Book Review: Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

Suite Scarlett (Scarlett, #1)

Title: Suite Scarlett (Scarlett #1)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Chick Lit
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: November 2013 (first published May 2008)
Pages: 368
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
If living in a famous art deco hotel minutes away from Central Park sounds like your idea of a pretty sweet deal – you should talk to Scarlett Martin. Having a hotel for a home really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when you’ve got no guests, no money and no prospects for any fun thanks to your parents putting you to work all summer. Luckily for Scarlett, the Hopewell is about to be shaken to its foundations with the arrival of Mrs Amberson, a glamorous travelling socialite who’s planning on putting down some roots for a while – and hiring Scarlett as her assistant. With a new job, new friends, and (maybe) a new boyfriend on the horizon, Scarlett’s summer is beginning to look a lot more interesting…

My Review:

If all the world’s a stage, New York City has the best scenery.

Scarlett Martin’s friends are all having the summer of their lives but she is stuck in working in her family’s run down and barely functioning hotel. When a slightly eccentric guest checks in and appoints Scarlett as her personal assistant, Scarlett’s summer starts to look up. She gets involved with trying to save her brother’s acting career and has a flirtation with a gorgeous North Carolinian named Eric. But things start to fall apart around her and Scarlett needs the help of her family to help everything from becoming a disaster.

I’ve not read a Maureen Johnson novel before but quickly found myself absorbed in Scarlett’s story. The book begins on her fifteenth birthday but Scarlett is fairly wise and mature for her age. She’s a little irritated that she doesn’t have the opportunities that her friend have but she is responsibly enough to understand that her family isn’t like others. Her older brother Spencer is trying to do everything he possibly can to become an actor however realistically he knows that if he doesn’t make it soon he will need to find a more sensible career path. Lola, Scarlett’s older sister, is facing a dilemma due to her family disliking her boyfriend and her little sister Marlene – well… Marlene is slightly spoilt and people are afraid of hurting her feelings. I really liked the family dynamic within this novel. The Martin family are tight but not without their problems. They are financially challenged and things are changing with Scarlett’s older siblings after having finished high school and are now moving in different directions. I liked how they interacted with each other and that Ms. Johnson didn’t give Marlene a free pass to do as she pleased just because of her past.

Scarlett is a great character. She’s a writer who, despite her tender age, isn’t lacking for life experience. Her encounters with Mrs Amberson are humorous with the hotel guest having a flair for the dramatic. Scarlett gets herself into some quite outlandish situations but somehow manages to handle them. I liked that Scarlett is genuinely a good person. She gets placed in situations – at times due to her own doing – that cause her to question her actions and as a reader you could feel the moral dilemmas she was facing. This is a book where I felt with 97% certainty that things were going to end up being okay for everyone involved but the fun was seeing just how everything turned out. The romance in this book wasn’t quite what I was expecting but that only added to the realistic nature that love doesn’t always play out how you’d like it to.

This book was highly enjoyable. It’s cute and fun and shows off New York City in a delightful way. The characters are quirky and a little off centre but there’s a lot of love in the Martin family. I’m delighted that Maureen Johnson has written a second novel, Scarlett Fever, that continues exploring Scarlett’s adventures.

Thanks to Hot Key Books for the review copy

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon| Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Book Review: The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

Title: The Summer I Became a Nerd
Author: Leah Rae Miller
Genre: contemporary, romance, 
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: May 2013
Pages: 272 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl’s body isn’t just unknown, it’s anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.

Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.

My Review:

I decided to do something special for today’s review. I present to you the very first (and possibly only ever) issue of Geek Girl! featuring the one and only, Madelyne Summers.

1 2 3 4

Okay – it’s fairly clear that I’m never going to become a comic book artist. But I thought Maddie wouldn’t mind me telling her story using my terrible artistic talent.

I found myself connecting with Maddie. I know what it’s like having older brothers and because of them finding a love of things others would find geeky or nerdy. But unlike Maddie – I never had a complete transformation like she did. Upon the biggest humiliation of her life, Maddie decides that popularity is the most important think to her and reinvents herself. No more Spectrum girl and the Pigments. Now it’s country music and cheerleading!

