Unbreak My Heart – Melissa Walker

UnbreakMyHeart
Unbreak My Heart – Melissa Walker
Published: 5-22-2012 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Get the book: Amazon, The Book Depository

Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life.

Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now.

Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?

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Design – ?

This cover is great for the story. The simplicity is refreshing and really works with the elements of the story. I like how the girl is shown alone on a boat because so much of this book is Clementine wishing for a bit of solitude on the boat. I really like the placement of the title in the arc of the heart shape. I’m not sold on the placement of the publisher’s name, but I guess publishers see it as necessary to put their logo on ebook covers now.

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Unbreak My Heart is the story of Clementine getting over a bad situation with her friend and her friend’s boyfriend, while being stuck on a small boat with her family all summer. Being in constant contact with only her family and a few other families on the same sailing route gives Clem time to brood, but also gives her perspective. Clem’s story is part reflection on what happened and part making new friends on her trip. Overall, it’s a short look at love gone wrong and love gone right.

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  • Olive – As annoying as Clementine finds her little sister much of the time, Olive is great. While Clem tortures herself with worrying what her friends think of her, Olive is young enough to not care what other people think of her, and to be annoyed by her sister’s constant moping. Olive makes fast friends with everyone and wants to be involved in Clem and James’ adventures. Olive is fun and Clem discovers that her sister understands much more than she gives her credit for. She gives you a nice break from Clem’s woes.
  • boating – I like the plot of having Clem stuck with her family constantly. So many YA books ignore parents, but Clem is forced onto a boat where she can’t escape her family, and eventually learns that her parents and Olive can actually be helpful when she’s struggling with something. Although she doesn’t quite go to them for advice voluntarily, Clem’s family surprises her with their understanding.

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  • Ethan – It definitely seems like Clem and Ethan had a connection, so why is he dating Amanda in the first place? True, we only see things from Clem’s POV, but Ethan never seems like the great guy she thinks he is. As much as Clem and all her old friends vilify her, it’s clear that Ethan is the one who should be hated. Clem shouldn’t be excused, but he’s definitely doing something wrong and obviously knows it. It would be easier to sympathize with Clem if Ethan seemed like a worthy object of her affection.
  • quick relationship – Since this story is split between the boat journey of the present and Clem’s friendships during the school year of the past, there isn’t much time given to building Clem’s relationship with James. They aren’t with each other during any actual sailing and most of their time together involves their parents. It’s not that their relationship goes far or anything, but it would have been just as nice if they were simply friends since they just met. It just seems like James and Clem didn’t get to spend much time together, especially since they couldn’t communicate when apart.

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I look out at the water and I’m glad for the sound of the waves and the wind, so I don’t have to hear my parents talking about me. I let a few tears fall, but I have to stay quiet. That’s one of the hardest parts of being on this boat. I can’t even let go and cry without everyone knowing.

– pg. 106

“We didn’t do anything at all, except hold hands a little. But it felt like…”

“You felt like his girlfriend,” says Olive. I look down at her and see that she’s totally caught up in this story, my story, and she’s understood me perfectly. I want to hug her.

– Clementine + Olive  pg. 192

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3 Robots

Acquired: bought (ebook)

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Perfect Timing – Robin Mellom

PerfectTiming
Perfect Timing – Robin Mellom
Published: 3-1-2015 by CreateSpace
Get the book: Amazon

After a break-up with her boyfriend, Tori Wright decides to get her mind off the guy and takes a job running errands for an eccentric couple. Suddenly she finds herself involved in the crazy world of LA nightlife–nightclubs, palm readers, movie stars, and a roving pack of paparazzi. After a misunderstanding lands her in jail, she has one night to clear her name, help a movie starlet avoid the paparazzi, and find Adam…the coworker who is quickly stealing her heart.

As she makes decisions that can change the course of her life, Tori discovers just how far she’ll go to set the record straight.
But is she too late?

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Design – ?

