July 31, 2013

Waiting On: Fire with Fire by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian (29)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Fire with Fire (Burn for Burn #2)
Author: Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Release Date: August 13th, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Lillia, Kat, and Mary had the perfect plan. Work together in secret to take down the people who wronged them. But things didn’t exactly go the way they’d hoped at the Homecoming Dance.

Not even close.

For now, it looks like they got away with it. All they have to do is move on and pick up the pieces, forget there ever was a pact. But it’s not easy, not when Reeve is still a total jerk and Rennie’s meaner than she ever was before.

And then there’s sweet little Mary…she knows there’s something seriously wrong with her. If she can’t control her anger, she’s sure that someone will get hurt even worse than Reeve was. Mary understands now that it’s not just that Reeve bullied her—it’s that he made her love him.

Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, burn for a burn. A broken heart for a broken heart. The girls are up to the task. They’ll make Reeve fall in love with Lillia and then they will crush him. It’s the only way he’ll learn.

It seems once a fire is lit, the only thing you can do is let it burn...

[Summary Source: Goodreads]
I definitely enjoyed the first book in this series. From the way the summary sounds, it looks like book two will dig a bit deeper into this paranormal aspect, which I'm interested in. I might not be so big on paranormal, but my real issue with book one was that it only sort of touched on the paranormal and didn't really go into it. I'm more of an all-in kinda gal. So. Fire with Fire. Let's go all in, shall we?

I'm REALLY excited for the second book of this series to come out. Mostly because I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. Do you ever feel like that? All the time? How about for this series? Let me know in the comments below!

July 30, 2013

Review: Truth or Dare by Jacqueline Green

Truth or Dare (Truth or Dare #1)
Author: Jacqueline Green
Release Date: May 14th, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers
Page Count: 416
Source: Provided by Paper Lantern Lit
Rating: Say WHAT now?
When a simple round of truth or dare spins out of control, three girls find it’s no longer a party game. It’s do or die.

It all started on a whim: the game was a way for Tenley Reed to reclaim her popularity, a chance for perfect Caitlin “Angel” Thomas to prove she’s more than her Harvard application. Loner Sydney Morgan wasn’t eventhere; she was hiding behind her camera like usual. But when all three start receiving mysterious dares long after the party has ended, they’re forced to play along—or risk exposing their darkest secrets.

How far will Tenley, Caitlin and Sydney go to keep the truth from surfacing? And who’s behind this twisted game?

Set against the backdrop of Echo Bay, an isolated beach town haunted by misfortune, Truth or Dare is a highly charged debut that will keep readers in suspense from beginning to end.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Tenley's back and town, much to Caitlin's excitement and Sydney's disinterest. But excitement and disinterest quickly turn into fear and other similar emotions when an anonymous darer starts leaving these sketchy, type-writers notes for the girls to find. The girls, scared for their lives and overly protective of their deep dark secrets (which the darer somehow knows) go along with the darer's wishes. Until, of course, things get a little more dangerous. Like, life threatening dangerous.

Let's break this down:

So I've never read Pretty Little Liars. I watched the first couple episodes and from what I can tell, this book is pretty similar. Granted, there are dares and not the ghost of an ex-friend haunting Tenley, Caitlin and Sydney, but yeah. It's got the same creepy, mysterious crazy person harassment going for it. And there's this really strange guy lurking about who they all think is the darer but it's not. Which, if memory serves, fits to the Pretty Little Liars plot as well.

But, despite the similarities, I really liked this book. First of all, even though I guessed maybe 100 pages in who the darer was, I got misdirected a couple times and I wasn't totally convinced my first guess was right until the very end with the big reveal. This is because Jacqueline Green is very, very good at making the paranoia and fear in this book real. I wouldn't have followed the ever changing list of who the girls thought did it if there hadn't be solid evidence to go against each person. And even if the evidence pointing to one person or another WAS flawed, the constant back and forth kept my brain from settling on one person.

So yeah, the misdirection in this book gets an A+.

I also really liked all the secrets in this book. Do I honestly THAT many characters in a story/small town have that many serious disorders? No, not really. Do I understand the purpose of this whole "Caitlin was kidnapped as a child" plot? No. Not at all. (Although I do think I know whose mom did the kidnapping - for reasons unknown.) But the backstories here were really well developed. I honestly believed that these characters would complete all these dares to protect the secrets that were at risk.

Another thing I totally loved about this book was that it didn't really have an obvious, stand up boy for all of us to root for. Yeah, there were a couple of interesting characters, but none of them gave me the butterflies - and I don't think they were supposed to. This book is really about Caitlin, Tenley and Sydney and the terrors they go through, not any silly romance plot. The three girls grew wonderfully over the course of this book. They had to ask themselves the hard questions - the life or death questions at the very end - and I think the paths each of their characters take is incredibly admirable and probably the best part of this book.

The long and short of it?

Plot: Maybe a little bit too similar to what's already out there but still very good.
World Building: There's A LOT going on here, but it's a series and I guess I buy it. Every small town has it deep dark secrets, right? (I'm a big city girl, so I'm just making assumptions here.)
Character Development: As mentioned above, the way the girls changed over the course of the book is probably one of the strongest elements of the story.
Prose: Very, very readable. This book is pretty long and the prose (as well as the character development are really what keep you reading).
Would I Recommend This Book?: If you're into the ABC Family shows or even some of the dark CW shows, this is probably the book for you. It's a series with crazy intrigue and surprises at every turn. And to be honest, normally I wouldn't read this kind of book, but I really did enjoy it, so I'm glad I did!

Did this one scare you like it did me? Did you guess who dun it? And, more importantly, do you think I missed a delicious boy worth drooling over? Let me know in the comments below!

July 28, 2013

Veronica Mars Watch-Along Week 16

[Graphic designed by the lovely Judith of Paper Riot]
So, how does this work, super sleuths? Go check out the Watch-Along kick off post for the skinny. I'll give you a second just in case...

All caught up? Good.

In case you already know the basics and just forgot what episodes are up today, here's the list:
  • "Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner"
  • "Ahoy Mateys"
And for NEXT WEEK:
  • "My Mother, the Fiend"
  • "One Angry Veronica"

But you guys aren't here for the technical stuff...

