Tag Archives: Contemporary

Send – Patty Blount (Review)

23 Dec

Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks Fire

Description

It’s been five years since I clicked Send.
Four years since I got out of juvie.
Three months since I changed my name.
Two minutes since I met Julie.
A second to change my life.

All Dan wants for his senior year is to be invisible. This is his last chance at a semi-normal life. Nobody here knows who he is. Or what he’s done. But on his first day at school, instead of turning away like everyone else, Dan breaks up a fight. Because Dan knows what it’s like to be terrorized by a bully—he used to be one.

Now the whole school thinks he’s some kind of hero—except Julie. She looks at him like she knows he has a secret. Like she knows his name isn’t really Daniel…

My thoughts

The main character of this book is Dan (real name: Kenneth), an 18-year-old boy who made a mistake when he was 13: he posted a photo of a boy in his underwear on the Internet, because he thought it was funny. Later, the boy commited suicide and, to be punished, Dan was sent to juvie for nine months. Because when he gets out everyone is judging him and is violent towards him, his family decides to try and give him a new life by changing town, school and even their identities. Dan feels like his life will be normal again, he meets Julie, whom he falls in love instantaneously, and Brandon who becomes his best friend. There is just one problem that will change everything: Julie has a big secret and Brandon is planning to kill himself, because he is bullied.

I liked the characters and I think they were developed pretty well. Even though Dan made a big mistake I couldn’t stay mad at him. You can see his pain and his struggle to redeem himself. He knows that he did something wrong, but he needs to learn to forgive his 13-year-old self and move on, something which happens but at the end of the book. His family is very loving and supportive and is willing to do everything to protect their son.

We don’t meet only Dan, but also Kenny, his 13-year-old version, whom Dan started seeing during detention. “They talk” daily, arguing and trying to find a way for Dan to forgive himself for what he did in the past. I wasn’t a big fan of this “character” and I think that I would have liked the book more if Kenny hadn’t been part of it, but in the end I became aware of his importance.

With Julie, I had a love-hate relationship. She was too moody, she kissed Dan, next she didn’t want to talk to him, she was happy, than she was angry. Also, she watched Brandon being bullied and she did nothing about it, even though her brother commited suicide because he had been bullied. Her life isn’t easy, her parents are divorced and she thinks her father started hating her after his son’s death. She also keeps a secret from Dan, a secret which is revealed nearly the end of the book.

Send is a quick read, it’s dramatic, deep, it has an important message and it will leave you thinking long after you finish reading it. I recommend it to everyone.

Thanks to Netgalley.com and Sourcebooks Fire for sending me this e-book.

My rating:  cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400

 

When I look inside me for the voice, I see me but yet…not me, not exactly. More like a version of me, the me I used to be at thirteen. All gangly limbs, big feet, and bad skin. I call him Kenny and try to keep him bound to a dark, empty corner of my mind. If I could find a way to gag him too, I’d be psyched. As hard as I fight to forgive myself for what I did to Liam Murphy, Kenny fights as hard to make sure I can’t. I figure he’s just one more part of God’s Wrath Plan I’d put in motion five years earlier when I was thirteen.

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About the author:

Technical writer by day, fiction writer by night, Patty mines her day job for ideas to use in her novels. Her debut YA “Send” was born after a manager suggested she research social networks. Patty adores chocolate, her boys, and books, though not necessarily in that order.

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Saving June – Hannah Harrington (Review)

16 Nov

Paperback, UK, 336 pages
Published June 1st 2012 by Mira Ink (first published May 1st 2011)

Description

Your sister is dead. Nineteen songs can tell you why. Only one boy can help you understand.

Harper Scott’s older sister, June, took her own life a week before high school graduation, leaving Harper devastated. So when her divorcing parents decide to split up June’s ashes, Harper steals the urn and takes off cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going-California.

Enter Jake Tolan, a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession…and an unknown connection to June. When he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what Harper needs. Except…Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn her life upside down again.

