Wednesday, 5 January 2011

THE BOOK REVIEW CLUB JAN 11: Getting Revenge On Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub.Date:January 5th 2010
Age Range: young adult
Pages: 224
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: requested and received from the publisher

Popularity is the best revenge.

In the final weeks of eighth grade, Lauren Wood made a choice. She betrayed her best friend, Helen, in a manner so publicly humiliating that Helen had to move to a new town just to save face. Ditching Helen was worth it, though, because Lauren started high school as one of the It Girls--and now, at the start of her senior year, she's the cheerleading captain, the quarterback's girlfriend, and the undisputed queen bee. Lauren has everything she's ever wanted, and she has forgotten all about her ex-best friend.

But Helen could never forget Lauren. After three years of obsessing, she's moving back to her old town. She has a new name and a new look, but she hasn't dropped her old grudges. She has a detailed plan to bring down her former BFF by taking away everything that's ever been important to Lauren—starting with her boyfriend.

Watch out, Lauren Wood. Things are about to get bitchy.

If you love highschool drama, you should probably pick up this book. If you're wanting to plot revenge on your frenemy, you would love to hear Helen's story. Totally relatable and fun, Getting Revenge On Lauren Wood is a book about breaking out of past cocoon to find one's true self.

Just like What Would Emma Do?, this book is easy to follow. The tone is nice and the description is neat. It has a touch of religion/belief enough to summarize the author's point of view in the issue, but not too preachy. It's both entertaining and meaningful, simple but complicated, fun yet thought-provoking.

The subject of revenge is always fascinating to me, and I guess, to lots of teen readers out there. Even when she already reveals Helen's plan at the beginning, the author somewhat manages to switch our thoughts to a different directions of the story so we won't be able to predict everything and get bored in the middle. Also, it allows her to add some twists that I really enjoy reading. I, too, love the dangerous atmosphere she creates for the book. At some parts it feels like I'm watching a drama series on CW.

Helen is just as lovable as Emma is. I love how she discovers herself through out the event of her revenging on Lauren. I'm surprised at how she can be all sweet and nice, but amazingly sly and "evil" when the chances of destroying Lauren come. As for Lauren, she's a character that readers would love to hate. She's the kind of friend you want to stay away from forever, yet makes the story much more interesting with her personalities.

To sum up, once you read and love What Would Emma Do? You would love Getting Revenge On Lauren Wood. For those who wants your ex friend to pay back, read this, and see if you still want to.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Pub.Date: September 29th 2009
Age Range: 12 and up
Pages: 376
Format: hardcover
Source Of Copy: borrowed from the library

Micah will freely admit that she’s a compulsive liar, but that may be the one honest thing she’ll ever tell you. Over the years she’s duped her classmates, her teachers, and even her parents, and she’s always managed to stay one step ahead of her lies. That is, until her boyfriend dies under brutal circumstances and her dishonesty begins to catch up with her. But is it possible to tell the truth when lying comes as naturally as breathing? Taking readers deep into the psyche of a young woman who will say just about anything to convince them—and herself—that she’s finally come clean, Liar is a bone-chilling thriller that will have readers see-sawing between truths and lies right up to the end. Honestly.

Liar is a book that make you think. In my opinion, it's a kind of story that challenges both the writer and the readers.

One of the highlights of the book is its unpredictable storyline. I'm totally clueless about what happens next from page one to the very end. Liar carries an atmosphere of darkness, sorrow and a little creepiness that you can't help but feel attracted to. Told in shorts, out of order chapters that allow the readers to travel back and forth from the hurtful accident, it deepens your curiosity, making you unable to put the book down.

What I love the most about Liar must be the fact that once you pick it up, you're trapped in a whole tangled web of lies and truths. You can never if Micah is spilling her heart out or trying to mislead you. You believe everything she says. But once she admits that she has not once but so many times lied to you, you're trying to work things out in your head as the story proceeds to distinguish lies and truths. Like I said, it's a book that makes readers think.

Micah is the kind of characters that you rarely meet. She's wild, dangerous, full of secrets. But she's also vulnerable and yearning for love. The twist in her identity takes me aback in an unexpected way. It drives to story to a whole new directions.

Much as I love Liar, I still feel something missing. Maybe I need a more satisfying or clear ending or perhaps I just couldn't get to know Micah enough. Above all, though, I consider this book a good read. If you want something new, something deep and challenging, you definitely have to pick this up.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, 20 December 2010

Mini reviews: Kissing Booth/Chasing Brooklyn/Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

Publisher: Point
Pub.Date: January 1st 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 256
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: requested and received from publisher

Lisi has never been kissed. Sure, she could practice on her guy friend, Johnny, but he’s like a brother to her! So when it comes time to pick a theme for the Spring Carnival booth, Lisi suggests a "Kissing Booth," hoping it will give her the chance to get a cheek-kiss from her crush, the handsome, popular Brett. But on the day of the carnival, as rumors fly and kisses are stolen, Lisi discovers that the person she should really kiss may have been right in front of her all along.

