Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hung Up by Kristen Tracy

book cover of Hung Up by Kristen Tracy

Title: Hung Up
Author: Kristen Tracy
Release date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 288
Source: Edelweiss/Publisher
Reading level: YA

Can you fall in love with a voice? This witty romance, told entirely through phone calls, chronicles the tale of a wrong number gone right.

It all started with a wrong number. The voicemails Lucy left on James’s phone were meant for someone else—someone who used to have James’s digits. But then when James finally answers and the two start to talk, a unique bond forms between the two teens.

Gradually Lucy and James begin to understand each other on a deeper level than anyone else in their lives. But when James wants to meet in person, Lucy is strangely resistant. And when her secret is revealed, he’ll understand why…

For some reason, I keep reading Kristen Tracy’s books even though I never really love them. There’s nothing bad about them but there is just something that always keeps me from loving them. That was once again the case with Hung Up.

Hung Up is an adorable story told in phone calls and phone messages. It’s a really nifty idea but it caused some problems with the story and the characters. A lot of the time it felt like I was missing something, like there were gaps in time where things happened and I just wasn’t present for them. I also never felt like I connected to the characters because it was a hard way to present a back-story of any kind. Lucy and James were cute together, at least when it came to their phone calls, but I never felt like I got to know either of them.

The story was really fast-paced though. Almost like reading a book written in verse, Hung Up can be read in just a few short hours, if it even takes that long. It’s captivating enough that readers will be entertained throughout and you won’t want to stop reading once you start it. There is a bit of a mystery surrounding Lucy’s past but that really didn’t matter to me. It almost seemed like an afterthought to the story. It was unexpected and I didn’t see it coming at all, that’s for sure.

The romance was more cutesy than anything else. There wasn’t really any chemistry between Lucy and James but that was mainly just because you never get the chance to see them interact in person. I understand that it wouldn’t have worked with the style of writing but I never felt like they would have worked together based on phone calls alone.

Overall, Hung Up was another mediocre read from Kristen Tracy. However, it was pretty cute and it’s definitely a quick read so maybe give it a shot. It’d probably appeal a lot more to younger readers.

What others are saying about Hung Up:

Anna Reads’ review: “Still, if you want a quickie read, something cute and simple and entertaining that will take your mind off of things for a few hours, this one will absolutely do the trick.”

The YA Kitten’s review: “If you’re looking for something to get started on epistolary YA with, go pick up Moriarty’s books and this one while you’re at it.”  

Queen Ella Bee Reads’ review: “All in all, the emotional support Lucy and James provide for each other is truly heartwarming.” 

Other reviews for this author:
A Field Guide for Heartbreakers by Kristen Tracy
Lost It by Kristen Tracy

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

book cover of Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Title: Better Off Friends
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Release date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Point
Pages: 288
Source: Netgalley/Publisher
Reading level: YA

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY . . . for teens, from romantic comedy star Elizabeth Eulberg.

For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again — and one kiss away from true love?

It’s become pretty hard to impress me with contemporary novels lately.  I read so many of them that the stories and things just stop being unique.  That was so not the case with Better Off Friends.  I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth Eulberg since her debut novel but I’m pretty sure I have a new favorite from her.
Macallan and Levi have an odd relationship.  It’s clear from the start that they really are just friends.  The book shows how they meet and how they become friends as well as how that friendship develops over the years.  They go through boyfriends and girlfriends and no matter what, they are always there for each other.  They stand by each other through thick and thin and they have one of the best friendships I’ve read about in a long time.  They get each others jokes, they like the same things, and they never tire of each others company.  
The chemistry between them wasn’t always there but it was easy to see that they would be good together.  As they grew older though, things started to change between them and they definitely started to see a change in how they felt about each other.  The chemistry between them was very real.  Their relationship was so comfortable that they were able to be themselves with each other.  I didn’t think it had to necessarily go in a romantic way but it definitely worked for them.
The story itself was very cutesy but that’s what I was hoping for.  Macallan and Levi both realize (at different times) how they feel about each other and what happens after that was pretty hilarious.  Their timing never seems to be right.  One of them is always managing to screw things up royally.  There were a lot of more serious moments in the story but it helped balance out the funny parts.  I never felt like it was too serious or too light hearted.  There were some times when I really just wanted to hit both Macallan and Levi though.  It took them a while to see things that were right in front of their faces.
Overall, Elizabeth Eulberg has written another wonderful young adult contemporary novel that I highly recommend.  If you haven’t read anything by her yet, start with this one!
What others are saying about Better Off Friends:
Eve’s Fan Garden’s review: All in all, this was another great book from Eulberg and really, everyone should read it!” 

