Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

On Titles

Whenever I try to do a post on titles it turns into a mess, but the truth is that titles intrigue me. Especially titles for books that aren't out yet and might not even have a title or synopsis. For those of us who follow our favorite authors on Twitter and their blogs, a title is often the first we find out about any upcoming books and I often find myself adding books to my wishlist based solely on the author and title. And then, once I read a book, the title often takes on a slightly new meaning. The book either lives down or lives up to its title, depending on how good the story and title are.

Here are some titles to a few books I've read somewhat recently.

Jessie <3 NYC - Honestly, even if I hadn't read Keris Stainton's previous novel and wasn't already a fan of her having talked to her a bit on Twitter, I still would have wanted to read this based on the title alone. It's so cute! So New-York-y and also a bit internet-y at the same time

The Day Before - I'm sure this title is probably one meant to provoke questions (the day before what, exactly?) but for me it just hit as a very bland title, similar to Sometimes It Happens. What drew me to this book instead was the fact that I like the author (are we sensing a trend here?) and the fact that the book is told in verse, which I love.

Before I Fall - You guys, it took way too long for me to actually "get" this title, but now that I do I absolutely love it and think it fits the book perfectly.

How to Say Goodbye in Robot - This is one of those titles that I completely love and it was a huge part of the reason I wanted to read the book in the first place. And it does fit the story, but I think the title is, overall, better than the book, which always leaves me with a strange feeling of unmet potential.

So what about you guys - do you pay attention to titles? And if so, how much? Does it affect your reading/buying habits? What are some of your favorite titles?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

40 Day Book Challenge - Favorite YA (07)

Day 07 - A favorite YA book
You'd think this would be crazy difficult for me to choose, but it's really not. There are tons of YA books I absolutely love, but at the top of the heap is this one, that I can reread over and over again and always makes me laugh and is incredibly relatable for me. I really do think you should read it. See if you love it as much as I do.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday Ten: Books I Want to Reread

1. Before I Fall
Lauren Oliver
It hasn't been long since I read this the first time but it's the sort of book I wish I were always reading because it's just that good, that amazing, that breathtaking. I think it needs to be a yearly reread.

2. Imaginary Girls
Nova Ren Suma
Another amazing book and one that delves so deeply into sister relationships. Though Ruby had a creepy hold on her younger sister and there's a lot of fantastical-ness, there's also a lot of emotions and dynamics between the sisters that ring incredibly true.

3. I Now Pronounce You Someone Else
Erin McCahan
At this point Bronwen is like an old friend and I miss her. I want to jump into her story, her journey, all over again.

4. serafina67
Susie Day
Like with Before I Fall, this is a book I wish I could always be reading. It's one of the few books (maybe the ONLY book) that I will sometimes pull from the shelf just to open to a random page and start reading. It's my go-to book and I really wish I could read this for the first time again. I love it so much.

5. Mockingjay
Susanne Collins
I guess if you're going to read Mockingjay over, you should probably read the first two as well. But as much as I love the trilogy as a whole and the first two books in the series, this is the one that really really really captured me. It's just amazing, pretty much perfect as a story in its own right as well as the ending to the Hunger Games series.

6. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
E. Lockhart
I don't even have to explain this one, do I?

7. Bloomability
Sharon Creech
One of my favorite books ever, I always have the fear that reading this again won't be the same as it was when I was younger. Honestly I think that's a huge part of the reason that, while I've been wanting to read it for months, I haven't yet. Sad, right?

8. How I Live Now
Meg Rosoff
This book both fascinated and freaked me out. It's definitely one of my favorites and I want to reread it to see if I have the same sorts of reactions that I had the first time around.

9. The Great Good Thing
Roderick Townley
Everyone who hasn't read this incredible book, GO DO IT NOW. NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW!!!

10. Leverage
Joshua C. Cohen
This book is so disturbing. And while part of me (a large part) wants to read it over again, another part of me is afraid to. I had such a visceral reaction the first time around (curled up, wincing, reading through squinted eyes the way you'd watch a scary movie). But KURT BRODSKY IS AMAZING. And just for him alone, if nothing else, I want to reread it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

YA News: Jodi Picoult

Alright, I know quite a few authors who traditionally write adult novels have tried their hand at YA lately. Those ladies who wrote The Magnolia League, Harlan Coban, and a few years ago Andrea Seigel with The Kid Table. The fact that these authors don't usually write YA isn't something I often know because to be honest I don't pay a whole ton of attention to adult publishing.