But one summer, and the delay of the final issue of her favourite comic, Maddie finds herself entering the local comic book store in disguise. And within the sacred sanctum of all things geektacular, Maddie finds her true self and a boy who just might bring out her best of her secret identity.

This book is cute. And it’s fun. And it’s a celebration of all things geeky – there’s comic books, mentions of anime and sci-fi AND LARPing (Live Action Role Playing). And I loved every moment of it. Maddie is learning to be true to herself and had a bit of difficulty finding the way but she makes it. I love the chemistry between her and Logan – bonefide nerd who has the geek chic thing going on in spade. The cheerleaders and football players for the most part are fairly stereotypical with the exception of Maddie’s best friend, Terra.

I think what I liked most about this book was the message – that no matter what your interests, you should accept yourself for who you are.

The Summer I Became a Nerd is a cute book that I had a lot of fun reading. And please – don’t hold my artistic stylings against what is a great summer read.

Thanks to Entangled teen for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Book Depository 

Book Review: Truth or Dare by Ella Monroe

Title: Truth or Dare (Capital Girls #3)
Author: Ella Monroe
Genre: contemporary, romance, chick lit
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: April 2013
Pages: 304 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Jackie, Lettie, and Laura Beth barely survived the holidays . . . literally.  Jackie’s on lockdown while the hunt is on for her stalker, who somehow got into the White House and left her an ominous note. Laura Beth and Sol are finally back together after a scandal almost tore them apart, and Lettie, who’s forced to live with Whitney and her gossip-mongering mom, has let down her guard enough to fall in love with Daniel.  For the Capital Girls life is always complicated, especially when they’re under 24-hour media scrutiny. But that won’t stop the three friends from making their senior year the most amazing ever—even as the mystery deepens over Taylor Cane’s death and First Son Andrew Price’s role in it.

My Review:

Truth or Dare is a brilliant addition to the Capital Girls series. Things are getting more complicated for the Capital Girls. Laura Beth’s stepdad-to-be is ramping up his political campaign and putting a wedge inbetween LB and her BFF Jackie. But Jackie has more on her mind than just politics. She’s caught in a love triangle between the First Sons not to mention her stalker still hasn’t been caught. Lettie is trying to adjust to life with her parents living in a different country and her being taken in by a celebrity blogger who is using Lettie’s White House connections to further her career.

Things just keep getting more and more entangled as the girls mourn Taylor’s death whilst at the same time trying to get to the bottom of just what happened on the night of the car accident.

I loved how this book managed to combine so many different storylines and dramas whilst at the same time successfully weaving them together. All the girls are managing to grow – all three seemed more mature than in the previous book – but still keeping their teenage sensibilities  Laura Beth is learning that maybe her dreams of the spotlight aren’t what they’re cracked up to be. Jackie has a personal dilemma to sort out and doesn’t know if she should follow her heart or keep her head in the political game. And Lettie is the sweet girl who balances out her larger than life friends.

I recommend this series for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl who love Mean Girls with a political twist.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Griffin for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Book Depository 

Also by Ella Monroe:

   Capital Girls (Capital Girls 1)
Amazon / Book Depository

Secrets and Lies (Capital Girls 2)
Amazon / Book Depository 

Book Review: How to Keep a Boy From Kissing You by Tara Eglington

Title: How to Keep a Boy From Kissing You
Author: Tara Eglington
Genre: contemporary romance; chick lit
Publisher: Angus&Robertson (an imprint of HarperCollins)
Publication Date: 1st February 2013
Pages: 384
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (goodreads):
Sweet sixteen and never been kissed – and that′s the way Aurora Skye wants it to be. She′s too busy finding Potential Princes ™ for her two best friends, counselling her sensitive New Age dad and dealing with the unexpected return of her long-absent mum. But always in the background there′s Hayden Paris, the boy next door, the bane of Aurora′s life. Smart, funny, and always around to see her at her worst, he ′gets′ her like no-one else … and that′s what makes him so infuriating.

When Aurora and Hayden are coerced into the lead roles in the school production of Much Ado About Nothing, things can only get worse. How is Aurora going to save her first kiss for the secret admirer who wooed her with poetry and a spectacular bunch of flowers on Valentine′s Day if she doesn′t know who he is and she′s obligated to lock lips with Hayden in the play′s final dramatic clinch?

