- When I read, this is my escape from reality. I do not really want anything that is going to "enlighten" me, or "challenge" me...well, at least most of the time that is not my goal. IF I do get an itch, I'll find something appropriate. I also do not want something that is going to make me cry (thus the fact that I barely was able to read If I Stay, and almost regret reading Finding Alaska (though it is extremely excellent), and have NOT read The Fault in our Stars. Too much real life, I get that every single day in my own life drama, and in the news. And let's face it, adult books (with the exception of Chick-lit) tend to fall into some kind of hard topic. At least the ones that I pick up. I'm totally open for suggestions.
- Exceptions: I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Time Traveler's Wife, though I cried like a baby every single time Henry died. I also really enjoyed The Weight of Silence, and boy that is a tough topic, especially for a mom. I also loved The Girl from Junchow, and The Russian Concubine.
- As a sappy young woman, I'm not going to lie; I do love romance. Specifically, I love tales of first love. YA really does nail this one on the head. Especially in the books considered "coming of age." I really enjoy books by Sarah Dessen, where there is this life story and changes happening in the lives of the characters, but the attraction between characters is this gradual budding thing. I love to watch it take shape and become something promising. NA books - typically the relationship jumps gears very quickly. Within the first few chapters of the book the characters have already shared a few passionate kisses and sometimes even more. I feel like the joy of this relationship has already taken place, and the rest of the book is some dramatic event happens within the story that causes the characters to stay away from each other for about two chapters and then decide that they actually do love each other. Go apologize to their mate, and BAM, the end.
- Exceptions: Have you read Megan Squires? Her books are pretty darn good! T. L. Grey too.
- I prefer to keep it as clean as possible, although, that isn't really THAT safe from YA books. This is why I try and mention these things in my reviews, because if a parent is NOT interested in reading these books, but the kid is - at least there is some kind of baseline. NA seems to have been created specifically to cross this line "safely." Not in all cases (mentioned a few above). I will say, it does feel a bit better to at least read about college kids now and then. Sometimes the high school stuff does feel very young. Like, the author has hit the nail right on the head on the personality of a teenager, but man, I just don't want to be in this persons head. It hurts! (lol)
- I like vampires, werewolves, wizards, mythical creatures stories, etc. I like fantasy. In adult, it either lacks in the (above mentioned) romance, or it is soft porn. So yeah. YA all the way. NA doesn't seem to cross into this...yet...that I've seen. And geeze, YA has the likes of Maggie Stiefvater, J.K. Rowling, Cassandra Clare and many more.
Author: Anna Katmore
Genre: Young Adult - Romance
Synopsis (From Goodreads.com): Hunter grinned but he didn’t seem as happy as the guy next to me. More like he knew crap was about to fall.
“He can’t play when someone’s watching him,” Justin almost sang into my ear. “Totally screws up then.”
“But you all are watching him,” I pointed out.
At the back of the room, someone laughed. “Yeah, but we’re not girls.”
Ryan Hunter’s parties are legend. And tonight she’s going to be there.
Liza Matthews has been in love with her best friend since kindergarten. They’re close as can be. They’ve even slept in each other’s bed. But they’ve never kissed. Weeks away from her seventeenth birthday, Liza hopes that soon things will change between them. But when Tony comes home after summer soccer camp, his mind is focused on someone else. And worse, that new girl is a soccer player.
Fighting for her love, Liza gets carried away and makes a stupid decision: Without the least bit of talent or any passion for the sport whatsoever, she goes for the co-ed soccer team.
The tryouts are hell, the first match ends bloody, and the morning after the selection party she wakes up in the worst place possible—in the arms of the captain of the soccer team. The hottest guy in school. Ryan Hunter.
Review: I purchased the books Play with Me and Ryan Hunter because they were on another authors pinned list of “kissing” books…meaning, good kissing scenes. They weren’t much money, and seemed to be pretty short, so I thought I’d give them a shot. They are pretty short books, and I liked the idea of the same story from different points of view. Although, I will say that part way through Ryan Hunter, I was feeling that “I’ve read this before” feeling pretty strong. I suppose I probably should have put some time in between the
When Sierra gets paired with Levi’s sister, Brea, for a mentorship program, they strike a deal. In exchange for Sierra keeping her mouth shut about Brea ditching the program, Brea lets Sierra dig for more info on Levi to help get the guy of her dreams.
But when Sierra discovers Levi no longer plays the drums, his family has moved into a trailer, and he’s traded in his Range Rover for a baby blue moped, Sierra’s not sure if she can go through with violating his privacy. She’ll have to find the courage to ask him straight out—if he’s willing to let her in—and explore other ways to seduce the school’s band geek.
What’s the Drama? So you’ve got Sierra who deals with bullying every single day; being called a tease and worse because she wrecked a car into a tree in order to get out of having sex with her then boyfriend. Then we’ve got Levi, the band geek who at one point would never been seen without his drumstick, but who is now known to be driving the streets at 4am on his moped and carrying around some strange black box. Both characters are very obviously into each other (even if it’s not so obvious to them) but both are carrying burdens that may get in the way of what they want.
