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Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

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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[kuh-lie-oh-pee] and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket–a gifted inventor–steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door(Goodreads).

 
Obviously I was going to read this because I read Anna and the French Kiss and I fell in love with Perkins’ story telling. I wasn’t expecting such a change in character. One of my pet peeves about some authors is that sometimes when they’re writing a sequel or just another book in general, their characters sort of take on the same voice and it’s hard for you to make the transition that ‘Oh. This isn’t the character in her last book.‘ During my reading of Lola and the Boy Next Door, I never had to do that. As soon as I started reading it was clear that Lola was absolutely not Anna. 
I loved the part that the characters in Perkins’ previous story played in this book. It wasn’t overwhelming or underwhelming, if that makes any sense.
I kinda hate the cover because it seemed kind of misleading. Like Lola was going to be this really sappy, pining girl,  when indeed she’s evolving from that. Don’t get me wrong, all things romantic in the book are still just that, some things even bordering on sappy, but it still has everything one looks for in a love story. 
And it wasn’t like that was the only thing going for it either. Obviously it’s a driving force, but the battles that Lola has with herself and other characters and the lessons she learns and changes she makes all make for an excellent story in itself. 
All in all, great read.
OVERALL RATING: 3.7/4
You can check out this book review and other fun stuff on my blog http://theeyoungwritersclub.weebly.com/

Book – The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

kiss of deceptionPrincess Lia was to be married off in exchange for a partnership between two countries, Morrigan and Dalbreck . Instead of marrying a man she has never met, she runs away on her wedding day to have a normal life. But there are those that wish her dead and others who are looking for her as well. She starts her new life as a serving girl in a tavern. And then into her life walks Kaden and Rafe. As Lia gets to know these two over the summer she is drawn to one more then the other, but her love life is only of her worries. With her country in trouble from the Barbarians wanting to invade and the tension from her departure between Morrigan and Dalbreck Lia must decide what she is going to do about the trouble she caused by running away. Kaden is an assassin sent to kill Lia, but when he meets her she breaks down all his assumptions about royalty that he has. Rafe is the prince left at the alter. He wants to see the princess that had the courage to do what he couldn’t, run away.  These two boys will fight for the love of Princess Lia, but Kaden may still have to kill her.

***Spoiler*** I tend to over share here.

First, a big thank you to Netgalley.com and the publisher for loaning me an advance e-version of the book. It took me a while to figure out which boy was the prince and which was the assassin. I don’t know if it was supposed to be like that or if I read over something too fast and missed a clue to which was which. Either way, this was a great story. I’m lead to believe this is a far off version or Earth in the future and that we are the Ancients. If so cool, if not too bad. I really liked how by the end of the book Lia figures out that both boys have been deceiving her and that she understands her “gift.” I have to wonder why her mom would keep it from her like that and help her to suppress it. Maybe her mom knows the song, the one from the book? Anyway, the whole story had me captivated from the beginning. Bring on book 2, I have to find out what happens next!

Book – Operation Oleander by Valerie Patterson

operation oleanderJess and her friends Meriwether and Sam all live on the army base. Jess’ dad and Meriwether’s mother are both over seas in Kabul Afghanistan, so to keep close to them the kids are raising money for supplies for an orphanage over there and their parents are delivering the school supplies and such as the kids send them. But one day the unthinkable happens. A car bomb goes off in front of the orphanage and their parents were there. As information trickles in Jess turns to Sam, whose dad is the commander of the base. He will be the first to know what is happening. Jess and Meriwether have a lot to face in this book and this book gives the reader a look at that it is like for all the kids with military parents over seas. This is a really short book, but it can get really powerful if you let it all soak in. I think it was written more for the 6th-8th grade reading level, but it has some power behind this story. This book gives some real life lessons and information. If you are looking for something realistic about the War in Afghanistan this may be one to look at.