Reading Teen’s review: BETTER OFF FRIENDS was such an adorable story.” 

Confessions of a Book Addict’s review: So, if you are a fan of the Pacey/Joey type of romance where they are best friends first and if you are like me and are a huge fan of When Harry Met Sally, then you must check out Better Off Friends.” 

Other reviews for this author:
Friday, February 7, 2014

First Line Friday Review: Year of Mistaken Discoveries by Eileen Cook

book cover of Year of Mistaken Discoveries by Eileen Cook

Title: Year of Mistaken Discoveries
Author: Eileen Cook
Release date: January 27, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 272
Source: Edelweiss/Publisher
Reading level: YA

As first graders, Avery and Nora bonded over a special trait they shared—they were both adopted.

Years later, Avery is smart, popular, and on the cheerleading squad, while Nora spends her time on the fringes of school society, wearing black, reading esoteric poetry, and listening to obscure music. They never interact…until the night Nora approaches Avery at a party, saying it’s urgent. She tells Avery that she thought she found her birth mom—but it turned out to be a cruel lie. Avery feels for Nora, but returns to her friends at the party.

Then Avery learns that Nora overdosed on pills. Left to cope with Nora’s loss and questioning her own actions, Avery decides to honor her friend by launching a search for her own birth mother. Aided by Brody, a friend of Nora’s who is also looking for a way to respect Nora’s legacy, Avery embarks on an emotional quest. But what she’s really seeking might go far deeper than just genetics…

Year of Mistaken Discoveries is a fun contemporary read from Eileen Cook.  There are some more serious undertones which I enjoyed but mainly it was a book that I found to be supremely cute.  
Avery and Nora aren’t really friends by the time the book starts.  They have drifted apart over the years with Avery becoming the popular cheerleader and Nora becoming a loner.  However, that doesn’t mean Nora’s death doesn’t profoundly affect Avery.  It comes as a shock to her that Nora would take her own life and Avery feels a lot of guilt over the fact that she wasn’t there for Nora at the end.  This guilt leads her to decide to find her birth mom in honor of Nora, along with the help of Nora’s only other friend, Brody.
Admittedly the guilt about Nora was only part of the reason that Avery decided to start searching for her birth mom.  She had some other motives that were not very pure.  Avery was decidedly selfish.  Everything she did, she did for herself.  Sure she’d make it seem like she was doing it for someone else or some greater purpose but it truly was all about her in the end.  I really didn’t like Avery for most of the book because of this.  However, the other characters helped make up for my dislike of Avery.  First there was Brody.  He was a little mysterious but it didn’t take long for me to warm up to him.  He was a great guy.  Then there were Avery’s adoptive parents.  They were the perfect parents.  They played a huge role in the story and I loved reading a YA book with a parental presence.  Avery’s friends, Lydia and Shannon, were pretty good too although they were a little shallow.
The story was really fast-paced.  There was nothing really special about it but I enjoyed it.  Avery and Brody spend most of the book searching down Avery’s real mom and it was fun to see how they went about getting their information.  It read a little bit like a mystery.  It was a little predictable but I didn’t really think that was a bad thing in this case.
Overall, Year of Mistaken Discoveries is a wonderfully quick contemporary read.  It’s perfect for a rainy day and it will definitely leave you with a smile on your face.
What others are saying about Year of Mistaken Discoveries:
Adventures in Reading’s review: It was a truly great read but I just wish that the ending hadn’t felt so unfinished.” 
Other reviews for this author:
Want to know what other books were up for First Line Friday?

