Tag: Viking Juvenile

Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Posted November 27, 2013 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Moon and More by Sarah DessenReviewer: Rowena
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 4th 2013
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 435
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

Sarah Dessen's devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer.

I always look forward to reading a Sarah Dessen book because let’s be real, she’s pretty awesome.  I’ve always found something to love in every single one of her books and this book wasn’t any different.  I really enjoyed getting to know Emaline.  She wasn’t the easiest person to connect with but her issues were real and I connected with that.

When we first meet Emaline, she’s dating Luke and they seem pretty happy but when a new guy comes onto the scene, I thought that he’d be the love interest and while he was….I found myself curious over the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of his.  I never warmed up to him, the way that I usually do to Dessen boys.  I liked him okay, but I didn’t fall in love with him.  And there were even times when I didn’t even like him.  I kept wondering what the heck Em’s problem was that she would dump Luke for…Theo.

Em’s story unfolds pretty slowly but not in a boring way.  This book takes place in the summer and it’s very character driven so of course, I was a happy camper.  I really liked getting to know Em and her family (even when they were freaking crazy) and I thought the whole thing with her father was interesting.  And then of course, there was the drama with Luke.

There were times when Em frustrated me but Dessen did a good job of keeping my frustration at a minimum and making me understand why Em was thinking or doing the things that she was thinking.  As enjoyable as this book was, it’s not a favorite of mine.  That book still belongs to The Truth about Forever.  But this was a solid read.  One that I’m sure fans of the author will enjoy.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

This book is available from Viking Juvenile.  You can purchase it here or here in e-format.


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Review: Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti.

Posted June 7, 2012 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Rowena’s review of Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti.

Main Character: Noelle
Love Interest: Julian
Series: None
Author: Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

A romantic and empowering book about bullying.

Noelle’s life is all about survival. Even her best friend doesn’t know how much she gets bullied, or the ways her mom neglects her. Noelle’s kept so much about her life a secret for so long that when her longtime crush Julian Porter starts paying attention to her, she’s terrified. Surely it’s safer to stay hidden than to risk the pain of a broken heart. But when the antagonism of her classmates takes a dramatic turn, Noelle realizes it’s time to stand up for herself—and for the love that keeps her holding on.

I heart Susane Colasanti’s books. They always take me to my happy place and this book was no different. I mean, this book was so full of things that hurt my heart but the way that Colasanti wrote it, made me love the characters and anxious for things to get better for them.

In this book, we meet Noelle. Noelle is a junior in high school and she gets bullied on a constant basis at school. She’s one of the poor kids at school so she gets teased about her clothes and things like that and she pissed off some kids back in the day (doing things that were out of her control, I thought) and they torment her day in and day out when she’s at school. Noelle’s not a bad kid, she’s quiet and she keeps to herself for the most part and she does have a friend. She just doesn’t have the same lunch period as her best friend Sherae and she has the same lunch period as her tormentors.

Throughout this entire book, my heart hurt for Noelle. I got so angry at the adults mentioned in the book who saw her getting bullied and never bothered to step in and help her. What the heck could kids do to them that made them keep mum about the bullying? Why wouldn’t they step up and stop the bullying? Pissed me right off.

I thought Colasanti did such a great job of showing us the growth in Noelle over the course of the book. When we first meet her, she was a shadow of the person that she was in the end and I really enjoyed seeing the transformation. I loved the people that came into her life and I loved her best friend. I loved Simon and I loved Sherae and I LOVED Julian. On the other hand, I hated Matt, I hated her Mom and I hated Warner, Audrey and Carly. This book touches on bullying in high school and even though it was a tough theme to read through at times, it was worth reading to the end.

It’s really weird to me that I don’t remember anyone in my high school that was bullied like this. I mean, I know that it happens but I’ve never witnessed it for myself. When I was in school, people were made fun of and talked about behind their backs but nobody was bullied like this. So reading these kinds of stories really puts me in these kids shoes and I’m glad that I’ve never gone through this but at the same time, my heart goes out to the kids being bullied all over the world. Nobody deserves to be treated the way that Noelle was treated and I loved that she found a support system that helped her through the tough times.

This book touches on low self esteem and bullying and hard issues that teens face everyday and I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone, really. I really enjoyed this book and this is right up there as one of my favorites by Colasanti. Everyone should definitely read this one.

..and that’s your scoop!

This book is available from Viking Juvenile.
Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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Review: Sign Language by Amy Ackley.

Posted December 15, 2011 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Rowena’s review of Sign Language by Amy Ackley.

Main Character: Abby
Love Interest: ??
Series: None
Author: Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

Twelve-year-old Abby North’s first hint that something is really wrong with her dad is how long it’s taking him to recover from what she thought was routine surgery. Soon, the thing she calls “It” has a real name: cancer. Before, her biggest concerns were her annoying brother, the crush unaware of her existence, and her changing feelings for her best friend, Spence, the boy across the street. Now, her mother cries in the shower, her father is exhausted, and nothing is normal anymore. Amy Ackley’s impressive debut is wrenching, heartbreaking, and utterly true.

