Tag: teen reads

Holes

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Holes

Holes, by Louis Sachar is a book about a boy named Stanley Yelnats, who was falsely accused of stealing a par of valuable running shoes from a famous basketball player. He gets to choose between either going to jail, or go to Camp Green Lake, a boys’ detention center. He chooses Camp Green Lake, where he will be spending the next 18 months of his life digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep in order to rebuild “character”.

Stanley and his parents knew he wasn’t guilty, but they didn’t have enough money to pay a lawyer to prove it. Sadly, sometimes the power of telling the truth isn’t enough and unfortunately, Stanley had to face the consequences of being in the wrong place at wrong time. He got put into a group with about 7 other boys, with who he tries to build a good relationship with in the book. As long as he satisfied the other boys’ needs and didn’t bother them too much, he knew they wouldn’t get hurt by them.

Throughout the book, he makes friends with an odd boy nicknamed Zero who doesn’t know how to read or write. Because Zero didn’t get the same education compared to other kids his age, and Stanley is the only person he trusts to teach him, they make a deal so that Zero helps dig part of Stanley’s hole for him in order for Stanley to have enough energy to teach Zero at the end of the day how to read/write. This is a win, win for both of them, but it turns out that the other kids in their group found the deal to be “unfair” and that Stanley did not deserve to get Zero’s help for digging his hole. Stanley knew that he shouldn’t be getting on the bad side of the boys but he never thought that helping out a friend would put him in trouble. What happens to the Stanley and the boys’ relationship? Can he dig himself out of trouble?

I personally loved this book, it is different from many of the other teen-targeted books, which made it original and fun to read. This book is definitely worth a read!

My Life With the Walter Boys

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At the time when I read this, which was, actually, a few weeks ago, I kind of was bored with everything I was reading. Who knows? If Ali Novak’s debut Wattpad-turned-published contemporary romance about a girl who lost everything, and then had everything, including a new family after moving into the Walter household hadn’t come into my life, I would’ve went into a reading slump, and my Goodreads challenge would have been even more at stake. It already is, in case you were wondering. I’m like, 60 books behind schedule. Anyways, I must say that My Life With the Walter Boys is absolute literary brilliance. For anyone seeking a new, never-been-done-before kind of story that has every bit of gushing, squealing and ship-creating in it, I would strongly recommend reading this. It changed the way I look at contemporary-romance and how others look at the genre. Many tend to stay away from it because some books become cheesy and predictable, and although this was really, really predictable (I know some of you really dislike that), I loved it. So much that I want to go and read everything that Ali Novak has written. After I grabbed a copy of this at BEA last year, I discovered that Ali is also the author of another book Sourcebooks was amazing to hand out: The Heartbreakers. My younger sister read it and adored it, so I am very excited for it, too.

My Life With the Walter Boys is one of those books that you imagine becoming a TV show slash sitcom. I would love to watch it if that ever became something. It’s so real, normal though significant at the same time. I loved our protagonist, Jackie Howard, who reminded me a little too much of myself, being obsessed with school and a total perfectionist. I loved the romance, even the love triangle that formed. This was an exception to all of the bookish things I once said I hated. For some reason, this seems like the book I would dislike, in the end. Somehow, it was the opposite.

The only thing I have to complain about is the predictability. But that’s what occurs when a teenage girl writes a book about romance and releases it on Wattpad. That’s the only way that predictability occurs. Only with romance. I knew that the ending would occur the way it did, and there was nothing that was a shocker for me. But thankfully, I liked the characters too much to have to dislike this book even more.

Jackie, like the title states, is in a house with the Walters. There’s eleven guys. GUYS. (I would go nuts) She has just lost everything, including her parents and her sister, in a car crash that she was supposed to be in, if she hadn’t caught the flu. She lost her NYC luxurious life, her friends, and has to move to the other side of the country—Colorado, because her uncle cannot take custody of her. Instead, her mom’s old best friend and her family are Jackie’s new home. Of course, she hates all of them at first, blaming them on her horrible life, but as she forms a connection with the older boys, like Alex and Cole, romance sparks. Duh.

Each of the Walter boys (and Parker, of course, who is the only girl in the family, excluding their mother) had their own personality—that was interesting. It’s so interesting to ponder about how an author must conquer twelve different personalities (that’s without Jackie) into a single novel. Twelve different characters who have different hobbies, opinions, appearances… this is crazy. Ali Novak did it wonderfully. We have our popular, player boy who Jackie finds herself attracted to, Cole, who has a twin, and then there’s Alex, who is the computer-freak and Jackie also finds him attractive. It kind of was instalove between her and Cole, but that’s okay. It didn’t bother me. Yet again, here I am talking about how INSTALOVE DOESN’T BOTHER ME. Am I hearing myself correctly? I think I am, though.

