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
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!
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, it releases 4/7/15.
Well, being that I am a bit in love with The Royals on E! and I love the story of Kate Middleton and William, I knew this book was going to be a good one! Who can resist that cover?! And, hello, I am the Library PRINCESS so this is my kind of thing! Though the main character is American, I can still picture this being somewhat similar to Kate and Will’s story of love. Rebecca (Bex) decides to go to school at Oxford to pursue her Art studies, which separates her from her twin sister, Lacey, for the first time in their lives. On her first day there, she unknowingly meets the Prince of Wales (Nick) and becomes fast friends with all of his friend group. She finds herself in a casual relationship with one of them, but then soon realizes (after some bonding over a silly TV show) that she has feelings for the prince. Thus, begins the story of their (secret) courtship, with all the drama necessary to make it an enthralling read. Throughout the story, you are forced into a feeling of frustration on the part of both Bex and Nick because WHY can’t they just be together without worrying about everything and everyone else?! Maybe being a royal is not all it’s cut out to be (as if!). Bex is transformed into Rebecca and finds out who her true friends are along the way, including some scandal involving her best friend and twin, Lacey. Though this was a loooong read (I kept thinking I would never finish), it was a good one and I didn’t lose interest. Even though the characters were upscale British people, I still found them relatable and they were very fun. I don’t know if many of my high school students would be as interested as I was, but I can think of some friends and colleagues that probably would be! I can’t wait to share this with them!
My rating: 5/5
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