Saturday, August 6, 2011

Before I Die - Jenny Downham

Before I DieBefore I Die by Jenny Downham

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Before I Die was a heart-wrenching novel that kept my attention really well (which is a huge feat!). I can't even begin to explain how emotionally attached I got to each of the characters and how hard it was to actually finish the book and to just know that it would be over! There were times when I was angry and ecstatic and depressed and nervous all at that same time. A very great read.

I also really enjoyed the way the chapters were broken up. The very personal style of narration was also fantastic. I felt completely pulled into this girl's world. It was very easy to empathize with her. Her emotions and thoughts towards what was happening in her life was very raw and real. Huge credit to the author for being able to tap into that.

I highly recommend this novel for anyone. One of my new favorites.

View all my reviews

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Something Borrowed



I really enjoyed this book. It was long, but there was never a dull moment between Rachel

and Dex and Darcy. And there were so many sharp, precise images flooding the novel. I felt like I was there in New York, I felt part of their little group. I was never bored.

Rachel White is the consummate good girl. A hard-working attorney at a large Manhattan law firm and a diligent maid of honor to her charmed best friend Darcy, Rachel has always played by all the rules. Since grade school, she has watched Darcy shine, quietly accepting the sidekick role in their lopsided friendship. But that suddenly changes the night of her thirtieth birthday when Rachel finally confesses her feelings to Darcy's fiance, and is both horrified and thrilled to discover that he feels the same way. As the wedding date draws near, events spiral out of control, and Rachel knows she must make a choice between her heart and conscience. In so doing, she discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings

aren't always neat, and sometimes you have to risk everything to be true to yourself.

Even though the concept isn’t really anything new, there are so many twists and turns t

hat will completely throw you off. And for me, there was never a defining moment in the book, or something that left me on the edge of my seat. It was just quality throughout; a lot like watching a chick-flick. Which is probably one of the reasons that they turned this into a movie, out this week!

I can’t wait to start some of Emily Giffin’s other books!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Story of a Girl

Story of a Girl

Sara Zarr

For me, this book was powerful. Some of the description and the language used was magnificent. I could really feel myself in that town, surrounding myself with those people.

When she is caught in the backseat of a car with her older brother's best friend - Deanna Lambert's teenage life is changed forever. Struggling to overcome the lasting repercussions and the stifling role of "school slut," she longs to escape a life defined by her past.

With subtle grace, complicated wisdom and striking emotion, Story of a Girl reminds us of our human capacity for resilience, epiphany and redemption.


I thought that some characters needed more development. There was more of a potential storyline that never really ended up fulfilled. I could relate to Deanna because some of her thoughts were so irrational, and her ideas of what could be were so far off from reality. I mean, that happens to everyone, whether we’d admit it or not. That was written very well.

There were some other great moments. My favorite parts of the book were the ones that included The Girl on the Waves. (Read the book to see what I mean!) Those parts were so poetic and lovely.

I absolutely loved how Deanna let one little moment in her life define her forever—I thought that was something really relatable. And it was such a huge deal to her and it affected her family. They really let it get to them. It was incredible to see the gradual journey of acceptance and forgiveness and compassion within this broken family. Zarr’s striking emotion really capture the depth of the circumstances. It was a great debut novel, and I will be reading more soon!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bloom Review

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott was a really good read to pass the time, but I probably won’t remember every detail about it four months from now, as I would with a favorite novel.

Scott’s details were great, but there wasn’t anything that struck me particularly fantastic. I did enjoy it a lot, don’t get me wrong. There were plenty of moments that left me on the edge of my seat and plenty of times when I’m pretty sure I knew what was going to happen (I didn’t).

Lauren has a good life: decent grades, great friends, and a boyfriend every girl lusts after. So why is she so unhappy?

It takes the arrival of Evan Kirkland for Lauren to figure out the answer: She's been holding back. She's been denying herself a bunch of things (like sex) because staying with her loyal and gorgeous boyfriend, Dave, is the "right" thing to do. After all, who would give up the perfect boyfriend?

