* 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.
The Naughty List, by Suzanne Young ***+ This is a fun read, though I liked how the reality of teen dispositions (and understanding) ruled throughout. The Story: Tessa runs SOS, a group of cheerleaders who investigate reports of cheating boyfriends -- but as they discover more and more cheatings boys, Tessa begins to wonder why (and if) her own boyfriend is so different. (YA romance)
One Lonely Degree, by CK Kelly Martin ***+ This type of story isn't really to my personal taste (high angst level), but I appreciated a number of things about this one: 1) consistency (the MC grew throughout the book, but it was all within the boundaries of teenage emotional maturity); 2) reality (the motives for the characters' actions was there, though not obvious -- and the story made sense). It's also quite well written, imo, and I liked how true to the characters Martin remains throughout -- even the final line. (upper YA contemporary)
So both these books had similarities, although the tone was radically different, and now I'm pondering teenage relationships. Both stories had an element of the plot focused on cheating, and it got me thinking about what the really means, especially to a teen.
Emotions are so intense when we're teens -- and falling in love is an amazing feeling, especially if the other person falls for you in return. But I wonder -- how valuable are long-term, exclusive relationships for teens? The MCs of both these books found themselves attracted to someone they shouldn't be attracted to. Both acted on it, and the stories, though vastly different, do a good job of exploring what that means for teens.
My opinions (which change frequently, at least in minor ways): I think trying to form long-lasting romantic relationships as a teen is perhaps not the best idea. It puts so much pressure on kids, and remembering how quickly my emotions fluctuated at that age, and also know that infatuation is easy and fun but nothing like actual love, it makes me think that most kids would be better off just dating for fun...maybe? It's hard to know, as there are pros and cons to each (like learning how to be faithful when your impulse is to ogle the new boy and discovering that love is more than infatuation -- versus having the freedom to get to know many different people instead of just one and finding out better what your personal tastes are). Hm...I love it when books make me think. What about you?