Monthly Archives: March 2016

Review: Kill The Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky

Kill The Boy BandTitle: Kill The Boy Band

Author: Goldy Moldavsky

Published: February 23rd, 2016 (Scholastic)

Pages: 320

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Comedy, Mystery

Themes: Music, Fandom

Format: ARC

Source: ALA (Gifted from Val, her review)

Rating: Four Stars

Goodreads Summary:

Okay, so just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near The Ruperts, our favorite boy band.

We didn’t mean to kidnap one of the guys. It kind of, sort of happened that way. But now he’s tied up in our hotel room. And the worst part of all, it’s Rupert P. All four members of The Ruperts might have the same first name, but they couldn’t be more different. And Rupert P. is the biggest flop out of the whole group.

We didn’t mean to hold hostage a member of The Ruperts, I swear. At least, I didn’t. We are fans. Okay, superfans who spend all of our free time tweeting about the boys and updating our fan tumblrs. But so what, that’s what you do when you love a group so much it hurts.

How did it get this far? Who knows. I mean midterms are coming up. I really do not have time to go to hell.

Purchase Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository

Cover Thoughts: I love the contrast between the girlyness and darkness of this book. The pink represents the girls and their love for the band and the black symbolizes that things are darker than first believed.

~Why I Wanted To Read~

I wanted to read Kill The Boy Band because it revolved around a group of girls, a band and was a dark comedy. 

~Impact On Me~

Now I am a fangirl. I am a fangirl about musicals. I am a fangirl about TV shows. I am a fangirl about BANDS. You may have been able to tell this by my nonstop Hamilton and Carly Rae Jepsen tweets, my blog posts about Steroline and Veronica Mars, as well as what is basically a love letter to Hilary Duff. I am just an all around, slightly insane, completely obsessed fangirl. This book was practically a love letter to me.

Obsessed

As a fangirl, I read Kill The Boy Band and laughed and nodded my head at the portrayals. Some of the extreme fangirls were quite off the rails with their behavior, from wearing diapers to concerts (Hey, it was done in Grey’s Anatomy during surgery, so why not?) to taking the blame for very serious events. They are 100% dedicated to their fandom and for that, the characters get all of my applause. They know each other’s Ruperts stats, from how many times they’ve seen them in concert to how many times they’ve seen them from a far. They keep posters, memorize songs, practically stalk them, etc. They love these guys.

Sixteen_Candles

First Line: People have called me crazy.

~Review~

What to say about Kill The Boy Band? I loved it and hated it. It made me laugh and roll my eyes. I wanted to hug it as well as throw it out my window. Did I have mixed thoughts about it? You bet. I related an unbelievable amount to it, from being a fangirl to loving music to living in the digital age. When I was in high school, I wasn’t directly involved in fandom, but I loved Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy. I would read so much band fiction by them all day and night. I would read them over and over. Their music was constantly played in my ears. What is band fiction, you may ask? It is fanfiction written about the band members. Yes, the living, breathing real life band members. I ate it up.

Lick it up

This was a fast paced book filled with fangirls, comedy, crazy antics, mystery and a quite a bit of darkness. It was addictive and difficult to put down. It is ridiculous, addictive, completely improbable, senseless and hysterical. Kill The Boy Band is supposed to be a fun book that doesn’t take itself very seriously. That doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t at times but let me continue.

Kill The Boy Band is a satirical take on fandom and mystery. It revolves around four girls who aren’t quite friends. They’re more like people who use each other for what they can get out of it.

Sloane, the main character, our narrator, supplies…nothing particular to the group, but she is friends with Erin.

Erin is the leader of the group you could say. She’s the one that everyone listens to and no one really goes against, except for Sloane.

Apple is rich, so she helps with money costs. Generally without anyone helping.

Isabel is a blogger-esque type person who runs a successful Ruperts news website, so she helps them stalk the guys. Of the four girls, Apple and Sloane are the most serious about the boys. Isabel mostly uses the band to get hits on her website and Erin, well, you’ll have to see. She’s a mysterious character with secrets for sure.

Friends

Really, the girls aren’t anything to each other, but they share one common interest, The Ruperts.

Confessiosn_of_Soul

The Ruperts are your basic parody boy band, ala One Direction, Jonas Brothers and Five Seconds of Summer. The Ruperts are a group of four guys who are all named Rupert. As you can tell, they’re a combination of the Jonas name in Jonas Brothers (without being related, mind you) and the reality show based, insane worldwide popularity of European boy band, One Direction.

This book absolutely played out like a movie for me, it reminded me of the 2004 movies, Sleepover and Stuck In The Suburbs along with some of the improbable and problematic elements found in 80s movies like Sixteen Candles and Heathers. Not only did it remind me of those teenage films, but Kill The Boy Band also seemed to take a spin on the popular ensemble teenage girl mysteries like Pretty Little Liars and Get Even. Now when it comes to ’04 movies and the 80s movies, I would say Kill The Boy Band is more like the former. It was entertaining, but didn’t push certain buttons, I’d say.

Just Once

When I started Kill The Boy Band, I adored it. It seemed like such a letter to the fandom. I loved it even more because it wasn’t a book fandom (like in Fangirl) or a show fandom (like in Gena/Finn), but a music fandom. I’m such a music fanatic that I know how a simple band can just be life changing for a person. I think a lot of society likes to make fun of girls for loving these big boy bands, but that’s something that’s gone on since the 90s with Backstreet Boys, N’Sync and 98 Degrees. It’s nothing new and yet it seems like if teenage girls love these bands and the boys in the bands, that they’re just being silly. Of course, it would be hard to find someone criticize a girl for liking Imagine Dragons, one of the biggest Alternative acts to come out in recent years. I loved how this book stood up for girls who love boy bands and justified their feelings while also questioning them. This book is so unapologetically for the girls. 

