I haven’t done many mini reviews lately, and it is about time that I changed that! Mini reviews are the perfect way to share new books if I don’t quite have time to do a full review for each, and they are always lots of fun to do. Recently, I’ve been reading a lot (hello, summer!) so I’m going to highlight several different books, and my opinion on each.
The 3 books that I am reviewing are Those Girls by Lauren Saft, Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos, and All We Have Is Now by Lisa Shroeder. These are all in different genres, and my opinions for each are quite different as well.
Those Girls by Lauren Saft
Some girls will always have your back, and some girls can’t help but stab you in it.
Junior year, the suburbs of Philadelphia. Alex, Mollie and Veronica are those girls: they’re the best of friends and the party girls of the school. But how well does everybody know them–and really, how well do they know one another? Alex is secretly in love with the boy next door and has joined a band–without telling anyone. Mollie suffers from a popular (and possibly sociopathic) boyfriend, as well as a serious mean streak. And Veronica just wants to be loved. Will this be the year that bonds them forever….or tears them apart for good?
Lauren Saft masterfully conveys what goes on in the mind of a teenage girl, and her debut novel is raw, honest, hilarious, and thought-provoking, with a healthy dose of heart
*Review copy received from publisher (at BEA) in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t affect my opinion or review*
I picked up Those Girls on a whim, having heard very little about it previously, and I really wish I hadn’t. Not only was Those Girls not enjoyable for me, but the way that it portrayed friendships was not something I liked at all.
Veronica, Mollie, Alex–Three wealthy best friends who attend a private school in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Despite the way that they are described as friends, I would not classify them as such. Friends don’t stab each other in the back, or spread nasty rumors, or lie to each other. Mollie, Veronica and Alex are just plain awful to each other. At first I was rooting for Alex, but in the end I realized that she was just as mean as the rest of them.
I despised the way that their friendship was portrayed during this novel, but what frustrated me the most was how they didn’t seem to grow at all. Sure, they sometimes ended up dating other people, but Veronica, Alex and Mollie didn’t seem to mature at all throughout the course of this novel. I have nothing against “bad” characters, but I want them to change somehow from the start to the finish. Overall, it wasn’t for me.
Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos
In Marla Klein and Ivy Wilde’s world, teens are the gatekeepers of culture. A top fashion label employs sixteen-year-old Marla to dictate hot new clothing trends, while Ivy, a teen pop star, popularizes the garments that Marla approves.
Both girls are pawns in a calculated but seductive system of corporate control, and both begin to question their world’s aggressive levels of consumption. Will their new “eco-chic” trend subversively resist and overturn the industry that controls every part of their lives?
Smart, provocative, and entertaining, this thrilling page-turner for teens questions the cult like mentality of fame and fashion. Are you in or are you out?
*ARC received from pub via CK magazine for review. This doesn’t affect my opinion or review. Parts of this review initially appeared in Creative Kids Magazine*
Set in a futuristic world, Material Girls examines style, fame, and the power of trends. Ivy Wilde is the latest teenage superstar with a rebellious streak and Marla Klein works for a prominent fashion label. Both girls have sacrificed a lot to stay on the top. . I didn’t love Marla or Ivy, but they were both interesting enough for me to want to read about. When a chance encounter causes Marla and Ivy to meet, they start to realize just how obsessed their world is with fashion, and what some people are willing to sacrifice in order to fit in.
All We Have Is Now by Lisa Shroeder
What do you do with your last day on earth?
Just over twenty-four hours are left until an asteroid strikes North America, and for Emerson and everyone else who didn’t leave, the world will end. But Emerson’s world already ended when she ran away from home. Since then, she has lived on the streets, relying on her wits and on her friend Vince to help her find places to sleep and food to eat.
The city’s quieter now that most people are gone, and no one seems to know what to do as the end approaches. But then Emerson and Vince meet Carl, who tells them he has been granting people’s wishes — and gives them his wallet full of money.
Suddenly, this last day seems full of possibility. Emerson and Vince can grant a lot of wishes in one last day — maybe even their own.
*review copy received from publisher (Thank Scholastic!) in exchange for review. This doesn’t affect my review or opinion*
Actual rating: 3.5 stars
All We Have Is Now is a heartwarming story with sweet characters, a touching storyline and great messages. It is less of an novel about the apocalypse and more about trust and hope and the power of the human connection, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, just not what I expected!
It is the day before the world ends and Emerson and her friend Vince make the decision to go around Portland and grant people’s wishes. I really liked this idea; it was really uplifting. I didn’t find it the most realistic concept (if the world ended, I would probably be freaking out), but I really liked it anyways. Vince and Emerson were such sweet people, and I loved their friendship!
While I liked the concept and the characters, I felt like this book was lacking that “wow” factor, that element that would make me fall in love with the book. I did like it, just didn’t completely love it, but I’m definitely still glad I picked it up. All We Have Is Now is a sweet, inspiring story about hope and endurance.
Book Scavenger by Jennifer Bertman
A hidden book. A found cipher. A game begins . . . .
Twelve-year-old Emily is on the move again. Her family is relocating to San Francisco, home of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger, a game where books are hidden all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles.
But Emily soon learns that Griswold has been attacked and is in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold and leads to a valuable prize. But there are others on the hunt for this book, and Emily and James must race to solve the puzzles Griswold left behind before Griswold’s attackers make them their next target.
*review copy received from Raincoast Books in exchange for review. This in no ways affects my review or opinion*
Book Scavenger is a fantastic middle grade novel! The idea of a book scavenger hunt was what initially hooked me, and I’m so glad I read it. I’ve read plenty of books about people who obsess over celebrities, etc. In Book Scavenger, it was similar to that, but with authors and publishers and books instead of movie stars. It really is a bookworm’s dream come true!
The main character, Emily, is great and it was very easy to relate to her (we’re both book lovers, after all). I wasn’t nearly as brave as her when I was 12, though, but I wish! Emily loves ciphers, since they play a major role in finding and hiding books on the Book Scavenger website. There are several messages and puzzles hidden around the book and it was very neat seeing them solved and finding out where the next clue would lead.
The author’s writing is wonderful, and the storyline is definitely easy to follow. There are so many elements to love about this book: the concept, the characters, the writing, the humor, the suspense, the concept (oops! Did I already say that? Not my fault–I want to be a book scavenger too!) and more. I think one of the things that makes this book great is that not only will it appeal to middle grade readers (8-12 year olds), but I can also see older readers picking it up too. So…sequel, please?
What have you read recently?