Wednesday, July 25, 2012

No Posts For Three Weeks!

No one probably cares but I will not be able to blog for two weeks since I will be visiting China for the first time.  And of course, Blogger is blocked there!  Yay China.  Still excited though!

Anyways, yeah.  I just felt like saying that.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tattly Subscription Delivery: Month 1

My Tattly Subscription for the month of July arrived yesterday!  This one did not disappoint :)

Click here to see my previous Tattly subscription delivery as well as a mini-review.

Tattoos for the month of July :)

I was very surprised and happy when I saw I received two of Tattly's newer releases, Party Animal (center) and Be Happy (bottom left). I am so excited for Be Happy in particular because you can wear it across your neck and it looks really cute. I also love the skull because it's such a classic tattoo design. Since my high school mascot is a pirate, I'll save this one for Spirit Day or a pep rally.

Names and Artists

Close-up of tattoos.  My favorites for this month are "Be Happy" (long one to wear on neck), Skull, and Emailer Extraordinaire (top center).

This was my attempt at trying to be an artsy photographer (and failing)

5 more to go!

As always, visit Tattly's website for affordable, very cute, designer temporary tattoos!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: Skinny by Donna Cooner

Title: Skinny
Author: Donna Cooner
Publishing Company: Scholastic Inc.
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Number of Pages: 272

15 year old Ever Davies weighs 302 pounds as a result of overeating after the death of her mother.  She hates herself and thinks that everyone else does too.  At least that's what Skinny tells her.  Skinny, Ever's subconscious in the form of a fairy that sits on her shoulders, is constantly telling Ever what people think of her and that she can't do anything right.  Because of Skinny, the closest Ever has gotten to living out her dream of singing on stage was listening to songs from her favorite Broadway musicals.

After a humiliating incident involving a broken chair and the entire student body, Ever decides that she's had enough of being the fat girl that everyone mocks and pities.  She chooses to have gastric bypass surgery, when one's stomach is made smaller permanently, as a last effort to lose weight.  Maybe this surgery will allow her to have the friends, the boy, the confidence and the life she's always wanted.  And maybe Skinny will finally leave her alone.      

This is another one of those YA novels that deal with a serious topic, obesity and gastric bypass surgery in this case. One thing that initially concerned me was that the novel was glamorizing this extremely risky surgery. Many health problems can result from it and death is always a possibility. Ever seemed to be taking quite a major risk just to fit in without taking the time to think it through. As the novel progressed though, the reader sees the side effects of the surgery both good and bad, both physical and emotional. It was very refreshing to be educated about something that we've all heard of but never really knew about.

Ever is a strong character that the reader can relate to.  She's witty and talented but many people can't seem to look past her appearances.  She distances herself through her saracasm and bitterness in order to avoid getting hurt or disappointed by others, even though the only one hurting her is Skinny, the voice inside of her.  Later in the novel, Ever gets accepted into the "popular crowd" after one of the popular girls takes her under her wing.  Even her crush starts taking interest in her.  But through it all, Ever does not change.   

Besides Ever, the other characters were also gems. Theodore "Rat" Wilson, Ever's geeky, logical best friend (with abs of steel), was by far one of my favorite "best friends" in all of YA literature. Their friendship, although fairly predictable in the direction it was going to go in, felt raw and real and was very sweet. Briella, her stepsister, is not your typical one dimensional beautiful popular girl. She has her own backstory and a complex personality. Her relationship with Ever adds more dimension to the novel. And even though Skinny existed only in Ever's mind, she has just as much presence as any other character. As unrealistic as it seems to have a fairy whispering mean things into your ear, I think most girls can relate to having a Skinny in their lives, keeping them from loving themselves and going after what they want. Towards the end of the novel, the reader along with Ever discovers something important and unexpected about Skinny, which sent a good message without getting preachy.

I really liked the tidbits of Broadway references. Ever references songs from musicals like West Side Story, Phantom of the Opera and Wicked to describe her feelings. I knew most of the songs and enjoyed looking up the ones I didn't to get a better idea of what Ever was feeling at the time.