I thought the characters were a bit cliche, but I liked the main character a lot. I found Erin interesting, but she irked me a bit.

Allison

An interesting thing about the main character is that we’re never told her real name. I would like to believe this was done so readers could insert themselves into the story. Not unlike the self-insertion fanfiction that was popular when I was growing up. The main character is the voice of reason throughout Kill The Boy Band. She wants to do the good thing, the right thing. She wants to do what no other girls ever do in Pretty Little Liars and Get Even and admit she can’t handle a situation and go to the police. It was refreshing to see a girl go against the group mentality.

Ferris_Gif

While we’re not ever given the main character’s name, she does claim a few names when she’s talking to various people. Some of these names are Francis ‘Baby’ Houseman, Samantha Baker and Sloane Peterson. That last name is where the “Sloane” reference comes from in my review. Now, do any of these names ring any bells? Well, they’re the names of the female main characters in Dirty Dancing,

Lied

Sixteen Candles,

Sixteen_Candles_Gif

and Ferris Buller’s Day Off.

Marry_Me

Yes, our main character is a bit into 80s movies as well. I LOVED this about her. I think this is excellent because even without the names, this book felt so much like a movie of John Hughes, something fun but improbable and a definite daydream scenario. The main character is also a fanfiction writer! This was something I really loved about her, though I never really wrote fanfiction, I definitely toyed with the idea and read a ton.

I loved the initial plot with the girls accidentally kidnapping a guy from The Ruperts. It was even more amusing that it was the one that none of them liked except for Apple. Of course, this was also an annoying pain. Things definitely go from a little crazy to all out insane and the main characters find out some things they did not know before. This book did take me on an interesting ride.

Truth


~*~TL;DR (Too Long, Didn’t Read)~*~

Pros:

  • Fandom – I loved all of the fandom discussion: The fangirls, fanfiction, the talk of fans and their dedication, the detail of fangirling that went on, etc. It was was so realistic and well done. There was an unbelievable amount of pop culture in this novel from Instagram to Tumblr to Twitter, it was all mentioned and utilized.
  • Music – Music has always been a huge part of my life, especially in high school. I believed every ounce of these girls love for the band, even if I was never as extreme as they were. It was great to read a book revolving around music and how a band you’ve never met (or typically don’t ever meet) can impact you and make you feel. Their thoughts were realistic,
  • Main Character – While I found some of the main character’s comments annoying (I’ll go into slight detail below), I liked her a lot. I loved her love for 80s movies, the fact that she wrote fanfiction and how she was the sensible one in the group, that was nice.
  • Entertaining – This was a really entertaining book for me and easy to read. The writing style was great, though it did get a bit tell-ey rather than show-ey.

Cons:

  • Now that I’d discussed what I loved about Kill The Boy Band, it’s time to discuss the problematic elements that it contained. These problematic things boils down to three people really; Apple, Isabel and Rupert P.
  • Apple
    • Apple is a Chinese girl who was adopted in an orphanage after seen eating an apple off the floor. Now you’re probably thinking “Wait, they didn’t name her after the fruit she was eating, did they?” Yes. Yes they did. Believe me, I know how it sounds. I cringed when reading it. Kudos for diversity in making her Chinese but not like ‘typical’ Chinese characters? She’s fat, so that’s one less stereotype about her…

Racist

    • Now, what’s a girl with a name like Apple, whose first past experience involved eating a dirty fruit, supposed to be like? Let me tell you, she’s overweight. Really, it appears that she’s huge based on her descriptions, not of her size, but of how she’s portrayed. She’s constantly eating things, brings a SUITCASE full of popcorn to a hotel. A suitcase. Her strength is used to detain a person several times and she sexually harasses a person several times as well. It was really disturbing, but points for humor? Not really.

Hanna popcorn

  • Isabel
    • Isabel is a Dominican girl. So far so good, right? Well then, this is where that ends. Throughout Kill The Boy Band, Isabel is seen as a somewhat mysterious character with the main character believing she’s killed before, she’s related to the mob and/or she does other underhanded activities. Now this is all fine and good, but what ticked me off about this is that Isabel is Dominican. This seemed to play into the idea that of course Dominicans are the first to be involved in killing and in the mafia and what have you. To top it off, Isabel speaks broken spanish which doesn’t make sense, as the main character points out in her head. That’s not the best part though, Isabel’s broken spanish only occurs when she’s angry. So we have the angry, mafia related, broken spanish speaking Dominican character.
  • Rupert P.
    • Oh Rupert P. You were entertaining to begin with, so much really. I felt bad for your situation because of obvious reasons, you’d been knocked out, kidnapped, taped up, and harassed by a group of fans. On the other hand, you went off on these girls who were your fans. Then you went off on fans in general. I can’t say I blame you, no, not at all. I’d be pissed too if I were you. 

Band_Guy

    • Dare I say Rupert P reminded me of the author in The Fault In Our Stars? The main characters in The Fault In Our Stars and Kill The Boy Band both romanticize the idea of these people who have opened new worlds to them. They think they’re magical being practically who can do no wrong. That was definitely the case in Kill The Boy Band with Rupert P. Rupert definitely has his own secrets as well. . .

Youre_Really_Acting_Like_An_Asshole


~Final Thoughts~

Ending

The ending was surprising and I saw quite a bit of it coming. It was still entertaining and fun to read. Though I had problems with some of the characters portrayals, I liked Kill The Boy Band. This is a somewhat problematic book given the way Apple and Isabel are written. They both fall into stereotypes that can be hurtful. I did not like that about the book at all and wish it had gone into their backgrounds more. Instead, it felt like they were made Chinese and Dominican Republic just to claim diversity. I would recommend this book if you’re looking for a light, yet darker contemporary novel. I rate it four out of five stars.


