Sunday, October 20, 2013

Just One Year (Just One Day #2), by Gayle Forman

Barnes & Noble

Equal parts romance, coming-of-age-tale, mystery and travel romp (with settings that span from England’s Stratford upon Avon to Paris to Amsterdam to India’s Bollywood) Just One Day and Just One Year show how in looking for someone else, you just might wind up finding yourself. 

After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem's story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near-misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson's own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

I have been waiting for Just One Year from the moment that I finished Just One Day.  The latter completely blew me away and I couldn't wait for Willem's POV of their time apart and their reconnection.

So imagine my surprise at the disillusionment I felt throughout the novel.  Do you see the description above?  Where it says "picking up where Just One Day ended"?  Guess what I was expecting.  FOR THIS BOOK TO PICK UP WHERE THE PREVIOUS ONE LEFT OFF.

Guess what I got?  NOT THAT.

Allyson's story in JOD was empowering and full of self-discovery.  Willem's story in JOY was all wallowing in self-pity and shacking up with other girls while he was oh-so-in-love with "Lulu."  And I just didn't buy it.

Maybe I would have felt differently if there had been more interaction between the two protagonists.  But I kept anticipating their reunion (picking up where the last one left off!!!) and felt nothing but anxiety and disappointment with each chapter.

WTF, Gayle Forman?  Your previous works have left me bleary-eyed from too much crying, but were always worth the heartfail.  This?  Bleary-eyed from near-boredom.  Had I known that I wouldn't get a whole book--or at least part of a book--with Willem and Allyson together, I'm not sure I would have read it.  And I'm really glad that I borrowed this from the library instead of purchasing it; I would have rated it lower if I had spent any money on this sequel.  As it is, three stars is being generous.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

(Blog Tour & Giveaway) Play With Me, by Piper Shelly

Barnes & Noble

Ryan Hunter's parties are legend. And tonight she's going to be there.

Liza Matthews anticipates the return of her best friend and only love since kindergarten from soccer camp. But when Tony finally shows up, his mind is more focused on another girl. And worse, she's a soccer player. Fighting for the attention Liza craves, she's just a hairbreadth away from making a very stupid decision. But when extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, she's prepared to play ball to get her man.

The tryouts are hell, the first match ends bloody, and the morning after the selection party she wakes up in the worst place possible—in the arms of the captain of the soccer team. The hottest guy in school. Ryan Hunter.

Welcome to my stop on the Play With Me blog tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.  Click here to check out other participating blogs. 

Coming in at just under 200 pages, this was a quick, light read; I finished the book in just a couple of hours.  I wish it had been longer!  Piper Shelly could have added another hundred pages to really flesh out the characters and give them more background.  Everything seemed to happen at warp speed and there was lack of motivation in a few spots.  I would have given Play With Me four stars had it delved deeper into the various relationships and provided more than a glimpse into the characters' lives.

I have not read the sequel, so maybe it's addressed later on.

I am concerned about the slut-shaming and fat-shaming that occurs throughout the book.  The last thing that young women need is to read about female characters who are disparaging members of their own sex.  It's already so pervasive in the media that it reinforces negative stereotypes when it's part of a YA novel.

To women everywhere: it is unfair to label another woman a "bimbo" simply because she is attractive and likes the same guy that you do.

That being said, this was a quick, fun way to spend an evening.

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