Friday, September 30, 2011

[Review] Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door {goodreads}
Authors: Stephanie Perkins
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 03/10/11
Publisher: Penguin (AU)
RRP: $19.95
Source: For review (thanks Penguin!)
Age: 14+
Pages: 350
My Rating:

Summary:
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.

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.
My thoughts: 

Just about perfection. THIS was just what I needed. Stephanie Perkins, you have done it again.

...MY PRECIOUS!

I'm almost at a loss for words.

Also, since I'm just wired this way, I noticed 4 grammatical errors in my *finished* copy. Nothing too major, otherwise I'd probably report it, haha. Just thought I'd say it for the sake of saying it.



San Francisco seeps out of this book like a soothing song. The story of Delores 'Lola' Nolan had me feeling and doing very, very similar things to when I joined Anna Oliphant's journey in France. It really makes me breathe a sigh of relief that it wasn't just the setting of France that had me so caught up in ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. I smiled, I giggled/laughed/chuckled, cried, fought back tears (losing in the end), felt frustrated, annoyed, confused. Perkins just has that effect on me. :P

In LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR, we have Lola Nolan, a budding designer with a wacky and totally awesome sense of style. She's got a badass rocker boyfriend who is exactly five years senior to her seventeen years of age. And her best friend Lindsey and gay parents Andy and Nathan care deeply for her. Everything in her life seems to be really heading up as her impending future becomes more and more realistic. Until. The Bell family move into the house next door, again. And Lola deals with the struggle as waves of unresolved feelings for the boy next door resurface. When she discovers that one piece in her life really did not - and never did - fit, what happens next for them?

Crappy non-spoilery synopsis for an awesome book. I love the dynamic between Lola and Cricket, the 'boy next door'. I loved his little quirks - the wristbands, the writing on the back of his hand, the hair that consistently sticks up, the 'tight pants' (hehe for bold), his insect-like-ness. Lola's such a complex character, and I love that she fights this inner turmoil about her identity. Who is the real Dolores? Her sewing prowess sounds like a force to be reckoned with, and I loved reading about the costumes she wears. Together, they are really cute. The development is just so realistic. Cricket comes and goes, and he has this whole life outside of his waning love for Lola. It's painful watching them go around in circles, but it just makes their ending that much more satisfying.

Anna and St. Clair make their appearance, as Perkins promised. It's great that we get to see their future, that they're stronger than ever and they complement each other to the max. I was actually expecting the couple only to be a really tiny part in the story, but they played a much bigger part than I thought. If you were suffering from post-ANNA withdrawal, you'll be pleased to know that they're as humorous and sickeningly sweet and perfect for each other, just as they were. They offer a nice support for Lola during her times of distress and help her come to terms with her tumultuous feelings. Seal of approval!

So. Gay parents. Never before in my life have I read a book whose main character's parents were gay. And they are awesome, Andy and Nathan. I'll admit that at times I had a hard time differentiating the two, but they are great parents who act like TWO protective parents. One a little more forgiving and sensitive than the other, as is the norm with 'normal' parents. Also, Nathan's younger sister, Norah. No spoilers there, but I enjoyed her presence in Lola's life.

Writing-wise, you can expect a style in a similar vein to ANNA. First person. Lola has a great voice and it really comes through in LOLA. Some of the humour present in this book actually comes from her narrative voice and how it relates to what's really going on. Perkins' writing is pretty solid, apart from the four errors (and there might be more) that the editors didn't pick up.

As YA romances tend to be, LOLA is predictable. And that's not a bad thing in any sense of the word. There are little subplots that really make this book, among ANNA, stand out among the genre. Lindsey and her own problems, Calliope Bell's ice-skating career . . . It's not like I knew every single thing that was going to happen, but I really just mean predictable in the way that events would generally unfold. It's obvious from the start that . . . (highlight for maybe spoilers) Lola and Max have a falling out and slowly she and Cricket close the gap and move from awkward kind-offriends, to something more.
Perkins masterfully sculpts a story that's hard to pull away from. I loved it all! Now, for Isla's story in ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER! I'm so excited to really read more about Isla's character - we barely got a glimpse at all in ANNA.