~Memorable Quotes~

(Taken from ARC, Subject To Change)

  • I was holding someone captive and all that was going through my mind was a Billboard Top 40 love song. I was going to hell.
  • They were just boys. Take away the band, the lights, the fame, and the screaming girls, and they were just boys, chosen for us to obsess over.
  • Did I love them because they were the only boys in my life who consistently told me that I was beautiful? Probably. I loved The Ruperts for who they were, sure, but I mostly loved them for how they made me feel. Which was happy. The Ruperts made me happy. The simplest thing to be in the world. And the hardest.
  • The joy you find as a teen, however frivolous and dumb, is pure, and meaningful. It doesn’t matter that it might ferment and taste different when you’re older.
  • Maybe it was obsession, but it was also happiness; an escape from the suckiness of everyday life. And when you find something that makes you happy and giddy and excited every day, us fangirls know a truth that everyone else seems to have forgotten: you hold on to that joy tenaciously, for as long as you can.

~Do I Recommend?~

Yes

~Who Do I Recommend It To?~

  • Fans of pop culture and fandom
  • People who love music a lot or love books about music
  • Fans of dark comedy like Heathers

~Would I Buy It?~

Yes

~Would I Re-Read It?~

Yes

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All The Watery Covers – Wondrous Covers Wednesday (#51)

WCW_GraphicHi all! This is the first time I’ve done Wondrous Covers Wednesday in a while. Oops. I hadn’t quite felt like it, so I didn’t do it. If you’re not sure what Wondrous covers Wednesday is and don’t know what you’re missing, well, it’s…

Wondrous Covers Wednesday is a weekly feature where I choose to showcase three covers with similar attributes and themes. To see past editions, you can check out my page for them here

Today I thought I would finally share all the watery covers I’ve discovered this year, there are a ton, so I’m not going to say too much about them.

~Submerged In Water~

Underwater Challenger DeepThe First Time She Drowned Ten_Tiny_Breaths Fear_The_Drowning_Deep Atlantis_Rising

Underwater_Marisa.jpg The_Unbecoming_of_Mara_Dyer Of Neptune Deep_Blue Breathless_Jessica_Warman Imaginary Girls

 

~Looking At Water~

Lessons In Falling The Tenderness of Thieves Until We Meet Again

 

~Laying By The Pool~

Breathe Annie Breathe Peace_Love_and_Baby_Ducks


 

I adore all of these covers and their similarities.  Which is your favorite? I love the UK edition of Underwater by Marisa Reichardt and Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. Do you have any favorites I missed? Feel free to share the cover love.


Interview with Mia Siegert (author of Jerkbait)

Hey everyone! I am so excited to have Mia on my blog today. I’m the next stop on the Jerkbait blog tour which is fun. I’ll be interviewing her. 🙂

If you haven’t heard of Jerkbait, I’ll share the summary and cover with you. I’ll also be sharing some pre-order links for those who would like to pre-order the book, which I highly recommend. Jerkbait sounds beyond amazing. Family, darkness, sports, mental health, yes please.

JerkbaitJerkbait

Mia Siegert

Published: May 3, 2016 (Jolly Fish Press)

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller

Themes: Sports, Mental Health, Suicide, LGBT, Predators

Pages: 350

Goodreads Summary: 

Even though they’re identical, Tristan isn’t close to his twin Robbie at all—until Robbie tries to kill himself.

Forced to share a room to prevent Robbie from hurting himself, the brothers begin to feel the weight of each other’s lives on the ice, and off. Tristan starts seeing his twin not as a hockey star whose shadow Tristan can’t escape, but a struggling gay teen terrified about coming out in the professional sports world. Robbie’s future in the NHL is plagued by anxiety and the mounting pressure from their dad, coach, and scouts, while Tristan desperately fights to create his own future, not as a hockey player but a musical theatre performer.

As their season progresses and friends turn out to be enemies, Robbie finds solace in an online stranger known only as “Jimmy2416.” Between keeping Robbie’s secret and saving him from taking his life, Tristan is given the final call: sacrifice his dream for a brother he barely knows, or pursue his own path. How far is Robbie willing to go—and more importantly, how far is Tristan willing to go to help him?

Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository


 

~Interview~

If you had to (and you do) compare your main characters to characters in musicals who would you choose and why? 

Tristan would be Veronica from Heathers because of his wavering insecurity, the way he grows as a character, the guilt he carries (there’s one mistake Veronica makes that leads to someone’s suicide attempt) and love/hate relationship with Heather. Robbie would be Achilles from Paris because he’s unhappy with life, angry, looked up to, and gay.  

I love the different topics dealt with in Jerkbait such as hockey, pressure from colleges, being secretly gay, mental health and online predators. How did you work on balancing each of these aspects?

I think it was more natural for me than some. I really love writing far-reaching stories, and always have. Maybe from the years of RPing from different animes like “D.Gray-man” with all of the characters and their own plot lines, I don’t know. I had to tone back the role of the online predator in the final version, which I was pretty bummed about, but it would have taken away from Tristan’s growth and Robbie’s storyline. 

What is it that draws you to Young Adult fiction and specifically darker contemporary?