#1 – I was probably the first kid ever excited for summer to be over. – Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

#2 – There are rumors the day Emily Beam arrives at the Amherst School for Girls–in January, halfway through her junior year. – And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

#3 – “You dropped something.” – Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt

#4 – Nadia and I scramble down the hill at the edge of school property right as the morning’s final late bell rings behind us. – Me Since You by Laura Wiess
Sunday, January 26, 2014

Fade Out by Nova Ren Suma

book cover of Fade Out by Nova Ren Suma

Title: Fade Out
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Release date: September 17, 2009
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 272
Source: Bookstore
Reading level: MG

If this were a movie, you’d open to the first page of this book and be transported to a whole other world. Everything would be in black and white, except maybe for the girl in pink polka-dot tights, and this really great music would start to swell in the background. All of a sudden, you wouldn’t be able to help it–you’d be a part of the story, you’d be totally sucked in. You’d be in this place, filled with big lies, mysterious secrets, and a tween girl turned sleuth….

Zoom in on thirteen-year-old Dani Callanzano. It’s the summer before eighth grade, and Dani is stuck in her nothing-ever-happens town with only her favorite noir mysteries at the Little Art movie theater to keep her company.

But one day, a real-life mystery begins to unravel–at the Little Art! And it all has something to do with a girl in polka-dot tights…. Armed with a vivid imagination, a flair for the dramatic, and her knowledge of all things Rita Hayworth, Dani sets out to solve the mystery, and she learns more about herself than she ever thought she could.

After hearing such good things about Nova Ren Suma’s books I had high hopes for Fade Out.  I’m sad to say that I was a bit disappointed with this one.  The writing was good it was the story that really let me down but I won’t be giving up on Nova Ren Suma’s other books.
Fade Out is definitely a middle grade novel and I knew that going into it but I think I expected something a bit more mature than what I got.  Dani is a very immature girl.  She doesn’t have a very realistic outlook and she acts her age, that’s for sure.  Ever since her dad left her mom for another woman she doesn’t trust men and that applies to all men.  When she thinks that her friends boyfriend might be cheating on her she decides to take it upon herself to find out and prove it to her friend.  Let’s just say that Dani takes stalker to a whole new level and her motives are not exactly as pure as she wants people to think.  She really is rather selfish and it’s hard to like Dani.  She was definitely my biggest problem with the book.
The whole story in Fade Out is Dani trying to prove that her friend’s boyfriend is cheating on her.  That is literally the whole story with some films thrown in for good measure.  From the summary I expected there to be some deep dark murderous secret that Dani uncovers but no.  It’s just the fact that he’s cheating.  I was really let down by that and the story was pretty boring.  There just wasn’t enough going on to keep me interested and I found myself rushing through the story just because I wanted to be done with it.  I think that most readers my age or older will feel the same way but middle grade readers will probably enjoy this one and it’s a great read for younger teens.
Overall, Fade Out really let me down.  While I was definitely impressed with the writing, that was the only thing that impressed me.  Hopefully I find Nova Ren Suma’s other books to be more to my taste because this one just wasn’t.
What others are saying about Fade Out:
Reading Nook’s review: “It was a fun romp with a teen sleuth in a small town.”

Confessions of a Bibliovore’s review: “I truly hope that Suma writes more books like Dani Noir.”

Friday, January 24, 2014

DNF Review: Sneaking Candy by Lisa Burstein

book cover of Sneaking Candy by Lisa Burstein

Title: Sneaking Candy
Author: Lisa Burstein
Release date: December 9, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Source: Netgalley
Reading level: NA

All I ever wanted was to make a name for myself as Candice Salinas, creative writing grad student at the University of Miami. Of course, secretly I already have made a name for myself: as Candy Sloane, self-published erotic romance writer. Though thrilled that my books are selling and I have actual fans, if anyone at UM found out, I could lose my scholarship…and the respect of my faculty advisor, grade-A-asshole Professor Dylan.

