For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact the I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool). 'R' means it's a re-read. Different colored font means it's an ARC (and I'll try to remember to put the month it's released, as well). For those available for pre-order or order, the titles link to Powell's (for more thorough summaries).
* 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 -- definitely will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite!
Nothing Pink, by Mark Hardy ** This certainly begins with an interesting premise -- the idea that a preacher's son is gay and has been taught that his homosexuality will be punished by God...for me, that part was compelling (especially as I knew a boy from a very traditional Christian family who tried to kill himself because of this type of message from the church) -- but it didn't work for me because the relationship the MC falls into is just that: something he falls into. There's no depth to their attraction -- it's like they're both gay so they might as well (I'm not saying that's the intention, but that's how it comes across to me). Also, I was hoping for more depth in the main plotline -- I'd love to see a story about a homosexual teen in this kind of situation who starts seeing some truth...but maybe that just isn't realistic enough?
Look Both Ways, by Jacquelyn Mitchard ** I read the first one in this series (the Midnight Twins series), and I thought it was pretty good. This one just didn't hold my attention, I guess. There's a bit of an inconsistency in the twins' stated age and their voices, for me. Also, one of them falls in and out of love pretty darn quickly (which may be realistic, but I don't usually enjoy that type of story).
Alis, by Naomi Rich **+ This is unusual because I think it's supposed to be set in some kind of earth history, but it reads more like a fantasy. I like how Alis refuses to accept the position of women in her community and how she fights back. For me, though, her character didn't have a ton of compassion, and even though it's warranted more than usual because of her circumstances (and how she has to focus more on herself and her future), it still annoyed me a bit.
Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have, by Allen Zadoff ***+ This was pretty good. I like getting inside a boy who's so very different from what I'm used to, and Andrew's humor is enjoyable. AT the same time, it made me sad because although he definitely grows and learns (nicely done, btw), objectively I know that any kid who's that overweight needs to find a healthy lifestyle, if possible. So despite the fact that Andrew finds a mature solution for his life by the end, I'm still hoping that he'll go even further later. (I read this over and have to laugh -- he's a character, and here I am, worried about him -- so yeah, Zadoff did well with that!) (YA, releases this month) -- thanks, kbaccellia for passing this along!
Candor, by Pam Bachorz ****+ This is a very compelling read! I love how Bachorz mixes the creepy with the romantic, and the MC, Oscar, has a very true voice. He's not perfect, he's not that altruistic -- he has longings and sadnesses and hopes -- and then he falls in love, and we get to watch how that changes him. The book ends on an interesting note of sadness and that sliver of hope for Oscar...I had a hard time putting it down (and did so only because I had to pick up my daughter from the gym daycare). Nicely done! (YA, releases this month)