My thoughts

“Your sister is dead. Your family’s falling apart. How do you remember who you are?” This and the fact that the book had a 4.1 rating on Goodreads really grabbed my attention. Then I read the description and I really thought I was going to like it very much. I thought it was going to be dramatic, but it turned out to be just another “girl meets boy, girl falls in love, happy ending” book. I admit it. I liked the first few chapters, but then it sort of went downhill for me, mainly because I didn’t like the main character.

‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’

So, Harper is a 16 years old girl whose life is far from perfect. Her parents are divorced and her sister, June, just committed suicide. The relationship between Harper and June was never the best one, but Harper is very shocked by her sister’s choice – to take her own life, just a week before her graduation, without even explaining why. Since her sister always wanted to move to California, Harper takes the ultimate decision: to go with her best friend there and spill June’s ashes in the ocean. There is just one problem: they can’t afford the trip. Here is where Jake Tolan enters the story and offers to accompany the two girls to California. Apparently, he had a connection with June, so Harper takes his offer. Then, an almost-two-weeks-journey begins….

Like I previously said, I didn’t like the main character. Yes, there were moments when I felt sorry for her and I tried to sympathise with her, but, overall, I couldn’t connect with Harper. Firstly, I think she was very selfish to steal the urn and decide what to do with it, without telling her parents. I understand that they didn’t get along very well, but June was their daughter too. Harper is treated like an outcast, but just because she is acting like one. She just tries too hard to be something she’s not, to differentiate herself from her sister. She is constantly mean and judgy towards Jake, but at the same time she can’t stop thinking about him. They finally kiss after a week or so and, in the same day, Harper loses her virginty to him. What does she do the next day? She’s complaining again about him… What I liked about Harper was her loyalty to Laney, she was always defending her and taking her side.

“There is so much beauty in just existing. In being alive. I don’t want to miss a second.”

I guess Laney was an ok character. She is Harper’s best friend and she is very supportive. She is kind of fun, and, as opposed to Harper, she makes friends very easily. At the same time, she enjoys sleeping with boys and she even ends up getting pregnant. But don’t worry because everything is resolved: she has a misscariage. I still don’t understand what was the point in this pregnancy event since it didn’t add anything to the story.

Last but not least, we have Jake, a boy who loves music, smokes, dresses in black and owns a van. He is the “bad boy” to whom Harper falls in love. He has a sad backstory, which we discover slowly throughout the entire book. He reminded me a little of Adam from If I Stay and Where She Went, but I didn’t like him as much. He is obsessed with music, and even though that was what I loved the most about him, sometimes he tries to shove his passion down everyone’s throats.

“douche-baggy hipster music snob with the tastes of a forty-year-old white guy.”

I didn’t hate Saving June, but I think the book would have been better without the romance aspect, or at least if that would have been handled in a different way. I couldn’t stand the love-hate relationship between Harper and Jake. I also think it should have been more focused on June and the relationship between the two sisters. There were moments when June was completely forgotten, even though she is the main reason of this book. I loved the music references and that the author included the playlist at the end of the book.

Thanks to Netgalley.com and Mira Ink for sending me this e-book.

My rating:   

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About the author

Hannah Harrington is a YA author. Her first novel, SAVING JUNE, was published by Harlequin Teen in 2011, and her second, SPEECHLESS, was released on August 28th, 2012.

Where She Went – Gayle Forman (Review)

5 Oct

Description

It’s been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future-and each other.

Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I StayWhere She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

My thoughts

Where She Went was another book I couldn’t put down and I think I liked it a little bit more than If I Stay.

The story takes place three years after Mia’s accident, it is told from Adam’s perspective and I really liked that. We get to see how Adam’s life has been in these past years, his journey but also some flashbacks of his past, when Mia was still a part of his life.

Each chapter starts with lyrics of Shooting Star’s songs, Adam’s band, all of them being inspired by Mia. You can really see his pain and emotions in the lyrics and I think this added a nice touch to the book.

Adam is very intense, angry and depressed in this book and I understand why, but I feel that his incapacity to get past the breakup is a little bit unrealistic, since the story takes place three years after Mia left.

