Sat, January 17, 2015

Geek Girl by Holly Smale Review

Geek Girl book cover

Geek Girl book cover

Geek Girl
By Holly Smale
Publication date: Jan. 27, 2015
HarperTeen, 384 pages

Geek + runway = a hilarious runaway hit! This bestselling UK debut is full of humor and high-fashion hijinks—and now it’s coming to America.

Harriet Manners is tired of being labeled a geek. So when she’s discovered by a modeling agent, she seizes the chance to reinvent herself. There’s only one problem: Harriet is the definition of awkward. Does she have what it takes to transform from geek to chic?

Geek Girl is the first book in a hilarious new trilogy. It was also the #1 bestselling YA debut of 2013 in the UK, where it was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Best Book for Teens. With all the humor and fabulous shenanigans of Louise Rennison’s Confessions of Georgia Nicolson and Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries, Geek Girl is about to become an international superstar.

— description

This quirky book made me laugh, so on that alone you know I’ll read the rest of the Geek Girl trilogy!

I liked Harriet’s relationship with her parents: her funny dad and how she takes after her stepmother. There’s a cute romance and a female friendship that, yeah, includes some major fighting, but stays strong through it all.

And I liked the message about being yourself. It’s something I really feel strongly about. I loved this quote:

“You need to stop caring what people who don’t matter think of you. Be who you are and let everyone else be who they are. Differences are a good thing. It would be a terribly boring world if we were all the same.”

Still, it was a bit too simple for me to totally fall in OMG WOW love with. There was one particular character who totally annoyed me and creeped me out and I had time getting over. I’d probably recommend it for younger teens — not quite middle grade readers anymore, but not quite ready for full-on mature YA.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: family, friendship, holly smale, romance

Sun, January 11, 2015

Split Second by Kasie West Review

Split Second book cover

Split Second book cover

Split Second
By Kasie West
Publication date: Feb. 11, 2014
HarperTeen, 368 pages
Source: Library

Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything.

— description

Oooh, I love Kasie West. Have you read my reviews of On the Fence and The Distance Between Us? So. Good.

And I loved Pivot Point (my review is here)…so I’m not sure why it took me almost a year to read the sequel, Split Second.

Again: So. Good.

Okay, at first I had trouble remembering what happened in the first book. But as soon as I got caught back up, I loved it.

Oooh, two good romances! Bad guys! An awesome friendship between two girls! Fun paranormal times!

Loved it. Totally worth getting this series from your library/bookstore — just don’t wait as long as I did between reading them. Okay? Okay. Trust me.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: friendship, kasie west, paranormal, romance

Thu, December 18, 2014

Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas Review

Top Ten Clues You're Clueless book cover

Top Ten Clues You're Clueless book cover

Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless
By Liz Czukas
Publication date: Dec. 9, 2014
Harper Teen, 304 pages
Source: Publisher

Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe’s Day

5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market

4) Crashing a cart into a customer’s car right in front of her snarky coworker Sammi

3) Trying to rock the “drowned rat” look after being caught in a snowstorm

2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson (see #3)

1) Being accused—along with her fellow teenage employees—of stealing upwards of $10,000

Chloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail (aka the break room) with five of her coworkers . . . even if one of them is Tyson. But if they can band together to clear their names, what looks like a total disaster might just make Chloe’s list of Top Ten Best Moments.

— description

Top five things I liked about Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas:

1. The Breakfast Club vibe
2. Takes place in just one day — Christmas Eve (’tis the season!)
3. Set in a grocery store (loved that in Love and Other Perishable Items too!)
4. There’s a MYSTERY!
5. It’s a quick, sweet and easy read.

Aaaand, I’m a sucker for lists so I also loved that the list trope carried on from the description all throughout the book!

Okay, so I totally saw the mystery coming, but it was still a fun book filled with romance and friendship. Cute stuff.

PS: Read my review of Czukas’ Ask Again Later: It was fun, funny, easy, romantic, light-hearted and wrapped up just perfectly.”

