Contemporary

Book Review: No Judgments

Book Review: No Judgments
Author: 
Cabot, Meg
Rating: 
1 star = Yuck!
Review: 

First, before I go any further with this review, if you are ordered to evacuate, for goodness sake, EVACUATE. Doing anything else is putting not just your life at risk, but those of the emergency responders as well. It’s just not ok.

Alrighty then, I’m going to hop off my soapbox.

After the death of her father, an assault, and a bad breakup, Bree has decided to flee New York in search of warmer, more gentle climes…and people. As a current resident of Little Bridge Island (a small key in FL), she’s not excited when the first hurricane she experiences is a Category 5. She decides to stick it out in Little Bridge with her employers, the Hartwells and their hot-if-unavailable playboy son, Drew. No Judgements follows Bree’s exploits before, during and after the hurricane.

Meg Cabot’s books are always hit-or-miss for me, and unfortunately, this one was the latter. There were a few things that were approached in a completely inappropriate way. For example, our heroine deciding not to leave Little Bridge even though literally everyone she knows is begging her to evacuate, she has no experience with hurricanes, and she lives in an apartment that’s only eight feet above sea level. There’s also some insane gun usage later in the book, and a grown adult solves an issue with his fists and is lionized for it. No no no no no. The book, being a romantic comedy, has some fun romantic moments, but a lot of the comedy felt, again, borderline inappropriate to me. Hopefully some of those jokes are removed before the book is published.

Why is the protagonist 25? This book would’ve been much more interesting if it were about an older protagonist, and this woman, to me, did not act like most 25 year olds that I know. She acted like she was a teenager, and not a very smart or mature one at that (see above examples). Romantic comedies featuring twenty-somethings are a dime-a-dozen. I wish Cabot had taken a risk here. The male lead is not any better. He likes animals and is hot, and we don’t learn much else about him. They do fall in love instantly, though, so…yay?

As someone who grew up in a hurricane affected area, I think the idea of a romantic comedy centered around a hurricane is a fabulous idea. I just wish the execution had been less offensive. I did like the pet-rescue sub-plot, though.

Even though I didn’t enjoy this book, I’ll still check out Meg Cabot’s next one and keep recommending those books of hers that I do like (for instance, Insatiable or Queen of Babble). I mean, I read this book in a day, so that says something, right? I think plenty of readers will enjoy it. For me, though, it was a 1 star read: I didn’t like it.

Thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins for the electronic advance copy, which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. No Judgements will be released on 24 September, but you can put your copy of the book on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

Book Review: If I'm Being Honest

If I'm Being Honest
Author: 
Wibberley, Emily Siegemund-Broka, Austin
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

I picked this book up from the library, not really knowing what to expect. I ended up falling in love with the book and I finished it up in a day. If I'm Being Honest, cowritten by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka, is a tale about a girl named Cameron who has it all. She's popular, pretty...but most importantly extremely honest to the point where she hurts people. The book begins when Cameron decides she wants to hook up with a boy named Andrew. She and Andrew have been friends for a really long time and for the past year she's realized she wants to step up their relationship a little.
However, when Andrew rejects Cameron because he sees her cruelty up close, Cameron decides she needs to prove to him that she's a good person. Next, Cameron makes a lost of people who she needs to make amends with, one being a boy named Brendan Rosenfeld. Cameron ruined Brendan's social status in sixth grade when she gave him a mean nickname. The more people she makes amends with, however, the more she realizes that she might not be doing it just for Andrew after a while.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: 
Elizabeth P

Book Review: Our Chemical Hearts

Our Chemical Hearts
Author: 
Sutherland, Krystal
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

I bought the book Our Chemical Hearts a couple years ago, but it remained untouched on my shelf for a long time. This summer, however, when I realized I needed something new to read, I picked it up and wondered why I started it so late. Our Chemical Hearts, by Krystal Sutherland, is a love story with lots of drama and twists and turns. This book will fill you up and break your heart simultaneously. The main character of the book is named Henry Page.
Henry, a highschooler, has been single for pretty much his entire life. He's watched his friends go in and out of relationships, with the trend of every relationship ending in heartbreak. When a mysterious girl with a cane dressed head to toe in boy clothing transfers to Henry's school, he never imagined he'd fall for her. This girl's name is Grace and she has a sketchy past. As he gets to know her more, Henry wonders if they will work out together because she is just so very broken. This book is very beautifully written, deep, authentic, and would be great for fans of books like Eleanor and Park, Holding Up The Universe, or All the Bright Places.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: 
Elizabeth P

