The Secret Life Of Prince Charming

If Sarah Dessen‘s books make me wonder about her mother issues (which she says she doesn’t have, and I believe her so maybe I should have said her character’s mother issues), Deb Caletti’s books makes me wonder about her father issues.

In The Secret Life of Prince Charming Quinn (my step daughter’s name btw – which she hates, says its a boy’s name but I’m thrilled a fictional girl has it) lives with her mother, grandmother, aunt, and sister after their father abandon them.  After a long absence he has become a part of their life, but all is not perfect.  When Quinn realizes some of her father’s prize objects belong to women he has dated, married, etc. (and some other traumatic events happen) this good girl contacts her half sister, and a trip to restore the items to their rightful owners, and maybe learn who their father really is materializes.

I have to admit I read this through adult woman eyes.  Which is to say I related to the older women’s stories of their loves more than Quinn’s journey.  I’ve had my share of the bad boys, the relationships that consume you even though you know they just aren’t right, and I have the “right one” now, and it isn’t what I thought it would be – its better.  And the stories and lessons the women left behind by Quinn’s father resonated with me.  At one point I thought – this isn’t really for teens, its for women my age.  But that isn’t entirely true because there is self discovery, what it means to be the child of divorce (which may be why I didn’t truly connect with Quinn, I have my own issues with that as a step mom), and a (predictable) romance.

One note – Sprout, the younger sister, while fun may have been a bit too precocious.  But I liked the other secondary characters.

Also the best “secret” being kept was Ivar, the dogs.  Laughted out loud.

My favorite Deb Caletti remains The Nature of Jade.

Also reviewed on my blog The Fortunes of Indigo Skye

What Others Thought:

A Patchwork of Books

Miss Print

Bookworm 4 Life

Ooops …. Wrong Cookie

and many, many more.

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Nerds Heart YA

Judging one thing against another is always interesting, particularly when you don’t have a particular set of criteria.  It is inevitable that the personal enters into it.  I read both books (the shape of water and cracked up to be) a while ago, and blogged my original thoughts.  And then I began the process of deciding which one I thought should move on.  Truth be told I like Cracked Up to Be better, I liked the plot, it had a great hook, the character, Parker Fadley, was both at once likeable and unlikable – which is exactly how she should have been.  However I had a deep appreciation for the structure of the language of The Shape of Water. It was metaphorical, and lush with the description.  It was what I call a quiet book, a character study about grief and loss, and moving on.  I wondered if perhaps my affinity for Cracked had to do with the fact that I read it first, or a preference for the genre, and if I shouldn’t put that aside and deal with the structure and quality of the writing, but essentially when I broke it down – Cracked was in some cases tighter, maybe a little less obvious, and the strands followed through – whereas Shape lost some things – or maybe more accurately wrapped them up and headed into a new experience.  But isn’t that what grief is – so maybe in structure it does hold up.  See what I mean – this was a close call, and I have been back and forth a dozen times.  In the end I am going with what I liked more so Cracked Up to Be, congratulations – you are moving on!

if I stay

I’ve been drawn to if I stay since I first saw it on the shelf.  I loved the cover, it is simple and graphic, sad and hopeful.  It turns out the cover is totally reflective of the story.  if-i-stay

If I stay is the story of Mia whose family has been involved in a deadly car crash, and now as her body in an ICU, she must decide to stay or go.  That is the plot . . .  but it is more than that.   It is a love story.  Love for her family, her friends, her music, and finally for Adam, her boyfriend.  It travels between her memories, and the moment.

At one point Mia hopes that her memories travel with her if she dies, that they will always be a part of her.  She knows that being dead is like what it must be like before your born, nothingness.  But she values her memories, even the ones she has of the moments before she was born.  I like that.  It is her memories, both of what has become before, and what the future memories may be that save her.  Memories of love, really.

This is a sad story; Mia has lost something that cannot be found.  She may not live, and the rest of her family hasn’t.  But there is hope, because for all she has lost, she still has – family, friends, music, a future.

This book has gotten some attention as of late.  But it wasn’t until I had mentally added it to my TBR that I noticed that attention.

