Although I enjoyed the Burn for Burn series, it wasn’t what I would typically expect from Jenny Han. I first fell in love with her writing when I read Shug. [Sidebar: I cannot believe that was NINE YEARS ago!] I went on to adore the Summer I Turned Pretty series and frequently recommend it to readers who are looking for an author similar to Sarah Dessen. Even though Jenny Han’s stories fall on the lighter side of YA, I can’t help but use words like “honest” and “raw” when I describe her characters. I love the fact that Han’s characters face problems that a majority of tweens and teens can relate to — and the mom/librarian in me especially appreciates her multidimensional female characters. When this book showed up on the library hold shelf on the same day that I finished Ashes to Ashes (Burn for Burn, book 3), I took it as a sign and bumped it to the top of my book pile!
Lara Jean has fallen in love many times, but that doesn’t exactly mean she has had much dating experience. Instead of dating those boys, though, she skipped straight from falling in love to letting them go. And, in order to let them go, she wrote a love letter of sorts. Whenever she wrote to one of the boys she loved, Lara Jean always wrote honestly and held nothing back [because she knew that the boys would never really read the letters]. She’d planned to simply keep all of the letters in the hat box her mom gave her to hold her special and/or secret items. The fact that she chose to include the name and address of each boy on the front of the envelope, nevertheless, proved to be rather unfortunate. After the hat box mysteriously disappeared from her closet and the letters were all “accidentally” mailed out, Lara Jean ended up agreeing to be in a fake relationship to avoid her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh — to whom she had written one of the most recent letters. But how is a girl supposed to know whether her fake boyfriend is actually flirting or just putting on a good show? And what should she do if she starts to think she might have feelings for him? The book ended a little too abruptly for my liking, so it’s a good thing there is a sequel — P.S. I Still Love You — that came out at the end of May. ;-)
Let me just start off my review by stating that I refuse to read any further books if this trilogy suddenly becomes a series with four or more books, like The Selection. As far as I am concerned, this trilogy is complete, there is no more story, and Jenny Hand and Siobhan Vivian should leave it alone! ;-) (Who am I kidding? I’m sure I would eat it up if they published anything else because I tore through these books!) Oh… And there is one other thing I would like to clarify before starting my actual review. Some people might start reading the first book and think the “sci-fi/fantasy” classification is unjustified. Even at the end of the first book, I was a little unsure if the supernatural element was quite enough to justify being in the “sci-fi/fantasy” section of the Teen Area. But, trust me when I say that it will make sense if you keep reading. Continue reading
Despite the fact that the American Psychiatric Association put forth a resolution in 2009 stating that “there is insufficient evidence that sexual orientation change efforts work,” there are still numerous facilities and therapists that claim they can “cure” homosexuality. It breaks my heart and makes me angry, in equal measure, when I hear about teens being sent off to so-called conversion therapy camps. To put it plainly, I find the notion that GLBTQ people can/need to be “fixed” is simply horrifying. I recognize that some people’s religious views are the reason they don’t condone homosexuality, but I reject the implication that one’s religious beliefs can or should be forced upon anyone else. Though some some places [California, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington D.C.] have passed laws banning conversion therapy for minors, I am appalled that so many states haven’t stepped up. Hopefully, books like The Summer I Wasn’t Me and The Miseducation of Cameron Post can help to open people’s eyes and to bring about further change. Continue reading
Some people are confused by the fact that I can’t handle “scary movies” but am so intrigued by novels and biographies about serial killers. During my freshman year of college, I actually scared the student assistant at my college library. He asked which class required me to watch so many A&E Biography specials about serial killers and I answered, “It’s not for a class. I just think they’re interesting.” He shoved the movie across the counter and practically ran into the back office. When I returned the next week, he was nowhere to be found. Fortunately, we met through a mutual friend a few months later and figured out that we recognized each other because he was the AV guy at the library and I was the “creepy serial killer girl.” I was able to elaborate about how my interest was piqued during a high school psychology class and that viewing habits were based purely on curiosity. (Up until that point, apparently, he had been worried that I was a serial killer in training or something like that… Oops!)
The most obvious audience for this book is people who have been directly affected by sexual assault. I think this book could help both victims and the people close to them with processing their feelings and seeing that they are not alone — especially friends and family members of rape victims, since there aren’t many books about the guilt, shame, and helplessness they often experience. One of the most important audiences for this book, nevertheless, is the general population of adolescents and young adults. Sadly, many people aren’t even sure what constitutes rape, and I think reading this book would be an excellent way to broach the subject with adolescents and young adults as a part of a comprehensive sex education program. Fault Line provides an opportunity to explore and discuss the concept of consensual sex vs. rape and also provides some valuable insight into some common, yet widely varied, reactions of victims of sexual assault. Though there are some people who complain that there are “too many rape books” out there, I disagree. Each one provides a different perspective into what is still a very big problem in our society. Perhaps if Laurie Halse Anderson‘s Speak weren’t so relevant almost 20 years after it was first published, I might think those critics had a leg to stand on. Continue reading
Cath was not just a Simon Snow fan. She was an über Simon Snow fan who actually had followers of her own. How? Cath wrote fan fiction. More specifically, she wrote Simon/Baz fan fiction. And her story, Carry On, got tens of thousands of hits every time she posted a new chapter. While I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that Cath entered college with the intention to be a fiction writer, I was interested in how she struggled with creating stories all her own even though the fan fiction flowed so easily for her. And even more than that, I was impressed by how wholly I found myself being absorbed into Cath’s everyday life and her struggle to adjust to the new realities of her life as a college freshman.