Are You Alone on Purpose?

I squeed aloud when I saw this in the book store the other day. I literally hugged it, which made me the strange adult hanging out in the teen section. Not the first time. Won’t be the last.

I read this a while ago, and when I went to add it to my library it was out of print.  It has been republished which makes me happy.

Alison is the silent good girl unwilling to make her parents unhappy.  Harry is the class ass.  Determined to challenge his father, Harry is a  bully with a nasty streak.   After Harry’s accident which leaves him paralyzed Alison uses her guilt and maybe empathy to build a relationship with Harry that surprises them both.

It isn’t new now (hello  . . . Friday Night Lights) but the fact that Werlin addresses sex concerns of Harry, who is a paraplegic after his accident.  Something I am pretty sure a 15 (? 14? can’t remember exactly) year old boy and girl (Alison wonders too) might think about was pretty surprising to me when I first read the book.  She skirts around issues of faith too, in a fairly realistic way.  Another issue which at the time I first read this hadn’t really found much place beyond Are You There God?

Werlin’s later stuff is technically better, but I am glad this has found its way back in print – it is a tender story about families, growing up, and first love.


Perfect You

When I am nervous I am an utter complete total bitch.  And woe to anyone who tries to be nice to me.  When I was in high school this led to many fights with my mother, who did not have the option of hiding out in the shop like my dad did while I got ready for some event.  Now I know what is going on and I try not to be so awful, but sometimes I just can’t help it . . .  which is why I related to Kate, particularly in her relationship with Will.

Everything is going wrong in Kate’s life – her father has quit his job and is selling vitamins at the mall (and not very successfully), her brother has graduated from college and moved home, her best friend isn’t talking to her now that she is popular, and now her grandmother is moving in and causing tension in the family.  There is no way she is going to believe, or trust, that Will might like her.  And she is determined not to like him.  Which is why it is so confusing when he kisses her, or she kisses him, or whatever it is that is happening.  Kate doesn’t do a tremendous amount of growing . . . but then again she has a lot of reasons to be bitter and angry, and it isn’t like they go away in some magical Hollywood moment at the end of the book.  But she does enough for the book to be satisfying.  And she is funny, this rescues her from being whiny.

This is the second Elizabeth Scott book I’ve read recently.  I finally got around to Bloom, which I also liked.  But this one I liked just a little tiny bit more.

Before I Die

I need to like a main character, and Tessa is difficult to like.  She is self centered, whiny, and aggressively pushes people away.  But who gets to say what you act like when you are dying?  And so you have to give Tessa a break – which would really piss her off because she doesn’t particularly like it when people treat her as if she is contagious, or pity her because she is dying – although she is not beyond playing the terminal cancer card.

Tessa has a list – have sex, take drugs, say yes, fall in love.  It isn’t an easy list to complete when you are dying.

So here is the thing – Before I Die – is a tear jerker but it isn’t Lurlene McDaniel.  Tessa isn’t sweet or saintly, and while the plot outline is typical McDaniel sick girl falls in love – it isn’t Ken and Barbie love.  Adam and Tessa have real, messy love with misunderstandings, and pain, and sex, and disappointments, and hand holding.

And little brother Cal is angry, funny, sad, and a typical boy.  And Mom is flawed, unable to get emotionally messy until it is almost too late. And Dad is just trying his best.  And Zoey, well she is a bit of an enigma, but then again it is all about Tessa, and Tessa doesn’t give her much of a chance because well, it is all about her, she needs Zoey to be a certain way.

I can’t say I was overwhelmed by this book, it isn’t sitting inside of me.  But in the end, I enjoyed (? funny word for a sad book) it.

Dear E. Lockhart part II

You rock!

Frankie Landau Banks is seriously my favorite character in forever!  She is like Roo with an edge (Frankie would have loved Roo’s cupcakes).  She is funny, and smart, and so very obviously loves language.  I mean 3 pages on the grammar of neglected positives, and imaginary neglected postives and false neglected positive???  Genius.

Frankie wanted to be a force.

And my wasn’t she?  And you, e. lockhart, did not cop out at the end.  I so love that about your stories.

She wasn’t a person who need to be liked so much as she was a person who liked to be notorious.

Damn!  This was a fun read!  I just really really adore Frankie.

( and by the way not Matthew  much!  but what was up with freakin’ Porter?  I thought he was a total weenie at the end!  What an interesting moral judgment he makes – which I don’t want to get too spoiler-y although I seem to have already crossed some line, but who cares if you are reading this and you haven’t yet read this book – READ IT!)

Long May She Reign

I resisted reading this for a while because I just could NOT GET PAST THE COVER, no matter how much anyone explained it to me. (Mona Lisa)

But despite what I felt was an icky cover, it sounded interesting. Meg, the President’s daughter is recovering from a kidnapping and brutal escape. And people I respected liked it so I read it.

It has been a long time since I took my time with a book, but I really did with this one. Partially because it was long – 720 pages, and partially because it was intense – Meg and her family really haven’t recovered, and partially because it moved slow in places which I ended up not minding at all. There are prequels to this that were published a while ago (1989) which I hadn’t read but they are being re-released and I am looking forward to at least the one in which she gets kidnapped. I liked Meg, she had a sense of humor but she is still pretty damaged, and not just physically and in the obvious ways, but in other not so obvious ways as well. In fact I am pretty sure she isn’t aware of all the ways she is messed up. She also isn’t really aware of how much of a survivor she is, navigating college as the President’s daughter, a paparazzi stalked celebrity, potential target of terrorists, and still in pain isn’t all that easy.

I really flew through the last 100 pages, we were on a trip and I read while my husband drove. Good thing there wasn’t anything interesting to look at, I wouldn’t have noticed.

Overall I enjoyed this, a little depressing but still good, and am looking forward to some earlier books.


Still basking!

Kansas Jayhawks

I haven’t posted recently altho’ I have read some things I really like, and I will get around to writing about them but right now I am just wasting some time before tonight’s game so I don’t have to think about how cool it’d be if they won, and how I just don’t think they will (I am a pessimist what can I say? then maybe I won’t be disappointed if they lose, and make winning that much sweeter. right? right?). Plus my, like, bestest friend, and the traitor who went to London for a boy (and is now getting married so I guess it was worth it), will be here tomorrow and we are going to be ladies who lunch (just a little sarcasm) and I am looking forward to that so I just don’t want to think work right now.

Anyways _ Go KU!!!! Rock Chalk, and all that.