Books by e. lockhart

real live boyfriendsHave you read any of e. lockhart’s novels about Ruby Oliver, the angst-ridden teenager with boy troubles? If not, you should. And you should read them in order since you’ll only get the full impact if you do so.

I recently finished the last installment in the Ruby Oliver saga, and it was awesome. I had to keep myself from underlining parts since this is a library book and librarians frown on that sort of thing. But the book is filled with quotes that made me want to jot them down for future reference.

Unfortunately, I didn’t jot down the quotes, which means I’ll have to read the book again in order to make note of them. Not that it’ll be a hardship. I enjoyed the book that much. And it’s a fast read.

Seriously, if you’ve never read any of e. lockhart’s books, you should pick one up TODAY! They’re witty, and funny, and well-written. The characters are relateable, Ruby Oliver, especially, is so flawed, she’s perfect.

I really enjoyed Dramarama, Fly on the Wall, and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. I think I’ve read all her books, and I’m anxiously awaiting any new material. So please, e., if you happen to read my blog, please write more wonderful books for me to read.

Go to your local bookstore or library now!

Have you read any of of e. lockhart’s books? Which ones did you read and what did you think?

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Book Review – The Opposite of Maybe by Maggie Dawson

oppositeAuthor: Maggie Dawson

Pages: 400

Publisher: Broadway Books

Summary:  Jonathan and Rosie have been together so long they finish each other’s sentences—so when he (finally) proposes and asks her to move across the country with him, everyone is happily surprised.

But when things suddenly unravel, Rosie sends Jonathan packing and moves back home with Soapie, the irascible, opinionated grandmother who raised her. Only now she has to figure out how to fire Soapie’s very unsuitable caregiver, a gardener named Tony who lets her drink martinis, smoke, and cheat at Scrabble.

It’s a temporary break, of course—until Rosie realizes she’s accidentally pregnant at 44, completely unequipped for motherhood, and worse, may be falling in love with the sentimental, troubled Tony, whose life is even more muddled than hers.
It’s not until Rosie learns the truth about her mother’s tragic story that she wonders if sometimes you have to let go of your fears, trusting that the big-hearted, messy life that awaits you may just be the one you were meant to live.

My Review: I requested this book thinking it was YA fiction (ok, so I skimmed the description) and was a little disappointed when I realized it wasn’t. I began the book reluctantly, but was quickly absorbed by the story.

A long-term relationship changes with a spontaneous marriage proposal and new business venture which leaves the main character, Rosie questioning her life. Added to the turmoil is the discovery of an unplanned pregnancy at age 44 (which she claims is too old to be having a baby.) Instead of marrying and moving across the country, Rosie moves in with her elderly grandmother and her handsome caregiver.

What begins as reluctant cohabitation soon turns into an enduring friendship. Along the way, we have some funny and poignant moments.

The characters were real, and the story is presented in the present tense unlike many novels which use past tense. That took a little getting used to, but I hardly noticed the difference.

I particularly enjoyed Tony’s character, as he was the most genuine and guileless. I hope I meet someone like that one day.

4 out of 5 stars

I received this copy from Blogging for Books for an honest review.

 

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Book Review – The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

faultAuthor: John Green
Pages: 318
Publisher: Dutton Books grca_badge_winner-

Summary: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

My Review: I finished this book a week ago, but it’s taken me this long to formulate a thought regarding it let alone write a review.

I don’t know why I resisted reading this for so long. I kept seeing reviews on book blogs, but I didn’t even read them. Everyone seemed to love the story, and it turned me off, until. . .

One day a couple of weeks ago, I went on my bi-monthly library trip and thought, “What the heck? I’ll just read it.” But I didn’t read it right away. It sat in the book bag for almost a week before I picked it up.

What an idiot! I should have read this sooner!

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I’ve read John Green’s other novels and I’ve loved them, but I suppose I didn’t pay attention his name because I was totally taken aback when I realized who he was and how I felt about his previous work.