I have two minor issues with this novel. I thought the whole Cinderella thing was a little overdone. Did we really need two stepsisters and a stepmother, the school musical, and all those verbal references to get the idea? Also, I hate the cover. I know the cover shouldn't matter and that Cooner probably did not have much control over it but seriously? That girl on the cover is NOT overweight, not even close to the lower weight Ever manages to reach by the end of the novel. It's wrong that even on a book about accepting yourself no matter what size you are, the cover has a skinny girl on it. What a shame.

Overall, Skinny is a great read that changes your perspective on fat people and body image.

I give it a 3.5/5.

FTC:  This book was requested by me on Netgalley.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday #2

Q:  If I could buy two books, they would be Stephen King's 11/22/63 and Cassandra Clare's City of Bones.  I love King and all of his books and this one seems like a very interesting twist on historical events.  It's also pretty expensive so I would want to use a gift card.  I also love YA books and have yet to jump on the City of Bones bandwagon, plus the movie is coming out soon!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: Rape Girl by Alina Klein

Rape Girl

Title:  Rape Girl
Author:  Alina Klein
Publisher:  namelos
Number of Pages:  126

When high schooler Valerie threw a party in her own house, the last thing she expected was to get raped, especially not by the boy she was crushing on. But she does, and everything changes after she reports the crime.

Almost everyone at school begins shunning her, including her best friend, and sides with her attacker Adam. Her entire family is starting to act differently around her. Valerie starts meeting with a support group for rape victims and becomes involved in a court case. Amidst all these events in the aftermath of the rape, Valerie struggles to understand and make peace with what happened.

Rape Girl  was so heartbreaking to read because of how realistic it was. When I think of the word “rape”, I usually picture dark alleyways and men with knives. I really liked how Klein chose to make the actual rape without much violence or invective, showing the readers that rape doesn’t always have to be violent in order to be a crime. More than often, it happens in familiar settings involving people who one knows.

The way other people reacted to Valerie also made me angry and extremely frustrated. Everyone from strangers to best friends, school faculty to the attacker himself, thought that Valerie was lying. Some even accused her of trying to get attention for herself. I literally felt like punching the best friend Mimi the entire time I was reading. It was awful how almost everyone blamed Valerie for what happened and punished her for reporting the rape and standing up for herself. Like one of Valerie’s teacher says “‘...rape is the only crime in which the victim has to prove her innocence’”.

I also loved how honest Valerie’s feelings were in the aftermath of the rape. She feels all kinds of emotions, anger, depression, confusion. For a while, she even blames herself for the rape, thinking that she had not struggled enough or should have fought back harder against her assailant. After hearing a more graphic account of a rape in a support group session, she feels like she was “less raped” than the other girls and wonders if she ruined her life over nothing.

The writing was very straightforward and simple, narrated from the viewpoint of Valerie. The book itself was a very short read; I finished it in about three hours. I wish it had been a little longer though, mostly because the book was so engaging that I didn't want it to end so quickly.

There is a lot to be learned from this novel. Rape is often trivialized as a crime which may account for the low percentage of the incidents that actually get reported. Society's antiquated treatment of victims could be remedied by more awareness about and openness in discussing rape. Rape is not something to whisper about. It is not a taboo. And because of books like Rape Girl, progress can be made.

I give it a 4/5

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday #1

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.

Q. I wanted to be a book blogger because it combines the two things I love the most -- books and writing! I also love writing book reviews and sharing my thoughts on them. If I love a book, I want the WHOLE world to know about it! My friend was the one who started book blogging and she would send me her links every time she posted. She was like "It's summer and we're bored. Might as well do something productive!". I basically learned everything I know about writing book reviews from reading hers!

The free books are also a plus ;)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Review: Between You & Me by Marisa Calin

Between You & Me

Title:  Between You & Me
Author:  Marisa Calin
Publisher:  Bloomsbury Children's Books
Publication Date:  August 7, 2012
Number of Pages: 256

Holy crap.  What I thought was just going to be typical young adult romance novel (judging from the cover and the title) completely blew me away.  This is what I get for not reading the included plot summary.

16 year old Phyre (yes, that's actually her name, get over it) is entering high school with her best friend.  She is fairly popular, generally liked and has landed on the "Hot List" once.  Just your average teenage high school protagonist.  

