Monday, October 28, 2013

Review: "Frankenstein" Classic A Month #10.2013

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
2.5 out of 5 stars

I had many issues with this book but I also enjoyed a good part of it. Hence the ambivalent 2.5 rating. As always, my classic reviews are full of spoilers and this one more than most, so don't say I didn't warn you. ;) Okay. Let's talk about the author first because that part is pretty interesting. Mary Shelley was born in 1797 but her parents were big time hippies...they didn't believe in marriage and she was encouraged to learn and question everything. When she was 17, she met Percy Shelley and they fell in love, despite the fact that he was already married and had children. They eloped and she spent the next several years having and losing babies. The summer she was 19 she was staying at a lake house in Geneva with Shelley and telling ghost stories with neighbor Lord Byron (who was a complete scoundrel). And that's when Frankenstein was born. Yep, she was 19 years old. Don't you feel bad for yourself now? I know I do. After her book was published to mixed reviews, she had a series of deaths including her husband when she was 25 years old. She lived to be 54 but refused to remarry, saying that she wanted her tombstone to read "Mary Shelley". She had a pretty sad life if you really start thinking about it.

I was expecting Frankenstein to be a true horror story which is why I picked it for my October classic. I wanted to be scared. I was not. I wasn't even a little bit weirded out for the most part. But let's start at the beginning. The book starts off with a series of letters from a ship captain named Walton to his sister who lives in England. This was confusing enough but then when he starts telling his sister about a man he meets on his travels who starts telling Walton a story parts of which were told to him, it just becomes this nesting doll of who said what. And the letters were truly boring. They're all about how Walton wants a friend and it just starts to get a little weird. "I desire the company of a man who could sympathize with me, whose eyes would reply to mine." Okay then. It finally starts to get interesting when the stranger starts telling his story. Not really sure why he felt the need to tell every little thing about his life ("I am by birth a Genevese, and my family is one of the most distinguished of that republic.") but whatever.

In case you haven't guessed yet, the stranger is Frankenstein. I'm assuming you were aware that Frankenstein is actually the scientist and not the monster. The monster never even gets a name. Young Victor Frankenstein grew up in a happy family, with a mummy and a daddy and brothers and a lovely girl named Elizabeth, who was taken in as a young child from a peasant woman in Milan. Victor always considered Elizabeth "his" and she, along with his best mate Clerval, were what kept him from becoming a sullen outcast. Victor became interested in the science of life and death at an early age and soon focused his studies "...with the greatest diligence into the search of the philosopher's stone and the elixir of life..." So yeah, he was a strange child. (I can make Harry Potter fit in any review lol.)

At the age of seventeen, after mourning his mother's death, he went off to university and began his descent into the weird world of alchemy. The modern masters promise very little; they know that metals cannot be transmuted and that the elixir of life is a chimera. But these philosophers, whose hands seem only made to dabble in dirt, and their eyes to pore over the microscope or crucible, have indeed performed miracles.

It was with these feelings that I began the creation of a human being. ...I resolved, contrary to my first intention, to make the being of a gigantic stature, that is to say, about eight feet in height, and proportionally large.

Sure, that seems smart. Make the monster even bigger than you first thought. Victor goes into this kind of frenzy of studying and gathering materials (IE: body parts) and basically starts ignoring every other part of his life. And I apologize for the large amount of quotes, but there are some really good ones, so here we go:

A human being in perfection ought always to preserve a calm and peaceful mind and never allow passion or a transitory desire to disturb his tranquility. I do not think that the pursuit of knowledge is an exception to this rule. If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasure in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind.

So Victor continues on in this state for nearly two years and he finally succeeds...the monster comes to life. There is no lightning storm or shouts of "It's aliiiive!!" or even a hunch-backed sidekick. The monster opens its milky yellow eyes, Victor freaks out and runs off to his bedchamber. The monster shows up, hovering creepily over his bed, and does the "father??" routine but Victor wants none of it and runs into the night. (Running is a theme, FYI.)

