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Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt

Pages: 320 right 

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Date Published: July 9, 2013 

Source: ARC given to me from Willa at Lit Up Review 

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

Can a road trip repair a romance gone wrong? Find out in this standalone companion to Lauren Barnholdt’s Two-way Street

Here are Peyton and Jace, meeting on vacation. Click! It’s awesome, it’s easy, it’s romantic. This is the real deal. 

Unless it isn’t. Because when you’re in love, you don’t just stop calling one day. And you don’t keep secrets. Or lie. And when your life starts falling apart, you’re supposed to have the other person to lean on. 

Here are Peyton and Jace again, broken up but thrown together on a road trip. One of them is lying about the destination. One of them is pretending not to be leaving something behind. And neither of them is prepared for what’s coming on the road ahead… 

Review: 

Right of Way is filled with so much wrong, wrong, wrong.

Having read the companion novel Two-way Street I knew to expect a drama-filled road trip novel. However, Right of Way is an illogical, angst-y jumble.

Let’s first take a look at what I did like about the book.

-It’s fast paced. The book is a quick read, which is what I want in a road trip book. 

-It delivers what it promises. This is kind of a what-you-see-is-what-you-get. I hate saying this, but it is a pretty fluffy novel. Any time serious issues arise, the characters avoid confronting it directly.

Some of the things I had an issue with were: 

-The Characters. Jace is the valedictorian of his high school, yet he couldn’t care less about school or graduation. As a student who works hard for every grade I get, it didn’t endear me to Jace at all. It’s also not reasonable that someone who doesn’t care about school would be the valedictorian. Plus, he didn’t strike me as being especially intelligent. (Jace acts surprised that his mom found him through his credit card charges.)

Peyton is very immature. She just kept avoiding her problems, and even in the end she still hadn’t changed. Honestly, her personality was aggravating. I didn’t care about what happened to her.

Both main characters had a few exaggerated characteristics but didn’t feel dynamic. 

-The Conflicts. The conflicts of the book were blown out of proportion. The reason Jace and Peyton “broke up” was ridiculous, and I found it hard to take the story seriously. 

-The Romance. What romance? This relationship is very unhealthy. The characters don’t open up and talk to each other except for maybe one occasion. Jace and Peyton seemed obsessed with each other rather than being in love. 

Right of Way disappointed me on several levels. I went in hoping for more than I got.

 

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Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

Pages: 352  Untitled-1

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Date Published: January 7, 2014

Source: ARC provided by Random Buzzers in exchange for my honest review. 

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life. 

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over. 

When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself. 

Review: Being Sloane Jacobs is a cute, yet predictable, story.

In order to truly enjoy this book, you have to suspend your belief for a lot if, which is something I’m not good at doing. I had a hard time believing that a) no one would notice the girls switched, considering Sloane Emily’s face has been in magazines and the like and b) they are attending camps for experienced skaters and hockey players. No way would someone not question the girls’ lack of experience when they are supposed to be the best of the best. The book tries to be logical, and, while I appreciated it, some things were a little too hard to swallow.

Putting aside the lapses in logic, I enjoyed how the book focused on hockey and figure skating, two topics I don’t know much about. I haven’t ever seen hockey come up in a YA book about girls at all (though I am sure they are out there somewhere).

The hockey and figure skating really do play a large role in the novel. Reading about practice after practice became monotonous and slowed the pace of the book. Constantly, I was waiting for some new development to occur, but it was usually just more of the same thing again and again.

The romance takes a back seat to the friendship between the girls, but it made things much more interesting. Sloane Devon’s romance was sweet, and I wished we got to see more of her with her love interest. On the other hand, I wished Sloane Emily’s would just walk off the page. He is a real piece of work and shows little to know character growth, going from one personality to another without explanation.

While the transitions between each girl were needed and well-placed, I found myself liking Sloane Devon’s perspective more than Sloane Emily’s. Sloane Devon had more personality and a developed backstory that Sloane Emily was missing. Still, both girls were likable and reading their antics was always fun.

The cover of the book is misleading because this is, above all else, a story of friendship, not a romance. However, the title couldn’t be more accurate. The book takes a look into the lives of both Sloane Jacobses at an important moment in their lives. The story isn’t anything new, but it would be a good contemporary to read if you are tired of romances dominating the plot.

Honestly, I think this book ended up being a case of It’s Not You, It’s Me. Readers who are okay with crazy, unbelievable shenanigans will probably adore this book, while those who enjoy more realism in their stories might want to pick up something else.


The F-It List by Julie Halpern

Pages: 256 TheFItList

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends 

Source: ARC provided from publisher in exchange for my honest review. 

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

With her signature heart and humor, Julie Halpern explores a strained friendship strengthened by one girl’s battle with cancer.

Alex’s father recently died in a car accident. And on the night of his funeral, her best friend Becca slept with Alex’s boyfriend. So things aren’t great. Alex steps away from her friendship with Becca and focuses on her family.

But when Alex finally decides to forgive Becca, she finds out something that will change her world again–Becca has cancer.

So what do you do when your best friend has cancer? You help her shave her head. And then you take her bucket list and try to fulfill it on her behalf. Because if that’s all you can do to help your ailing friend–you do it.

Review: 

The F-It List is a book that makes me reconsider why I don’t read contemporary more often.  I can see that some people may be turned off because of the title or the cancer, but I highly recommend you give this one a try.

The core relationship is between two best friends, Becca and Alex, who are absolutely hysterical together. Every chapter made me laugh, which I didn’t expect from a book with cancer in the plot. In my opinion, The F-It List has one of the best friendships I’ve ever read.

Becca and Alex would do anything for each other, which I love reading about in friendships. This is put to the test when they try and check off the items of Becca’s version of a bucket list. I really don’t want to spoil any of the fun from discovering the items on the list, but they are all funny, immature, insightful, or a crazy combination of them all.

The relationship between Alex and Becca is far from being the only in the story. Alex meets Leo, who helps her deal with all of the crazy events of her life. Their romance was a perfect addition to the novel and a main reason I read this book as fast as I did. Both girls also have difficult relationships with their moms that are portrayed very realistically and complexly.

Some moments I was crying from laughter and others just crying. At times I forgot this was a tale of tragedies, grief, and recovery, but then it would hit me all at once. I felt ALL THE FEELS with this books. The effects of cancer aren’t glorified or romanticized, which made some scenes of the novel even more difficult to read, but were beneficial to the telling of the story.

Overall, I highly recommend getting The F-It List as soon as possible. It’s hilarious and sad and amazing.



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