Until the new drama teacher Mia comes along and we learn that Phyre has feelings for her.  At first she's confused.  This is a woman she has a crush on!  But the more time goes by, the more it feels right.  It starts out with mild fascination, and grows into a near obsession, with Phyre constantly thinking about Mia and seeing her everywhere.  But while Phyre is sorting out her feelings for Mia, she fails to see that her best friend has feelings for her.  

The book was in a screenplay format which took me a while to get used to but I really ended up liking because of it's tie-in to the plot.  The writing style was very simple and straightforward but scattered jewels of detail here and there placed the reader in Phyre's world.  This made for a quick easy read but the subject matter kept Between You & Me from being light and forgettable.       

The most interesting part of the novel was the best friend.  Since the novel was written in second person, the best friend is referred to as "you".  The first time "you" is mentioned, I assumed that "you" was a guy.  After all, calling someone "you" for the entirety of a novel has romantic connotations which would make "you" a guy.  Right?  After I found out that Phyre had feelings for a female teacher, I started thinking.  There was nothing in the text to suggest that the best friend was for sure, a guy.  "You" could just as easily have been a girl who happened to have a crush on Phyre.  After this thought occurred to me, I felt so dumb.  Why couldn't "you" be a girl?  

I consider myself very open-minded but even in my mind, the default setting of sexual orientation for a book character was telephone-pole straight.  I'm sure that is true for many other readers.  Calin sends the message that this is wrong quite effectively without preaching about it and instead lets the reader find this out for themselves.  And I commend her for that.  

I was surprised since I wasn't expecting this book to be a "coming-out" story.  But at the same time, it's really not.  So we don't know if "you" is a girl or boy.  We don't know exactly what Phyre's sexual orientation is.  We don't even know if her feelings for a woman was just a passing phase or not.  We don't know all these things but in the end, it doesn't matter.  The fact that all these things remain ambiguous shows us just how unnecessary these labels really are.  The only thing that defines Phyre are her feelings.  

Between You & Me is first and foremost a book about falling in love.  It definitely will also bring up discussion about LGBTQ issues.  Calin does a splendid job of making a story about a girl with complicated feelings so deliciously simple.  

I give it a 4.5/5


HOLY COW.  Marisa Calin herself emailed me about this book review and it is now on her website under the "Reviews" section.  You can submit your own reviews too at

Monday, July 9, 2012

10 Hottest Men In Fiction

Move aside Edward Cullen and Christian Grey.  Here are my picks for the hottest fictional men in literature!

1.  Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

I think every girl who has read Pride and Prejudice or has even just seen the movie falls in love with Mr. Darcy.  No joke.  When we first meet him, he is gruff and disagreeable.  But we see his stone exterior start to crack as he starts falling for Elizabeth Bennett, revealing a kind, intelligent and vulnerable man.  Who doesn't want to be the girl who changes a man like that?    

Colin Firth from the 1995 mini-series

Matthew Macfadyen from the 2005 film

2.  Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald)

Jay Gatsby is the ultimate romantic, staying loyal to his love for years, even changing his entire persona just so they could be together.  That entire empire of riches he's built?  Not for his own monetary gain but just so he'll be rich enough for Daisy.  He also throws the best parties and has nice shirts.  What more can you ask for?

Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby in upcoming 2012 film

3.  Rhett Butler (Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell)

Rhett is hopelessly devoted to Scarlett O'Hara, even when she fails to see his depth of affection for her time after time.  He loves Scarlett for her spirit and personality and not just for her beauty.  Time after time, he helps others, including Scarlett while risking his own life.  His devotion and selflessness earns this Southern gentleman a spot on this list.

Played by Clark Gable in 1939 film

4.  Severus Snape (Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling)


If you even have to ask why Snape is on this list, you need to get off this planet (but actually).  He's hopeless devoted to his childhood love.  His love for her has never lost it's intensity, even when unrequited.  Even after her untimely death, he shows his love for her by risking his own life and protecting her son Harry Potter, even though he despises him.  His last action was to look into her eyes, well Harry's that he inherited from his mother.    

5.  Finnick Odair (Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins)

Even though Finnick has all the women in Panem lusting for him, there is only one girl in his life and that is Annie Cresta.  Finnick is devoted enough to make the romantic in me swoon.  He's also humorous and easy-going with just enough flirtatiousness.  And hey, the thought of Finnick wearing nothing but a fishing net gives me tingles in funny places.