Then, horrors, Victor's pal Clerval shows up suddenly to check on him. They make their way back to Victor's pad, which is ominously empty, and Victor falls into a sort of delirious fit that leaves him bed-ridden for months. (Another theme) Clerval takes care of him and two years pass. Yep, you read that right...TWO YEARS go by and he doesn't do anything about this monster that he let loose into the world. He doesn't even know if it really is a monster, he just assumes. Especially when he gets a letter from Elizabeth telling him that his younger brother was murdered. Victor immediately heads home, where he is confronted by the monster first thing, so yeah, he was probably right. A servant girl is accused of the murder and Victor can't say anything without incriminating himself, so the girl is tried and hanged. Good job, Vic. His whining and selfishness really got on my nerves throughout this book. Also, his lack of nerves. Every other page, he's fainting and falling into a horrible illness that takes months to recover from. Grow a spine, weenie...or steal one from a cadaver, whatever. Anyway, after all that mess, Victor takes off and ends up on an icy mountain where he's confronted by his creation. Who is surprisingly eloquent.

"All men hate the wretched; how, then, must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all living things! Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us."

Seriously? I don't have a dead guy's brain rattling in my head and I can't speak that well! Basically, the dude is super sad and it's all Victor's fault. Because of that, the monster wants Vic to listen to him and show some freaking compassion for the pitiful creature. So Victor sits down and listens to the guy's story, which though really long and wordy, was one of my favorite parts of the whole book. Speaking of long and wordy, this review is getting there, yes? Let's try to speed things up.

The monster wakes up to a scary world, with no idea who or what he is. Victor totally shunned him so he goes off into the world. After freaking out some villagers, he comes to realize that he's kind of a leper of some sorts so he hides in the woods a lot. He finds a small cottage with a hovel of sorts next to it and hides there and starts spying on the family living there. Turns out it's an old blind man and his two children. That's where he learns his humanity and language and such. He starts to care for the family and does things for them in secret, like cutting wood and shoveling snow. He begins to find his humanity again.

These wonderful narrations inspired me with strange feelings. Was man, indeed, at once so powerful, so virtuous and magnificent, yet so vicious and base? He appeared at one time a mere scion of the evil principle and at another as all that can be conceived of noble and godlike. To be a great and virtuous man appeared the highest honour that can befall a sensitive being.

After observing the family for months and months, the monster finally decides to reveal himself, in the hopes that they will accept him and love him. It doesn't go well. And in a fit of rage, he sets fire to their cottage and takes off to find his creator. Way to live up to stereotypes. He finds Victor's family, kills the boy, sets the crime on the help, and starts stalking Victor when he shows up, and now we're back at the icy mountain. What does the monster want now? He wants Victor to build him a woman, a companion, as ugly & ostracized as him, and then he'll leave him alone forever. Understandably, Victor is like "Whaaat??? No way, dude." But then the monster threatens him and says he'll follow him to the ends of the earth til his dying days, blah blah and Victor reconsiders.

He finally agrees and then a whole bunch of months pass again. Victor and Elizabeth get engaged, but he refuses to marry her until his deed is done (although he doesn't tell anyone that, so she thinks he has another woman somewhere). Victor and Clerval go off on this "gentleman's holiday" of sorts which Victor set up so he could go somewhere far away to make the lady monster. He gets all the materials together and does more research but in the end, just can't bring himself to do it. The monster, of course, is keeping tabs on him the whole time and is super pissed when he sees Victor destroy the body. The monster retaliates by killing Clerval, which Victor is accused of and hey, he falls ill again. Oh, before that he gets this ominous message from the monster: "I shall be with you on your wedding-night." Whoa dude, not that kind of relationship. Haha, just kidding.

Victor is freed from prison, marries Elizabeth, they honeymoon on a tropical island, the monster finds them and kills Elizabeth, Victor faints. He doesn't actually get sick this time though. He finally decides to take out the monster once and for all, especially after his father dies from all the grief, and starts tracking the creature all over the world. And they make their way to the icy sea where he meets Walton and the story is back to the present. Victor is near death which is very sad for Walton, who thought he might be his friend. Alas, Victor doesn't want a new BFF.

"When you speak of new ties and fresh affections, think you that any can replace those who are gone? Can any man be to me as Clerval was, or any woman another Elizabeth? Even where the affections are not strongly moved by any superior excellence, the companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds which hardly any later friend can obtain. They know our infantine dispositions, which, however they may be afterwards modified, are never eradicated; and they can judge of our actions with more certain conclusions as to the integrity of our motives."

