Category: ya contemporary

REVIEW: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

O Hai,

Long time since I’ve reviewed a book, but it’s always that NetGalley policy thing chewing at me, reminding me that because Harlequin let me read Katie’s new book for free, I should probably say something about it on my blog.
And I’m lost for words. 
Katie has mad skills, a way with words, scenarios, and characters. Her characters leap off the pages and strangle you with their personalities. She can flip from messed up kid to jock to private school girl with disorder, you name it, she can peg that character 100% and let it breathe through the pages. 
Which is why I read her books. 
This one . . . well this one got me around 22% and from there on the emotional roller coaster of this read did not let go. I’m lucky that work today was a bit crap because otherwise I might find myself in trouble for reading while ahem, I should have been answering e-mails or ahem editing my book, oops. 
Katie’s books have a way of keeping me sane when I’m feeling like the world around me is chaos. I know it’s weird because her books are often full of chaos. She’s no stranger to social services or the system, and she understands a ton about the different familial situations people can end up in.
I have to say that I also respect her for her knowledge of drag racing, for experiencing it first hand and for emerging herself in that world completely. I think that any author that does intense research for a book is one that’s worth all the hours it took to read her book. Which were not much, I think I clocked out at about 5 hours, lol, not quite 6.94 seconds on an eighth strip, but I enjoyed the ride.
Looking forward to what Katie does with the next book . . . about West. 
Crash Into You hits November 26th and I suggest you loyal fans go get yourself a copy!
Cheers,
Rhi

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

“I won’t tell anyone, Echo. I promise.” Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. “You didn’t do that-did you? It was done to you?” No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

Title: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Published: July 31st 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Links: Goodreads
Received: Received from Netgalley
Rating: 5 of 5

My thoughts:

I was skimming through Netgalley and chose this one along with a few others. Was pleasantly surprised when I was allowed to read this one! I admit I read the feedback about it first and was a bit skeptical since reviews were saying Katie McGarry was amazing, perfect, surrel, etc. etc. I’m always a bit wary when people have big things to live up to. That being said I read the first few pages of the book and put it down. Not the right time to read it for me.

Earlier this week I was feeling like yuck and wanted a book I could escape into for an afternoon. Honestly, with all the work I’ve been doing in June from moving stuff to storage, to festivals, to renovating my office, I needed a break from the world. My original plan was to sit on the new futon couch in my office and have a nap, but I chose Pushing the Limits. I guess it called to me and as I began reading and understanding what Echo was going through I was drawn in, unable to put it down.

I sat there for a good four hours doing nothing but reading, and found myself about forty percent through the book. I didn’t like Echo’s Dad, or the way everyone kept the truth from her. In my opinion, telling Echo the details instead of making her remember, would have been better for her sanity. Ashley, her ex babysitter, and Dad’s new wife, was hilarious. In the first scene Echo makes a comment about Ashley being the “Ashley Show” with her being pregnant and all, and throughout the book whenever Ashley showed up she couldn’t go one scene without trying to make it about her. I really didn’t like Echo’s friends, Grace, Natalia, etc. The popular mean girls who kept spouting crap about Echo’s social status and whether she was “in” or not. It could have come off cheesy but if I had to think about it, I had people act and talk the same way when I was in High School so yeah it does happen. The only friend I could stand was Lila, because she was the only true friend Echo had.

And then there was Noah. I don’t know where to begin with Noah because he’s not your usual, OMG kind of character. His reputation is the stoner who screws a lot of girls in the backseat of his car. Echo is his new flavor of the month apparently. Only, he’s not. His foster siblings do the pot. He doesn’t even look at another girl after he meets Echo and his main goal is to gain custody of his younger brothers. He saved them from a fire that killed his parents.

What I loved about Noah was the scenes from his POV. He’s such a guy and you’ll have to read it to see what I mean, but he’s a a very swoonworthy guy. Echo is a bit standoffish in her romantic prose, but she’s true to herself. I loved watching them struggle through the attraction to each other, finally give in, and how they came together in the end. Katie McGarry’s writing style is flawless and the book has such depth. It was like a living, breathing entity more than it was words on a page.

And that’s how I like it when I’m escaping in a book. I finished it in two days, but wished I could have sat there and finished it in one sitting.

This one gets major love from me, and is definitely worth more than five stars!

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
ISBN: 0525423281
Publication: September 29th 2011 by Dutton Books
Received: Bought at Chapters (after months of searching for a copy)
Links: Goodreads
Rating: 5 out of 5

About:

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit — more sparkly, more fun, more wild — the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

My Thoughts:

This book was just so cute and well written! I loved Lola from the moment I met her, definitely the kind of girl I would have wanted to be friends with in High School. She’s got spunk, she’s got Dads, she has a rocker boyfriend that’s way older than her, but um, I’m glad she doesn’t end up with him and she’s got plans for her future.

