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Better Off Friends, by Elizabeth Eulberg
This is a sweet read — sweet mostly in terms of how the main characters interact with each other and the secondary characters. I like the loyalty both show to each other and their other friends, and I like how Macallan learns that one of her friends, at least, perhaps doesn’t deserve the level of loyalty she’s been showing. Levi comes across as a typical guy while still remaining thoughtful and caring, and the relationship between he and Macallan grows at a realistic rate. Just a sweet, nice read. The story: Macallan and Levi meet in 7th grade and become friends. Levi’s mom steps in and helps Macallan with her grief after her mom’s death, and their friendship grows as one might expect for young teens. As they enter high school and begin maturing, they also struggle with their changing feelings (keeping them to themselves, of course) and wonder about how romance could perhaps ruin their friendship. (YA contemporary romance, released 2/14, publisher: Point)
Andy Squared, by Jennifer Lavoie
I enjoyed this quite a bit. I liked the setting, and I really liked Ryder and Andy and their growing understanding of each other and their own feelings. Andrea was tough to like because she was pretty controlling, and the parents were a little two-dimensional — but all the teen characters seemed pretty real. I also enjoyed how the story wasn’t only focused on Andy’s changing awareness of his own sexuality but on other aspects of his life, as well. The ending seemed a little ‘pat’, but overall, I thought it was an entertaining and engaging read. The story: Andy and Andrea, twins, have done most things together, including their dreams of soccer glory. However, lately Andy hasn’t been as keen to pursue soccer beyond high school, and now that they’re seniors and Andrea is choosing colleges for both of them, Andy is forced to take a stand. At first, though, his sister refuses to listen. Andy is frustrated, and as his friendship with new kid Ryder begins to change into something more, he finds himself slipping further away from his twin…until she discovers Andy and Ryder in a compromising position and things spiral out of control.
7 Clues to Winning You, by Kristin Walker
This is a fun read! I so enjoyed Kristin’s first book (A Match Made in High School), and this was just as good. I liked how Blythe made her own way in the new school and how she fought to be herself. The humor really lightened some of the more angsty situations, and the romance was sweet. I also thought the original situation (where an embarrassing picture of Blythe is spread) was very realistic — and I appreciated how the characters all learned from that. As with Kristin’s first book, the characters are not only true to life, they help the reader see truths in general about people and families. The story: Blythe is spending her spring break planning the best senior year ever when her dad shares his news — he’s being considered for a promotion, which means the family will have to move. The move puts Blythe into her rival school (as the principal’s daughter, no less), and because of a prank played the previous year, the entire school has seen an embarrassing picture of Blythe. When the seniors learn that Blythe is joining their school, the picture spreads even further, and Blythe’s first days are a mishmash of humiliation and loneliness. At first, Blythe only wants revenge, and she uses guilt to convince her principal dad to cancel the Senior Scramble. But when her ‘old’ friends (ladies at a nursing home) show Blythe that she’s being petty, she decides to help the Senior Scramble continue — underground (ie, as a secret). Things spiral out of control, however, when Blythe’s friends from her previous school get jealous at the amount of time she’s spending with her new friends– and when Blythe inadvertently uses on of them to help out her new school…and now the revenge is on her and will jeopardize Blythe’s dad’s position, along with Blythe’s burgeoning relationship with a senior. (YA romantic comedy?, released 4/12, publisher: Razorbill)
Just Your Average Princess, by Kristina Springer
This was great fun! I really liked Tina’s first YA too (The Espressologist), and this was just as good. I liked Jamie’s character. She was a good person, and even when pushed to the point of doing something stupid, she worked hard to make up for that. I really felt for her — in fact, I wanted to hold her and comfort her when she was going through the worst of her struggles (especially with her dad) — she’s definitely a sympathetic character. The romance was sweet, and I also liked how Milan’s witchiness was explained (it was realistic). This is a sweet and nice book, clean and good for even younger girls. The story: Jamie’s life is filled with hard work and small town living, but she’s good at doing what needs to be done. And she’s accepted that things are what they are (like her dad’s silence and inability to be outwardly supportive of her). But when her cousin Milan comes to stay with them, and Jamie sees her parents doing everything they can to show their concern for Milan (and not Jamie, who continues to work hard), it becomes too much — especially as Danny, the boy Jamie’s crushed on forever, also seems to be taken by Milan’s charms. Jamie wants to know why Milan dislikes her and why she’s even *there*, in the first place – and when digging, she finds some dirt. Now she has to decide how far to take it and what kind of person she really is. (YA romantic comedy, released 10/11, publisher: FS&G)
How They Met and other stories, by David Levithan
I ‘discovered’ this book when surfing the library catalog 🙂 As a huge Levithan fan, I had to get it — and I loved it! Although most of the stories are either G or L based, all are about teen love, and as a ‘straight’ person, I could easily relate to the emotions and trials of every one of them. It’s a great collection about the challenges of teen crushes, first loves, true connections, etc. I’d highly recommend it to any romantic out there 🙂 For those who are more sensitive to sex, although not graphic, there are sexually charged scenes. The stories: With love, requited or not, at the focus, these stories follow various teens through their experiences. (YA romance/short stories, GLBT, released 12/09, publisher: Knopf)