It was, like, all dark and stormy. (Issue with that headline btw)

From The Daily Beast- Is Gayle Forman’s If I Stay the Next Twilight? Answer: No,  and it doesn’t have to be.   And why is it label tween??????  It isn’t a tween novel.   And as for Twilight being tween – ummmmm, I know many, many teen girls (and boys) who read, and re-read this series.  Wait, I’m not supposed to be getting annoyed at media posts about YA that don’t get it just pointing out that they exist for this book.  HuffPo picked this up too.

From 17 mag (who she writes for)

And from people who read and review YA and you know, like it.

Abby the Librarian

Zoe’s Book Reviews

Confessions of a Bibliovore

and many, many, many more.

Love you, hate you, miss you

I am turning 40 this year.  I am surprised by this.  I do not feel like I thought 40 would feel back when I thought 40 was old.  While I can’t say that I am issue-y about this, I am surprised by the fact that I am almost 40.

I bring this up because if there is one thing about being old, well older, and reading YA is that sometimes the hindsight I read with makes the issues that protagonists have seem like less of a deal to me, than to them.  For sure I felt this way about Hannah Baker.  I have this sort of adult voice in my head that says you will get over this, sure it’ll be with you but you’ll live and someday it won’t even be so awful.  And sometimes I have a hard time with all the ANGST.

So in terms of this book – yes Amy it sucks to see your best friend die after you set her up for a heartbreaking moment.  The kind of moment she would have gotten over.  And someday you’ll be ok.  And some day you won’t spend your every waking moment thinking you are a murderer.  (There are some similarities between this and Cracked Up to Be, well a lot.)  And I know this is about getting there, to that day.  And I am worried and concerned for you.  However as a reader I could not leave this  perspective behind, that really all this melodrama is just a bit too, too much for me.

But don’t get me wrong.  This is MY response to a book that is well written.  Elizabeth Scott is a bit all over the map.  I mean there is this, this, this, and this.  AND then there is this.  But I really like her.  I will continue to read her books in hardback because of that – which is a great compliment.  I like the serious romance, and I respect Living Dead Girl (made me ill reading this book, but in a good emotional response way, I think)

the shape of water

The difficulty with reading the shape of water is that I read it second – so it is hard to write about with out the comparison in my head.

In the shape of water Magda is adjusting to the loss of her mother who has died.  Life is moving on around her – her best friend has switched schools, her father is dating, and something she cannot quite name is happening with her aunt.  Magda is trying to find her place in the world, which she perceives as having been divided by a four lane boulevard, and she lives on the dark side where life is messy, and imperfect, and not forever.

Thoughts:

It was hard at first to classify this book, what with the fish in her head talking to her.  There is an element of magical realism, but in truth the reader and Magda are always aware that the fish among other things are happening in her head.  It also becomes fairly apparent that there is a larger metaphor at work, her brain trying to adjust to and work out the truth about her mother’s “accident”.

The woman her father starts dating is frankly some kinds of awful.  I think she is trying, and she may have a good heart, but her denial is a mile wide and deep, and her handling of getting to know Magda is god awful.  And her son?????   Holy bejeezus!  And that is all I have to say about that!

This is a “quiet” book.  Magda is trying to deal with loss and grief in family that has no vocabulary for what that loss is.  Anne Spollen is a beautifully descriptive writer.  Magda’s ability to live in her head gives Spollen an opportunity to exercise that talent.

In a few days I will past a decision between this and Cracked Up to Be.

48Hr Challenge

For the past two years I have set aside the weekend and read to participate in this challenge. Earlier this week my husband asked when it was assuming I would be unavailable for that weekend.  But . . .  I have decided no to participate this year.  This is all about the guilt of staying in bed for 48 hrs surrounded by boks when my windows needs washing, my house needs dusting, my book needs writing/editing, research needs to be completed, etc.  I could of course scale back but somehow I know that just wouldn’t happen.  Anyways I hope the challenge readers enjoy their weekends and you should check out their blogs and follow their progress.

