Category Archives: Realistic Fiction

Epic Fail by Claire Lazebnik

Standard

Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnikSummary: At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Case in point:

– As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school–not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects.
– As the daughter of the new principal, Elise Benton isn’t exactly on everyone’s must-sit-next-to-at-lunch list.

When Elise’s beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince’s best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl on campus. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long.

When I first saw the book the book Epic Fail I was kind of hesitant. The cover looks a little cheesy so I didn’t know what I would think. Let me say that I am so glad I decided to read it! Immediately after finishing it I wanted to keep reading more about Elise and Derek! (Quick note: I really don’t understand why they chose this for the title of the book. I wish they would’ve done a cute twist on the title Pride and Prejudice or at least something that explained the book a little better. I just didn’t find it very fitting.)

Epic Fail is a classic-retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I haven’t read that book but I’ve seen the movie so I was able to make the comparison between all the characters. Claire Lazebnik did a great job of recreating modern versions of the characters in Pride and Prejudice. I was so annoyed by Elise’s mom and sisters throughout the book but that is exactly how it is in Pride and Prejudice, so I guess that goal was accomplished very nicely.

Derek is a complete jerk at first and I really don’t understand why all the girls were obsessed with him. The whole time I pictured him as Edward Cullen from Twilight. So quiet and mysterious. But he wasn’t even just that. Girls would be all over him and he’d be straight up rude to them so honestly I don’t get why they all were so attracted to him (besides the obvious: his parents being famous). But once he started trying to open up to Elise and try to win her over, he really won me over. He was a really great character and I loved that he chose Elise to go after instead of all the cliché popular girls.

Elise was a really good character too but sometimes she’s just too much. She’s so doubtful and way to proud (ha ha). Derek will be sincere with her or say one thing wrong and she’s just done. Like I already mentioned her family kind of drives me crazy. Her older sister, Juliana, is likeable because she is so sweet and caring but I swear her younger sisters were not brought up in the same household. They’re crazy and embarrassing and have no common sense. While their mother is crazy, she still is a little bit smarter than they are.

This book, while a little predictable, was a delightfully good read. It was a quick read filled with humor and romance and will satisfy any girl’s love for a love story. I wouldn’t recommend this book to a boy who was interested in reading for fun but I think some guys could appreciate the parallels to Pride and Prejudice.

stars_4

Advertisements

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Standard

Sustealingmmary via Goodreads: Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan’s Hundred Oaks High.

Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.

Now Parker wants a new life.

So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty?

But how far is too far before she loses herself completely?.

Stealing Parker will forever be an all time favorite.

It is one of those books that you cannot put down and you love it and you love that you love it but really don’t know how to explain why to anyone else. Well, I’ll try.

Parker shows us the ugly side of high school. While at first she is living the life as Miss Popular, her life is on a sudden downward spiral. She is shunned by her friends and her church all the while her family is falling apart. She starts to lose herself and is having a hard time finding her way back. Besides her best friend, Drew, and an ever-present ‘friend’ that keeps popping up, Parker is putting her life back together all on her own.

When Parker meets Brian it is inevitable that he falls for him. He is older, good-looking, and plays baseball. Oh, and he’s the baseball coach. It’s kind of a sick twist on forbidden love. Brian starts out sweet but becomes a little bit creepy. He is so protective over Parker (which is a super annoying trait) and they aren’t even in an established relationship! Age difference isn’t always that big of a deal but because of him working for the school, I think that they take it too far. I realize that Parker is drawn to this older man but sometimes she doesn’t use her brain while in public…

It is Parker’s other love interest that makes things good. is kind of expected in an unexpected way if I can say that. Like of course she would fall for him. But wow, really, she fell for him? Read it to find out what I mean 🙂

Parker is a really strong character. She takes care of her dad, brother, and herself. Even though she allows herself to break down when she is alone, she puts up a tough front for her family. She is also extremely competitive and smart. She’s athletic and pretty. She’s stylish and kind. Do you get it yet? She’s perfect. But she isn’t treated like she is and she doesn’t feel like she is. Though she will act differently for those around her, Parker is very honest with the reader. She is down-to-earth and as cheesy as this sounds, she’s real. She can’t help but be herself.