It feels like home. I like the aspect of coming-of-age stories and, for years like I’d mentioned in question two, RPed, cosplayed, whatever with mostly teenaged characters. For the darkness, I just love it. The grittier, the edgier, the more fearless—it catches my breath. I think that’s also because, in general, I don’t get humor in writing. Sure, if I watch a Mel Brooks’ film, I laugh hysterically, and I enjoy comedies, but in text, that doesn’t translate in my brain at all. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed when reading a book. And well, with contemporary, I can visualize it very well. With fantasy and certain bits of science fiction, I can’t suspend disbelief. I try, and it’s no fault of the authors—it’s just me. 

How has writing Jerkbait impacted your life? 

I’ve learned who my real friends are. I’ve also had very envious people come out of nowhere trying to tear me down for the years of hard work to get me where I am. But, mostly, I feel like now I have some amazing people to chat with since I’m usually constantly lonely—like, I mean, seriously, when I got my ARCs I was so excited to open them until I realized I had no one to be with me to experience it, so I did it on Periscope. 

On that same topic, Jerkbait deals with dark topics such as attempted suicide and predators, was this really draining for you? Did it impact your daily life, mental health and/or mood when writing?

In general*, not really as I’ve openly suffered from depression for most of my life. It’s only been in the past few years where I’ve learned what it’s meant to be happy, so I think it was just something consistent and there. However, that said, the parts that were draining were in relation to the book originating as a semi-autobiographical piece as I had to relive some awful moments. 

I’m a music fiend, so this is a mandatory question/command. Choose a theme song each for Robbie, Tristan and Jerkbait. 

Great question! Not long ago, I actually made a playlist for Jerkbait with Chris Loke (Executive Editor at Jolly Fish Press) that was hosted on Books and Ladders. It’s hard choosing just one theme song because both characters change so much, so I’ll stick with the beginning. For the beginning, “Born Slippy” by Underworld would be Robbie’s, “Counting On Me” by KoRn would be Tristan’s, and for Jerkbait as a whole, “Ny Batteri” by Sigur Ros (which is what originally gave me the idea).

I read that Jerkbait first began as a short story which involved Tristan being a lacrosse player and Robbie being an artist. Besides the obvious changes, of course, what were some changes you made when expanding Jerkbait from a short story to the novel it is now? 

The short story revolved around prom and “Jimmy” being Robbie’s best friend/crush who decided, at eighteen, to get married to this girl. So I think some pretty huge changes in terms of what the book’s about now! Although I will say this—the personalities of Tristan and Robbie never changed. Robbie was always loud and arrogant for the exterior, and Tristan was very quiet and stoic. 

If you could give advice to Robbie and Tristan, what would it be? 

To Robbie, to get help, see a guidance counselor at school, anything to break from their parents. And to Tristan, to be strong and realize that he’s not worth less than Robbie—that he deserves to be heard. 

Do you have any other novels that are in the works currently?

Yes! I’m adding some words to one novel per my agent’s suggestion, and I have three others I’d started and are in various stages of completion. Only one is YA (the others are adult thriller and literary fiction)

If you could give your past self only one piece of advice, what would it be?

Probably to slow down and deal with bullying a different way. I think I made it harder for myself with my need to be recognized for work. Also, I would tell myself to be a better student. Until grad school, I was mediocre at best. I could have, and should have, done more.  

Speed Round:

Favorite movie: Silence of the Lambs

Favorite book: Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon

Coffee or tea: Tea. 

Winter or Summer: Winter (Hockey!)

Guilty Pleasure: Garbage shows on Netflix.

Robbie or Tristan (Cruel, I know): Keisha. (Seriously, you expected me to choose between them? Plus, why wouldn’t people choose Keisha since she’s awesome?!) 


So, I have another reason to watch Heathers and check out Paris. 😉 Toning the online predator back sounds interesting. I can see how that would impact the twins’ relationship in Jerkbait though. Still though, I’d love to read the ‘uncensored’ version. Lol. I love darker and gritty YA! Comedy does seem to work better as a visual thing than written.

I LOVED reading the tweets about the Periscope ARC experience. I love how important it is to share things with people, even people who are “online”. Technology does a great thing with connecting people. 🙂 I can imagine it’d be draining basing some experiences off your own, especially in a book so dark. I like Sigur Ros! But that song title doesn’t ring any bells, so I’ll listen to it later.

It sounds like there’s quite a bit of variety being written for future works. The literary fiction sounds really interesting. I haven’t seen Silence of The Lambs nor read Lord of Misrule.  I am apparently very behind. 😉 Thanks for the fantastic answers Mia!

If you’d like to keep up with Mia, here is where you can find her on the internet:

Twitter / Website / Facebook

Review: In Real Life by Jessica Love

In Real LifeTitle: In Real Life

Author: Jessica Love

Published: March 1, 2016

Pages: 240

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Format: eARC

Source: I was provided this eARC from St. Martin’s via Netalley in return for an honest review. 

Rating: Three stars

Goodreads Summary:

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

There’s just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she’s supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Las Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.

Hannah’s surprise romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and finds out that Nick has been keeping some major secrets. Hannah knows the real Nick can’t be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository

Cover Thoughts: I like the cover, but I would have liked it more if there was a bigger music focus in the book.

First Line: Friday

My best friend and I have never met.

~Why I Wanted To Read~

I have had high hopes for In Real Life since last year. A story involving two teens who have been friends for years but never met? Yeah, that is right up my alley.

~First Thoughts~

I loved being sent face first into Hannah and Nick’s friendship. It came across really natural.

~Review~

So, now that you know about my high hopes, I’m sad to say that I didn’t love this as much as I thought I would. I suppose it had my self induced hype to live up to, which could have had something to do with it. The characters didn’t exactly work for me. There was one thing that I didn’t particularly like at all, but it could just be a “me” thing.

Characters:

“Well, that too. But I was thinking rules are made to be broken.”