I love that; it's so true. And we're at the end of the book...Victor dies after telling Walton to seek happiness in tranquility and avoid ambition, the hideous monster shows up on the ship and is kind of mad that Victor died and the chase is over. Because he was kind of enjoying himself. He tells Walton not to worry, that he's done killing, after one last person...himself. And that's it. Honestly, I think I prefer Young Frankenstein.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Review: "Cutters (Uglies: Graphic Novel #2)"

Cutters (Uglies: Graphic Novel #2) by Scott Westerfeld
2 out of 5 stars

I was so excited to get this second installment of the Uglies graphic novels but then when I finally did, I just kept putting it off. I wasn't sure why until I actually started reading it. Like the first, I'd say if you are a mega-fan of the series, then absolutely read it. If you enjoyed them on a surface level, like me, I'd say you're okay skipping them. I probably won't buy any of the future issues, if he decides to make them.

This is starting out pretty negative, so let's talk about the things I did like about this book. The artwork is great still, for an anime-style gn. The party scenes in particular were lovely. I didn't feel like it lived up to the novel again though. I wanted to see more of the high-tech bubbly world that Westerfield created. Maybe it needs to be in color? I just thought of that. The cover is much more crisp and life-like.

I also really liked Dr Cable, her evilness shone thru the pages for sure. The rest of the characters fell flat though. I kept getting all the guys confused and even had a hard time recognizing Pretty Tally. Shay was okay, but I still disliked her as much as in the novels. Which I guess is the point. You really need to read this pretty close after reading the novels though, I was very confused throughout most of the book. Despite the title, the cutting seemed to be glossed over a lot more than in the novel. I mean, yes it does show the kids cutting themselves and having the ceremony, but it doesn't seem to have the glorification that the novel did.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review: "Amy & Roger's Epic Detour"

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
5 out of 5 stars

I've been meaning to review this book for a while now, I read it back in August! But I wanted to make the playlists on 8Tracks for people to listen to and they just take a really long time to do. I've managed to do the first three, which I'll post in here and I want to continue doing them, so I'll update my review as I do. :) And if you haven't read this book, you'll have no idea what I'm talking about so carry on lol. I read so many great summer romance/contemporary books this summer and this was probably the best.

Warning: minor spoilers in first paragraph, but nothing that isn't on the back of the book or in the Goodreads summary. Just letting you know in case you like to be totally surprised by things. :)

Amy is reaching the end of her junior year in California and has been having a really tough time. Her dad died a few months ago, in some sort of accident that she was part of, her twin brother Charlie is in rehab, and her mom is in Connecticut teaching. Amy has been alone for the last month and now her mom needs her to transfer their car to their new home and join her. Only one problem: Amy doesn't drive. That's where Roger comes in. The son of her mom's old friend that Amy used to play with as a kid but has no recollection of (don't you hate when your parents spring some person on you that you're supposed to remember and be BFF's with?) has agreed to drive Amy cross-country. Amy's mom arranges all the details, without discussing it with her daughter first, and suddenly Amy finds herself riding in a car for four days with a complete stranger. A cute one at that.

As Amy & Roger set out on their trip, things are obviously awkward between them: they don't know anything about each other except some distant childhood memories, they are both going thru heavy things in their lives that they don't want to discuss, and they are stuck with Amy's mom's tyrannical trip schedule thru the most boring parts of America. Or are they? Amy has the first of many epiphanies when she realizes that she doesn't have to do what her mom says all the time. As long as they make it to Connecticut in the right amount of time, who cares which route they take? And thus begins Amy & Roger's Epic Detour.

Like Roger, I agree that music is the most important part of a road trip. The playlists that Matson adds throughout the book set the mood for the story. The pictures and receipts from their various stops add layers so that by the end, you feel like you went on the trip with Amy & Roger. I want to go on a road trip like this. I've driven to San Antonio and Galveston tons of times, but that was to a destination and only a few hours. I want at least a week and no specific stops or itinerary. I want to see the world's largest ball of yarn (not actually in this book, I just want to see it lol) and go to Graceland and find strange new places to eat. (I feel sorry for people who don't have Sonic or Dairy Queen in their lives. I couldn't survive without Sonic.) And the people that they meet along the way! Some are friends of Roger's and some are strangers, but they're all interesting and probably the best secondary characters in a YA book I've seen in a long time. I can definitely see Matson writing a companion novel about Bronwyn with her clothing philosophy or Lucien and his shrub animals. :) Or maybe Amy's twin brother can take a trip back to California to get closure with their dad's death too. Or Wolcott and his band and his strong/strange sense of state pride.

