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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - April 27th

A little teaser since I haven't done it in so long. And, please check out my book review of Undone - it's a great one that you won't want to miss!

Seth joined Kay, Ben and I for lunch the next day, which was kind of awkward because Seth kept looking at me as though he wanted to say something but didn’t dare to. I looked casually around the lunchroom and noticed Monica glaring at me over her Caesar salad. I took a tentative bite of my pepperoni pizza. Grease dripped onto my lunch tray, and while the sight normally would have made me sick to my stomach, I toughed it out. Yeah, that’s right, I thought. No need to starve myself for a guy like all these other blonde femme fatales. I could do just fine with greasy pizza and a bitchy reputation.

“Don’t pay any attention to her,” Kay whispered in my ear.

I kicked her under the table and stole a look at Seth. He pretended to concentrate on his sweet corn, intending to get every last kernel onto his fork before putting it into his mouth.

“So Seth,” Kay began. “Tell us again, why exactly did you start dating Monica two weeks after you and Nikki broke up?”

“Kay,” I hissed, but Seth seemed unperturbed by the question.

“I didn’t,” he replied. “We only went out twice. Once last month and again two weeks ago.”

Kay looked at me as if to suggest he was lying, but I had no basis to say otherwise. I had been so out of it that time had escaped me. Had he gone out with her right away or months after the breakup, I wouldn’t have known the difference.

“Mon likes to cling to guys,” Seth went on. “We became friends after her dad bought the new place on the lake. And …I don’t know. I felt sorry for her what with her parents breaking up and all. I’ve been giving her rides to school.”

“So you’re not a couple?” Kay asked for clarification.

“No,” he said and he looked me straight in the eye. “She sort of took it upon herself to make us look like a couple when we weren’t. We haven’t even kissed.”

“So why didn’t you tell her to back off?” The words popped out before I even knew I had spoken them.

“I guess I didn’t have the heart to. I’d already screwed up one friendship. I didn’t want to mess up another.”

“Dude, that’s just psycho,” Ben said.

“Maybe I was a little mad too,” Seth admitted. “You wouldn’t talk to me – at all. I thought if I could make you jealous then you’d realize you’d made a mistake.”

Kay immediately came to my defense. “That is so twisted, Seth. Using Nikki’s feelings for your own gain.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” he said. “It was stupid for more reason than one. I should have known that Nikki’s not the type to get jealous.”

Oh-ho! What he didn’t know.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Book Review - Undone by Brooke Taylor

My rating system: here

From the back cover:

Kori, the "dark angel" of her high school, and Serena, just an average girl couldn't be more different. But when a seemingly chance encounter ignites their friendship, Kori draws Serena into her world, one where "living on the edge" is an understatement.

Then they are given an assignment to list five ways to tempt fate -- things they would never dream could actually happen. Serena doesn't take her list very seriously until a tragedy leaves her shocked, alone, and in possession of Kori's five secret wishes. Can Serena complete her best friend's list? Or will she leave Kori's dreams undone?

Reader's review: I ordered this book without even reading the plot or any reviews. I had seen the prologue on Krsitin Nelson's blog and was instantly hooked. See linky here for the prologue and Kristin's description of why it works.To say it in a few words - Undone is awesome. It has heart, soul, and a few life lessons thrown into the mix (though not overly obtuse until the end). It reminded me a lot of Looking for Alaska by John Green, the storyline being about a girl with a shining persona who falls too hard, too young and the remaining half of the book is all about how the survivor tries to find meaning behind it. Only in my opinion, Taylor does it a lot better than John Green (I hope no Green fans start screaming at me here). I got weepy at the end of Undone, not the case with Looking for Alaska. And while I give points to Green for writing a compelling male character, the characters and emotions felt in Undone seemed more real to me. Serena has lost her best friend, not just an acquaintance of a few months, and the mystery surrounding the night of her death is really a mystery - and vitally important to the main character's life. Not quite the case with LFA. And finally, Anthony....*swoon*. It's nice to see a normal guy in a YA book for once, not a stalkerish, "I love you even though I tried to and/or want to kill you" love interest. My overall rating? 4.5.

Writer's review: Voice: Awesomeness. Descriptions: Two thumbs up. Inventiveness: Two thumbs way up, with acronyms like BBFBBM (body by Fisher, brains by Mattel) how can you go wrong? The only thing I'd say negatively about the writing is that it reads a little slow in places. There were often chapter introductions where Selena goes into a long monologue before getting to the point and this sort of got old after awhile. It slowed down the pacing a lot, but fortunately just when I was getting tired of the monologues, the plot really started to pick up. Characterization also gets two thumbs up. Serena really develops as a character, going through many changes as she discovers who she is, and I really like the way that her friendship with Kori changes her even though Kori is dead through half of the book. Even one of the stock characters (a cheerleader of course) becomes three dimensional by the end. My overall rating? 4.5 Any writer can learn a lot about voice by picking this book up, and I highly recommend it for that reason alone.

SPOILER ALERT:  I feel like I have to add one little thing, and that's the mystery that gets resolved at the end. I can't believe that I didn't pick up on it sooner, there were so many clues. Yet it didn't come to me until the last 60 pages or so. Then I sort of felt like hitting myself on the forehead, Duh!! I'd like to believe it was the fine writing that kept me in the dark so long, but rather I think I was just sort of dense. In either case, I really loved it, loved what it said about Kori, and loved that the whole story came around in a complete circle from beginning to end. We should all strive to write a plot like that.



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