And now for a list:
  1. Anna and St. Clair
  2. Lola's wicked sense of style
  3. A must for anyone who even likes contemporary novels, YA or otherwise
  4. A romance that isn't starcrossed, nor is it instantaneous or unrealistic or ridiculous or convenient or the only plot point of the book
  5. Parents who beat the YA stereotype of:
    a) absenteeism or negligence,
    b) no gay parents,
    c) no awesome parents, full stop
  6. Stephanie Perkins.
  7. Laugh out loud HILARIOUS
  8. Openly tear up DEPRESSING (at some points)
  9. The main character is actually IN a relationship at the beginning, and we get to see a realistic deterioration of that relationship
  10. And for emphasis, Stephanie Perkins!! Come on. 

Quote:

First lines

"I have three simple wishes.They're really not too much to ask.
     The first is to attend the winter formaal dressed like Marie Antoinette. I want a wig so elaborate it could cage a bird and a dress so wide I'll only be able to enter the dance through a set of double doors. But I'll hold my skirts high as I arrive, so everyone can see that, underneath the frills, I'm punk-rock tough. 
     The second is for my parents to approve of my boyfriend. ...
     And my third wish?
     To never ever ever see the Bell twins ever again. Ever.

Favourites

"Need.
     What a powerful, frightening word. It represented my feelings toward him, but every night, my dreams placed it inside his mouth.
     I needed him to touch me. I was obsessed with the way his hands never stopped moving. The way he rubbed them together when he was excited, the way he sometimes couldn't help but clap. The way he had secret messages written on the back of his left. And his fingers. Long, enthusiastic, wild, but I knew from watching him build his machines that they were also delicate, careful, precise. I fantasized about those fingers.

(p. 65, Lola)

""Lola." He rolls his chair over to my side. "I know things are shite right now. And in the name of friendship and full disclosure, I went through something similar last year. When I met Anna, I was with someone else. And it took a long time before I found the courage to do the hard thing. But you have to do the hard thing."
     I swallow. "And what's the hard thing?"
     "You have to be honest with yourself."

(p. 250, Étienne St. Clair - who else?)

Buy:

* cheapest Australian e-store price

AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTS

Fishpond | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders | The Nile *

INTERNATIONAL READERS


All links from Booko, because I'm too lazy to search each individual store anymore.





I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: ---

LOLA in a song: Katy Perry - Thinking of you
"Oh I wish that I
Was looking into your eyes

...

He kissed my lips
I taste your mouth
He pulled me in
I was disgusted with myself

Cause when I'm with him
I am thinking of you

...

You're the best
And yes I do regret
How I could let myself
Let you go
Comment with your own "LOLA in a song"!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Everybody Sees The Ants by A.S. King - Trailer & Blog Tour



I still haven't read Please Ignore Vera Dietz, but I just love A.S. King - as an author and a person whose coolness levels far surpass my own.

So anyway, EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS is coming out October 3rd.

Here's the new trailer, which follows the same trend as her past ones:





And another blog tour will be starting on the 3rd - that's right, release day.
As per usual, I will be there. Will you?


interviews, giveaways, guest posts . . . what's not to like?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (35) - 4 for 4

