Friday, January 23, 2009

The Year of Secret Assignments

Author: Jaclyn Moriarty

Copyright: 2005

Number of Pages: 352

Rating: 9 out of 10

Why I Picked This Up: Well, after reading The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie (Hopefully I will do a review on that later!) , I really wanted to read another book by Jaclyn Moriatry. Luckily they had this book in my library, so I snatched this up as quick as possible!

It was a class assignment that seemed harmless enough. Write a few letters to pen pals at another school and get it over with for an easy A. If only it were that simple than there would not be a story. Lucky for us as readers, these "harmless" assignments led to much more. Pranking. Romance. Secrets. Evil. Revenge. All of these words can describe what goes on in The Year of Secret Assignments. The book revolves around three main characters, Lydia, Cass, and Emily. Although the girls are complete opposites, they have been best friends since they were young. Lydia is sarcastic and the darker one out of the three and when she grows up she wants to be a writer. Cass is shy and timid and has a secret talent of singing. Emily is young lawyer-to-be and is feisty and independent. At first, Lydia and Emily despise their pen pals, but as the book goes on, they end up meeting and dating their pen pals! Cass's pen pal is another story. His name is Matthew Dunlop and treats Cass like dirt. Cass tried to keep her interactions with him quiet, but her good friends can tell when something is wrong. What started as simple letter exchange ends up being an all-out-war between two high schools complete with pranks and good old fashioned revenge. Read this book and you won't be able to put it down!

The Year of Secret Assignments is a fun, intriguing read. It has a little bit of everything in it and will appeal to many readers. Personally, one of my favorite things about the book was the way it was styled. The entire book was written through letters, diaries, and transcripts, no regular dialogue involved. Since the story kept switching to different characters there was no way to get bored. Each character had a distinct voice that was well-displayed. Kudos to Ms Moriarty, The Year of Secret Assignments is a must-read!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Problem With Paradise

Author: Lesley Dahl

Copyright: 2006

Number of Pages: 224

Rating: 5 out of 10

Why I Picked This Up: The title intrigued me. Honestly, I wanted to know what could possibly be wrong with paradise!

When Casey learns that she has to spend her ENTIRE summer on a deserted island, she is devastated. Unfortunately, nobody seems to understand why she's upset. Not even her mom or best friend show any sympathy. All Casey wanted was to spend the summer with her boyfriend, Matt, start a band with her friends and head over to the beach for some fun. But now, she is going to miss out on all of that. Unwillingly, Casey heads of to Taratuga island, reluctant as ever. Although she doesn't want to admit it, Casey starts to like the island. It is undeniably beautiful, for one thing. But what's more gorgeous is Jonah, another boy who lives on the island. Will Casey truly forget her life back home to enjoy her summer in Taratuga?

When I started I really wanted to enjoy it, but there was one problem: I couldn't stand the protagonist Casey! For the most of the book she was whiny and not likable at all. Personally, I did not see anything about her that made me care why she was upset. Also, who gets that angry over going to the Caribbean for the summer? I wouldn't for sure. Out of nowhere, in the middle of the book her tone completely changes. Suddenly, the island isn't so bad! Why? Because there is a cute boy there. Wait a minute- wasn't the reason Casey was so reluctant was because she wanted to spend time with her boyfriend? Confused? Me too. Obviously, the writer had to make Casey and the cute boy fall in love. Of course it didn't matter that she was cheating on her boyfriend(Trying to be sarcastic here)! If this was the author's way of trying to make the readers relate to Casey- it didn't work. So instead of Casey being merely annoying, she became a hypocritical cheater! I won't tell you how it ends (in case you decide to go against my advice) but the pathetic attempt at a climax isn't even important because you are so sick of Casey at the end of the book anyways. If I had to choose one good point about this book it's that the author really did paint a beautiful picture of an island. I could almost feel the sand between my toes... But honestly, would you really want to go to the Caribbean if an annoying, whiny girl was there with you the whole time?
Quote from book:
Absent. I couldn't find any "see insides". This book was probably to unpopular for people to want to look inside it anyways!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Author: Sarah Dessen

Copyright: 2000

Number of pages: 256

Rating: 9 out of 10

Why I Picked This Up: In the library I almost always look for Sarah Dessen books to read and I did not get to read this one yet.

