April 27, 2011

Review of "Here Lies Bridget"

"Here Lies Bridget"
Paige Harbison

Here Lies Bridget (Harlequin Teen)3

Pub. Date: January 18th, 2011
Pages: 224
Publisher: Harlequin

Synopsis:  Bridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don't worship as attentively, teachers don't fall for her wide-eyed "who me?" look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she's always loved—Liam Ward—can barely even look at her anymore.

When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she's wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a last impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she's inflicted on the people who mean the most to her.

And Bridget's about to learn that, sometimes, saying you're sorry just isn't enough….

When I first heard about this book I was very excited because it reminded me of "Before I Fall", but "Here Lies Bridget" did not live up to my hopes.  The book was good, but it just didn't captivate me like "Before I Fall".  I had two problems with this book.  The first was the fact that I didn't really sympathize with Bridget until the very end of the book.  She was too cruel and naive about how her actions affect others.  She took advantage of EVERYONE in her life and wasn't nice to anyone.  She really just came across as the biggest, most spoiled brat character.  This wouldn't have been so bad, except for the fact that the book spent way too much time showing how terrible of a person Bridget was.  I wanted to see more of her realizing her faults and getting to know the real Bridget, but there just wasn't enough of this for me.

The book did move pretty quickly and it was enjoyable watching all the drama unfold, but I just had problems connecting with Bridget's character for most of the book.  Even though it was hard to read, I liked the scenes with Bridget’s stepmother.  She just seemed very genuine.  Something I really did like about the book was the complex relationship between Bridget and Liam.  I liked that it slowly unwrapped through the book.  I feel like her interactions with Liam were some of the only moments where I saw the real Bridget.  Getting to see the true thoughts of Bridget's closest friends was also another part of the book I really enjoyed.  Bridget was just so disconnected from other people's perceptions of her.

Overall, the book was good, I just wish more time was spent on Bridget learning about her flaws.  I would recommend this book to readers who enjoyed "Before I Fall" and "The Ghost and the Goth".  I wish I liked this book more, but it just didn’t meet my expectations.

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April 9, 2011

Review of "Desires of the Dead"

"Desires of the Dead"
Kimberly Derting

Desires of the Dead (Body Finder)

Pub. Date: February 15th, 2011
Pages: 368
Publisher: HarperCollins

Synopsis:  The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found. 

Violet can sense the echoes of those who've been murdered—and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life. 

As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she'd turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where things went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike's tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger.

I absolutely loved "The Body Finder" and I was worried that "Desires of the Dead" wouldn't live up to my expectations, luckily I was wrong!  I had to force myself to stop reading the book because I had longs days at work and needed my sleep, else I would have stayed up into the wee hours of the night reading it.  This book has everything- mystery, romance, great characters, and it kept me on my toes.  I kept thinking I had the book figured out, but it was constantly surprise me. 

I have to admit, there was a moment where I worried the book was pulling a "New Moon", like so many teen paranormal sequels tend to do, but luckily it was short lived.  Yes Violet does make some poor decisions, some of them extremely dangerous, but her gift pulls her into them- I can't blame her for not following what it commands of her.

I really liked the conflict Violet faces when the FBI start questioning her.  The agent seems interested in helping her, but how can Violet trust someone she doesn't know?  I also like how it brings in a mysterious male character- I can't help but want to know about those silent, handsome guys!  I can't wait to see where these conflicts bring Violet in the next book!  On top of that, there is the dead body of a young boy that Violet found and the new guy Mike with the tragic family history- if this isn't enough to peek your interest then there is no hope for you.

If you haven't read this series, I highly recommend it.  They are super fast reads and if the romance doesn't get you interested then the paranormal mystery will!  I am not usually a huge fan of mysteries myself, but Kimberly Derting has helped convert me.  I am doing my best not to get all fan girl gushy about this one, so I am going to stop now because the book was AWESOME... what more do you want me to say?

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April 4, 2011

Review of "The Family That Wasn't"

"The Family That Wasn't"
Gene Twaronite
The Family That Wasn't: A Novel

Pub. Date: August 24, 2010
Pages: 128
Publisher: iUniverse.com

Synopsis: The Family That Wasn't is a humorous fable of how our families live inside us. It will appeal to both teen and adult readers. The 13-year-old narrator, John Boggle (whose real name is John Bazukas-O'Reilly-Geronimo-Giovanni-Li Choy-Echeverria), finds his family so impossibly crazy that he cannot stand living with them another moment. He invents a new perfect family so convincing that he suddenly finds himself living inside this imaginary world.

But John finds that he too has changed. He sees his too perfect image in the mirror and begins to wonder if it is all some kind of mistake. Only trouble is, now he can't remember who he is. He only knows that he must leave this family at once. His sole clue is the name, John Boggle.
To find his true family he embarks on a cross country quest. Along the way he encounters other characters who have also lost touch with their families. Together they must find a way to reconstruct the connections to bring back the family that once was.

 "The Family That Wasn't" was entertaining and only took me a couple hours to finish.  When I heard the plot of the book, I knew it would be interesting and the book delivered.  Even though the book started off a bit slow, there was a lot of character development for John's family, the rest of the book sped by.  Usually I am not one for added length to books, but I actually wish there was more of "The Family That Wasn't".   I think the book would have been better if there had been more time spent with John on his cross-country quest.  I also wish there had been a bit more conflict, things just went a little too easily for John on his quest.  There were some set backs, but I wish there had been more of a climax.

I liked how John changed when his family changed.  It really showed how interlocked ones identity is with their relationship with their family.  We'd like to think that our lives aren't shaped by our family, but that would be a lie.  John's family wasn't all together terrible, excluding one person, but it was definitely understandable why he would want a new one.  I'm sure many kids have felt that they would like a new family at one point in their lives- this book is something that they can relate to.  I know I used to think about how my life would be different if I had a different family and now that I am older, I know that a different family could not love me more.  This book does a great job of showing readers why having the "perfect" family is not necessarily better than having the slightly crazy family you were born with.  

Overall, this book was a fun, quick read.  I would recommend it to anyone who has thought about replacing his or her family or who just thinks that this sounds like an interesting plot.  It kind of reminded me a bit of Coraline, but not nearly as creepy.

*I did receive a copy of this book for review.