James Gaisford, from the Youtube web series, is the PERFECT Finnick

6.  Atticus Finch (To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee)

Atticus Finch is honest, has integrity and does the right thing.  He sticks to his beliefs, even when he's standing alone.  He basically represents goodness and truth in the book.  We could have intelligent conversations about morals and philosophy which is always fun.  Atticus is also a good father and that's hot.

Atticus Finch, played by Gregory Peck, in 1962 film

7.  Gale Hawthorne/Peeta Mellark (The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins)

Since there's been so much discussion of "Team Peeta" and "Team Gale", now both of them are basically the same to me.  I'm Team Bothofthem!  Gale is the perfect best friend.  He's there for you and you can talk to him about anything.  Peeta is the perfect knight in shining armor.  He'll be there to protect you if you need it. Plus he can bake and that's also hot.

Liam Hemsworth as Gale in the 2012 film

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta in the 2012 film

8.  Minho (Maze Runner series by James Dashner)

Minho is one of the most badass characters in Young Adult fiction.  He is the keeper of the Runners in The Maze Runner and takes on a leadership role among the boys in the Glade.  He's described as being muscular.  He's also sarcastic, loyal and the voice of reason, all at the same time.

Derek Mio is how I've always imagined Minho

9. Gilbert Blythe (Anne of Green Gables series by L.M Montgomery)

Popular with the girls and knowing it, Gilbert first appears to the reader to be be immature and into himself.  He likes Anne from the moment he sees her but gets her attention the wrong way (making fun of her gingerness... not a good pickup line).  He matures and becomes more selfless, giving up a job so Anne can stay with Marilla.  He can call me "carrots" anytime (even though I'm a brunette).

10. Cedric Diggory (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K Rowling)

Cedric Diggory is basically the perfect "nice guy", embodying all the traits of a true Hufflepuff. He plays fair and is modest. He is hard-working and quite the Quidditch player. He is also loyal and a good friend to others, described as "good and kind and brave" by Dumbledore after his untimely death. And come on, Cedric gives me an excuse to swoon over Robert Pattinson without being called a Twihard.

Robert Pattinson as Cedric in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Well there it is!  Did I miss anybody?  Which fictional character (male or female) makes YOU swoon?  Comment below!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tattly Mini Review + My FIRST subscription delivery

"Who says forever is better?"

Eight tattoos and canvas bag :)

Tattly is a company that makes designer temporary tattoos.  You know, like the ones you used to get in party goody bags or win at the arcade except BETTER.  These tattoos are designed by professional designers and illustrators and last 3-5 days.  And at $5 for one set of two tattoos, these are certainly affordable ways to change up your look.  

When I found out about this, I was hooked.  All the designs looked so cute and artsy and I wanted every one of them!  The first tattoo I purchased was this adorable boombox one (  These are just as easy to apply as normal temporary tattoos.  They are so so so cute on!  I got many compliments on how unique and cute the tattoo looked.  Some people (ahem, Mom) almost screamed thinking it was real.  This one lasted 3 days on my upper arm, with only minor signs of wear (with the thinner lines like the boombox antenna lasting only one day).  I took it off after that because I had a work function anyway.  It was hard for me to remove because I tried rubbing it off with water.  It probably would have been easier if I followed the actual instructions on the website which involves peeling it off.  Since each tattoo comes in pairs, I still have another Boombox tattoo that I am waiting to use.  

Then, I saw that they had a subscription service for $60. 8 tattoos every month for six months plus 8 upfront. That makes a total of 56 tattoos. You also get a cute canvas bag to store your tattoos in. What a steal!

Unfortunately, they do not offer the subscription service anymore but they still have gift boxes and sets you can purchase, in addition to the individual tattoos. Check out their website at

Anyhoo, these were the contents of my first delivery.

My favorite tattoos are the "Late Watch", DANCE, pink elephant and popsicles :)

The print on the bag can also be bought as a tattoo, so cute!

0 of 6 deliveries, 6 more to go!

