Book Reviews – Four by Lauren Barnholdt

Author: Lauren Barnholdt

Publisher: Simon Pulse

lauren b books

I’m doing these reviews a little differently because I happened to read four of Lauren Barnholdt’s books in a row, and the similarities were quite obvious.

For one thing, two of the stories (Sometimes It Happens and The Thing about the Truth) use alternating past and present chapters. In both cases, the use of flashbacks help fill in the blanks and adds some mystery to the story. Had these two particular stories been told  in a linear beginning, middle, and end fashion, the effect wouldn’t have been the same.

All of the stories have romantic thread where the two main characters either dislike each other at the beginning, or they are working through a conflict which happened before the story starts. But in each of the books, we can tell that they really do like each other. These are lighthearted stories, although they do deal with betrayal. It mostly plays out like teen angst.

The characters are a bit self-involved, but they’re teenagers, right? So that’s excused. Usually, there are misunderstandings and rejection of explanations which contribute to the conflict, but all in all, these are fast reads, easy distractions. That said, I think I’ll check out Lauren’s other books, but I think I’ll wait a few months.

One Night That Changes EverythingOne Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read the entire book with the nagging feeling that I had read it before, and guess what? I had. But that was ok, because I was in the mood for a lighthearted comedy. Now there’s not many gut-busting comedic moments, but since no one died, it wasn’t a tragedy.

This story reminds me of Alexa Vega’s 2004 Sleepover movie and the book by Rachel Cohn and David Levitan Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. A bunch of kids in the big city doing all kinds of crazy things in one night.

It was a quick read, and I found it highly enjoyable.

Two-Way StreetTwo-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this so long ago, but I’d forgotten, so I checked it out again when I was at the library this week.

Jordan and Courtney broke up but for some reason have to drive across the country for freshman orientation together. I suppose the parents allow this so that the story can happen, but realistically? I doubt many fathers would allow their teenage daughters to take a three-day trip with the boy who broke their daughter’s hearts.

Fast read.
Sometimes It HappensSometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Although I despise cheating, I was easily caught up in this story.

Once again, Lauren Barnholdt uses alternating past and present chapters to tell her story.

I found myself disliking Ava, but since the story is told by Hannah, we can’t rely on her narration. And since Hannah really liked Noah, of course I found him likable, too.
The Thing About the TruthThe Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been reading a lot of dystopian stories lately, so it was good to be back in the real world with everyday problems.

I love a high school story, and The Thing About the Truth did not disappoint.

I liked the alternating flashback chapters because it built up the mystery. Now, there wasn’t a death, or fraud, or theft, but there was a mystery about how two people end up at the principal’s office.

In typical romance fashion, the two main characters seem to dislike each other at first, but they soon realize that they were wrong. There’s screwball misunderstandings, which once cleared up, seem silly.

I liked both Isaac and Kelsey, but once again, I disliked the parents, particularly Isaac’s father. I suppose most YA book have absentee parents, but I think that’s getting to be one of my biggest pet peeves.

I immediately went out and read all the Lauren Barnholdt books in my library. Some were good; others not so much. But I really enjoyed this one.

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