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


It has been a month since my last WoW post.
Thus the "4 for 4". All 2012 releases. :) Share my excitement!
2 male authors, 2 female authors.

~~~
 
(in order of release date)


~ Ladies first ~



Title: The List {goodreads}
Author: Siobhan Vivian
Release Date (dd/mm/yy): April 2012
Publisher: uh...derp.

Why am I waiting on this?

Sounds pretty interesting. As much as I try not to, I'm reminded of the Glist (Glee List), or the list in Thirteen Reasons Why. I'll be looking forward to see what Vivian has brought to the table. Ahem. Why is that cover urking me a bit? Please, someone tell me why.






Title: Struck {goodreads}
Author: Jennifer Bosworth
Release Date (dd/mm/yy): 08/05/12
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR

Why am I waiting on this?

First, look at the cover. Dystopia doesn't get more obvious than that! Hehe. The synopsis gives me reason to believe that Struck will be action-packed, so I can only hope that I'll be able to connect with the main characters and that the overall delivery is good. I'm really hoping for some great dystopian YA for 2012!





And now, FOR THE MEN!


Title: Wintertown {goodreads}
Author: Stephen Emond
Release Date (dd/mm/yy): 05/12/11 <-- close enough to '12!
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Why am I waiting on this?

I just really dig the whole vibe it's giving off. The novel apparently has illustrations running throughout, so that's a big plus. I love little additions authors have in their books! The Christmas/winter 







Title: Partials {goodreads}
Author: Dan Wells
Release Date (dd/mm/yy): 28/02/12
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Why am I waiting on this?

I really like the font used for the cover! Hehe. More on the actual book though. Dystopia! More of it. I haven't read a dystopian written by a male before so that'll be interesting. Also, the tagline really does peak my interest. The desolate tone in the cover really does outline the epitome of a dystopian society, does it not? Heck, I just really love the cover.






Thanks for visiting my weekly (AHEM) WoW post. ♥

Comment with your WoW post and I'll check it out!

Monday, September 26, 2011

[Review] Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

Title: Hunting Lila {goodreads}
Authors: Sarah Alderson
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 01/09/11
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
RRP: $16.99
Source: For review (thanks C at S&S!)
Age: 14+
Pages: 320
My Rating:

Summary:
17-year-old Lila has two secrets she's prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she's been in love with her brother's best friend, Alex, since forever. Or thereabouts.After a mugging on the streets of South London goes horribly wrong and exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust - her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organisation called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they've found them. Trying to uncover the truth of why her mother was killed, and the real remit of The Unit, Lila becomes a pawn in a dangerous game. Struggling to keep her secrets in a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realises that she is not alone - there are others out there just like her - people with special powers -and her mother's killer is one of them...
My thoughts: 

A letter to my copy: "We laughed. We cried. We cringed and fought and pleaded and screamed. You and me, HUNTING LILA . . . I can say with assurance that I will not forget the time we've spent together. Don't worry though, we'll be together again soon - I'll be sure to revisit when I get the time to!"

What a remarkable debut HUNTING LILA is! Not only was it action-packed so that you couldn't help but get lost in its pages; it was wrought with emotions so raw and true that I really did fall in love. If Alderson can churn out this kind of stuff as a debut author, I can't wait to see how her later releases will compare.

[SKIP IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ A BIT MORE ABOUT THE PLOTLINE; THERE AREN'T ANY REAL SPOILERS BUT IT'S A LOT BETTER IF YOU READ IT YOURSELF, I RECKON]

In HUNTING LILA, we have Lila - our protagonist - caught in a mugging. Just as things get serious when a knife is involved, with only her mind, Lila points the knife right back at the mugger. Embarrassed at the development of her powers and afraid of what these abilities have led her to (almost) doing, she promptly runs away from her home to live with her brother Jack and his best friend Alex - both whom she hasn't seen since for ever. Not since three years ago when their mum was murdered and Jack, and Alex, moved away. With only a text message the night before, notifying the big news to her brother, she flies all the way from London to LA.

Jack, who is fiercely protective of his sister, demands she go back home; it's not safe here in Oceanside. Right. And south London isn't dangerous and she DIDN'T almost stab a guy in the eye when she was almost mugged. Not that she'd admit that to him because then she'd have a whole lot more to explain, as well as the fact that he'd hunt the guy down and kill him. And he could, considering his - and Alex's - training at The Unit.