Suitable for those who want to kill time since it's a quick, fast-paced read. The storyline is okay but the development is a bit messy. The book, in general, is abrupt and forgettable. I don't deny that it has some nice parts (about Mo's getting distant) and lovely characters (Johny, for example) but I can't get myself to enjoy it. I won't recommend it for anyone but if you're bored and want something to read, you can grab it.

Rating: 2.5/5

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pub.Date: August 26th 2008
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 192
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: borrowed from the library

It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City—and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.

This he said/she said romance told by YA stars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story about one date over one very long night, with two teenagers, both recovering from broken hearts, who are just trying to figure out who they want to be—and where the next great band is playing.

Told in alternating chapters, teeming with music references, humor, angst, and endearing side characters, this is a love story you’ll wish were your very own. Working together for the first time, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have combined forces to create a book that is sure to grab readers of all ages and never let them go.

The book starts and ends in one night and is really impulsive and unpredictable, making it unique. I can see why it was chosen to make a screen production of since every detail is very movie-like. I love the character interpretation & development but I wish it could have lengthened a bit. I feel like I don't know Nick and Norah enough even though they're both interesting.

If you love the movie, you should pick it up. Warning: there are a lot of swearing in this book.

Rating: 3.5/5

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub.Date: January 5th 2010
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 412
Format: hardcover
Source Of Copy: borrowed from the library

Brooklyn can't sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca, died only a year ago, and now her friend Gabe has just died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe's ghost is there waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants or why it isn't Lucca visiting her dreams.

Nico can't stop. He's always running, trying to escape the pain of losing his brother, Lucca. But when Lucca's ghost begins leaving messages, telling Nico to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.

As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they're being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.

This book, in my opinion, is an upgraded version of I Heart You, You Haunt Me. It's darker, it's deeper, it's softer and sweeter also. I love how the author focuses more on the alive characters than the ghosts. Their connection is great and the emotion exploration is adorable. You can't help but wish the best for Brooklyn and Lucca. The story ends in a way similar to Lisa Schroeder's debut book but more satisfying.

I would totally recommend this to everyone, especially fans of Lisa Schroeder.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti

Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Pub. Date: May 4th 2010
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 268
Format: ARC
Source Of Copy: requested and received from the publisher

Lani and Erin are lifelong best friends — and total opposites. Lani’s a down-to-earth Taurus; Erin’s a fiery Leo. Lani likes to do her own thing; Erin prefers an entourage. They’ve always had wildly different tastes, from pizza toppings to guys.

That is, until Erin starts dating Jason.

From the minute Lani meets Jason, she can’t deny the amazing connection she feels with him. It’s like they’ve known each other their whole lives. She’s not sure if he feels it, too — but even if he does, he’s off-limits. Lani’s determined to ignore her feelings for Jason, no matter how powerful they are, rather than hurt her best friend.

Then Erin goes away for the summer — and Jason seems to appear everywhere Lani turns. How long can she keep running from the guy who just might be the love of her life?

I'd always wanted to read a book on such a subject and when I found out that Susane Colasanti wrote one, I was thrilled. After lots of attempts, I finally got a copy. And it didn't disappoint me.

The author has a really nice approach to the matter. It seems a little bit scandalous to me as I read synopsis, but she makes everything flow naturally and gently. What readers love, in my opinion, is not the issue of stealing-your-bestfriend's-boyfriend-or-not, but the exploration of what Susane Colasanti calls the unknown. Horoscope, palm reading, fate, everything contributes to create a seemingly mysterious, deep and relatable story.

Something Like Fate appeals to me with its neat narration and well-planned plot. It's sweet, nostalgic and romantic with quite a few twists. The intensity of the story doesn't live up to my expectation, but I also get more that I hope it will offer. The story focuses not just on the triangle love but many more meaningful things.

I love Lani. She's a cute and thoughtful character. She reminds me my relatives and friends who were born under Taurus. Upon reading the book I find myself hoping nothing but a great ending for her. Her connection with Jason is natural but not too good to be true. As for Jason, he's an ok character to me. I think I like Blake a little bit more.

Bottom line: a good read about love and friendship and fate. Suitable either for you or both you and your best friend.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

THE BOOK REVIEW CLUB Dec 2010 - A Matched Made In High School by Kristin Walker

Publisher: Razorbill
Pub. Date: February 4th 2010
Age Range: young adult
Pages: 277
Format: ARC
Source Of Copy: requested and received from publisher

When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can't get any worse. Then she marries her “husband”: jerky jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona's long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very mysterious Johnny Mercer.