We've not made any radical bus crash advances in these two episodes, although there is a bus crash related mystery in the second episode. But I'm gonna start with the first episode.

Meg is still in a coma, but she's still somehow creating all kind of trouble. In the first episode this week, Duncan opens up Megs computer and finds out about an abused child Meg babysits. Who turns out to be her little sister. Which makes me wonder if Meg and Lizzie were also abused. Which terrifies me. I think the only thing about this whole episode that didn't terrify me was Lamb. But I have to know: was everyone in Neptune abused as a child? Logan, Lamb, Grace, Cassidy suffers from some emotional abuse... I dunno. One major character per series is enough. But I really did like the scene where Lamb lets Veronica and Duncan go, so I'll let it slide.

The second episode goes back to the bus crash. This is where we learn a little bit more about one of the kids who died in the accident - Marcos Oliveras. Which points to another abused Neptune High student.

Also, that whole thing with Duncan dreaming about Meg is MESSED UP. I don't know what that envelope at the end of the second episode, but I think it's gonna blow all of our minds also.

Let's add Dick and Cassidy's mom to the list of parents who need to get their priorities in order. Seriously. Woman pops in and pops out. She doesn't give a damn about her sons and just signs on the dotted line so she can get out of there. You wonder why Dick's an arrogant ass and Cassidy is totally lost but then you realize it's all about the parents.

And, of course, MEG'S PARENTS ARE PSYCHOS. I thought they were crazy before when they wouldn't let Veronica and Duncan in to see Meg, but now they're officially crazy. I've never routed for Lamb before, but I'm totally hoping he proved competent and catches them in the act.

If you've been paying attention, you'll know that Logan's life is probably the most messed up out of everyone in this series. I know, we're all here because of what happened to VERONICA but, hi, mother who committed suicide, father who murdered his girlfriend, tried to murder his other girlfriend and also abuses him, no house, an absentee step-sister, accused of murder and like a million other terrible things. I don't think this boy knows what love is, especially since neither series girlfriend he's had in this series has actually ever told the boy they love him.

So. Sorry, Veronica. You've lost on the "my life is the worst" front.

OH. AND THAT SCENE WHERE WEEVIL HAS LOGAN KIDNAPPED. Here is my live reaction (since I know you all enjoy these so much):


I get really emotional sometimes.

Logan: "So, anything new on Nip, Schmuck."

I just like when Logan uses Yiddish words. Especially in pun form. It makes me happy.

Logan: "Help me Mars Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope."

More puns. It's like he knows I love them.

Veroncia: "I'm feeling the calculating stare but where is the villainous hand wringing and maniacal laugh?"
Weevil: "Y'know, you should be nicer to me."
Veronica: "Or you'll huff and puff and burn my house down?"

How appropriate, V, how appropriate.

I just can't get enough.

  • Duncan: This boy has some serious issues he must sort out immediately because I just can't take anymore of him. And also: DID HE CHEAT ON VERONICA WITH KENDALL? DID HE? I love how Logan kind of put that out there but didn't. Subtle and lovely, my dear, subtle and lovely.
  • Logan: I think I already covered this one. But I hope he kills Weevil. That whole beat down was entirely terrifying and completely unnecessary. Oh, also, VERONICA WOULD YOU PLEASE JUST BELIEVE AND HELP THIS BOY FOR ONCE IN YOUR LIFE WITHOUT GIVING HIM CRAP? Yeah, he lies about the facts he thinks will hurt him (or you, Veronica, for the record) but he's never done anything but care about you, Veronica. Which is evident from the way he saved you from the Fitzpatrick's trying to kill you. BUT INSTEAD OF THANKING HIM YOU FREAK OUT AT HIM AND UGH. Veronica, you suck. 
  • Weevil: Boy is losing control of his gang. Which sucks, but please. Stop blaming Logan for your own problems.
  • Wallace: COME BACK WALLYBEAR. COME BACK (Although I will say I'm enjoying my time sans Jackie).
  • Dick + Cassidy: Complete disaster waiting to happen. But I enjoy.

I'm wrapping it up with Mac because I'm really excited about her position in this show. The Q to Veronica's Bond? Does this mean she's going to be in more episodes? I don't know, but she has a title and it makes me excited!

Okay. So that's it for this week (I say as if I haven't freaked out 100 times in the post). Talk to me about how much you want to kill Duncan, punch Weevil and hug Logan in the comments below.

  • "My Mother, the Fiend"
  • "One Angry Veronica"

Review: The Elite by Kiera Cass

Title: The Elite (The Selection #2)
Kiera Cass
Release Date: April 23rd, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 323
Source: Borrowed from the New York Public Library
Rating: My simple, addictive dirty little secret I wish I'd never picked up.
The hotly-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller The Selection.

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

It's book two and America's back to try and make some supposedly tough choices. I say supposedly because hi: MAXON. I don't even know why anyone cares about Aspen, but whatever. Anyway, aside form the contestant somehow having all of the power over the bachelor/monarch, America is also getting a better understanding of the messed up society she lives in. Now I will tell you my thoughts on all of this.

Let's break this down:

I seriously almost DNFed this book twice while I was reading. Once about 100 pages in and then again when I had about 150 pages left. This is because AMERICA IS THE MOST FRUSTRATING PERSON IN THE WHOLE FREAKING WORLD. She wants Maxon, she wants Aspen, she was neither, she wants both. I swear. It's like the world's worst pingpong match. But, okay, I get it, LOVE TRIANGLE. Which is fine. Except I really, really, REALLY hate the way Aspen manipulates America. It's just disgusting. When they have their secret rendezvous things and he's all like: Maxon's a fake, blah, blah, blah it makes me SICK because (at least in my opinion) he's clearly playing her, which is unacceptable.

Oh, and about those freaking secret rendezvous. DID NO ONE LEARN THEIR LESSON? There's a big spoiler-y thing that happens at the beginning of the book and America and Aspen meeting in secret basically turns this pair into the biggest idiots to ever exist in fiction. I mean, it's TREASON. You could be KILLED. And I mean, if they were found out, Maxon would know America betrayed him and he probably would kill her because there's only so much one monarch can take (which you kind of find out by the end of the book). I wouldn't even be mad at Maxon because America is just lying to him left and right and asking taking but not giving. She's probably THE most selfish.

