Sunday, April 20, 2008

How to Be Bad by E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle Book Review

How to Be Bad by E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle
(HarperTeen, Hardcover)


Jesse, Mel, and Vicks are about as different as three girls can be. Jesse is an uber-Christian, goody two shoes. Mel is a rich girl who has been overshadowed by her older sister her whole life. Vicks is a wild child whose boyfriend left for college and isn't returning her calls. The only thing that seems to connect them is their job at the local Waffle House. Until they embark on a road trip together. In one long weekend, these three girls will test the limits of friendship, serenade an alligator, and learn that being bad is sometimes just what you need.

I usually try not to post reviews until a book has been released. Why review it if people can't buy it yet, right? But this book was so great that I just couldn't resist. First off, each author was in charge of writing one character. So the chapters alternate between Jesse, Mel, and Vicks. The result is a story with three unique voices that blend seamlessly together. I loved the fact that the three authors write differently enough that it's easy to tell which character is talking just based on sentence structure, slang, and word choice. This book would have been good if even just one of these authors had written it; combine all three and it's a great read that has you laughing out loud and wishing that it would never end. This is one road trip that you don't want to miss.

I'll leave you with one last little thing. E. Lockhart has an updated website ( and when you select one of her books a graphic pops up. The graphic for How to Be Bad is a duck. I'm not going to give anything away, but the duck factors in to the story in a major way and the duck rocks. Trust me...or don't, and go read the book! :-)

How to Be Bad Myspace Page
- has lots of fun facts about the authors and how they wrote the book

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Violet by Design by Melissa Walker Book Review

Violet by Design by Melissa Walker
(Penguin, Paperback)


After taking a break at home in North Carolina, Violet is heading back to the runway. In Brazil. Violet postpones her admission to Vassar College til spring semester and excitedly heads off to become a globe-trotter. She's not in it for the fame, she just wants to see the world. But as level-headed as Violet is, the modeling world sucks her in. She starts obsessing about her weight, she falls in love with a Brazilian playboy, and she becomes a media sensation again. What's a wallflower to do when she's halfway around the world and one best friend is busy with college and the other won't talk to her?

I'm usually really bad about remembering details from books. Give me a few months and I become a little fuzzy on the details. But reading Violet by Design was like sitting down with an old friend. Despite the fact that I read Violet on the Runway over 5 months ago, I dove back into Violet's story. She's such a great character, equally brave and shy. This mix gets Violet into a lot of trouble (like when she holds her own mini press conference so she can speak out against eating disorders) yet it also endears her to a lot of people (such as the likably rude Veronica and the dreamy, best-friend-to-the-rescue-kinda-guy, Roger). Violet makes mistakes but she also has principles. She obsesses about her weight but, after a few shaky days, she realizes that it's self-destructive to crash diet. I also loved that all of Violet's friends were there to support her in this novel, Julie, Roger, Sam, and Veronica. And for all of you Roger fans out there, things spice up just a little between Roger and Violet. Enough to make me desperate to read the next book in the series, Violet in Private, which will be out in August.

Check out Melissa's blog for news about Violet, plus lots of great writing tips and contests.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Something to Blog About by Shana Norris Book Review

Something to Blog About by Shana Norris
(Amulet Books, Hardcover)

Libby's having a rough time. Her mother is dating Angel's father, the evilest girl in school, and Seth, her crush, barely notice she's alive. Plus, she just set her hair on fire in front of her whole chemistry class, which includes Seth. What's a girl to do? Libby decides to start writing in an online journal, setting it to private so that no one will learn her innermost thoughts. Now that Libby has somewhere to vent, life is getting better. Until her mom invites over Angel and her father for a "bonding" dinner. Then Angel posts Libby's blog pages all over school and Libby's life is a mess again.

The chapters in this book are interspersed with pages from Libby's blog. I loved this format because it was fun reading Libby's posts and, because of the "normal" chapters, you also get to hear the other characters talk. There's also some IMing throughout for extra fun. Libby is an absolutely lovable character and I fell in love with her the moment that she caught her hair on fire (which you learn about in her post called GIRL ON FIRE). It's such a fun hodge podge of high shool calamity and the ending is equally great - not too perfect. I recommend reading this if you're feeling down about your own embarrasing moment or if you're just looking for a fun read.

Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock Book Review

Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
(Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover)


Princess Ben's parents are killed by assassins and her life changes drastically. Overnight, she is moved from her comfy home into the palace, under the rule of the harsh Queen Sophia. The Queen demands that Ben learn to dance, crochet, and converse in several languages. Ben is also put on a strict diet and when is found sneaking food, she is banished to a dreary tower room. In the tower, she finds a secret magical room and begins to teach herself magic. It is there that the she finds the inner strength to help defend her country against its enemies.

Princess Ben is a spunky, unique heroine. She is not ashamed of her weight and she certainly doesn't need a man to make decisions for her. I enjoyed reading about all of her adventures and misadventures. This is Catherine Murdock's first foray into fantasy and she does a great job of turning around the normal fairy tale. In fact, she has the princess wake up the prince with a kiss. Fans of her other books, Dairy Queen and The Off Season, may be a little disappointed. The minor characters aren't as well drawn out in this book. We hardly know anything of Prince Florian, and Queen Sophia is painted as a frightfully vicious character and then, somewhat unbelievable, undergoes a radical transformation. It took me a few chapters to get into the story but, once in, I was hooked. There is an especially funny battle scene towards the end...You'll have to read it to find out more. :-)