Book Review: I Now Pronounce You Someone Else


Book Review: I Now Pronounce You Someone ElseI Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan
Release Date: June 2010
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Pages: 272
Source: Publisher

The teen-girl fascination with weddings comes to fiction in this hilarious debut, as 17-year-old Bronwen Oliver plots her escape from her family . . . by marrying into someone else's. Here Comes the Bride -- If She Can Pass Chemistry. Eighteen-year-old Bronwen Oliver has a secret: She's really Phoebe, the lost daughter of the loving Lilywhite family. That's the only way to explain her image-obsessed mother; a kind but distant stepfather; and a brother with a small personality complex. Bronwen knows she must have been switched at birth, and she can't wait to get away from her

The Short of It: I’ve been done with this one for a couple weeks now, but I’m still not sure what I think of it. I went in expecting one type of story and, honestly, got something completely and utterly different. It’s a cute story with a good ending message; one I liked, but didn’t love.

Plot: While I love the end message of this book, something about it has been nagging at me since I’ve finished. At first I thought it was the unrealistic aspect of being engaged and planning a wedding while being a senior in high school. Or how quick it was all happening or even how she was allowing her dreams and plans to be changed by another. But in the end, I feel all of this was a cover-up for what was really going on in her life. I wish McCahan had spent more time fleshing out the family problems. That was the real issue and should have gotten a bit more page time.

Characters: There were times I really liked Bronwen and other times I just wanted to shake some sense into her. Ok, mainly it was shake some sense into her. I hated how she allowed others to take control of her life, especially when it came to her mother. Even with Jared she let what she wanted be pushed aside for his desires. I hated seeing her create a fantasy life because she was so unhappy with her own.

Without trying to ruining too much, I will say once she stopped hiding behind the lies and fictional stories, I loved who she became. McCahan sent a strong, positive message to teenage girls with the road she took Bronwen down. In fact, the change is what made me finally really adore Bronwen. It was good to see her get to a healthy point in her life–one that included becoming who she wanted to be.

Romance: I have to admit I really enjoyed Bronwen and Jared’s relationship. Admittedly, it moved a little too fast, but they were still cute nonetheless. I found myself awing at some of their moments and secretly cheering for them even when everything went very wrong. Most of all, I love how McCahan shows that even when a relationship goes off track, it doesn’t have to be the end. I’m glad it wasn’t exactly a happily-ever-after, although, there was enough hope that one may be somewhere around the bend. I applaud for capturing the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to relationships.  It was nice to see a realistic look at the ups and downs and the messes a real romance can cause and leave behind.

Writing: Overall, I think the writing is pretty strong. However, there were a couple of spots that made me stumble/reread passages, mainly in regards to who was speaking and time continuity. While I can pass the who was speaking off to me reading late at night, the time issue bothered me the most. McCahan would describe how the characters did something, then would jump back in time and continue as normal. While I understand why it was done, it was hard as a reader to keep track of the timeline at times. And I know this is kind of small, but it drove me a little crazy, especially when I had to flip back and forth. Other than that I think McCahan has a great style of writing and would be willing to check out future books.

Librarian-Mode: This is going to fit best in with the realistic fiction crowd. While not exactly alike, it would be a good pairing with Twenty Boy Summer, Not that Kind of Girl, or The Karma Club.

So, now it’s your turn…have you read I Now Pronounce You Someone Else? If so, be sure to let me know what you thought.

 

 

Book Review: Shiver (Read-a-thon, Update 4)


Book Review: Shiver (Read-a-thon, Update 4)Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1
Release Date: August 2009
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Pages: 392

Grace has been obsessed with wolves for years. Well, not just any wolves, but one with yellow eyes. He was her wolf and had been ever since he had saved her from being killed by his fellow pack members. Of course, what she doesn't realize is that her wolf is really a werewolf who turns back into a man every spring. It's not until he shows up injured on her back porch that she realizes the truth. Her wolf has a name, Sam, and is something that she could truly touch and hold now. But with winter fast approaching their days are numbered before he returns to his wolf form...for good. Both Grace and Sam would do anything to remain with each other forever, if only they could find a way to stop the transformation before time runs out....