In Stealing Parker we get an inside look on what it is like to be judged. Parker is a sweet and funny relatable girl who I can’t help but love while her classmates can’t help but hate. You will enjoy watch Parker grow up from her break downs and attempt to put the true Parker Shelton back together.

Catching Jordan was my first Miranda Kenneally experience, and Stealing Parker will not be my last!

stars-5-0

Friday Read- Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Standard

Summary: “Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances… a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.
So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life… and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.
It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last…”

So I’m kinda cheating by counting this one, but hey I did finish it on Friday! I started this about a week ago for my book club and finally was able to sit down and finish it.

Warning: My reviews may contain spoilers. Nothing major but a few minor things that aren’t revealed right away. Beware!

This book had me instantly hooked. It’s a really cute story and has great characters. Hudson is extremely creative with cupcakes, all of which I would LOVE to eat. Her younger brother, whose name I’ve forgotten because she always calls him Bug! Bug seems like he’d be so cute. He’s young but is very smart and invents and creates new things. He is way beyond his years. Her best friend Dani is cool too but she bothered me a lot. Her character is probably my only complaint in this book. They’re constantly bickering. Towards the end it seems like every time Hudson does something it sets her off.

There’s quite a bit of boy drama and it’s hard to choose whose side to be on. If you’ve already read this, who did you like best?? Both treated her so well, it’d suck being her. There’s a lot of other guys in the book as well who are on the school’s hockey team. They’re all really funny and seem like fun high schoolers to be around. They tease her and end up quite brotherly.

Her relationship with her parents is so wacky. She doesn’t communicate with her mom well and doesn’t communicate with her at all. These relationships are very hard on her and a struggle throughout the book. Because of the situation she is in with them, she is forced to grow up quickly; working at the family diner, taking care of her brother and even has to help with bills!

This book shows a slight glimpse of the journey of a young, confused girl who is trying her best to keep it all together. recommended for girls with the warning that things to get sappy at times. But also a few doses of exciting sports!

4/5 Stars

Tuesday Read- Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have by Allen Zadoff

Standard

Summary: “FOOD, GIRLS, AND OTHER THINGS I CAN’T HAVE is the story of a boy who doesn’t fit–in his pants, in his family, in his school, or in his life.  If Andrew Zansky can only be thin enough, smart enough, or popular enough, he thinks everything in his life will be perfect. His father will come back home. The pretty girl in school will fall in love with him.  His Mom will be happy again.
While he’s working to achieve this fantasy future, Andrew eats.  A lot.  He buries his problems in his Mom’s mini-snacks, analyzing his world while stuffing down his feelings. “When I chew loud enough,” he says, “I can’t hear myself think. It’s like a little vacation.”  FOOD, GIRLS, AND OTHER THINGS I CAN’T HAVE follows Andrew’s journey to self-awareness and self-acceptance (by, unexpectedly, joining the high school football team). By the end of the story, Andrew stops living in his head and starts participating in life. Perhaps most importantly, he comes to understand that feeling different doesn’t make him weird or special; it makes him just like everyone else.”

Now I know I said my first read was going to be Wolfsbane, but the book proved to be too long! Also, I tried for three days to try to get into it, but I’m having a really hard time! It’s not bad and I’m making progress, but it’s still too much to finish in just one day.

So, my first book-a-day challenge book was Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have. Such a quick and easy read! This book is funny, touching, and inspirational.

Andrew Zansky tries something new: football. It reminded me a lot of the book Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach in this way since the main character in that book also takes up football (another great, funny book). I liked this book too because of the fact that I’ve never read a book in which the main character struggles with being over weight. The insight was so surprising and real. While he attempts to appear cool and collected and at peace with his weight and tries his best to just live with it, he can’t. Girls don’t like fat guys, fat guys don’t fit in desks, being fat draws negative attention. These are all things that go through his mind and that he struggles with through the book. He’s extremely insecure and is constantly embarrassed. I felt so bad!

