3 out of 5 stars
I bought this book on a spontaneous trip to Target (those are always the most expensive) because I'd heard a lot about Vivian but never read any of her books. Overall, this is a decent read, maybe better suited for an actual young adult. I considered loaning it to my 14 year old sister but she has too many of my books still lol.
It's the week of homecoming and an anonymous list has just been posted all over the school. Eight girls' names are on it: the ugliest and prettiest girls in each class. These eight girls are instantly famous around school and have to deal with the aftermath. "The ones who aren't [on the list] will wonder what the experience, good or bad, might have been like. The eight girls who are won't have a choice."
Each chapter is told from the viewpoint of one of the eight girls and as you can imagine, that is a little confusing at first. I was constantly flipping back to the main list of girls in the beginning of the book. Once I got into the story though, it wasn't too bad. The story is obviously centered on societal definitions of "ugly" and "pretty" but there was also a strong theme of "sisterhood" and "friendship". Two pairs of sisters have made the list (past & present), former best friends have to confront each other when one makes the list for the 4th year in a row. Throughout the story, we learn that outward appearances can be deceiving (one girl suffers from an eating disorder), and sometimes looks really don't matter.
My main issue with this book, and the reason it was marked down a star, was the ending felt way too rushed. I really wanted to know what happened to all the girls and you don't get that. I felt cheated almost.
Through To You by Lauren Barnholdt
2 out of 5 stars
I just realized that all 3 of these books are told in alternating viewpoints and are all centered around high school life, so I picked a good set to do mini reviews for! :)
Harper is an average girl, not super popular but not a loser either. Penn used to be the hot-shot baseball player before an injury killed his career. One day, Penn drops a note on Harper's desk, "I like your sparkle", and an odd relationship starts up between the two. The story had promise in the beginning...Harper is smart and sassy and doesn't care that Penn is one of the popular kids. Penn comes from a troubled family and is a typical bad boy. But that's about as far as the story gets.
The characters are very flat and I found it hard to get invested in their story. The secondary characters are pretty much nonexistent after the first two chapters. And the "romance" was seriously lacking. They date for maybe a week before they break up and then it kind of repeats through the rest of the book. There is no reason given why these two would like each other or what they can bring to the relationship. Penn refuses to open up to Harper about anything: his injury, his family, his former friendship with a fellow baseball player. Even in the end, he just barely brushes the surface of his troubles. And yet, Harper gives him another chance. And another and another.
Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski
3 out of 5 stars
I have the hardest time spelling this author's last name, she should change it lol. I've read one other book by her, Gimme a Call, and enjoyed it. I didn't realize it before, but she seems to like writing slightly sci-fi, magical realism stories. A homeroom class in a New York City school get flu shots with an odd side-effect...they develop the power to read minds. It seems to only have effected one class, roughly 20 kids, and the story is told by all of them. It's a little odd, as we don't know who specifically is talking, but it kind of works too.
The kids develop ESP over the next few days and of course, have major freak-outs. As they come to terms with having to hear what their parents are saying (or worse, doing), knowing what their best friend actually thinks about them, and finding out if their secret crush actually likes them back, the kids come together as a group. They learn how their ESP works and discuss what they should do. Keep it a secret or tell the authorities? What would you do? Secret, right? I knew it. ;)
After the kids have some time to acclimate, they begin using their powers for good. The good of them, that is. Pop quizzes are aced, new boyfriends are gotten, parents are handled with ease. But eventually, things start unraveling and secrets come out. This book is apparently going to have a sequel (or a series?), so unfortunately the ending is left pretty open. If I remember it, I'd like to read the next one, but not sure if I will.