Monday, June 27, 2011

So Much Closer

So Much Closer
written by Susane Colasanti

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti

I love Susane Colasanti's books, as I've mentioned in previous reviews. It is so evident through her writing that she has worked with teens and really understands them. The characters she creates are realistic and complex, rather than shallow caricatures. Having read her blog, this book reads as the epitome of all that she is. Set against a New York backdrop, filled with cute teen romance and more references to The Office than you've ever seen in a book before, So Much Closer is sure to satisfy your need for fluffy romance accompanied by a journey of self-discovery. Colasanti's books are mature and subtly complex. You can read them as simple love stories if that's what you're in the mood for, but there's so much more hidden under the surface. Though on the surface, it might seem like this is a book about a girl moving to New York City chasing the boy of her dreams, beneath that, it's about a girl learning to accept who she is and all that has made her that way.

Rating: 5/5

Also by Susane Colasanti:
When It Happens
Waiting for You
Something Like Fate

I got this book from...:LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Friday, June 24, 2011


written by Lauren Myracle

Lauren Myracle is back with a dark mystery, revolving around a hate crime in a small, Southern town. It's really amazing to see the tremendous scope of writing Myracle is capable of--from lighthearted teen girl drama in the Internet Girls series, to the horror story in Bliss, to this new mystery. Personally, I think she should stick with the latter two, as there are so few writers out there capable of pulling off such captivating, deep writing so well. I've owned this book for a while, but it wasn't until the recent kerfuffle with the Wall Street Journal article that I decided to read the book. The article singled out Myracle's novel for its content, claiming that it is too dark for teen readers. While there are more drug references than you'll find in most other YA novels, I actually learned that meth use/abuse is pretty rampant in small Southern towns, which I never knew before. It becomes a key factor in the events of the story, so its inclusion in the story isn't just for the sake of giving the story an edge. (And the drug certainly isn't glorified, much the opposite.) This could easily turn into a whole rant at the wrongful accusations in the article, but that's a rant best saved for another day. I will leave a link to Lauren Myracle's rebuttal, though, for your reading pleasure.
The greatest thing about this novel is that unlike most mysteries, everything isn't clear-cut. Lauren Myracle truly imagines her characters complexly, showcasing all sides of the story rather than sticking with a black/white dichotomy, instead opting for the good, the bad, and the blurry. I do have a bit of an issue to take with the ending. The writing was spectacular, and the story was an important one to tell. I do think that it is important to note that not all hate crimes are perpetrated by the stereotypical latent homosexual struggling with self-hatred towards their own identity. Some legitimately are a result of complete ignorance. It's an important distinction to make. I also don't think Beef should have died. It served as the poignant ending it was intended to be, but I don't like the message being sent--conveniently killing off the most conflicted character rather than opting for battling ignorance/self-hatred with knowledge and love. He could have been sent to rehab instead, offering hope for those who are lost and struggling.

Rating: 4/5

I got this book from...:BookMooch

Thursday, June 16, 2011


written by Meg Cabot

I never thought this day would come. The day I got tired of Meg Cabot's writing tropes. Maybe it says more about me than anything else, which is a scary thought, since she's the one who really launched my love of YA, but it's a scary day, no doubt. Ordinarily, there's some kind of extra spark, something beyond the typical Cabot love story, but I just wasn't feeling it this time. Part of it can be attributed to the same complaint I've addressed towards other books recently--dragging a book out to fit a series, rather than fitting the story into however many books it needs. I felt like this book moved along much slower than the typical Cabot book. The other thing I felt was similarities here and there between this adaptation of the myth of Persephone...and Cabot's other mythical adaption--found in Avalon High. Avalon High is one of my favorite books by Meg Cabot, and that would probably be due to the fact that it is extraordinarily fast paced, revelations flying in from every direction. This could have been a good book if the story hadn't been stretched out. The idea that I'm supposed to imagine John as a main character when he's barely even present in the story? Difficult to do! The book was much more interesting when he and Pierce were directly interacting. I think this was a novel idea, an idea that held a lot of potential, but the story was disorganized, convoluted, and stretched out beyond necessity.

Rating: 3/5

I got this book from...: Amazon Vine