1. Liyana Land!
2. Shannan
3. Charlotte
4. Cindy’s love of books
5. Susan
6. Kristin
7. Military76brat: celebrate life w/bargains up and going
8. Rasco from RIF
9. Katy
10. Amanda (A Patchwork of Books)
11. Laura
12. Pippi’s Postings
13. Rebekah
14. Susan B. Evans
15. Sarah- Green Bean Teen Queen
16. Rebecca
17. Courtney
18. Sherry at Semicolon
19. Lawral
20. Scott: HPL YA
21. Tasses
22. Denise von Minden
23. Sandra
24. Jules (Bookworm Jules)
25. Shannon Bailey
26. Ami
27. Kristin
28. Eva M
29. Anna
30. Becca
31. Melissa
32. Ms. Yingling
33. Jess
34. Bibliovore
35. misskate
36. Lady Schrapnell
37. Crystal F.
38. Cindy Deatsman
39. Saints and Spinners
40. lakereader
41. Becky
42. Andromeda Jazmon
43. Jen Robinson
44. Sarah (The Reading Zone)
45. Jessica Leigh
46. Paulina
47. Julie Johnson
48. Sandra (Fresh Ink Books)
49. Mary Schwander
50. Emily’s Reading Room
51. Blog from the Windowsill
52. Lori
53. Julie
54. Shonda
55. Kristi (The Story Siren)
56. Dreadful Penny
57. Briana (What Bri Reads)
58. Muttix
59. Paige Y.
60. Milly Marie
61. Tricia (Miss Rumphius)
62. Jen
63. Amber (Nerd Girl Talking)
64. Mother Reader
65. i Alessa
66. Jennie (Biblio File)
67. The Brain Lair
68. SBBO
69. Kimberly @ lectitans
70. Jess (Active Voice)
71. Imelda
72. Amanda Blau
73. Bill at Literate Lives
74. Sharon Hrycewicz
75. tmdahle@ centurytel. net
76. Natasha @ Maw Books
77. Darcy
78. Kerri
79. Monique @ The Little Reading Nook
80. Juli
81. Sondra Eklund
82. Mandy
83. Karen at Literate Lives
84. Becky (One Literature Nut)
85. Kay @ Infinite Shelf
86. Megan
87. Beth
88. Reyna
89. Diane ~ The Book Resort
90. Heather
91. Elisabeth Reads
92. Erica (The Book Cellar)
93. Mary Ann (Great Kid Books)
94. Amy Planchak Graves
95. Trisha
96. M
97. Lazygal
98. Leila
99. Bethany (Lessons From the Head)
100. Liz Burns
101. Steph
102. Steph (Reviewer X)
103. Camille@ Book Moot
104. Rebecca @ Lost in Books
105. Kathrin
106. Leah
107. Jessi (casual dread)
108. Vasilly

Cracked Up to Be

Initial impressions – Sooo glad for this tournamentThis is the kind of book I would have read if I found it on my own.

Great hook: Imagine four years.  Four years, two suicides, one death, one rape, two pregnancies (one abortion), three overdoses, countless drunken antics, pantsings, spilled food, theft, fights, broken limbs, turf wars – every day, a turf war – six months until graduation and no one gets a medal when they get out.  But everything you do here counts.

Plot:  Good girl, queen of the school, perfect Parker Fadley has gone off the deep end.  Coming to school drunk is only one of her recent crimes.  Now she must show up to classes sober, pass them all, and meet with her counselor once a week to avoid getting kicked out of school.  That is much easier said than done since all Parker wants is to be alone – of course that is also easier said than done.  Especially with the new kid Jake so obviously interested in her.

Thoughts:

  • I was worried that whatever the precipitating event that led to Parker’s change in behavior wouldn’t hold up to the extremes of her isolation.  The good news is – it did.  The bad news – it became apparent what it was probably before it should have.
  • Parker is predictably difficult to like, to give her credit she knows that and embraces it.
  • The novel was compelling, I wanted to read, didn’t want to put it down.  In some ways it is plot driven – what is Parker’s secret?  What really happened?  It moves you through the novel.