It’s been a long time since I was twelve years old but man do I remember when I got my period for the first time. Mine didn’t happen at all like Abby’s did in this book and boy am I glad. Though I did have my best girl there to help me through everything like Abby did, I started at home and that’s something that I thank my lucky stars for because Abby started at school with kids pointing and laughing at her, the poor girl.

This book isn’t about a girl who started her period though, it’s about a girl who’s father is diagnosed with cancer and while I was reading it, I could see the steps that cancer takes when it comes bursting into your life. The endless trips to the hospital for treatments, the devastation you feel when you realize that the cancer is real and reading this book took me right back to September 2, 2010 when I found out that my 14 year old nephew was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, which is bone cancer.

I was thirty when I found out about RJ and it hit me hard, it hit my daughter Brenna hard as well. She cried for days, worried sick about her cousin in Colorado. One of my favorite things about my family is that all of our kids are close. Growing up, there were plenty times when my Mom and Dad would introduce us to our cousins and we’d never keep in touch so every couple of years, we’d have to be re-introduced to them. The only cousins that we knew were my Uncle Pete’s kids from my Mom’s side and a handful of my cousins on my Dad’s side. Our kids not only know each other but they’re all friends, they all grew up together even when my sister Helen moved from L.A. to San Diego and then on to Colorado, our kids were still extremely close. When we told the kids about RJ, there was a cloud of gloom that followed every single one of us and the kids around for weeks afterward. Chance, who is RJ’s best friend couldn’t get to Colorado fast enough. I remember the night that Chance found out, he got off the phone with RJ and walked right out of the house. He disappeared for hours that night and when he came back, his eyes were bloodshot but you could see the desire to understand everything in his eyes as he walked over to the computer and pored over everything he could find on RJ’s condition.

His parents did everything they could to make sure that Chance could fly out there and be with RJ during his first week of treatment. Before his first trip, he read everything he could and prepared himself mentally to be there for his best friend.

In this book, you see the parents trying to protect Abby from the truth about her Dad’s illness. You see the way that Abby and her brother Josh react to the news of their father’s cancer and you see them react totally different to the news. Josh kind of checks out mentally and Abby tries harder than ever to make sure nobody found out about her Dad. She even tried hiding the truth of it all from her best friend Spence.

Spence. What a star that kid was. I adored him from the very beginning and over the course of the book, adored him more and more.

Reading this book took me back to this past April. It took me back to after my Mom died and I had absolutely no clue what to do next. Like both Josh and Abby, I never really thought my Mom would die, until she did. When that happened, I was at a complete loss as to what to do next. I remember texting James and telling him that my Mom died and that I wasn’t going to be in the office at all that week. I remember asking him to tell everyone. I sent an email to Ames and Izzy and asked them to let my readers here know what happened. I remember going home from the hospital and sitting with my sisters, too stunned to talk or plan, to stunned to think.

Reading as Abby went through these same exact things made this book really come alive for me. I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed it all but I was interested enough to keep reading. I thought Ackley did a fabulous job of capturing the thought processes that go through your mind when you lose someone you love a great deal. The confusion, the grief. It’s all in this book and it’s raw and real.

This book is told in a before and after. Before the death, it reminded me so much of when I found out about RJ and after the death, it put me right back to this past April when my Mom died. This book came full circle for Abby and for me as well. I ended up being so glad that I read this book because I could relate to this story but there were parts of the book that I couldn’t relate to at all. I’ve never been the kind of girl to blow up at everyone around me for no particular reason other than because I wanted to. Abby was very volatile and even though I understand why, when she would blow up at her Mom and at Spence, I would get so angry at her because like teens could be, she was so flippin’ selfish.

Throughout all of this, my heart went out to Spence the most because even though he wasn’t a blood relative of Abby’s family, he was still mourning the loss of Abby’s Dad too. He was hurting and he missed Abby’s Dad but Abby was much too lost in her own grief to realize any of that. Every time she snapped at Spence and every time she pushed Spence away, I wanted to backhand her.

But alls well that ends well and I ended up enjoying this book. It was like taking a walk down memory lane and I related to the telling of this story more than I thought I would. It’s not one of those happy joy joy kind of books but it’s interesting and it gives an inside look to what your friends are going through when they lose a parent. It sheds light on what is going through people’s head (teens mainly) when their parents die. It puts you in their shoes for a few hours and it’s good to know so that you’re not left wondering.