You've got to have pride in your home. 
You are where you're from. 
Otherwise, you're always going to be lost.

This book is obviously about the physical journal Amy & Roger take, but it's also about their personal journeys. Amy has a lot (a LOT) of guilt and grief about her father's death and thru flashbacks, we start to see why and how that came about. As they cross the states, Roger helps her come to terms with all her feelings and in turn, she helps him get over a rough breakup. The book is really sad in parts, so be prepared to cry. But it's broken up enough with scenery changes and new playlists that you don't feel overwhelmed with the sadness. Ad astra per aspera, to the stars through adversity.

So you know Amy & Roger are going to get together in the end (sorry if I spoiled that for ya!) but I never felt like I was reading a formulaic summer romance. (Darn, that means my theory needs to be tested more!) They take things very slowly and for a long time you even wonder if they're actually getting together (despite the title). But it's okay, because their friendship grows into something great and you almost wouldn't care if they don't get together. Almost.

"Tomorrow will be better."
"But what if it's not?" I asked.
Then you say it again tomorrow. Because it might be. You never know, right? At some point, tomorrow will be better."

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Review: "Kidnapped! Sweet Valley High #13"

Kidnapped! Sweet Valley High #13 by Francine Pascal
4 out of 5 stars

Before Reading: Ermahgawsh this looks scary! It looks like it should be one of the Super Thrillers.

The Main Plot in 50 Words or Less: Liz gets kidnapped by this creepy guy that works at the hospital. Jess thinks it's kind of her fault and feels super guilty.

The Second Plot in 20 Words or Less: New family in town: Regina & Nicholas Morrow. Regina is deaf & possibly a bad girl. Jess wants Nicholas.

Opening Line: "Steve, can you help me with this zipper, please?" Jessica Wakefield called as she raced down the hall to her brother's room.

Closing Lines: She had a strong suspicion that Nicholas hadn't reacted this way with Jessica. And she dreaded what would happen when Jessica found out.

Best WTF Line: Gently he ran his thick, stubby fingers across her hair and then unwound her braid, slowly, methodically, until her soft blond hair fell to her shoulders. 

Happenings in SV: There's a new family in town: Regina & Nicholas Morrow, and they're throwing a welcoming party for themselves? I don't know, it didn't really make sense. Liz & Jess have a party at the end of the book to celebrate Liz getting rescued. Todd & Liz are super intense at the party & Mrs Wakefield doesn't like it.

Fashion Icons:  (lots of fashion in this one!) Jessica had a knack for picking out clothes that made her look her best-although even a burlap sack couldn't conceal her perfectly proportioned figure. This dress was no exception. The iridescent material matched her brilliant, blue-green eyes, and the neckline of the sleeveless dress was about as low as a sixteen-year-old could get away with. [Jessica] really thought her brother was the most handsome guy in Sweet Valley. Steven was dressed casually in a pair of jeans and a plaid shirt. His black-leather aviator jacket was flung over his shoulder. 

Now Elizabeth won't have to waste time choosing an outfit, Jessica told herself, as she fingered a long, red velour skirt. A few hangers down the rack, Jessica found an off-white, high-necked blouse that completed the outfit.

As usual, Caroline Pearce [Miss Nosy of the Year] was the picture of respectability, her pink shirtwaist dress buttoned right up to the collar, her red hair clipped back neatly.

[Regina] had long, wavy, black hair, a porcelain complexion, and dancing blue eyes. Her black silk jumpsuit fit her tall, statuesque body perfectly. 

Twin Hijinks:  Jess gets a nagging feeling that something is wrong with Liz at the beginning of the book, but she shrugs it off. At the end of the book, Jess goes to the hospital to look around and runs into Carl, the crazy guy. He thinks she's Liz and freaks out. He seemed almost possessed, his eyes bulging out of their sockets, his voice desperate as he cried out her twin's name. Nicholas confuses the twins too at the end and it looks like he likes one twin more than the other. Oooh...

