Publisher: Speak

Review: Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka

Posted June 29, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-BrokaReviewer: Rowena
Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley, Austin Siegemund-Broka
Publisher: Speak
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 352
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Megan Harper is the girl before. All her exes find their one true love right after dating her. It’s not a curse or anything, it’s just the way things are, and Megan refuses to waste time feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she focuses on pursuing her next fling, directing theatre, and fulfilling her dream school’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible.

But her plans quickly crumble when she’s cast as none other than Juliet–yes, that Juliet–in her high school’s production. It’s a nightmare. No–a disaster. Megan’s not an actress and she’s certainly not a Juliet. Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright who agrees to help Megan catch the eye of a sexy stagehand in exchange for help writing his new script.

Between rehearsals and contending with her divided family, Megan begins to notice Owen–thoughtful, unconventional, and utterly unlike her exes, and wonders: shouldn’t a girl get to play the lead in her own love story?

I’m not reading nearly as many YA books as I used to but when I came across this book, I was anxious to read it. This book is surrounded by the Romeo and Juliet play but it features a main character that is more Rosalind than Juliet.

Megan Harper has always been the girl that guys date before they find their meant-to-be partners. She’s become a flirt, the girl that keeps things casual because of her status as the girl before but when she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring writer who teams up with her to write a play and hook her up with the guy she wants to hook up with.

I normally don’t have any trouble jumping into a contemporary YA because things happen sort of fast in those books but for me, this book started off really slow and it was hard for me to connect with Megan. I didn’t hate her or anything like that, I just didn’t really care for her and what she was going through. It took me a little bit to warm up to Owen but once I did, I really warmed up to him.

When Megan gets cast as Juliet in her school’s production of Romeo & Juliet, Megan freaks out because she wants to be a director, not an actress. She was hoping for a small role to add to her college application and now, she’s got to deal with the pressures of acting and acting alongside her ex-boyfriend who dumped her for her best friend. Sure, she’s over the ex but not over how the ex made her feel when she dumped her for someone so close to her.

This story was a character driven story and because I wasn’t that invested in Megan’s character, the story moved slowly for me. I did end up enjoying the book but it took too long for me to care and that was a bummer. Megan is written to be that fun protagonist who has a rep of being the school slut, which I thought was pretty unfair but she didn’t let that stop her from living her life and I liked that she was okay with the person that she was. She made no apologies and she was out there living her best life. My issues with her character was I wasn’t that logged into what was going on. I didn’t really care about the play, the secondary characters weren’t fully fleshed out characters that I could get behind and the love interest, well it took a while for me to like him because I was low key bored throughout the first half of the book.

I did warm up to both Owen and Megan, more Owen than Meg and the book ended on a high note for me so overall, the story was decent but not a favorite of mine. I will be willing to try out more from this writing duo though.

Grade: 3.25 out of 5


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Review: Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

Posted October 18, 2012 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Keeping the Moon by Sarah DessenReviewer: Rowena
Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Penguin, Speak
Publication Date: September 1st 1999
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 228
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There is an alternate cover edition for this ISBN13 here.

Colie expects the worst when she's sent to spend the summer with her eccentric aunt Mira while her mother, queen of the television infomercial, tours Europe. Always an outcast -- first for being fat and then for being "easy" -- Colie has no friends at home and doesn't expect to find any in Colby, North Carolina.

But then she lands a job at the Last Chance Cafe and meets fellow waitresses Morgan and Isabel, best friends with a loving yet volatile relationship. Wacky yet wise, Morgan and Isabel help Colie see herself in a new way and realize the potential that has been there all along.

This is one of the very few Dessen books that I haven’t read yet and I finally picked it up last week. While it wasn’t my favorite Dessen book, it was still a very charming read.

This book follows Colie, who used to be fat as she spends the summer with her crazy Aunt Mira in the town we’ve all come to love through Sarah Dessen books, Colby. Colie is used to being bullied as she’s been bullied all of her life at school and because of this, she doesn’t let very many people close to keep from getting hurt when they inevitably do. The summer in Colby changes Colie for the better and as much as she drove me crazy through the book, I was so glad when I finally finished the book because there was growth and there were lessons learned and a boy that I came to adore throughout the entire book.

Colie’s Mom is a fitness guru who used to be big and transformed her and Colie’s life with a diet and exercise plan that changed their lives and made her an instant success story. Colie and her Mom used to live out of their car at times, move around all the time and that kind of lifestyle didn’t really help one stay healthy and so Colie and her mother were overweight for a good portion of Colie’s life and now that they’ve taken control of their health, they’re no longer big girls and yet Colie still doesn’t have the confidence in herself and in her looks the way that one would think after shedding so much weight.

Colie is distant and she’s reserved and for good reason. She’s been through things that I wouldn’t wish anyone to go through and my heart hurt for Colie as I got to know her because there were reasons for the way that she was and when she started to step out of her comfort zone and let others into her life, I cheered because she deserved the very best that life had to offer her and she shied away from everything because of the way that her peers treated her at school. She learned some very hard lessons early on in life and those lessons stayed with her and I loved when Isabelle and Morgan came into her life. I loved that they were older and wiser and were there when Colie most needed her. They were there to help her blossom into the young woman at the end of the book and boy did I really enjoy the way that they stepped into her life and made her accept them and then in turn, accepted her.

Then there was Norman. Oh, what a cutie patootie that guy turned out to be. I really liked getting to know him through Colie’s POV. He was mysterious and studly in a nerdy way and I adored him. I adored the way that he lived his life. I adored the way that he was always there and accepting of Colie, through all of her different looks. I loved the way that he was with Aunt Mira and how good he was to everyone around him. He was such a good guy and when Colie finally figures this out, I was a happy camper.

There were times when the story dragged a bit but it didn’t last very long. Leave to Sarah Dessen to write a complex story about one character with not much happening…and yet so much happening. I adore Dessen’s books and this was another winner for me. Great story.

…and that’s your scoop!

This book is available from Speak. This book was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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