Let me just say that this is a book about kids with cancer, but as one of the characters says, this is NOT a cancer book. There are quite a few funny moments in this book, despite death constantly hanging over the character’s heads. There are truly poignant moments.The book is sweet, and it’s sad, and I wish it hadn’t ended, and I wish I could be friends with these people or that I could be as witty.

I borrowed this book from the library, but I have already extended my checkout at least twice. I think I might have to buy the book, although I’ve been thinking about getting it on Audible since I still have one credit left. But I don’t know if I can handle the emotion of this book if I’m listening to it.

What do you think? Did you read The Fault in Our Stars? Should I get it in hardback or should I get the Audible version?

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Book Reviews – Four by Lauren Barnholdt

Author: Lauren Barnholdt

Publisher: Simon Pulse

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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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Book Review – Bubble World by Carol Snow

bubble worldAuthor: Carol Snow

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Pages: 352

Summary: Freesia’s life is perfect. She lives on the beautiful tropical island of Agalinas, surrounded by idyllic weather, fancy dress shops, and peacocks who sing her favorite song to wake her up in the morning. She has so many outfits she could wear a different one every day for a year and not run out.

Lately things on the island may have been a bit flippy: sudden blackouts, students disappearing, even Freesia’s reflection looking slightly . . . off. But in Freesia’s experience, it’s better not to think about things like that too much.

Unfortunately for her, these signs are more than random blips in the universe. In Bubble World by Carol Snow, Freesia’s perfect bubble is about to pop.

My Review: This review contains spoilers.

Imagine going to a virtual reality school. Imagine your parents think you’re getting a great education, that you’re learning many different languages and complex scientific principles. It sounds great, doesn’t it? But the reality is quite different in Bubble World.

Freesia’s life is perfect, if not a bit boring. She lives in a tropical paradise, and everyone around her seems to cater to her needs. She wakes up to peacocks singing her favorite songs, her mother is quick to fix her coffee, and school is a party without end. But things aren’t perfect, as Freesia soon realizes.

I kept thinking that Freesia was in a coma, and that’s why her world was freaky, but it turns out, her self-involved parents didn’t want to deal with her, so they sign her up for a virtual reality school. In reality, Freesia lives in a bubble inside her bedroom. She is totally unaware of her physical surroundings, until a software upgrade causes glitches in the program, and her parents are forced to keep her in the real world for a while.

I was simply disgusted by the parents. The father was oblivious, but the mother was outright despicable. She was so concerned with her blog that she didn’t care that her daughter was being neglected.

The story was unique. After spending much time reading post-apocalyptic, often sad, dystopian stories, Bubble World was a breath of fresh air.

I was terribly saddened by Freesia’s friend Ricky. I thought it was realistic that he wanted to escape his reality, but I wish he’d have the guts to do something about it.

I know many people didn’t like the book, but I liked it well enough.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Book Review – When We Wake by Karen Healey

When we wakeAuthor: Karen Healey

Pages: 296

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027—she’s happiest when playing the guitar, she’s falling in love for the first time, and she’s joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.

But on what should have been the best day of Tegan’s life, she dies—and wakes up a hundred years later, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.

The future isn’t all she had hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better world?

Award-winning author Karen Healey has created a haunting, cautionary tale of an inspiring protagonist living in a not-so-distant future that could easily be our own.

My Review:  The concept of being woken years, centuries even, after being cryogenically frozen is not a new one, (remember “I Was a Teenage Popsicle” by Bev Katz Rosenbaum?) but for some reason, Karen Healey’s story felt fresh and new. There’s a layer of sci-fi mixed with a dystopian future and a government conspiracy. I was immediately drawn into the story.

Tegan was believable as a heroine. One day she’s savoring her first I enjoyed the relationship, hanging out with her friends, and the next, she’s thrust into a future so unlike her present. Yet, she seems to handle everything thrown at her without losing her mind. Her love of the Beatles made me want to add more of them to my playlist.

The fact that the book is sent in Australia added a layer of mystery for me, perhaps because I am sorely uneducated about the country’s geography and politics.

I also enjoyed the budding romance between Tegan and Abdi. I can’t wait to read more.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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