Wilkinson would be a shoo-in. I guess she’ll just have to guest star all the time. I’m only going to talk about Ms. Thompson from here on out but I’m really curious to know who you all think is the funniest YA author out there. Any of these ones? Someone totally different?
In Psych Major Syndrome
, Leigh Nolan is attending a small college in California where they do a lot of hippie things like let you decide how you’ll be graded and invent your own everything. (I’m still bitter about taking Development of Western Civilization every day for two years) She quasi-followed her high school boyfriend, Andrew, there and the relationship is less than ideal. This book follows Leigh for a few months during her freshman year as she tries to adapt to all the personalities that surround her—the uptight studyhard in the psych department, her flighty and fun art major roommate, the sassy junior high girls she is mentoring, her boyfriend, who only seems to care about schoolwork and not her, and last but certainly not least, his roommate who has taken a particular interest in Leigh. (that sentence has too many commas but you’ll get over it) While I wanted to slap Leigh upside the head for staying with Andrew for even one minute after getting to school, I (sadly) know people in relationships just like Leigh and Andrew’s. Gross. The whole plot of this book is rather well-worn territory and just by introducing the cast in one sentence, I bet you can see where it goes... What makes this book so enjoyable is the narrator.
Everything I thought, Leigh thought. Everything I wanted a character to say (with limited exceptions), they said. Leigh is snarky, realistic, and hilarious. She’s definitely flawed but I found her immensely likeable. And Nathan? Swoonfest 2K11. Even though I kind of feel like a pedophile when YA guys are all over the place with no shirts on, at least this one was set at college so it wasn’t the worst of the worst. (He’ll definitely be joining the back of our Cougar Shirt
—forgot about that thread, didn’t you? It WILL be happening, I just don’t know when) It felt like this book was written just for me. I love when psych majors overanalyze everything. I love Tom Waits and TMBG! I love when teenagers drive old cars in a non-hipster way, and I especially love pop culture references. (Hollaback Girl;-)) Oh, and I love reading about people being mortified in public speaking situations.
4.5 stars for the entertainment value and the laughs (and Nathan). Don't go thinking that I'm gushing all over this book and want YOU/EVERYONE to read it. I don't. It's YA contemporary romance with snark. If that's your bag, then I rec it to you. 4/5 stars
The Web of Titan (Galahad, #2)
Author: Dom Testa
Publication Date: 12/1/05
Blurb (GR): When the tail of the comet Bhaktul flicks through the Earth's atmosphere, deadly particles are left in its wake, and mankind is confronted with a virus that devastates the adult population. A renowned scientist proposes a bold plan: to build a ship that will carry a crew of 251 teenagers to a home in a distant solar system. Two years later,Galahad and its crew is launched. If their mission fails, it will be the end of the human race…
After triumphing over a saboteur bent on destroying Galahad, Triana and her Council are eager to avoid any further complications. But as Galahad swings around the ringed planet Saturn, they encounter a mysterious metal pod orbiting the moon of Titan. The teens prepare to bring the pod and its contents aboard, only to be faced with a another crisis: an illness that is beyond their medical experience. Dozens of crew members fall into a comatose state, only to awaken with strangely glowing eyes. To make matters worse, the systems of Galahad begin to fail. With time running out, can Triana and her shipmates escape the Web of Titan?
I see no reason why my first drunk book review shouldn’t be a young adult book about space. I love space stories…almost as much as I love Red Hook’s summer seasonal Wit ale. Their slogan for it is “Made with Ginger, but still digs Mary Ann.” LOL Sometimes I wonder who I’d be on Gilligan’s Island. Who am I kidding? I’d probably be Gilligan. That one guy on that show was kind of a babe. The Professor. Then again, I keep picturing him looking like Captain Kirk and look at that! I’m back on my space topic. This second installment in the Galahad series is decidedly less suspenseful than the last. It is funny to read a series when you know there are already two more books released so, going into it, I was thinking, “Welp, they obviously get out of this pickle.” It really diminishes the thrill of it.
As most of you probably remember (HA, yeah right!), I found the fourth one of these randomly in the library while Bird Brian, Eh?Eh!, Jackie the Librarian, and BB’s wife were perusing the bookstore upstairs. In case you guys are wondering, I am that drunk person who realizes that they have been staring off into space for five minutes and not remembering they were writing a review. I’ve already done that a few times. But I will NEVER spell incorrectly or type slow. Remember Mario Teaches Typing? Also, randomly, I remember being in keyboarding class in junior high when we listened to the OJ verdict on the radio. OMG, this isn’t even a review. We should just change it to drunk diary entries.
Today I saw so-and-so. He is such a babe.
Fine. Here we go,
The other day I read The Web of Titan. I was super into it because I have a female boner for space and all that it entails. All the teens are still on Galahad (duh) and this time, they are tasked to pick up a pod in open space near Saturn that the equivalent of the ISS launched. Earth( well the peeps on Earth) have been unable to contact the scientists there for a while so no one knows what will be on the pod. Geez, I don’t want to spoil anything. Do they catch it? I won’t tell you. Do they find a cat on it? Maaaaaybe, if they do catch it. (yes I know I kind of maybe just spoiled a tiny bit. It really doesn’t matter, though) OMG THERE’S CATS HERE. After a bit, people on the ship are getting sick and their eyes are turning orange and they are speaking some weird language. Want to know why? Then I guess you’ll just have to read this book, suckaaaaahs.
I will totally be continuing this series. It is not the awesomest thing that ever was but I enjoy a few of the characters (not all of them, some of them are really frakking annoying) and it is kind of like watching a dating reality show. All of them are going to start dating soon and lord knows I love reading about high school-age relationships…especially when everyone is a genius. (which they obvi are)
I’m just gonna post this without rereading it. I think it would take away from the effect if I tried to make myself sound better.