..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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Guest Review: So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti

Posted November 22, 2011 by Ames in Reviews | 5 Comments

*My apologies to Wena for being in a blogging rut for freaking EVER and not posting here these last few months. I’m going to make it up to you, sweets!*

Main Character: Brooke
Love Interest: Scott
Series: n/a
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Good Reads

When Brooke’s crush, Scott, moves from their suburban town to New York City, she decides to follow him there. Living with her formerly estranged dad and adapting to a new school are challenging, and things go from bad to worse when Brooke learns that Scott already has a girlfriend. But as she builds her new life, Brooke begins to discover a side of herself she never knew existed. And as she finds out, in the city that never sleeps, love can appear around any corner…

I have to be honest, I was hesitant to read this book. Why? This will have been the 3rd book in a short period of time where the heroine comes across as a bit obsessive. Is this the new trend of the moment? Because I don’t like it. Obsessed with boys, obsessed with an older sister, whatever they’re obsessed it, it makes them seem a touch psychotic and unbalanced.

Thankfully, Brooke wasn’t obsessed so much that she crossed over that psychotic line. LOL Yeah she had a crush on a boy and worked things her way so she could move to be closer to him. Kudos girl, taking control of your life. But she didn’t seem so crazy desperate that it turned me off. She kind of closed herself off from making new friends to remain true to the friends she left behind, but some people still broke through her shell. I liked that more than anything – that she made friends despite herself. It was also a bit bittersweet on the other hand when her old friends back in Jersey moved on in her absence. Boys will come and go, but your friends are what really matter. And it hurts when your friends move on.

I was also afraid that Brooke was going to be the biggest brat towards her father. Again, I was wrong. LOL I was wrong about so many things with this book! So I think the blurb does this book a bit of a disservice, because if you’re sick of seemingly psychotic heroines as much as me, there’s no way you’d want to read this.

But it’s about more than a girl going after a boy she likes, it’s about making new friends and finding beauty in places you’d never think to look. For that, I’m giving So Much Closer a solid B.

Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com


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Review: So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti.

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

Main Character: Brooke
Love Interest: John (highlight if you really want to know)
Series: None
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

When Brooke’s crush, Scott, moves from their suburban town to New York City, she decides to follow him there. Living with her formerly estranged dad and adapting to a new school are challenging, and things go from bad to worse when Brooke learns that Scott already has a girlfriend. But as she builds her new life, Brooke begins to discover a side of herself she never knew existed. And as she finds out, in the city that never sleeps, love can appear around any corner…

I wanted to read this book because it reminded me so much of the old show, Felicity. You see, Felicity does the exact same thing that Brooke in this book does. She moves to a different city to follow a boy that she thinks she’s meant to be with. She just completely picks up her life and moves it for a person they didn’t know all that well but had a fierce crush on.

In this book, Brooke moves to New York City to be closer to Scott. She has a huge crush on Scott and when she finds out that he’s moving to New York…she makes that move. She moves in with her Dad and she tries to get into Scott’s inner circle, thinking it’ll be easy since they’re both new to the city but when she runs into Scott and finds out that he already has a girlfriend, she’s bummed…but not discouraged.

To say that Brooke has balls of steel is putting it lightly. This girl has monster balls. She moves to New York with the sole purpose of making Scott realize that they were meant to be together. We’re talking about a guy who didn’t know she existed until right before he moved away from Jersey. Scott having a girlfriend doesn’t really phase Brooke because she keeps on keepin’ on and with the help of some new friends, Brooke makes a life for herself in the big city.

Watching Brooke grow into her own and seeing her grow apart from her friends back home and closer to the friends of her new home, made for an entertaining read (I say this a lot in my reviews but I don’t know how else to word it). Brooke doesn’t get it right in the beginning but seeing her make mistake after mistake and then finally getting it right was fun to read. Her friendships with John and with Sadie were fun to read about but there were quite a few things that I wish I had gotten more from.

One of those things was Brooke’s relationship with her parents. Her Mother was introduced as this bittered woman who was scorned by Brooke’s father and a few descriptions of what happens next comes along but it would have been nice if more was built on to that whole thing. The same goes with Brooke’s father. There’s a troubled relationship there but not much is explained or dealt with aside from that. It just would have been nice if we got more from those two then we did, I probably would have enjoyed this book even more.

Another thing that kind of fell flat for me was her friendships with her friends from back home. They drift apart and then that’s it. Not much else came from that and it would have been nice if something more was built on and then dealt with on that score.

My favorite part of this book were the additions of both Sadie and John. I adored their characters and the friendships that bloomed with Brooke. The way that John saw New York, the way that he felt about New York made me want to go there and see what he’s talking about and seeing Sadie come out of her shell and go after her guy was too cute for words.

Overall the story was good but I couldn’t help feeling that it could have been so much better. I’m glad that I read this book and I will definitely be reading more from Colasanti, it’s just this book isn’t my favorite of the Colasanti books I’ve read.

..and that’s your scoop!

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

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