And that's fine. Characters can behave however they want. I just think if you line up the events in this book side by side, the characters only seem to pretend to learn things. Or learn things and then promptly forget them and revert back to their former selves. It's really character regression, not development. Honestly, it's almost like events in this book happen in reverse order. I don't even understand.

But, now, I think the obvious question is: If I hated this book as much as I seem to, why did I freaking finish it? Why didn't I DNF?

Well, the answer is just as baffling as the plot of this story. I think it has something to do with the reality-television-feel this book has. Why do people watch The Bachelor or any of those other terrible shows? I'm sure there's some psychology study someone's done, but I don't care enough to do the research. I just know that stuff's more addicting than crack. Which is why, I think I couldn't stop reading.

Oh. Also. I love Maxon and America's an idiot. I also want to kill the king. Actually. I will murder him and be killed for treason, I don't even care. I will say I'm a little mad at the plot device thrown in to make me want to kill the king. Like, just throw the baby out with the bathwater, why don't you, but it did get me all riled up, so I guess said plot device worked.

And then, finally, the I wanna touch on the world building: I still don't get it. All we learned in this book is that the founder of this illogical monarchy (no one in the USA would EVER let that happen - dictatorship would happen first) wrote with the competence of an arrogant, delusional 14 year old boy. Like, if anyone found those writings and publicized them, would anything change? Maybe if the original monarch was still in power, but probably not so much now. But seriously, the man who started this whole monarchy thing was actually a moron.

The long and short of it?

Plot: Illogical, regressive, hypocritical and vaguely derivative. But still, somehow, the greatest soap opera I have read to date.
World Building: The original monarch's a moron and the current one is a monster. I can see why this world ended up looking like this, it just doesn't make any sense because America's already fought a war to not be a monarchy. People may have forgotten things because computers were taken away, but not THAT much.
Character Development: I believe I called it "character regression." I like that. I'm sticking with it.
Prose: Simple and addictive, just like the rest of this book.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Ugh. If you've already started this series you might as well. But I'd suggest ignoring the pretty covers and skipping the series all together. They are so many, way better dystopians out there.

All that's left for me in this series is Maxon. If you know of something else worth reading this book for, please fill me in down in the comments below, because I'd really like to know. 

July 27, 2013

Review: Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

Title: Two-Way Street
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Release Date: June 26th, 2007
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Page Count: 288
Source: Read on PulseIt
Rating: Some of my favorite road trip shenanigans to date.
There are two sides to every breakup.

This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They're even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation.

Then Jordan dumps Courtney -- for a girl he met on the Internet.

It's too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney's heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la -- this is Courtney pretending not to care.

But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.

Turns out, he's got a secret or two that he's not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can't get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Jordan dumps Courtney for a girl he met online a couple of weeks before the pair are set to road trip up to college (the college I went to, for the record). But because Courtney's parents have some kind of agenda, they make Courtney drive up with Jordan despite the break up. So road trip they must. But, like, obviously there's a lot more to this story than Jordan breaking up with Courtney for some chick he met online. And that's where the amazingness that is this book comes in.

Let's break this down:

Okay, so obviously I loved this one because my college popped up. Even if I'd hated my university, I'm the kind of girl who'll defend the university she hates on incessantly because only SHE'S the only one (along with 16,000 undergrad and an untold number of grad students) allowed to pick on her university. But I really did like my university, SO EVEN MORE SO. Even more so.

Anyway, what else did I love about this book besides the destination of the road trip? Well, Courtney and Jordan, to start. I think this one of those books that REALLY utilizes the dual POV. It's done so well I didn't even have a preference for whose chapter I was, I just wanted to plow through to the end (which is good because I read the e-version of this book on Pulse It and I only had a night before S&S took the book down). I loved the pacing and the flow and I felt like the whole thing was absolutely perfect.

But I obviously didn't just love the POV. I loved their relationship. Yeah, the way they get together is a little weird because Courtney's pining after her best friend, but Jordan's desperation is so real and so key-board-slamming-upsetting that you can't even be mad at him for his motives. And then what they have together just seems... I dunno, right? For no reason, either. It's not like they have a ton of things in common or have similar life goals. They're just happy together. Which is nice to see sometimes, y'know?

My other complaint about this book aside from the way Courtney and Jordan get together is that the REAL reason Jordan breaks up with Courtney is kind of obvious from pretty early on. But I don't even hate this because this book (like many of the books I love) isn't about the big reveal, it's about the journey the characters take. I mean, yeah, my heart was in my throat for Jordan the entire book (UGH, SERIOUSLY, THIS BOY CANNOT CATCH A BREAK), but it wasn't a suspense thing. It was a: Please let me hug you and pet you and take care of you until the end of time kind of thing.

So aside from our two protagonists, I also really love everyone else in this book. Courtney and Jordan's BFFs are also dating and they're awesome comic relief. Even Courtney and Jordan's SUPER INFURIATING FAMILIES work for me. They behave like people and they're present. Which is great, because there's nothing I hate more than families that don't behave like people and aren't present. Those don't have a place in YA. Really.

The long and short of it?

Plot: An angst-y road trip plot I found entirely addicting.
World Building: Families that behave like families? Check. Teens who road trip to college? I buy it. Miscommunication, assumptions and hiding shit? Smells like teen spirit to me.
Character Development: I love the way Courtney and Jordan come to understand how much their lives are changing. It's not just the shift to college, it's the entire shift of their family structures. There's no easy answer or good way for them to deal with what's happening, but they make do, and they somehow manage to make do together.
Prose: A really easy read that had me smiling, crying and raging for all the right reasons.
Would I Recommend This Book?: If you like road trip contemporary novels with quite a bit of angst/general emotional turmoil, I would tell you to drop everything and read this book. Seriously.

Who wants to road trip with a cute boy? Everyone? Yeah? Okay, tell me about it in the comments below.

July 26, 2013


Fact: I don't like coffee. I just like saying Coffee Clutch in my best and deepest New York accent. Considering I'm a New Yorker, I'm pretty freaking good at it. So I've got my tea and I hope you have your heated beverage of choice, because it's time to gab the day away.

Okay, children. Gather 'round. It's class time.

