American Babe by Babe Walker
***This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 6/28/16.
Summary from Goodreads:
Babe Walker thought she had done it all. After all, she’s survived the highly exclusive social hierarchies of Bel Air, traipsed around Europe in true white-girl fashion, and left her mark on several of the best rehab facilities in the United States. But now Babe is about to enter a terrifying new world: Middle America.
After a freak accident that was definitely not Babe’s fault, her estranged mother offers her the perfect escape from LA: an invite to her grandfather’s eightieth birthday party in Maryland, of all places. Babe’s journey throws her headlong into elementary school classrooms full of small, unfashionable people and pizza buffet restaurants that will haunt her nightmares and eventually back to Los Angeles, thank goodness. Tossed together with her cousins—basic preteen Cara and mature and preternaturally stylish Knox—Babe learns that connecting with someone on an intimate, familial level might be the most rewarding experience there is…
Besides being thin, of course.
I absolutely adore these books. They make me laugh so much and they are just plain fun. I read the first White Girl Problems book when it first came out and I didn’t read Psychos, but am definitely going to go back and do so now after this one. I forgot how much I liked them! Babe uses a lot of slang and a lot of modern references, which will date the book over time, but it is great for now. I really enjoyed reading about her developing more of a family relationship with the characters in this book and seeing how “normal” people live. She also gets to learn a bit of responsibility in this book. Though she can be a bit obnoxious in her behaviors and how spoiled she is, I still find it really entertaining, because I know I would be the exact same way if I was wealthy. 🙂 I’m not sure if it’s good to admit that or not, but there it is.
If you’re looking for a fun read this summer, then this would be it! I can’t say that I’ll be buying it for my school library due to content, but I will definitely recommend to some friends.
My rating: 5/5
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
This is the story of Willowdean, an overweight teen, who has a pageant-obsessed mother…ironic, right? Will has always been fine with herself, happy even, with a best friend named Ellen (whom looks like she should be in a pageant) that has always made her feel loved and included. Then, she starts working at Harpy’s, a local fast-food joint, and meets Bo–a cute boy from the Catholic high school in town. She would never have thought he would be interested in her, but develops a “secret” relationship with him. Instead of being happier, she starts to question why she feels like it should be “secret”, or is it him that feels like that? And what about the other guy that is interested in her? Would she be better off with him? With all this in question, she decides to throw everyone for a loop and enter the pageant that her town is famous for and that her mother is in charge of…and, thus, the fun begins. With the help of some other non-standard contestants, they shock everyone.
There were some great, quotable lines!
Also, there is a lot of Dolly Parton in this book. 🙂
Part of me LOVES this book and the fact that Will didn’t have to lose weight to become a skinny, “happy” person during the course of the story. Another part of me was a little underwhelmed I guess, hoping something really big would happen. I have read some comments that the main character is too judgemental and hateful about other people, but I find it to be truthful. Teen girls, no matter their size, are harsh to and about each other, so I didn’t take offense to her feelings towards some of the other characters. She is just one of those people who doesn’t censor her thoughts. Overall, I felt this was a very fun, yet real, book and will definitely be recommending to my high school students.
My rating: 4/5
Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 8/4/15.
Dave and Julia have been best friends for years and are finally getting ready to graduate high school. While Dave is going through his locker one day, he finds a list of “Nevers” that they wrote as freshmen…things they never wanted to do in high school, cliches that everyone else does (e.g. run for prom king, attend/throw a BEER party, etc.). They decide that now is a great time to go back and do all of those things in their last few months before graduation. One of the items on the list is “Never date your best friend” but little does Julia know, Dave has been in love with her for years. When he finally thinks things might be starting to develop and they are planning on attending prom together, he starts to get to know another girl named Gretchen and realizes that he CAN have feelings for someone else. While going through more Nevers, he becomes more and more conflicted, and Julia realizes that she may have a different kind of feelings for him as well. Will they end up together or can Dave move on and find happiness with someone else?