From talented debut YA author Tara Eglington, this is a page-turning, funny and delicious romp of a book that both kissing and non-kissing teenage girls will adore.

My Review:

For Aurora Skye, romance is one of the most important things in life. And first kisses should be reserved for a worthy Prince. Armed with strategies and avoidance techniques, Aurora wants to save her first kiss for her true love (she even engages stealthy spy like operations to stop unwanted advances) even when it leads her into some rather embarrassing situations.

With Hayden Paris, a boy-next-door who is the bane of Aurora’s existence  and a New Age Dad (NAD) who seems to think that Aurora and Hayden are a couple, Aurora’s Find a Prince Program™ has some obstacles to overcome. But like her Disney Princess namesake, Aurora is willing to go the extra mile to make sure that True Love’s first kiss prevails.

This book is adorable! It reminded me very much of a Disney Channel movie (and in a good way. I love those!) crossed with the film Clueless. Everything from the slightly eccentric dance teacher to the girls doing the glide-by on the first day of school – I could picture Aurora and her friends’ antics so very clearly in my mind. With all the books about teenagers saving the world it was refreshing to read a book that reminded me of my own school years where first kisses were regarded as sacred. Aurora is a very sweet leading lady. She’s somewhat melodramatic and confused but her heart is in the right place – I could tell that she really did have her friend’s best interests at heart no matter what the situation. And what I loved most about her is that I saw so much of myself about her. Trying to advise others with no practical experience to her name? She’s a character that I think a lot of girls could relate to.

Much Ado About Nothing is one of the few Shakespeare plays that I am completely unfamiliar with and despite the play being central to the development of Aurora and Hayden’s friendship and relationship, this book does a great job of not requiring any previous knowledge of Shakespeare’s work. And as a former drama nut myself, I appreciated the dynamics of just what it takes to put on a school play (although how that managed to put in on in a matter of weeks? I have no idea how they achieved that!).

This is one of those books where the characters are teenagers. And they’re believable teens – not seventeen year olds going on forty. Whilst I found Hayden a little bland I found myself loving him for Aurora. The supporting characters were fun and I liked how they contrasted the leads but also the other minor players.

How to Keep a Boy From Kissing You is an enjoyable and entertaining read by a debut Aussie author. The characters are adorable. Whilst the plot was somewhat predictable this is definitely one of those books that you read not for the destination but for the quirky and fun journey. I’m delighted to see that this is not the last of Aurora Skye. How to Convince a Boy to Kiss You will be published late in 2013.


Thanks to The Reading Room and HarperCollins Australia for providing me with a copy to review.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 

Book Review: Model Spy by Shannon Greenland

Title: Model Spy (The Specialists #1)
Author: Shannon Greenland
Genre: contemporary, romance, chick lit, teen spy
Publisher: Puffin (an imprint of Penguin)
Publication Date: December 2007
Pages: 224 pages
Rating: 2.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Teen genius Kelly James is in a lot of hot water. A whiz with computers, she agreed to help her college RA, David, uncover some top-secret information. After all, she doesn’t have many friends and David has always been nice to her. It doesn’t hurt that he’s supercute and irresistible, too. All she has to do is hack into the government’s main computer system. But a few hours later, her whole life changes. She is caught and taken in for questioning, only this isn’t your run-of-the-mill arrest. Rather than serve a juvenile detention sentence, she accepts the option to change her name and enlist in a secret government spy agency that trains teen agents to go undercover. As if that wasn’t overwhelming enough, she discovers that David works for this agency as well! And before she even begins to understand what is going on, she’s sent on her first mission as an undercover model. And who better to partner with than David himself!

My Review:

Kelly James is a teen hacker extraordinaire. School records, top-secret government databases – neither of them pose a problem for the sixteen year old college junior.

But when she gets caught trying to dig up some ultra sensitive information for a cute boy, Kelly gets given a choice. Join a team of teenage spies or go to juvenile detention. Easy decision. Kelly becomes the newest member of The Specialists. 

There were a number of things I liked about this book. For a book all about espionage and teenagers being able to save the world from terrorists, it had some great realism to it all. Kelly is not perfect but she’s trying. Whilst she has no problems getting computers to do whatever she wants them to she has some huge interpersonal issues.