Enter James Walker, super-hot local barista and—surprise!—my student. Even though I know a relationship is totally off-limits, I can’t stop myself from sneaking around with James, taking a few cues from my own erotic writing…if you catch my drift. Candy’s showing her stripes for the first time in my real life, and I’ve never had so much fun. But when the sugar high fades, can my secrets stay under wraps?

Sneaking Candy by Lisa Burstein was an impulse request on Netgalley and I quickly came to regret that request. I knew right from the start that Sneaking Candy was not going to be a book for me but I made myself stick it out for a while and see how it went.
Candice (Candy) is an erotica writer as well as a creative writing grad student. She sells her erotica work to make money to pay for her schooling but she hides her erotica career from everyone because she’s embarrassed by it. Things work for her until she meets James who is not only her love interest but also her student. Oops. That part reminded me a bit of Losing It but it was not done nearly as well this time. Candice went to dinner with James knowing he was her student, got drunk, blacked out, and had sex with him. Classy. Really, that was where the book totally lost all interest to me. I gave up after that.
Overall, Sneaking Candy did nothing for me. The characters, the writing, the story, it was mediocre at best. I gave up about 30% through and I don’t regret that at all. I’d say pass on this one.
What others are saying about Sneaking Candy:
Harlequin Junkie’s review: “Overall, Sneaking Candy by Lisa Burstein is a fun story with a lovable heroine and an interesting story which keeps you hooked throughout.”

Writing My Own Fairy Tale’s review: “Sneaking Candy is adorable and sexy and fun.”

Actin’ Up With Books’ review: ” If you are looking for something funny, fresh, smart, and sexy, then this is the book for you!”

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Anything To Have You by Paige Harbison

book cover of Anything To Have You by Paige Harbison

Title: Anything To Have You
Author: Paige Harbison
Release date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley
Reading level: YA

Nothing should come between best friends, not even boys. ESPECIALLY not boys.

Natalie and Brooke have had each other’s backs forever. Natalie is the quiet one, college bound and happy to stay home and watch old movies. Brooke is the movie—the life of every party, the girl everyone wants to be.

Then it happens—one crazy night that Natalie can’t remember and Brooke’s boyfriend, Aiden, can’t forget. Suddenly there’s a question mark in Natalie and Brooke’s friendship that tests everything they thought they knew about each other and has both girls discovering what true friendship really means.

I was a huge fan of Paige Harbison’s debut novel, Here Lies Bridget. Because of that, I expected quite a bit from Anything To Have You. Sadly, I was a bit let down. I enjoyed the story but it really was nothing special and I had quite a few problems with it.
My biggest issue with Anything to Have You was the dynamics of the friendship between Brooke and Natalie. They really don’t seem to like each other. They have very little in common and it almost seemed like they were competing with each other. Add a boy into that mix and things just get crazy. Aiden is the new kid in town and Natalie likes him from the start. Brooke doesn’t really care either way but she’s supposed to help Natalie get him. Instead, she starts dating him. Things just went downhill from there. And I’m not justifying what Natalie and Aiden did but they were supposed to be together from the start. It was bound to happen.
The summary doesn’t do justice to the story though. Something happens one night that Natalie and Aiden don’t remember but the consequences of that night are really far reaching. Not only do Natalie and Aiden’s lives start to spiral after that, so does Brookes. Even if they don’t know what exactly happened, they know that things are changing in all of their relationships. It was interesting to see how the decisions of two people affect not just them but all the people around them as well.
Things kind of came to a head a little too abruptly at the end of the book. There was a lot of build up and a lot of things leading to the big revelation but it all happened so close to the end that I felt like readers can’t really see all the ramifications of their actions. Things tied up a little too nicely too. Sure, I was happy for Natalie, Aiden, Brooke, and their friends but I wanted to see something a little more realistic. Maybe that’s just me though.
Overall, Anything To Have You just didn’t live up to my expectations. I enjoyed it and I think other readers will too but just don’t expect too much from it.

What others are saying about Anything To Have You:

Bookworm Blogger’s review: “I honestly think the author took her finger off the pulse on this one and therefore it just didn’t seem quite accurate.”

