Tag: Contemporary

The Female of the Species

Author: Mindy McGinnis
Published: September 20, 2016
352 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it.

Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best—the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, the star athlete who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the preacher’s kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone.

As their senior year unfolds, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting these three teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

Kim’s Review:

Mindy McGinnis has such a grasp of the darker side of humanity and l love it so so much! I have been dying to read this book for the longest time and I finally got it for Christmas. I picked it up, and was soon engrossed. I love the differing POVs, the look into the lives of teens surrounding a tragedy, and watching them live their normal lives in a small town. And considering how much I hate teens, I really liked Alex and Peekay and Jack. Alex is very mature for her age and I found her self-awareness to be interesting. I related with Peekay and her position as “goodie two shoes” and trying to overcome her father’s religious position in the community. And Jack is just a cutie and I love him. And thankfully, the parents in this story weren’t idiots!!! Peekay’s parents are so awesome and understanding and realistic! They’re certainly better than any pastors I know! There is a little teenage drama, but it really only adds to the story, so I was ok with it! I would definitely save this for more mature teens due to language and adult themes. Overall, a fascinating read and a perfect example of Mindy McGinnis!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published:  September 10, 2013
483 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan.

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Kim’s Review:

This is one of the books I read during Hurricane Florence with my little flashlight. I wanted something light and easy and I had heard great things about Fangirl and I figured it was a good time to read it. I went into it with a bit more clarity than when I read Eleanor and Park so I wasn’t nearly as disappointed when I realized that Fangirl was slightly over-hyped. I did enjoy reading it, and it helped pass the time really well. I liked most of the characters, though I wasn’t deeply connected to them. I thought Levi was adorable and he easily became my favorite character. He kept things closer to reality and seemed to be the voice of reason in most cases. Reagan was also likable and refreshing in her unfiltered honesty. Professor Piper is the once character that I identified with more than anyone. She had high standards as a teacher and didn’t let students get away with stupidity. To be honest, the character I liked the least was Cath. I know a lot of people identify with her and I will admit I did see a lot of myself in her: the nerdy-ness, the social ineptitude, the introvertness. But overall, she became that typical millennial stereotype who refused to look outside her tiny, safe bubble, and didn’t like doing things simply because they were too hard.

And listen, I love Harry Potter as much as the next booknerd. But I also realize that while books are an amazing escape, they cannot be substitutes for life. Watching Cath spend all her time writing characters that didn’t belong to her, refusing to use her creativity in any other way, actually using her fanfiction as an excuse to quit classes and justify bad grades . . . not cool at all! Even the college drama didn’t bother me as much as Cath did. I read a book about college, I was willing to accept all the drama that came along with it. But Cath and her attitude really bothered me. I bought Fangirl along with a copy of Carry On, but honestly, I don’t even want to read it now. Overall, I did enjoy reading this book, it was an actual escape from the hurricane and loss of power and I appreciate that to no end. But in an honest review, I have to say that Fangirl still disappointed me and I doubt I’ll be reading any more Rainbow Rowell books.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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A Step Toward Falling

Author: Cammie McGovern
Published: November 10, 2015
304 Pages

Reviewed By:Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Neither of us is exactly living the dream. But we’re living something and that’s more than either of us expected this year.’

In A Step Towards Falling, Cammie McGovern tells a poignant, compelling story of not judging people on appearances and knowing how to fix the things you’ve broken.

Emily has always been the kind of girl who tries to do the right thing – until one night when she does the worst thing possible. She sees Belinda, a classmate with developmental disabilities, being attacked. Inexplicably, she does nothing at all.

Belinda, however, manages to save herself. When their high school finds out what happened, Emily and Lucas, a football player who was also there that night, are required to perform community service at a centre for disabled people. Soon, Lucas and Emily begin to feel like maybe they’re starting to make a real difference. Like they would be able to do the right thing if they could do that night all over again. But can they do anything that will actually help the one person they hurt the most?

Kim’s Review:

I really loved McGovern’s book, Say What You Will. So, when I saw another book by the same author on sale, I snatched it up! I wish I could say that I love A Step Toward Falling just as much, but I can’t. Unfortunately, in trying to make the story and circumstances believable, McGovern actually made the story more frustrating than anything else. When Emily and Lucas didn’t say or do anything for Belinda when she was attacked, the principal and “discipline committee” make it sound like they are just as bad as the attacker. I absolutely do not agree with that. We all know that teens are idiots; they’re immature children trying to act like adults. Society has this wonderful habit of changing its tune to fit whatever its narrative is at the time. I don’t mind the community service punishment, it’s just all the dramatics of calling a disciplinary hearing and requiring the kids to defend themselves that felt “kangaroo court-ish” to me.

McGovern was trying to salvage some likability for Emily and Lucas, but didn’t adjust the plot accordingly. For the record, of course it was wrong for the kids to just walk by without intervening; both Emily and Lucas acknowledge that very quickly. But one thing that McGovern is excellent at is portraying disabled people with empathy instead of pity. I liked all of the disabled characters in this book. I liked the way we can see into Belinda’s mind with clarity and realism. It’s a great way to look at her as a person as opposed to a label. Emily and Lucas were so sweet and redeemed themselves perfectly. Overall, I enjoyed this book. All that annoyance I felt at the beginning of the book, dissipated relatively quickly. This is actually a pretty good book for teens to read, with a little discussion. As I said with Say What You Will, learning the perspective of others is never a bad thing. A pretty good read!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US This post was created Saturday and when I (Jessica) was looking up the links on Amazon- I saw the paperback was just $4.19, so I grabbed a copy! You can’t loose at that price!!!! Hopefully at posting the book is still cheap! 
Amazon UK

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