Overall,  these cute and creative tattoos are so perfect for summer, for a pop of art while showing some skin!  The designs combine style and uniqueness.  I can't wait for my next delivery.  I'll keep posting pictures as I get them.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Best Dystopian Novels For Teens (YA and Literary)

It seems like the world is hooked on dystopias. Authors are pumping out novels hoping to match the success of bestsellers like the Hunger Games trilogy which boast fans all around the world. And teens make up a significant portion of those fans. This can be explained by the decreased average age of the protagonists, the fact that the romance is becoming more PG in nature, and the fact that the issues touched upon (plastic surgery, reality television, etc.) are becoming more relevant to the younger generation. This is why I now see a new title on the "New Releases" bookshelf at my bookstore almost every week!

Not that I'm complaining. I am quite the fan of dystopian fiction myself. Dystopian novels address issues in society in ways that actually invoke emotional responses from the target audience and promote discussion. These novels are thought-provoking and bring up new ideas, unintended consequences as well as critiques of the ways things are currently done. As a girl living a fairly privileged life as are many others, I am fascinated by the very things I do not know, things like environmental collapse, totalitarian government, internecine warfare. And recently, this fascination has caused me to go on a "dystopian fiction binge", where I basically read almost every dystopian novel known to humankind.

Here are a few of my favorites in no particular order.    

1984 by George Orwell
It is 1984 and Oceania (modern day London) is ruled by a single party, The Party. Big Brother is the omnipresent leader. Any degree of dissent against party beliefs is quashed and suspected rebels are made to "disappear". Winston Smith is a government worker who beings to harbor thoughts of rebellion against The Party and Big Brother. He also begins a forbidden relationship with a woman named Julia even though intimacy is forbidden. Will Winston escape this totalitarian government or will he suffer the consequences of defying Party in the worst way possible? This novel explores themes like censorship and privacy and explores the consequences of a government with too much power. This book really affected me. It is so thought-provoking and ground-breaking and you need to read this!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games Trilogy #1)
Do I really need to summarize this? This book takes place in post apocalyptic North America, now called Panem which is divided into twelve districts and the Capitol. The evil Capitol implemented the Hunger Games, where one girl and one boy between 12-18 from each district fight to the death in an arena until there is one victor. Katniss Everdeen, from District 12 (also the poorest district) volunteers as a tribute after her little sister is selected. Katniss explores her feelings for fellow D12 tribute Peeta and tries to stay alive, while inadvertently sparking a revolution. The premise is really interesting and the action never stops, incorporating action, violence, romance and politics in one teen-friendly package.  Katniss is also one of the strongest characters I have seen in a YA novel.

Divergent by Veronica Roth (Divergent Trilogy #1)Divergent takes place in Dystopian Chicago, where society is split into five factions, Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Erudite (the intelligent), Dauntless (the brave) and Abnegation (the selfless).  At the age of 16 one may choose to switch factions or stay in the one they were born into.  Beatrice "Tris" Prior has been brought up in Abnegation her whole life but doesn't feel like she fits in.  It is revealed that she is divergent, equally suited to Abnegation, Erudite and Dauntless.  She chooses Dauntless.  Before she can become a full member, she needs to pass initiation, a series of physically and mentally brutal tasks.  Along the way, she makes friends and enemies and develops a crush on Four, a Dauntless instructor.  But that is the least of her troubles as tensions are brewing between the different factions, threatening to start a war.  Tris soon discovers that she may be the only one who can stop it.  The writing is engaging and I was never bored.  Roth does an amazing job of setting up this complex and interesting world.  

Unwind by Neal Shusterman (Unwind Trilogy #1)
This is definitely one of the most underrated YA dystopian novels out there.  Unwind takes place in a future society where a compromise over abortion was made; parents may elect to have their kids from the ages 13-18 years "unwound", when their organs and body parts are harvested to be donated.  Technically, the unwound children do not die since their individual parts are still alive.  Connor, Risa and Lev are all scheduled to be wound for differing reasons and by chance, they find each other and try to escape.  On the way, they encounter friends, enemies and traitors as well as dangerous situations.  But together, they may just survive.  This novel was shocking and disturbing (one scene in particular was a little hard to get through).  I loved how it brought up relevant issues like overpopulation, abortion and the sanctity of life.  The book is told in different points of views and each character is well developed with a unique background.  Definitely check this book out!    

Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium #1)
In this world, love is a disease called delirium.  Children are taught the dangers of delirium from a very young age.  At 18, one can recieve the Cure and have a spouse assigned to them.  Magdalena "Lena" Haloway, deathly afraid of the delirium, is excited to be Cured.  That is, until she falls in love with Alex, an Invalid living outside the city who had escaped the cure.  Lena's feelings on love change and she starts to question all that she's been taught.  Being a story about love, the relationship between Lena and Alex is at the foreground of all that is happening.  It's kind of similar to Uglies by Scott Westerfield.  An issue I usually have with dystopian novels is believability and I did not have such a problem with this one.  At the beginning of each chapter, Oliver gives the reader peeks into Lena's world quotes from scientific articles, religious texts and even nursery rhymes that all demonstrate how paranoid everyone is about delirium.  Delirium is also very emotional.  This well written book is worth the read!

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
With the help of advanced genetic technology and conditioning, World State is happy and most importantly, stable. Natural reproduction is forbidden, with humans being grown in labs. Humans are divided into castes, Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons. Embryos in the lower castes are interfered with during development, stunting growth and lowering IQ to ensure that they will fit the menial jobs they will inevitably spend their lives doing. Children are conditioned from a very young age to accept certain beliefs. In this way, everybody is happy with the way their lives are. Or are they? Bernard Marx feels like an outcast and longs for his freedom. After making a trip to the Savage reservation, a place where the previous way of life still thrives, Marx brings a special visitor back which may change everything. This novel brings up many philosophical questions about true happiness versus contentment, about whether knowledge is enlightenment or a merely a burden. It may be a little harder to read for some teens but it is completely worth it.       
The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Maze Runner Trilogy #1) 
The book starts off with Thomas waking up in an empty elevator called the Box.  He has no memories of what happened and where he came from, only his first name.  He finds that he is now in a large enclosed area called the Glade with many other boys and that every 30 days, a new kid is delivered in the box.  The Glade is surrounded by a giant maze.  At the beginning of every day, the doors to the maze open and that's when the appointed "mazerunners" explore and map out the maze.  Every night the doors are closed, and monsters called Grievers come out.  The kids are trying to figure out the maze, hoping it will lead to answers and their freedom.  When a girl appears in the Box days after Thomas, she brings a message.  Everything is about to change and Thomas is a huge part of it.  This book had a very gripping plot that kept me reading.  I really wanted to find out what the mystery behind the maze was.  Dashner delivered suspense and intrigue, making this novel very enjoyable to read!

Well there you go!  Happy reading!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Book Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

I'm just going to say it now but I do NOT usually read books that fall under the category of "chick-lit".  It's not that I have anything against shopaholics, or cocktail parties or summer romances, but these kinds of books usually annoy the heck out of me.  The protagonists are often weak and/or bratty which makes them completely unsympathetic and unlikeable.  Their lives usually revolve around the pursuit of a boyfriend which makes the feminist in me cringe.  And from a literary standpoint, the prose leaves much to be desired.  

The reason I gave The Summer I Turned Pretty a try was because my friend and I were making fun of it earlier.  We were wandering around Barnes and Noble and we spotted the cover and the title.  "Ugh, I can't wait to turn pretty this summer like these people obviously did", I said while laughing and pointing to the book cover.  My friend flipped the book over and exclaimed "Is the main character's name actually Belly?".  

It was.  And a few weeks later during a lazy summer day, I saw the book in my library and gave it a try.  I finished this book in several hours and surprisingly, I enjoyed it!  It still was not without it's flaws but it was a quick and pleasant read.

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer–they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

The Summer I Turned Pretty follows 15 year old Isabel "Belly" Conklin and her complicated relationship with Jeremiah and Conrad Fisher, two brothers with whom Belly's family stays with every summer at their beach house, along with their mother, Susannah.  

It has always been Belly's older brother, Steven, who was friends with the them while Belly has always been left out of their tight-knit "boys-only" group.  She has always been the "little sister" when all she really wanted for years was to be treated as an equal.  She has never truly been noticed... until this summer.  

