Monday, August 29, 2016

Review: Keep me in Mind by Jaime Reed

Publisher: Point
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Rating: 4 stars

Ellia Dawson doesn't recognize the handsome boy who sits in tears by her hospital bed. He claims he's her boyfriend, Liam. But to Ellia, he's a stranger. She remembers her name. Her parents. Her best friend, Stacey. But Liam is a total blank in her life.
Liam McPherson is devastated. His girlfriend, Ellia, suffered a terrible accident--maybe because of him--and now she's lost her memory. But the harder Liam tries to reach Ellia, and remind her of what they had, the more she pulls away. As Ellia begins on the slow road to recovery, Liam begins work on a secret project that he hopes will bring back the girl he loved.
But can there ever be a future when the past is in pieces?

I think I saw this book in the back of another book, and as someone who's always looking for books featuring African American females in non urban settings (basically people I can pretend to be) the cover of this book is what did it for me. Ellia had an accident while running with her boyfriend and can't remember the last two years of her life. If that's not bad enough, during those two years, Ellia did a lot of changing. It was during those two years that she met and began dating her boyfriend Liam, it was when she decided she wanted to make and design clothes as opposed to being an engineer like her dad wanted her to, she had also began to sneak around and act in ways that no parent would approve of. What's interesting about this book is that, as Ellia begins to learn more about who she became over the two years that she didn't remember, she didn't the "old Ellia" and wasn't sure how to handle it.

Liam... that poor kid. I'm honestly not sure what to say about him. So let me sum it all up. This is a great book. Ellia and Liam are incredibly realistic characters. I like that their racial differences were acknowledged, but didn't take over the book (FINALLY!). Learning about Liam and Ellia's relationship from the book that Liam was writing was a nice twist although I wish we could have seen more though. SPOILER. We learned that at one point Ellia and a friend ran off to a frat party and had to call Liam to pick them up and I guess there were covered in feathers. And Ellia and Liam drove around with a homeless man in the trunk. Where were those stories!!!

Anyway. This is a good book. Everyone should read it. While the ending squished my heart a bit, I thought it was 100% appropriate, realistic, and very mature. This book is appropriate for younger teens. I would have no problems giving this book to a 6th grader.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Publisher: Pointe
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Rating: 4 stars

While spacing out in Chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk, and added a message to her. Intrigue! 

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters -- sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she's kind of falling for this letter writer. Only who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery, and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can't always be spelled out... 

Well, I have to say, the title of this book alone would have been enough to send me packing if I hadn't read the description first. I'm a closet romantic. I love romance novels, although I would prefer some kind of plot, like running for you lives, or solving some kind of mystery. That being said, something about this idea of this book really got to me. Misunderstood girl writes song lyrics on her desk, only to have someone else complete them. Who doesn't want that to happen in real life. Secretly, everyone wants that to happen. So characters:

Lily: Our main character. I wouldn't say she's a hipster, more like hipster adjacent. She does her own thing, and while I can't say that she doesn't care what other people think (because she is a teenager, they all care), she's willing to march to the beat of her own drummer regardless of others. She wants to be a song write, but has crazy writers block. That is... until she starts her pen pal excursions with the someone at her school. I decided that I liked Lily when I saw how she interacted with her family. I have younger siblings. My sister and I are 12 years a part, I know what it's like to have them burst in your room, interrupt your time with your friends, having to constantly babysit. It's exhausting, and let me tell you, Lily handled it waaaaay better than I did. She was a great sister, a great daughter, and a pretty good best friend. Also, props to creating an amazing and vivid family dynamic. I loved reading about them.

Cade: The mortal enemy. While this was Lily's story, and it was sweet. I feel like I wish there was more interaction between Cade and Lily. We saw Thanksgiving, that car ride, a few hallway moments, and the pool. but I don't know... I think I needed a little more. SPOILER ALTER IF YOU COULDN'T FIGURE IT OUT IN THE FIRST THREE CHAPTERS We learn a lot about Cade from his letter, but I feel like we didn't really get to see it. There was a slight disconnect.

It was obvious to me from the beginning that Cade was the person writing ti Lily, but as I always say when it comes to book, it's not always the ending, it's the journey. I liked it.