No time to track down full reviews of YA books? Seashell Reviews offers bite-size thoughts to let you know which books you shouldn’t pass up, and which ones you can hold off for another day. Original titled blog feature by Angel @ Mermaid Vision Books.
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Jennifer Brown’s books have always been hit-or-miss with me: I adored Hate List, but wasn’t as impressed by Bitter End. Perfect Escape lands smack-dab in the neutral zone. Kendra’s impromptu road trip with her older brother Grayson is certainly interesting, but I couldn’t quite connect with Kendra herself. The sibling dynamic between Kendra and Grayson is the strongest part of the novel, and even when I was displeased with the way the plot was unraveling, I was still very interested in how they would manage to work things out. Perfect Escape is just right for the summer–a novel that is simultaneously complex and light enough to bring to the beach.
Special Snowflake Syndrome, thy name is Rose. As interested as I was in this much-praised retelling of Romeo & Juliet from Rosaline’s point of view, the book definitely did not live up to my expectations. Put simply, the slut shaming and idolization of a boy who is really just a jerk was unexpected and very unwelcome. Rob is not crush-worthy, and his treatment of Rose is despicable. Juliet, on the other hand, is made out to be an evil boyfriend-stealer, when really she knows nothing of the history between Rose and Rob. Nothing in the story contributes to the ongoing dialogue regarding Shakespeare’s work and how it can be made more compelling for a new audience. Between the shallow character development and unimpressive prose, Rebecca Serle’s case for literary retellings isn’t looking good.
Road trips and all their complications rear their heads again in this story about three ex-best friends who end up traveling hundreds of miles to see their favourite band’s reunion concert. Hilary Weisman Graham captures the sensitivity and insecurities of teenagers perfectly, and each girl’s voice rings true throughout the novel. I particularly enjoyed the subtle touches of humour and emotion scattered throughout the book. Reunited is a perceptive story about how friendships can shift and change and still remain real.