Mini-Reviews aka Life’s Too Short To Read Bad Books*: July 2013

There won’t be many one star reviews on my blog because I don’t finish books I really don’t like. If I don’t finish a book, I don’t feel like I can write a full review on it. I don’t want to ignore those books completely, though, so I’ve decided to do a roundup at the end of each month (if there are any DNF books that month) and include them all in one post. In most cases, the book description will be probably be longer than my mini-review.

* The title of this feature is a joke and is not meant to offend anyone, least of all the authors. I didn’t like these books but there are many positive reviews for all of them on Goodreads.

The You Know Who Girls by Annameekee Hesik

Abbey Brooks, Gila High freshman-to-be, never thought a hellish day of shopping at the mall with her best friend, Kate, could change her life. But when she orders French fries from the flirtatious Hot Dog on a Stick Chick, she gets more than deep-fried potatoes. Abbey tries to ignore the weird, happy feeling in her gut, but that proves to be as impossible as avoiding the very insistent (and—rumor has it—very lesbian) players on Gila High’s girls’ basketball team. They want freakishly long-legged Abbey to try out, and Abbey doesn’t hate the idea. But Kate made Abbey pinky swear to avoid basketball and to keep away from the you-know-who girls on the team.

Sometimes promises can’t be kept. And sometimes girls in uniform are impossible to resist. 

I started reading this one right after I finished The Miseducation of Cameron Post. Both are books with lesbian characters, something I don’t read a lot of, but always usually find interesting. I probably shouldn’t compare them, as they’re completely different types of books. This one had a lot of potential, but the one thing that made me give it up was that I couldn’t stand Abbey’s friends, specifically Kate. Kate is a complete bitch. My irritation with her grew and grew until I finally realized that I was didn’t want to read any more. Kill her off Give Kate a personality change and I probably would have finished this book and given it 3 stars.

Saving Wishes by G.J. Walker-Smith

For Charli Blake, being seventeen is a tough gig.

She’s been branded a troublemaker, her reputation is in tatters and she’s stuck in Pipers Cove, a speck of a town on the coast of Tasmania.

Thankfully, it’s temporary. Her lifelong dream of travelling the world is just months away from becoming reality. All she has to do is ride out the last few months of high school, which is easier said than done thanks to a trio of mean girls known as The Beautifuls.

When Adam Décarie arrives in town, all the way from New York, life takes an unexpected turn. His arrival sets off a chain of events that alters her life forever, convincing her of one thing. Fate brought him to her.

Saving Wishes is the story of a girl who doesn’t quite fit the life she’s living, and the boy who helps her realise why.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I wanted to like this one so much. I love Australia and the name Pipers Cove sounds so picturesque. Unfortunately, I didn’t like Charli very much and there was absolutely no chemistry between her and Adam, so DNF. Sorry, Charli.

Come Back to Me by Coleen Patrick

Whitney Denison can’t wait to start over.

She thought she had everything under control, that her future would always include her best friend Katie… Until everything changed.

Now her life in Bloom is one big morning after hangover, filled with regret, grief, and tiny pinpricks of reminders that she was once happy. A happy she ruined. A happy she can’t fix.

So, she is counting down the days until she leaves home for Colson University, cramming her summer with busywork she didn’t finish her senior year, and taking on new hobbies that involve glue and glitter, and dodging anyone who reminds her of her old life.

When she runs into the stranger who drove her home on graduation night, after she’d passed out next to a ditch, she feels herself sinking again. The key to surviving the summer in Bloom is unraveling whatever good memories she can from that night.

But in searching for answers, she’ll have to ask for help and that means turning to Evan, the stranger, and Kyle, Katie’s ex-boyfriend. Suddenly, life flips again, and Whitney finds herself on not only the precipice of happy but love, too, causing her to question whether she can trust her feelings, or if she is falling into her old patterns of extremes.

As she uncovers the truth about her memories, Whitney sees that life isn’t all or nothing, and that happy isn’t something to wait for, that instead, happy might just be a choice.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I thought this was going to be a good one, about a girl’s summer before she leaves for college, but I gave up at 26%. The writing was choppy, the storyline was nonlinear in a clunky way, and I didn’t find the main character likable, sympathetic, or relatable. It just seemed…all over the place.

Over the Rainbow by Brian Rowe

A modern re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz!

Zippy Green never meant to fall in love with a girl, but when she does, her ultra-conservative father tries to send her to anti-gay camp. At the Kansas City airport, however, she hides inside a giant suitcase and sneaks onto an airplane headed not to the camp, but to Seattle, where her online love Mira lives. Halfway through the flight, the plane barrels out of control and crashes into the ground, knocking her unconscious.

When Zippy awakens, she finds that most of the passengers have vanished. She doesn’t know what’s happened, but she’s determined to find out. She begins a quest on foot toward Seattle, and along the way, she meets a teenager with a concussion, a homeless man with a heart condition, a child without a shred of bravery, and a terrier named Judy. Together the group discovers that more than two-thirds of the world’s population have mysteriously disappeared. But that’s only the beginning…

All Zippy wants is to find her Mira, but before she can she has to contend with two outside forces. The first is her homophobic father, who does everything in his power to keep her from the girl she loves. And the second is extinct creatures of all shapes and sizes, including living, breathing dinosaurs, which have replaced the missing population.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I’m starting to feel horrible because I keep getting books I don’t like from there. Maybe I need to be more discerning, or something, but I really thought I was going to like every one of these books. I hope they don’t cut me off.

I…I don’t even know what to say about this one. It was weird. WEIRD. Like, tripping on acid weird. I’m pretty sure the blurb at NetGalley didn’t mention The Wizard of Oz, or I never would have requested it. And I somehow missed the part about the dinosaurs. It’s in the last line. I probably didn’t read that far. Both of those are turnoffs for me. I was already on the verge of giving up before the brontosaurus, but that was the last straw.

Look, this just wasn’t the book for me. It’s not the book I expected or wanted. I was pulled in by the pretty colors on the cover. Dazzled. I have now learned a lesson: you really can’t judge a book by its cover.

Parts I did like: the late 1990s setting, when AOL and dial-up were your only options. You waited five minutes to get into your email and you liked it. The IDEA of Zippy (cute nickname) heading off to visit her online girlfriend instead of the anti-gay camp her dad is sending her to. The pretty colors on the cover.