What I like about this cover is the balance between what’s in the light and what’s in shadow. I love how you can see the characters, but nothing too specific about them physically. They’re kind of on the border between light and dark, which is sort of like Tori and Adam because they only know each other at their nighttime job, but not much about their day to day lives. The color scheme is nice, but the text is really large and I wish the radial gradient effect on the title was more subtle.

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Perfect Timing is another great YA romance from Robin Mellom, author of Ditched (now known as Perfect Kiss). Both have strong girls in zany situations telling the story of their crush. Perfect Timing is the tale of Tori’s unconventional job, her crush on her coworker, and how she ended up in juvie. Tori and Adam are both dealing with recent breakups, but bond over their job’s strange requirements.

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  • Tori – I love Tori’s confidence in all situations. Whether she’s in juvie, in a club, or in a one-hopper bathroom with a tabloid star, Tori doesn’t freak out easily. She barely bats an eye at having a job that requires her to travel around LA at night. Tori is self-confident throughout all the crazy things she experiences and that makes her a great character to read about.
  • Adam – My favorite thing about Adam is how he really listens to Tori and her ideas. He takes her thoughts about his ex into consideration and values her opinion. Even when Tori and Adam are having casual conversations, Adam listens to everything Tori says, even while navigating LA traffic. Although Tori and Adam are only together for short drives, their friendship seems really genuine.
  • plot structure – ‘Plot structure’ sounds so technical but I don’t know how else to say it. Like in Ditched, this story is framed by present Tori relating a story of how she ended up in jail by going through the events that led to her job and arrest. Tori’s recollections are broken up by prison-intake forms that narrate what she’s doing presently while she tells an officer her story. While I don’t think the flashback kind of story works as well for Perfect Timing as it does for Ditched (now known as Perfect Kiss), it’s a storytelling strategy that I really enjoy.

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  • Tori’s BFF – At the beginning of the story, Tori is dealing with a fresh breakup with her best friend, who has also just been dumped. Although they are dealing with similar situations, Tori’s friend is introduced and then just forgotten. As soon as the girls go to this friend’s house, Tori is looking for her older brother instead of wanting to hang out with her friend. So this girl, who is so inconsequential that I don’t remember her name, is basically replaced by her own brother as Tori’s best friend. I don’t understand why this character was introduced if she was only going to be in a chapter or two.
  • short – I’m not sure if this book is short or just feels that way, but it doesn’t feel long enough to really develop a story and a relationship between Tori and Adam. Things seem to happen very quickly with little down time in between events and I just want more get-to-know-you time.

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“I’m watching the way he looks at you.”

How is he looking at me?” I ask into his shoulder.

Taylor watches for a few more seconds. “Huh. He’s trying not to look at you, but…he can’t help himself.” He adds under his breath, “God, that’s cute.”

– Taylor + Tori  Loc. 1791

“Here.” He flips his phone to show me the screen – it’s an address. “It’s on Sepulveda Boulevard. Stellar Insights Psychic reader. Five minutes and we’re there.” He cranks up the Jeep and backs out of the parking lot – a heart-melting smile on his face.

I breathe him in and try to focus. Adam isn’t self-absorbed – he’s downright awesome. “You’re taking me to a psychic reader…now?”

– Adam + Tori  Loc. 2081

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3 Robots

Acquired: Netgalley (ebook)

Hopeless – Colleen Hoover

Hopeless
Hopeless – Colleen Hoover
Published: 12-19-2012 by Colleen Hoover
Get the book: Amazon, The Book Depository

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

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Design – Sarah Hansen

This cover is nice but bland and could be for any book really. I really don’t have anything to say about it except that the color palette is nice.

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I have officially learned my lesson. Any Colleen Hoover book is going to be emotionally devastating and contain an impossibly perfect boy. This is a very long book and all the drama started to get to me after awhile. Hopeless is full of dramatic declarations of love, heavy subject matters, and emotional breakdowns. It’s an extremely dramatic love story, with no shortage of chemistry and tons of description.

