robinellen (robinellen) wrote,

Book Reports (41-49)...

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 that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* 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.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [ ] means it's an ARC].

Time Bomb, by Joelle Charbonneau -- recommended for those who like YA thrillers, those who like multi-POV tales, and those who are okay with school bombing situations -- Houghton Mifflin, 3/18

(This is a quick read, and I found it interesting to get into the heads of the characters -- all seven of them. I figured out the perpetrator about 2/3 through, which is pretty good (I usually get it within the first quarter) for this book. I didn't love the ending (it seemed a little abrupt), but the rest was good.)

Portrait of Us, by Rhonda Helms & A. Destiny -- recommended for those who like sweet YA romance, those who like art tales, and those who like diverse characters -- Simon Pulse, 5/14

(This is a quick and sweet read. I liked Corinne and Matthew, though Corinne definitely was hard on him (and everyone else around her). I liked that it wasn't a big deal for Matthew or Corinne that they were a mixed-race couple, and I thought it was interesting that his biggest hang-up was how much money her family had compared to his.)

S.T.A.G.S., by M.A. Bennett -- recommended for those who like creepy YA school tales, those who like suspense, and those who like a background romance and diversity -- Delacorte Press, 1/18

(I liked the overall story here, but I will admit I kind of skipped over all the first half and started in the middle. Once there, I liked the rest, but the beginning was slow and a little too detailed for me. Still, it's an interesting take on a familiar boarding school trope.)

Seven Ways We Lie, by Riley Redgate -- recommended for those who like multi-POV tales, those who like somewhat immature characters (without a ton of depth, as well), and those who like teen drama/angst -- Amulet Books, 3/16

(This one is tough because it has many elements that I typically enjoy -- the school setting, the multi-POV, the angst -- but it just didn't work for me here. I think one of the main reasons for that is perhaps the immature outlook of all the characters. I felt like none of them could rise above their 'teen'-ness to see the big picture of life. And while that can definitely be realistic, it doesn't make for a great story (imho). At least one of them needed to be more mature and perceptive (and that's also realistic -- I had a few friends who could rise above the emo drama). It made me so very glad to be far removed from my own teen years (and having to deal with people like this day in and day out), that's for sure. ;) )

People Like Us, by Dana Mele -- recommended for those who like boarding schools, those who like teen angst/drama, and those who like somewhat unreliable narrators -- GP Putnam Sons BFYR, 2/18

(I can't say a ton about this because I skimmed pretty much the whole thing. However, I wanted to include it here on the off chance that someone reading might be looking for unreliable narrator tales -- and this kind of fits that bill. Plus, the narrator is bi-sexual, and it's hard to find those, as well.)

Here's to You, Zeb Pike, by Johanna Parkhurst -- recommended for those who like teens rising above difficult circumstances, those who like sweet YA (male/male) romance, and those who like family tales -- Harmony Ink Press, 7/16

(This book frustrated me to no end because the MC refused to ever talk about his feelings -- and the adults in his life, even those who were decent and caring, couldn't seem to figure out what was wrong (when it was obvious). So I felt like most of the problems here (other than those arising from the poor kid's wretched parents) should have been non-issues (or at least could have been minimized). However, I really liked the MC, and I love his boyfriend -- so I picked up the next one (see below).)

Thanks a Lot, John LeClair, by Johanna Parkhurst -- highly recommended for those who like hockey, for those who like coming-out tales, and for those who like sweet teen romance -- Harmony Ink Press, 12/17

(I really loved this one! Emmitt is a great guy, even though he's worried that coming out will ruin any chances he has at a hockey career -- and that's a big issue since he's a very talented player. And Dusty isn't as frustrating this time because the book isn't from his perspective, so his lack of actually communicating isn't as obvious (though one of the problems in the book *does* arise from that, so be warned). This may be slightly unrealistic, but it's definitely a feel-good tale.)

[Surface Tension, by Mike Mullin -- recommended for those who like YA thrillers, those who like determined heroes, and those who like diverse characters -- Tanglewood, 5/18]

(This is well written (I like Mullin's style), and I was definitely into the story for most of it...and then it jumped the shark a bit. I think it's more of a personal taste thing -- as a parent, I just couldn't handle what was happening to the MC, and I couldn't read it anymore (which means Mullin did a good job putting me in the MC's head). So I skipped to the end. I'm pretty sure there will be another one, and I will pick it up, as I do like the story and the writing style.)

[The Art of French Kissing, by Brianna Shrum -- recommended for those who like YA angst, those who like cooking tales, those who like selfish heroines, and those who like YA romance -- Sky Pony Press, 6/18]

(Okay, I'll be honest right up front and say that I really disliked the MC here. The premise is awesome, as you know I love foodie tales, and this is all about a cooking competition for teens to get into a culinary institute. However, I started getting nervous when I didn't the like MC in the first chapter. Then I thought, "Oh, this is the set up so we'll see her growth." Um, no. She doesn't grow. She continues on the same, self-centered, immature path throughout the book, and I couldn't handle it. I liked the love interest, except I had to wonder what on earth he saw in her -- seriously. She was horrible, and for some reason, he overlooked all her crappy actions and selfishness...and I guess that means he deserves her. *blech* Even the cooking contest couldn't save this story for me.)

Well, there we have it -- I'll try to update a little more frequently next time, as this took almost 2 hours! :D
Tags: book reports, glbt, ya
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