Friday, May 07, 2010

YA mini-reviews

I figured the only way I'll ever catch up on some reviews is if I do a whole load all at one time. All of these books were read more than a month ago, so I figure I don't have enough to say about them to do individual reviews! (plus, I think I'm coming down with a cold)

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols - I picked up Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols solely because of a review by Lisa at Books. Lists. Life who read it last year. She put John After, the male main characters into her list of hot love interests in a YA book, and OK - that's really what sold it for me. And 'hot' is a pretty good word to describe this book.

High school senior Meg revels in being a rebel. She sports choppy blue hair, and tight t-shirts, cuts class, and is often found where she's not supposed to be. Like hanging out on a railroad-tracks-covered bridge that's off-limits to trespassers. When she and her friends are busted for trespassing and underage drinking, she's sentenced to spend her spring break riding along with a rookie police officer on his nightshift patrol. Compounding the punishment is the fact that the cop, John After, is only two years older than Meg, and a former classmate to boot. He thinks he has Meg's number and has nothing but contempt for her childish rebellion. Meg in turn has nothing but contempt for Officer After's straight-laced, by-the-book attitude. But Meg has her reasons for lashing out, and John has his reasons for his need for law and order. And they're about to discover that they have a lot more in common than either one of them could have dreamed...

I love the tension between Meg and Officer After, and their relationship is pretty sizzling! OH MY GOD. Honestly, I couldn't put it down and then kept reading certain scenes over again. Right through to the end, this book had my heart beating just a little too fast. It was funny and sad and sweet. And the characters were great, complexly written and layered. I loved everything about this book. You should read it. (this makes me even more excited because I've just gotten an email to confirm that I will be recieving an ARC copy of Forget You by Jennifer Echols sometime soon! YAY!)

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan - I'm a little sad. That I read Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist *after* I watched the movie.

It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who's just walked in to his band's show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City;and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date. This he said/she said romance told by YA stars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story about one date over one very long night, with two teenagers, both recovering from broken hearts, who are just trying to figure out who they want to be;and where the next great band is playing. Told in alternating chapters, teeming with music references, humor, angst, and endearing side characters, this is a love story you'll wish were your very own. Working together for the first time, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have combined forces to create a book that is sure to grab readers of all ages and never let them go.

What was I thinking?! I thought the movie was really cute. I think Michael Cera is absolutely adorable and really liked it. So, I went searching for the book. The first thing that I thought when I had the book in front of me is 'my god, that's a pretty slim book' It's only 183 pages. And it really is quite short. The movie really filled in a lot of the story line with other things and stretched the night out just a little bit more. And I could feel that in the book. Because I'd seen the movie, I wanted there to be a little bit more to pad everything out, make the will-they-won't-they suspence just a little bit more. But it was still wonderful. I thought Nick and Norah were way sexier and that Norah had lots more attitude and feistiness in the book. It was funny and sweet and I loved all the music references and the fun, quirky characters. But all I could see in my head were the cast of the movie. Ah well. Live, learn.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson - I was expecting this book to be hard to read. And it was. But in a way, I also just couldn't stop reading it either. I couldn't look away from all the pain and suffering in this book. Everything felt so raw and emotional. It was all a little heartbreaking. Obviously it's a book about a girl with an eating disorder, but it's also about a girl struggling with the grief of her friend, the guilt of not picking up that phone the night her best friend died. Trying to find some sense of control. Of easing this need towards thinness, of not letting people in, issues with her family. Lia's downward spiral in Wintergirls sparked memories of my own downward spiral after my parent's divorced when I was younger. I wish that I'd been able to read a book like this at the time. As a warning and also as a reminder that I'm not alone.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan - I'm not going to say too much about this book, because oh my god, I've seen ten thousand reviews in the blogosphere of it already. But I loved it. I did. I didn't think I'd love a book about zombies as much as I did, but there you have it.

In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future - between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

I found some scenes to be utterly gruesome, but I expected that and if I'm honest, I expected more gore. Instead, there's an interesting love triangle, some great characters and some real feelings and emotions. I was hoping that more questions would be answered, but maybe that's covered in the sort-of sequel, Dead Tossed Waves? And, there's a movie being made of it? Interesting.

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles - I have to admit, when I started Perfect Chemistry, I couldn't really get into it. It took several chapters before I started to care. And mostly because of that word 'perfect.' There's nothing I hate more than characters in YA describing anything as perfect. Because even though it's painfully obvious to me and to every other reader out there, it never is to the characters until the end. Oh well, it improved. And by the end, I was hooked.

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

Not to be a Complaining Nelly, but I didn't really connect with the whole gang element of the book either. It felt like we're being told that Alex is this tough guy who does all this tough guy stuff without ever showing us. But apart from that, once the story got going, I really liked Brittany and Alex. Both characters seemed to be under a lot of pressure, from their families and from themselves to put on this front - be the people that other people expect them to be. And it's nice to see those expectations slowly crumble as these two get to know each other. And when that happens, it is kind of hot. As you'd expect with all that chemistry, I'd guess :)

And that's from me! Expect a blog post in the near future about my reasons in reading so much YA, but for now - Why do/don't YOU read YA? I want to hear all about it.


  1. ah now I didnt know they were making a movie of the forest of hands and teeth, i think it would be a better movie as they would make Mary less annoying.

  2. Wow you have been busy.
    I did not know they were making a movie of The Forest of Hands & Teeth, I don't know if I will be able to watch it, I was terrified of the zombies in the book :)

  3. I didn't think of Michael Cera AT ALL when I was reading the book of Nick and Norah. I thought he was funny in the movie (he always is!), but the book version of Nick was so different that they felt like two completely separate characters. But I definitely had the actress who played Norah in mind the whole time. (Can't think of her name...)

  4. I feel like The Forest of Hands and Feet has been on my shelf forever. I will get around to reading it soon.

  5. I'm so glad you loved Going Too Far! I have to say, Forget You isn't winning me over quite the same way.

    Wintergirls KILLED me to read, but I still loved it.

    And N&N was really cute too, I have not seen the movie so no images in my head.

  6. Jenny - YES. I think they got Norah's character pretty well in the movie. And I so agree. Movie Nick and Book Nick were such different characters. My mental image of Nick as Michael Cera in the book often did NOT translate well. But I still adore Michael Cera. He can do no wrong in my eyes. :)


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