For What It's Worth

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mini Reviews: YA Roundup

I read a batch of memorable YA's recently (yay for cured reading slumps!) so I just wanted to share a few of my favorites....

 YA Roundup - swoony boys, bad girls, sad girls and a werewolf!

Geek GirlGeek Girl by Cindy C. Bennett:
I really enjoyed this book. In a bit of a twist it’s the girl who is trying to take down the geek boy and ruin him. The only problem is that there may be more to Jen’s rebellious goth persona. It just may be that the geek boy, Trevor, is getting to the goth girl instead. Jen is a very troubled girl, having been shuffled through the foster care system, abused, abandoned and unloved. She’s with a family that loves and wants to adopt her now but she doesn’t trust in happy endings so she tries to sabotage it. When Jen goes after Trevor as part of her project and bet to turn a good boy bad, he starts to break down her walls and makes her hope again. It was very funny watching Jen try to learn Klingon terminology, Battlestar Galactica and turn from outsider to being accepted in the geek inner sanctum. Trevor is perfect and always knows just how to handle Jen as she slowly opens herself up to him. Of course they have some issues once Trevor discovers Jen’s initial plans for him and they were both a bit too stubborn, Jen a little too desperate and the ending resolved a little too quickly for me but it was a wonderful story and I highly recommend it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 4
Author website
Buy the book! Geek Girl
Publisher: CreateSpace

ButterfaceButterface by Gwen Hayes:
This was .99 cents at the time I purchased Geek Girl on Kindle so I decided to give it a shot. This is a very short story. I believe about 17 pages and took just over an hour to read. The story packs a punch though and I loved it. Beth is a waitress who was born with a facial deformity. While she doesn’t mope around feeling sorry for herself she also knows that life is brutal and people are not always kind to those who are different. Lucky is a college student who is a regular visitor to the restaurant and strikes up a friendship with Beth. He is told to bring her to the annual “dog” dinner or risk losing his spot on the soccer team. This is a surprisingly fleshed out story out for such a short book and Lucky, while not perfect doesn’t react how I thought he would. Yeah I wish there could have been a little more and it’s resolved quickly but it’s well worth your time.

Rating: 3.5 out of 4
Buy the book! Butterface (only .99 cents)
Author website

The Sky Is EverywhereThe Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson:
The Sky is Everywhere is a story that sweeps you away in near magical prose. I half expected fairies to sprinkle fairy dust overhead.
Lennie’s sister Bailey has died and she finds herself drawn to Toby, Bailey’s boyfriend. They are swept away in their grief and find themselves in each other’s arms seeking solace. Around the same time Lennie meets Joe, the new boy at school who makes Lennie feel that life is worth living again. She is pulled in opposing directions – afraid and feeling guilty about letting her sister go but wanting to forge ahead to a new & happy life.
You can’t help being caught up in this world, by the grief of Lennie and her feelings of first love. At times I found it difficult to continue reading and had to set the book aside. Other times I would find myself swept away in a wave of happiness.
I wish the relationship with Toby didn’t start at exactly the same time as with Joe for a few reasons. The first is that it would have been better if she had been in that dark desperate relationship for a while so that the pull of Joe would have made for a better contrast. Second Joe is just so amazing and so wonderful I hated to see him hurt the way that Lennie hurt him. I do want to point out that Toby is also a wonderful guy and while I didn’t agree with what he & Lennie were doing, I got it.
I also had a few difficulties with the story. Everyone was sooo exaggerated especially in the phrases they used, while endearing, didn’t feel real to me. Even though the grief was palpable and very real this felt almost like a paranormal book even though it was firmly rooted in reality.
Despite my few issues with the story it is beautifully written and I would still highly recommend it. I would definitely read anything the author was to write in the future. It was written with a very unique voice and style.

Rating: 3 out of 4
Author website
Buy the book! The Sky Is Everywhere
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)

Pretty Souls: A Paranormal Response Team Novel
Pretty Souls by Julie Particka
Pretty Souls is the first book in the new YA Paranormal Response Team series. This story follows Elle, a werewolf, as she struggles with accepting her beast while fighting the big bad things that go bump in the night with her foster sister, Cass - a vampire. When residents start turning up as the walking dead, alive but without souls, they know they may be up against something too big for them to handle. Then a new student Jax shows up and is more than he appears. There is a lot of mystery, twists and turns and a touch of romance with this story. I really enjoyed seeing a girl as the one struggling with her inner beast for once. It’s usually the boys who seem to have that internal battle when it comes to being a werewolf. My favorite thing about Pretty Souls was the relationship between the sisters. They may not be related by blood but they look out for each other and it is portrayed in a very real way. They have petty jealousies and boy trouble but nothing in the over the top “mean girls” way I have been reading lately. Jax is one swoon worthy boy and I’m interested to know what happens in the next installment on that front. Which leaves me to my one complaint - Pretty Souls leaves us on one humdinger of a cliffhanger – an abrupt one at that. Not something I enjoy. It was an intriguing world and I’m interested to see how Partika develops the story and fleshes out the characters in future installments.

Rating: 3 out of 4
Author blog
Buy the book! Pretty Souls: A Paranormal Response Team Novel
Publisher: Decadent Publishing Company
Source: Givent o me by the author for my honest review


  1. I'm currently reading Pretty Souls which is taking me longer to finish then I would like, but that has more to do with me having to read it on my laptop then anything. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it, hopefully I can stop being distracted by the internet and finish it.

  2. Nice mini reviews, Karen!! I hadn't seen much about any of these!

  3. Hells bells. I, too, read Butterface lol. My rating: 4 stars. A quick read I enjoyed very much BUT... the author misspelled the defect Beth is suffering from: Hemifacial microsOmia not ...microsAmia. That was a big NO GO for me :/ bec. the plot evolves from the issues she has due to this birth defect.
    _yay_ @ BookthatThing