Ashley Loves Books’ review: “Obviously, Anything To Have You wasn’t quite the book for me.”

Electively Paige’s review: “I love the way the author gracefully touches on some pretty strong themes, and this book was about as real as you can get.”

Other reviews for this author:
Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

book cover of Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Title: Over You
Author: Emma McLaughlin, Nicola Kraus
Release date: August 21, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher
Reading level: YA

After the grand explosion of her relationship, seventeen-year-old Max Scott developed what every girl in the history of the world has been waiting for: a way to get over being dumped. Now Max is the go-to guru for heartbroken high-school girls all over NYC. But when her ex unexpectedly shows up in her neighborhood, Max’s carefully controlled world starts to unravel. With her clients’ hearts hanging in the balance, Max will have to do the seemingly impossible: get over him once and for all.

I am sad to say that Over You is probably one of the most disappointing books I have read this year.  Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus’ books have gotten so many rave reviews that I expected to adore this one.  Sadly I was severely let down and I found myself trying so hard to get through the book without giving up.
Max is a hard girl to like.  She has this company where she helps girls get over their exes but she has yet to get over her own.  She is this huge hypocrite who falls all over her ex as soon as he comes back into the picture.  And honestly when it comes down to it there is nothing spectacular about her ex.  He’s an asshole who does whatever his daddy tells him to and Max deserves so much better.  For some reason she can’t see that and she treats a truly good guy horribly.  She made one bad choice after another and she never seemed to learn from things.  She also had nearly no personality which didn’t help things.
The guys in the book were actually the only interesting characters.  Ben, Zach, and even Hugo were more interesting to me than Max and the girls she supposedly helps move on.  Ben is a lovable idiot who doesn’t know how to handle girls.  His inner commentary is rather funny and helps move the story along.  Zach is Max’s best friend who is a very flamboyant gay guy.  (Is it just me or do there seem to be a lot of flamboyant gay best friends in YA these days?)  He’s a bit of a goofball but he’s a total sweetheart and he’s super funny.  Even Hugo had more personality than Max.  He’s was a total jerk but he knew who he was and what he wanted.  I can’t say the same for Max.
As for the writing it was just dull.  From the very start I knew that I wouldn’t enjoy the writing but I hoped that the story would be enough to capture my interest.  Sadly neither improved throughout the book.  The writing was very descriptive and heavy.  The story was slow and rather predictable.  I read through the book rather quickly but that was only because I wanted to be done with it.  
Overall, Over You is one book that I wouldn’t really recommend.  If you enjoyed Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus’ previous books then this one may be for you but otherwise I suggest passing on this one.
What others are saying about Over You:
Sash & Em’s review: “If you’re looking for a fluffy, one-day read – pick this one up!”

Buried in Books’ review: “All in all, Over You is a fun break up and fall in love all over again book.”

Dark Faerie Tales’ review: “Fun, light hearted read with a cute protagonist and a fun premise.” 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

You Are Not Here by Samantha Shutz

book cover of You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz

Title: You Are Not Here
Author: Samantha Schutz
Release date: October 1, 2010
Publisher: Push
Pages: 292
Source: Bookstore
Reading level: YA

Annaleah and Brian shared something special – Annaleah is sure of it. When they were together, they didn’t need anyone else. It didn’t matter that their relationship was secret. All that mattered was what they had with each other.

And then, out of nowhere, Brian dies. And while everyone else has their role in the grieving process, Annaleah finds herself living outside of it, unacknowledged and lonely.

How can you recover from a loss that no one will let you have?

