Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
When Sam's best friend gets her first boyfriend, she's not ready to spend the summer listening to the two of them call each other "pookie." Sick of being a third wheel, Sam applies to be a counselor-in-training at Whispering Pines camp in the New York Catskills. But what she doesn't realize is that it's not going to be all Kumbaya sing-alongs and gooey s'mores. If Ashley, the alpha queen of Whispering Pines, doesn't ruin Sam's summer, then her raging crush on the surfer-blond and flirtatious Hunter just might. At least she has playful Cole, who's always teasing her, but is oh-so-comfortable to hang out with, and the singular gang of girls that become fast friends with Sam-they call themselves the Sleepaway Girls.
With Sleepaway Girls Jen Calonita has crafted a fun and entertaining read.
Sleepaway Girls is a YA contemporary with the typical cast of a bunch of girls and a couple guy love interests - so of course drama ensues. Unlike some of its Gossip Girl-esque counterparts though, the ones here are a little more real. With less focus on the materialistic (it takes place out in the boonies!), there's more room to focus in on the characters.
It's great to see each character have distinctive attributes which makes every single one unique. Sam's little quirks and imperfections make her more endearing. Her interactions with the guys are fairly adorable as well.
One small caveat though - at times the fact that this YA book was written by an adult does come through - both in terms of voice (just here and there, little spots) and in terms of message. The "moral" of the story is pounded in a little too hard at the conflict resolution, and honestly, the way it's resolved does feel a little cliche and loses a bit of credibility for the lead-up as well.
In Sleepaway Girls, Calonita has created a fun summer world with interesting characters. A great read for the beach or those cold Winter nights spent reminiscing about summer.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
*December 28th, EgmontUSA
The non-stop sequel to The Dark Divine delivers an even hotter romance and more thrilling action than Bree Despain's first novel. Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She gave her soul to the wolf to save him and lost her beloved mother. When Grace receives a haunting phone call from Jude, she knows what she must do. She must become a Hound of Heaven. Desparate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot - a newcomer to town who promises her that he can help her be a hero. But as the two grow closer, the wolf grows in Grace, and her relationship with Daniel begins to crumble. Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace becomes prideful in her new abilities - not realizing that an old enemy has returned and deadly trap is about to be sprung. Readers, raveous for more Grace and Daniel, will be itching to sink their teeth into The Lost Saint.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
When Holly loses her virginity to Paul, a guy she barely knows, she assumes their encounter is a one-night stand. After all, Paul is too popular to even be speaking to Holly, and he happens to have a long-term girlfriend, Saskia. But ever since Holly’s mom died six months ago, Holly has been numb to the world, and she’s getting desperate to feel something, anything—so when Paul keeps pursuing her, Holly relents. Paul’s kisses are a welcome diversion, and it’s nice to feel like the kind of girl that a guy like Paul would choose.
But things aren’t so simple with Saskia around. Paul’s real girlfriend is willowy and perfect… and nothing like Holly. To make matters worse, she and Holly are becoming friends. Suddenly the consequences of Holly’s choices are all too real, and Holly stands to lose more than she ever realized she had.
Lauren Strasnick's Nothing Like You is a fast and entertaining read.
At a mere 209 pages, it really flies by in comparison to many of the other YA titles out there these days (which tend to be a fair bit more lengthy). There's something really refreshing about it - after all the hefty tomes, it's nice to have a shorter story - or, as Deb Caletti puts it, "candid".
Overall, it's an enjoyable story. Holly, Nils, Saskia, etc. are all rather interesting characters in their own right, and it was definitely fun to read about people who're quite different from [oneself]. Unfortunately, Paul (in particular) and the others to some degree as well, fell a little flat. The book could've been a bit lengthier if the added text were properly used to flesh out the characters a little more.
At times a little bit of incredulity about Holly's motivations did play an issue in regards to the credibility of the story. Strasnick does have an interesting writing style that engages the reader though.
All in all, although a little lacking in the character depth department, Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick is still a fun, quick and entertaining read.