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  • Holder + Sky – I love any interaction between Holder and Sky. They have crazy chemistry and a deep and beautiful connection. Holder’s emotions are clearly strong and near the surface. He has some intense mood swings early into his friendship with Sky, and the reasons aren’t revealed until much later on in the story. Sky, although very interested in him, doesn’t let Holder go off and act out whenever he wants. She gets angry at him for his treatment of her during these outbursts and she lets him know it. Every time Sky and Holder are together, the sexual tension is high and highly delicious.
  • Breckin – Breckin’s first interaction with Sky made me love him. Even though Breckin is far from perfect, he is great and provides some much-needed relief from the extremely high drama of this book. He seeks Sky out and proposed they form an alliance against the rest of the school, who are shown as people who judge others solely on rumors. This story quickly becomes all about Holder and Sky’s relationship, so Breckin gives us a break from them and sometimes that’s a big relief. He’s really the only person that Sky interacts with besides Holder, sometimes Six, and her mom.

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  • timing of sex – I have no problem at all with sex in my YA novels if it makes sense for it to happen. My issue with the sex in Hopeless is that it happens when both Sky and Holder are in emotional down-spirals after big revelations. Yes, it distracts them for a while from their problems, but I would have liked to see them just holding each other. The timing of it just threw me off a big, because there were plenty of other times they could have had sex.
  • highly dramatic – It’s easy to get sucked in to this story, but for me the drama was so much that it took me out of the story at some points. Holder is devoted to Sky and especially prone to dramatic declarations of love forever. Both Sky and Holder are going through some crises following major revelations about their lives and loved ones. There are some very heavy subject matters dealt with in this story, which make Hopeless nothing less than heartbreaking. One of these things is hinted at early and throughout the story, but some of the things are revealed or happen in quick succession near the end. This is not a light read. I mean, he says ‘I live you’ instead of ‘I love you.’

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I also don’t want to fall for someone who has already branded himself hopeless. But I’m curious. So curious.

“If I ask you something, will you be honest?”

He tilts his head toward me. “That’s all I’ll ever be.”

– Sky + Holder  pg. 80

He’s blaming himself again. He always feels like he’s done something terrible, when I feel like he’s been nothing short of my hero. He’s been with me through all of this, steadily carrying me through my panic attacks and freak-outs until I’m calm. He’s done nothing but be there for me, yet he still feels like this is somehow his fault.

– pg. 368

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4 Robots

Acquired: bought (ebook)

The Book of Broken Hearts – Sarah Ockler

TheBookOfBrokenHearts
The Book of Broken Hearts – Sarah Ockler
Published: 5-21-2013 by Simon Pulse
Get the book: Amazon,The Book Depository

Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

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Design – Jessica Handelman       Photo – Steve Gardner

This is a nice looking cover, but it does scream ‘girl book.’ I like the heart made out of book pages and the pop of the orange flower – it’s really eye-catching. The book and flower are related to the story, but not in a way that is immediately recognizable. The title font is a bit too girly for my taste, although I do like the all lowercase and the way the lines run off the sides.

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The Book of Broken Hearts is extremely well-written, emotional, and complex. This is a multi-layered contemporary story that reminded me of a Sarah Dessen novel. Jude is dealing with a lot during the summer, between her father’s disease, her controlling older sisters, and falling for the one guy she shouldn’t like. This story is sweet, layered, and realistic.