What I Loved: Again the chemistry between Sierra and Levi is dead on. Oh man the movie theater scene…. I also felt, where How to Date a Nerd lacked a bit of an example of ‘what to do when’ scenario, this one at least did follow through – cops were called in a scene. So yay for (sort of) doing the right thing. And Levi’s sensitivity, he’s really going through a rough time, and in a few scenes he sort of has a break down, but his vulnerability really made me like him so much more.
Not so Much: How can I love and not love the same thing? Well, as I said, the scene where the cops were called was at least a better example; however it wasn’t the best. Maybe it’s realistic that teenagers don’t tell their parents everything, and they naturally try and protect their friends; but clearly in this scenario Sierra knew what happened to her at an Ambien Party was wrong…so very, very wrong. So why did she never talk to the police herself? Why did she shut her mom down when she offered to talk. Again, I know we are going for “what would really happen” rather than “what would happen” in books to make them more realistic, but wouldn’t it be good to give teenagers an example of what could happen if they did the right thing? You prevent someone else from getting nearly raped, you stand up for what you know is wrong. It’s not always a bad thing. If you’re going to have these big, huge situations written in a book, I kind of feel like maybe they should be a big, huge situation. Either there are good/decent consequences, ie; other girls come out of the woodwork who felt the same, there are bonds form, the offender gets in trouble; or consequences in the reverse; ie: the attempted rape happens again, someone gets seriously hurt/effected as a result of the party, etc.
I’m not saying that this whole topic needs to take on a force of its own, but it seems like it should have a bit more meat if it’s going to be present at all.
Can my Kids Read This? Yes. Once again, it is appropriate for High School teenagers. The book, again, contains cussing, talk of sex, one drug party scene. But I have to say this, all talk of sex was mostly about being not ready and how to deal with peer pressure. And the drug party scene, Sierra had no idea what was happening until it was too late. There was no glorifying of this type of atmosphere/behavior at all.
Title: How to Date a Nerd
Genre: Young Adult - Romance
Author: Cassie Mae
Synopsis (From Goodreads.com): Zoe has a great pair of legs, perky boobs, and wears exactly what she needs to show it all off. She works hard for the easy sleazy ‘you only wish you were me’ reputation, burying who she really is—an all-out nerd.
The only time Zoe gets to be herself is when she hides under her comforter to read X-Men comics, sending jealousy stabs at everyone who attends Comic-Con. Keeping up her popular rep is too important, and she’s so damn insecure to care about the consequences. But when Zoe’s sister takes her car for a ‘crash and burn into a tree’ joyride, her parents get her a replacement. A manual. Something she doesn’t know how to operate, but her next door neighbor Zak sure as heck does.
Zak’s a geek to the core, shunned by everyone in school for playing Dungeons and Dragons at lunch and wearing “Use the Force” t-shirts. And Zoe’s got it bad for the boy. Only Zak doesn’t want Popular Zoe. He wants Geek Zoe.
She has to shove her insecurities and the fear of dropping a few rungs on the social ladder aside to prove to Zak who she really is and who she wants to be… if she can figure it out herself.
Review: I love that Cassie Mae is tackling these side-groups in High School, the ones people tend to avoid or try and disassociate themselves from. I’ve read so many young adult novels, and rarely do I see books written about them; I had even thought about writing one myself (even though I’m not an author – and even though I’ve got stuff rattling around up in my head, I never seem to really have much time to sit and try and get it out on paper). So How To Date a Nerd is more about Zoe, and her issues with being a “closet geek” than it is about “how” to actually date a nerd. Zoe loves all things nerd; Star Trek, D & D, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings; you name it, she probably knows all about it. However, in an attempt to stop being picked on, Zoe puts herself through a major transformation, sort of a la “Princess Diaries” style; showing up for High School completely reformed, totally hot, and absolutely NOT a geek.
What’s the Drama? It’s been two years since her transformation, and Zoe is not happy! And she has this absolutely, completely die-hard crush on her equally geeky next door neighbor Zak. However, she can’t seem to sacrifice her spot on the top rung of the ladder to go after what she wants.
What I Loved: Oh man, the dynamic between Zoe and Zak. The innocence of shaky hands, and blushes. I loved it! And I’m pretty big into comic books/fantasy books/etc – so the references were really fun!
Not so Much: MAN, Zoe is a jerk. She is constantly beating herself up and then being the meanest person on the planet. I understand her dilemma, really I do…but sheehs. And then there was the attempted rape scene. I would like to have seen that whole situation handled differently as an “example” for girls who have actually gone through something like this can look at and maybe follow….because ignoring it is NOT the right way to handle a situation like that, even if you escape…barely.
Can my kids read this? Your mature High School kids, not your Middle Schoolers. What you need to know is, they talk about sex, there is some alcohol, there is cussing. There is no actual sex in the book, however there was that attempted date rape sort of scenario. The book isn’t real “heavy” at all though, very light, at times funny, and quite short. Makes for a great lazy Saturday quick read (which is exactly what I did).