Thursday, 10 July 2014

Lisa's Winter YA Book Reviews!

The majority of the books I've read lately are young adult fiction. Seeing as I hate growing up and my favourite authors tend to be YA writers, here goes nothing.

Girls in Love series: Jacqueline Wilson

I have to say that I really love these girls. The narrator is the cute, chubby, awkward and arty Ellie, who lives with her dad, step-mum and annoying little brother Eggs. Ellie has two best friends, Nadine and Madga who have nothing in common with one another, other than equal admiration for each other's skills.

What I love about the Girls series is that everything seems entirely plausible. The uneasiness of Ellie's family life, the boyfriend she's unsure of, trying to lose weight in stupid ways and nasty boyfriends. This is why Wilson is an incredible YA author. She gets it. 5/5

Clean Break: Jacqueline Wilson

I hadn't read this one before, but basically I read the majority of it until 1am last Thursday. This book is about a family who everything seems to go terrible wrong for. The bipolar dad (at least I think he is, and Jacqui does not shy away from mental illness in her books) leaves his family for another girl. Deciding that it just wasn't working, he makes a 'clean break' and randomly sends cheques to his wife. Em and her family do really well despite, or perhaps, because of their father's absence. It's awesome. And makes you think. This one gets a 4.5 out of 5.

The Fault in Our Stars: John Green

I didn't know if I wanted to read this.

I happen to hate cancer fiction stories (My Sister's Keeper and a range of YA books from the 80s has put me off for life). But seeing as I'd only heard good things, other than the shopkeeper warning me it was a heavy read, I tried this book.

You know what, I like Hazel. It's good. Well thought out. What made the biggest difference for me was not reading the blurb, so I had no idea what Hazel and Augustus would do in this book. And that's really good. So no spoilers or plot info for me. 4/5 from me for this one.

Art Geeks and Prom Queens: Alyson Noel

This was written in 2005, so it's a little dated, but not by much.
Other reviewers have suggested it is just Mean Girls rewritten. But I have never watched much of that movie and don't want to. Anyway. Basic outline: Rio likes an art geek, and she is one too. But she's developed into a major hottie since sophomore year and doesn't even realise. To get the guy of her dreams she decides to join the cool clique. The cool clique, or their creepy leader, introduce Rio to cool clothes, parties, dating randoms, alcohol, sex, drugs and hiding the evidence from every adult in authority. Rio, the 'hero' of this story shows no remorse for her stupid and thoughtless actions.

Should you read this book? Well, if you're like me and you're drinking so gross concoction from a CT scan and have no other choice, then... yes. I rate this a 2/5.

Nancy and Nick: Caroline B Cooney

I have loved this book since I was about 14. Nancy and Nick meet on an antique hunting trip and having an incredibly awkward relationship most of the way through the book. What I love about Nancy and Nick is that it is so close to home (no pun intended, as Nick and Nancy are possibly related... or so they are led to think) and pretty really. The empty apartment, the sheer embarrassment of doing the wrong thing around your future SO's friends... whatever. I like this one. 5/5.

Claudia Kishi, Middle School Drop Out: Ann M Martin

Not sure if this really belongs in this book review blog, but I'll talk about it anyway.
Claudia is epically failing in eighth grade (what's new?) and is sent back to the seventh to repeat the coursework.
This book is lame. Here's some reasons:
1) The BSC kindly lighten Claud's sitting load for the next few weeks because they don't want to lose her as a club member. Seriously Kristy? You are a bad friend.
2) Claudia whinges and whines the whole way through this book.
3) This book made me realise that the ghostwriters (bless their hearts) take away all the voice of the narrators and make them sound the same. Ellen Miles, read more BSC. Please.
4) Claudia things a guy with a goatee and a beret must be a real artist. Of course.
5) Stupid Kristy sets up 'hospital buddies', in which is a bunch of Stoneybrook BSC kids writing to kids in hospital with minor ailments such as broken bones and tonsillitis. It is never mentioned again. And poor Jackie has nothing fun about his character now that the ghost writer is on it. *le sigh

This terrible excuse for a book gets a 1.5/5. Probably only because Claud is my favourite character and I feel bad for her.