But there's something strange about The Unit. What do they do exactly? Why are there hired scientists at the base, and why is it in calm, safe Oceanside in the first place?

[READ ON! 8D]

Lila was a good, funny, strong-willed, stubborn but sensitive main character who I could easily understand. She has her flaws - she's impulsive and doesn't think things through, but her courageousness and the passion by which she sees things through are really something. I loved her dry wit more than anything, and also her clumsiness.

The adventure and action is just amazing. Every other reviewer/reader who has anything to say about this book will agree with me on that. The fast-paced-ness is one of the best qualities about this book.

What I do want to mention in good detail is the budding relationship between Lila and Alex. This is such a gorgeous pairing. It feels pretty paranormal, but what sets this pair apart from the rest is that it started from way back. Alex is Lila’s childhood crush, and even after time and space, those feelings never truly went away. Being more than a few years older than her however, he’s never thought of her as anything other than Jack’s baby sister.

If you had a look at my copy of Hunting Lila you’d see ripped up newspaper bits and sticky notes. I couldn’t get to the post-its on my bedside table quick enough. Lots of quote-worthy lines in this book! Not only is the story and cast a knockout, but the writing is pretty good for a YA paranormal. Nothing really too clunky, though the style may take a second to adjust to.

From cover to cover, Hunting Lila failed to disappoint me. Deliciously paranormal, I couldn’t get enough of this!

Quote:

First lines

"Only when the tip of the knife started to shave against the white of his eye like scalpel about to pierce a boil, did I realise that I was the one holding it.
Or rather, controlling it.

Buy:

* cheapest Australian e-store price

AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTS

INTERNATIONAL READERS


All links from Booko, because I'm too lazy to search each individual store anymore.





I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: 2011 YA Debut Author Challenge

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mid-sem break calls for a short blogging non-break

 
Just to let you guys know that there will be a couple of new reviews. I'll try pushing out at least a couple more (there are 3 read+written so far) until 10/10 - which is when I'll be back at uni again.

From there, I'm assuming the blog will be quiet again. In the next few days I'll be posting up IMM (Not tomorrow since it will be in TWO parts. Maybe.), as well as an international-esque giveaway. I'm really trying to figure out what I'm doing at the moment. I'm not reading as much as I could.

I did just finish Lola and the Boy Next Door, though. It's a knockout - is there really any other way Perkins rolled?

Also.

If you feel like being really awesome, you could comment with some music recommendations! 

I've been really swimming in the tunes lately and I'll listen to pretty much anything. I'm almost not kidding. I might scoff at something ancient (as in pre-vinyl ancient), but yeah, just go nuts with the reccs. [I've been listening to A Day To Remember all night - a new friend is obsessed with them at the moment.]

I guess this is a good a time as any. I'm a huge Michelle Branch fan. As in, I'd jump through hoops to see her play live. Her new album - West Coast Time - is coming out soon and I am more than thrilled that my precious is back to 'her roots'! Sha-shoom and whoop-de-do for awesome mothers!

Late.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

[Review] Shadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott

Title: Shadows on the Moon {goodreads}
Authors: Zoë Marriott
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 07/07/11
Publisher: Walker Books UK (will be in US in 2012)
RRP: £6.99
Source: Bought
Age: 14+
Pages: 450
My Rating:

Summary:
"On my fourteenth birthday when the sakura was in full bloom, the men came to kill us. We saw them come, Aimi and me. We were excited, because we did not know how to be frightened. We had never seen soldiers before."

Suzume is a shadow-weaver. She can create mantles of darkness and light, walk unseen in the middle of the day, change her face. She can be anyone she wants to be. Except herself.

Suzume died officially the day the Prince's men accused her father of treason. Now even she is no longer sure of her true identity.
Is she the girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama? A lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens? Or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands?

Everyone knows Yue is destined to capture the heart of a prince. Only she knows that she is determined to use his power to destroy Terayama.

And nothing will stop her. Not even love.
My thoughts: 

{Sorry for a short-ish review. It's been a long time since I last wrote a review (1 month!), but I just finished this book a few days ago and it's fresh on my mind. I wrote up some more but I lost the rest due to a black-out. Nasty little buggers!}

