My Bookshelf: Lola and the Boy Next Door

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Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre: Young Adult/Romance

Amazon Summary:
“Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the negihborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.”

Jeers:

  • There was very little sympathy for Lola’s birth parents. People fall on hard times, it happens, and not everyone addicted to drugs is a terrible person.
  • I hated how long things dragged on with Max (the hot rocker boyfriend).
  • I think school is a much bigger deal in young people’s lives but she took away from that in order to force St. Clair and Anna in at the movie theater rather than just having standalone books.
  • The gift Cricket gives her at the end is like beyond what anyone could accomplish and is setting impossibly high standards (okay so I’m a little jealous but whatever).

Cheers:

  • I thought that the story was wonderfully 3D and I liked all the characters.
  • I loved Cricket, though I have no idea why he was actually into Lola.
  • It was a very sweet story and I enjoyed reading it.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes. I’d say read Anna and the French Kiss first, since the setting of Paris is way cooler than San Francisco (in my opinion) but all three books can be read in whatever order and you won’t be that confused. It’s really sweet and really captures the confusion of youth.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Lola-Next-Door-Stephanie-Perkins/dp/0142422010/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

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My Bookshelf: Along for the Ride

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Title: Along for the Ride

Author: Sarah Dessen

Genre: Young Adult/Romance

Amazon Summary:
“Nights have always been Auden’s time, her chance to escape everything that’s going on around her.

Then she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac, and he becomes her nocturnal tour guide.

Now, with an endless supply of summer nights between them, almost anything can happen. . . .”

Jeers:

  • If you’ve read a lot of Sarah Dessen’s books this is going to be exactly the same.
  • Auden’s dad was a huge asshole from start to finish and that wasn’t really taken care of or addressed properly.

Cheers:

  • It’s a nice light-hearted read.
  • The characters are unique and the detail in the story really brings things to life.
  • I’ve read this a bunch of times and I’m still not sick of it. I think Sarah Dessen does a really good job of writing books young girls can identify with.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes, if you like stories about teenage girls finding themselves. If you like one Sarah Dessen book you’ll probably like them all, but if you read too many you start to see how similar they all are. As long as you’re not looking for high-brow literature, you’ll be fine reading Along for the Ride.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Along-Ride-Sarah-Dessen/dp/0142415561

My Bookshelf: Evil Genius

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Title: Evil Genius

Author: Catherine Jinks

Genre: Young Adult/Science Fiction

Amazon Summary:
“Cadel Piggott has a genius IQ and a fascination with systems of all kinds. At seven, he was illegally hacking into computers. Now he’s fourteen and studying for his World Domination degree, taking classes like embezzlement, forgery, and infiltration at the institute founded by criminal mastermind Dr. Phineas Darkkon. Although Cadel may be advanced beyond his years, at heart he’s a lonely kid. When he falls for the mysterious and brilliant Kay-Lee, he begins to question the moral implications of his studies. But is it too late to stop Dr. Darkkon from carrying out his evil plot?”

Jeers:

  • I didn’t really have any problems with it, but it may have dragged on too long for some people.
  • There were people who could explode and that really wasn’t expanded on enough because that seemed pretty cool.

Cheers:

  • I thought they did a very good job of writing an hero who was actually a villain (or the other way around, I dunno).
  • I really liked how diverse the people at the institute were.
  • It gave off a spy/superhero kind of vibe.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes. If you like longer books. Obviously it is aimed at kids but it was serious enough that I could enjoy it fully as an adult. (Lots of people die. Like a lot.)

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Evil-Genius-Catherine-Jinks/dp/0152061851

My Bookshelf: Tales of The Madman Underground

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Title: Tales of The Madman Underground

Author: John Barnes

Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fiction

Amazon Summary:

“September 1973: The beginning of Karl Shoemaker’s senior year in stifling Lightsburg, Ohio. For years, Karl’s been part of “the Madman Underground”- kids forced to attend group therapy during school. Karl has decided that he is going to get out of the Madman Underground for good. He is going to act-and be-Normal. But Normal, of course, is relative. Karl has two after-school jobs, one dead father, one seriously unhinged drunk mother . . . and a huge attitude. Welcome to a gritty, uncensored rollercoaster ride, narrated by the singular Karl Shoemaker.”

Jeers (possible spoilers):

  • I did not want Darla and Karl to end up together. I don’t know if that’s even what happened, but Darla is fucked up and I didn’t like her.
  • There were a lot of people and I sometimes got confused on who some of the less central characters were.