But, when he joins the football team, a lot of things start to turn around. While he still has family problems and a few best friend problems, school starts to be a lot different for him and he even scores friends in the popular crowd. Something that I found that was consistent throughout the story is how much Andrew lives inside his head. He day-dreams all the time and constantly is having conversations with himself in his head.

A problem I had: One thing that bothered me was at the end he started to get really mean and angry! And the thing is, I felt like he never really came back from that which bothers me. We all enjoy to see characters change and grow which he did, but he started to change negatively and by the end I didn’t see a lot of change in that.

Overall this book is great! A humourous, quick read that is one-hundred percent high school.

  4/5 Stars

 

 

 

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Standard

Summary: “Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris – until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

 As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near – misses end with the French kiss Anna – and readers – have long awaited?”

Love, love, LOVE this book! After I finished it I wished I could just keep on reading. I read this for my school book club and I’m so jealous of the people who are reading it right now. That’s how much I love this book.

From the very beginning I was hooked by the humor, romance, setting and the characters in this book. The setting was amazing for obvious reasons. I mean c’mon, it’s Paris! The craziest part is, Anna didn’t even want to go in the beginning! I want to go to Paris SO bad, so I was very much jealous of her. There was a lot of romance in this book and I’m also jealous of Anna again because she’s met Etienne. Everything that is Etienne seems amazing. He’s English, he’s funny, he’s charming, he’s hot. It’s no wonder everybody at the school is in love with him. The one problem for Anna is, Etienne has a girl friend.  Through out the book she struggles with this fact because Etienne seems to be giving her some signals, but she’s not sure how to interpret them. I loved reading about Anna’s feelings for him because it’s obvious she’s so in love, and whats better than a good love story, right? The whole time I was thinking, ‘Just be together’! But..something always seems to be standing in their way.

Anna was a good character because she’d never really had a relationship, and I enjoyed reading about her first real interest in someone. Her new friends were also neat characters because they all had such different personalities and along with the description of them, I could picture all of them really well. Her friends back at home, Bridget and Toph, I could also picture really well. Which is important because there’s nothing more irritating then reading a book and having a blank face for a character. Of course she loses touch with these two, but that’s to be expected since they’re so far away from each other for so long. But you do get to learn a little bit about them. My best friend also read this book and said she thought it was funny how at the end of the emails Bridget would send, she would say thing like ‘You suck’ instead of ‘I miss you’ or ‘I love you’. She said she could see me saying something like that to her if she went away 🙂 I don’t really have an opinion about Anna’s mom because she isn’t really a big part of the story but her dad definitely is and my thoughts about him aren’t good ones. He’s all about image, which is the reason Anna is away to begin with. He’s a famous author whose books get turned to movies, so he thought it was important his daughter went to school somewhere that meant something. In the end it turns out, but what kind of dad does that?!

Over all, I LOVED this book (Have I mentioned how much I love this book?). There was plenty of surprises and romance to keep it interesting and I could really connect with the characters. For sure one of my top favorites. I recommend this book for anyone looking for a good love story.

 5/5 Stars

The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski

Standard

Summary: In the world of Sheridan Wells, life is perfect when she’s decorating a cake. Unfortunately everything else is a complete mess: her mom ran off years ago, her dad is more interested in his restaurant, and the idea of a boyfriend is laughable.

But Sheridan is convinced finding her mom will solve all her problems – only her dad’s about to get a cooking show in New York, which means her dream of a perfect family will be dashed.

Using just the right amount of romance, family drama, and cute boys, The Sweetest Thing will entice fans with its perfect mixture of girl-friendly ingredients”

I read this book for my book club. We drew names on who got to choose the first book, and my name was drawn! After looking at my to-read shelf on Goodreads, this is the one I decided on.