Recently I've had a lot of friends (my IRL friends who don't blog and will probably never, ever read this on pain of death, to be more specific) wah wah-ing to me about not having something to do or feeling left out or screwed over by someone else. Basically, they're at home and they've nothing to do and DAMMIT THEY WANT TO BE DOING SOMETHING.

To them I say: 

But seriously.

You guys might not know this about me, especially those of you who've seen me out in the wild and have noted my completely and utter inability to stand still or keep to JUST ONE topic of conversation for longer than five minutes, but I could probably not leave my apartment for a solid week if there's access to the necessities (food, water, bathroom with shower...). 

In general my personal philosophy is: "I can only love and deal with people if I can also have my damn space."

So. How do you achieve this Do-Nothing-Zen I have clearly perfected?

1. Have nothing to do? DON'T SCRAMBLE FOR PLANS.
Did you last minute realize you don't have dinner plans? Did someone cancel on you? Maybe your friends are having a party you were invited to/can't realistically go to? Don't panic. Take a deep breath. This is it. Your opportunity has come.

2. Head to the grocery store.
Not everyone is properly prepared for a shut in day/night/weekend. Your only trip out is to the grocery store. Pop in, grab a frozen pizza, some ice cream, maybe a stack of DVDs if you don't have any at home and other assorted odds and ends, then SCRAM. 
[NB: You can also just order take out if you have a hidden stash of candy somewhere. That works too.]

3. Go home and lock the door behind you. 
Seriously. Bar the door. Chain it shut. Hide the key or something. IT IS A LOCKDOWN. (A love lockdown - sorry, I'm channeling Kanye. Which is clearly always good news.)

4. Make a stack of books/DVDs/boot up your damn computer and load some TV show.
This is going to be your entertainment for you weekend on your own.

5. RELAX and DO NOT MOVE for AT LEAST 24 hours.
You are alone. There is no one around to pester you or start in with you or ask you questions or I don't even know what people do. Because as fun as people CAN be, sometimes they are the worst and no one should subject themselves to that all the time. 

Look. I know a lot of people out there need to be around people 24/7. They get anxious or upset or they need to talk. But listen, you're allowed cell phones and computers during your lock in. You can be in touch with the outside world. I don't recommend it for the full detox effect, but, according to the rules, you're just not allowed to speak to anyone face-to-face. Because this is your detox. This is when you GET LAZY & BLOCK OUT THE WORLD FOR A WEEKEND. 

See? There's really no reason to get worked up over not having something to do on a Friday night. Seriously. Just think of it as a blessing. An out, if you will. 

Was this class helpful? Should I teach another one? What other topics should I yell about? Be sure to leave a course evaluation in the comments below!

July 25, 2013

Review: Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

Title: Smart Girls Get What They Want
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Release Date: June 26th, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Page Count: 348
Source: Purchased eBook
Rating: Smart girls DO get what they want. In the most adorable, fantastic way possible.
Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are best friends and total overachievers. Even if they aren't the most popular girls in school, they aren't too worried. They know their real lives will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. There will be ivy, and there will be cute guys in the libraries (hopefully with English accents)! But when an unexpected event shows them they're missing out on the full high school experience, it's time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. They make a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge—and they will totally rock it.

Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she'll have to get over her fear of public speaking—and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed. It could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but has always stayed behind the scenes—until now.

These friends are determined to show the world that smart girls really can get what they want—but that could mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for...

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Gigi, Bea and Neerja are the smart girls who are doing their freaking best to get out of high school, into the best college possible and start REAL LIFE. However, in their attempt to ace high school and escape, they realize that they don't really exist in the minds of their peers. And that's not how these three best friends want to go out. No. They're looking to be remembered. Which is what this book is all about. It starts with a cheating scandal...

Let's break this down:

Yeah, a cheating scandal, AKA a brainiac's worst nightmare. But that's what happens to Gigi. She aces this insanely hard test and so does the hot, arrogant jock who was sitting right next to her. So they called into the principal's office, and there is TROUBLE. Mike (the hot, arrogant jock) and Gigi have to work together to make things better. Oh, and Gigi also has to run for student council. To make things better, that is - considering the school board put in a policy that if you're accused of cheating, even falsely, a note goes into your permanent record.

Anyway, between this cheating scandal and running for student council, Gigi is far from anonymous. Bea ends up going out for the school play - where she gets her chance to cozy up to her crush. He's obviously not who she wants him to be, but it works out in the end. And then Neerja joins the ski team (with Gigi, who can't ski, for the record) even though her parents really don't want her to.

On top of all of this, there's Will, who makes ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING unbelievably more complicated both for Gigi and the story. But, like, even though I hate him, he totally serves his purpose.

Basically, what I'm saying is that each of these girls totally achieves their goal for the year. They make a splash and they most definitely end up in the yearbook. But that's not the only reason I'm totally into this story.

First of all, everything because Gigi and Mike (that hot, arrogant jock) is AMAZING. Amazing. I love the complexities, the back and forth, the confusion... a lot of the time I get annoyed by misconceptions, but not here. Never here. Also, that one scene in the Harvard Coop? Loved. LOVED.

It's also worth noting that the opening conflict of this book really had me on edge the whole book. I hate when my main characters are falsely accused of something - even if this false accusation comes at the beginning of the book, before I really know a character. It's actually a really good trick for authors who are writing books just for me (which, obviously they all are) to take note of. I'm totally kept on the hook until the false accusation is solved. Especially when it's something like a cheating scandal for a girl who's dream since forever is getting into an Ivy. You can get into an Ivy like that.

Finally, I want to highlight the family dynamics in this story. They're complicated, upsetting, what have you, without being too over the top. And the parents are included. It's freaking amazing. Seriously.

My only real complaint about this book is that Ava's (Gigi's ex-BFF) is kind of like an extra, unnecessary limb. Like the appendix. There could have been a lot more there, or I could have lived without her. But I don't even consider that a real complaint. So. Yeah. Awesome, adorable contemporary.

The long and short of it?

Plot: Adorable and amazingly addictive. So, really, awesome.
World Building: That's how school and family situations work in my book.
Character Development: I looooooooove everything Gigi, Be and Neerja go through. Seriously. Also Mike. Oh Mike. *Pets Mike*
Prose: More adorable things. MORE ADORABLE THINGS.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Yeah. It's a fun, cute, contemporary romp. And easy, excellent read, even if contemporary isn't necessarily your favorite.