Pranks, fights, misunderstandings, and reconciliations ensue in an almost Shakespearean comedy of errors about mistaken first impressions, convoluted coupling, and hidden crushes.

I'd been waiting a long time to read this book because it received nothing but praise and admiration from the bloggers as well as readers, and finally I did get my hands on a copy. Let me tell you, it was worth the wait. A Match Made In High School is unique, fun and totally unpredictable.

What primarily makes this book special, I believe, is its plot. Kristin Walker has introduced a new happening that we hardly see in any reads focusing on high school life - Marriage Education program. With this she adeptly brings in more drama, more complex situations and of course, more significant characters. I specifically love how the course goes due to Fiona's funny journal entries and how the couples pretend to earn money and manage their budget.

A Match Made In High School makes you really appreciate high school and all the fun it offers for 4 years. The narration makes the whole thing feels stimulating, hilarious and positive even though there are sticky circumstances and our characters are not happy all the time. Actually, it is fun at first and gets more serious as the story nears the end, yet never loses the hopeful and fun atmosphere.

Fiona. Let's see. She reminds me a lot of Audrey because both are crazily hilarious and witty and sarcastic. She's someone I'd love to befriend or better, be best friends with. Her transformation and personality development are truly enjoyable. I also love Sam, a really cute and thoughtful kid. Quite a lot of male characters may prevent you from guessing which one is the one but I think it's more exciting that way. Todd is my favorite and I'm glad he turns out cool.

Overall, if you have attended high school or will do, you HAVE to read this book.

Rating: 4.5/5

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Breathless by Lurlene McDaniel

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pub.Date: May 12th 2009
Age Range: 12 and up
Pages: 165
Format: ARC
Source Of Copy: from the publisher

What is the toughest request anyone can be asked to fulfill?

Travis Morrison is a champion diver and one of the most popular kids at school. On the first day of summer vacation, while boating on the lake with his friends, Travis attempts a silly stunt dive that goes wrong. He fears he has broken his leg. Instead, his trip to the hospital reveals he has a rare form of cancer, and to save him, the doctors tell his parents they must amputate. In an instant, Travis’s life and the lives of everyone around him are forever changed.

Travis is determined that he and only he should decide the course of his life. He has a plan, but he can’t carry it out alone. Will he convince one of his friends to fulfill his most important request?

Lurlene McDaniel tackles a controversial subject, probing the issues of personal choice and quality of life.

A good book depicting a rare subject in young adult titles, Breathless makes a great read for everyone who wants something thought-provoking and meaningful.

The highlight of this book, to me, is how Lurlene McDaniel creates a calm and collected atmosphere even though the characters are facing the fatal choice of life. Even from before the accident happened to the really end it was never depressing or too hard to handle. It makes the story more realistic and less dramatic compared to those of the same genres.

I like the fact that the story keeps switching from character to character so we can look at the matter in many ways. Having said that, I also find that I don't have enough time to understand any of them (if you pay attention to the info listed above, the book is only 165 page long). Travis though, makes a good impression on me. How he reacts to the situation is totally brave to me. He's someone that I won't forget.

Breathless ends in a way that I never expect. Even thought there are a lot of twists in this story, the ending still surprises me. It seems shocking yet still very peaceful.

Bottom line: pick up this book, I think it would be good for you.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

It's Not You, It's Me by Kerry Cohen Hoffmann

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pub. Date: June 9th 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 192
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: requested and received from the publisher

Zoe loves Henry.

Henry dumps Zoe.

Zoe wants Henry back—at any cost.

Zoe’s two best friends come up with a plan to help Zoe get what she thinks she wants. The plan: make Henry jealous.

But the plan takes a surprising turn. . . .

Spanning thirty-one days in the cycle of a breakup, Kerry Cohen Hoffmann’s humorous and poignant novel depicts a girl whose single-minded focus on her ex-boyfriend has pulled her far from the person she most needs to win back—herself.

A cute book about heartbreak and self redefinition, It's Not You, It's Me surely makes a nice quick read. However, the story may appear annoying to certain readers.

Girl dates boy. Girl loses boy. Girl wants boy back. The plot is pretty simple and predictable. Writing with third respective, Kerry Cohen brings in a slight difference from the majority of young adult books these days. Her voice is neat and cute, making you feel like you're reading a book half teen half middle grade. Everything is planned out clearly and easy to follow.

However, it fails to deliver.

Zoe is a naive character that lot of girls can relate when in similar situations. But she's a bit over the top. That's the problem of the book. Zoe is too obsessive with Henry it's irritating. While readers can sympathy with her heart damage, they can't help but feel tired of her unreasonable stubbornness and stalkerish actions.

I also think there are a few unnecessary characters/happenings in the book. Like how Sam and Niles come into the picture, both making us wonder who's going to play an important part in the process of Zoe's getting Henry back. Then neither does. I also wish there will be more of Zoe's interest in writing and poetry and dancing because it's what makes her interesting, but there's so little of it.