You Are Not Here is only the second book I’ve read that is written in verse and I have to say that this style is really growing to become one of my favorites.  Samantha Schutz has written an amazing story of love, loss, and finding out how to keep living.  
Annaleah is not an easy character to like at first.  She’s very naïve and on top of that she’s rather rude to her friends.  She cuts herself off from the world and she just stops caring about living.  The remainder of her life is all about Brian, even though he was only a part of her life for a few short months and she wasn’t even fully a part of his life.  Her day revolves around the time she can visit his grave and she looks to him for signs of what she should do with her life.  She’s not a healthy person but seeing her change is probably the best part of the book.  And as she changes it becomes easier to see why she let Brian dictate so much of her life and why she couldn’t move on.  I didn’t like her in the beginning but I sure did in the end.
Secondary characters are the hardest part of verse novels for me.  I feel like they don’t get nearly enough page time and it’s hard to connect to them.  That really wasn’t the case with You Are Not Here.  Joy, Parker, Marissa, and Ethan were all great people and awesome friends.  None of them were in the book a whole lot but their personalities really came across when they were there.  Joy cracked me up, as did Parker.  Marissa and Ethan were a little more serious but they still managed to make me laugh and I loved how much they cared for Annaleah.  I would also say Brian was a secondary character in this book, at least through flashbacks.  I never really connected to him but it at least shows how Annaleah got so caught up in their relationship.
The best part about a book written in verse is how fast-paced it is.  No matter how slow the story might be (in this case not slow at all) the writing helps speed it along.  You Are Not Here had the benefit of both being written in verse and having a fascinating story.  This is a book you can fly through in a couple hours.
Overall, if you are a fan of verse novels and haven’t checked out You Are Not Here, what are you waiting for?  If you aren’t a fan of verse novels I highly recommend checking one out and this one would definitely be a good place to start!
What others are saying about You Are Not Here:
The Book Scout’s review: “You Are Not Here was a stunning novel filled with heartbreakingly beautiful passages and stunning writing.”

The Story Siren’s review: “An emotional and fast read, You Are Not Here is a beautiful story of love, loss and forgiveness.”

YA Librarian Tales’ review: “This book will do best with teens who have experienced a deep well of emotional grief themselves, whether that is with the death of a boyfriend or just the death of a close loved one, friend or family. ” 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin

book cover of Another Little Piece of my Heart by Tracey Martin

Title: Another Little Piece of my Heart
Author: Tracey Martin
Release date: December 1, 2013
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley
Reading level: YA

What if your devastating break-up became this summer’s hit single? In this rock-and-roll retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, music can either bring you together or tear you apart.

At her dying mother’s request, Claire dumps Jared, the only boy she’s ever loved. Left with a broken family and a broken heart, Claire is furious when she discovers that her biggest regret became Jared’s big break. While Jared is catapulted into rock-star status, another piece of Claire’s heart crumbles every time his song plays on the radio.

The summer after her senior year, it’s been months since the big break-up, and Claire is just trying to keep her head down and make it through a tense trip to the beach with her family. But when Jared shows up, and old feelings reignite, can Claire and Jared let go of the past? Or will they be stuck singing the same old refrain?

Another Little Piece of My Heart is an ebook original from Harlequin Teen and I was rather disappointed with it. I’ve come to expect some things from Harlequin Teen’s books: characters that are easy to relate to, hot sexy times, and good writing. While the writing was up to par with Another Little Piece of My Heart, the rest was lacking.

While I enjoyed reading Another Little Piece of My Heart, there was nothing about it that made me love it and in fact, as soon as I stopped reading, I forgot almost everything about it. None of the characters were memorable, the writing was only mediocre, the story was rather predictable and immature, and the romance was not nearly as steamy as I’d hoped.

Claire and Jared seemed too good to be true at the beginning of the book. Their relationship was perfect, except for the fact that Claire’s parents didn’t believe Jared was good enough for Claire. Claire dumped Jared at the request of her mom and her life was ruined from that point on. Jared’s, on the other hand, only got better. Both of them went to different extremes because of their breakup. Claire hated Jared for benefitting from her dumping him and Jared hated Claire for dumping him. Of course that’s not how either of them really felt.

Claire was immature and I felt that she never should have broken up with Jared. Jared didn’t handle things the right way either. They also didn’t handle their reunion very well. They never seemed to grow or learn from their mistakes. There was very little character development throughout the book.

