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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.
Take a Bow, by Elizabeth Eulberg ****+ This has tons of elements which I love: performing arts, multi-POV, intriguing characters, tension, etc. I really enjoyed it and couldn't put it down. Why didn't it get 5 stars? Well, I had a couple minor disappointments with it. One, I didn't understand why Ethan's POV didn't do more to give us insight into his heart...it was obvious how he felt about certain people, but I didn't understand why his actions didn't seem to match that, and there was no real explanation during his scenes (though an explanation was given, at the end, through another person's POV). Two, I saw little growth in Sophie -- and while that's realistic, having her POV as one of the group made me want to see something change in her. However, other than those two things, I absolutely loved this! Emme and Carter were amazing characters, and I loved getting into their heads a bit. I found Ethan fascinating too (which is why I was disappointed a bit with the lack of revelation). The story: Emme, Sophie, Carter, and Ethan are students in a performing arts school. Their senior year is filled with competition and stress, and as Emme's and Sophie's friendship stretches to the breaking point, so does Emme's understanding of herself and what she's capable of. At the same time, Carter is realizing that he no longer has any desire to be 'famous' but isn't sure how to escape the trappings...and Ethan must find a way to be true to himself without any crutches. (YA contemporary, released 1/12, publisher: Point)
From What I Remember..., by Stacey Kramer & Valerie Thomas ****+ I enjoyed this too. It was my week for multi-POV, perhaps, though I always love story-telling from many perspectives. I really liked the insights into the various characters here, and it made the reading experience solid and enjoyable throughout. I felt like some of the sections could have been streamlined a bit, and I had trouble relating to Max. He was a distant character, and even during his POV, I didn't always get a sense that he was being open with the reader. It made his growing relationship with Kylie hard to grasp (though I still found it romantic and sweet, especially from Kylie's POV). I also loved Will (how could you not?). I think one reason I didn't find it a 5-star read was because aspects of it seemed a little glib, but it was still good. The story: Kylie and Max are given a last-minute assignment, which Max wants to blow off but Kylie insists they do. Since they're not friends, Max considers blowing her off anyway, but Kylie's persistent -- and when a pick-pocket takes off with Kylie's backpack (with her laptop in it), Kylie is determined to get her work back. Unfortunately, this takes Kylie and Max into Mexico (when they get trapped in the van filled with stolen goods) where Kylie meets someone who knew her dad as a boy. One thing leads to another, and soon Kylie and Max are partying it up (and getting a tad drunk) and getting to know one another for the first time in six years of schooling together. They quickly discover how much they like each other, and when their ride shows up (Will), he takes off with someone else (another guy, as Will has not met a gay guy his age before)...and they end up barely making it back for graduation -- where Kylie must give the valedictorian address, Max must break up with his perfect girlfriend, and Will must find a way to keep Juan with him. (YA contemporary, some gltb, released 5/12, publisher: Hyperion)
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