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: friendship, holidays, romance

Tue, October 7, 2014

Wildlife by Fiona Wood Review

Wildlife book cover

Wildlife book cover

By Fiona Wood
Publication date: Sept. 16, 2014
Poppy, 400 pages
Source: Publisher

During a semester in the wilderness, sixteen-year-old Sib expects the tough outdoor education program and the horrors of dorm life, but friendship drama and an unexpected romance with popular Ben Capaldi? That will take some navigating.

New girl Lou has zero interest in fitting in, or joining in. Still reeling from a loss that occurred almost a year ago, she just wants to be left alone. But as she witnesses a betrayal unfolding around Sib and her best friend Holly, Lou can’t help but be drawn back into the land of the living.

Fans of Melina Marchetta, Rainbow Rowell, and E. Lockhart will adore this endearing and poignant story of first love, true friendship, and going a little bit wild.

— description

My thoughts on this one are all over the place, so I’ll just lay ’em out for you:

– Fiona Wood knows some really big words that I don’t know; or maybe it’s just an Aussie thing?

– Love love love Michael and Sib and Lou — some brilliant secondary characters here.

– But also some brilliantly HORRIBLE characters; Holly is the worst. HATE HATE HATE. So hard to read this bullying and justification and nastiness from supposed friends. At the same time, who can’t relate?

– This book makes me want to go hiking.

– My galley eBook copy didn’t have formatting to help me see there were two points of view…which really messed things up for me. Wildlife got off to a crazy slow start for me because I had to go back and reread after I worked out the two narrators a few chapters in.

– This cover is to die for.

So, really a formatting thing that made this a toughie for me. Plus, it hit a little close to home on the toxic friendship thing. Been there, done that. But it was brilliantly portrayed and the setting was lovely. Pros and cons!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: aussie, camp, fiona wood, friendship

Mon, September 29, 2014

Sway by Kat Spears Review

Sway book cover

Sway book cover

By Kat Spears
Publication date: Sept. 16, 2014
St. Martins Griffin, 320 pages
Source: Publisher

In Kat Spears’s hilarious and often poignant debut, high school senior Jesse Alderman, or “Sway,” as he’s known, could sell hell to a bishop. He also specializes in getting things people want—term papers, a date with the prom queen, fake IDs. He has few close friends and he never EVER lets emotions get in the way. For Jesse, life is simply a series of business transactions.

But when Ken Foster, captain of the football team, leading candidate for homecoming king, and all-around jerk, hires Jesse to help him win the heart of the angelic Bridget Smalley, Jesse finds himself feeling all sorts of things. While following Bridget and learning the intimate details of her life, he falls helplessly in love for the very first time. He also finds himself in an accidental friendship with Bridget’s belligerent and self-pitying younger brother who has cerebral palsy. Suddenly, Jesse is visiting old folks at a nursing home in order to run into Bridget, and offering his time to help the less fortunate, all the while developing a bond with this young man who idolizes him. Could the tin man really have a heart after all?

A Cyrano de Bergerac story with a modern twist, Sway is told from Jesse’s point of view with unapologetic truth and biting humor, his observations about the world around him untempered by empathy or compassion—until Bridget’s presence in his life forces him to confront his quiet devastation over a life-changing event a year earlier and maybe, just maybe, feel something again.

— description

My initial reaction as I read: “What!? A kid doing under the table favors for the principal? Yeah right!”

The concept came off as a bit bogus to me to start — truly, how can one kid have that much, well, “sway”? But as we get to know Jesse — and reluctantly like him — my disbelief turned into a certain amount of awe. This kid is influential and street smart and damaged, yeah, but really really smart.

I like that he is so unapologetic about who he is. And he’s a horrible person, but so charismatic and endearing that you like him anyway. As Bridget repeatedly tell him, “I’m determined to like you even though you don’t want me too.”

I feel ya, Bridge. So, for this alone (and bonus points to Mr. Dunkelman and all the other standout secondary characters), I adored this story. A main character who is just a bastard but you love love love him anyway? Amazing.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: friendship, kat spears, male POV, romance