Overall, if you have nothing else to read, pick this one up. Otherwise, I’d say pass. It’s a cute romance but there really wasn’t much else to it.

What others are saying about Another Little Piece of my Heart:

Nick’s Book Blog’s review: “I got out of Another Little Piece of My Heart exactly what I expected ; a cute book that gave me happy feels by the end.”

Swoony Boys Podcast’s review: “Another Little Piece of My Heart has page after page filled with music, first loves, and growing up.”

A Bookish Escape’s review: “Another Little Piece of My Heart, by Tracey Martin, is a beautiful and bittersweet debut about first love, following your passion and dreams, and most importantly being true to yourself.”

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Boy Recession by Flynn Meaney

book cover of The Boy Recession by Flynn Meaney

Title: The Boy Recession
Author: Flynn Meaney
Release date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 246
Source: Publisher
Reading level: YA
Challenge(s): None

The population of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, is shrinking as families move to cities and towns with greener pastures, and the local high school is hurting: nearly all of the area’s most eligible guys have moved or transferred schools.

With little competition, the remaining boys find their stocks on the rise, and even the most unlikely candidates have a good chance at making the team and getting the girl. Guitar-strumming slacker HUNTER FAHRENBACH has made an art of blending into the background, but now desperate coaches are recruiting him and popular girls are noticing his scruffy good looks. With a little help, Hunter might even by boyfriend material…

The Boy Recession is the first book I have read by Flynn Meaney but it will definitely not be the last.  The Boy Recession is such a cute contemporary and I loved it.
First off, I love the idea of a boy recession.  Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, where the story is set, doesn’t have a lot of boys to begin with but it gets even worse when most of the hottest, most popular guys in school start transferring to bigger, better schools.  The boys that are left soon become extremely wanted by the female population and it doesn’t matter how nerdy/stonerish/weird they are.  And the girls of Whitefish Bay are willing to do almost anything to get the guys.  
One of my favorite things about The Boy Recession is the setting.  I actually went to high school in a tiny village in Wisconsin and Whitefish Bay was definitely like my village. It seems like a lot of books these days are set in huge high schools, big cities, and other popular locations and it was really refreshing to read a book set somewhere like Whitefish Bay.  The setting also made the book have an almost cozy feel.  The story starts at the end of the summer and spans a whole year but a lot of the crucial parts of the story take place in the winter and just reading about it made me want to curl up under the covers with a cup of hot chocolate.  The setting just added another layer to a great book.
The characters in The Boy Recession are some of the most real characters out there. These teens seem like people that I might actually meet in a high school and definitely befriend.  Everyone was quirky, funny, and completely individual.  Kelly was smart, funny, and kind of shy.  She didn’t have experience with guys so she was a little awkward but it made her seem like a true teenage girl.  Then there was Hunter.  Hunter reminded me so much of my guy friends from high school.  He was so clueless!  He couldn’t see what was right in front of him.  He did some stupid things but he acted like a true guy.  Flynn Meaney really captured the spirit of the typical teenage guy with Hunter.  He was clueless but he was still extremely cute and awesome.
Like I said, the story spans a whole year but it never drags.  The chapters are quick and there is so much going on that you will never get bored with the story.  There isn’t a whole lot of action to the story but that doesn’t matter.  Once you get started and get to know Kelly and Hunter you will want to know how their story ends.  And there are plenty of laugh out loud moments thrown in that will keep you entertained.
Overall, The Boy Recession is the perfect book for a rainy day.  It’s a great contemporary novel and while Flynn Meaney’s previous book is not contemporary, I will definitely be checking it out. 

What others are saying about The Boy Recession:

The Bookish Babe’s review: “If you want a fun, mostly light-hearted story that will put a smile on your face, The Boy Recession just may be the book for you!” 

Refracted Light Reviews’ review: Overall, if you’re looking for a funny, lighthearted book that will induce spontaneous bursts of giggling from start to finish, then pick up The Boy Recession.” 

Supernatural Snark’s review: “Ms. Meaney has a wonderful sense of humor, and will certainly be an author I seek out when I need a quick reminder of why reading is so much fun.”