The rest of the Specialists are interesting characters that whilst we didn’t get to see all that much in this first book I can’t help but to think they’ll be fascinating to read about in the other books of the series. I liked TL and David but they were a little two-dimensional.

In terms of plot – it was a little predictable and unbelievable. The super secret mission involves a role that only a teen model with off the charts computer skills can handle? Good thing Kelly was there to save the day. That said, I liked how everything played out. And how the rest of the team treated Kelly and her efforts.

It’s a fun story that has a family friendly vibe – refreshing in a world where most of the teen literature is PG-13.

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 

Also by Shannon Greenland:

Down to the Wire (The Specialists #2)

I read this book as a part of the 2013 TBR Reading Challenge

Not a YA Book Review: Nobody’s Damsel by Emily Mah Tippetts

Last year I had the pleasure of reading Someone Else’s Fairytale by Emily Mah Tippetts – a New Adult novel of a college student who meets and is courted by an incredibly handsome and successful movie star. I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to read and review the second book in the series, Nobody’s Damsel. This book continues on from the first one and the characters are a little older now and don’t quite fall under the category of New Adult but I thought it was a great book and want to share it with my readers.

Title: Nobody’s Damsel (Someone Else’s Fairytale #2)
Author: Emily Mah Tippets
Genre: contemporary, romance, chick lit
Publisher: self published
Publication Date: January 5th 2013
Pages: 288 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Sample chapter of Nobody’s Damsel can be found: here

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Chloe has finished her masters degree and taken a job as a forensic scientist back in her home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico, only the press will not leave her alone. They follow her to crime scenes and report on her every move, eager to show that her marriage to Hollywood A-lister, Jason Vanderholt, is on the brink of collapse. Millions of fans who dream of their own celebrity romance with him want this more than anything. This scrutiny comes at a particularly bad time as Chloe’s first case is a crime against a child roughly the same age that Chloe was when she survived a homicide attempt.

Now that she sees the case from an adult’s perspective, she realizes it’s much harder than she ever dreamed. It’s even worse for Jason, who is two steps removed from the crime. He must watch and try to support his wife as she battles with past demons and tries to keep up with a nameless suspect who evades identification and capture. Never has Jason been more frustrated with his job, its frivolities, and its lack of connection to the real world. When he storms off the set of his latest movie, the press goes wild with conjecture. Perhaps he never was anything more than a pretty face after all.

Together, Chloe and Jason must find their way past all the popping flashbulbs and through the dark maze of the criminal investigation to discover whether they can balance their professional goals with the demands of a celebrity marriage. The odds are entirely against them.

My Review:

Chloe is now in her dream occupation – a forensic scientist working crime scenes for the police. But with her career comes stress and Chloe has enough of that having to run from snap happy photographers who capture her every move. Jason is busy with his own job and the drama that comes from being a Hollywood heart-throb.

When the case Chloe is working on brings up memories she’d rather forget and emotions threaten to get in the way of finding the one responsible for a child’s abduction and the added stress of Jason’s ex back in the picture, it seems there’s more to the fairytale than first meets the eye.

Whilst I loved the happy ending of Someone Else’s Fairytale, I could not have been happier for the somewhat troubled beginning of Noone’s Damsel. The course of true love never did run smooth and that can definitely be said for the characters of Chloe and Jason. Marriage doesn’t necessity mean happily ever after. The heroes and heroines of fairytales didn’t have stalking paparazzi and tabloids trying to cause drama in their relationships. A problem I have in some novels is that after all the pain and mess a couple goes though to get together, the author then lets them off the hook and everything’s clear sailing from then on. Not the case with this particular couple. They have issues, fights and trouble. I thought the realism that this added was fantastic and only made me like Chloe more than I did previously.

Where in the first novel I was focused on the romantic relationship between Chloe and Jason, this book had me more interested in Chloe’s job as a forensic scientist.  I found it fascinating the relationships between the police and the crime scene investigators. The romance is still there it’s just not the sole focus of the story.

The secondary characters are great in their roles – I was especially glad to see Kyra popping up again. They added to the plot and I liked to see how Chloe’s relationships with the Van der Volts and her sister has developed.