Yeah, that is what people say, but it goes against my Good Korean Girl DNA. Rules are meant to be followed–at least that’s what my parents, who aren’t Tiger Parents or anything but are still pretty serious, drilled into me starting the second I learned to crawl.

We first meet Hannah who is Korean and an overall good girl. She doesn’t take risks, and she’s hesitant and trustworthy. In Real Life seemed to play up Hannah’s obedient behavior to her being Korean, which was a little stereotypical to me. There was nothing shown to Hannah’s culture besides the fact that she’s well behaved and basically a perfect daughter. Then we have Hannah’s sister, Grace and Hannah’s best friend, Lo. Grace writes for a music website and is the rebellious daughter. Lo is Mexican and nothing about that was really brought up either.

To no surprise, both of these characters are Hannah’s outgoing opposites. I felt this was very formulaic in the story. It always seems like the main character is quiet, reserved and the basic good girl. This annoyed me because it seems to just be a common trope and I hate that.

While the supporting characters, in this case, Grace and Lo are the sort of rebellious ones who nudge Hannah into doing things she wouldn’t do. Grace and Lo are both convinced that there’s more going on between Hannah and Nick than she lets on, given they only know the basics. This causes Lo to wonder if Nick is even legit and who could blame her? I could relate so much to Hannah in this aspect. I certainly keep my longest, closest “online” friendship hidden from the majority of people, especially with details. Grace and Lo do some actions later in the book which made me shake my head a little given circumstances.

Of course, secrets are revealed when Hannah meets Nick. One of these secrets is the character Frankie. I liked Frankie, for a change she wasn’t a cliche mean girl who was “in the way” of the possible new relationship. Frankie is a bit famous in Vegas, she runs a popular blog for teens where she shares cool places for teens to go. Due to this, Frankie gets recognized everywhere as she goes along with Hannah and the gang. I liked Frankie quite a bit, which was surprising. When Hannah meets Frankie, she wants to hate her, but can’t, because Frankie’s so nice. I hated how whiny she was when it came to Frankie.I thought there was a bit of slut-shaming going on with Hannah’s thoughts towards Frankie. This was actually seen quite a few times. It really bothered me how much Hannah obsessed about it. I didn’t like that at all, but I guess they are real thoughts after all.

A couple examples of that:

I don’t want to like her. I want to punch her in the face. I want to make her disappear so I never have to look at her funky style and big ol’ boobs ever again.

“So you’re just going to let Frankie win? Just like that? Because she has a huge rack and knows some loser roadies from the Killers and gets free cheesecake?”

As for Nick, I liked his character. I didn’t feel connected to him much, but I thought he realistically handled some things. I bought his relationship with Hannah for sure. I felt like I got to know him well enough in the book. He did lie a bit about things, but I’m not sure if I blame him or not given they were small things. It was still sucky though for Hannah.

“I’d let my mind wander to off-limits territory of us, together.”

Plot:

Hannah, Grace and Lo go to Vegas on a whim to see Nick’s band perform play. Things really kick off when that happens and some things are made known. There was some wish-fulfillment in In Real Life. I didn’t like that very much, but I guess it made the story more compelling? I don’t really know. There’s some gambling done, a little bit of drinking done, running in and out of casinos, not to mention quite a large sum of money obtained. . . I feel like in Vegas, the gambling city of the world, as far as I know, would be a bit strict about this.

This little get together with Hannah, Nick, Grace, Lo and Frankie though soon expands to include Nick’s brother an another band member. Wouldn’t you know it, three (technically two) guys, so it’s now three girls and three guys. I’m sure you can read between the lines. This was a little too convenient for my liking, but I’ll shake that off as I have a bigger issue of sorts.

Hannah and Nick talk a lot in one night, which makes sense given that this is the first night they’re really meeting. However, I wasn’t completely okay with some of their discussions or actions. I felt there was quite bit of emotional cheating in here which I just hate. I thought Frankie was being betrayed, I didn’t like Hannah and Nick for talking so deeply as they had. I’m sure not everyone will see it that way though, which is fine. It had just bothered me quite a bit.


TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)

Things I Liked:

  • Feels – This book hit me hard with all kind of nostalgia and even current feelings. I’ve had a close friend online since I was 14 and we’ve been talking for almost nine years. Due to this, I really loved the relationship between Hannah and Nick. I have had so many of the same thoughts that Hannah has.
  • Flashbacks – The flashbacks helped me see how their relationship was, which was nice. I only wish that there had been even more flashbacks in the story.
  • True To Life – I loved that their relationship expanded beyond instant messaging and went to texting, calling, webcam and even mailing packages. Their relationship was pretty true to life for me.
  • Frankie’s Blogging – As a blogger, I could really relate to her passion for her blog. It was interesting to see how it impacted her relationship in real life with Nick.
  • Setting – They’re in Vegas, one of the most action-packed places ever. The city that never sleeps and has a lot of possibilities for a magical online meeting. It was fun to read about Vegas and I thought it got the atmosphere across well, though I’ve never been there.

 

Some Negative Things:

  • Passive MC + Outgoing, Rebellious Side Characters  – There’s the cliche of the good girl MC who has to have rebellious characters to nudge her along. Besides their nudging, they don’t do much else. When they do do something, Hannah gets upset because they weren’t there for her. I can agree with her feeling said, but I thought she was being a little selfish.
  • Slut Shaming – While Hannah never calls Frankie a slut, there is a lot of slut shaming. Most of this revolves around Frankie’s breast size. There’s the thought that Frankie attracted Nick with her breast size. I despised these thoughts, no matter how “realistic” they can be.
  • Frankie’s Portrayal – Frankie was made out to be the enemy to Hannah because of her relationship with Nick. She seemed to be “less than” because she was outgoing and confident and of course, her breast size. I hated how Hannah disliked her based off first impressions and who she was.
  • Emotional Cheating – I touched on this above, but I hate emotional cheating. There was a lot of that in In Real Life. Occasionally it went further than emotional cheating which just made me silently rage and shake my head.