And all of this is to say that Jodi Picoult, one of the adult writers I do pay attention to, has a YA co-written with her daughter coming out next year. And I have to say, I'm pretty excited about it. Picoult's novels are kind of hit-and-miss with me but she's a stellar writer and Between the Lines sounds like it could be a really funny, really sweet book.

It also sounds, even aside from the genre change, a huge departure from the novels Picoult normally writes. Between the Lines is about a "prince who wants to break free from his fairy-tale existence, and the girl who falls for him while reading." A romance! About a prince stuck in a book! And I know that authors who write a book in a new genre (whether it's YA, paranormal, contemporary, crime, romance, fantasy, whatever) have a bit of an uphill battle, but I have to say: I'm psyched about this book. It sounds really good.

So what do you guys think about Jodi Picoult writing a YA novel?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Review: Jessie Hearts NYC

JESSIE <3 NYC
Keris Stainton
Orchard 
When Jessie travels from Manchester to New York City to stay with her mother for the summer, she has her sights on exploring the city she's long been obsessed with, forgetting her ex-boyfriend, and maybe dating the star of her mother's new Broadway play. Meanwhile NYC teen Finn is in love with his best friend's girl and trying to find a way to tell his strict family that he'd rather not major in business. These two just might be the right fit, but in a city the size of New York they keep just missing each other.

It's incredibly rare that I find a book and think man, I wish this were a movie, but Jessie <3 NYC definitely made me think that. The cute story is reminiscent of great NYC love stories -- You've Got Mail and Serendipity just to name two. With romantic leads that are often in the same place at the same (or almost same) time, who bump into each other on more than one occasion, there was a sense of happenstance here that works so well on screen. Unfortunately, it's harder to make this work on the page and many things that would seem surprising or quirky in a movie fell a little flat here.

The characters, especially Jessie, are likable and often in difficult situations. While Finn's wealthy, business-obsessed family would be disappointed to learn he hates the business world, Jessie's friction with her mother is the subplot that really shines. Jessie's mother, a playwright who has recently moved to New York along with her Broadway show, Small Changes, is, to Jessie's mind, distant, self-absorbed and obsessed with her work. She cares more about her writing than her daughter.

As a writer myself, this made me uncomfortable especially as, in some ways, I saw myself in some of the things Jessie's mother did, especially when it came to getting super-involved in her fictional world. However, this uncomfortableness is one of the best parts of the book, in my opinion. Instead of getting a one-dimensional mother-daughter relationship, the reader, along with Jessie, slowly learns the complexities and realities of her mother.

I liked the setting of New York City, especially seen through the eyes of two characters with very different perspectives (one from Europe and one raised in NYC). For those who love books set in NYC, this is definitely one I'd read. And while there were a few plot points that felt anticlimactic, over all this was a cute and sweet story, but for me the relationship between Jessie and her mother - especially as the story goes on - is what really made the book.

PS. DID I MENTION IT'S A UK NOVEL AND VERY FANCY BRITISH? It is.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Oh, hey there.

Whenever I don't blog for a while I sort of forget how to. I start a new post and end up staring at the blank screen with no idea what to say.

But hello! I haven't meant to be gone, it's just happened that way. But I have so much I want to talk about: adult writers trying their hand at YA (Jodi Picoult is writing a YA book, didja hear?), reviews of books I've read lately, and, because there's more to life than books, also the fall TV shows I've seen.

So look forward to that soon.

Also: I definitely do not recommend "checking" tumblr when you're supposed to be writing. It's a black hole worse than tv tropes, I swear.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ten Songs That Could Be YA Novels


  1. Tattoo, by Jordin Sparks
  2. Boys With Girlfriends, by Meiko
  3. Breakaway, by Kelly Clarkson
  4. Crazy Summer Nights, by Hope Partlow
  5. TiKToK, by Ke$ha
  6. You Still Shake Me, by Deanna Carter
  7. Big Girl (You Are Beautiful), by MIKA
  8. If I Die Young, by The Band Perry
  9. Bad Reputation, by Joan Jett
  10. Better Than Revenge, by Taylor Swift (this is sort of horrible audio quality, SORRY)
These are all songs I think would make excellent inspirations for YA novels. At least three of them I've used in the playlists for my writing and sometimes I just think if someone took a song and put it in novel form it could be, depending on the song, the greatest. thing. ever.

