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Book Review: Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson

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Book Title: Prom
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publication Date: March 3rd 2005
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Humor, Realistic Fiction, Romance, YA
Age Range: 12-17 years old
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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High school senior Ashley Hannigan doesn’t care about prom, but she’s the exception. It’s pretty much the only good thing at her urban Philadelphia high school, and everyone plans to make the most of it-especially Ash’s best friend, Natalia, who’s the head of the committee. Then the faculty advisor is busted for taking the prom money, and Ash suddenly finds herself roped into putting together a gala dance out of absolutely nada. But she has help-from her large and loving (if exasperating!) family, from Nat’s eccentric grandmother, from her fellow classmates. And in putting the prom together, Ash learns that she has choices about her life after high school. Prom has everything that award-winning author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for-humor, poignancy, teen readers’ tough issues dealt with head-on, and a voice teen readers will recognize as their own.


MY THOUGHTS

I should have finished this sooner considering that the book is only 215 pages long and I might have done a bit—okay, a lot of skimming. But I read this in more or less 5 days because I just kept putting it off. And most of the time, I felt like giving up and I wanted to stop reading the book altogether. However, I don’t think books deserve to be unfinished and forgotten so, like the masochist I am, I kept reading and it was so painful (and such a waste of time.)

Let me tell you something that I don’t normally feel when reading: I actually think everyone is decent EXCEPT for the main character. Ashley Hannigan is a whiny little bitch. All she does is whine, whine, and guess what, whine some more! She acts like the prom will ruin her life. Grow up, Ashley! Although she did have a bit of character development towards the end. By “character development” I mean she becomes less obnoxious and actually takes a bit of responsibility.

Another thing about Ashley is how blunt she is. SPOILER ALERT! Don’t read the little quote below if you’re interested in reading the book.

I laid down my head on my books. I was thinking I should ask my aunt Linny to light a candle at St. Luke’s for the prom. She should light one for me, too, because I was sure I had a brain tumor. A tumor would explain why I agreed to help Nat. It might actually make life easier.

There were only a couple of things that kept me from rating this as a 1-star read. First is their preparations for prom, there’s that. I like to see if they can pull off their prom with such a short amount of time available. Also, I love the little (kind of) adrenaline feeling I get when reading their hustle and tussle just to make their prom decent with such limited resources. The other thing is Grandma Shulmensky. Oh that wonderful woman! She has got to be my favorite character. Grandma Shulmensky just cracks me up every time; she is so fun!

Would I recommend it?

No. Simply, no.

All book cover photos and summaries are taken from Goodreads.

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Book Review: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

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Book Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 1st 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Chick Lit, Realistic Fiction, Romance, YA
Age Range: 14-17 years old
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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“Don’t worry, Anna. I’ll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it.”
“Okay.”
“Promise me? Promise you won’t say anything?”
“Don’t worry.” I laughed. “It’s our secret, right?”

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie—she’s already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.


MY THOUGHTS

I was really disappointed by this one.

I thought I was going to like it. I mean, look at that cover, and then read the summary, and then go through all its great ratings on Goodreads. It’s impossible to keep my hopes down.

Let me start by saying that the title is very misleading. Twenty Boy Summer? More like Not-Even-Half-Of-That Summer. (Lame, I know.)

I am a very character-centered reader. I don’t usually care if the plot isn’t amazing—with the exception of, you know, cut-my-eyes-off bad. I believe that the character/s of the book adds a lot more to the experience of a reader. That being said, I felt nothing for the characters in Twenty Boy Smumer. By “characters,” I mean Anna and Frankie. Maybe it’s because I didn’t get to know them as much as I would’ve like. Or maybe I don’t freaking see why they would be best friends in the first place! The only person I liked was Matt… but he dies! Ugh.

I know I said I felt nothing for the two main characters, but scratch that. I felt something for Frankie: pure hatred. Frankie is just as selfish and self-absorbed as I thought she would be. I get it, she’s grieving because her brother died. But for goodness’ sake, Anna loved Matt too—as a brother, best friend and a lover. Frankie keeps on acting like she’s the only person affected, and she doesn’t know how to consider other feelings but her own! I want to kick Anna for putting up with Frankie’s shit.

There was a lot of breaking the rules throughout their duration in Zanzibar Bay, and like the goody two shoes I am, I was really nervous with all of the duo’s rendezvous with the two hotties they meet on their summer holiday. But that’s not even the worse part, it is the fact that Anna and Frankie weren’t even caught and/or punished for sneaking out.

