A few reviews for books that didn’t quite work for me but hopefully will find their intended reader
Paper or Plastic by Vivi Barnes
Release date: February 3, 2015 – Goodreads
Source: ARC provided by Entangled Teen in exchange for an honest review.
Welcome to SmartMart, where crime pays minimum wage…
Busted. Alexis Dubois just got caught shoplifting a cheap tube of lipstick at the local SmartMart. She doesn’t know what’s worse—disappointing her overbearing beauty-pageant-obsessed mother for the zillionth time…or her punishment. Because Lex is forced to spend her summer working at the store, where the only things stranger than the staff are the customers.
Now Lex is stuck in the bizarro world of big-box retail. Coupon cutters, jerk customers, and learning exactly what a “Code B” really is (ew). And for added awkwardness, her new supervisor is the totally cute—and adorably geeky—Noah Grayson. Trying to balance her out-of-control mother, her pitching position on the softball team, and her secret crush on the school geek makes for one crazy summer. But ultimately, could the worst job in the world be the best thing that ever happened to her?
My thoughts: Paper or Plastic is a cute story filled with great messages about family and responsibility, but never really took off for me. The romance was sweet but kind of blah and I did have issues with Alexis’s *friends*. They’re not really all that great IMO. Especially Court (who instigates the trouble in the first place then bails) & Bryce (who never really gets called on his bullsh*t). Why does she stay friends with them?
The ending was kind of far fetched and seemed like a way to rush to the tidy ending but if you’re looking for a lighter read with interesting characters with normal teenage struggles, this might be the book for you.
Sick by Tom Leveen
Breakfast Club meets The Walking Dead as a group of unlikely allies tries to survive a deadly outbreak.
Brian and his friends are not part of the cool crowd. They’re the misfits and the troublemakers—the ones who jump their high school’s fence to skip class regularly. So when a deadly virus breaks out, they’re the only ones with a chance of surviving.
The virus turns Brian’s classmates and teachers into bloodthirsty attackers who don’t die easily. The whole school goes on lockdown, but Brian and his best friend, Chad, are safe (and stuck) in the theater department—far from Brian’s sister, Kenzie, and his ex-girlfriend with a panic attack problem, Laura. Brian and Chad, along with some of the theater kids Brian had never given the time of day before, decide to find the girls and bring them to the safety of the theater. But it won’t be easy, and it will test everything they thought they knew about themselves and their classmates.
My thoughts: I read a lot of zombie novels so there wasn’t much here that was new or fresh to me. I was hoping for more of the Breakfast Club vibe that was suggested in the synopsis but it didn’t really play out that way. Everything was moving too fast for the relationships to develop that way.
Even so, Sick is a fast paced, gore fest for zombie fans or those who would like to give the genre a try.
A List of Things That Didn’t Kill Me by Jason Schmidt
Goodreads | Source: Arc provided by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in exchange for an honest review
How does a good kid overcome a bad childhood? Jason Schmidt's searing debut memoir explores that question with unflinching clarity and wit, in the tradition of Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle.
Jason Schmidt wasn't surprised when he came home one day during his junior year of high school and found his father, Mark, crawling around in a giant pool of blood. Things like that had been happening a lot since Mark had been diagnosed with HIV, three years earlier.
Jason’s life with Mark was full of secrets—about drugs, crime, and sex. If the straights—people with normal lives—ever found out any of those secrets, the police would come. Jason’s home would be torn apart. So the rule, since Jason had been in preschool, was never to tell the straights anything.
A List of Things That Didn’t Kill Me is a funny, disturbing memoir full of brutal insights and unexpected wit that explores the question: How do you find your moral center in a world that doesn't seem to have one?
My thoughts: DNF – I stopped at around the 100 page mark.
I might give it a try again at a later date.
A List of Things That Didn’t Kill Me is a memoir and I do like that the author acknowledges that he is an unreliable narrator at times but then it makes it difficult to understand what is true or not. I did try to approach it as a broader childhood experience rather than specific events. I have many friends who unfortunately had similar experiences growing up.
However, I just couldn't get in to the writing style. There's a story - then we move on. Next story and so on and it feels a little disjointed. Like I said, I might come back to it because maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind for reading this yet.
From what I did manage to read, I would recommend it to people leading (or that have led) harsh, unconventional childhoods that feel isolated or alone. It may help to read about someone who made it through and out the other side.