Wednesday, April 17, 2013

random peek inside my head

Sometimes I pass graffiti and I see that "x loves y, always and forever." Then I wonder how long it has been since that was written, and if "x still loves y" now...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

After Math by Denise Grover Swank

After Math (Off the Subject #1) by Denise Grover Swank

Scarlett Goodwin’s world is divided into Before and After.

Before she agreed to tutor Tucker price, college junior Scarlett was introvert, struggling with her social anxiety and determined to not end up living in a trailer park like her mother and her younger sister. A mathematics major, she goes to her classes, to her job in the tutoring lab, and then hides in the apartment she shares with her friend, Caroline.

After junior Tucker Price, Southern University’s star soccer player enters the equation, her carefully plotted life is thrown off its axis. Tucker’s failing his required College Algebra class. With his eligibility is at risk, the university chancellor dangles an expensive piece of computer software for the math department if Scarlett agrees to privately tutor him.Tucker’s bad boy, womanizer reputation makes Scarlett wary of any contact, let alone spending several hours a week in close proximity.

But from her first encounter, she realizes Tucker isn’t the person everyone else sees. He carries a mountain of secrets which she suspects hold the reason to his self-destructive behavior. But the deeper she delves into the cause of his pain, the deeper she gets sucked into his chaos. Will Scarlett find the happiness she’s looking for, or will she be caught in Tucker’s aftermath?

Link to After Math on

After Math was difficult for me to relate to right away, as the main character is a math major. I despise math. Math and I mix like oil and water. That conflict aside, I could totally relate to almost everything else about Scarlett. I don’t come from a broken home, I don’t suffer from a debilitating anxiety disorder, and I don’t love math, but I found something inherently relatable about her anyway. She is flawed and doesn’t pretend to be something that she’s not, and she accepts that she is who she is. Sure, just like any of us, there are things about herself that she’d like to change, but for the most part, she seems to like herself.

Enter Tucker: male protagonist extraordinaire. I had several issues with Tucker almost immediately. He’s oh my gosh, SO gorgeous!, a slut, and a jerk – yet Scarlett falls for him anyway. She’s a smart girl, and she knows he’s bad for her and not a nice guy, but she ignores all of her friends and winds up falling head over heels for him. This seemed strange to me – but not as strange as how her anxiety disorder, which was really bad at the beginning of the book – somehow becomes a plot device that falls by the wayside.

While I was disappointed at some stereotypical situations and seemingly forgotten issues, I still enjoyed reading about the progression of the relationship between Scarlett and Tucker. It’s easy to like Scarlett, and I found myself rooting for her throughout the entire book. I enjoyed seeing the growing connection between two young adults who are flawed, broken individuals, because I could understand that they used their brokenness to connect.

The only major issue that I really had with the novel was the ending. It really felt to me like the author had poured her heart and soul into the first two-thirds of her writing, but then (rather suddenly) decided that she was tired of writing and was ready for it to be over. Those of you who enjoy angst-ridden stories with happy endings will really enjoy it and probably not have the issue I had with it.

All in all, After Math was a well-written book that was easy to read. I enjoyed reading it, but it’s not going to be one of those books that I feel compelled to read over and over again.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

GoodReads link to "Going Vintage"

When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars). The List:

1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous

But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club president–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far. (GoodReads summary)

I was in the mood for a break from my usual selection of genre (paranormal romance), so I picked up Going Vintage. It was one of the best decisions I've made this week. This book was everything I'd been hoping for: light, funny, and engaging. The best part? The main character isn't the usual protagonist - a girl who's pretty but thinks she's plain, a bookworm who doesn't notice things going on around her, etc. (come on, you all know who I'm talking about, right?). Mallory isn't perfect, and she doesn't claim to be. She's real enough that any teenage girl will be able to relate to her, and anyone past their teen years will be able to look back at their youth and see part of themselves in her.

Mallory's family isn't the perfect family, either, but they have one thing that I rarely stumble across in my reading - real love for each other. Her sister is supportive, and even though her parents fight over money a lot (what married couple with kids doesn't argue over finances from time to time?), they still love their children. 

Even Mallory's reasons for wanting to "go vintage" are believable. When confronted with the ugly truth that her boyfriend has been "cheating" on her with a girl he's only met online, she's hurt. The betrayal that the technology facilitated runs deep, and she escapes by helping her father pack up her Grandma's house. Grandma has decided to move into a retirement community, and she's left the packing of her things to her son (Mallory's dad) and Mallory. 

While packing Grandma's things up, however, Mallory comes across a yearbook from 1962, when Grandma was in the 11th grade (which just happens to be the grade Mallory's in). She decides that everything was better and simpler back in 1962. She begins wearing clothing available then (aided by wearing some of the clothes that Grandma left for her to pack up), and refuses to use any technology that wasn't available before 1962. She finds an old list of goals that her grandma made for her Junior year, and decides that she's going to complete everything on the list. 

Mallory has a realistically difficult time cutting off use of the internet, her cell phone, and other gadgets, but she sees it out. In the process, she learns that sometimes communication is better when done face to face, and gets to know someone that she'd never even considered wanting to know before she and her boyfriend broke up. Leavitt does a fantastic job with the breakup, too - teens frequently post things about the beginning and ending of their relationships on social media websites, making the situation between Mallory and Jeremy that much more realistic and believable. 

I was also happy to reach the end and see that even though the book has a somewhat happy ending, it's not all wrapped up in a nice, neat little package for us (sometimes it's nice to have a fairy tale ending, but let's face it, it's not always what happens in reality). 

Another reason this book appealed to me so much was the off-beat humor. I really loved the way that Mallory and her sister, Ginnie, interacted. I totally "got" Mallory's sense of humor. And the lists... oh, the lists! The very first list in the book had me laughing out loud, which not many books can make me do (I can seriously only think of one other book that's made me laugh out loud). Being a perpetual list-maker myself, I could easily identify with her.

Originally I'd checked this book out of the library, but I enjoyed it so much that I may have to purchase a copy to add to my bookshelf. If your thing is fairy tale endings and perfect princesses and knights on white horses rushing in to save the damsel in distress, you might want to avoid this book. If you enjoy reading about someone who has a little bit of depth and winds up exactly where she wants to be, then this is the book for you.

Seriously - go pick up this book. You can thank me later.