Tag: Farrar Straus and Giroux

Review: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Posted May 8, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene GooReviewer: Rowena
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
Publisher: Farrar Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
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From the author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a laugh-out-loud story of love, new friendships, and one unique food truck.

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?

With Maurene Goo's signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.

I’ve been in the mood for some diverse characters and am trying to put together a list of romances featuring Polynesian characters but in the midst of putting that list together, I came across this book. A contemporary YA set in LA, featuring an Asian lead? Count me in.

So, this book features Clara Shin who is a junior at Elysian High School in the Echo Park part of Los Angeles County. She’s known at school as a prankster and she’s always at odds with straight-laced Rose Carver. When things go a little too far at junior prom, Rose and Clara are sentenced to working off their fight on Clara’s father’s food truck, called the KoBra where they serve Korean and Brazillian influenced food. Clara is not happy about this as she’s not one for working over the summer but Rose will whatever it takes to not have this on her permanent record so she’s in.

From the very beginning, Rose and Clara butt heads. And they butt heads over everything, big and small, they argue and then fight and Clara’s Dad has had it. He’s going to make sure that they learn their lesson so he trains them and then he leaves them on their own to run the food truck. Being stuck on a food truck with your least favorite person in town is pure hell and continues to be that way for Clara until they start to get to know each other.

Seeing Clara really come into her own and take a hard look at the way that her life has been up until this point was refreshingly honest. I really enjoyed Clara’s character. Her personality was so L.A. and seeing her grow closer and closer to Rose was fun and meeting Hamlet then seeing him and Clara circle each other was great.

This book was well written. Goo’s depiction of Los Angeles was real, authentic and true. There is a huge Asian population in San Gabriel Valley and it didn’t surprise me at all that Hamlet played basketball (Ha, I’ve been to many an Asian League basketball game in SGV and could totally picture Hamlet there). I even pictured Hamlet as one of my daughter’s friends. The way that Hamlet was described fit my daughter’s friend description really well. I was nodding along to pretty much all of the L.A. bits because L.A. is my hometown and I thought all of that stuff was spot on.

It was really easy for me to connect with this book because I’m a huge fan of Los Angeles and coming of age stories. Clara was a great lead character and I really loved seeing the friendship blossom between her and Rose. I also really enjoyed the little romance that she had going with Hamlet and the positive parenting thing going on??? YESSSSS!!! Far too often, I see a lot of absent parents in YA books so it was nice to see parents who were involved in their children’s lives and showed genuine love for them. All in all, I really enjoyed Clara’s journey of self-discovery in this book and I will definitely be reading more from Maurene Goo. I recommend this book if you’re in the mood for something cute, sweet and funny. This fits the bill quite nicely.

Grade: 4 out of 5


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Guest Review: Tonight the Streets are Ours by Leila Sales

Posted October 7, 2015 by Whitley B in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Tonight the Streets are Ours by Leila SalesReviewer: Whitley
Tonight the Streets are Ours by Leila Sales
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books


Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But she’s tired of being loyal to people who don’t appreciate her—including her needy best friend and her absent mom.

Arden finds comfort in a blog she stumbles upon called “Tonight the Streets Are Ours,” the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him.

During one crazy night out in NYC filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn’t exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn’t exactly who she thought she was, either.

Whitley’s review of Tonight the Streets are Ours by Leila Sales

I very nearly gave up on this book. The only thing that kept me in it was my habit of reading the very last page when I get frustrated. Yes, I know, I’m terrible. Worked out in this case, though, because it gave me hope that all the BS I was reading was just bias. And since it was, the book as a whole turned out pretty good.

It was an interesting little character study about love and its many varied forms. It’s not really a romance story, but more about love between friends and family, with a side helping of some creepy obsession. (I had the benefit of age giving me red flags about the obsession, part of my frustration in the middle of the novel, but at least it all came to light by the end.) I loved all the characters and their squishy foibles, especially the relationship between Arden and Lindsey. And Arden and her mother. And Arden and Chris. They were all terrible relationships, but that was rather the point, and they were interesting. And I’m really happy to see a character like Arden, who embodies the downside of a “too nice” type character so beautifully. I also really enjoyed the comeuppance at the end of the book, the way all the one-sided stories got to have their other sides brought to light and the way it changed so much.