Mike. Can we talk about him? And hate on Will, of course. And yell at Gigi for being appropriately stupid entirely too often. Seriously. Yeah. Let's talk in the comments below. 

July 24, 2013

World of Books: Melissa + Victoria, British Columbia

Everyone has their neighborhood bookstore or their local library they call home. Maybe both even. I know I do - in TWO different cities. World of Books if a bi-weekly feature that allows me - and any of YOU - to share the bookstores and libraries you love so much. If you want to be featured on World of Books too, make sure to go HERE and fill out the contact form!

This week on WORLD OF BOOKS I bring you Melissa and Victoria, British Columbia.

When I first saw Gaby's World of Books feature, I just KNEW that I had to share my hometown bookish spots -- especially because of the memories that they evoke for me.

I grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, which is located on Vancouver Island, just off the west coast of Canada. Victoria is a small-ish city (about 350,000 people), but it has a small-town feeling because of the fact that it's located on an island. I adored growing up surrounded by the ocean and still miss being a mere 10 minutes from the water.

The first spot that I've chosen to share with you is Bolen Books, Western Canada's largest independent bookstore. Although I love getting great book deals at Chapters, there's just something wonderful about a local independent bookstore. Sure, you have to pay full price for a book, but you know that you're not just feeding the corporate machine.

I started working at Bolen Books during the fall of 2003 as a means of paying for my last couple of years of university. Since it's a locally-owned family business, there's definitely a community feeling amongst the staff there, and everyone really loves their job. The two years that I spent working there were amazing, and I even met my husband in the aisles of the store! He was a customer, who came in looking for a book about cats. He returned many, many times, each time stopping to say hi and chatting for a while, until one day he asked me out. Five years later, he took me back to the same spot in the bookstore, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! Of course I said yes, and three years later, we're happily married with a baby boy of our own -- who's going to grow up to be a reader as well!

(Our full how-we-met story is here)

As I mentioned earlier, I love getting deals on books -- so it's no surprise that I have a fondness for used bookstores! (Although I am a little picky about the quality of book that I purchase in a used bookstore... no stained, smelly books for this girl!) Whenever hubby and I make the trip back to Victoria, we ALWAYS stop in at Russell Books. It's a used bookstore that's in TWO PARTS. The downstairs section is filled to the ceiling with a huge selection of non-fiction and gifty items (journals, calendars and the like) as well as a MASSIVE children's/YA section. Then, you go out of the bookstore and up a really narrow set of stairs next door to the HUGE fiction section. I could spend days in that store, just browsing up and down the aisles. They also sell a lot of new books, but at great discounted prices. Plus, last time we were there, they had a buy 4 get 1 free on all fiction paperbacks... we came home with LOTS of new books!

Victoria is also filled with lots of great reading spots. As I mentioned earlier, it's on an island, so where better to read than by the beach! This photo was taken in December along Dallas Road, so it's a little gray and overcast, but when the sun is shining on the ocean, there's really no place better to be. Plus, there's a great walkway that goes all along Dallas Road and the path is always filled with moms and strollers, people and dogs, rollerbladers and bikers.

I graduated with a B.A. from the University of Victoria, and spent many happy hours reading on the lawn in the centre of campus. In the summertime, there's a big fountain in the centre and it's so peaceful to read to the sound of the rushing water as students stroll by on their way to and from classes.

Plus, someone let loose some bunnies in years gone by and, well, bunnies do what bunnies do and now there are a whole bunch of wild bunnies that reside on campus.

July 23, 2013

Review: The Time I Joined The Circus by J.J. Howard

Title: The Time I Joined The Circus
Author: J.J. Howard
Release Date: April 1st, 2013
Publisher: Point
Page Count: 259
Source: ARCycling
Rating: The Pretty Cover Caper - not the worst attention theft in the world, but it could have been better.
Lexi Ryan just ran away to join the circus, but not on purpose.

A music-obsessed, slightly snarky New York City girl, Lexi is on her own. After making a huge mistake--and facing a terrible tragedy--Lexi has no choice but to track down her long-absent mother. Rumor has it that Lexi's mom is somewhere in Florida with a traveling circus.

When Lexi arrives at her new, three-ring reality, her mom isn't there... but her destiny might be. Surrounded by tigers, elephants, and trapeze artists, Lexi finds some surprising friends and an even more surprising chance at true love. She even lucks into a spot as the circus's fortune teller, reading tarot cards and making predictions.

But then Lexi's ex-best friend from home shows up, and suddenly it's Lexi's own future that's thrown into question.

With humor, wisdom, and a dazzlingly fresh voice, this debut reminds us of the magic of circus tents, city lights, first kisses, and the importance of an excellent playlist.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Lexi's (Xandra?) father dies. Lexi's best friends aren't speaking to her and the girl has to vacate the city due to no guardian and no apartment. Where does she have to go, you might ask? Well, she's sent down south to the circus to find her wayward mother - who's not ACTUALLY at said circus. So Lexi, with no where to go, starts doing what her mother's not - working at the circus. Shenanigans ensue.

Let's break this down:

I liked a whole freaking lot about this book, starting with the circus. I freaking love circuses. I'm not sure how accurate the portrayal of the circus was in this book, but I don't really care because A) THERE WERE ELEPHANTS and, more practically, B) this book isn't so much about the setting but about what goes down in this setting. It is in this setting that Lexi makes friends with people who really care about her and help her get over what happened to her in Manhattan. She really finds a family - something you kind of get the feeling she never really had. Don't get me wrong, she loved her dad, but he was less of a father figure and more of a friend who supervised her life lightly.

Okay, so not that we've established that I loved the foundation of this book, I think we should talk about my biggest problem with it: THERE ARE TOO MANY CHARACTERS/PLOT. I loved every single person in this book. I also loved every bit of plot to be found. I just felt like this was the little book that as trying to do too much, y'know? Either the book should have been 100 pages longer, or had one less plot point (The mother plot point? It wouldn't have been terrible if she'd stayed deadbeat and off-screen).

I will say that I really liked how the romance went down. Even though I could have done without the whole Jamie plot-point (the ending of which was startling abrupt) and Nick's "I'm no good for you" attitude, the construct of the whole thing was pretty awesome and totally heartbreaking. You never really knew what turn the romance was going to take and I kind of liked the surprise. Like a lot.