What songs do you think would make great YA novels?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Review: The Day Before

THE DAY BEFORE
Lisa Schroeder
Simon Pulse
With her life completely out of her control, Amber disappears to the beach for a day. Away from her family, away from her friends, and away from her problems. One perfect day. She doesn't expect to meet Cade, an interesting boy who seems to be escaping something just like she is. Together they agree to have the perfect day: no regrets, no problems, no questions. But of course, the more Amber gets to know Cade the more she cares about him and the more she wants to ask: what is he running from?

Told in verse (which I love), this book had unlimited potential. A perfect day, no regrets, like the angsty book version of Ferris Beuller's Day Off. And while in some ways the book more than lived up to this potential, in other ways it didn't. For starters, I love novels in verse and this one was written spectacularly. The beauty and simplicity of Lisa Schroeder's poems is so much more than I was expecting. However, because the subject of the book - the thing Amber's trying to escape - isn't revealed until over 75 pages in, the start of her story is confusing. It's clear that she loves her family and that she has amazing friends and without knowing what was going on in her life that was so horrible, it was difficult to connect with her. And the subject matter, once it's revealed, is one that I had many questions about and novels in verse make it difficult to answer a lot of these non-emotional questions, so I was left wanting more explanation for some things.

However, my biggest problem with the book, the main reason I didn't absolutely 100% love it, was because of the relationship between Amber and Cade. Her attraction to Cade is incredibly fast, especially considering how little they knew about each other. In her mind she connected with him on a deep and very real level, and though I saw this connection between them to a certain extent, it didn't come across as powerfully as Amber felt it and the character of Cade on his own was, while not unappealing, definitely more boring than I would have expected for the majority of the book. I wanted more focus on Amber's story and the book's huge focus on the romance between Amber and Cade never captivated me. Much of my ambivalence about Cade was redeemed in the book's ending, but I'd rather not say any more about that because I really, definitely don't want to spoil anything that happens.

That all said, can we please go back to the writing of this book? Because the straight-to-the-heart simplicity of the poems is the exact reason I love verse novels so much. They're emotionally charged without sidelining into wordiness and purple prose. At its best, a novel written in verse is relatable and heart-tugging even if, as in the case of this book, the characters and their problems are very different from your own. And The Day Before achieved that level of relatability. Amber's love for her mother, her confusion at the crazy way her life was spinning out of control, was written so well, as were the many little moments captured during her day with Cade. So while the romance may not have captivated me, the story and especially the writing definitely did.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Writing: The Quiet Ones

(via tumblr.)

The book I'm working on is so quiet it's like a whisper in the wind. It's the kind of sneaky, calm book that I love reading and love writing, but that scares me to believe in. Because this book is all characters and emotion and journeys of life and even the more exciting scenes are coated with sadness and haze.

This is the type of book it is. And I am so close, have read it and reread and written and rewritten and edited so much that it's hard to tell if this is something really good or something really horrible.

Some days I think that this book is going to be great. That this is the sort of book that people will love and connect with and urge their friends to read. That is, if the book ever gets to be a book. And then other days I think what am I doing? This is a piece of junk. I think that I can't believe I'm wasting my time on this, that my writing is shoddy and the story is sad and I have no idea what I'm doing.

But I do want this to be better than good, better than great. I want it to be amazing. And mostly I think it will be, think that I can hammer it into being the book I imagine it to be. It's just that the getting-there is so difficult and being both my biggest fan and harshest critic - often in the span of a couple of hours - gets confusing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

40 Day Book Challenge - Book That Changed My Life (06)

Day 06 - A book that changed my life
When I was sixteen I wrote an essay about my relationship with my mother. At the time our relationship was difficult to say the least. I wrote this essay to submit to a open call for "personal essays" from teenage girls for a future anthology, all the while thinking that really it would only be me and my best friend who would actually read it. Partly because of this, I was incredibly open and honest and very, very blunt.

If I had known the essay would actually get chosen as part of this anthology - that countless strangers and my mother would actually read it - I would have written on a different subject entirely. But amazingly, my essay was chosen and because of this so much has happened. It was the first piece of writing I got published and because of it I've been able to write on topics I'm passionate about on both the Huffington Post and I Heart Daily. I've met amazing people, including the editor of the anthology and a fellow Red author who is now one of my very best friends. When I look back now at what I wrote I feel like my writing since then has improved so much, but I'm also very proud of the essay. It was very honest and, at the time, the best writing I could do. There are lines that I love just like there are lines that make me cringe.