Soon to be sixteen, Belly has blossomed over the year, in looks and maturity, and the two brothers look at her in a different way.  Jeremiah, the light-hearted jokester who Belly describes as being like a brother to her, starts seeing her as being someone more.  Even Conrad, the older brother who Belly has had an intense crush on for years, starts to see her in a new light.   

Naturally, a "love-triangle" arises, with Belly and her struggle to decide between the two boys she had known her entire life.  Actually, Belly does end up going out with another boy for a few weeks.  Of course, Jeremiah and Conrad do not approve.  So that would make it... a love square?  Wow, weird.  But I'm glad that there was another boy that Belly was interested in to show that she is independent/ trying to be independent of the two boys who have been such a significant part of her life.  

Belly is very likeable and her desire to be included is one that we can all relate to.  Her voice is truly that of a young girl experiencing first love.  She is not completely mature yet and can sometimes be petty, but who isn't at that age?  Even though she has clearly blossomed into a beauty, she chooses to hide it under baggy t-shirts and shorts.  She doesn't have a low self esteem like most chick-lit protagonists do which is refreshing to see, yet she doesn't flaunt her beauty and use her feminine wiles to manipulate the opposite sex.  Though it may not be clear at times with the romantic angle the author takes, Belly truly does care about the boys as friends.  While some readers may be put off by her seemingly immature ways, the character is a very accurate representation of a teenage girl.         

One surprisingly poignant aspect of the novel was the friendship between Susannah (Conrad and Jeremiah's mother) and Laurel (Belly and Steven's mother).  Girly Susannah and practical Laurel are complete opposites yet they are almost like sisters.  And Susannah's battle with breast cancer adds another whole dimension to their friendship as well as to Belly's story (since Susannah is like a second mother to her).  Although it is mentioned only secondary to all of Belly's relationships with the brothers, just the beauty of this true friendship makes the book worth reading.  Their friendship was definitely my favorite element of this novel.  

Now for the writing.  I'm not going to go and say that the prose was amazing.  Jenny Han obviously tried to make the tone and diction fit the narrator, a teenage girl.  Because of this, you get shorter, sometimes choppier sentences.  The writing should fit the genre of literature, the words flowed well and one can definitely imagine a teenage girl speaking them. 

I enjoyed the flashbacks that Han employed to document the increasingly complex relationships that Belly has with Jeremiah and Conrad.  Age 10, in love with Conrad.  Age 11, taught how to dance by Conrad.  Age 12, heart-broken by Conrad.  Age 14, first kiss with Jeremiah in a game of Truth or Dare.  Each flashback showed Belly in a different way and provided some background information which truly enriched the story.     

Overall, the story was entertaining and unique.  The characters were well-developed and different.  Belly is a protagonist worth worth listening to.  Cousin's Beach was beautifully set up and by the end of the book, readers will long to be Belly, long to have a summer like hers where anything can happen.  All of this makes The Summer I Turned Pretty stand out among all the summer romance books you will inevitably see crowding the shelves this summer.    

Final Rating- 4/5


Of Things To Come

Hello non-existent readers!  I am so excited to share my literary musings and journey with the rest of the world.  But before I do so, allow me to introduce myself.

I am a young girl on the brink of adulthood, having just turned 17.  I love books and poetry and the people who write them.  I read faster than the average person and have been known to finish novels in an hour.  My favorite books right now are The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.  But being a teenage girl, I do love young adult novels and like the rest of the world, am currently obsessed with dystopias.  

Besides books, I love music, musical theatre, food and fashion/beauty.  I am also a feminist.  My favorite color is sunset, the color of the sky when red, pink, purple, blue and gold mix.  I love animals and really need some kind of non-human companion, like soon.  And I am just socially awkward in general.

Okay, that was a very short intro giving you a peek into the person behind the future posts.  Things I plan to do in this blog are:

-reviews of books I read
-reviews of books I am sent (if I am ever that lucky)
-a feminist analysis of books
-academic stuff
-comparing books with their movie counterparts (I'm very excited about this as I love watching movies!)  
-giveaways and contests!!!
-random posts on some of my other interests

You probably didn't need to know all that.  The list above was more for my reference so I don't forget anything (because as I forgot to mention earlier in my bio, I have a horrible memory).