Overall, the message the story wants to deliver is quite nice, but the whole thing doesn't go too well and is ruined by the main character. Still a nice pick if you want to something to read in your free time though.

Rating: 2.5/5

Friday, 8 October 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (74)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

Where She Went by Gayle Forman.

It’s been three years since Adam’s love saved Mia after the accident that annihilated life as she knew it . . . and three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard’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, powerful 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.

I read and loved If I Stay so getting this book is a must. This time it would be even more exciting when we get to see Adam's point of view after so many drastic changes in Mia's life and his. One thing that I hope the most is that Where She Went won't be short. Last time I wasn't satisfied with If I Stay because it ended so soon.

See Mia and Adam again in April 19th 2011, will you?

Thursday, 7 October 2010

THE BOOK REVIEW CLUB OCT 2010 - Baby Proof by Emily Griffin

Publisher: Orion
Pub. Date: August 2nd 2006
Age Range: Adult
Pages: 320
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: purchase

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes....a baby carriage? Isnt that what all women want? Not so for Claudia Parr. And just as she gives up on finding a man who feels the same way, she meets warm, wonderful Ben. Things seem too good to be true when they fall in love and agree to buck tradition with a satisfying, child-free marriage. Then the unexpected occurs: one of them has a change of heart. One of them wants children after all.

This is the witty, heartfelt story about what happens to the perfect couple when they suddenly want different things. Its about feeling that your life is set and then realizing that nothing is as you thought it was- and that there is no possible compromise. Its about deciding what is most important in life, and taking chances to get it. But most of all, its about the things we will do- and wont do- for love.

This is the second time that I review an adult book on my blog. Last time it was P.S I love you which I didn't like really much. But this book, Baby Proof is a truly heartfelt and lovely read that I want to recommend to all the female I know.

The plot of the story revolves around the issue of having a baby or not. The author has an excellent way to introduce readers into the core of the problem. It's simple, straightforward yet still interesting. I feel connected to the characters and their story immediately.

The story progresses slowly as it introduces more cases of people with baby problems, letting us see the view from lots of sides. What I love about it that Emily Griffin can convince me on the spot that Claudia not having a baby is a normal and righteous thing. Having said that, as I see and understand more of the female lead, the reason for her strange choice considering children comes out naturally.

Baby Proof doesn't have many conversations, it's mostly in monologue which I don't usually like but I am, for some reason, intrigued by the story. It's a real page turner. I love Claudia and Ben, they're such realistic and nice characters. It's just a pity I don't get to see much of Ben (even less than Richard!!!)

Well, the book has an open ending which is satisfying because I don't think you should force yourself to do something out of love when you're not ready for it. But because of love you should always have a try.

Rating: 4.5/5

Monday, 27 September 2010

Tallulah Falls by Christine Fletcher

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Pub.Date: May 29th 2007
Age Range: 12 and up
Pages: 400
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: from the author

When Tallulah Addy sets out on an impulsive cross-country trip to rescue her best friend, she doesn't anticipate getting stranded in rural Tennessee without a dime. Nor does she guess that rescuing a dog will land her a job in the local veterinarian’s office. But there, under the wary eye of ornery Dr. Poteet, Tallulah works harder than ever before, tending to animals of all shapes and sizes—and unexpectedly, to wounds long-buried in herself. Tallulah swears she'll leave the first chance she gets, yet when given the choice, it may prove harder to keep the promise to her friend than to say good-bye to the strangers who have become her new family.

Another story about escape to find one's self. Adventurous but peaceful at the same time, the book is still a good one although it doesn't come close to its sibling - Ten Cents A Dance.

What draws me into this book is the fact that it has such an uncommon plot - a girl sets off to go find her friend and suddenly gets stuck in a strange place with no money and no one she knows. That seems to be the biggest problem here - how to survive and get to her friend in time. But the deeper issue is that Tallulah not only doesn't know how to deal with this situation, she doesn't know how to deal with her entire life at all.

The charm of Tallulah Falls is probably the life in Tennessee that Tallulah accidentally falls into. I love how the author lets us know so much about animals and the likes. Although sometimes it feels like there's too much of animal treatment here I still find it interesting to read about those friends. Also, Tallulah Falls focuses most on family and friends rather than love, so I think it's refreshing.

All the characters in this book appeal to me one way or another. My favorite has to be Maeve. Unpredictable, she can be a bitch or a best friend at the same time but too bad she doesn't appear much. Tallulah doesn't impress me as much as Ruby from Ten Cents A Dance did, however, I do sympathy with her. Kyle doesn't turn out to be what I expect, so I'm a little disappointed.

The ending is lovely. I think Tallulah has found her great escape which would be new challenge but she's definitely made the right choice. It's one of my favorite parts from the book.

Rating: 3.5/5