4 Aug 2013

Plethora of Reviews #2

Welcome to the second installment of Plethora of Reviews, where I post a handful of short book reviews all in one post!

Review #1: Losing It by Various Authors, Edited by Keith Gray

Quick Synopsis:
A complilation of short stories about losing 'it'. Characters share their stories about their first times. No, not kisses. I mean going all the way. The big s-e-x. The stories are by Keith Gray (also the editor), Jenny Valentine, Melvin Burgess, Patrick Ness, Mary Hooper, Sophie McKenzie, Bali Rai, and Annie Fine.

My Thoughts:
To be honest with you, the only story that stuck with me was Patrick Ness' short story, Different for Boys. It featured a gay male teen and his struggles with  you'll have to read the story      and   to find out   ;)                    . I found it to be extremely interesting and very well-written, despite the black boxes (which were frustrating at times because I wanted to know what was supposed to be behind them, but stylistically they worked and left just the right amount to the imagination). Ness' story is a solid 5/5 for me, and makes me want to read more by him.

As for the other stories? I skipped most because I quickly became bored with them. The ones I did read all the way through were not memorable in any way. There was one where a great aunt or grandma told her niece/granddaughter what her first time was like, and it was told through the eyes of the girl's younger brother, who was sitting at the table with them. The whole situation was odd. Why did no one tell the younger boy to leave? It was a very awkward conversation for the girl to be obviously interested in while her parents and younger sibling were there, and I just did not like it. The rest were not great. They were not even good.

Rating: 5/5 for Patrick Ness' story, but the rest I am not even going to rate. I would say the ones I read entirely average 2/5 stars or less. I received this book as an e-galley from the publisher through Netgalley, which I am grateful for. It makes me want to read more by Patrick Ness (someone remind me to pick up his Chaos Walking series, already!), but I would not buy this book solely for that story.


Review #2: Our Song by Jordanna Fraiberg

Quick Synopsis:
Protagonist Olive Bell had a great life until she nearly died in a car accident. Said accident killed her boyfriend, and now Olive must pick up the pieces of her life. Strangely, she is haunted by a melody that she cannot place. Olive goes to a support group to appease her mother, but there she meets the mysterious and seemingly haunted Nick. A romance blooms between the two teens, and Olive feels a connection between them that she cannot explain. Olive's story is about love and solving the mystery of the melody she hears, as well as trying to heal the ghosts of her past.

My Thoughts:
Some parts of this book I liked, some I didn't. I could not bring myself to side with or relate to Olive; I just did not understand her and she frustrated me. I wanted to slap her and yell: goddamnit! Listen to your best friend!! The ending was also too perfect. It was all tied up in a neat little bow. Suddenly Olive's mother was cool and understanding when before she was hardly even close. I also did not understand how renting a hotel room for three hours a night is enough to sleep away nightmares. I have never gone through anything like Olive has, but that whole situation made little sense to me. It was like a problem created for no realistic reason. It took me until about halfway through the book before I started to think I would enjoy it. Olive seemed very childish to me, and it was not until halfway that she began to grow up a bit more. I did not, unfortunately, like Olive. I mostly tolerated her.

However, I really enjoyed the character of Nick (although I was expecting more out of his back story than what we got). I really wish Olive did not rely on boys so much to 'save' her. I wanted to see some character growth there, but alas, that did not happen. And when she -spoiler alert. Highlight to read the following text- went back to Derek so easily after she was supposedly over him, I wanted to scream. Overall, not a story I see myself re-reading, but it was okay. I think I just expected more from the secrets everyone was hiding than what was really there.

3/5. Not bad, but not something I would re-read. It's tough when you spend the entire book wanting to crawl through the pages and slap the protagonist until he/she stops being ridiculously infuriating. But not bad.


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