One of the aforementioned hotties is Anna’s “summer romance”, I guess you can say. But I can’t feel the romance. I literally cringe at some point.

I originally wanted to rate this a 1 out of 5, but decided against it. The only thing that earned the extra star was the first few chapters when Matt was still alive. I genuinely thought it would turn out as a great contemporary read, but it was a let down.

Would I recommend it?

Not really. It had potential in the first few chapters but I was unhappy on how it turns out. If you really think you like the plot, I suggest borrowing from a friend or your local library if they have it because I don’t think it’s worth the ten bucks.

All book cover photos and summaries are taken from Goodreads.

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Tag: Burn, Rewrite, Reread Tag

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Welcome to the first ever book tag I’m posting on this blog! Although admittedly, not the first one I’ve done as I sometimes answer book tags in my spare time. They’re just so fun, I wonder why it took me this long to post one. Anyway, no one actually tagged me to do this one, I just saw Melia’s post at The Immortal Readers (do yourself a favor and check it out) and thought I’d do it to.

  • Randomly choose 3 books. (You can use the “random” option on your Goodreads read shelf but I didn’t do that, I let my sister pick randomly instead.)
  • For each group, decide which book to burn, which one to rewrite, and which to reread. (Who in their right minds would let me rewrite these books?! But let’s just pretend I’m an amazing writer for the sake of the tag.)
  • Repeat until you completed three rounds. (I’m gonna do five just because I can, plus it’s really fun.)

No books were harmed in the making of this blog post.


ROUND 1

Ooh, this one’s quite easy!

BURN: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga – I pick this one for “burn” simply because I got bored halfway through the book. The 45%-ish of the book is interesting but after that, my attention was completely gone. I was so disappointed.
REWRITE: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – As I said earlier, I am by no means a decent writer, much less an amazing one who would rewrite a Rainbow Rowell book. So let’s just pretend, folks. I enjoyed this book so much, but I would like to give it a bit more plot.
REREAD: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – I actually reread this book quite a lot. This is by far my favorite book in the contemporary romance genre. Every time I read this, I instantly brighten up a lot more. This is my go-to book whenever I’m stressed, in a bad mood or just wants to feel loved (even though it’s not directed at me, if that makes sense). I highly recommend this one.

ROUND 2

BURN: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler – This I would burn because I’ve encountered multiple problems while reading this. I gave this a rating of 2/5 stars because I only enjoyed the parts wherein Matt was still alive (I promise that’s not a spoiler).
REWRITE: Because I Love You by Tori Rigby – Although I absolutely loved this one, I’ll have to “rewrite” this to lessen the problems that Andrea Hamilton is juggling. As much as I believe that she’s strong enough to handle the dilemmas thrown at her, I’ll feel more comfortable about myself if I do poor Andie a favor.
REREAD: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – This is a favorite of mine. I’ve read this fairly recently but I’ll be no doubt rereading this multiple times in the future. This is such a lovely story and such lovely characters and such lovely writing. If you haven’t yet, I recommend reading this one because this is one of those books that speak to you (well, at least to me it did).

ROUND 3

I think my sister purposely chose these books she knew I love to see me suffer.

BURN: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West – I’m so sorry for this. I seriously never would have thought that I’d put this book in the “burn” category. I love this book to pieces! Caymen! Alexander! NOOOOOO! Okay, I may be getting carried away, but I really do adore this book. The only reason why I’d put this as burn is because I know that I’m not gonna be actually burning it I’d be reading more books by Kasie West. And I’ll buy another copy!
REWRITE: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins  I really want this to be rewritten purely because I wanted more action for bad-ass Harper Price.
REREAD: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken1000000% reread. If that’s not enough zeroes for you to think that this is one, if not the only one, of my favorite dystopian series of all time, here’s some more: 100000000000000000000000%. I can’t express enough how much I love The Darkest Minds trilogy. Maybe I can, but that would take ages so you would have to do with those digits I left you.

ROUND 4

BURN: Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik  I gave this 4/5 stars—I can’t remember why because I currently think this deserves only 3 or, 3.5 tops. But I would burn this instead of rewrite it (I don’t want to!) because I see more potential in the other one. Read below.
REWRITE: Reboot by Amy Tintera – This I would rewrite because, as I said, I see potential. I only gave this a 2 out of 5 because I couldn’t bring myself to care for the most part. The first part of the book really got me going, but it fell through for me starting from the middle-ish part.
REREAD: Untethered by Katie Hayoz – This one, although I would’ve like several aspects to be altered, I would still gladly reread this.