I have another book by this author in my library and it looked interesting, but I never had time to read it, so I was excited when this one came along as one of my advanced copies. I didn’t know what to expect, but I really like this author’s writing style. The character’s were funny and likeable, I was really able to feel Dave’s struggles and didn’t know who he should end up with either. I found myself laughing at several different points throughout and thought Julia was hilarious, reminded me of myself as far as sarcasm and wit. I like to think I’m funny! I will be purchasing for my high school library and recommending to students.
My rating: 5/5
Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin
**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, it releases 4/14/15.
I don’t usually start this way….but I really enjoyed this book! I remember thinking it sounded interesting when I saw it on Netgalley months ago, but waited until closer to release date to read it and I wasn’t disappointed. Denton lives in a time where everyone knows the date they are going to die from birth. Other than that, the people and society are no different than we are currently. That is just how it is, and Denton is an “Early”…meaning he won’t live past high school. He befriended Paolo as a young child because he was in the same predicament. In fact, their deathdates are less than a month apart. This whole book essentially takes place in 2 days, the day of Denton’s funeral (people attend their own funerals) and the day of his Sitting, which is the day he dies. No one knows how they are going to die or when during that day it will happen, so they have a tradition of staying “safe” in their homes with loved ones; though this never keeps them from the actual death part. At his funeral, Denton meets a stranger that tells him to trust no one, especially government types. He has no idea what this means, but tries to find out more before his time comes. The day of his death is quite full of events and situations, not to mention a mysterious rash/splotch that is spreading by the minute it seems. That is about all I can say without giving away the conclusion…and what an interesting conclusion it was. I’m pretty sure we are wide open for a sequel! I read this book quickly and didn’t want to put it down. I found it entertaining and rather humorous, a good one to recommend to those who ask for funny books. There are serious moments of course (we are dealing with death here!), but I am always looking for books I can recommend to boys and this is one of them. I will be purchasing it for my library, already have in fact!
Pretty Ugly by Kirker Butler
**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date is 3/31/15.
A book about child pageants?! Yes, please! As someone who was obsessed with Toddlers & Tiaras, I couldn’t pass this one up when I read the summary on Netgalley. Though it is a fictional book, I can still imagine that this is exactly what it must be like in that world! Miranda’s daughter, Bailey, is outgrowing the pageant–both physically and mentally–and she is desperate for her soon-to-be born daughter to fill the void. After a massive blow-up at one of Bailey’s pageants, it becomes the last one she will be involved in for quite some time. There is a second story line going on in this book as well, Miranda’s cheating, pill-popping husband’s story. His involvement with a much younger woman (girl?) is bound to get him in serious trouble. When the new baby is born, Miranda is in for a shock…will this baby be able to fulfill her pageant mom dreams?
My favorite thing about this book was the humor, satire aspect of it. The names of the little girls in the pageants made me laugh out loud more than once and brought back fond memories of a show that I wish was still on air. Definitely pick this one up if you are a fan of senseless drama! I have already recommended to a few people!
My rating: 4/5
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae
**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, it releases on 2/10/15.
I originally requested this title because a)it has a really fun cover, and b)the synopsis on Netgalley drew me in because it sounded very entertaining. After I was approved and when I knew it was coming close to time to actually read the title, I watched a few videos from Issa Rae’s YouTube channel and knew I had to make sure to get to this one in my To-Be-Read pile. I was not disappointed. If you have followed me to this point, it is pretty obvious that I am not a huge fan of nonfiction titles, but I can handle memoirs most of the time. This was written as somewhat of a guide, mixed with Issa’s own experiences and life stories. The sections that were considered an Awkward Black Girl guide had me cracking up, as they described different kinds of black people, different kinds of coworkers, and so on; all were pretty spot-on. The sections that were written about Issa’s life were also rather entertaining. Issa moved around a lot as a child and has many hilarious stories to tell from her experiences with friendship and family….though, I have to admit, it was a bit confusing at times because the stories did jump back and forth over time quite a bit, so I was a little lost. There were several times during the reading of this title that I caught myself laughing out loud, and that is always an indication of a good book to me! If you have not heard of Issa Rae, look her up on YouTube and then grab this book for some laughs. I will be purchasing for my library and recommending to students, especially for their required nonfiction book reports. Might as well make it fun!
My rating: 4/5