I don't know how much this essay has to do with the fact that four years after the book's publication, me and my mom have a very good relationship. Some of that, I know, is just the fact that I've grown up and matured, but I do think that some has to do with the fact that writing my essay forced us to have some very honest conversations. It forced us to confront (my) issues. There are definitely times since that I've wished I didn't write the essay - there's no way to know how much my words hurt my mother. But those times aren't often and I am overwhelmingly glad and grateful for that first "break" into published writing and all that it has led to both with my life and my writing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Contemporary Recommendations

I was talking to a fellow blogger recently who asked for some contemporary YA recommendations and after I sent her a big ole list, I decided to share some recommends with the blog. Because there are so many great books out there and while I'm sure you've read some of them, you probably haven't read all of them.

Feel-Good Stories for Happy, Sunshine-y Days
  1. Geek Charming, by Robin Palmer
  2. The Lonely Hearts Club, by Elizabeth Eulberg
  3. serafina67 *urgently requires life*, by Susie Day
  4. The Year of Secret Assignments, by Jaclyn Moriarty
  5. Tweet Heart, by Elizabeth Rudnick
Only the Very Best Stories With Kick-A Protagonists
  1. Leverage, by Joshua C. Cohen (Kurt Brodsky FOR THE WIN)
  2. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart (Frankie Landau-Banks)
The Best Stories Featuring Fame and Celebrities
  1. The Real Real, by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
  2. Where She Went, by Gayle Forman
  3. Exclusively Chloe, by J.A. Yang
  4. Teen Idol, by Meg Cabot
  5. Scarlett Fever, by Maureen Johnson
Inspirational, Awe-Inspiring Stories
  1. Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver
  2. Sea, by Heidi R. Kling
  3. The First Part Last, by Angela Johnson
  4. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
  5. Deadline, by Chris Crutcher
I have a few other categories to do (and suggest any if you have suggestions), but those will have to wait for another post. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Review: Before I Fall

BEFORE I FALL
Lauren Oliver
HarperCollins
Samantha Kingston is pretty, popular, and having the time of her life. And then her friend's car crashes with her in the passenger seat. When she wakes up it's February 12th -- again. All in all, Sam lives her last day seven times as she tries to figure out why she died, if she can save herself, and what sort of person she wants to be remembered as -- what sort of person she wants to be, even if it's too late.

When this book came out years ago, it seemed like all of my blogger friends were reading and raving over it, but the idea of reading variations on the same day seven times seemed like a story doomed to redundancy and boring-ness. However, after reading Lauren Oliver's dystopian -- Delirium -- and seeing how beautiful her writing is, I had to read Before I Fall. And you guys. It wasn't perfection, but it was close. Oliver's writing is detail-heavy and absolutely beautiful. Sam Kingston, with the popular friends and the popular boyfriend and the perfect life, is at first not a very nice person. Her actions and words, especially her thoughts about others, grated on me that first day.

But then she died.

And what follows that is six days of Sam trying to fix things. Trying to save herself -- if not her life, then at least her reputation. She doesn't want to be remembered as a mean girl, which is what she fears she is. Sam's foursome of friends are at first the typical group of popular girls, but as each day -- each moment -- passes, it gets easier to see them for the complex people they really are. Some, I wanted so badly to hate. These were, in many ways, the worst type of high school students: powerful, selfish, and mean. But there are layers here that Sam, as she wakes up on February 12th again and again, delves into. Nobody is quite as uncomplicated as they seem, least of all Sam herself.

