Flashback April 2009

A quick look at the books I reviewed in April 2009:

Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen. From my review:Auden spends the summer after high school graduation at the beach with her father, stepmother, and new baby half-sister. She discovers things about her father, her family, and herself. . . . While there is a romance (and I would confidently hand this to anyone looking for a love story), it’s not a classic love story. The real story is the classic YA one — coming of age. Auden has always lived under the shadow of her mother, being “too grown up” as a way to deal with her parents’ divorce. Visiting her father and seeing him in a new light, while being out of the influence of her strong mother, gives her a chance to find out who she is and what she wants.”

Haters by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez. From my review: “One of the first things Paski does in her new town is to take her mountain bike and attack the streets, sidewalks, hills and mountains. This isn’t Miss Marple sightseeing; this is fast and gutsy and sweaty. Chris, the cute, popular boy notices Paski not because she’s pretty (which she is) but because of her aggressive riding. It gets better – Jessica, the alpha girl, the Queen B, she who rules the school? Is also an athlete. Being athletic and competitive is valued. Jessica Nguyen isn’t just any athlete; she is a champion at motocross. Motocross! How many books have a girl competing at motocross, let alone have that girl be most popular because of it? Being athletic is a part of her Paski’s character and the story resolution involves Paski and a motocross event. It’s not just a detail about Paski; it’s who she is.”

Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli. From my review: “Anelli weaves her personal story of [Harry Potter] fandom involvement with the bigger fan picture. As a journalist, her interaction with the fandom is that of a journalist. She began contributing to The Leaky Cauldron website; gets added to staff; and keeps her “news hat” on throughout, fighting for press access to HP events for the website, just like other news sources. That this is a very personal book is its strength; you can hand this to someone who, well, doesn’t get the attraction of any fandom to show the friendships and community that develops. Anelli smartly points out the similarities to the more widely accepted “fandom” more popularly known as sports.”

Don’t Judge A Girl By Her Cover by Ally Carter. From my review:Cammie and the rest of her Gallagher Girl friends are back for their Junior Year. This time around, it’s all about friendship. Macey’s father is running for Vice-President, and while Cammie is visiting Macey on the campaign trail someone tries to kidnap Macey. Sure, Macey has Secret Service Agents. But Gallagher Girls know that they’re…well… better and smarter than the Secret Service. So it’s up to them to protect Macey and figure out who the kidnappers are. Ally Carter makes my job hard. Because what I really want to say is “this is so freaking good that you need to stop reading me right now and go read the Gallagher Girl books.” But really, what type of review is that?

On Rue Tatin by Susan Hermann Loomis. From my review: “On Rue Tatin spans almost 20 years, beginning with Susan Hermann Loomis going to Paris to apprentice at a cooking school; and ending years later, with Loomis and her family having made France their home. This memoir with recipes reads like a novel: she meets her husband on a summer trip home; he moves to France with her; both return to America to pursue careers (he is a sculptor; she is a food writer); years later, they and their toddler son return to France while she takes a year to research and write French Farmhouse Cookbook. Instead of finding a simple bungalow to rent, Loomis and her husband find an ancient home. With the support of the friends they made years before, they buy the house and begin remodeling. Like Under the Tuscan Sun, this is a book that mixes a life story with renovations and recipes; Loomis and her husband bring not only their house to life, but also their family.

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You by Ally Carter. From my review: “Cammie Morgan has your typical teen problems: conflicts with some girls at her school. It doesn’t help that her Mom’s the headmistress. There’s a tough new class she has to pass, taught by someone who is a little too friendly with her widowed mother. And there’s the townie she just met, Josh; if he knew she went to the exclusive boarding school, The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, he’d think she’s just another spoiled rich girl and wouldn’t give her the time of day. But there’s one something Joss doesn’t know. Gallagher Academy is a special school… for spies. Not only that; Cammie’s a legacy, daughter of a “Gallagher girl,” with a lot to live up to. These girls aren’t being taught to be the business people and world leaders of tomorrow; they’re being taught to be the super spies who will be conducting corporate espionage and saving the lives of world leaders.

Blue Lipstick by John Grandits. From my review: “Jessie’s life is full of typical teenage problems. BAD HAIR DAY is Jessie’s botched attempt to dye her hair blue. When she finally confesses the disaster to her mother, expecting anger, she gets support: “Jessie, every woman makes the big, BIG hair mistake once in her life, and some women do it over and over. Tomorrow when you go to school, just hold your head high and say, “This is the way I planned it.” This poem is a concrete poem, like every one in the book — the sentences are pieces of hair, half short and bleached white, half blue and wild, just like the hair disaster itself.”

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