Book Review: My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter

Colette has been bored and lonely ever since her best friend, Sadie, dumped her the summer before they stared high school. She tries to be perfect for everyone left in her life: her parents, her younger brothers, her church youth group, even her boyfriend, Mark. But Colette is restless. And she misses Sadie.

When Sadie tells Colette that she needs her old friend to join her on a family vacation to the Greek Islands, one that leaves in only a few days, Colette is shocked to hear their old magic word: need. And she finds herself agreeing.

Colette tries to relax and enjoy her Grecian surroundings but it’s not easy to go on vacation with the person who hurt you most in the world. When the reason for the trip finally surfaces, Colette finds out this is not only a fun vacation. Sadie has kept an enormous secret from Colette for years…forever. It’s a summer full of surprises, but that might be what Colette needs.

Release Date: June 3, 2014

I really wasn’t sure when I read the synopsis of this novel if I would be able to get through this novel without remembering how hard it is to lose your best friend, whether it be a childhood best friend, a high school best friend, or even a college best friend.  Well, that all happens to people, and its one of the main reasons I did decide to read it.  Because I’ve been through it, and that means that a large percentage of Carter’s readers would have or will go through that.

The story line is somewhat slow to begin, but the narrator, Colette, slowly introduces us to her current narrative and her past friendship with Sadie.  (On a side note, I fully believe that Carter drew inspiration from the lyrics of the Beatles’ song Sexy Sadie when deciding to name that character.)  While the mystery doesn’t seem as vital or important as let’s say, a murder or any life threatening issue, but it is addicting and realistic as a motivator in the story.

Not only does Carter’s novel explore the crippling conformity that some forms of religion can cause young people after having been raised in a strict household, but it explores the importance of self-discovery and a teenager’s growing ability to make decisions, moral or not, about what they believe and who they choose to keep in their lives.

It isn’t preachy or trying to change a readers opinion on any type of religion or lifestyle, but it is the perfect book that can help show readers that their decisions are their own and not any outside influences.

4.5 Bards for this amazing story

four.fivebards

Book Review: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.

Release Date: June 3, 2014

I will say that the first thing that I noticed when reading this novel was how frequently the Point of View shifted.  Pretty much every other chapter was one of four people’s points of view.  Now, when done well this can be extremely helpful for the movement of the plot, so I have no problem with it.

That being said, I totally understand why Mathieu chose to do this for her novel because it really helped express how deep the rumors and gossip concerning the main character went in their small town.  There was the popular girl, the school nerd, the closeted best friend of the quarterback, and the former best friend of the Alice in the title.  My problem with the point of view shifts in this novel?  While they did help inform the reader about the intricacies involved with the rumors that ruined Alice, each point of view was only distinguishable by the titles at the beginning of each chapter.  Each character’s voice sounded the same.  Hence the major problem with utilizing multiple point of views, there has to be a way for each of those voices to stand out and be original to the story. Also, I really hated all of the voices except Kurt.

Other than that major problem, the story was constructed well and it was an excellent foray into the damage that rumors and vicious lies can cause for high school students, or well, anyone being the victim of this.  I think that this story is important to remember when there are a lot of stories about bullying in schools and online.

The only other thing I disliked about this novel was how abrupt the ending was.  All of the sudden the character of Alice speaks up and then the story ends.  It really just felt like there wasn’t enough resolution for me in the end.  There was so much build-up through the different point of views and then the resolution was so short and sudden.

3.5 Bards (-1.5 for POV shifts, and the abrupt ending)

3.5bards

Book Review: Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete’s nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she’s falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up–and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

Release Date: May 13, 2014

I went back to double check if the synopsis on Goodreads mentioned that this story was a modern retelling of Peter Pan.  However, it didn’t, so I’m going to assume that this story was supposed to stealthily be a retelling rather than an acknowledged retelling like A.G. Howard’s Splintered.  Second Star did not pull off the whole “stealthy” thing.

I constantly felt like I was being beaten over the head with the allegories from J.M. Barrie’s story and Sheinmel’s.  Not only were there three siblings named Wendy, John, and Michael Darling, but they had a dog named Nana, there was the good guy named Pete, and a bad guy, representing Hook, named Jas.

Instead of being able to fly with pixie dust, Sheinmel used the inevitable simile of surfing feeling like flying.  Pete, Belle (I see what you did there), and Jas are obessed with surfing and flying.  They are all runaways, representing the lost boys, and pixie dust is represented as a highly addictive drug that also helps people “fly” and escape the real world (or adulthood).

There are just so many things that were eye-roll inducing that it was hard to see Second Star as anything of individual merit, because the entire story had very little original ideas. They visit a place called the Jolly Roger, Wendy leaves through her window, etc.  The only thing that I really liked is that the story stayed focused on Wendy’s journey and didn’t get wrapped up in too much detail with John and Michael.

Then of course, it was all a “dream.” Overall, I didn’t particularly enjoy a whole lot of this novel because of the lazy interpretation of Peter Pan.  If you aren’t too upset by unoriginal retellings, then this might be for you.

2 Bards.

twobards

 

This novel was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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