Only 6.5 hrs more to go. How is everyone doing?! I got to go for another walk, finish dinner, and get a little sorbet (my waistline my hate me for that part tomorrow). But I got another book done, woot! I’m hoping I can squeeze two more books in *crosses fingers*


Book Review: Shiver (Read-a-thon, Update 4)Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1
Release Date: August 2009
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Pages: 392

Grace has been obsessed with wolves for years. Well, not just any wolves, but one with yellow eyes. He was her wolf and had been ever since he had saved her from being killed by his fellow pack members. Of course, what she doesn't realize is that her wolf is really a werewolf who turns back into a man every spring. It's not until he shows up injured on her back porch that she realizes the truth. Her wolf has a name, Sam, and is something that she could truly touch and hold now. But with winter fast approaching their days are numbered before he returns to his wolf form...for good. Both Grace and Sam would do anything to remain with each other forever, if only they could find a way to stop the transformation before time runs out....

I really enjoyed Shiver. I don’t think I loved it as much as others, but I may have come into it with high expectations since I’ve seen people raving it about for over a year now. This is my first book by Stiefvater and her story-telling is top notch. I was drawn into the story almost instantly and was hooked the whole way through. I rooted for Sam and Grace the entire time, hoping that they may truly find a way to be together. There love just seemed so special and I didn’t want they to simply be a pair of star-crossed lovers never to fully enjoy their love. Their romance felt a tad fast at times, but then they have essentially be in love with each other for 6 years…even if they were in different forms. It was too bad they weren’t able to meet up sooner, but I guess that made their time together all the more special and bitter sweet. Without risking too much spoiler-age, I will say that the solution was not something I saw coming. I don’t think I would have ever thought to go that way; it was definitely something unique that I haven’t seen before. Hmmm, you know I may just be becoming a werewolf girl! I certainly can’t wait to pick up Linger…I have a feeling it may be jumping to the top of my TBR pile before I know it!

Read-a-thon Stats
Total Read time: 10 hrs 37 mins
Books Read: Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams (78 pgs), Ask Me No Questions (162 pgs), Party (228 pgs), Shiver (390)

Book Review: Catching Fire


Book Review: Catching FireCatching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Series: Hunger Games #2
Release Date: Sep. 2009
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Pages: 400
Source: ALA

Life should be perfect and carefree now that Katniss and Peeta won the Hunger Games, right? Walking out alive? Check. Never worrying about money/shelter again? Check. Happiness and Bliss? Houston, we have a problem! The Capital is not happy about Katniss and Peeta's win and is viewing it as an act of defiance. Add in the hushed whispers of an uprising, and all hell is about to break loose. Katniss and Peeta know they will be the ones blamed for the chaos. Will they be able to appease the Capital and restore compliance among the districts? Or will this finally be the chance to take down the oppressive government? Catching Fire, the sequel to Hunger Games, is sure to leave you on the edge of your seat and wanting more.

I’m not going to do a review-review for this book because it’s so hard to do a proper one without giving anything away. And I really don’t want to mess around with spoiler spaces or anything like that. Plus, I have some exciting news to announce that ties in perfectly with this book & my low-key review. (So that means read to the very end!)

First things first, the review; this book can be summed up in one simple word. WOW. Just…wow. I went into Catching Fire with very high expectations and I was sure that Collins would never be able to live up to them. Boy, was I wrong! This book is exceptionally written and was better than I could have ever imagined. I had had some thoughts about where she could take the storyline, but I never expected the twists she threw in. Although, I do have to admit that at first I was very taken back by what she did. I thought it was overly convenient and too easy, but the more I thought about it the more I realized how perfect it was. It was spot-on on how the government thought and how they took action.