The plot of Sam's story hinges on not just her last day, but specifically the party her and her friends attend that night. The party she dies on the way home from. As she tries to prevent and understand the crash, she ends up understanding herself, her life, and the lives of those around her so much better. This book goes into breathtaking detail, illuminating different people, different events, in each repeat of the day. She sets out to right her wrongs and make herself a better person, wanting to be remembered well, and in doing this she learns just how deep and complex the connections in people's lives are. She sees how spontaneous, unthinking action can hurt others, how deeply people are woven together, and how much good and bad is carried in each one of us. Her friends are far from perfect, especially best friend and It girl, Lindsey, but they are rarely shown as the "mean girls" it's so easy to peg them as. Sam manages to face the awful things they've done, the horrible ways they've mistreated others, while also remembering that they are more complex than that. They are better than that. Living February 12th over and over again allows her to see the people around her in all of their complexities. The themes here (how we treat others, how we live, as well as the fact that we are all responsible for our own actions and decisions) are so incredibly well done that it's difficult for me to wrap my brain around them. The story is brilliant, the characters are so complexly imagined, and the themes are brilliant. Other books have attempted similar stories, or similar themes, but none have tackled them nearly as well. Before I Fall is a book that makes others pale in comparison. It's a page-turner, a tearjerker, a masterpiece, and a must-read.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In My Mailbox: Books & Other Stuff

BOOKS.
From Authors: You guys you guys you guys!!! This cover!!! It's so pretty! I mean, I know it looks nice here but in real life it is SO MUCH NICER. All shiny and gold-y and so pretty. I'm excited to read this book both because not only do I love the premise (and title!) and think Keris Stainton is awesome, but also it's a UK book. Fancy!

Bought: I've never read a Jennifer Weiner book before but I follow her on the Twitter machine and have been wanting to read this one for quite a while. I don't quite know exactly what it's about but it sounds like it might be exciting. I DON'T KNOW, but I want to read it.

Also, I know today is Sept. 11 and I do feel compelled to talk about that a bit, but honestly this day affected me not-so-much and others so much more in very huge, very real ways. I feel like anything I would have to say would take away from how important it truly is to others and how much it fully changed so much about our world and so many people's lives.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

40 Day Book Challenge - Favorite Non-Fiction (05)

Day 05 - A favorite non-fiction book
THIS ONE.
If you are a girl, woman, parent, or teacher, you should definitely read it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

40 Day Book Challenge - Best Translated Book (04)

Day 04 - A favorite translated book
I don't often (or, um, ever) read translated books. I mean, I've read a few classics of course, but most were for school. The only one that comes to mind that wasn't for school (and, unsurprisingly, that I actually liked reading) is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Ex├║pery. This is, hands-down, one of the best books out there. It's no wonder it's survived so long and been translated into other languages, because it's brilliant. I can't figure out if it's a children's book for grown-ups or a grown-up book for children. Either way, it's amazingly great and inspiring.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Writing - Rewrite


In some ways this rewrite is nothing, but in many other ways it is everything and the hardest total rewrite I've done yet. Hard not because of the particular book (it's not the most difficult I've written), but because of other things, things attached to this book that don't have a lot to do with the actual work. Because of pressure and wanting everything to be just right and worrying so much about missing the mark. I have given myself a Nov. 1 deadline and if I write a thousand words a day I can just barely squeak in under the deadline, but it doesn't allow for missed days or much time to reread and re-vamp the book after the last word goes down.

I AM GOING TO DO THIS.
I AM GOING TO DO THIS.
I AM GOING TO DO THIS.

If When I go crazy in the meantime... well, that's just the price I have to pay.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

40 Day Book Challenge - Favorite Character (03)

Day 03 - A book with a favorite character
I have so many favorite characters, but for some reason Kurt Brodsky is the first that comes to mind. Kurt Brodsky is hardcore awesome. I always think that the guys in Leverage encapsulate the best and worst of humanity, and Kurt Brodsky is definitely on the "best of humanity" side of things. I absolutely love him and I think if more people were like Kurt Brodsky probably (definitely) the world would be a better place.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Review: An Off Year

AN OFF YEAR
Claire Zulkey
Dutton Juvenile
After going through the college application process and showing up at her college dorm room, Cecily does the unexpected -- she turns around and heads home, leaving her freshman year of college untouched. Without thinking about it or making plans, she ends up taking a gap year as she tries to figure out just why she suddenly felt that starting college was impossible for her.

I have to be upfront and tell you that not much happens in this book. Cecily's year is one of ennui and is broken up by month as she narrates, with her quirky and dry wit, the nothingness that is her life. Her dad is perplexed at why she's chosen not to go to school but, surprisingly, he doesn't try to change her mind. Her older, college-graduate sister is jealous of the time she gets to spend doing nothing, while Cecily herself is about as confused as the rest of them. She hadn't planned on ditching college, but once she does she doesn't second-guess herself. She watches as friends turn into "college clones" and becomes annoyed with the passive-aggressive hints her parents are sending her way about heading back to school the next year. Mostly though, she does nothing.