Other Thoughts: Finally, a book with Steven in it! Steven's girlfriend, Tricia Martin, has leukemia. Jessica's friend, Cara, likes Steven and Jess told her that maybe after Tricia dies, they could start over again. *snort* Liz's kidnapping was really scary. You're supposed to feel bad for Carl, because he's kind of slow, but yeah, I don't. He's smart enough to lie to the cops and try to get Liz out of town. Max Dellon, guitarist for The Droids, has to pass English to stay in the band. His dad is a real jerk, Liz is supposed to tutor him, & obviously doesn't show up. Max goes to look for her & ends up getting arrested and accused of doing something with her. Todd fights him but then realizes he didn't do anything. Todd, Jess, & Max go junior sleuthing and end up being the ones to find out where Liz is.

The Next Book*: Will Elizabeth leave Todd for Nicholas? Find out in Sweet Valley High #14, DECEPTIONS.

*(not necessarily what I'll be reading)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Review: "Bumped & Thumped"

Bumped & Thumped by Megan McCafferty
3 out of 5 stars

I saw these books in a "What to Read After The Handmaid's Tale" post on Bookriot and since that was my classic for September, I decided it'd be interesting to read these and compare it. There is a definite similarity and I'd be comfortable calling these a contemporary remake of Handmaid's. I would at least recommend them as a companion read for it. When I checked them out at the library, my 13 year old sister was with me and after reading the summary, she said that she would want to read them as well.

I'd almost call this a utopian series as opposed to dystopian. Or at least, it's trying to be. There's a strong sense of hope and "we're doing good things" instead of doom & gloom and "everybody is going to diiiieeee". ;) Bumped is set in 2036 America and like Handmaid's, a virus has caused the majority of the population to be infertile. In this case, most women over 18 years. Why is it always women? Why can't men have a problem for once? So this means the world must rely on teenagers to have babies. Controversial for sure but McCafferty did a really great job with it, in my opinion. I have to admit I've never read any of her other books, but I really enjoyed the writing in these two.

Melody and Harmony are 16 year old twins separated at birth. Melody has grown up to become a Professional Breeder (although she hasn't gotten a contract yet to actually procreate) and Harmony was raised in an incredibly strict Church life in "Goodside". Harmony's story is very old-fashioned-no technology, communal raising of the children, etc. Where Melody's story is all about the new slang and electronics of the future-MiVu's, contacts that you put in to connect to the Net and things like that. The lingo was a little annoying at first, she was trying a little too hard to push it.

Ventura Vida has the pee stick. "The Pro/Am has an image problem," she says. "We're just not sexy enough. I mean, rilly!"

But there are some interesting comparisons to present-day as well, just like Handmaid's. In the United States, deliveries of every color and creed are valued. It's shocking to think that the government would try to stick its nose in our ladyparts. I know a lot of people believe this story is meant to be a satire, but it had its serious moments to me. When the twins reunite, they are each carrying secrets and they must come to terms with them before their relationship can grow. The struggles they face are real even if the world isn't. Their confusion about what is right and wrong is heartfelt. And of course, there are boys and is a young adult novel after all. Melody's best friend, Zen, was a lot of fun and his interactions with Harmony were particularly nice to read. Ram, a "brother" in Goodside, has a major secret that he struggles with throughout.

And then there is Jondoe. The breediest man brand you could possibly ever want to bump with. This dude is a true pro and he loves every minute of it. And I know what you're thinking: "ew gross" right? Well, yeah at first. But this guy has more depth than his stud-for-hire commercials show. So give him a chance. But be sure to wear protection haha! (Sorry, I just had to go there!)

Moving on. Bumped focuses more on Melody's side of the story and you may feel like Harmony is getting the short end of the pee stick, but Thumped brings it more into balance and you really end up liking both girls quite a bit. Be sure to get both books at once though, because the first ends on a cliffhanger (someone gets pregged!) and you will want to know what happens. I don't know if I would want my 13 year old sister reading these, even though she read Twilight ages ago, but I think an older teen would have no problems with it. Just from the reviews, you might think the books are encouraging teen pregnancy, but after reading them I think you'll change your mind. It would absolutely be a good companion to The Handmaid's Tale, as I said above. In any case, they will get you talking.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

TILT: The Other Stuff In My Head :)

I'm kind of in a random mood this week so I figured it'd be good to do a random Things I Love Thursday. Plus, I couldn't decide on a theme otherwise. What things, bookish or not, are you loving this week? New TV shows? I enjoyed Rebel Wilson's new show last night, but not sure why she's trying to suppress her accent. Agents of SHIELD was pretty good again but it hasn't sucked me in yet. Music, fashion, toys? I want to know!