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  • family – Most YA novels tend to ignore the main character’s family, unless they are the main source of conflict. This story has everything to do with Jude’s family as she tries to be patient while caring for her father and tries to get her opinion heard among sisters with loud opinions. Everyone in Jude’s family has a different reaction to Papi’s disease and a different way of coping with it. While this story is still mainly about Jude, we see her family as Papi’s disease chips away at their sense of security. Jude has a lot of family stuff to deal with between Papi, her mom, and her pushy sisters.
  • Emilio – Emilio comes off as an arrogant jerk at first, whose idea of flirting is just making suggestive comments. As he works on Papi’s bike, Emilio reveals the person he really is to Jude. He’s hard-working, dedicated, and caring. Emilio has his own difficulties and he doesn’t bring Jude’s problems up. Instead, he focuses on the motorcycle and becomes a good friend at a time when Jude really needs one. There’s no shortage of chemistry or teasing between the two of them, and Jude sees how unfair it was to conclude that all Vargas boys are jerks.
  • Jude – Jude is often embarrassed by her father’s random outbursts, but she tries, in her own way, to help Papi reconnect. She dishes it right back to the mechanics who think she can’t understand their comments about her just because they’re speaking Spanish, and she can definitely hold her own with Emilio. She doesn’t melt when he calls her princesa, and doesn’t stare when he takes off his shirt, although she definitely notices. Jude’s determined to help with the bike, learn as much as she can about it, and see her Papi ride it again.

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  • sisters – When Mariposa comes home to help with Papi, she immediately takes over everything. She acts like Jude’s opinions – about Papi, about the motorcycle, and about Emilio – don’t matter simply because Jude is the youngest sister. Mariposa acts like all three of Jude’s older sisters – like both Jude and Papi need a babysitter in order to control their actions because they can’t be trusted to make their own choices. Jude feels like she has the most important opinion on Papi and his cycle because she’s the one spending all her time with both, yet her sisters try to sweep all control of the situation away from her.
  • Vargas oath – The very idea of banning interaction with an entire family based on the actions of two of its members is shaky at best. The girls took the oath the night one of them was dumped by her Vargas fiance, and was originally to make her feel better. The oath has turned into another way for Jude’s older sisters to control her. there’s no way to judge someone based on the actions of someone else, even their family.

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I wanted to spill it. I wanted to tell them that Emilio, more than any of my old friends, continued to show up when he said he would. He listened when I felt like talking, didn’t push when I wanted to stop. He showed me stuff about motorcycles and made sure I understood what he and Papi were doing. He didn’t freak out at Papi’s episodes, and he didn’t treat him like a kid in need of a babysitter.

– pg. 175

My sisters got the good stuff first. All I had of their precious moments were imprints, shadows of the real thing cobbled together from the faded scraps of their reminiscing, bits and pieces that changed each time in the telling.

Like so many things in my life, the best memories of my father were a legacy, passed down to me like their hand-me-down clothes and toys and the Vargas oath.

– pg. 249

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4 Robots

Acquired: bought (ebook)

My Life Next Door – Huntley Fitzpatrick

MyLifeNextDoor
My Life Next Door – Huntley Fitzpatrick
Published: 6-14-2012 by Dial Books
Get the book: Amazon,The Book Depository

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

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Design – Theresa Evangelista

I can’t get past how awkward the couple in the photo look. The barely touching, almost kissing is just uncomfortable looking. I really like the overall layout and colors of the cover. The colors have the perfect sun-drenched filter tone which gives the cover a soft feeling. I love the off-center layout of the title and the way it stands out against the fence but doesn’t overpower the photo.

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My Life Next Door is a beautifully written story about finding love and finding yourself. Samantha’s world is so different from the Garretts’ next door, but the simplest action connects them. And as Jase and Samantha fall in love, Samantha falls in love with the Garrett family and their life, until her mother makes a mistake that could tear both families apart. This story has it all – humor, love, family drama – if you need a good contemporary, I highly recommend it.