Finally, I really liked Lexi herself. She was kind of all over the place, y'know? Which is exactly how I would be if my entirely life collapsed around me. Probably. I think. (Thankfully that's never happened to me so I don't really know.) Anyway, she was headstrong, impulsive, and independent - basically all of the teenage things. She took care of herself even when it looked like every dropped out of her life. And I like that in a main character.

PS (for those of you who've read this book): The lawyer in this book? What a self-centered jerk. So much of the story bizarrely stems from him and I kind of want to punch him out, remove him from the story and bring the plot back to basics. Because, like I said earlier, this book really should've been more focused. Too many plots, too many people.

The long and short of it?

Plot: TOO MUCH. IT'S TOO MUCH. But I really liked ALL OF IT. I kind of wish J.J. Howard had multiple circus books and each was about a different character who either ran to or from the same circus because of the different plots found in this book. That would have been a cool companion set.
World Building: I don't know much about carnivals but the NYC attitude in this book is pretty much textbook, so I'm down.
Character Development: I really loved everything that went on with Lexi and all of the too many characters in this book. Really. They all seemed super real - despite the soap opera amount of drama going on at any given moment.
Prose: Straight up teenage talk. It's first person so that really works for me and the book.
Would I Recommend This Book?: There was a lot of really good stuff in this book - but maybe TOO much good stuff. Because apparently too much of a good thing is a bad thing. So I would say if you can get past the overabundance of plot and are really interested in this pretty cover and circus premise, you might wanna grab this one from the library. Otherwise, maybe you wanna skip it.

Did you guys also fall prey to this pretty cover? And if you have read it, what did you think of the TOO MANY PLOTS/TOO MANY BOYS? If not, do you think you'll pick it up despite my warnings? Let me know in the comments below!

July 21, 2013

Veronica Mars Watch-Along Week 15

[Graphic designed by the lovely Judith of Paper Riot]
So, how does this work, super sleuths? Go check out the Watch-Along kick off post for the skinny. I'll give you a second just in case...

All caught up? Good.

In case you already know the basics and just forgot what episodes are up today, here's the list:
  • "Blast From The Past"
  • "Rat Saw God"
And for NEXT WEEK:
  • "Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner"
  • "Ahoy Mateys"

And now, onto the good stuff.

In the first episode, the big mystery is "who stole Jackie's credit card." Considering how much of a giant biatch Jackie is, I don't really care for this. But Wally loves Jackie, so, I guess V's doing him a solid. But then the way the episode devolves with the psychic and Jackie being and even bigger biatch and Wally being all "BE MY FRIEND, DAMMIT, VERONICA" I almost can't handle it. 

Oh, and the whole plot line with Wallace and his real dad? Holy parental problems, Batman. But we'll get to that in the PARENTAL PROBLEMS section of this post. 

In the second episode, Abel Koontz comes back, asking Veronica to find his daughter. Who's actually DEAD. Whatever. That's upsetting. But V, learning a little humanity, doesn't tell Abel. Instead she lets him die thinking Amelia's doing great. Applause for you, small blonde one. Applause. 

As for the bus crash deal, Veronica gets her hands on a voicemail that was left just as the bus was crashing. Which is pretty nuts. She, wisely, gives the recording to Keith and Keith hands it off to Sheriff Lamb - even though he shouldn't, because Lamb slandered Keith and they're mid-election. But anyway, Lamb fishes the bus out of the ocean and then refuses to tell Keith anything. In typical Mars fashion, Keith sneaks into the evidence shed where they've stored the bus they fished out of the ocean - only to find a dead rat stuck to the bottom of one of the back seats. Is that the smell Dick was complaining about in episode one? I DON'T KNOW BUT I ASSUME SO.

Okay, as usual, Keith and Veronica have PROBLEMS. Veronica didn't tell Keith about the dead guy washing up on the beach with her name on his hand, which obviously came up again this week (seriously, V, get your act together). But this isn't my major point this episode. My parental problem issue this week comes from Wallace and Alicia. 

SURPRISED? I know I am.
Alicia kept this HUGE SECRET from Wallace and then tries to justify it. I really FEEL for Wallybear. While Veronica does have a good point: that the parent who stays is the good guy - it's a little too black and white for the Wallace. I honestly don't blame him for running. And honestly? I'd like to see how Alicia makes this up to Wallace. This parent-child pair isn't as used to the strain the Keith-Veronica relationship is used to.

Anyway, I wish Alicia and Wallace luck. Lots o' luck.

Definitely my new favorite gif.
I don't get boys. Dick and Logan make up like it's nothing after Logan slept with Dick's stepmom. Then Logan and Duncan play video games to mend fences and, by the end of this week's second episode, Logan's living with Duncan. This makes no sense to me. 

It's a freaking mess. The whole thing. The thing in the jail cell with his papa? And the house burning down? Getting accused of murder again? And maybe I'm confused and feeling too lazy to go back to the first episode, but wasn't Logan already acquitted? Aren't we up to Double Jeopardy here? I'm not sure I understand, but whatever. I'll let it go because destitute Logan is surprisingly adorable.

Teacher: "As you know, Homecoming Season is upon us."
Veronica: "Much like the plague."

This is kind of how I felt about everything high school related when I was in high school. So. I get it. 

Veronica: "You're here for your looks. Why don't you leave the heavy thinking to me, sugarpants? Now go make yourself pretty."

I don't like Veronica and Duncan together like, at all, but I freaking loved this one line. 

Logan: "Best thing about two days in jail? Two days worth of Ellen on the TiVo. That's sweet viewing."

Veronica: "Wow. Where'd you learn that interrogation technique?"
Wiedman: "Harvard. That's a pretty convincing hysterical routine you got. Where'd you learn that?"
Veronica: "Watching cheerleading tryout results."

It's hilarious when Veronica and Wiedman pair up. It also happens to be freaking awesome. 

Logan: "It's the sweater, isn't it? Chicks can't resist argyle."
Veronica: "Please let go of me."
Logan: "Ever the tease."

Sometimes, when your ex-boyfriend moves in with your current boyfriend because his house burnt down and now has nothing, hilarious shenanigans ensue.