Cheers:

  • Literally everything else.
  • The writing was good. The characterization was good. The plot was good.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes. I loved this book so much that I let a friend borrow it. She then kept it in her trunk for 4 months and it ruined it. It was a signed copy. I didn’t read it since then because it’s in shit condition, but I finally did and I’m glad I did because I forgot how much I loved it. (But if anyone wants to know why I have trust issues and won’t let people borrow my books, this is why.)

Amazon link:

 http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Madman-Underground-John-Barnes/dp/0142417025

My Bookshelf: Godless

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Title: Godless

Author: Pete Hautman

Genre: Young Adult

Amazon Summary:

“Fed up with his parents’ boring old religion, agnostic-going-on-atheist Jason Bock invents a new god — the town’s water tower. He recruits an unlikely group of worshippers: his snail-farming best friend, Shin, cute-as-a-button (whatever that means) Magda Price, and the violent and unpredictable Henry Stagg. As their religion grows, it takes on a life of its own. While Jason struggles to keep the faith pure, Shin obsesses over writing their bible, and the explosive Henry schemes to make the new faith even more exciting — and dangerous.
When the Chutengodians hold their first ceremony high atop the dome of the water tower, things quickly go from merely dangerous to terrifying and deadly. Jason soon realizes that inventing a religion is a lot easier than controlling it, but control it he must, before his creation destroys both his friends and himself.”

Jeers:

  • Basically nothing, other than I didn’t like how shitty things went for Jason.

Cheers:

  • I really love this book. I loved it when I first read it and it’s just as good rereading it. I connect with it deeply.
  • It’s written well. You really feel like you’re there, even if it’s set in the summer time and you’re reading in your house than ran out of propane and is not currently being heated.
  • Jason is a great character. Well-rounded and realistic.
  • Just every part of it is fantastic. I’m sure that theists as a whole are probably less amused with it, but as an atheist, it was easy to relate to and funny.

Would I recommend it?:
YES! Not really much more to say. I love this book and want everyone else to love it.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0030VVOHO/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_0

My Bookshelf: When She Smiled

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Title: When She Smiled

Author: Ritoban Chakrabarti

Genre: Young Adult/Romance

Amazon Summary:
“Mrityunjoy Roy is a fifteen year old Bengali who has spent the last ten years of his life growing up in Shimla, India. While his family is completely academically oriented, he wants something more. Finally he meets Akanksha in school, who turns his world upside down with her gorgeous looks and mind boggling smile. As fate would have it, she joins his tuition, and thus begins the torrid year of puppy love, romance, heartbreak, tragedy, and self discovery. Set among the scenic Shivalik hills of Shimla when mobile phones and internet were non-existent, this is a story of how an average young teenager comes to terms with his destiny.”

Cheers:

  • Well, I thought it would be interesting to read a book set in India.

Jeers:

  • But it wasn’t.
  • The writing is what killed this story. It’s just not well-written. I forced myself father than I normally would to find something that would make me want to keep reading this book, but I couldn’t. The writing was just terrible. Not the grammar or typos or anything, just the writing style. It was juvenile and not engaging.

Would I recommend it?:
No. I really find the writing to be terrible. Over a span of days I forced myself to read eight chapters, but I finally just had to put it down. The other reviews talk about how great the plot was and all, but a book has to be well-rounded. Readers shouldn’t have to force themselves to finish a book.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/When-She-Smiled-Ritoban-Chakrabarti-ebook/dp/B00QFXTPL6/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

My Bookshelf: Wake Series

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Title: Wake/Fade/Gone

Author: Lisa McMann

Genre: Young Adult/ Paranormal

Amazon summary:
“Janie Hannagan gets sucked into other people’s dreams. It’s an ability she always kept secret—until she met Cabel, and found herself with the best (secret) boyfriend ever. But Janie and Cabel are about to find out just how dark Janie’s future as a Dream Catcher is… and whether Cabel will be a part of it.”

My summary:
Janie gets sucked into people’s dreams. She can’t control it until she finds someone like her to guide her in her dream-catching. She meets a boy and begins working with the police to untangle the dreams of criminals. She has a lot of shit to deal with, having grown up on the wrong side of town, and it gets worse when her dream-catcher mentor reveals what it really means to catch dreams.