And yet that doesn't stop the book from being awesome. Cecily -- unsure and bucking what's expected of her -- is refreshing and realistic. There's an honesty here and as Cecily looks at her choices and why she did what she did, the topic of the future and what lies ahead is addressed so incredibly well. Cecily is accused of being lazy, spoiled, and self-absorbed... all of which is somewhat true. But she's also honest in confronting her flaws and unafraid of not knowing what happens next. The secondary characters that people the novel, from her dad to her siblings and friends, are all unique and realistic in their own ways. Her older sister has yet to find her first post-college job while her jet-set mother thinks that the gap year Cecily's taking is absolutely glamorous and that she should do something amazing, like write a book or travel.

But Cecily didn't think that far and she doesn't necessarily want to do something amazing, she just wants to figure out what happens next, which is the overwhelming theme of this book. What happens next? What does the future hold? Where do you want to be and how do you get there? The book explores these themes with realism and humor, making it stand out from the crowd.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In My Mailbox: the island.

BOOKS.
Bought: I've actually been wanting to read this one for a while - the cover and concept is just so great and hilarious. Slightly similar to Libba Bray's Beauty Queens, the book is a comedy featuring glamorous people stuck on a deserted island. And I loved all of the Lost references.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

40 Day Book Challenge - Book I Want to Live In (02)

Day 02 - A book I want to live in
The first (and best) book that comes to mind for this one is Sharon Creech's Bloomability, which takes place at an international boarding school in Switzerland. I love Dinnie and her international friends, especially Guthrie, and if given the chance I'd become 12 years old again and live in this book in an instant. It's without a doubt one of the best stories and settings of any book. Ahhh, go read it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

40 Day Book Challenge - Favorite Book (01)

I found this 40 Day Book Challenge over at The Book Whisperer and decided to (slowly) make my way through it amidst my regular posts and reviews. Join me!? If you want to. (Click over to The Book Whisperer's site to see the full list of days.)

Day 01 - A favorite book of 2011 (so far)
Yeah, way to start out with a difficult topic. I've read so many great books this year, and choosing my favorite is all but impossible. Excluding nonfiction (I don't read a lot of nonfic, but what I do read is amazing), there are three novels that have totally absolutely 100% blown me away this year. I'm going with Gayle Forman's Where She Went for this one just because I was in such a bad mood when I read it and somehow it turned everything completely around. It's such a powerful and beautiful book and Forman is an incredible writer. I love the characters and I love especially the setting of the book -- New York City, and the whole thing takes place over the course of a day and night.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Review: The Best and Hardest Thing

THE BEST AND HARDEST THING
Pat Brisson
Viking Juvenile
Molly Biden, sick of being seen as "saintly," decides to go after bad-boy Grady Dillon. With the help of her best friend she undergoes a makeover to become the sort of girl a boy like him could be interested in and for the first time in her life she isn't the quiet, studious good girl everyone expects her to be: she's bad. But when she ends up pregnant, she realizes that her new personality and affections for a boy she really doesn't know very well has gone too far and she finds herself having to make some very tough decisions.

A big part of the reason I wanted to read this book was because it's written in verse and I have a love for novels in verse. With some stories it works extraordinarily well but unfortunately with this particular story I felt like the poems were more of a liability. Though sex and pregnancy are talked about very frankly, I felt that there was so much glossed over. Molly's a smart-but-stupid girl being raised by her grandmother and her family history, especially the death of her mother, was some of the most powerful stuff in the book. I felt like it gave a real glimpse into her character and wished that it had been explored in more detail. There's not a ton of character development here, partly due to the format of the book. This is a very issue-driven novel and the despite the fact that Molly's actual pregnancy takes up less than half of the book, this issue took over everything else. I often felt that Molly wasn't so much a character as a type of character and as much as I enjoyed the book, I wanted more depth to her character.

This was an enjoyable novel. There were hints of a great and very moving story lying beneath the surface, but sadly they remained only hints and at times the issue and overall message of the book overshadowed everything else. I did appreciate the mature way Molly dealt with her pregnancy -- not by hiding it from herself or other, but by facing it. I wish her choice had been explored in more detail as it's one I don't think I've seen presented in a YA novel before - at least not from this perspective. If you're looking for a teen pregnancy book, I'd recommend adding this one to the list.