This novel was a pleasure to read. The writing was well researched. The plot was well though out but still had a few twists. I loved how realistic Tippetts had made the relationship of a Hollywood superstar with a lab geek – both the romance and the demands of their chosen careers. The tribute at the end of the book was heartfelt and beautiful. I can’t wait to read the next instalment of Chloe and Jason’s lives together.

Thanks to Emily Mah Tippets for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon US Kindle
Amazon US Paperback
Amazon UK Kindle
Amazon UK Paperback
Amazon Canada
Amazon Germany
Amazon Italy
Amazon Spain



Also by Emily Mah Tippetts:

 Someone Else’s Fairytale (Someone Else’s Fairytale #1)

Book Review: Secrets and Lies by Ella Monroe

Title: Secrets and Lie (Capital Girls #2)
Author: Ella Monroe
Genre: contemporary, romance, chick lit
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: November 
Pages: 304 pages
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Jealousy, rivalry, and dark secrets threaten to tear the girls apart in this sizzling follow-up to Capital Girls

It’s the start of senior year, and Excelsior Prep is on Code 3 lockdown. Secret Service agents swarm the halls searching for the First Son’s girlfriend, Jackie Whitman. Outside a SWAT team hunts for the man who’s been threatening the First Family for weeks. Only this time he’s singled out Jackie, leaving a menacing message on the school’s voicemail. Jackie’s safe for now, but for the Capital Girls—three privileged kids who live in a political fishbowl in the nation’s capital—every day is filled with tension and thrills. Though, even for them, a raid on the school by AK-47-toting marksmen is a standout.
And a stalker isn’t Jackie’s only problem.  Still shattered by the shocking news that Andrew cheated on her with Taylor the night Taylor died, Jackie’s whole world has fallen apart.  Not only did the love of her life betray her, so did her best friend and idol.  What made Taylor do it? Who was she really?  On top of it all, Whitney Remick is plotting to take Taylor’s place, and Jackie will do anything to stop her.

My Review:

Secrets and Lies is the perfect title for this book – there’s not a character that’s not lying and carrying secrets around with them. After the accident in the end of the first novel, Capital Girls, Lettie, Laura Beth and Jackie are all trying to come to terms with the loss of their friend. But the drama doesn’t stop there. Several kidnapping threats have been made regarding Jackie, Lettie’s facing deportation and Laura Beth still has Whitney on her tail causing trouble wherever she goes.

This book has a Gossip Girl vibe to it but instead of just the social politics there’s a Capital Hill flavour to it all. I thought the characters were mostly well written and interesting but I didn’t really feel like I connected with any of them. They’re all a little selfish and well… a little bitchy if I’m being completely honest. They all get preoccupied with their own drama that they aren’t all that supportive of their friends but they’re the first to recognize the shortcomings in others. Mean Girl Whitney was probably my favourite but that’s mostly because she knows how awful she is and makes no apologizes for her behaviour.

I liked the time frame in which Secrets and Lies took place – roughly a six month period – with different stories having time to develop. I did feel a little dissatisfied with the plot in terms of action. I thought the first couple of chapters were more dramatic than the ending and I felt a little let down by that.

The supporting characters – boyfriends and mothers – were an interesting touch. For the most part the boyfriends are shown in a negative light. There’s a cheater, a suspected cheater, a stoner who’s father’s political connections are what get him out of trouble and a very angry young man who’s convinced that one of the other boyfriends is a murderer… Like I said, interesting. I felt like more could have been explored with each of them. And the mothers are fascinating in their own way.

