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Mermaid Park by Beth Mayall

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Perfect Chemsitry

Pages: 357
Genre: Romance
Rating 5/5

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

My Thoughts

Perfect Chemistry is about a girl and boy who hate each other. It’s funny, suspenseful and touches your heart. It resembles the story of Romeo & Juliet, but it is also quite unique too, despite the stereotypical characters, the dialogue and characters bring it something that you can’t resist.

Alex (or Alejandro, which he hates being called) lives with his two younger brothers and his mother. He’s living on the poor side of town and he’s in a gang called the “Latino Blood.” There are rumors that he’s in to drugs, been arrested several times and he gets into knife fights. “Alex probably brings his dates sharp knives as gifts, in case she’ll need one when she’s out on a date with him.” But really, he’s like a leather teddy bear; tough on the outside, yet squishy on the inside.

Brittany lives with her anxious mother, mostly absent father and her autistic older sister, Shelley. She’s living on the poor side of town and she’s in the popular crowd and the cheerleading team. There are rumors that she is perfect, happy and only cares about her boyfriend and shopping. “This summer she went to the mall, bought new clothes so she could expand her wardrobe, and spent her daddy’s money on plastic surgery to enhance her, ahem, assets.” But really, she’s just a sweet hard piece of candy; heavenly tasting, yet she could do some serious damage to your teeth.

Overall, I loved Perfect Chemistry even though it has some flaws; Simone Elkeles brings something to this story that has never been told before.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Girl, Stolen by April Henry

Pages: 213
Genre: Suspense, Realistic Fiction
Rating: 3/5

Sixteen year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. Before Cheyenne realizes what's happening, their car is being stolen--with her inside! Griffin hadn’t meant to kidnap Cheyenne, all he needed to do was steal a car for the others. But once Griffin's dad finds out that Cheyenne’s father is the president of a powerful corporation, everything changes—now there’s a reason to keep her. What Griffin doesn’t know is that Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia, she is blind. How will Cheyenne survive this nightmare, and if she does, at what price?

My Thoughts
I was quite impressed with the research the author must have done for this novel. I believe that the research was mainly based on people who are blind and car theft.

The story began with a fast-paced opening and it just gripped me. I didn’t want to look up from the page to save my life. However, as I read further into the story, the pace died down quite fast and I found I was losing my interest. There were some parts in the story that seemed drawn out and not related to the main picture. I thought that it was silly that Cheyenne was constantly stressing about how she might die if she didn’t get her medication, but really it was like she had the flu.

Girl, Stolen went back and for the between Cheyenne and Griffin’s perspectives. I love books when they do that. I feel it gives you better insight to your main characters and really brings the book to life.

I enjoyed reading about how Cheyenne adapted to the new fact that her eye sight was gone and may never come back. I marveled over how she would fold her bills in certain ways so she would know how much money she had and how she struggled with her walking stick and eventually had to snap at people for asking to pet her seeing-eye-dog. “He’s working!” she would say, not wanting to sound uptight, but people just didn’t get it through their thick heads. Cheyenne has learned not to be picky about her food and eats whatever ends up on her fork. This fact shocked me because there are so many things that I am picky about. If I became blind like Cheyenne I don’t think I would ever have found myself eating whatever ended up on plate. Another thing that struck me was the she wouldn’t be able to read on her own…ever. Reading is something I do quite often and when I listen to something being read to me I find it’s just not the same as reading it myself.

Griffin’s age is not mentioned in the story, but I’m assuming he’s between the ages of fifteen and seventeen. He’s the one who accidentally kidnaps Cheyenne. He plays the “nice bad guy” in the story which I wasn’t so sure if I liked. Griffin was trying to befriend Cheyenne, which I thought was kind of nice but then when I got the feeling that the author became to insinuate that Griffin was developing a crush on Cheyenne I was like “what the hell?” “No,” and “that’s weird.”

Over all, I did enjoy the book, but it’s not something I loved. The story line was awesome, the information I learned was cool but the book just didn’t seem like it was pulled together right. It seemed odd and not as realistic as it should have been. It just didn’t meet its potential.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

Pages: 288
Genre: Romantic Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 (Awesome)

If Naomi had picked tails, she would have won the coin toss. She wouldn't have had to go back for the yearbook camera, and she wouldn't have hit her head on the steps. She wouldn't have woken up in an ambulance with amnesia. She certainly would have remembered her boyfriend, Ace. She might even have remembered why she fell in love with him in the first place. She would understand why her best friend, Will, keeps calling her "Chief." She'd know about her mom's new family. She'd know about her dad's fiancée. She never would have met James, the boy with the questionable past and the even fuzzier future, who tells her he once wanted to kiss her. She wouldn't have wanted to kiss him back.

But Naomi picked heads.

After her remarkable debut, Gabrielle Zevin has crafted an imaginative second novel all about love and second chances.

My Thoughts

This story blew me away. I couldn’t imagine being Naomi, losing my memory of the past four years, forgetting who I am, who I was. The way she dealt with her memory loss amazed me. I wondered; how is she not frustrated or angry? How does she sit there so calmly wondering about what her life used to be like? Instead, it was her best friend William asking those questions too.

Naomi is a seventeen year old girl who is sporty, laidback and extremely popular. Our first impression of her isn’t much though, considering the fact that she has no memory of herself. However, she is trying to figure out who she was, but she’s more interested in the person she wants to be. She learns things about herself that repulse and surprise her. And she begins to wonder if losing her memory was for the better, or at least I did. Something that repulsed her was when she realized she was mean, very mean actually, and she begins to change that right away. Her meanness seems to be fueled by her anger towards her parent’s divorce. While something that surprises her is that she is insecure with her body just like any typical teenage girl but the part she was shocked about was that she kept a food diary.

Will is one of my favorite characters in the book. He’s the jealous, protective and patient best friend. He knows you like the back of his hand, and he’d take a bullet for someone he especially cares about. He’s funny and playful and always creating mix CD’s for Naomi. He’s even hardworking and dedicated but he has his flaws too. He sometimes is annoying and on the rare occasion gets up Naomi’s face, and has a slight problem controlling strong emotions such as anger and jealousy.

James is the dark, brooding mysterious love interest in the story. He’s the guy who finds Naomi and rides in the ambulance with her to the hospital. He sounds like a cool guy with his leather jacket and all. Naomi wishes he had told the paramedics he was her boyfriend rather than her brother. When we finally reach into the depths of James’s secrets we realize he’s severely depressed and in need of great help. And he knows it, but he doesn’t let anyone get too close.

Ace is athletic and “hot” according to all the girls, even Naomi. But he doesn’t seem to do it for me. He seems quite full of it but genuinely he is a really sweet guy. The shocker is the Naomi is told that this is her boyfriend and she wonders how she’s supposed to handle this one after laying eyes on James and drooling and all.

I fell completely and utterly in love with this story. I want to read it all over again right now. He characters are so real, so funny, so interesting. The book covers such serious matters with hints of humor throughout the story, Memoirs of a teenage amnesiac is something you hope you’ll never forget.