Book – Lightning Dreamer

lightning dreamerTula is a storyteller and a dreamer. She is supposed to marry for money and family connections, not for love like her mother did (twice). She is supposed to heal the gap between her mother and her grandfather, but that is not who Tula wants to be. She wants to make up stories and to be heard. She wants equality for women! But women in Cuba are supposed to be seen and not heard! The only women who are supposed to read are the nuns in the convent. Told entirely in verse this story is a powerful story about one woman’s quest for women’s rights and finding her own way. Definitely a book to look at if you are of Cuban decent, love a good women’s power read, or are just looking for a good book written in verse.

My Life Next Door – Huntley Fitzpatrick

3.75/5 stars

Oh, the boy next door!  Quiet Samantha Reed spends most of her time sitting on her roof and watching the big, boisterous Garrett family next door.  Right when she seems destined to continue a summer of working two jobs and supporting her would-be-politician-mom at all her publicity events, Jase climbs up the trellis and invites himself into her life.  A more accurate title would be “My Secret Life Next Door”, as Sam tries to keep her relationship with Jase hidden from her family and friends; but the deeper her feelings become, the more she wants to rebel against what she’s always been taught.  Suddenly, doing what her mother tells her to do is no longer as important as it once was.  Once she realizes that her mother is only human and makes mistakes – even sometimes BIG ones, Sam starts questioning what she’s told and making her own decisions for a change.  When an unforeseen event happens to change the cushy life Sam’s always known, she has to decide if secrets are worth keeping, and who exactly is worth the whole, messy truth.

I started this book thinking it would be your typical teenage-angst, sneaking-out-of-the-house -in-the-dead-of-night sort of book, but it delved deeper than that.  Sam deals with friendship troubles, missing her absent sister, going against her mom, and discovering what true love is and what it forces us to do.  The younger Garrett kids are hilarious and you feel like you know them by the end and wouldn’t mind babysitting once in a while.  There were definitely some character reactions that I didn’t think made too much sense: Jase is too forgiving, Sam’s friend Nan is the opposite, and Sam’s mom gives up too quickly when she’s completely rigid throughout.  Although I feel that the ending was a bit anticlimactic and could have been wrapped up better with a better resolution, this book is still definitely worth the read.  It’s a good summer read!

Book – Under the never sky by Veronica Rossi

under the never sky

Aria was raised inside the pods. She lives mostly in the virtual world. Once a week she sings for her mother, except lately…Her mother went to another pod for work and the link between the pod was severed. Wanting to know what happened to her mother she befriends a boy who knows technology and how to get around it. She never expected to be thrown into the real and be disconnected from everything she knows. But out in the real she meets Perry. At first he is all savage towards her, but little by little they begin to trust each other.

Not what I was expecting! I hadn’t wanted to pick up this book, but its a good story and I want to find out what happens next. The relationship building could have been a little better, and “the still blue” could have been described more, but overall this book was a good example of a dystopian future. I want to follow Aria and Perry to see what happens next.

Book – Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes

lemonade mouth

Major spoiler alert! Don’t read on if you haven’t read the book or at least seen the movie!!!

So I found out that there was a book after I had already watched the Disney version of the movie. I hate it when that happens. Anyway, I finally sat down and read the book and it is so very different from the movie! Names are the same and general ideas are the same, but a lot was different. I was prepared for a story identical to the movie and instead I get thinks like  Charlie had a twin that died at birth and he hears his twins voice in his head, instead of an older brother having gone off to college.  Olivia is writing letters to her dad in prison and takes the whole band to meet them. Stella plays the ukelele and her family is all different.  Mo is way more clingy in the book to the Mudslide Crush boy, and poor Wen has a major crush on his step mother to be in the book. The songs are all different, but overall it is the same story as the movie.

I know I’ve probably given a lot away, but if you are someone who needs to read the book first before seeing the movie I have to say I preferred the movie, but I liked the book. Which is so odd coming from me, but go figure.