Sheridan Wells is a very confused girl in my opinion. She’s lived without a mother for years, and her father is really busy trying to get a deal in showbiz so he isn’t around that often. She also has a huge crush on the hottest guy in school, and to her surprise, he likes her back. But, another surprise for her, her best friend Jack also likes her. All of this, plus the fact she has to move to New York (but not if she can help it), is a lot of stress on her and at a few points she cracks. My fellow book club members thought that she was a brat and a drama queen, but I didn’t. Not that I can relate to anything that she went through, but to me it just made sense why she was so upset. Yeah, a few times she was a handled things the wrong way but how would you feel if you were in High School and your dad just up and moved you? She has two really close friends, and is also really close to the other people in town because she’s made so many cakes for so many different people. So I can see why she wouldn’t want to leave all of that behind.

This book also made me SO hungry. Her family owns a restaurant and a bakery and Sheridan is always talking about different dishes her dad is making and talks in detail about all the different pastries and cakes at the bakery. I watch Cake Boss sometimes and if you’ve ever seen it, these are the kind of cakes Sheridan is making. All by herself! I can’t imagine even trying to make a cake like those so I thought it was cool to read about someone my own age making them.

This story also had some romance in it, though it’s not the main focus. She’s torn by her feeling for Ethan (the hot, popular guy) and Jack (her best friend since pre-k). Through out the story you’ll see her struggling to decide you is best for her. Both really do like her and at first it was hard for me to decide who I personally thought was the better choice, but then after some unacceptable events, the choice was obvious.

Overall this was a really cute book and I think a lot of people will agree. I recommend this book to people who enjoy realistic fiction, love stories and don’t mind a bratty main character 😉 This book tells a really good and honest story

 5/5 Stars

Teach Me by R. A. Nelson

Standard

Summary: Teach Me invites readers inside an experience that fascinates everyone an affair between a teacher and student and gives an up-close-and-personal answer to the question: How does this happen?”

Teach Me is a book about a girl named Carolina who gets wrapped up in a forbidden relationship. Why forbidden? He’s her teacher, Mr. Mann. When I first picked this book up and read the description I assumed it would be similar to the book Boy Toy by Barry Lyga. I loved Boy Toy even though it was extremely disturbing, and disappointingly, this book didn’t compare :/ Maybe it was because it was nothing like I expected? I’m not sure. But I had a really hard time getting through it and an easy time putting it down. There’s a pretty big part of this that happens in the middle of the story that you may be able to guess, but I don’t want to give it away! The book mainly focuses on that part of the book.

An interesting part of this book, is that it made sense. It wasn’t weird and disturbing that they were together (If you read it, you’ll get it). They’re so much closer in age than the characters in Boy Toy so you’re not focusing on WHY the whole time. It kind of felt like the author was holding back a little bit. A lot of things were implied but it was kind of like okay this happened, don’t really want to get into that, so now let’s move on! And I can’t stand that! Certain things were detailed but a lot was just like yep, this and this and then this happened, and that’s all you get out of it. I think another reason I had a hard time reading it was because there were a lot of complicated words used and I felt like every other sentence was a simile or metaphor and I had to keep rereading it to catch it.

What I did like about this book was Carolina, because she is so real and you understand why she is feeling the things she is. Sometimes she does get on the dramatic side and you wonder, ‘What is she thinking?!’. But in the second half of the book she doesn’t know what to feel, and when she is feeling something she doesn’t know how to control it. She is pretty much going mad and it affects her life in so many negative ways. I also really liked her friend Schuyler, because no matter what he was ALWAYS there for her. Even when she was wrong, even when she screwed up big time, he still loved and accepted her. And friends like that are hard to find.

Overall, this book was okay. I’ll admit that the very ending was exciting and it was nice to finally figure out what was going on with Mr. Mann, but I wasn’t all that interesting in finding out, because it didn’t seem like that big of a deal.

 2.5 stars