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  • the Garretts – There are a lot of Garretts – 8 kids – and while we don’t see a lot of the middle kids, all of them have their own personalities. Each Garrett has their own interactions with Sam and some of them voice their opinions of Jase and Sam’s relationship. The youngest kids, George and Patsy, are adorable and great comedic relief. There are so many kids coming and going constantly that it’s like they all inhabit their own world. I’m really impressed with how each Garrett is developed enough to seem like a real person. Their family is so big and chaotic, yet cheerful – just the opposite of Sam’s small and quiet home.
  • Jase – Jase is so outgoing and full of life. He sees Sam and simply climbs up to her roof to introduce himself. He’s an honest and open person, used to being surrounded by people and never complains about taking care of his siblings. Jase clearly loves his family and it’s obvious that he loves how well Sam gets along with them. Jase and Sam fall easily into an honest and comfortable relationship with each other – no drama, no secrets.
  • Samantha – Sam works hard all the time, giving up the things she actually likes doing just to please her overly controlling mother. The thing about Sam is that even when she sees how loving and free the Garretts are and even when she realizes how closed minded and judgmental her own mom is, she never whines about anything. Even when her mother is treating her as nothing more than a pawn in her political campaign, demanding that she be the perfect child and have no fun ever, Sam doesn’t blow up or get melodramatic. She doesn’t get stuck in self-pity either. Sam just deals by going next door and being with Jase and his family. She’s smart and a bit of a smartass and she wants the best for her friends even when they don’t deserve it.
  • Tim – At first, Tim is a hard person to like. He’s perpetually stoned, rude to everyone, and couldn’t care less about anyone else. He can’t seem to hold a job and has no plan for his future. However, Tim accepts a job from Mr. Garrett that comes with the condition that he attend AA meetings, and gradually becomes a good friend to Sam and Jase. Despite all his mistakes, Tim is an intelligent guy and I enjoyed his journey.
  • plot – Sam’s personal growth sees her transitioning from someone who always follows the rules and colors inside the lines to someone who voices her opinions and stands up for what she believes in. Sam’s mother is truly oppressive – demanding that Sam do everything from re-vacuum the obsessively vacuumed house to get out of the house so she can entertain donors. Sam finds love and acceptance with the Garretts, who, despite having eight kids, pay attention to who their kids are. Sam knows her mom isn’t doing what’s right and she speaks up about it. She goes from being the person her mother expects her to be to being her own person who more openly questions things like her mother’s opinion of the Garretts.

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  • Samantha’s mom + Clay – Clay is clearly a slimy sleaze from the start. He wiggles his way into Sam’s life because of his relationship with her mother, and acts as if he’s someone Sam should listen to. Clay is obviously a villain – a manipulative guy with no morals or ethics to speak of. What’s worse than Clay, however, is his power over Sam’s mom. Because she’s running for political office, Sam’s mom is focused on herself and her career almost 100% of the time. She fully buys into every little thing Clay says, even when it compromises her values or her own relationship with Sam.

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George gives me a smile, the same dazzling sweet smile as his big brother, although, at this point, with green teeth. “I might marry you,” he allows. “Do you want a big family?”

I start to cough and feel a hand pat my back.

“George, it’s usually better to discuss this kind of thing with your pants on.” Jase drops boxer shorts at George’s feet, then sets Patsy on the ground next to him.

– George, Samantha, Jase  pg. 32

I look into Jase’s eyes and tell the only truth I have. “I don’t know. I didn’t have that choice. But I know what’s happening now. And I’m choosing to stay with you.”

– Samantha + Jase  pg. 351

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5 Robots

Acquired: bought (ebook)

V is for Virgin – Kelly Oram

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V is for Virgin – Kelly Oram
Published: 12-11-2012 by Bluefields
Get the book: Amazon,The Book Depository

When Val Jensen gets dumped for her decision to stay a virgin until marriage, the nasty breakup goes viral on YouTube, making her the latest internet sensation.

After days of ridicule from her peers, Val starts a school-wide campaign to rally support for her cause. She meant to make a statement, but she never dreamed the entire nation would get caught up in the controversy.

As if becoming nationally recognized as “Virgin Val” isn’t enough, Val’s already hectic life starts to spin wildly out of control when bad boy Kyle Hamilton, lead singer for the hit rock band Tralse, decides to take her abstinence as a personal challenge.

How can a girl stay true to herself when this year’s Sexiest Man Alive is doing everything in his power to win her over?

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Design – ?       Photo – ?