~Final Thoughts~

Overall, I did enjoy In Real Life. I liked the set up, but the execution could have been better. Frankie was such a bright part, but again, much like Lo and Grace, she had to be Hannah’s opposite. Hannah could have been fleshed out more really beyond her good girl persona. It was so interesting to see how an actual meeting between two online friends plays out in real life. That was really fun to read about. I thought the ending was cute, though too fast given all of the circumstances. This was a cute read though.


~Memorable Quotes~

(Taken from ARC, Subject to Change)

I do wish we could go to the movies together or something normal like that, but we watch the same movies at the same time and mock them over video chat, which is pretty much the same thing.

It never feels like our conversations are over when we say good-bye. I always think of a hundred other things I want to say after I hit End on my screen, but I save it all for later, because there’s always a later with me.

And there have been times, especially recently, where a lyric struck me in such a deep way that I wished it were Nick who had written it, and that he’d written it just for me. It was an unusual thought, because that’s not how things are between us. Not at all. But there’s something about the music that takes my head to strange places.

And then there was the possibility we would meet in person and not even like each other. What if we didn’t get along? What if our differences, which were fun and interesting on the phone, were too much to bridge in real life? Meeting meant risking our friendship the way it was, and I wasn’t sure I could handle that.

How could I explain to her that despite everything that happened tonight, he is still my best friend? That I can’t just turn off four years of friendships like a light switch.

My best friend and I have never met. We talk every day, on the phone or online, and he knows more about me than anyone. Like, deep into my soul. But we’ve never actually seen each other in real life.


~Do I Recommend?~

Yes.

~Who Do I Recommend It To?

Fans of long distance relationships

Fans of short timespan novels

~Would I Buy It?~

Yes

~Would I Reread It?~

Yes


Guest Post: Jenny Manzer and Giveaway

Save Me Kurt Cobain Blog Tour

Hi everyone! I am so happy to be a part of the Irish Banana blog tour for Save, Me Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer. I’ll be sharing a guest post from her which I am really excited about! First though, I’m going to share some information about the book, which was published this past Tuesday (March 8).

Save Me Kurt CobainSave Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer

Published By: Delacorte Press on March 8th, 2016

Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Themes: Family, Coming of Age

Pages: 272

Goodreads Summary:

What if you discovered that Kurt Cobain is not only alive, but might be your real father?

Nico Cavan has been adrift since her mother vanished when she was four—maternal abandonment isn’t exactly something you can just get over. Staying invisible at school is how she copes—that and listening to alt music and summoning spirits on the Ouija board with her best friend and co-conspirator in sarcasm, Obe. But when a chance discovery opens a window onto her mom’s wild past, it sparks an idea in her brain that takes hold and won’t let go.

On a ferry departing Seattle, Nico encounters a slight blond guy with piercing blue eyes wearing a hooded jacket. Something in her heart tells her that this feeling she has might actually be the truth, so she follows him to a remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest. When she is stranded there by a winter storm, fear and darkness collide, and the only one who can save Nico might just be herself.

Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository


~Guest Post Topic~

Since Save Me, Kurt Cobain revolves a bit around the Nirvana singer, Kurt Cobain, I thought I’d ask about a musical guest post. I know music was so important to me when I was in high school, especially Nirvana who I listened to around Nico’s age.

Can you tell me what some of your favorite bands were from when you were an adolescent? How did they influence you and impact your life? Do they have lasting relevancy on you now that you’re an adult?

~Pop Goes My World~

There is a line in my novel, SAVE ME, KURT COBAIN, in which the main character, Nico, finds out that her missing mother, Annalee, liked a lot of the same hard-edged music she does. “She talked softly but liked loud music,” Nico reflects of her mysterious mother, who vanished when Nico was four.

For Nico, and so many teens, music is akin to food. She likely literally couldn’t survive without it, enduring lonely nights when her father is working late. It helps provide a strong connection to her best friend, Obe, who shares her passion for independent music. What is the first thing you do when you like someone? In my high-school days, you made a mixed tape (and later burned a CD). I still see teenaged girls riding the bus together listening to the same jam from one earbud each. Why is music so important when you are discovering who you are? Alternative music is often made by oddballs, unique individuals not built to factory specifications. Hearing and seeing these people producing art shows misfits—there is light at the end of the tunnel. Different can be good. In my generation, you could have been, say, Robert Smith from The Cure. Today you could be Lady Gaga, or even Pink, who, as popular as she is—defies the stereotypical image of female beauty and how to fall in line with expectations.

I have always loved music, and these days I am snacking on all kinds of pop. I am a huge fan of radio (now streamed through my computer). I like the variety and the surprise of not knowing what’s coming next. I enjoy the feeling of listening to the same thing as other people at the same time. I have come to realize that for me, music is a mood-altering drug. Listening to music pulls me into the present, away from the to-do list that grinds away in my brain. I think in high school, I was drawn to music to help define who I was, who I might become, and to reflect how I was feeling at the time. Now, I guess I have largely become who I am—and music lifts my spirits as I walk this road. I could happily forget some bands from my youth—along with much of my wardrobe. (Does anyone else remember the knickers phase?) But there are many songs and bands I could happily listen to today. Here are six songs I liked when I was 16 that I still love today:

1. “Atomic” by Blondie

The band mixed in world beat, reggae, and rap (“Rapture”) years before other pop bands of their ilk. And Debbie Harry, come on! Pop royalty.

