Monday, March 23, 2015

Book Review: The Princesses of Iowa

Title: The Princesses of Iowa
Author: M. Molly Backes
Publisher: Candlewick
Rating: 2

Synopsis (via Goodreads): What does it mean to do wrong, when no one punishes you? A smart and unflinching look at friendship, the nature of entitlement, and growing up in the heartland. Paige Sheridan has the perfect life. She's pretty, rich, and popular, and her spot on the homecoming court is practically guaranteed. But when a night of partying ends in an it-could-have-been-so-much worse crash, everything changes. Her best friends start ignoring her, her boyfriend grows cold and distant, and her once-adoring younger sister now views her with contempt. The only bright spot is her creative writing class, led by a charismatic new teacher who encourages students to be true to themselves. But who is Paige, if not the homecoming princess everyone expects her to be? In this arresting and witty debut, a girl who was once high-school royalty must face a truth that money and status can't fix, and choose between living the privileged life of a princess, or owning up to her mistakes and giving up everything she once held dear.

Review: If you like a book full of snobby, popular rich girls who only care about getting the homecoming crown, then this book is for you! If not, run away. Fast.

I snatched this book after a quick trip to the library (which is never a "quick trip" - let's be real) because of the creative writing class Paige is enrolled in during her senior year of high school and the suspense of a car accident. The creative writing class is literally the only thing I liked about this book. The car accident scene wasn't even climatic. All three went to a party, got drunk, acted stupid, decided to drive and got into a sissy girl-fight while driving resulting in a car accident. Whoop de doo.

Like any other book with the main character being a mean, popular girl there was an intelligent boy. Ethan. He worked at Starbucks and liked to write. That's all I got to learn about him. Shanti was pretty cool from what I read about her. She had that whole "hipster vibe" going for her. Then again, I never really got to connect with her either. Do you see the problem? I literally had no emotional connection to any of the characters. THIS NEVER HAPPENS TO ME. Character connection and development is on the top of my list for Why I Love To Read. So, you can say I'm pretty crushed.

Underneath the main plot of princesses-and-perfection hid the creative writing snippet. (You know, the only thing I cherished about this novel). Unfortunately, this was also clouded by a petty problem. The accusation of Mr. Tremont being gay.
You've got to be kidding me... 

*Warning to those who plan on reading this book: I had a constant urge to chuck this book across the room. The thought of burning it also crossed my mind.* 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Book Review: Eleanor & Park

Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Rating: 5

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Two misfits. One extraordinary love. Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor. Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park. Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. 

Review: "There's no such thing as handsome princes, she told herself. There's no such thing as happily ever after. She looked up at Park. Into his golden green eyes. You saved my life, she tried to tell him. Not forever, not for good. Probably just temporary. But you saved my life, and now I'm yours. The me that's me right now is yours. Always." 

This. I just. 

I can't. 

I fell in love with this book after reading the first sentence. And if you know me, I hate sappy romance novels. I make faces at cute couples at my school for crying out loud. There was just something about Eleanor & Park that made me smile. It could've been the humor (“Because being assaulted with maxi pads is a great way to win friends and influence people."); it could've been the stereotypes (Eleanor wasn't model thin and Park isn't caucasian); but one thing is for sure, I will be reading - and eagerly anticipating - more from Rainbow Rowell. 

Both Eleanor and Park have their own insecurities, but when they are together, they feel like they can be themselves. Maybe this is what made this book so beautiful. The two bond over music and reading comics on the school bus - definitely not your typical boy meets girl. In fact, Park thought she was weird when he first saw her. There was no "love at first sight" in sight! (Kudos to Rainbow for being realistic here). The insecurities continue throughout their story. First kiss? Awkward. Meeting the parents? Cringe worthy. Not-so-normal family life? Spot on. I've never read a contemporary young adult book before that actually came off as practical - as in, it could actually happen. 

I've heard a lot of great things about Fangirl, so I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. At the same time, I really don't want to return Eleanor & Park to the library...