~~~

First, I should mention that my knowing about SHADOWS ON THE MOON's experience starts with THIS TRAILER (hehe you can still read my comments). This was RIGHT up there on my list, along with Anna and Matched and Across the Universe, etc. I really pushed my expectations to the limit, and although I should have been setting myself up for disappointed, I was STILL terribly pleased.

SHADOWS ON THE MOON is such a beautiful story. This book is a sort of retelling of Cinderella, except it's much darker and rather than a submissive Cinderella whose only dream is to go to the ball, Suzume is out for revenge. When her father is murdered, it's all Suzume wants.

When Suzume runs away from her deceptively evil step-father (see the gender switch here?), she discovers that she is a Shadow Weaver. Someone who can cast shadows that create illusions. Hide her scars, hide her emotions, her identity. Only one person will be able to see through them all, and he shares the same powers. A foreigner whose dark skin marks a stark contrast to her own.

The characters in SHADOWS are amazing! They're complex and well developed - Marriott knows exactly how to flesh out a character to make them all have their own agendas and lives and make you actually care about what happens to them. I really liked Suzume, though I suppose by the end of the book she's a completely different person. I love the procession of events that transforms her though, and I find the whole concept of Shadow Weaving really fascinating. I wish there were a sequel - I'd definitely pay another $7 to read more haha. ;)

*ahem* The one downfall I really have to say is that it at times was long-winded and all I wanted to do was put the book down for a bit. There is a lot of heavy stuff in the book so that could attribute to it, but there's also a lot of description. While not bad in itself, I did expect/crave a little bit more action.

SHADOWS ON THE MOON is a highly recommended high fantasy novel that delves into Japanese culture and plays on the age-old Cinderella story. If you're looking for something achingly beautiful and emotional, look no further. It will also probably have you on the next imaginary flight to Japan, because world-building? Wow.

I know Zoë said it's not really Japan, but it kind of is. :P

Quote:

First lines

"On my fourteenth birthday, when the sakura was in full bloom, the men came to kill us. We saw them come, Aimi and me. We were excited, because we did not know how to be frightened. We had never seen soldiers before.

Favourites

"A shadow weaver's principle tool is mirdirection. ... This is the trick the senses play, you see. People trust their eyes above all else - but most people see what they wish to see, or what they believe they should see; not what is really there. It takes long study or intense desperation to overcome the illusions most of us carry in our minds.

(p. 66, Youta)

The night sky weeps snow
Heart pierced by the moon's beauty,
Just as you pierced mine.

(p. 329, Otieno)

...and some more. I'd have to dig harder for them though. :P Read it for yourself! There are SO many great quotes in this book.

Buy:

* cheapest Australian e-store price

AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTS

Fishpond | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders * | The Nile

INTERNATIONAL READERS


All links from Booko, because I'm too lazy to search each individual store anymore.





I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: ---

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Veronica Roth's next book will be called DETERGENT! ;)


Read up HERE on that "Detergent" gag. Also, go HERE to read a little more from the mastermind behind the trilogy. I really can't wait for INSURGENT to come out, as well as anything else she has in store for all us readers out there.

Hehe.

I don't normally post covers, just because I figure everyone will be sick of them by the time they get around to my post. But it's Veronica Roth! And a new cover! 'Nuff said.

I actually want to see if anyone has anything NEGATIVE to say about these covers. I love the symbolism and the tiny details of the cover; it really makes a difference if you read the first book before looking at this cover. 

My INSURGENT review (if anyone wants to read it):
This HAS to be the most reviewed pre-order 2012 YA book to date! Keep the comments rolling in, I say. Look at that cover. Be dazzled by its desolate but intoxicatingly mesmerising tree swirls! Throw objects at the tiny train silhouette and plaster it all on the walls.

Smell the month of May 2012 slowly approaching and bask in its ultimate glory. This will be awesome. I command Veronica Roth not to screw this up! Don't kill off Tobias. Don't make Tris a weakling. Don't formulate a love triangle. DO write awesomely instead. 8D

*sigh* So overwhelmed by it all! And then the movie will come out. AND THEN THE MOVIE WILL COME OUT!

Anyone else itching for a preview?

Q: When does it come out?
A: May 2012!!!

Q: OMG I DIDN'T KNOW THERE WAS A SEQUEL!!
A: Go add Insurgent (or Divergent if you haven't already) on Goodreads and I'll forgive you.

Q: When will you start reviewing books again?
A: When hell freezes over. Or when I'm bothered to start writing them.
Whicheeeever comes sooner.


...It started with a book cover.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I'm still reading...


