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.
Outside, Anika Dragomir is all lip gloss and blond hair—the third most popular girl in school. Inside, she’s a freak: a mix of dark thoughts, diabolical plots, and, if local chatter is to be believed, vampire DNA (after all, her father is Romanian). But she keeps it under wraps to maintain her social position. One step out of line and Becky Vilhauer, first most popular girl in school, will make her life hell. So when former loner Logan McDonough shows up one September hotter, smarter, and more mysterious than ever, Anika knows she can’t get involved. It would be insane to throw away her social safety for a nerd. So what if that nerd is now a black-leather-jacket-wearing dreamboat, and his loner status is clearly the result of his troubled home life? Who cares if the right girl could help him with all that, maybe even save him from it? Who needs him when Jared Kline, the bad boy every girl dreams of, is asking her on dates? Who? (Goodreads)
As much as Anatomy of a Misfit was hyped up for me, I couldn’t get past the myriad similarities to the film Heathers to really enjoy the book on its own merits. Anika is no Veronica or Cady Heron though, and while I am interested in unsympathetic characters, it never felt like there was room for organic character development. She didn’t have to be likeable, but she (and the rest of the wild cast) do need to feel like real people, and that just wasn’t the case. On a similar note, the constant slut-shaming, homophobic remarks, and general insensitivity went way past satire, and ended up just exhausting me through the reading experience.
When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva. (Goodreads)
Made for You is one of those books where the plot is much more interesting than the actual characters, and is sometimes hampered by them. Eva and Nate aren’t horrible characters–they’re just not very compelling. There were moments in which I wondered more about how other characters in the book would deal with the situations Eva would find herself in, because there wasn’t anything particularly new or unique about Eva. She was similar to other paranormal heroines, and even the paranormal twist wasn’t satisfactorily explained. The supernatural aspects of the novel paled in comparison to the psychological terror, weighing down what could have been a superb story.
The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.
But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.
Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are ment to be together…. (Goodreads)
Multiple POVs and a super cute romance? Okay, you’ve got me. Except…neither of those things really work in A Little Something Different. Gabe and Lea’s personalities and their famed “connection” are only seen through the eyes of 14 people and things that are not Gabe and Lea, which makes for a whole lot of telling (they’re perfect! They’re Made For Each Other!) instead of showing. A bench and a squirrel even get in on the deal, two narrative choices that were completely unnecessary. The human characters blended in so effortlessly with one another that it didn’t take me until halfway through the book to realize that I’d lost track of who was actually talking. It was a struggle to recall names and who knew what, and by the end of the book, I was relieved to have finished it, instead of basking in a cute love story.