Book reviews & writing tips from a wannabe YA writer
Title: How to Ditch Your Fairy
Author: Justine Larbalestier
Category: Fiction, Young Adult
Why I Read It: I never miss a post on the author’s blog, so I figured it was time I read a whole book by her.
Summary: In the city of New Avalon, most people have a fairy that helps them with something, like finding loose change or great clothes at bargain prices. 14-year-old Charlie has the lamest fairy of all, so she sets out to ditch it. All is going according to plan until she gets a crush on a new boy at school, who then falls victim to another girl’s every-boy-likes-you fairy.
Review: In the language of New Avaloners, this book was vastly doos! I zipped through it but drug my feet on the last few pages because I didn’t want it to be over. It was a complete and utter delight to read, but the story still had substance behind it.
My favorite part was the fresh use of language. It even has a glossary at the back! (doos: cool, ace, brilliant) Also, Charlie had such a sweet, non-dysfunctional relationship with her parents, which was refreshing.
I’ll let Charlie take it from here:
I have a parking fairy. I’m fourteen years old. I can’t drive. I don’t like cars and I have a parking fairy.
Rochelle gets a clothes-shopping fairy and is always well attired; I get a parking fairy and always smell faintly of gasoline. How fair is that? I love clothes and shopping too. Yes, I have a fine family (except for my sister, ace photographer Nettles, and even she’s tolerable sometimes) and yes, Rochelle’s family is malodorous. She does deserve some kind of compensation. But why couldn’t I have, I don’t know, a good-hair fairy? Or, not even that doos, a loose-change-finding fairy. Lots of people have that fairy. Rochelle’s dad, Sandra’s cousin, Mom’s best friend’s sister. I’d wholly settle for a loose-change fairy.
Your Turn: I loved Larbalestier’s writing so much I’m considering adding her Magic or Madness trilogy to my series TBR list. If you’ve read that series, please let me know whether it’s worth the time commitment!
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I used to finish every book I started. When I wasn’t enjoying a book, I still choked it down like grandma’s dry-as-a-brick meatloaf.
But it dawned on me one day that if I read every book on my (still growing) TBR list, I’d never get through them all.
Here are some things that have helped me stop reading the books I’m not enjoying so I can read more books I will enjoy.
(Hint: Forget the train bit. I always hated those stupid train questions in school.)
Answer: You have 1300 books left. If that sounds like a lot, take a look at your TBR list and/or your overflowing bookshelf, then think back to all those times you’ve heard about a book and thought you’d like to read it one day. And what about all the new books that will come out in the next 50 years that you might want to read too? 1300 books is nothing. Do you really want to make that mediocre book one of The Last 1300?
Your turn: What helps you let go of a book you’re not loving?
Title: Girls for Breakfast
Author: David Yoo
Category: Fiction, Young Adult
Why I Read It: Because you told me to!
Summary: Korean-American Nick Park just graduated from high school and reflects back on his life.
Stopped on Page: 49
Why I Stopped: I’m on vacation right now, so I’m in the mood for quick reads. This book starts off with Nick graduating from high school, then flashes back to him in third grade. By 50 pages in, he’d only gotten up to recounting his fourth grade experience. It moved too slowly for my vacation mood.
However, I can see why people like it because even in 50 pages, there were tons of jokes. Like when a couple kids at school ask Nick to teach them kung fu, and he’s so desperate for friends that he says yes:
It was so simple. I slapped my forehead. Whoever had invented kung fu had to start from scratch. Same with tennis or making mittens. In order for something to exist, someone had to first create the process. I didn’t know kung fu, but neither did they. I would simply improvise my own version of martial arts. I would make it all up.
A tingling sensation formed at my fingertips. An imaginary warrior now stood before me. I watched in slow motion as the warrior tried to kick me. “Okay, now in the movies they block these kicks,” I whispered to myself. I made a swiping motion with my right hand. I made up rules, and to my surprise they made perfect sense. The key to blocking your opponent’s kick is to move faster than the kick itself.
Maybe I’ll pick this one up again sometime when I’m not in the mood for a plot-driven novel.
Your Turn: Should I have kept going? Or was I right to stop?
Note: As an aspiring author, I respect the extraordinary amount of effort that goes into writing a book. I did not write this review in order to be unfair or negative about the book. My goal is simply to articulate why the book wasn’t for me.
Summary: In the summer between high school graduation and college, Remy has a plan to tie up all her loose ends so she can start fresh. Until a clumsy musician named Dexter—the exact opposite of her type—barges in on her neat little plan.
Review: A perfect read for my summer beach vacation. This is my first Dessen book, and I will definitely be reading more.
I got so wrapped up in this romance that I stayed up two hours after my family went to bed to see how it would turn out.
Here’s where Remy meets Dexter:
I just looked at him. Wrong day, buddy, I thought. You caught me on the wrong day.
“The thing is,” he said, as if we’d been discussing the weather or world politics, “I saw you out in the showroom. I was over by the tire display?”
I was sure I was glaring at him. But he kept talking.
“I just thought to myself, all of a sudden, that we had something in common. A natural chemistry, if you will. And I had a feeling that something big was going to happen. To both of us. That we were, in fact, meant to be together.”
“You got all this,” I said, clarifying, “at the tire display?”
“You didn’t feel it?” he asked.
I also loved the banter between Remy and her closest girlfriends. Kind of like the Sex in the City gals, YA style.
Your Turn: Which Dessen book would you recommend next?
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