Real quick now...
  • Wallace: I MISS YOU WALLYBEAR. I'm sorry Jackie's the freaking worst.
  • Duncan: Ah. Now I understand. You're just the pretty face who does Veronica favors. 
  • Dick: You hilarious, stupid boy, you.
Okay kids. That's all for now. More on ALL OF THE CRAZY next week, I'm sure! Let me know how you feel about all of the shenanigans - ESPECIALLY the Wallace shenanigans - in the comments below! 


  • "Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner"
  • "Ahoy Mateys"

July 20, 2013

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Truth or Dare by Jacqueline Green

Title: Truth or Dare (Truth or Dare #1)
Author: Jacqueline Green
Release Date: May 14th, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers
Page Count: 416
Source: Provided by Paper Lantern Lit
When a simple round of truth or dare spins out of control, three girls find it’s no longer a party game. It’s do or die.

It all started on a whim: the game was a way for Tenley Reed to reclaim her popularity, a chance for perfect Caitlin “Angel” Thomas to prove she’s more than her Harvard application. Loner Sydney Morgan wasn’t eventhere; she was hiding behind her camera like usual. But when all three start receiving mysterious dares long after the party has ended, they’re forced to play along—or risk exposing their darkest secrets.

How far will Tenley, Caitlin and Sydney go to keep the truth from surfacing? And who’s behind this twisted game?

Set against the backdrop of Echo Bay, an isolated beach town haunted by misfortune, Truth or Dare is a highly charged debut that will keep readers in suspense from beginning to end.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]
Welcome to DAY THREE of the Truth or Dare blog tour. I'm SO EXCITED to finally be apart of one of these (yeah, this is my very first blog tour), especially for a book I really did enjoy. I'm not sticking my review for the book in this post, though. I figured we'd just have a little fun and then get to the breakdown in the next week or two. But seriously. This book is full of some creepy/crazy entertainment.

And when I say have a little fun, I mean you guys get to watch me be lame/foolish/stupid in a video. Because, for the blog tour, I had to answer a Truth and perform a Dare. On tape. In case I'm totally incoherent on the video, my truth and dare are as follows:

My Truth: If you could run away and get hitched with one YA character, who would it be?
[This is copied and pasted from the email I received for the tour. No alterations. Those CAPS LOCK? Not added by me. Even though it seems like something I would do.]

My accent is kind of lame (AKA REALY FREAKING LAME). But I warned the organizer of this tour. (YOU WERE WARNED ADAM.) But I guess my truth is fairly honest...

OH. AND GUYS. BEFORE YOU QUIT THE INTERWEBS FOR THE DAY. Head over to the Paper Lantern Lit blog. There's a list of other awesome people who are taking part in the blog tour AND a giveaway. A FREAKING GIVEAWAY (which you can also enter in the Rafflecopter below). You know you want free things. Especially to make up for that terrible accent I just pretended to put on.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So yeah. Sorry I'm lame, no you can't have your time back, but do go enter that giveaway and be awesome even though I am not. Oh. And OBVS go read Truth or Dare. Duh.

July 19, 2013

Auto-Buy Lists: Do I REALLY Have One?

Fact: I don't like coffee. I just like saying Coffee Clutch in my best and deepest New York accent. Considering I'm a New Yorker, I'm pretty freaking good at it. So I've got my tea and I hope you have your heated beverage of choice, because it's time to gab the day away.

A couple of things led me to write this post. First: The revelation that Robert Galbraith is actually J.K. Rowling. Then my mind flipped back to a Top Ten Tuesday post I did a little while back entitled Top Ten Authors On My Auto-Buy List. And THEN I had a whole debate with my sister about both of these things and so we are here today.

But wait, WHAT are we talking about today? Well. I guess the topic up for discussion is the concept of blindly picking up a book JUST because an author you LOVE wrote it. I know, I know, I told you all I wrote a Top Ten Tuesday post with a whole list of authors I claim to do this for, but, when I sit down to really thing about it, it's possible I was lying a little bit.

Trouble for everyone.
I mean, J.K. Rowling is on that list and I don't own A Casual Vacancy or this new book, The Cuckoo's Calling (I did leave the adult books off that list, but STILL). I also definitely don't EVERYTHING by Tamora Pierce, Rick Riordan or Phillip Pullman. All of these people have written A LOT of books and, while I do own a lot of books, their complete works don't exist on my shelves. I actually don't think I have the complete works of any author with more than 5 books out on my shelves.

Yeah, I used the same gif to discussion posts in a row. DEAL WITH IT.
So why did I write that post? When I listed those ten authors, what did I mean?

Here's what I think was going on in my head:

Those ten authors listed are the Top Ten Author who, when I hear they have a new book coming out, I sit down and think to myself: "This is a book you're going to get grabby hands about. But you love this author very, very much and you should probably take a second to make sure this book is something you would naturally gravitate to before picking it up just because."

Now, why is it important for me not to pick up a book just because? Well, I need more than just a familiar writing style and voice to get me through. So I can't promise that I'll be able to make the leap from MG/YA to Adult Fiction with J.K. Rowling. And even if an author generally stays in the same genre, like Tamora Pierce, I also can't guarantee I'm going to be able to make the shift from Tortall to Emelan. Honestly, the fact that I love both the Greek and Egyptian-based stories Rick Riordan publishes is just dumb luck.

I cannot express the joy I felt upon finding this gif to express my sheer dumb luck.
Yeah, I expect authors who've written 5 books I already love to produce a 6th I'll likely also love. But honestly? Blindly assuming this'll be the case just doesn't work for me. Will I shove a book by an author on that pesky Top Ten list to the top of my "Maybe You Wanna Purchase This Book" list? (I have lots of list, guys) Yeah. Does that mean I'll ACTUALLY buy it? Not necessarily. I need to read the summary and consider what the book is about. Because the worst thing in the world, in my opinion, is blindly picking up a book by an author you love only to discover you DON'T love the book as much as you should and having your experience with that author altered for no good reason. Especially now that a lot of authors are crossing genres and categories. It can get REALLY TRICKY, REALLY QUICKLY, guys. Really.

More gif finding joy.
Of course, I obviously want you all to support your favorite authors. You should buy their books, go out to their events, draw them fan art, whatever. Just maybe don't pick up a book you know you shouldn't (as I conveniently discussed two weeks ago).