 

ROUND 5

BURN: Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson  When I saw that this book is included in the group that was randomly picked, I knew right away that I had to burn it (not literally). The book was just too problematic for me. I didn’t like the main character, not one bit. And that’s one of my bookish pet peeves, not liking the main character/the person narrating.
REWRITE: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey – I actually really liked this book but I’d like to rewrite it for a couple of reasons. First is to fucking put a reminder of some sort of whose POV I’m reading because I got so confused. And the other is to discard of the cringey romance.
REREAD: Now May You Weep by Deborah Crombie – Another 5 star read for me. I am a huge mystery/crime novel fan. This book really thrilled me, although there were some parts wherein all they talk about is whiskey which I’m not a fan of, but I don’t see that as a problem of the book. Basically, this is just really great. And it takes place in Scotland’s Highlands!


So there we go. This was so much fun to do. Thanks again to Melia @ The Immortal Readers for introducing me to this tag. Do you agree with my choices? Why or why not? Let’s talk, leave a comment below! 😀

Book cover photos are taken from Goodreads.

 

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Book Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

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Book Title: The Distance Between Us
Author: Kasie West
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: July 2nd 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, YA
Age Range: 13-17 years old
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.


MY THOUGHTS

First of all, let me tell you that I bought this book because of its cover. I know, I’m a horrible human being. Don’t judge a book by its cover, and all that… blah blah. But when I read the summary, I thought it would be another really cliché rich-boy-meets-poor-girl love story. Well, it kind of is—but this is different in its own way.

Before I explain why I absolutely loved this, let me tell you the two things I didn’t like about this. First was the lack of depth for Xander’s character. I just didn’t know more about Xander’s character (and life) outside of their relationship, so as a result, I didn’t quite connect to him more than I would like to. The other thing is the ending. Granted, the ending is sweet and adorable and all but I think that it was just too good, too convenient.

Now let me mention the things that made me swoon over this book.

First of all, I love a book that could make me laugh and this one made me laugh out loud loads of times. The banter in this book is really entertaining and I savored every bit of it.

Another thing I adored is how the story doesn’t just revolve around Caymen’s love life. It actually tackles problems: poverty, indecisiveness of what to do in the future, family history/drama and struggles in health.

If Caymen Meyers, the main character, was a real person, there’ll be no doubt that we would be the best of friends. I relate to her so much. We share the same dry sense of humor or at least I think we do. Much like her, I also don’t have a clue on what the future holds for me. When reading, I always just find myself thinking about how similar we are. She is definitely my favorite character in the story.

There wasn’t insta-love. That was another thing I was worried about before reading this. Luckily, it turned out really good. It wasn’t rushed I loved how I could feel Caymen and Xander’s chemistry.

When I hear the word “doll store” the first thing that comes to mind are creepy dolls. Now in this story, Caymen’s mother runs a doll store. I didn’t feel uncomfortable whenever the shop was being described; it almost feels homely. I don’t know if you even care about that but it’s a pro for me. I just think I should include that.

I heard a lot of great things about the author’s works and I’m looking forward to trying out her other books.

Would I recommend this?

If you like contemporary books or you’re in the mood for a cute romantic story that would make you laugh and feel for the characters, this one’s for you!

All book cover photos are taken from Goodreads.

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Teaser Tuesday: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Books and A Beat.

Teaser

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week’s book:

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Book Title: My Heart and other Black Holes
Author: Jasmine Warga
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 10th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Death, Mental Health, Realistic Fiction, Romance, YA
Age Range: 14+ years old

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A stunning novel about the transformative power of love, perfect for fans of Jay Asher and Laurie Halse Anderson

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution—Roman, a teenage boy who’s haunted by a family tragedy, is looking for a partner. Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together.

Teaser:

I pull the charcoal-gray comforter over my head and pretend like I’m in the middle of the ocean, waves crashing over me, my lungs filling up with water, the whole world turning black. I try to imagine my potential energy turning into kinetic energy turning into nothing.


As weird as this might sound, I actually felt those two sentences. Like really felt it.

Have a teaser of your own? Leave a link to your post in the comments section, or if you don’t have one you can just comment a teaser below too. Thanks for stopping by!

All book cover photos and summaries are taken from Goodreads.