2. “Train in Vain” by The Clash

I find it impossible not to be awakened by this anthem, which was already a classic when I discovered it.

3. “Just Can’t Get Enough” By Depeche Mode

Confession: I didn’t wear the leather.

4. “Bizarre Love Triangle” by New Order

Big hair. Lots of synth. The catchiest beat. Don’t worry: synth doesn’t cause cavities.

5. “Save it for Later” by The English Beat

Lots of instruments, including horns of plenty, to pull you to your feet.

6. “Friday I’m in Love” by The Cure

I had an ex-boyfriend who pointed out to me that this wasn’t The Cure’s most complex song. Yeah, okay. But it’s Friday; I’m in love. 

– Jenny Manzer


Thanks for the fantastic guest post, Jenny! Happy release month! We share a bit of musical taste.

Music is really so timeless. Oh gosh, so many good bands up there. I adore The Clash, New Order, and The Cure. I like Depeche Mode too. New Wave was/is so great! Friday I’m In Love is one of my favorite Cure songs, complex or not. 😉 I’ll have to listen to The English Beat too.


Author: Jenny Manzer.

Don’t forget to enter the blog wide giveaway which gives you the option to win one of three finished copies. The giveaway is U.S. and Canada only.


And if you would like to follow the rest of the tour, here it is. 🙂

~Tour Schedule~

Week 1: 
Week 2:

Review: Where You’ll Find Me by Natasha Friend

SST Graphic

Hi everyone. Today I have a review for you as part of the Sunday Street Team hosted by Nori at Read Write Love 28.

Where_Youll_Find_MeTitle: Where You’ll Find Me

Author: Natasha Friend

Published: March 8, 2016 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR))

Pages: 272

Genres: Middle Grade, Contemporary

Themes: Family, Friendship, Mental Illness

Format: eARC

Source: Sunday Street Team (curtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR))

Rating: 5 Stars

Goodreads Summary

The first month of school, thirteen-year-old Anna Collette finds herself…

Dumped by her best friend, Dani, who suddenly wants to spend eighth grade “hanging out with different people.”

Deserted by her mom, who’s in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt.

Trapped in a house with her dad, a new baby sister, and a stepmother young enough to wear her Delta Delta Delta sweatshirt with pride.

Stuck at a lunch table with Shawna the Eyebrow Plucker and Sarabeth the Irish Stepper because she has no one else to sit with.

But what if all isn’t lost? What if Anna’s mom didn’t exactly mean to leave her? What if Anna’s stepmother is cooler than she thought? What if the misfit lunch table isn’t such a bad fit after all?

With help from some unlikely sources, including a crazy girl-band talent show act, Anna just may find herself on the road to okay.

Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository

Cover Thoughts: I love how cute the cover is. It’s really bright and attention seeking. The bicycle and girl really emphasize the slightly messed up childhood of Anna.

First Line: I used to think your friends were your friends no matter what, but that’s not how it works.

~Why I Wanted To Read~

What first drew my eye to Where You’ll Find me was seeing that it dealt with a girl named Anna who had a mentally ill parent. This is one of my favorite shorelines because I can relate to that. I was interested in seeing how Anna dealt with her ‘newfound’ family and lack of a best friend.

~Review~

I am such a fan of stories that revolve around friendship and family at the forefront. Where You’ll Find Me was exactly that. It was a refreshing change from reading stories that dealt with romance in some form. That’s not to say I’m not a fan of romance in books, but it’s always nice to read such a fulfilling friendship and family dynamic book. I loved seeing Anna’s relationships change throughout Where You’ll Find Me.

To say Anna’s dealing with a lot is a complete understatement. She’s left motherless (in a way), friendless and even family-less having to live with a father she doesn’t really know and his new family.

Anna was such a strong character and despite dealing with her mother’s mental illness, which matured her, she always acts her age. Anna grew up fast given her mother’s condition and her dad always being gone prior to the book’s beginning. Sometimes, in novels, characters will act older than they are because of their experiences. This isn’t bad, but I did like that Anna seemed like a regular thirteen year old girl who didn’t randomly drop philosophical thoughts. I really felt for Anna because she would blame herself for not noticing her mother spiraling down. Anna’s feelings were really varied, she was angry, sad, upset, scared, feeling guilty and of course, worried.

After Anna’s mother attempts suicide, Anna keeps the knowledge from people like her new friends she makes. I liked seeing Anna keep her family’s situation to herself and try to cope with it alone. This is so understandable because you never know how people will react. It was sad to see her think about her old friendship with Dani. Losing friends is always hard, especially when they’re the ones to leave.

The people Anna least expected to become friends with end up being the ones that accept her and welcome her. It was great to see so many interactions between Anna and her friends. She became closest friends with Sarabeth and Shawna. Both of them had interesting quirks and problems in their own lives. Sarabeth did irish clog dancing and Shawna has her own problem, which was trichotillomania (plucking hair). I was surprised to see trichotillomania in this novel since it’s not very well known. I liked how it helped Anna sort of “bond” with Shawna. Between Sarabeth’s silliness and Shawn’s sarcasm, I grew to really appreciate these girls in Anna’s life.

I liked that not only could I relate to Anna, but I could also relate to Marnie and Anna’s father. Marnie is my age and practically freshly out of college. Her wanting to go back to college made me nostalgic for my own college experience. I liked how she still wasn’t quite sure about where she was in life. I initially had reservations about Marnie because she was so young and married to someone so much older than her. Anna also had reservations about Marnie which was understandable. In the end, that didn’t matter to me. Marnie genuinely cared for Anna’s father as well as Anna.

