For What It's Worth

Friday, March 23, 2018

the friday five–Finding felicity by stacey kade





25908345Caroline Sands has never been particularly good at making friends. And her parents’ divorce and the move to Arizona three years ago didn’t help. Being the new girl is hard enough without being socially awkward too. So out of desperation and a desire to please her worried mother, Caroline invented a whole life for herself—using characters from Felicity, an old show she discovered online and fell in love with.

But now it’s time for Caroline to go off to college and she wants nothing more than to leave her old “life” behind and build something real. However, when her mother discovers the truth about her manufactured friends, she gives Caroline an ultimatum: Prove in this first semester that she can make friends of the nonfictional variety and thrive in a new environment. Otherwise, it’s back to living at home—and a lot of therapy.
Armed with nothing more than her resolve and a Felicity-inspired plan, Caroline accepts the challenge. But she soon realizes that the real world is rarely as simple as television makes it out to be. And to find a place where she truly belongs, Caroline may have to abandon her script and take the risk of being herself. ~
Goodreads

Source: e-arc provided in exchange for an honest review


 Five Things I Loved About Finding Felicity

Premise

Caroline is very awkward/shy and has a difficult time making friends. After her parents divorce, her mom moves them to a new town, making things even harder on Caroline. When her mother starts questioning (& pushing – but we’ll talk more about that in a minute) she offhandedly gives her mom names of her “friends”, who are actually characters from her favorite tv show, Felicity. Things spiral out of control and Caroline, again inspired by Felicity, follows the boy she’s crushing hard on to college, in a new state hoping to reinvent herself and snag the guy of her dreams.

It’s a fun, original, premise that takes place in that transitional period of time – between graduating HS and moving on to adulthood  - that isn’t often explored in YA.

Anxiety

I know everyone experiences it differently, but as someone who suffers from social anxiety and panic attacks, Stacey Kade nailed it. She has been quite open about her own issues with anxiety, so it’s no surprise that she’s written it so well here.

Caroline feels like everyone around her gets life in a way that she doesn’t. Everything seems so easy for everyone else while she struggles just to wear the right hing, find her new classrooms or not say something stupid while meeting new people. I related to her SO much!

I think some readers might get annoyed her. She can be frustrating with the way she retreats and breaks down so easily. She can also come off as self absorbed, but it felt so real and authentic to me. When you’re stuck in the panic it seems like no one understands and you can’t get the simplest of thing right.

I also love that Caroline does fight her way through the anxiety and becomes a better version of herself but doesn’t miraculously become this outgoing prom queen type. She’s still quiet and introspective but also takes more risks and let’s people in to her life.

Mom/therapy

I actually really disliked Caroline’s mom. She’s outgoing and friendly and doesn’t understand why Caroline isn’t. She’s the type to push Caroline into situations she knows are uncomfortable for her as a way to help her "get over it". Which is the worst thing you can do to someone going through it.

But – I got it and I was happy to see a parent who at least cares and is present. Even if she wasn’t the perfect parent. I would be afraid for my daughter if she created an entire made up world too.

She also makes Caroline go into therapy – another thing that’s usually glossed over and was nice to see. It would have been better if her mom went too but I was happy to see both an interested parent and therapy included.

Friendships

Now THIS is where Finding Felicity shines! Once Caroline is off at college she meets people from all walks of life and despite her goal to make herself over, make friends and win the guy – she falls into the same patterns as before. The few times she does break out, following a crowd that has her doing things that really aren’t her, she fails miserably.

What Caroline learns though, is that every one is just winging it and putting forth an image, hoping to to fit in or fly under the radar. She begins to form solid friendships and Kade did an amazing job giving the supporting cast (mostly girls) their own stories and nuance, in particular, her prickly roommate, Lexie.

YA/NA with very little romance

Yes, Caroline follows a boy to college and there is a touch of romance but this is not a romance novel.

Getting the guy is not the point of this story. Finding yourself, standing up for what you believe, letting go of what’s not good for you and embracing friends who help make you better is.

*You do not have to have watched Felicity to read or understand this book. I have a basic knowledge of the show but I’ve never seen an episode and it didn’t hinder my enjoyment at all. Felicity is a jumping off point for Caroline. She may want to follow in Felicity’s shoes but she forges her own path.

This is a quieter, character driven, sort of novel. If that’s your jam then I highly recommend Finding Felicity!

33 comments:

  1. Ah I can see how mom would be frustrating but it IS good to see a parent that cares. I get a bit tired of the absentee/abusive parent device.

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    1. Yeah, she was super frustrating trying to force her way of dealing things on her but...she cared and tried so points for that.

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  2. I remember the TV show Felicity - for some reason I watched it (maybe just because it was on at the right hour LOL), though it shouldn't have been my thing because following a guy to college? love triangle? not to mention, the out-of-the-blue time travel twist that didn't have a place in the world in such a show (though I suppose they just wanted to explore another angle of Felicity's life, the path not taken, but COME ON...). Anyway, what I mean is, I understand the premise...but as it always happens with these book, the author takes something she used to like when she was young and makes it relevant for a modern teen, which is a premise I can't buy. (Like all those books referencing Kurt Cobain? LOL). It's very rare that a young person falls in love with something before their time, unless it's an evergreen. That's why there are so many reboots coming in every field. That been said, I'm glad this one lives up to its reputation, so to speak - I mean the anxiety issues and all that. I'm ambivalent to her mother though. Therapy seems a little too extreme. I've talked in my head with people who weren't there for so many years, and I came out of it well-adjusted enough...I think. LOL.

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    1. I'm shocked! I can't picture you watching that AT ALL lol

      Thanks to Netflix, I actually know a lot of teens that binge watch and love older shows. Plus she's a film/tv buff so it makes sense in this context.