The love-triangle is, of course, still there. I enjoyed being able to see more of Gale, although, it was still not enough. I think I’m also falling more and more in love with Peeta. He has totally won my heart over and may be becoming one of my favorite characters. (But I’m still Team GALE!) I can totally sympathize with Katniss as she continues to try to deal with such a complicated and delicate situation. She was thrown into something as a way to win a game and now untangling her emotions is becoming so hard. I doubt I would be handling it as nicely if I were in the same situation.

And, sadly, this is where my review must stop. I’m too worried that I may give away something I shouldn’t! Besides, if I tell you everything now, there would be nothing to discuss at the first YA book group meeting that is being held by Michelle and myself! The Literary League (Read ‘Til YA Drop) will begin online discussion of Catching Fire on Sept 22nd and will end with a Skype talk the weekend of Oct 4th. I’ll be posting more info/details as it gets closer. I look forward to seeing all of you there!

Book Review: Absolutely Maybe


Book Review: Absolutely MaybeAbsolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee
Release Date: May 2010
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Pages: 274
Source: ALA

Her name is Maybelline Mary Katherine Mary Ann Chesnut, but you can call her Maybe. She's named after two Miss America winners and her mother's favorite brand of mascara. And while she could recite the Seven Select Rules for Young Ladies by heart, she is no tiara wearing wannabe beauty queen. In fact, with her oversized t-shirts, Kool-Aid dyed hair, and purple lipstick some may even say she's Goth. She spunky, has a mind of her own, and hopes to someday have a normal life.

Unfortunately, normalcy is not something she is familiar with. Her mother, Chessy, runs a charm school that promises her students will be winners. A Former beauty pageant winner herself, she knows all the secrets. But behind that pretty smile and big hair, Chessy is an alcoholic and serial marrier. She falls hard and fast, but can never make the marriages last.

When soon-be-husband #7 makes a move on Maybe, she's decided she's had enough.  With her best friends Hollywood and Thammasat Tantipinichwong Schneider (aka Ted), she heads off to L.A. to find her father. She's certain he will welcome her with open arms once he knows she exists. Armed only with his first name and possible profession, finding him proves to be harder than she ever imagined. While Maybe is determined to let nothing stand in her way of finding him, along the way she may just find something even more important. Herself.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I simply adored Maybe. It was nice to see her drop her defenses as she discovered who she truly was beyond the craziness that was her life in Florida. I was also happy to see that her journey wasn’t just a walk in a park. While things ended up well for her, she still had to deal with being without money, shelter, or a job. Yee, thankfully, did not idealize running away.

However, while Maybe had to go through some trials, her friends did not. I felt it was completely unrealistic how things work out for Ted and Hollywood. I mean, really, how often does newbie film student when a big competition their first time entering? Not to mention Ted being hired as an assistant for this famous celebrity with no experience and minimal references. And not only does he land the job, but he flourishes to the point where he is the most important part of her life? It all seemed too unlikely for my taste.

There are a couple of other very minor things that sort of bugged me to such as introduction of Ian. He seemed liked a possible love interest, but disappears soon after the introduction. There are a couple of mentions of him in passing, but the character himself never reappears. If he was just meant to be just a page filler, simply mention him and move on. Why spend time explaining how cute Maybe thinks he is if there is to be nothing more to it? I’m also not sure how I feel about Hollywood’s film and the reference that Maybe is the “teenage Oprah”. While I think Maybe is great, I didn’t see Hollywood’s Maybe. Was this something we were suppose to pick up between the lines…or is this just a product of his infatuation with her? (I’d be interested to hear other’s take on this.) My last issue is how easily Maybe forgave her mom. I realize without this Yee could have never had her happy ending, but it felt too much like fluffy clouds and sunshine. But then maybe I just worry that Maybe and Chessy will slip back into their old life without anything really changing, which would truly be the saddest thing ever.