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* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.
[Being Friends With Boys, by Terra Elan McVoy ***+ I enjoyed this, although the MC's confusion about life seemed to make the reading experience a little less grounded than I like to be. It was very teen in many ways, however: the struggle to maintain friendships with girls (okay, this is telling about my teen years, no?); the fun of hanging with boys but trying to impose girl-thoughts/feelings on them; the crushes (oh, the crushes). So I liked it, but it was pretty emotional and lightly angsty (there was angst, but it was mostly about things which weren't life or death, if that makes sense). A nitpick -- The boy Char really likes is off-stage throughout most of the book, which made the ending a little...strange (can't think of a better word) for me. One of my favorite parts -- the GBLTQ subplots were very natural and unforced. The story: Char loves her guy friends, and she loves their band. But when Oliver and Trip have a falling out and Trip leaves the band, everything starts to change. They audition for new members and meet Fabian and Eli (and Char crushes on Fabian for a bit) -- and Char finds her way to Fabian's old band, a couple of college girls (who are dating each other...and fighting often). Although Char's not done more than write songs for Oliver's band, now she gets to sing...and through the ups and downs, Char and Oliver fight, Char starts dating a boy in one of her classes (to prove something to Oliver), and through it all, Char wonders what (or who) it is she really wants. (YA contemporary, releases 5/12, publisher: Simon Pulse)]
[Chase in Shadow, by Amy Lane **** This was a very compelling story. Warning: Graphic language, sex, and subject matter. I wasn't expecting something so gut-wrenching, but I was hooked right away. I don't usually go for books that are so raw, but once I started, I couldn't put it down. Chase is a complex and very realistic character -- definitely sympathetic, even as I was screaming (in my head) for him to let go of all the pain he was holding inside. One of my favorite aspects was how everything had a purpose in this book. Once we were let inside Chase's head completely, I could see how everything he'd done and said fit -- and man, he was trying his hardest to self-destruct. I found the ending very hopeful and satisfying, as well. The story: Chase has the perfect girlfriend and the perfect plan for their future. Unfortunately, he isn't quite sure how to make the money he needs to make it all happen. When he hears about a gay porn video maker looking for actors, he decides to audition -- and soon he's making gay porn videos. The money is great, but the lies he tells his girlfriend and even himself only get bigger. Then he starts to get to know one of the other actors -- and they fall in love. Chase has never let himself care for another person quite like this before, but he *can't* be gay. When his lover begins having his own problems, Chase blames himself and breaks up with him -- but the emotional fallout from that undoes Chase, and he starts to slit his wrists...until he stops. However, the pain won't go away until Chase faces his past, present, and future with honesty and courage. (Adult contemporary, GLBTQ, released 2/12, publisher: Dreamspinner Press)]
Currently Reading: The Project, by Brian Faulkner
On Deck: Every Other Day, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes