April 2007

HUGE deals with a topic that is apparently in the media more and more these days (though I myself haven’t seen it much): fat camp. Wellness Canyon is a high-end fat camp where two very different girls, April and Wil, are paired as roommates. April has saved all year for this, despite a lack of support from her mom. She wants to lose some weight and gain the popularity she’s always wanted. Wil wants to be anywhere but Wellness Canyon. Her wealthy parents have sent her as she’s a public relations nightmare: they own the high-profile chain of Excalibur Gyms. Wil’s revenge on them is to enter Wellness Canyon with a huge stash of sweets and be the first kid in camp history to actually gain weight while there.

Of course, as it’s full of teenagers with raging hormones, there’s more than weight loss going on at Wellness Canyon. When April and Wil start crushing on the same guy, football playing hottie Colin, their relationship gets even more tense. Can they make it through the summer together and maybe even become friends?

A lot of HUGE is your typical summer camp story. Sasha Paley does a great job of creating at least two fleshed-out, interesting characters (although their development as the story goes on is lacking), though some secondary characters sometimes seem a little flat. Paley is a talented writer, but the popular-kids-are-mean message is maybe a little heavy, and, despite what the back cover says about learning to accept yourself, I felt like she was saying more that being skinny is better than being fat, even if she never came out and said it. Despite this, HUGE is a fairly satisfying read, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Sasha Paley writes next!

Rating: 8/10

**Also posted on TeensReadToo.com**


SK8ER BOY was not a book that I really expected to stay with me. I, like everyone else, am guilty of sometimes judging a book by its cover (or at least the title and back cover summary), and this book didn’t seem all that special to me, but, as I enjoyed Mari Mancusi’s Boys That Bite, I picked it up, and boy, was I ever surprised!

Yeah, it was kind of typical in some ways. It was the not entirely original story of a rich, Harvard-bound teen rebelling against high parental expectations. Dawn Miller’s parents schedule every minute of her life; when she’s not at school, she’s at some extra-curricular activity aimed at getting her into Harvard. Her only friends are shallow and mean–but they’re rich, making them the right friends for her in her parents’ eyes.

Dawn (this name never felt right for the character to me, for some reason) is tired of it all. So when she meets Starr and is invited to skip some of her many extra-curriculars and watch some skaters downtown, Dawn surprises herself by accepting the invitation–and boy, is she glad she did. She meets Sean, a sweet, hot, but poor skater from the wrong side of town, and she falls for him, big time. Only problem? She doesn’t think she can really bring him home to her parents.

What made this book different was Mancusi’s skill with words and her talent at creating wonderful characters. The characters made all the difference; they felt real enough to step right off the page (pardon the cliche!). Whatever it was, this book had a spark that made it really stand out, and I continued thinking about it for some time even after I was done with the last page!

Rating: 9/10

I WAS A TEENAGE POPSICLE is a fun page-turner with a great sci-fi twist! Floe Ryan died of an incurable disease when she was sixteen, and her parents make, ah, interesting arrangements for her: she is frozen. Or, more accurately, vitrified. Whatever you call it, when Floe wakes up ten years later when a cure for her disease has been discovered, the world is more than a little confusing! While waiting for her parents to be thawed, she has to live with her younger sister, Sunny–who is now older than Floe, is married, and has a baby. Plus, Floe is way behind on new trends and technology. She’s not entirely alone, though–she’s got Taz, a hot skater from her old school who was vitrified around the same time as Floe, and thawed at the same time as well.

Some people with way too little faith in cryonics, though, mess things up way more than Floe thought was possible. They’re trying to sue the Venice Beach Cryonics Center and force it to close–and Floe’s parents haven’t even been thawed yet! If she doesn’t want to be stuck living with Sunny and without her parents forever, Floe and a few trusted friends have to come up with a way to save the Center, and fast.

I WAS A TEENAGE POPSICLE is an awesomely ‘cool’ futuristic and fun read that’s full of lifelike, interesting characters about whom I can’t wait to read more in the upcoming sequel, BEYOND COOL. Bev Katz Rosenbaum has an obvious talent for great ideas and a wonderful way with words! Floe Ryan is one of my favorite fictional characters in a long time, and I know I can’t be the only one who feels that way. Her relationship with Taz, however, didn’t always feel entirely real to me. Despite that, this book is a definite page-turner; I couldn’t put it down!


March 2007 Reading List

I know I’m further behind than ever on reviews, and I’m really sorry! There’s so much going on in my life right now; I’m on the go twenty-four hours a day, it seems sometimes! However, I’ll try to get caught up in April–both with reviewing and with reading as, I’m sorry to say, March was not a big reading month at all. I only read 16 books (if I counted correctly, that is–keeping track of them is another thing I’ve been doing a less than stellar job with). My top pick?

Does My Head Look Big In This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah

And the runners-up, in no particular order:

Beige by Cecil Castellucci
Repossessed by AM Jenkins
Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
The Poker Diaries by Liza Conrad
Rock My World by Liza Conrad

As you can see, I think Liza Conrad is amazingly talented, with two in the top six! Of course, all of those other authors have tremendous talent as well :)

And then my reading list, with stars by those I rated 9 or above (out of ten)(note: I haven’t exactly written about all of these yet so some of the stars or lack of are just guesses before really thinking about the book and I may change it later! Although I am trying to be stingy with my stars as of now :D):

Beige by Cecil Castellucci*
The Poker Diaries by Liza Conrad*
So Not The Drama by Paula Chase*
Rock My World by Liza Conrad*
Repossessed by AM Jenkins*
Does My Head Look Big In This? By Randa Abdel-Fattah*
Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta*
Lucky T by Kate Brian
Hollywood Bliss: My Life So Far by Chloe Rayban (note on this one: I was pleasantly surprised when I got the galley–my review for curledupkids.com of the first in the series is quoted in it!)
Just In Case by Meg Rosoff
Maximum Ride: Saving The World and Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson
The Making of Dr Truelove by Derrick Barnes*
Abarat by Clive Barker* (reread…Like I had time to reread books this month!)
The Named by Marianne Curley
The Dark by Marianne Curley
The Key by Marianne Curley