Book – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

fangirlCather and her twin sister Wren have never been apart. When they were in third grade their mother left and they took care of their dad, who if he didn’t take his meds could go into an unending spiral of crazy. But now it is time to go off to college and that means that their dad will be on his own and Wren has decided she wants to find herself and get some space from Cather. Cather on the other hand is in the middle of finishing her Fan fiction novel before the final book in the real Simon Snow series comes out and now she has to worry about her dad and deal with the separation from Wren. Plus getting to know a new roommate and survive college on her own is a terrifying experience for someone like Cather.  With classes on top of everything else Cather is in for a year of worry and stress. But her roommate, Reagan, Cather might have a fighting chance of getting through the semester without starving. Then there is Levi. Cather thinks Levi is just another of Reagan’s many boyfriends, but he may be just what Cather needs at this crazy point in her life. Will Cather be able to finish her Fan Fic Novel before the final real book is published? will her Dad and sister be okay? What will happen in the world of Simon Snow? How will it all end?

Every book I read by Rainbow Rowell is so different but soooooo GREAT! I love this one. I want to know more about these characters and could live in this world forever, if i didn’t have to get back to the real world that is. It was great how she kept jumping form the world of Simon Snow to the world of Cather and back. It made it so much fun. Plus the romance between Levi and Cather just made the story work. Things weren’t perfect. They each screwed up at times and that made it real. Plus Reagan is the ultimate college roommate for Cather. The Harry Potter Reference cleared things up for me and I was really glad that it was included because that was one thing that was throwing me for a loop. If you haven’t read anything by this author pick up any of their books. You won’t be disappointed!

This Book Isn’t Fat, It’s Fabulous by Nina Beck

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Manhattan It Girl Riley Swain is no pudgy wallflower. She’s brash, bold, fashionable, and yes, fabulous. Riley has no qualms about kissing her best friend’s crush, or bribing her dad’s lawyer. But this spring break, Riley’s dad and wicked stepmother are shipping her off to New Horizons, a two-week fat camp in upstate New York. And it’s miserable: like military school without carbs. But then Riley gets to know adorable Eric, who sees beyond Riley’s tough exterior. Soon, Riley might just realize that maybe it’s not her shape that will change at New Horizons. . . but her heart. (Goodreads)

First off I have to talk about the cover. It’s perfect. When I look at it I thinkThis girl’s got some sass. Lots o’ sass. And I’ll be damned if Riley Swain isn’t sassy. No, not sassy. F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S. FABULOUS!!! I love her confidence and Beck does an amazing job of getting Riley’s voice across to the reader. It makes me want to meet Nina Beck in real life to see if Riley is like Beck’s younger self. She’s that tangible. The lessons that Riley learns and the romance she has with Eric is ridiculously sweet. All in all, I loved it!
OVERALL RATING: 4.5/5 

P.S. This review is also on my website http://theeyoungwritersclub.weebly.com/ It’s fairly new so there isn’t much content yet, but stay tuned and check us out! :)

Book – The Treatment (the Program #2) by Suzanne Young

treatmentBook two shouldn’t be read unless you read the first book.

Sloane and James are on the run from the Program. With everyone out to find them staying hidden is hard, but with all the intense drama that follows them Sloane starts to have flashes of her past. Sloane does have “the Treatment,” a pill that Realm gave her that will bring back all her memories, but taking it could be bad for her. After watching a friend crash back into the  spiral of depression when she started remembering, Sloane doesn’t want her memories back. Running for their lives Sloane and the other Rebels need to find a way to survive and bring down the Program. But when the Program tracks them down there is only one way to escape getting erased by the Program.

I was completely excited about getting an advance e-reader copy of this book from Edelweiss. Big thank you to both Edelweiss and the publisher for lending me the e-reader advance copy. Honestly I saw most of the story coming as I read, but there are surprising moments. It kept me interested even if it was a bit slower then the first book. I don’t think I saw as much character development as boys pleading with Sloane to choose them. Even with that it was still a great read and the best part is that everything wrapped itself up in this second book and didn’t continue into a third book that didn’t need to be there. Great Series in the element of Divergent and the Hunger Games.