Mia’s explanation wasn’t my favourite and I still think she was selfish and she should have set him free, but I couldn’t stay mad at her considering what she had been through.

What I didn’t like about this book was the ending. I mean, I know it was a happy ending and it offered a closure, but I think what happened in the last few pages was rushed and cheesy. They got back together after spending a few hours together. It was like all those 3 years never existed. I am one of the few persons who didn’t want to see them becoming a couple again. I just wanted Adam to get the anticipated explanation from Mia, to sort his life and move on. I was relieved when he let go of her, but just after that scene they got together again. I want to pretend that the book ended with the bridge & ipod scene.

Quotes

Every morning I wake up and I tell myself this: ‘Its just one day, one twenty-four-hour period to get yourself through’.

But I’d do it again. I know that now. I’d make that promise a thousand times over and lose her a thousand times over to have heard her play last night or to see her in the morning sunlight. Or even without that. Just to know that she’s somewhere out there. Alive.

But still, I find the need to remind myself of the temporariness of a day, to reassure myself that I got through yesterday, I’ll get through today.

Letting go. Everyone talks about it like it´s the easiest thing. Unfurl your fingers one by one until your hand is open.

My rating

After Hello – Lisa Mangum (Review)

28 Sep

Description

What if the first day of your relationship was the only day you had?

Seventeen-year-old Sara is a seeker. She’s always on the lookout for the perfect moment to capture with her ever-present, point-and-shoot camera, especially on her first trip to New York City.

Sam is a finder. He has a knack for finding what other people can’t—a first-edition book or the last two tickets to a sold-out Broadway show. In New York, there is always something interesting to find.

When Sam and Sara’s paths cross, neither one of them is prepared for what they will find out about each other—and about themselves when they form an unlikely partnership in search of a seemingly elusive work of art. They have one day to find the impossible. Fate brought their talents together, but what happens when time runs out? Will love be able to overcome fate? This new novel from award-winning author Lisa Mangum explores what happens after hello.

My thoughts

*Book received from NetGalley.

I thought it was going to be a cute, typical YA romance, but it was more than that…it had depth.

I liked it very much because it was captivating, it was realistic, it taught the reader a lot of lessons and it delivered a message: “If you don’t know what you want, you’ll never get it. What’s more, if you don’t know what you want, you’ll never know when you do get it.”

The story was fun but serious at the same time. The main characters dealt with their own issues, sad events which had happened in their pasts and changed the way they were looking at life. I liked that the story was told from alternating points of view because the reader was able to connect with both of the characters, to read about their emotions and be able to know their thoughts.

I also enjoyed the fact that the plot was set in New York and I think the author did an amazing job describing the city…it was almost like you were really there.

The ending was a little bit sad, but it was an open ending which left the possibility of another book maybe?! but even if it’s not going to be a sequel, the ending was satisfactory enough.

My rating    

Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins (Review)

17 Sep

Description

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more.  So she’s less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris-until she meets Etienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true.  Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

My thoughts

I went into this book with very high expectations because many people were praising it and I must say that it sort of disappointed me. I didn’t hate it but I wish I could have liked Anna and the French Kiss more than I did.

There were so many moments in which I felt like throwing the book against the wall. 3-4 pages in the book and Anna-the main character- falls in love with literally the first boy she encounters in Paris, Etienne St. Clair- French name, English accent, American school, the hottest guy in school,maybe in the whole city- and of course he has to fall in love with her, even though he already has a girlfriend.

My biggest problem with this book was that I didn’t like Anna or Etienne. She annoyed me from the very beginning. Anna is constantly complaing. Firstly, she’s angry for being sent to Paris then,when she goes home for the Christmas vacation, she starts complaining about America…like she is suddenly too good for it, because, you know, she is a true Parisian right now. Anna is hypocritical, she tends to judge everyone else and she’s very selfish, making almost every situation about herself. Etienne: I have mixed feelings about him. I mean, he cheats on his girlfriend and he is afraid of breaking up with her, but take Anna out of the picture and I might have liked him.

All in all, this book just didn’t live up to my expectations.

My rating