Cass has always been the perfect one in her family. Cass always had perfect grades. Cass always won all the awards. Cass got accepted into Yale. But this story is not about Cass. It's about Caitlin, her younger sister, who has lived in her shadow her entire life. It all started when Cass ran away on Caitlin's sixteenth birthday. Caitlin's mother and father were devastated, but despite their begging, Cass refused to come back home. All of a sudden Cass became the center of attention when she made the cheerleading team. Her mother completely focuses on her (something new), but Caitlin just feels like a replacement of Cass. One day, Caitlin meets Rogerson. Rogerson has got a past but Caitlin thinks he's funny, charismatic, and intelligent, and most importantly he makes Caitlin feel like her own person, not just like Cass's little sister. Caitlin thinks she's in love, but what happens when there relationship takes a perilous turn?

I loved this book. The story was compelling, the minor characters were unique and it felt realistic even if the plot seemed exaggerated. This is definitely one of Sarah Dessen's darker books. I don't want to give away too much, (you'll have to read it yourself) but I can say that Dreamland involves drugs, sex and violence, so it is important to understand that this book may be a little bit mature for twelve and younger. One con would be that sometimes you just want to tell Caitlin "Stand up for yourself! Stop being so weak!" Nevertheless, what made this book so great was that we got to see the story of a person who was overlooked in life and that love isn't always so perfect.

Quote from book:

"My sister wasn't a seer or a prophet, at least not at eighteen. What she was, was a student body president two years running, star right wing of the girls soccer team (State Champs her juniour and senior year), and Homecoming Queen. She volenteered chopping vegatables at the homless shelter for soup night every Thursday, had been skydiving twice, and was famous in our high school for staging a sit-in to protest the firing of a popular English teacher for assigning "questionable reading matieral"-Toni Morrison's Beloved. She made the local news for that one, speaking clearly and angrily to a local reporter, her eyes blazing, with half the school cheering behind her. My father, in his recliner, just sat there and grinned."

Friday, January 9, 2009


Author: Julie Linker

Copyright: 2008

Number of Pages: 296

Rating: 8 out of 10

Why I Picked This Up: I was in the library and this was one of the new books. The cover looked interesting, (Yes I judge books by their covers, but only in the literal sense) and it was purple, my favorite color, so I had to pick it up!

Presley is a born pageant queen. It's her life. Dancing gives her a rush and being a beauty queen is truly what she is passionate about. However, there are a few problems. Her parents are rockers who Presley can barely relate to. Also, her family has a lot less money than the other contestants. But despite all of this, it does not stop her or bruise her ego. She seems unstoppable until one day, when Presley catches her boyfriend, Gabe, making out with her arch-enemy: Megan. Although Presley is upset that Megan stole her boyfriend, she isn't surprised. Presley and Megan have been competing against each other in many other pageants and Miss Teen State had been coming up soon. Presley knew she had to take revenge. But what happens when their competitive nature turns into all-out war?
Crowned takes catfights and backstabbing to a whole new level. The hilarious antics of the girls finding ways to torment each other (Secret hair dying, scandalous online pictures and more) are very original and funny. However, what makes this book so laugh-out-loud-funny is Presley's humorous narration. She is one of the funniest protagonists that I have read about in a long time. This book was definitely an enjoyable read but was not very emotionally deep. Another con was that the main character, Presley, was a little bit of an airhead. This will not be a concern for many readers though, and the humour helped overshadow this fact. Overall Crowned was a fun and quick read that I would recommend for teenage girls who are looking for a little something to tickle their funny bone (oh, and some dangerous revenge ideas).

Quote from book:
"Yeah, while my grandfather spent the sixties selling 'love beads' out of a beat-up version of the Mystery Machine, Justine's grandfather was busy going to Harvard medical school and inventing some sort of super-important surgical thingy that 'revolutionized twenty-first-century medicine' and made a bajillion trillion dollars. Can you say 'Life is so not fair?'"


Congratulations to whoever is reading this... because this is the first post of my first blog.
(And hopefully not the last post of my last blog either.)
As my name implies, I LOVE reading and will very willingly stay up until midnight to finish a good book.
I was inspired by my class blog to start a blog of my own because I also LOVE to write.
What is there to look forward to on this blog?
Book Reviews, Book Reviews and you guessed it... Book Reviews!!!!!!
I hope you guys like my blog and come back soon for some reviews!