But as Dave starts talking more and more about their life together, planning a future Lauren simply can't see herself in -- and as Lauren's craving for Evan, and moreover, who she is with Evan becomes all the more fierce -- Lauren realizes she needs to make a choice...before one is made for her. (Goodreads)

I found Lauren’s character really relatable, and I enjoyed that because she wasn’t generic, either.

The novel did however, remind me a lot of The Unwritten Rule, the first book of Scott’s that I had read. I also started reading Something Borrowed (review soon!) shortly after finishing this book, and that reminded me a lot of this novel, too. Not in a bad way, though. They were each distinctly different, and I liked that.

So in all, this is a good, well-written book that isn’t too light, but also isn’t the most memorable thing I’ve read.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Book Review: The Wednesday Wars

Hello all! I know that I've been pretty MIA lately, but school has been keeping me unbelievably busy this year! This next book I'm reviewing, I actually read for an English project about the American Dream. Finally some homework that I enjoyed!

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt (who was actually one of my teacher's college professors)

While all his classmates are enjoying (?) religious instruction, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood shares
Wednesday afternoons with Mrs. Baker, his Camillo Junior High teacher. Not surprisingly, Holling lacks enthusiasm for mid-week appointments with an instructor who assigns him Shakespeare as out-of-class reading. Holling has other things on his mind besides English Renaissance drama. For his dad's sake, he's trying hard to stay out of trouble, but with hovering bullies and other impinging crises, that seems to be a full-time job. Fortunately, help arrives from an unexpected source. Another funny yet gripping novel from the author ofLizzie Bright and The Buckminster Boy. (Goodreads)

I'd not fully sure what i was expecting when I picked this book up, but I definitely didn't think I'd end up with a fantastic coming of age story that truly resonates through a culture.

The characters are strong. I love how Holling, the main character, grows throughout the year. And I loved seeing how his relationship with Mrs. Baker
grew, too. There's such a strong sense of community in the novel, and it really helps push forward the theme.

I also really enjoyed the constant struggle that Holling felt with his parents. They want and expect so much of him, and it's so realistic for the people who live in the "perfect house".

And the writing style is clever and humorous, with the serious bits mixed in there perfectly. A true talent. I highly recommend!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Make Lemonade: Review

Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff really left me with my head spinning.

LaVaughn needed a part-time job, something she could do after school to help earn money for college. Jolly needed a babysitter, someone she could trust with two kids while she worked the evening shift.
It didn't matter that LaVaughn was fourteen, —only three years younger than Jolly. It didn't matter that Jolly didn't have a husband —or a mom and dad—, because LaVaughn gives Jolly and her two babies more love and understanding than should be possible for a fourteen-year-old, because if she doesn't no one else will.

It covers so many really tough issues that not many authors dare touch. Things such as poverty, teen mothers, and single moms.

I'm not sure why I picked this book up. I think it was the cover, which is gorgeous by the way.

But this novel is beautifully written in verse that stunned me. As far as I could tell, there was no set rules of grammar that were being followed, which added to the immensity of the story. I could really feel the narrator through the verse and even begin to relate. Everything was said with such exactitude that left a strong, resonating ring through my mind.

If you get a chance, and are in need of something different, I highly recommend that you pick this one up! There is a sequel, and I might read it if I can find it!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stuff Hipsters Hate

Stuff Hipsters Hate: A Field Guide to the Indifferent by Andrea Bartz and Brenna Ehrlich

Stuff Hipsters Hate is a laugh out loud account of what exactly makes a hipster.
From their dress to hygiene habits to music taste, this book shows who (or who isn't) a hipster.

I really enjoyed this book. I don't usually pick up humor, but I'm really glad that this caught my eye on display! I was laughing the whole time I was reading, so much that I couldn't put it down! I absolutely loved the pictures and graphs that the book included, and I feel like I actually learned something in a strange way.

The writing style was witty and interesting. Everything was written very factually, but it was never boring.

I highly recommend for anyone in the need of a just-for-fun read!