I was drawn to this book originally because of the plot (internet + bad decisions born of emotional turmoil? Sure!) and at first I was really happy with it. The scenes where Arden first found Peter’s blog were very poignant and echoed my own experiences searching the internet as a misguided teen. However, once she did find his blog, things dragged interminably. We spent ages and pages in the middle of this book, still establishing character relationships, jumping constantly between the ongoing story and flashbacks. It seemed excessive to me, as I felt like the book was pretty effective at setting things up early on and didn’t need the repetition, and I just really wanted to get to bad decisions in New York! Considering her trip there was the focus of the summary, it’s really frustrating that she didn’t leave until well past the 50% mark. Plus…I really liked the comeuppance part; I wish that had had more page-time.

Peter’s blog didn’t really strike me as the type of thing that would draw in…well, anyone, much less inspire the kind of obsession that would make someone drive six hours on a whim. Maybe he was more eloquent in the blog posts that were skipped over, but the ones we did see had such a bland writing style, and they were 99% “so this happened today” with maybe 1% angsty musings. And I was really looking forward to some angsty musings. Isn’t that the best/worst part of the internet? Because unless you fought a bear, a recount of your day just isn’t going to draw in a wide audience and get tons of random strangers telling you “omg you’re such a good writer!”

Rating: 4 out of 5

This title is available from Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR).  You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

Posted September 11, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila SalesReviewer: Rowena
Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: September 15th 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Recklessly loyal. That's how seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley has always thought of herself. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But lately she's grown resentful of everyone--including her needy best friend and her absent mom--taking her loyalty for granted.

Then Arden stumbles upon a website called Tonight the Streets Are Ours, the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter, who gives voice to feelings that Arden has never known how to express. He seems to get her in a way that no one else does, and he hasn't even met her. Until Arden sets out on a road trip to find him.

During one crazy night out in New York City filled with parties, dancing, and music--the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does--Arden discovers that Peter isn't exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn't exactly who she thought she was, either.

Leila Sales has written some pretty fantastic books that have entertained the socks off of me. I completely adored both Past Perfect and Mostly Good Girls so I went into this book with high hopes. Unfortunately, the book fell short for me.

The story itself wasn’t bad, I’m sure there will be plenty of people that enjoy Arden’s journey but I just couldn’t connect with her. She’s a shy girl by nature so she has a tendency to stalk boys that she likes and while I’ve done my fair share of stalking my crush back in high school, Arden takes it a bit further by stalking a guy she doesn’t even know all the way to New York (she lives in Maryland).

This book starts off with a note that says:

Like all stories, the one you are about to read is a love story. If it wasn’t, what would be the point?

Yes, this was a love story but not the kind I was expecting. This was about all kinds of love. The love of different parents (the one that left but loved with all she was and the one that is there physically but mentally, etc…), the love of kids for their parents, the love of friends and the love between two people. It’s all in here but for me, the reading was slow going for most of the book.

Arden was the protagonist and I wanted to like her but when I finally put the book down, my feelings for Arden were lukewarm. I didn’t necessarily hate her but she wasn’t my favorite either. She was just okay. It kind of surprised me that I didn’t like her as much as I thought I would considering she’s a pleaser. She is nice. She’s there for people when they need her but I don’t know, I just could not connect with her.

I thought it was weird that she stalked Peter (the blogger whose blog she became addicted to) all the way to New York just so that she could be there for him since her boyfriend Chris ditched her on their anniversary. She made these grand plans for their one year and Chris had the nerve to not show up so Arden packs up her car, picks up her best friend and off they go to New York City. The city where her Mom now lives.

Once she gets there and meets Peter, she starts to realize that Peter isn’t the guy she pictured in her head. She built him up to be so much more than he actually was and over the course of one night, she starts realizing little things about everyone in her life.

Other things that I didn’t understand or connect with were Arden’s Mom. She up and left her family behind because what??? She was mad at Arden’s Dad? She wants Arden to understand that things haven’t been good between her and her Dad so she had to leave Arden and Roman (Arden’s brother) behind? Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of that.

I also wasn’t a fan of the way Arden’s Dad was too. It made me stop and think about how involved I am in my blogs and social media and what not. I don’t want to be Arden’s Dad so I need to start paying attention to my kid. Paying more attention to her.

Peter was something else but I ended up liking Bianca and Lindsey? She was great.

Overall, this book fell flat but there were things that I enjoyed. I enjoyed watching the friendship between Arden and Lindsey. I enjoyed Peter’s blog and I enjoyed seeing Arden come to terms with everything in her life but that was it.