I just haven't been feeling up to blogging. I did mention before this big break that I wouldn't be posting much. Well, the worst of my assessments are just around the corner. Bear with me for a couple more weeks and I'll get some reviews rolling, as well as maybe a giveaway as a bribe hehe.

I said I've been reading. I haven't been reading MUCH, but I've got a few book reviews to write up.

What you can look forward to:

- Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington
- Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott *currently reading*
- Beautiful Days (#2) by Anna Godbersen *currently reading*

And I've got to do a dreaded IMM post. Haven't done one in probably a month and a half. Such a great load I want to show you all! Hopefully I can read 10+ a month(?) during the upcoming summer holidays. *ahem* Which are a long way away.

Thank you to any publishers/authors who have sent me emails/review copies. Much appreciated, as always.

Not much I can say other than all of that. I don't want to just scrape my way through uni, so that's why reading and blogging is constantly taking a backseat to my studies. Especially since in my career in future I'll be taking care of lives.

And if you're wondering if the books I'm reading right now are any good . . . I'm really enjoying Shadows right now. I only have the mental capacity to keep track of one story at a time, so I've put Beautiful Days aside, begrudgingly.

;)

Friday, September 2, 2011

[Review] Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty

Title: Feeling sorry for Celia {goodreads}
Authors: Jaclyn Moriarty
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 01/01/00
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
RRP: 
Source: Swapped
Age: 14+
Pages: 250
My Rating:

Summary:
Life is pretty complicated for Elizabeth Clarry. Her best friend Celia keeps disappearing, her absent father suddenly reappears, and her communication with her mother consists entirely of wacky notes left on the fridge. On top of everything else, because her English teacher wants to rekindle the "Joy of the Envelope," a Complete and Utter Stranger knows more about Elizabeth than anyone else.

But Elizabeth is on the verge of some major changes. She may lose her best friend, find a wonderful new friend, kiss the sexiest guy alive, and run in a marathon.

So much can happen in the time it takes to write a letter...
My thoughts: 

I love these kinds of books! Feeling Sorry for Celia is written in the form of letters. While this may detach the reader from its characters, it surely was not the case this time. In fact, I loved this book even more for it.

The book doesn't seem to have much direction at the beginning. Elizabeth 'receives' a letter from The Association of Teenagers who declare that she really isn't much of a teenager at all, is she? She has one (best) friend, who is MISSING, and no one else cares because it's just her way; she doesn't rebel or party; basically, she's an embarrassment to teenagerhood. The book follows through with letters from different associations (but of course she's writing the to herself, to mirror how she feels at the time), as well as letters back and forth between several people. The one thing that was lost on me as caused by the letter format, was time. Anyway . . .

Elizabeth was so easy to relate to, so real and honest her voice was. I liked the easygoing nature of the book - I didn't feel the need to sit there on the edge of my seat, gaping at the pages. I didn't need to; I kept coming back to the book anyway. It was almost like I was just sitting down and reading a pile of letters from a stranger, and I could just pick up where I left from at any time.

That's not to say the book wasn't at all exciting, because it certainly was. It's through the connections that were made between me and Elizabeth and her friend (and soon-to-be-friends) and family that I actually cared about what was going to happen next. Whether Celia was going to come home; whether Elizabeth's family would ever be whole again; whether her new pen-pal and her were ever going to meet; and so forth.

The humour and little quirks really shine a light through this book. I cannot count the number of times I smiled or chuckled throughout. The letters exchanged between Elizabeth and Christina . . . it's almost like they could have just been passing notes during class. The relationship between Elizabeth and pretty much everyone she comes into contact with, was so easy to relate back to myself. And yes, there is a romance, and a pretty cute and funny one at that. It did take a backseat among all the other stuff, but it was nice to have another dimension added to the plot.

Basically, what I'm saying is READ IT. This is an Australian novel, but it has been published in the US so you have no excuses. ;)

Quote:

First lines

"Dear Ms Clarry,
It has come to our attention that you are terrible at being a teenager.

Buy:

* cheapest Australian e-store price

AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTS

Fishpond * | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders | The Nile

INTERNATIONAL READERS


All links from Booko, because I'm too lazy to search each individual store anymore.





I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: ---

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