It was extremely easy to relate to Jackie. Although I thankfully had not gone through what she had, I loved her as a character. She goes through a swift character transition, from good to bad, doing many things that in the past, she would never believe that she would do. Some may think that this is a a cheesy kind of thing to add into contemporary romance, but honestly, it happens to many people. Sometimes, being too good is boring. *twiddles eyebrows* I promise, I don’t have anything bad in store.

My Life With the Walter Boys is just such a fun, summer read. Purchase it, bring it to the beach, pool, or even couch with you and just devour it. Ali Novak writes with a very fast pace that keeps us readers addicted, and unable to put it down and take a breath until it’s all over. When it was over, I swear, I felt such an attraction to the Walter family that I felt like I, myself, had lost everything.

Unrivaled

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For me, Alyson Noël’s books are either a hit or a miss, go one way or the other. I never know what to expect when I read books written by her. Sometimes, they go amazingly and I can’t help but squeal about the summer-related story that has captivated many readers. Other times, I am so disappointed (specifically with her fantasy novels) that I just have no other choice but to DNF them. It’s been a few years since Alyson released a new novel, and when I heard about Unrivaled, later seeing its cover, I knew I was in for a good read. Well, it sucks to say, I was completely wrong. I seriously didn’t like this one. Unrivaled was just a catty book full of complaints, gossip and drama that I couldn’t care less about because I cannot relate to the story or lifestyle of these spoiled teenagers living in Los Angeles, having “the time of their lives.” Would I even recommend this to fans of Private by Kate Brian? No, because at least that story was realistic. This is no way realistic unless you’re a heiress and live like these characters do.
This was a chore to read. I barely was able to finish it. I skimmed the last fifty pages or so and found out that WOW, nothing changed! This was just a snoozefest that had no passion in it. It seemed that Alyson was basically struggling her way to write this novel and make it entertaining. Normally, I don’t mind these kinds of books because I like drama. I have read books by the author of Gossip Girl and enjoyed those tens of thousands of times more than I enjoyed this one. WHY DIDN’T I LIKE IT, UGH. I really wished I enjoyed this because it has a gorgeous cover and it looked interesting. I didn’t see almost any good in it.
The only positive I was able to see was the beginning of the book. I liked the beginning of the story, and the twonice, promising quotes that kind of spoke to me were found in the beginning. I wanted to read about the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles, California, a city I have always wanted to visit and fall head over heels in. (It may happen soon, who knows?!) Alyson gave readers a hugely negative image of Hollywood and the tourism image. I don’t feel naïve enough to believe it because we had a group of nasty characters, but you know, it could be true.

“For Madison Brooks, the boulevard was everything she’d dreamed it would be. Maybe it didn’t look anything like the snow globe she’d had as a kid, the one that showered small squares of golden glitter over a miniature version of the Hollywood sign, but she never expected it would” (2).

You see, I found that quote on the second page. After a few chapters, things plummeted down. I WANTED THE BEAUTIFUL MALIBU CALIFORNIA SETTING WITH NICE PEOPLE, SURFING, AND THE GOOD LIFE. Not clubbing. That’s not my kind of thing, whoops. Also, there was a big focus on Layla, who sticks as one of the “normal” protagonists, and her gossip blog. Adding to all of the boyfriend-girlfriend drama occurring in the book, this is an addition. Wow.

As mentioned before, the characters were nasty. Madison, Aster, Tommy… they were all trying so hard to impress each other even though they had no brain cells in them. Honestly, they made the worst decisions and I would never do the things that they did. Mateo and Layla were the only reasonable ones, and I found that was true because they were normal. Ugh.

“LA was a town of actors and storytellers, populated by those more comfortable playing an imaginary role than being themselves, and the prize always went to the one who faked it best” (136).

Unrivaled is a book that perhaps people who enjoy books with no plot would actually love. I remember it being one of my most anticipated reads this year, and I just wanted to love it after grabbing it. The gorgeous cover is the only good part, aside from two normal characters and a nice beginning. Otherwise, I wouldn’t waste my time reading this at all. It was as if I were forced to read it, and I still don’t know why I continued.