I really like this cover’s simplicity. Using Val’s ever-present V necklace as part of the title is genius. I’m not sure that I like the font “Virgin” is in, and the pearls on her hand are a bit too much. Otherwise, the color scheme is great and it’s clear that it’s a contemporary story.

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V is for Virgin is a highly enjoyable story about Val, who has been dumped for choosing to be a virgin until marriage. Val’s choice is not for religious reasons, and only one secondary character is portrayed as religious. Val’s story is about being famous for declaring herself a virgin and dealing with a rock star determined to take care of that pesky virginity for her.

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  • Val’s reasoning – I cannot stress enough how much I love that Val’s decision to remain a virgin until marriage is not religiously motivated at all. Especially because our culture assumes that the only reason to wait until marriage voluntarily is religious. Val made this decision based on something else, and it totally makes sense for her character. The only religious touch in this book is one of Val’s friends who is also waiting, but this person doesn’t preach about their choice and rarely mentions their faith at all.
  • Val – While Val certainly doesn’t expect to become internationally known as a virgin, she handles the notoriety extremely well. She is immediately faced with critics and difficult decisions. Instead of burying her head in the sand, Val decides to start an abstinence challenge at her school. Even when her close friends are skeptical, Val makes the tough decision to become a spokesperson for an abstinence organization. Val pushes forward and turns her experience with unexpected fame into something positive and charitable. She even plays along with Kyle’s teasing to make his fans happy. Val doesn’t take the easy way out and she doesn’t back down.
  • Kyle + Val – Yes, Kyle’s a cocky jerk, but he and Val have crazy chemistry and I really like reading about their confrontations. They argue every time they’re in the same room, but occasionally Kyle will do something nice just to help Val and they’ll have an actual conversation. Those times when Kyle is truly trying to understand Val are sweet, and the times when he’s daring her to admit her attraction to him are hot.
  • struggle – Val struggles with some of her new responsibilities as the new face of virginity. I really like that her struggles are realistic, and that she pushes through them. Also great is how Val is portrayed as an actual human being who has trouble saying no in the heat of the moment. Sometimes, Val makes a tough decision that doesn’t end up being the right choice and that’s awesomely realistic.

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  • Kyle’s attitude – While there’s no lack of chemistry between Val and Kyle, there’s also no denying that he’s acting like a jerk in nearly every scene he’s in. Kyle’s attracted to Val because she refuses to worship him like his rock star ego thinks he deserves, but once he hears about the whole virgin things, Kyle makes it his goal to convince her to sleep with him. This is a guy who has decided that Val’s promise to herself – which she takes very seriously and is important to her – is stupid solely because he doesn’t agree with her views. I don’t understand how Kyle thought he could convince her to change her mind by constantly insulting her decisions about sex and telling her that there’s no way she won’t give it up to him. There’s nothing sexy about knowing that a guy only sees you as a challenge, that he’ll be gone as soon as he gets what he wants.
  • A-list friends – The only aspect of this story that I found dull was Val being sort of accepted into the “A-list” group of popular kids. Some of them seem nice, but none of them are all that interesting and they’re only paying attention to her because she’s dating one of them. None of them were snobby or mean, but they didn’t really seem like best friend material for Val.

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Isaac didn’t say anything for a long minute after that. He just sat there staring into my eyes. I could see him contemplating the possible repercussions of what I was asking him to do. After what felt like forever, he leaned in close to me, completely intense, and asked, ” What if I’m not a virgin?”

– Val + Isaac  loc. 705

Kyle didn’t give me the chance to reply. He pulled my face to his and kissed the hell out of me in front of everyone from my boyfriend to CNN.

I forgot about the cameras. I forgot about my parents. I forgot about my campaign. I forgot that I was supposed to be a role model. In that moment the only thing I could think about was Kyle.

And how much I wanted to kill him.