If teen series that deal with the social politics of high school along with healthy doses of sex, lies and the White House are your thing then I can definitely recommend Secrets and Lies. However if you want a little more plot, action and likeable character, it’s probably not the book for you.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Griffin for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 

Also by Ella Monroe:

   Capital Girls (Capital Girls 1)
Amazon / Book Depository

Book Review: Adorkable by Sarra Manning

Title: Adorkable
Author: Sarra Manning
Genre: Contemporary, Chick Lit
Publisher: Atom 
Publication Date: May 2012
Pages: 387
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Jeane Smith is seventeen and has turned her self-styled dorkiness into an art form, a lifestyle choice and a profitable website and consultancy business. She writes a style column for a Japanese teen magazine and came number seven in The Guardian’s 30 People Under 30 Who Are Changing The World. And yet, in spite of the accolades, hundreds of Internet friendships and a cool boyfriend, she feels inexplicably lonely, a situation made infinitely worse when Michael Lee, the most mass-market, popular and predictably all-rounded boy at school tells Jeane of his suspicion that Jeane’s boyfriend is secretly seeing his girlfriend. Michael and Jeane have NOTHING in common – she is cool and individual; he is the golden boy in an Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt. So why can’t she stop talking to him?

My Review:

I secretly love portmanteaux. From spork to staycation, liger to Brangelina – I love them all. So I was eagerly awaiting the day to get my hands on Adorkable. But it wasn’t exactly the dorky yet adorable read I was expecting from the title.

Jeane Smith is a seventeen year old entrepreneur. She has her own company, half a million twitter followers, writes articles for national newspapers and has people flying her half way around the world to hear her speak. As an emancipated minor with no one but the couple next door to make sure she’s eating well and cleaning up after herself, her flat looks like a bomb has hit it and her diet consists of sweets and take out.

Then there’s Michael Lee – ladies man, man’s man, man about town, sports star, and on the student council. Top it off, parents LOVE him.

Each is the centre of their own universe but their worlds seem to have nothing in common. Until Michael Lee brings to Jeane’s attention that her boyfriend and his girlfriend are making eyes at each other…

There were a few things that I really enjoyed about this novel. It’s quirky and at times rather fun. I did find myself laughing out loud at times (which my cat did not appreciate). But it’s been a long time since I read a book where I disliked the two main characters with a passion.

Jeane is pretentious, elitist, conceited, judgemental and just plain rude. Michael Lee isn’t much better. They’re both snarky – which I liked – and they both seem to think that they’re better than everyone else – which I didn’t like quite so much. They weren’t all bad… just mostly. I did like Jeane’s refreshingly blasé views towards sex. But for the most part her attitude towards every other person in the novel (with the exception of her sister, Bethan) started to get a little irritating. I do wonder if the reader was even supposed to like Michael Lee… especially after he described Jeane as having a pot-belly… super attractive, am I right?

By the end of the novel I could see that Jeane was evolving and changing – although it seemed to happen at a pace that was non-existent for most of the time and then a little rushed at the end – but Michael Lee remained the same as he appeared at the beginning. I was a little disappointed. I’d have liked to have seen some character growth from him. I have to admit that I don’t quite understand the Adorkable brand as Jeane intended it. I read the manifesto (and I liked it) but I felt like what she was presenting at the conference…whilst it didn’t contradict her message, it seemed like every single person who was there and (anyone who wasn’t) would have been rather insulted.

I loved how the author used social media throughout the novel – especially twitter. Jeane’s tweets were kind of perfect even when she and Michael started quoting Sartre at each other… although that shows just how pretentious the two of them are.

At time times they played the roles of teenagers perfectly but for the most part it felt like I was reading an adult chick lit story as they didn’t feel like they were only 17 and 18 years old but rather almost a decade older than that. I wonder how well this book will go down with YA readers because as a young adult novel, I’m not sure I entirely got it. But as a novel with a non-specified audience, I quite enjoyed how everything played out.

By the time I finished this book I did enjoy the story but I felt like it took a little too long to get to the end. Whilst I didn’t like the characters I did enjoy reading their interactions and adventures. And I think I’d definitely be a reader of Jeane’s blog if she was more than a fictional character – I just wouldn’t be a friend of hers.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository

Book Review: The List by Siobhan Vivian

Title: The List
Author: Siobhan Vivian
Genre: Contemporary, Teen Issues, Realistic Fiction 
Publisher: Push (an imprint of Scholastic)
Publication Date: April 2012
Pages: 332
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
An intense look at the rules of high school attraction — and the price that’s paid for them.

It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn’t matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up.

This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, “pretty” and “ugly.” And it’s also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two.

My Review:

The List offers a snapshot view into the lives of eight students from the same high school. Each year a list goes up at the start of homecoming week – a list no one knows who complies but lists the prettiest and ugliest girl from each grade. This book chronicles the events in their lives for one week.