I could unexpectedly relate to Anna’s father because he couldn’t deal with Anna’s mother mental illness. While cold, it seemed very true to life because not everyone can deal with such a serious thing. This dug a bigger ridge between his relationship with Anna which gradually changed.

I really liked how in addition to friends, Anna also had adults she could go to. There was Regina, her mother’s best friend, the school counselor and the English teacher who all reached out to her. It was nice to see that Anna wasn’t alone  when she was going through this, even though it seemed that way to her.

As for Anna’s mother, she was an interesting character as well. In the beginning, she’s just diagnosed with depression but is later diagnosed with something else. I thought the portrayal of this mental illness was really well done. It was realistic to see how differently her mother would act and Anna never knowing how her mother would be.

I loved that despite Anna’s mother having a mental illness, her and Anna got along well a lot of the time, before the suicide attempt. Having a parent attempt suicide is an unbelievably hard thing to go through, due to this Anna is more reserved with her mother, which isn’t a surprise. Anna’s mother was constantly at the forefront of Anna’s mind. So much that Anna couldn’t sleep, would wake up from nightmares and have to leave class. The effects were so well done, relatable and intense in how ‘deep she would get in with the worrying. My heart broke over her not being able to get a break from worrying.

~Final Thoughts~

At the end of Where You’ll Find Me, Anna’s voice was finally really heard in the school talent show. It was a great progression from who she was in the beginning to who becomes. I found it hard to read the ending because I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to stay in Anna’s world and see how she grew up in high school and dealt with her mother.

Mark this as the book to get me more interested in Middle Grade fiction. In the past, I never thought about reading middle grade fiction, especially being a bit older than the main characters. Where You’ll Find Me showed that it doesn’t matter how old the characters are, I can still relate a lot to preteens and early teens.

Where You’ll Find Me is a book with substance that I enjoyed a lot. I love the references at the end for middle graders who may have parents with mental illness. This is an emotional, heartfelt and fun book to read. Although it was dark with Anna’s mother, it had a lot of lightheartedness with Marnie and Anna’s friends. Friend did a great job at combining everything into this beautiful book.


~Memorable Quotes~

(Taken from ARC, subject to change)

  • For a moment I forget all about my mom and it feels so good.
  • The tension is so thick I almost wish it were a school day so I had somewhere to go.
  • Funny what you remember.
  • I wonder if this is what my mother feels, like a house in the middle of the night. Black and silent. Bottomless.
  • I hate when that happens. When the perfect bubble you’ve been blowing pops in your face.
  • You know how depression hits?…It’s like an avalanche. No warning. You’re just knocked off your feet. You reach for a ledge… no ledge. You reach for a branch…no branch. You just keep falling. When you hit the bottom, everything around you settles like concrete. You’re up to your neck and you can’t move. All you can do is wait.

~Do I Recommend?~

Yes

~Who Do I Recommend It To?~

  • Fans of Contemporary Middle Grade
  • Middle Graders seeking deeper issue books
  • Anyone dealing with a parent who has a mental illness

Hamilton Book Tag

Hi! I am finally doing the Hamilton Book Tag, with as obsessed with it as I am, it’s a bit surprising I didn’t do this a long time ago. I don’t know where this originated, I think Youtube? So I take no credit for this. 😉 And I wasn’t tagged by anyone, but that’s a minor detail.

~Hamilton Book Tag~

The Room Where It Happens

The_Room_Where_It_Happens

A Book World You Would Put Yourself Into

Crystal Tokyo from the Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon.

PGSM_1

The Schuyler Sisters

The_Schuyler_Sisters

An Underrated Female Character

Rory from Free To Fall

Free To Fall

My Shot

My_Shot

A Character That Goes After What They Want and Doesn’t Let Anything Stop Them

Hmm… N/A

Burn

Burn

The Most Heartbreaking End To A Relationship You’ve Ever Read

All The Bright Places

Big surprise, I know.

You’ll Be Back

Youll_Be_Back

Sassiest Villain

N/A. I don’t know many villains.

The Reynolds Pamphlet

The_Reynolds_Pamphlet

A Book With A Twist That You Don’t See Coming

Every Ugly Word

Most definitely didn’t see this coming…

Non-Stop

Nonstop

A Series You Marathoned

I haven’t marathoner series since I was in high school. I marathoned the Notes From A Spinning Planet series and The Secret Life of Samantha McGregor series.

Notes_From_A_Spinning_Planet_Ireland Notes_From_A_Spinning_Planet_Papua_New_Guinea Notes_From_A_Spinning_Planet_Mexico

Bad_Connection_Secret_Life_Of_Samantha_McGregor Beyond_Reach_Secret_Life_of_Samantha_McGregor Playing_With_Fire_The_Secret_Life_of_Samantha_McGregorPayback_The_Secret_Life_of_Samantha_McGregor

Satisfied

Satisfied

Favorite Book With Multiple POVs

Because You’ll Never Meet Me, I’ll Meet You There, All The Bright Places

Because You'll Never Meet Me I'll Meet You There All The Bright Places

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?

Who_Lives_Who_Dies_Who_Tells_Your_Story.gif

A Book/Series You Feel Like Will Be Remembered Throughout History

Harry Potter and The Sorcerers Stone A Song of Ice and Fire Game of Thrones The Hunger Games

I think any of these series will be remembered for a long time.

Stay Alive

Stay_Alive_Reprise

A Character You Wish Was Still Alive

Oh gosh… I’m lucky that I read a lot of books where no one dies, like, almost any. At least big character wise, not counting smallish random characters. So another N/A.



I tag…

Holly, Rashika, Shannon and Val.


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