So I have to admit, I do judge books by the covers sometimes. I was trying to start a book the other night and chanced upon ‘What If It’s Us,’ by becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. I knew nothing about the book, nor its p[lot but it was on my Kindle and I looked at the cover and thought to myself, “seems like a fun book based on the cover,” and I needed something light for before going to sleep. I started reading it, and the plot revolves around two teenagers who meet at a post office, and it’s one of those cute meets. But, they never bet each other’s info, and, well you can just guess what happens next.
I thought the book was kind of boring, The ‘gimmick’ was each of the two authors voiced the characters, and there’s Ben who is Puerto Rican and a NYC native. Then there’s Ben, living in NYC for the summer but based in Georgia. I felt that the individual voices were fine, but I never got the ‘connection’ between them. I never believed that they would fall for each other, and when they did, I felt that it wasn’t a ‘match.’ And there was not much conflict, and what was there felt forced.
Lo and behold, when I started reading reviews for the book, a lot of people felt the same way I did. (I never read any until after I finish reading) So I guess it’s not me?
Nineteen short stories about love – sounds right about my alley, right? I wish I could say I enjoyed all of David Levithan’s ’19 Love Songs’ but for me it was a mixed bag. There were high points, of course, like ‘Quiz Bowl Antichrist’ about a teen in a quiz team who falls for his teammate and I also liked ‘The Woods,’ wherein a guy discovers his boyfriend’s secret: that he writes Taylor Swift fan fiction. And I especially liked the short story about young Jewish boys falling in love with the backdrop of the two of them going to Broadway shows. But there were some stories that were just okay, or maybe I just cannot relate to them.
I devoured the first two books about Nate Foster, so for sure I thought I would feel the same about the third (and unfortunately, last) on the series of books about him, written by Tim Federle, titled ‘Nate Expectations.’ When we last saw him, he was starring in a Broadway production of ‘E. T.,’ but the show is kind of floundering, and after it was not nominated for any Tony awards, got a closing notice. So this sends Nate back to Pittsburgh at his old high school, and of course he is somewhat dejected by all this, and has to repurpose and rebrand himself as a student. To be honest, this is the weakest book in the series for me, and it took me a little bit to get back int he groove of it, but it’s still a good and fast read. I still cherish all the Broadway references, of course, and it was a very nice touch for me that his new love interest is Filipino (who cooks him adobo!) I love the fact that his parents are very supportive of his sexual orientation (we knew all of this was coming, for sure) and it was nice to see him close up that way. I hope Federle revisits him at some point as I would be curious where Nate eventually ends up.
I dragged a friend to see ‘Every Day,’ and after seeing the movie, he tells me ‘you owe me one.’ Yikes, this means our next movie will be his choice, and I am dreading it already, because I know it will be some horror or sci-fi movie, or even worse, a superhero one. Was ‘Every Day’ that bad?
It is. And the movie held such promise because it is based on the book by David Levithan, which I enjoyed immensely, and has a premise which I thought was very interesting – a teenager falls in love with someone who takes over a different body everyday. I remember the book was quite engaging, but the film translation, unfortunately, just did not work.
And it’s not from lack of trying. Angouri Rice as Rhiannon is an appealing young actress, and tries hard to give the character some heart and soul, but as written, it’s dead on arrival. And visualized on-screen, the whole premise just seems creepy. But the worst part is that the film dis not seem to have the breadth and depth of the novel – things almost seem flippant here. As my friend said afterwards, “you made me watch a Lifetime movie.”
Since ‘The Rise And Fall Of A Theater Geek’ was written by Seth Rudetsky, I guess I was expecting more from it. You know that he has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Broadway, so I was kind of expecting a little bit of that here. Maybe I shouldn’t have, because this is a young adult novel about a teenager, Justin, who got a two-week internship in New York City. never mind all the pesky details, I was trying to go along for the ride. but Justin has such an obnoxious voice, though, that it was very difficult to like him. Plus. all the characters around him were unlikable and the ‘mystery’ he got embroiled in was a little hard to just accept. But, I really do not want to knock this book off – it has good intentions and really, a young theater geek will probably identify himself in one of these characters. It just wasn’t for me.
Election years can be a tough. It’s so heated nowadays – there’s so much vitriol, and yes people are passionate but both sides can be nasty. Nicole Hayes’ ‘One True Thing’ centers on teenager Frankie, who is the daughter of a woman running for the Premiere of Australia (I am guessing this is similar to the Prime Minister position) and it is diffivul enough navigating normalcy in life with that situation, but in the novel, a scandalous complication arises – or is it really? Such is the dilemma presented here, and although it wasn’t that believable for me, the characters are three dimensional enough for the reader to have sympathy. I liked Frankie, though she could sometimes be a little bratty, she does something at the end to show reformation. This was a heavier read than I thought it would be, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
I have been remiss on my reading. Sometimes life gets in the way, and as much as I love reading, am maybe too old to fit a lot of things in my life, and my reading suffers. It took me a week to finish Any Spalding’s ‘The New Guy (And Other Senior Year Distractions)’ because of personal distractions. But this book i sa good summer read. At first, I wasn’t really taken by the main character, Jules, because I felt she was just a bit obnoxious and feeling-entitled, but I liked that she was pegged down a couple of times. And I wish that there was more romance and less of the petty rivalry between the school newspaper team and their new media counterpart. But all in all, I liked this.