Saturday, March 1, 2014

Things I Hate/Love In YA

Hello everyone!!! I was thinking about this the other day, and decided it would be fun to make a list and post it on the blog. (I make a list for everything, no joke). I thought about writing a review instead, but I like this idea better.

Things I Hate In YA
1. Insta-Love. I have read a lot of books where the romance just wasn't there for me because the connection felt too rushed. I do think that it's not necessarily how much time the two characters spend together that makes it instant love, it's how the author writes it. If you can read it and believe it, then that, my friend, is a good author.
2. Alternating Points of View. I like reading a story from the eyes of the female or male lead, not from both. I don't know why I prefer it that way, but it does get really hard to stay interested when so many characters are involved. Maybe it's because I don't get too invested in any of them, whereas, with just one perspective, I get attached more easily.
3. A Sucky Male Lead. I hardly ever like the heroines, and that doesn't bother me. But if I don't like the guy that she's hooking up with (or if it's a love triangle and I don't like either of her options), then I'm out. I can't even finish the book when this happens.
4. Non-Virgin Heroines. I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who prefers this, but I don't read books where the female lead has had sex before. I think it's a lot more intense and passionate if she meets the guy in the first book, and then she has sex with him in the last one, and it's her first time. I just feel like, since they've never experienced intimacy before on that level, that they get so wrapped up in it, and in turn, also gets the reader more wrapped up into the story. Does that make sense?
5. Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, Angels & Demons, Ghosts, Zombies, and Aliens. This is just my personal taste. Sometimes there will be an exception such as, The Mortal Instruments. But most of the time, I can't stand books with anything remotely related to the above.
6. Too-Stupid-To-Live Heroines. I know I'm not the only one who gets tired of seeing this. If the girl is just annoying or is someone that I can't bring myself to like, then that's fine. It's whatever. BUT, when she does something so profoundly stupid, it's like...she just needs to jump off a cliff and exit the story, then I might start enjoying it more.
7. Drinking, Partying, Drugs, High School Drama, Etc... I'm over all this stuff. After reading it repeatedly in every contemporary book I pick up, it starts to get old. Surely you can understand that.  
Now, onto something more upbeat...
Things I Love In YA
1. Love Triangles. I know, I know, most readers can't stand it anymore. I still find them enjoyable, and I love all the uncertainty when you're not sure who's going to win in the end. I can't help it, they're just fantastic!
2. Crazy, Futuristic Worlds. I don't know why, but I love stepping into a world that "could be". I'm always very moved by what has happened to everyone, and why it happened in the first place, and how everyone's holding up. The writing is powerful and it's like I AM one of those characters by the time I've finished reading. I really like the different ideas that everyone has about the future.
3. Relatable Characters. Obviously, it's pretty awesome when a book character has many of the same traits as you. I love when I can truly understand or appreciate a character because it makes me actually care about what happens to them.
4. Humor. As far as the tragic dystopians go, a little humor is always good to help lighten the overall mood of the book. But mostly, I just really like to laugh!
5. Hot Male Leads. Yes please! This always makes a book better, in my opinion.
6. Shocking Plot Twists. I love it when a book can give me the full spectrum of feels! I was reading "Legend" the other day, and I gasped aloud a few times...and I almost threw the book across the room. Love it when that happens!
7. Sexy Scenes. While reading Chapter 62, I was like, "Excuse me while I go take a cold shower, and then pass out". Honestly, the sexy parts are a big reason why I started reading YA in the first place.
8. Fairly Fast-Paced Storylines. It doesn't necessarily have to be action-packed, it just needs to be interesting. Books that have slow parts make my brain feel like its turning to mush. And I don't like to skip parts in books because I might miss something important. So yeah, I love books that hold my interest throughout.
9. Misunderstood Villains. This is almost a must for me. Okay, I don't have to have it in every book, but I love it when there's a villain who does terrible things, but all they desire is love or something like that. I just think that characters like this are interesting and fun to read about. And when a book or novella is written in their point of view, it's like magic! Warner is the first one to come to mind, but I've heard bloggers mention the Darkling before.
So there's my love/hate lists. What do you guys love and hate about YA books? Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Review: Anna and the French Kiss

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: December 2nd 2010
Pages: 372
Genre: YA
Source: Library
My Rating: 3 Starfish

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?-
Summary and cover image from Goodreads

The first half of the book was brilliant! I loved the characters (especially St. Clair!) and the story line was really cool. Seriously, who wouldn't want to live in Paris for a while? However, after about halfway through, the book started going downhill for me.