And, for the record, I DNFed A Casual Vacancy and have no intention of reading A Cuckoo's Calling. Did Potter shape basically my entire childhood? Yes. Do I own JK Rowling a whole lot of everything? Obvs. Do I think she's a fantastic writer? Abso-freaking-lutely. But it's for all of those reasons that I WON'T be picking up her adult books. They're not for me, I recognize that, and don't want to make that kind of poor bookish choice (SEE SASSY GAY FRIEND? I AM LEARNING).

I know not everyone's like me in this respect (probably not even a lot of people are like me in this respect). I actually love that readers can and do follow authors wherever. But I hope you can all see where I'm coming from. And possibly share where YOU'RE coming from. (In the comments below, of course!)

July 18, 2013

Review: Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

Second Helpings (Jessica Darling #2)
Author: Megan McCafferty
Release Date: April 22nd, 2003
Publisher: Broadway Books
Page Count: 357
Source: Borrowed from the New York Public Library
Rating: The best kind of old YA DramaCity there is. Plus a little Flutie Fever.
“Knowing that I’ve just done something that will take decades off my parents’ lives with worry, you’ll excuse me for not getting into the fa-la-la-la-la Yuletide spirit this year... The only difference between Christmas 2001 and Christmas 2000 is that I don’t have a visit from Hope to look forward to. And Bethany has already packed on some major fetal flab. Oh, and now Gladdie doesn’t need to ask a bizillion questions about my boyfriend, because she’s already gotten the dirt from you know who.”

Jessica Darling is up in arms again in this much-anticipated, hilarious sequel to Sloppy Firsts. This time, the hyperobservant, angst-ridden teenager is going through the social and emotional ordeal of her senior year at Pineville High. Not only does the mysterious and oh-so-compelling Marcus Flutie continue to distract Jessica, but her best friend, Hope, still lives in another state, and she can’t seem to escape the clutches of the Clueless Crew, her annoying so-called friends. To top it off, Jessica’s parents won’t get off her butt about choosing a college, and her sister Bethany’s pregnancy is causing a big stir in the Darling household. 

With keen intelligence, sardonic wit, and ingenious comedic timing, Megan McCafferty again re-creates the tumultuous world of today’s fast-moving and sophisticated teens. Fans of Sloppy Firsts will be reunited with their favorite characters and also introduced to the fresh new faces that have entered Jess’s life, including the hot creative writing teacher at her summer college prep program and her feisty, tell-it-like-it-is grandmother Gladdie. But most of all, readers will finally have the answers to all of their burgeoning questions, and then some: Will Jessica crack under the pressure of senioritis? Will her unresolved feelings for Marcus wreak havoc on her love life? Will Hope ever come back to Pineville? Fall in love with saucy, irreverent Jessica all over again in this wonderful sequel to a book that critics and readers alike hailed as the best high school novel in years.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Jessica Darling and back and up to her old tricks. And when I say old tricks, I mean hellooooo DramaCity. But, like, would we want it any other way?

Let's break this down:

This book picks up no where near where the last book ended. I mean, it was winter break when the last book ended and now, suddenly, it's the start of summer. But, the way I understand it, all we missed was a lot of complaining about Marcus, and we definitely get more than enough of that at the start of book two (even though Jessica refuses to mention his name for the a solid chunk at the beginning).

ANYWAY. I think I should just say it now: I freaking loved the second installment of this series. I love how so many of this characters and themes developed in book one carry into book two. I mean, Paul Parlipiano makes a reappearance and steps down from the pedestal Jessica put him on and into real life. We also get to see more of Miss Hyacinth Anastasia Wallace and how her perceptions of Jessica war with Jessica's perceptions of herself. We also get more from Sara, Manda and Bridget - although Bridget is the only one of them worth mentioning. And y'know what, I LOVE that Bridget's become a character worth mentioning. She was on the verge of becoming a character worth mentioned last book, but she's really come into her own this book. Along with Percy (AKA Pepe).

I also really loved the whole Len/Marcus plot point. Was I VERY ANGRY at Marcus the whole book? Yes. Did the ending of the book make me less mad at him? I guess - although I think Jessica should have given him a harder time. But do I ultimately understand Flutie Fever? Hell yeah. He's patient and kind and understanding. I think we all kind of knew he was capable of such awesomeness, but considering he was a total burn out in the last book, it's all pretty impressive.

But like, it doesn't matter how mad I was at Marcus throughout the book. Because nothing compares to my anger towards Len. I mean, what is UP with Manda? It's like ruining relationships is her bread and butter. Or at the very least a favorite hobby. Is she a career homewrecker? I don't know. But I do know that girl is getting no where near any boyfriend I ever have.

Okay. MAYBE that was a little spoiler-y, but seriously, why would you ever want Jessica with Len? Obviously her end game is Tutti Flutie and no one else.

(It's also worth mentioning the Jessica's grandmother, Gladdie, is the best character in this book and UGH. Just UGH. She really did so much for Jessica - and not just in terms of her relationships. Seriously. Best Grandma Ever.)

Another reason I loved this book so much is because of the prose. In book, the prose was a little heavy handed, but since these books are written in first person, it makes sense because Jessica is so young (young relative to the series, that is). But in book two you can totally see how much Jessica's grown up by the maturing prose.

The long and short of it?

Plot: Jessica's stories take us where they want to. You can't predict it, you can only love the crazy shenanigan adventures she takes you on.
World Building: Yeah. This is what high school looks like. And college too, for the most part. I don't miss either so much.
Character Development: I love Jessica's growth. I also love that she's finally able to let Marcus off the hook - even if I couldn't. Wait. Does this mean a fictional character's more emotionally mature than I am even though she's fictionally 5 years young? *sigh*
Prose: Matures along with Jessica in the best way possible.
Would I Recommend This Book?: I'm really enjoying the series and I especially loved book two. However, I think book one is very much for the lover of older YA books. If you don't like the older YA book feel, book two might sit better with you, but I'd still recommend book one to get you started - reading the first one really helps you appreciate Jessica's growth. And it's pretty embarrassing/funny.

Do you ALSO have Flutie Fever? Or maybe you just love Jessica the way I love Jessica. Be sure to tell me all about your Darling Emotions in the comments below!