Book Review: The Unexpected Everything

The Unexpected Everything
Author: 
Matson, Morgan
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Unexpected Everything, by author Morgan Matson, is a novel with an underlying that sometimes life doesn't go as planned, but that's okay; sometimes even the unexpected things are the best and most enjoyable things you ever experience. The main character of the Unexpected Everything is a girl named Andie. Her life has been pretty rough for the past years. With a father who is a congressman, she feels like she has to always put on a sort of "facade" and this is something that seems to be constricting for her.
Andie's mother, whom she loved dearly passed away a few years back from ovarian cancer and, even though it's been quite a while since her death, Andie still hasn't come to terms with this loss. Andie has some plans for this summer. She is going to take a premed course, as she hopes to find a career in medecine in the future. However, when her plans change, Andie is flustered and realizes that her vision of this summer has now fallen apart, and she has no choice but to make new plans. This book is fun, cute, and full of adventures as well as drama. I have now read all of Morgan Matson's books and love them! I'd recommend this novel to anyone who is into romcoms, adventures, or anyone who is looking for a fairly easy read. You won't be able to put this book down!

Reviewer's Name: 
Elizabeth P

Book Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Author: 
Foer, Jonathan Safran
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close follows a nine-year-old boy named Oscar coming to terms with life after his father's death on 9/11. When looking through his dad's things, Oscar breaks a vase and finds a key and a mysterious envelope labeled "Black". He decides to embark on a mission to find every person named Black in New York City in an attempt to find the one Black who knew his father. Along the way, he meets new friends and discovers more about those he already knew. This book is written from the alternating perspectives of Oscar, his grandmother, and his mute grandfather whom Oscar has never met. This adds an interesting layer to the story, as Oscar lost a parent in 9/11 and his grandparents, both children at the time, lost their families in the bombing of Dresden. This shows a theme throughout this book that grief from war and terror is universal. This book's overall commentary on the human experience and grief, both individual and collectively experienced by a nation, shows the skill and thoughtfulness of the author. On a personal level, I did not find the characters particularly enticing and had a hard time following the plot at times, but I would still recommend the book, especially to someone with an interest in 9/11 or the world wars.

Reviewer's Name: 
McKenna R

Book Review: A Void the Size of the World

A Void the Size of the World
Author: 
Alpine, Rachele
Rating: 
1 star = Yuck!
Review: 

If there was one word to describe this book it would definitely be "yuck". It's like when Squiduard took over Spongebob's shift for a day and instead of a krabby patty he fried a boot. It has absolutely no plot. there is paranormal activity that we never figure out and we don't know what happened to Abby. If i could rate this a -10/10 I would.

Reviewer's Name: 
Vincent D

Book Review: August

August
Author: 
Paula, Romina
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

A young woman dealing with grief pours out her emotions in a long emotional letter to her friend who commit suicide. I didn't quite like this book due to the long bland feel of the story. We hear her stories through her thoughts, where she rambles on about rather uninteresting things, like mice, a cat, etc. This emotional woman tends to ramble on and on about the slightest details which can make some parts feel long and drawn out. Overall, I didn't like the depressive, bland and boring mood of the story. Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: 
Kyle Y

Book Review: Wild Bird

Wild Bird
Author: 
Van Drannen, Wendelin
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Wild Bird, by Wendelin Van Draanen, is an amazing, unforgettable book that you won't be able to put down. The theme of Wild Bird is that anyone can transform their lifestyles and become better people. This book's main character is a willful, fourteen year old girl named Wren whose biggest fault is being unable to say no. This has lead her to be involved with the wrong crowd and make very bad decisions, including smoking weed, shoplifting, and even being a drug runner for her "friend" Nico. One day, Wren ends up in the hospital, being both wasted and having drugs in her system. Her parents used to believe she was "sick" but this day in the hospital they realize she's been lying to them. Before she knows it, Wren is sent off to an eight week camp in Utah that supposedly helps change the lives of people her age with similar issues and addictions. Wren is extremely angry at her parents and the doctors and everyone who she thinks may be to blame for sending her here. But there in the desert of Utah, Wren learns to survive and she begins to realize over time that maybe it isn't their fault after all, and that maybe, just maybe, she needs to change her life around. In the desert, Wren has to face her feelings and realizes that there is no escaping her mistakes.

This book is amazing. I love the way the author created the character of Wren. She's willful, which at first was a weakness, but she later uses it as a strength. She's courageous and as the book goes on you just fall in love with her. I recommend this to anyone who may be struggling with an addiction, anyone who knows deep down in their heart that their life needs change, and, of course, to any readers who love books with adventure and drama.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: 
Elizabeth P

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