Conceptually I loved this book. It deals with so many issues facing teens – eating disorders, virginity, first loves and heartbreak, sisters, families, popularity and self-image. This novel tries to tackle so much. And to me, that was what let it down.

At only 332 pages, it means that each girl’s story gets more or less 40 pages. As a snapshot into their lives it’s enough to see what’s going on at that one moment but I guess I’m greedy. I wanted to see the fall out. I want to know what happens to these girls on a long-term basis. One week’s glimpse into who they are and the problems they face isn’t enough to satisfy me.

As well as not getting to see enough of each girl, there were just too many characters to keep track of and get to know. Each girl had a family, friends, sisters and boyfriends. It was just too much to delve into properly. I would have loved this book so much more if there were less story lines and more time shown.

I thought that the author did a fantastic job at showing how much appearance and public image is important to high school students. As well as how rumours spread and the origin of the rumour doesn’t matter – as soon as it’s in the public realm, it’s as good as gospel. As far as being realistic – this book was brilliant. I could relate to  each of the eight girls. I had been there myself or had a friend who was when I was in school. But there was just too much tried to be condensed into the book.

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Book Review: Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby

Title: Shooting Stars 
Author: Allison Rushby
Genre: Contemporary, Chick Lit
Publisher: Walker Children’s
Publication Date: February 2012
Pages: 272
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Meet Josephine Foster, or Zo Jo as she’s called in the biz. The best pint-sized photographer of them all, Jo doesn’t mind doing what it takes to get that perfect shot, until she’s sent on an undercover assignment to shoot Ned Hartnett—teen superstar and the only celebrity who’s ever been kind to her—at an exclusive rehabilitation retreat in Boston. The money will be enough to pay for Jo’s dream: real photography classes, and maybe even quitting her paparazzi gig for good. Everyone wants to know what Ned’s in for. But Jo certainly doesn’t know what she’s in for: falling in love with Ned was never supposed to be part of her assignment.

My Review:

Josephine Foster, daughter of paparazzi royalty, can pap with the best of them. In fact, armed with her handy faux-iPod camera and sneaky sunglasses cam, little Zo-Jo is the best stealth celebrity stalker (I mean paparazzo) in the business. But she’s not happy with the dirty world of underhanded tactics. All she really wants is to get enough money to do the portrait photography course she’s got her heart set on and leave the business of snapping celebrities to someone else.

When Jo is offered the opportunity to get all the remaining money she needs in one  job, she’s not as eager to accept as one might expect. That’s because her client wants her to spy and take photos of singer-songwriter Ned Hartnett – the celebrity who showed her kindness a few years ago and has held a special place in Jo’s heart ever since.

After reluctantly taking the job of going undercover in the rehab facility in Boston for teens with non-substance abuse kind of issues, Jo is having a moral dilemma. Ned doesn’t recognize her but Jo is falling even further for the star with every passing day. Doe she betray the boy she is starting to really care about or does she take the chance to finally get out of the game for good and take the money and the photos?

I enjoyed reading this book. Last night I couldn’t sleep so I picked up my copy and started reading. Before I knew it, I was over three-quarters of the way in and by that stage I couldn’t stop before the end. It is a fun read. From the start I enjoyed being privy to Jo’s life as a paparazzo and just what it entailed for her.

It’s a little cheesy in places and there were some parts that I sort of found a little unbelievable but this is not real life – it is a novel – and I found it very entertaining. I did feel a little cheated by the ending. This whole novel revolves around Jo and how she’s not quite all she seems. She goes to the retreat as a way to get close to Ned but whilst she’s there we see that she has some real issues of her own that she needs to deal with. I felt like that part of the story was glossed over a little. I know it’s not a deep and meaningful book but it seemed like we had the big reveal and then it wasn’t really addressed in a way I was satisfied with.

There is a lot to like about this story: the characters are entertaining and there were a few complete surprises in terms of the plot. I enjoyed the journey the author took me on.

In many ways this reminded me of a Meg Cabot novel (Teen Idol in particular) and I recommend it for anyone who appreciates teen stories where the hero is a bit of a heart-throb celebrity.

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