(if you do not want your picture linked, please contact me!)

Cool Cat Sweater at Forever21 --I really want this sweater. It's been hard in the past to find kitschy/kawaii stuff in plus size, but this season seems to have some fun things. I bought a Pop Art dress at Torrid and I absolutely love it. (Sold out but they have leggings in same print!) And I got the owl sweater from Old Navy, just waiting for it to get cooler so I can wear it lol.

This trick I saw on Pinterest from Lifehacker has changed my life in a small but effective way! I always have the worst trouble putting bracelets on myself. What small tricks have you discovered recently that have surprised & delighted you?

Blythe in Library by LuluS on Flickr --this is such a lovely picture and combines two of my favorite hobbies: Blythe dolls and books. :)

Gummy Bear Thumbprint Cookies by The Baking Robot --awesome blog name, awesome cookies! I really want to make these soon. Our favorite Fro-Yo place, Happy Sweet Frog, has the best gummy bears. They're huge and have really amazing flavor. We found them recently at Sprouts grocery store and they are just begging to be made into these cookies.

And from super department of random, I found this hilarious video by AdultSwim about girls' toys from the 80s that have gone bad. Kinda NSFW, but so funny! The part with Strawberry Shortcake made me snort, I was laughing so hard.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Bookish Pet Peeves

I hadn't planned on doing this week's Top Ten Tuesday topic by The Broke & The Bookish but then I started reading other people's lists and things just started coming to me. Y'all are so inspiring! :) My list is a mix of annoying things about the story/plot and about the books themselves.

1. Typos --there is nothing worse then a book full of typos/spelling errors. Except maybe a book full of typos by a well-established author. Lazy editors, don't be lazy! (I proofread this post 3 times, I hope there aren't any typos!)

2. No Parents --I've seen this on nearly every list this morning and I absolutely agree. Nothing worse than having a bunch of 13 year olds running around New York City for the first time all by themselves. ;)

3. Super Short/Long Chapters --I don't know about you, but I have this thing where I'm reading and have to stop at a chapter break or at least a big paragraph break. That's pretty hard to do when my sister is hollering for me to help with dinner and the chapter is 62 pages long! On the other hand, the book I just finished had 2-3 page chapters, with alternating viewpoints. Way too short, way too much page turning.

4. Movie Tie-In Covers --can't stand it. I've only done it once, with Beastly. And if I ever find a cheap non-movie cover, I'd probably replace it.

5. 30 Pages of "Extra"/Blank Pages at the End --you think you have tons of story left and then *bam* you're into the reader's guide or a preview of their next book! Or even worse, nothing at all! That's a waste of paper, people!

6. Cliffhangers with Sequels in A Year --it's not that I hate cliffhangers, but I usually end up having to reread the first book when the second comes out.

7. "Twilight" Love --please, I'm begging you...don't watch the girl sleep. It's icky and creepy and gross and stalkerish. Also, perfect example for bad love triangles, awful insta-love, weak/whiny female MC and more.

8. Inconsistencies (that is the hardest word to spell lol!) in a Series --the first book, the girl is 17. The next, she's celebrating her 17th birthday. Or they change the spelling of a main character's name. Or they forget so-and-so had a sister three books back.

9. Books Made Entirely of Emails --it just bugs me.

10.Huge Spoilers in the Summary on Goodreads or the Back of the Book --"so-and-so dies???" Whaaat??? I don't care if it does happen on the very first page, keep it vague!

Things I Don't Mind So Much:

Love Triangles --done correctly of course. For example, I'm reading Being Friends With Boys right now. I'm not very far in, but I can already see the MC having to choose between one of her best guy friends and one of the hot new guys in the band. That's plausible.

Insta-Love --I think it's pretty realistic for a high school girl to fall instantly in love with that new guy in her English class. Don't you remember how many crushes you had in HS? It was like every week there was someone new you were madly in love with. If it's not YA though, I need a spent a whole day on an airplane talking, you are being held hostage together by some maniac vampire group, you have to work on a huge project for work that takes days of constant togetherness, etc...Not any of that "we made eye contact across the crowded dance floor and I knew instantly that he was the one". ;)