The girl basically has it all until the Bell twins show up and Caliope starts causing all sorts of problems, making it difficult or impossible rather for Lola to attend the ball as Marie Antoinette.

With a bit of help and some fun, quirky scenes, Lola ends up falling for Cricket, whom she sort of swore off as an enemy to begin with and lives happily ever after.

This is one of those feel good stories that makes you want to get up a dance. Stephanie is an excellent writer and I’m so glad I finally found a copy of this book!

Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Title: The Fault In Our Stars
Author: John Green
ISBN: 0525478817
Publication: January 10th, 2012 by Dutton Juvenile
Received: Bought at Superstore
Links: Goodreads
Rating: 5 out of 5

Short Blurb:

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

My Thoughts:

Why is it that books I bought at a grocery store always have the lowest expectations and come out with the highest satisfaction? (You’re right, I need to buy ALL my books at the grocery store from now on.)

This isn’t cancer. This is a book about cancer, well no, it’s not even that. It’s a book about people who are dying of cancer, but then, as the cancer IS them and it’s just their own cells poisoning them it’s really just a book about people dying.

Ceci n’est pas une pipe (From a shirt Hazel wore when meeting Peter Van Houten)

It’s easy to see this story is made up. It’s basically just a bunch of meet cutes, sometimes funny situations (like Patrick the nutless cancer survivor, I kid you not, nutless people.) and some heart felt moments, but then it was just a lot of John Green’s own philosophies and thoughts on the universe. He said at the beginning of the book to look at it like it’s fiction, okay it’s fiction. But more so, it’s a lot of thoughts Mr. Green can’t cop to actually having himself and therefore he has to create characters to have these thoughts. And for some reason the characters had to have cancer and true love and a blind cancer survivor that gets dumped by a girl and a really horrible author of a book that doesn’t have an ending tied into the story.

It’s fine Mr. Green, I applaud your craftiness, even though in the end it was you, in the study with the pen that is guilty for everything written in this book. (How many references to Clue do you get nowadays I wonder?)

Supporting my theory are some thoughts the book presents, some of which are repeated and some of which are only thought once by Hazel, but never removes impact.

“The world is not a wish-granting factory”

“I thought of my dad telling me that the universe wants to be noticed. But what we want is to be noticed by the universe, to give a shit what happens to us – not the collective idea of sentient life but each of us as individuals.”

“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices, I hope she likes hers.”

I didn’t cry, because it’s not that sort of crying book. Sure you can overlook all the philosophy and get tangled in the romance and then get blown up by the grenades both Augustus and Hazel are, but you’d be missing the point. This is pretty much a fictional story about life, how to live it, how to see it, how to suffer it. And if you’re currently have some trouble suffering life, then pick up this book, it won’t disappoint.

Well, except for Peter Van Houten, if you were really reading this book secretly hoping to know the ending of An Imperial Affliction you’ll be sorely disappointed as Mr. Van Houten only tells us what happened to Sisyphus the Hamster.

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
ISBN: 0316122386
Publication: January 12th 2012 by Poppy
Received: Bought on Kindle
Links: Goodreads
Rating: 3 out of 5

Short Blurb: Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

My Thoughts: I’m really not sure where to put this book. I bought it because of the fantastic reviews I had seen on other sites, the title and well because I was in need of a good contemporary.

I don’t know that I got that with this book. I’m not a huge fan of weddings and so when this book revolved around a wedding, it became a turn off. What kept me going through this book was the satirical prose of Jennifer E. Smith. As the other reviews pointed out, this book was written rather well and that was true. I liked how detailed every small moment was and how I could feel myself in a situation like this.

I would have preferred it if the book had stayed in the airport and on the plane to London. I think where Jennifer E. Smith took the plot after they departed the airport was a hit and miss situation. For me it was borderlining on cheesy romantic comedy. Also, there’s a danger factor here that I don’t think Jennifer vetted out. What teenage girl would go off on her own in a city she’s never been in to find a boy she only met on a plane hours ago? I commend Hadley for being able to find her way to the funeral but if that were one of my kids and they said they were going to go off on their own in a big city, you can bet I’d say no way.

Weirdest thing about this book is that it seems like every time the characters are together, they kiss. I didn’t mind it, it’s what the book was all about after all, but I still found that first and second kiss a little too much. The third one made sense.

All in all I enjoyed the characters, both Hadley and Oliver were down to earth, a little rough around the edges, compassionate and brave. The plot was simple but effective, the pacing was right on and the writing drew me in. I finished this book in less than five hours because it’s a short afternoon read.

I’d say pick it up if you’re a sucker for weddings and insta-love relationships.

Namaste,
Rhi