      I've also had teens listen to older music and inform me about this cool artist (insert THE major singer of my time) - have you heard of him/her?? lol

      I was happy about the inclusion of therapy. Caroline created an entire world and ended up having no real connections, as well as (& more importantly IMO) the panic/anxiety issues, which were crippling for her. Add in moving to a new city and school - I can see why her mom insisted on her talking to a professional before agreeing to let her go. I kind of wish the mom went though because she handled things all wrong. She took blame for some issues but for the most part just thought this was Caroline's problem and she just needed to make friends. It wasn't that easy for Caroline though.

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    2. It's not like I was a fan. It was just something that was on when I visited my hubs (boyfriend at the time) who had to stay in bed after a serious accident. I don't even know why he watched it LOL - maybe there wasn't anything better around 😂.

      Quote: "Thanks to Netflix, I actually know a lot of teens that binge watch and love older shows."
      For real? That pleases me to no end.

      Quote:"I've also had teens listen to older music and inform me about this cool artist (insert THE major singer of my time) - have you heard of him/her?? lol"
      Haha, this is funny. But again, I'm pleased!

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  3. Seems like the mom was a bit dismissive at first - like she just didn't get. (I mean, you can't tell a shy person, an introverted person, or a person with anxiety to just "get over it.") *rolling my eyes* But it sounds like maybe she came around and, while not exactly understanding, at least she cared and got C into therapy. And it's good that you can appreciate the story without knowing the show!

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    1. I've had that happen to me - people think if you just go and try (to parties or whatever) you'll get over it and have fun so I get where she was coming and her intentions were good but she handled it all wrong. But we don't always do the right thing at first and they work on it.

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  4. I've never heard of this, but it does sound really interesting! It seems like a book I might want to have on standby for whenever the mood strikes. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I would definitely say it's a mood read kind of book. It's quieter kind of story but I enjoyed it and finished it in a day.

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  5. I really want to read this one. For the Felicity connection but I like that transition period between high school and college and there are so few books that explore it.

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    1. And it was done in such a different way - very empowering (especially with the friendships!) and not romance focused.

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  6. I might have to read this one just because of the anxiety part of it. I experience social anxiety and panic attacks myself and I'm always endeared towards characters who feel the same way as I do.

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    1. I thought it was really well done Jenni.

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  7. Making and keeping friends is hard, I hear ya Caroline

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  8. I'm glad it showed anxiety!!! I really feel like more books should have real life issues like that added in, I had social anxiety for 8-10 years, no clue why it stopped for the most part but I'm so thankful!

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    1. It's nice to see it portrayed in a way that doesn't just magically go away either. In lot of books, the girl falls in love and is all of a sudden super popular and over it all. This was much more realistic.

      I go through cycles with anxiety. i was great for a few years and then backslid a bit and now I'm somewhere in the middle lol

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  9. I used to love the TV show Felicity back in the day, it was refreshing to see a series that dealt with real situations and complex relationships. I loved Buffy and Charmed but sometimes you needed a break from the supernatural. I love the sound of a quiet contemporary where the characters shine. I love that this fills the gap between YA and NA, we need more books for young adults in college and university. So glad you enjoyed this one Karen, wonderful review! <3 <3

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    1. Charmed was my jam back in the day! I'll re-watch episodes when I'm feeling nostalgic.

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    2. I did watch Charmed but not Felicity. I can't handle love triangles on tv or books lol

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  10. I really, really want to read this book! I know nothing about the TV show, but I love the synopsis. I feel like I used to read YA all the time, and now I mostly stick to romance, so it's great to see a lot of college-aged books these days! I've been enjoying them, and I'm happy to see you liked this one.

    I might also smack her mom.

    Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. You also don't see too many books that deal with anxiety, so that's a bonus!

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    2. I'm not sure what to make of this one. It sounds... Weird. But also interesting. I feel for Caroline seeing as I'm socially awkward and anxious myself!

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    3. Nicola - it is...weird lol but I liked that it felt like something I haven't read before even though it was a generic - off to college trope.

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    4. I've pretty much only read romances all of last year. I'm just now dabbling back into YA & other genres. The break was good though since it all seems fresh to me now.

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  11. I had no idea this was based off of the TV show. I will admit that after reading the synopsis, I was putting this in the "pass" category. However, after reading your review, I think I may give this one a shot. It sounds interested and I like that it wasn't all depressing and awkward the entire time.

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  12. It's great to see books with good mental illness rep! And the mother does sound realistic, even if she's not likeable and doesn't always handle things well (people in real life do that too). Glad to hear there were some good friendships too.

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  13. I never watched Felicity. Your review piqued my interest. I am thinking of giving this one a chance.

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  14. I've read one Stacey Kade book in my life and liked it well enough, so I'm really eager to give this one a try. I've never watched Felicity, but this novel sounds beautiful. I love books with strong friendships and lowkey romances. Plus the mom sounds realistic--not ~amazing~, but very realistic. Lovely review, Karen! <3

    - Aimee @ Aimee, Always

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  15. I love that this is about graduating h.s. and going to college and it's NOT a romance book. We need more of those! I'm also curious how I'd relate to the M.C. as I have social anxiety too, and it's definitely not something you "get over" and or can have people push you about. It doesn't work that way.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  16. Great review and I totally agree with it. I did find that it more about friendships than romance . I liked that it was a bridge between ya/na :) I think that you nailed this review

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  17. You're the second blogger I've seen posting about this book and I'm just as interested after reading your review. it sounds like such a good book and one I would really enjoy. I think we've all told some lies to get our parents off our backs and the ones in this book were told with the best of intentions. I definitely want to read to see how it all works out.

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