Cheers:

  • I like that Janie isn’t one of those run-of-the-mill middle class white girl narrators. Well, she’s white, but she’s poor as fuck with an alcoholic mother.
  • It’s pretty well written. Obviously, it was a best-seller, so it isn’t a piece of shit.
  • It’s a fun read. I’ve reread it a few times and don’t get tied of it.

Jeers (possible spoilers):

  • I feel like Cabel cries too often. And it’s really weird when he does, like the author doesn’t want to write a weak male character so she doesn’t go into any detail other than to say he’s crying but she needs him to cry to make him more likable.
  • I hated how it was present tense. Some of the time it just didn’t work, I don’t think.
  • The end seemed rushed. Like just all of a sudden she was going to AA meetings and then she planned to enter her mother’s dream? I guess where it ended worked, but it could’ve used another chapter or two.

Would I recommend it?:
Yep! The whole series is fun. The relationship between Janie and Cabel gets a little unrealistic at times, but for such an interesting plot I think it can be forgiven. Get used copies with the above covers, though. The new ones look stupid.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1442428260/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1?pf_rd_p=1535523722&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1416974474&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=09SNGECKW3J5MMJY9TN6

My Bookshelf: The Actual Real Reality of Jennifer James

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Title: The Actual Real Reality of Jennifer James

Author: Gillian Shields

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Amazon Summary:

“This is the diary of Jennifer James.

It contains:

One Heroine: Jennifer James, burdened by brains, struggling to release her Inner Babe

One High School: London Road Comprehensive, a no-hope English school in a no-hope English town

One Prize: A scholarship to the elite St. Willibald’s College [Jennifer’s idea of Paradise] offered to the winner of a tacky reality TV show, Down The Bog

and . . .

A Thousand Complications: Like Jocasta, the crazy feminist mother; Tallulah, the blond rival from hell; Marcus, the guy with green eyes; and above all, the actual real reality that Jennifer’s chances of winning are less than Mega-Zero.”

My Summary:

So basically, there’s this little nobody girl whose school is put onto a reality TV show. Nobody Girl gets to be one of the students on the reality show and so cameras follow her around at school and she has the chance to win a completely paid scholarship to some rich kid boarding school. Nobody Girl struggles in the competition because she is, essentially, a nobody, but with some help she pulls through and makes it to the end of the competition. Drama, silly names, and even more teenage drama will accompany Nobody Girl as she fights for the prize.

Cheers:

  • Overall, it’s an amusing read if you don’t think too much about it. It makes fun of reality shows and provides an afternoon’s entertainment (or longer, depending how fast you read).
  • There are some interesting characters. There were only a few times when a name was mentioned and I had to think hard about who that person actually was, despite the large cast.
  • It did the diary thing pretty well. You still could feel like it was a real story, but there was a lot of narrating rather than just showing what happened just because of the style.

Jeers (possible spoilers):

  • Jennifer James is a bit of a Mary Sue. Her only flaw is being bad a gym and being shy and nervous. In my opinion, shyness/nervousness/clumsiness is the first thing writers go to when they realize their female characters have no flaw. The whole time I was a bit annoyed with how generic she was.
  • Jennifer’s little brother is a prop. Sorry, but I don’t like it when authors add siblings just to give the main character more depth. It’s mentioned once that her little brother is just starting school, then never mentioned again. He’s basically there because she once took him to the park and that helped her interact with a boy.
  • Jennifer’s parents were having serious martial problems and it’s all solved because Jennifer told her dad to buy her mother flowers. I just wasn’t satisfied by that part of the story. I wanted to know more about her dad, why he was so quiet and more about his job and how the move from Jennifer’s old school affected the family. Her mom went from being INSANE to completely normal from a bouquet of flowers and a concert even though she almost had an affair? It was just all very unrealistic.
  • I didn’t like the love interest one bit. I just didn’t feel his appeal. I feel like the entire reason that Jennifer chased him was because he had green eyes. That was it. I liked the boy she rejected much more and the way that plot line resolved itself left much to be desired.
  • The text talk. Oh god, the text talk. Jennifer is supposed to be this really intelligent girl who wants to get into Oxford but she sends txts dat lok lyke dis. No, worse than that, actually. It was painful.

Would I recommend it?:

Only if you could borrow it or buy it cheap. It isn’t high-quality reading, just something to pass the time that you don’t have to think about it. It wasn’t super bad, but it didn’t stand out at all. Overall, it was a novel with an interesting (though unrealistic) premise and a meh execution.

Amazon Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Actual-Real-Reality-Jennifer-James/dp/B0064XRA28