Sunday, March 23, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING BY ROBYN SCHNEIDER

Book Title: The Beginning of Everything
Author: Robyn Schneider
Publisher: Katherine Teggen, 2013
Rating: ***/5 Stars

Synopsis:
Ezra was popular until his girlfriend cheated on him and he ended up in a car accident, leaving him injured. Ezra realized his friends were not true friends because they never visited him over the summer while he recovered. Now, starting his senior year, Ezra doesn't know where he fits. He can't play tennis anymore and he doesn't feel comfortable around his old group of friends so he begins hanging around his childhood friend, Toby.

Not to mention, the new girl, Cassidy. who was famous for her debating style at her old boarding school and now trains Ezra for the debate team meet that Ezra accidentally signs Cassidy up for. Cassidy hides her past and when she realizes that her past and Ezra's past meet up, things become complicated. Will Ezra find his new place in this world where he doesn't play tennis and will he find out more about Cassidy? 

Book Review:

I first picked this book up because Hayley Hoover was reading it as apart of the Answerly Book Club From the synopsis, I was pretty much intrigued about the book. I really like coming of ages stories. I thought that Ezra's character was deep in many parts of the book but so shallow in others (he had his mother's old books under his bed, unread, and then chose to put them up on a shelf despite knowing he wouldn't read them). Ezra also underestimated his classmates and how they viewed him after the accident.

I did not like how this book played on high school stereotypes. There are always popular people but they are popular because people like them, not because they are on the tennis team. There are also always going to be mean people (who somehow become popular) but high school social groups are not as rigid as the author made them seem. I felt like the social groups were blown out of proportion and at times, I felt like I was reading a book parodying The OC.

I felt like Cassidy's character was almost in the way of being a Manic Pixie Dream Girl and I still didn't like the ending her character had in the story. While she overcame obstacles, the reader was unaware of them until very late in the book.

I give The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider 3//5 stars. I liked it but not enough to recommend it to anyone looking for a YA contemporary novel.

Have you read The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider? If so, what did you think about the book?

Happy Reading,

Tara

Monday, March 17, 2014

GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: DRAMA BY RAINA TELEGMEIER

Book: Drama
Author: Raina Telegmeier
Publisher: GRAPHIX, 2012
Rating: ****/5 STARS
Goodreads
Synopsis:
After seeing Les Mis when she was younger, Callie, a middle school girl joins the production team for her school's musical of Moon Over Mississippi. With all of the interesting aspects of designing the set, Callie also comes across love drama which is handled in very witty and real way.
Review:

The only graphic novel I have read is Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life and I loved it for the Toronto references. I was recommended Drama by the teacher librarian at one of the schools I work at and I took it home over the March Break and loved every single page of it.

While the plot is predictable and reads like a Degrassi script, you can't help but love the characters. I constantly saw myself in Callie in several different parts of the book. My absolute favourite part was when Jesse and Justin's dad was driving the three of them to the bookstore and she asks about what they were like as kids (I literally laughed aloud through the whole scene).

I could feel for Callie with her boy trouble as I have experienced the same sort of issues but never all at once. I never understood the whole having three guys liking you at the same time while being twelve-years-old. For sake of the plot though, it made for some laughs and some sympathy from the reader.

I give Drama by Raina Telegmeier 4/5 stars because it was funny and the reader could sympathize well with the character. If there are more graphic novels out there like this one, I will definitely read them!

Have you read any graphic novels lately? Let me know which ones you like in the comments.

Happy reading,

Tara

Sunday, March 16, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: BOSSYPANTS BY: TINA FEY

Book: Bossypants 
Author: Tina Fey
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books, 2011
Rating: *****/5
Goodreads

Synopsis:

Tina Fey, largely known for her impersonation of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live and her role as Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, writes a memoir of how she became a comedy writer and an actress. Her witty banter is what sets this autobiography apart, it has her quirky and unique humor.

Review:

I am not a fan of non-fiction and when I am a fan of it, I am usually crying because of how sad the memoir is. So you can imagine my surprise when I found myself enthralled in Tina Fey's writing, laughing and learning along the way.

Tina Fey describes her time at summer camp in which she befriended gay friends and learned that they weren't just props for her amusement but were actual people with their own love lives. I thought her anecdote about being upset when her gay friend introduced her to his partner and she came off as jealous. While she wasn't homophobic at all, she was creating a friendship with these people without seeing them as complexly as she could have.

I also thoroughly enjoyed when she wrote another anecdote of how Tina Fey and another writer on SNL wanted to do a skit about 1960s period pads but the male writers on the show had no idea what they were talking about. I laughed aloud so many times throughout this book and yet I felt empowered at the same time.

Much like Lean In, there is this sense that women can have families and be successful and not have to sacrifice both. I really like how Tina Fey shows how she manages to be a boss but also care about the people who work for her and the show 30 Rock.

Overall, I give this book 5/5 stars because it was a brilliant non-fiction piece that captured my attention the whole time. I have a new respect for the writers of comedy shows and just how difficult it can be.

Have you read Bossypants? What did you think of it? Are you a fan of non-fiction books or do you prefer the wonders of the fiction world?

Happy reading,

Tara