– Val + Kyle  loc. 2551

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5 Robots

Acquired: freebie (ebook)

Maybe One Day – Melissa Kantor

MaybeOneDay
Maybe One Day – Melissa Kantor
Published: 2-18-2014 by HarperTeen 
Get the book: AmazonThe Book Depository

Zoe and her best friend, Olivia, have always had big plans for the future, none of which included Olivia getting sick. Still, Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her friend.

Even when she isn’t sure what to say.

Even when Olivia misses months of school.

Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia’s crush.

The one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine.

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Design – Cara E. Petrus       Art – Joana Kruse

This doesn’t strike me as a very memorable cover, but I do think it’s a good cover for this story. I like how stormy the weather and the water look, like a storm is coming while the girls face it together. That sounds cheesy, but this book is about Zoe and Olivia’s friendship during Olivia’s illness and I like the way the cover hints at that in an abstract way. I also like the way the title is written, with none of the words lining up.

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Maybe One Day is a story of two best friends and how they cope and keep up their friendship when one of them gets cancer. I hate the trend of “sick-lit” that people say is hitting YA due to the popularity of The Fault in Our Stars, as I really dislike when people compare books. This story centers on Zoe’s life during Olivia’s illness, as she tries to deal with her own problems in addition to supporting Olivia.

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  • Calvin – Calvin is a close friend of Olivia’s brother, Jake, as well as the guy Olivia likes. He’s around a lot while Olivia’s sick, hanging out with jake and driving him to the hospital to visit Olivia. Calvin is an authentically nice guy who thinks of Zoe and asks her how she’s handling everything. he’s just an easy-going person who is really helpful to Olivia’s family and Zoe while they’re dealing with Olivia being sick.
  • ups + downs – Olivia’s cancer shows up suddenly. Olivia has mild symptoms – just a fever – when her cancer is discovered. When she starts her chemotherapy treatments, Olivia’s body reacts well at first. Some days she’s just sleepy, other days she’s nauseous, but everything points to her getting better. Then things don’t look so good, but they find a bone marrow match for Olivia. I think the ups and downs are the most realistic things about an illness. Some days it seems like Olivia isn’t sick at all, but other days are so bad it seems impossible for her to recover.
  • friendship – I really like that this book is so focused on Zoe and Olivia’s friendship, instead of solely on cancer. Yes, Olivia is very ill, but the girls still communicate constantly and really support each other during this weird and unexpected time. They still argue, and they don’t pull punches just because one of them is sick. It’s great the lengths that Zoe goes to in order to make Olivia feel more comfortable, and I love that Olivia is patient with Zoe.

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  • cheerleaders – The cheerleaders were just annoying characters in my opinion. They are new friends of Olivia, but when she gets sick, they all are suddenly Olivia’s very best friends in the world. A few times their enthusiasm for helping Olivia is useful, but it’s overwhelming and seems like they just want to appear like they’re closer to Olivia than they really are.
  • teaching ballet – Zoe takes over teaching Olivia’s ballet class for young under-privileged girls. The boss, Mrs. Jones, is harshly critical of Zoe, despite knowing that the circumstances make it either Zoe or no one as the teacher. She doesn’t tell Zoe anything about the girls, then scolds her for not realizing the crappy home situations they may come from. Zoe lets her lingering anger and disappointment at being rejected by her ballet school take over when she’s teaching the class that’s meant to be fun for the girls.

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“I spent all that time having a gay boyfriend. I should have realized this might happen.”

“You should have realized you could get leukemia?”

I was being sarcastic, but she nodded. “If you realize life is short, you break up with your gay boyfriend and get a real boyfriend.” She laughed.

So did I. “That’s exactly the kind of thing you really wish they’d put on a greeting card but they never do.”

– Olivia + Zoe  pg. 302

I thought of how hard it must have been to be Jake’s best friend this year. I remembered that first day in the hospital, how I’d wished it had been Jake instead of Olivia who’d gotten sick. Like death didn’t touch you if you were a couple of degrees removed from it.

– Zoe  pg. 383

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4 Robots

Acquired: bought (ebook)