Grade: 2.25 out of 5

This book is available from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Book Watch: Just Flirt by Laura Bowers

Posted April 6, 2012 by Rowena in Promotions | 2 Comments

Serious relationships suck. So Dee Barton, self-proclaimed Superflirt, is planning to spend her summer putting the moves on the guys who come to stay at her family’s campground. Flirting is fun and makes everyone involved feel good–which is pretty much the exact opposite of her relationship with her toxic ex-boyfriend, Blaine.

Sabrina Owens’s summer plans include keeping her over-the-top karoke dj mother in check, maintaining her status as the queen of the popular crowd–and being the perfect girlfriend to Blaine.
Dee and Sabrina hate each other. But when they’re both drawn into a frivolous lawsuit, they must team up and embark on a risky, flirt-filled plot to set things right again.

With summer just around the corner, I’m already starting a list of books that I want to read over the summer. This sounds like the perfect beach read for me and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. It comes out on June 19, 2012 so that’s right in the beginning of summer. It’ll be beach weather around that time so the beach will be the perfect spot to get this one read. It sounds like a cute, fluffy contemporary YA read and I can’t wait to read it.

Anyone else excited to read this one?

..and that’s your scoop!

This book is available from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Buy the book: B&N|Amazon
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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Review: My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody.

Posted November 2, 2011 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Main Character: Brooklyn Pierce
Love Interest: Brian Harris
Series: None, that I know of.
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads


Okay, maybe that was a bit melodramatic, but I’m sorry, I’m feeling a bit melodramatic at the moment.

Here’s the deal. My name is Brooklyn Pierce, I’m fifteen years old, and I am decisionally challenged. Seriously, I can’t remember the last good decision I made. I can remember plenty of crappy ones though. Including that party I threw when my parents were out of town that accidentally burned down a model home. Yeah, not my finest moment, for sure.

But see, that’s why I started a blog. To enlist readers to make my decisions for me. That’s right. I gave up. Threw in the towel. I let someone else decide which book I read for English. And whether or not I accepted an invitation to join the debate team from that cute-in-a-dorky-sort-of-way guy who gave me the Heimlich maneuver in the cafeteria. (Note to self: chew the melon before swallowing it.) I even let them decide who I dated!

Well, it turns out there are some things in life you simply can’t choose or have chosen for you—like who you fall in love with. And now everything’s more screwed up than ever.

But don’t take my word for it. Read the book and decide for yourself. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll scream in frustration. Or maybe that’s just me. After all, it’s my life.

What a fun book this one turned out to be. I’ve never read anything by Jessica Brody but I’ve been reading a lot of good stuff about her other book, The Karma Club that I was itching to get my hands on a copy of this book. This book is about a young girl named Brooklyn Pierce who made national headlines when she was just two years for falling down a mine shaft and being saved while the world looked on. She’s been Baby Brooklyn ever since. Brooklyn isn’t known for making good decisions and when her latest bad decisions lands her in the slammer, she thinks it’s time to take a real long look at her life.

And get some help making some better decisions.

She takes to her blog and has her blog readers make her decisions for her. What better way to get out of making bad decisions then having someone else make your decisions for you? This way, if you get into trouble for something, it wasn’t your fault because you didn’t decide to do it.

Oh man, I will definitely be reading more by Jessica Brody because this book had me laughing my guts off. The story moved at such a great pace and Brooklyn’s voice was so engaging that it took me no time at all to jump right into this book. Right from the jump, things pop off and you’re wondering, what the hell is going on here? But you press on because you can’t help yourself. You have to know what Brooklyn is going to do next and you’re itching to see what her readers are going to decide for her next.

Brody did a fantabulous job of writing this book. She gave us an imperfect main character who we couldn’t help but love anyway because she was just fun. Brooklyn’s thought processes reminded me of me at her age and of my nieces that are her age right now. They’re fast and they’re all over the place but I was never floundering trying to keep up. This was such a delightful read that I can already tell that I’ll be re-reading this book soon. I was a huge fan of Heimlich and was only mildly wowed by Red Rhett Butler. I was glad when the best friend was finally out of the picture for good and I thought Brooklyn rocked her debate thing.

Overall, this story was an enjoyable contemporary YA story that I have no troubles pimping out. It was fun, it was light and perfect for a lazy weekend read. You’ll laugh and you’ll gasp and you’ll definitely enjoy it so run out and read it and then come back here and thank me because you’re welcome. =)

..and that’s your scoop!

Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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