Apology Time: Because I've been failing you as a reviewer for so long, and I've missed out on reviewing so many lovely books in these last few months, I thought I'd share some quick thoughts on each.
A Match Made High School by Kristin Walker (synopsis)
Kristin Walker's books seem to be cursed with silly titles and even sillier covers, but if you can see past that, you'll be able to enjoy this intelligent, romantic read.
Really and truly, I feel this book is a great example of what the young adult romance genre has to offer. It has the requisite romance, but it's not as predictable as the synopsis would suggest. On top of that, it also has an interesting exploration of marriage and relationships from a teenage perspective. Sure, the premise is all little silly, but, to me at least, also a little intriguing. For me, this book was a quick, smart, enjoyable read.
7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker (synopsis)
Yes, I was so charmed by Match that I immediately went out and bought Clues (what can I say? I'm a binge reader). On the whole, I think Match is a more complete book, but I still think Clues has a fair amount to offer.
Blythe is not the easiest protagonist to like. She's very snobby. But I like'd that the novel addressed class in some way, when most novels shy away from such issues. I also quite enjoyed the scavenger hunt and her relationship with Luke. I thought they were a really, really sweet couple (for anyone who has read the book, I really enjoyed the stuff inside and outside the principal's office at the end). I thought her relationship with her parents was also quiet interesting. As someone who is currently being forced to sell her house, I very much related to Blythe's sadness about leaving her childhood home.
And I loved Miss Franny and Miss Eulaili, of course (again, for those who've read it: the scene where they buy the magazine? Hilarious!).
The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen (synopsis)
I was hesitant to pick up this book. On one hand, it had a cute, unique cover and a fair amount of buzz around the blogosphere. On the other hand, I had really and truly tried to get through Jensen's previous novel, Falling in Love with English Boys, and I just couldn't. But when I saw it in the bookstore, I let myself forget that. I just couldn't resist.
Ultimately, for me, Fine Art was a good, but not great read. I loved Ella's relationship with Edward Willing. I thought that was original, and I really loved a character who had a unique passion like that. I also liked her relationship with Alex, as well as her friends. I also enjoyed her family quite a lot. I love characters with big families, especially noisy, funny, real families like Ella's. At no point did I fall in love with this book, but I wouldn't turn anyone off reading it.
For Keeps by Natasha Friend (synopsis)
This one was such a good read. Enjoyable and relatable and relaxing. I can't exactly say why, but it felt kind of like a bubble bath to me.
I liked so many things about this book. I loved Josie's relationship with her mother, Kate. It was sweet and very Gilmore Girls-esque, in the very best way. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I loved how Josie's romance with Matt was not the main part of the story, but rather a subplot. I also loved how they started dating at the beginning of the book, rather than the end, because I got to see their relationship develop. That's is so freaking rare in YA and I loved it so much. Josie's best friend Liv was great too; I especially enjoyed the fights they had, and the process of Josie's figuring out why Live was acting like she did. That seemed very true to life to me and mature to me.
I read a review that warned people not to read this book if they're only looking for romance. I want to reiterate that. This book has romance in it, but it's very much secondary to all the stuff with Josie's mom and dad. But all that stuff is so good, you should pick up this book anyways.
Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern (synopsis)
A certain blogger has raved and raved about Halpern's books forever. And while I still haven't read Get Well Soon, I thought I'd give this one a try.
I found this book to be unique and cute. I was more than a little irritated by the slow progression of the plot--the freaking premise (or, at least, the one described on the back of the book) doesn't even begin until a hundred pages into a this two hundred and fifty-odd page book. Also, Jessie's friends at the beginning were awful people and annoying characters. But Jessie's brother was cool. And her new friends were kind of awesome. And I just adored all the Dungeons and Dragons stuff. I wish I was cool enough (or had enough imagination) to play this game. And the romantic moments born out of those friends and that game are quite excellent. For me, the book certainly improved as it went along. I enjoyed how it showed the end of a friendship, something I have experienced myself, and, like Jessie, found quite painful. However, I was never fully on board with what I found to be the overly didactic exploration of geek/nerdom. But, all together, a good book.
Question Time: Do you other bloggers ever feel like me? Like every post has to be perfect? And every review has be long and insightful and unique? And how do you deal with this feeling? What is your solution?