Plot: I liked the romance A LOT! It was kind of slow growing instead of insta. I liked the dysfunctional family stuff that was going on with both Anna and St. Clair. All of Anna's adventures in Paris with her friends were enjoyable! The last half of the book became ridiculously dramatic, though. I had a hard time liking it after that.

Setting: I love that most of the book takes place in Paris! I don't know much about it, so it was cool to read about Notre Dame, the bistros, and the theatres (which was definitely my favorite part!)

St. Clair: He was so HOT! I loved his charm, his sense of humor, his name, his accent, basically his everything. I didn't like the fact that he stayed with his stupid girlfriend for so long, but that's my only complaint about him.

Anna: It's rare when I actually like a heroine, so it didn't surprise me when I didn't take to Anna. I liked her with St. Clair, but I didn't like her by herself. She was kind of shallow, and she did a lot of stupid things in the last half of the book. However, she does have excellent taste in movies, most of the ones she watched are ones that I own!

Secondary Characters: I liked her friends, Meredith was probably my favorite out of the minor characters. The friends were funny and realistic, and I could relate to certain things about each of them. Is it just me, or is Amanda the exact replica of Celeste from "The Selection"?

The First Half: Two words: loved it! It was so fun and well written, St. Clair and Anna were so cute together! I loved their email conversation over Christmas break. Totally adorbes! And the Thanksgiving break?!?! *fans self* It was perfection.

The Last Half: Everything started getting ridiculous after they got drunk. Why do characters drink because they always end up doing or saying something that hurts someone else in the story. And why do the main characters hook up with losers? Seriously, Dave? Anna wasn't using her brains on that one. I had a BIG problem with the Bridgette thing: Anna was thinking to herself after all that drama passed, and she said, "The attraction was there, and I wasn't there, and they got together, and Bridge couldn't help it." Um, excuse me, but you can always help what you do. This statement she makes is a load of crap. Real friends would back off and control themselves. I think it's sad that these characters think it's okay, because it's not.

I have such a hard time relating to characters who do things like getting drunk, making each other jealous, stealing boyfriends, getting high, partying, etc... because I've never done this stuff and I don't have any interest to. Just ONCE, I would like to read a contemporary YA book, where the main character doesn't do any of this because not every teenager does.

Sorry for my long rant. I know that a lot of people really liked this book, so I'm sorry that I have so many issues with it. But I really did love most of the book, which is why I gave it 3 stars.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week's theme is Top Ten Tuesday: Rewind!
I decided to go back and pick one that I didn't have a chance to do before: Top Ten Childhood Favorites. Be warned.... I read some books that were definitely not for children, but I loved them anyway. :)
1. The Wayside School Trilogy. I own these books and have re-read them multiple times over the years. I love all the quirky characters, and the story lines are just freaking hilarious!
2. Chocolate Covered Ants. This book was read to me in the fourth grade, and I later bought it and read it for myself. It's definitely one of my favorites, and I love a good sibling rivalry.
3. The Nancy Drew Mystery Series. I went through a span where I only read Nancy Drew books and absolutely nothing else! The books are a little too "kiddy" for my taste now, but I've satisfied my addiction with the PC games. Lol. (Don't judge me!)
4. Green Eggs and Ham. What kid doesn't love Dr. Seuss?
5. Out of the Dust. I've always felt a strong connection to this book, though I don't understand why. It's extremely depressing and kind of mature for young kids, but I liked it a lot.
6. Daniel's Walk. I honestly remember nothing about this book, but I do remember loving the crap out of it.
7. Any Agatha Christie Book. This is what I meant by not suitable for children. I was reading these fantastic murder mysteries while all the other kids were reading "normal stuff". I liked being my weird self back then.
8. Maggie's Door. This is another one that I thought was amazing, but I can only recall bits and pieces of the story.
9. The Click Clack Moo Series. I own four of these books, and I read them off and on when I need a good laugh! They are so funny, and you are missing out on life if you've never read them before.
10. Scrapbook of America Series by Pamela Dell. She wrote this INCREDIBLE book series about real and historical events. All of her characters were charming and likeable. Every story was well written, and had so much heart in it. I really can't praise these books enough. If you're interested, try reading either "Tag-Along Tay", "Shaky Bones", or "Giles and Metacom" first. I will warn you that some are expensive and hard to find.   

There's my Top Ten Tuesday for the week! Did I list any books that YOU might have read as a kid? Leave a link so I can drop by :)