Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #23: Who I Kissed

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

 My pick for this week is:

Who I Kissed
She never thought a kiss could kill…
Samantha didn’t mean to hurt anyone. She was just trying to fit in...and she wanted to make Zee a little jealous after he completely ditched her for a prettier girl. So she kissed Alex. And then he died—right in her arms.
Was she really the only person in the entire school who didn’t know about his peanut allergy? Or that eating a peanut butter sandwich and then kissing him would be deadly? Overnight Sam turns into the school pariah and a media sensation explodes. Consumed with guilt, abandoned by her friends, and in jeopardy of losing her swimming scholarship, she’ll have to find a way to forgive herself before anyone else will.

I've read both I'm Not Her and If I Tell by Janet Gurtler, and I really liked both of those books.  Also, I have a peanut allergy, so it will be interesting to see how the subject is dealt with in the book.

What are you Waiting On this Wednesday?


Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: Small Damages by Beth Kephart

Small Damages It’s senior year, and while Kenzie should be looking forward to prom and starting college in the fall, she is mourning the loss of her father. She finds solace in the one person she trusts, her boyfriend, and she soon finds herself pregnant. Kenzie’s boyfriend and mother do not understand her determination to keep the baby. She is sent to southern Spain for the summer, where she will live out her pregnancy as a cook’s assistant on a bull ranch, and her baby will be adopted by a Spanish couple.

Alone and resentful in a foreign country, Kenzie is at first sullen and difficult. She begins to open her eyes and her heart to the beauty that is all around her and inside of her.

My Review:

Small Damages is a great book that explores relationships and making choices.  The writing and characters are all well-done, and I really enjoyed this read.


Kenzie is a great main character who has to deal with many difficult things in life.  Her father had recently died, and she let her boyfriend comfort her.  Unfortunately, this led to her getting pregnant at eighteen, and her mom didn't want anyone to know about her pregnancy.  Her mom has a friend in Spain so she sends Kenzie off to have the baby in Spain.  Arrangements are made for a couple in Spain to adopt her child once she gives birth to it.  Kenzie resents her boyfriend for choosing Yale over supporting her, and her mom for making her decisions for her.  As the book progresses, she decides to make her choices.

One extremely well-done relationship is the one between Kenzie and Estela.  Estela is the cook in Spain, and Kenzie helps her with the cooking.  At the beginning, Estela is very stern to Kenzie, and they are both closed-off to each other.  As the story continues, they open up to each other more.  Estela becomes like a grandmother figure to Kenzie.  She begins to tell Kenzie the story of how she got pregnant for Luis' baby and didn't see him for many years.  She gave up the baby for adoption.

The other characters in this book are well-developed.  Esteban is a fairly mysterious character.  The reader finds out a little bit about his past, but much is still a mystery.  You can the touches of a romance developing between him and Kenzie.  Kenzie's boyfriend, Kevin, seemed like a good guy during the flashbacks, though he's not there for her in her pregnancy.  Ellie seemed like a good friend, but Kenzie kept the pregnancy a secret from her.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Review: North of Beautiful by Justina Chen

North of Beautiful As he continued to stare, I wanted to point to my cheek and remind him, But you were the one who wanted this, remember? You're the one who asked-and I repeat-Why not fix your face?

It's hard not to notice Terra Cooper.

She's tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably "flawed" face. Terra secretly plans to leave her stifling small town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-course by her controlling father. When an unexpected collision puts Terra directly in Jacob's path, the handsome but quirky Goth boy immediately challenges her assumptions about herself and her life, and she is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?

Written in lively, artful prose, award-winning author Justina Chen Headley has woven together a powerful novel about a fractured family, falling in love, travel, and the meaning of true beauty.

My Review:

North of Beautiful is a good story exploring family, friendship, and love.  It also works on defining what true beauty is.  The characters are well-developed, and the family relationship is well-done.


Terra is a good main character.  She thinks she isn't beautiful because she has a port-wine stain on her face.  Through the years, she has tried to have it removed by many different laser treatments, but none of them really worked.  She enjoys making collages, though her dad refuses to see that they are actually art.  She wants to go to Williams College and join their art program, but her dad wants her to go to Western Washington.  She feels like her birthmark makes her ugly, but as the book progresses, she realizes that isn't true.  She understands that she doesn't need to have a perfect body to make up for her birthmark.

The relationship between Terra and her family members is well-done.  Her dad is controlling and takes any opportunity to make her, and especially her mom, feel dad about themselves.  He often calls his wife fat to her face, and he belittles Terra's artistic abilities by saying it isn't actually art.  Terra also has two brothers, Merc and Claudius.  Merc is the oldest, and he has never brought a girlfriend home until he brings home Elisa.  The visit is disastrous, and Elisa breaks up with Merc because he doesn't defend Terra and his mother.  As the story progresses, Terra discovers that Claudius would always hurt himself on purpose to stop problems between their parents.

The relationships between Terra and the two guys in the book are well-done as well.  Erik is her boyfriend, and it is clear that he doesn't like her as much when her face isn't covered in makeup.  He is ashamed of her imperfections.  The other boy is Jacob.  He is Chinese, and was adopted by a woman named Norah.  Norah and Terra's mom become friends in the book.  Jacob likes Terra just the way she is.  The two of them go geocaching together.  Geocaching is a game that involves a GPS.  They become close, and I thought they made a very cute couple.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.