The Unexpected Everything

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The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | noun | 1. a book that is the pure definition of summer and everything that it holds. 2. a book that features tons of cute dogs where readers grow overly attached to them. 3. a beautiful story of friendship, real love and all of the good stuff in life.
Morgan Matson is my favourite contemporary author of all time, residing with John Green in my golden shelves of awesomeness (one day, I vow that I will actually possess this shelf), but if you know me, you mostly likely already knew that. The Unexpected Everything was probably my most-anticipated read of the year, and it definitely reached its expectations, though a tiny bit on the lower side. As usual, Morgan’s writing drags, just like mine tends to do when I’m in school, writing an essay and I discover that I can’t stop overdosing on words. That’s exactly what happened in this case, and what has happened with every single book by Matson. When I first saw the page count, 517 pages made me feel giddy, overly excited. Honestly? How could a YA novel that is all contemporary-romance stem towards a 500+ page count? You have to be an amazing writer, which Morgan is, but you also have to have this idea that doesn’t get boring and that could progress into this greater page count.
The Unexpected Everything was expected for me to enjoy. I just knew that I would love it. Dogs? A nerdy-cute love interest? A girl who’s smart and obsessed with school? A book that is written throughout a period of a whole summer? These all looked like things that I would love about this book, and it seriously is true. This was such a good read. Now, I don’t know how I would be able to live a summer like our protagonist, Andie, had, because that was just chaotic (and awesome at the same time), and as always, I just loved the mentality and extra moral that Morgan adds to her stories time after time.
Before we get to anything, we NEED TO discuss the puppies/dogs. I actually never had a clue that Morgan’s story would revolve around dogs. At all. I just thought the cute dogs on the cover huddled around the model (who is supposed to be Andie) were just a nice addition. EVERY DOG MENTIONED, I WOULD JUST GO BACK TO THE COVER. Guys, you see the adorable, big, fluffy white dog? THAT IS BERTIE. NOT “BIRDIE” (that made me laugh out loud honestly), but Bertie. He is the cutest thing on Earth and I seriously was so overly-attached to him that I want to name my future child Bertie. (Even if I have a girl) Bertie is “Clark’s dog,” without stating any spoilers. I love him. And Clark. But especially Bertie.

“Books were everywhere. Not in haphazard piles—there was absolutely nothing about this place that seemed haphazard—but there were floor-to-ceiling built-ins on all sides of this very large room, and they were absolutely rammed with books. It was the kind of room—big couches, comfy chairs—that you would expect a TV in, but I didn’t see one anywhere. All I could see were books” (116).

I would also like to thank Morgan for appreciating books. A big theme of this story is booknerds and loving books in general. Our protagonist, Andie, never really reads unless it’s school-related (HOW DARE SHE?!), but once she meets Clark, secret book-nerd/author, her appreciation grows. Morgan also adds in excerpts from what would be Clark’s books, which I also formed a bond with. Man, this author just makes readers bond with everything/everyone!

Basically, this story is so relatable. Not about dog-walking or the romance between Clark and Andie, but because of Andie herself. I LOVED HER. Andie is the daughter of a Congressman, who is a single father after Andie’s mother died from ovarian cancer. She loves school, plans on going into pre-med, is looking into internships, plans everything out, has her life planned out, and has a great group of friends who always support her. It sounds perfect, right? Her internship fails. Her father doesn’t act like a father. Her relationships only last three weeks. Her summer job is dog-walking. I loved how Morgan looks at imperfections and creates the summer of a lifetime (with many flaws) for Andie and her friends. Friendship was a hugely important theme of this story, and I loved how tight-knit Andie’s group was. Toby, Bri, Palmer, Tom and Clark all had their own personalities which made this a really fun read. I couldn’t just pick my favourite character. They were all astonishing.

As Morgan had in every book of hers, especially Since You’ve Been Gone, romance is a big factor, but not everything. That is why I like to call Morgan’s stories real and inspiring, because they closely live up to the lives of teenagers. BUT THE ROMANCE WAS REAL. Candie, Ark, whatever ship name you would like to provide the two,t hey were perfect for each other. Clark was just the happiest, most hilarious fictional boyfriend of any heroine and I just loved how awkward he was and how quickly he did become comfortable with Andie.

Cheers to the father-daughter relationship and how Matson keeps implanting the fact that Andie’s life isn’t perfect. I must admit, I hated Andie’s dad for the first half of the book, but he kept making me smile and laugh. I have to praise that precious relationship, you know?

“We said our good-byes and headed out shortly after that. I got into the Mustang, running my hand over the steering wheel for just a moment before checking the time and realizing I had to get going. There was someone I needed to meet” (516).

So at times, this book dragged. It became boring and I just wanted that boring phase to get by before the good stuff came around. There were those every now and then, and I honestly wanted this book to be perfect, and to be honest, it wasn’t fully. But I still loved it. IT’S TOO LONG, ALTHOUGH I LOVE MORGAN’S WRITING. If this were fantasy… that’d be a different story.

If only I had a summer like this… *sighs* Cheers to dogs, Bertie, romance, pizza, scavenger hunts, road-trips to tell someone you love them, Diet Coke and fantasy novels! As always, I am so impressed with Morgan Matson’s work and this is the reason why I read contemporary-romance: to get in a specific mood. Now? I need to go to the pool and kind of wash my brain a little because it hurts. Five-hundred-and-seventeen pages in a row (basically) does hurt your head.

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Hello booklovers!

Every year YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) asks teens to vote for their favorite 10 titles of the year. Well the list is in for 2016. Have you read these titles?

Alive by Chandler Baker. coming soon…

  1. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.
  2. The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough.
  3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  4. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.
  5. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone.
  6. The Novice: Summoner: Book One by Taran Matharu.
  7. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.
  8. When by Victoria Laurie.
  9. Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls. By Lynn Weingarten.

Want your voice heard? Why not vote on next years’ list? Here is a link to next years nomination form.