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Monday, September 30, 2013

Things I've Read Recently (7)

So! If you're new around them these here parts, Things I've Read Recently is a post series I do of mini-reviews, basically, when I'm too lazy/have too many books/not enough thoughts to do real reviews. This edition of Things I've Read Recently is brought to you by the letter G for Grammarly, and is sponsered by the nice people at Grammarly. Grammarly is an automated proofreader that checks for spelling mistakes, grammar errors, and plagiarism.*

I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader by Keiran Scott

Published: May 2005 by... Speak according to my copy and Puffin according to Goodreads. So, Penguin, basically.
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Paperback (that's waterproof, apparently)
Page Count: 246 in my copy but Goodreads says 272, but, you know, editions
Part of a series? Yes, it's the first of a trilogy.
Amazon (and there are some really cheap options on there right now) / Book Depository / IndieBound

Summary (from goodreads): Annisa Gobrowski has a problem - everyone at her new Florida high school is blonde. If Annisa's New Jersey attitue didn't make her stand out enough, her dark pixie cut sure does. Yet no lack of golden highlights is going to stop Annisa from making the best of Sand Dune High, especially once she checks out their competition-level cheerleading squad, and her uberhot, guitar-playing new neighbor Daniel.

But a disasterous first day during which Annisa accidentally breaks the nose of the most popular girl in school, ticks off Daniel's girlfriend for even existing, and discovers the cheerleaders all hate her is almost enough to make a girl run for a box of Herbal Essances Amazon Gold. Nevertheless, the cheerleader in Annisa just won't let her quit. Sand Dune High had better watch out - this non-blonde is here to stay.

Thoughts: I'm really seeing the splashproof thing on the cover right now and I'm kinda tempted to splash my book... *shakes head* Anyways! This is very much a good beach-y, light read. It's not very serious about itself and it's easy enough to read even if you're half-distracted. This isn't one of my favourite books, but it was enjoyable enough. A lot of this is me not being hugely into this particular side of the contemporary genre.

I did like the way that cheerleading was seen as a serious sport and not just a stereotype and I think a lot of people would enjoy that. I also liked the way a lot of the female characters were written, the way that the girls weren't strictly revolving around guys, you know? They had family issues and school issues, cared about their friends and had priorities above romance, which was awesome. I wasn't in love with all of the romance, but again, that had a lot two do with my own personal tastes. This is probably a three, maybe a three and a half, for me, but I think a lot of people who like lighter contemporary books, this could very well be a higher four. So I personally liked this, did not love it, but would recommend it. Do I make sense right now?

Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney

Published: September 2010 by... okay, my copy says Poppy which is by Little Brown, apparently, and Hatchette Book Groups and then Goodreads say HarperCollins but I think that is an international copy?
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 234
Part of a series? Nope.
Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound

Summary (from goodreads): Some vampires are good. Some are evil. Some are faking it to get girls.

Awkward and allergic to the sun, sixteen-year-old Finbar Frame never gets the girl. But when he notices that all the female students at his school are obsessed with a vampire romance novel called Bloodthirsty, Finbar decides to boldly go where no sane guy has gone before-he becomes a vampire, minus the whole blood sucking part.

With his brooding nature and weirdly pale skin, it's surprisingly easy for Finbar to pretend to be paranormal. But, when he meets the one girl who just might like him for who he really is, he discovers that his life as a pseudo-vampire is more complicated than he expected.

Thoughts: Okay, first things first. I won this in a contest like two or three years ago. And I had to wake up at like 7am and stay home until it showed up to sign for it which wasn't so much fun because I don't like mornings, but the point is it's been years since I won this, right? So, for some reason, I had it in my head that this was a "dorky kid becomes a vampire to impress girls" book, not a "dorky kid pretends to become a vampire to impress girls" book. And I had that in my head for ninety pages. Because I'm apparently really unobservant. I don't even know how I did that, honestly.

So, yes. This is contemporary, not a funny paranormal. Which made a lot more sense once I got that! I did really enjoy this, though. It was funny and clever and I really liked Fin, the narrator/main character. He was interesting and funny - who thinks, "Huh, girls like vampires. I'll pretend to be a vampire to impress them!"?? - and I really liked the relationship he had with his twin brother. If the cover was a little different, I think I might buy this for my cousin. I don't think he'd read it with this cover, though. Solid four for this one, maybe a four and a half.

Falling Up by Shel Silverstein

Published: January 1996 by HarperCollins Childrens Books
Genre: MG/Childrens' Poetry
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 171
Part of a series: No, but most of his books are similar enough that you could use them all in a display or study unit or whatever easily.
Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound

Summary (from goodreads): Shel Silverstein's magical tradition continues with this long-awaited companion to A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends. Here are more than 100 new poems and drawings by the master of wit and wisdom, featuring a wealth of wonderfully amusing and lovable characters, including Allison Beals and Her 25 Eels, Reachin' Richard, the clothes-dryin' Moose, and Danny O'Dare, the Dancin' Bear. 160 black and white line drawings.

Thoughts: I actually ordered this for the kid I baby-sit, but I never got around to giving to it to her and ended up rereading it myself. I've read it before as a kid and probably reread it again, but I still really enjoy these books. Great for kids and fun to read for anyone. Thumbs up for sure

Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald

Published: January 2012 by Candlewick
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 319
Part of a series? No, standalone.
Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound

Summary (from goodreads): Seventeen-year-old Sadie is in love: epic, heartfelt, and utterly one-sided. The object of her obsession — ahem, affection — is her best friend, Garrett Delaney, who has been oblivious to Sadie’s feelings ever since he sauntered into her life and wowed her with his passion for Proust (not to mention his deep-blue eyes). For two long, painful years, Sadie has been Garrett’s constant companion, sharing his taste in everything from tragic Russian literature to art films to '80s indie rock — all to no avail. But when Garrett leaves for a summer literary retreat, Sadie is sure that the absence will make his heart grow fonder — until he calls to say he’s fallen in love. With some other girl! A heartbroken Sadie realizes that she’s finally had enough. It’s time for a total Garrett detox!

Aided by a barista job, an eclectic crew of new friends (including the hunky chef, Josh), and a customized self-help guide, Sadie embarks on a summer of personal reinvention full of laughter, mortifying meltdowns, and a double shot of love.

Thoughts: I was actually surprised by how much I liked this because I am kind of hard with contemporaries. I think we're actually had this one at the library for a while and I just never clicked with it until the kid I baby-sit and I were doing my summer reading and I was running out of books because I read kinda fast. But I'm very glad I finally grabbed it. I took it with me on a trip 3 hours away from home and I didn't lose track of what was going on in the book, which is pretty cool considering there was a fair amount of time between reading jaunts.

I really liked that this book wasn't really about Garrett. It was very much about Sadie, her interests, her making new friends (Girls! Who are friends with other girls! What an idea!) and just plain about her. I quite liked this one. Solid four, four and a half. Right between four and a four and a half. Four and a quarter!

(I will admit to writing the tail end of this post slightly loopy on cold medicine. Apologies.)

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