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Quick Update + Currently Reading | 30/09/13

Apologies for the lack of posts lately – I’ve been completely consumed with university and family stuff that I haven’t had the chance to really sit down and properly read (which is why there is a lack of #fridayreads and reviews)! I’ve settled down quite a bit now, and can somewhat manage my time better so I will be posting more reviews up hopefully very soon!

Fangirl honestly put me in a bit of a reading slump but I recently picked up I Have The Right to Destroy Myself by Kim Young-Ha and it’s exactly what I needed! Given my circumstances, I’ve been a bit slow at reading but I’m slightly more than halfway through so hopefully I can get it done by this week!

Enough talking, time to show you my recent book purchases!

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  1. I Have The Right To Destroy Myself by Kim Young-Ha
    Goodreads • Bookdepository

    I don’t encourage murder. I have no interest in one person killing another. I only want to draw out morbid desires, imprisoned deep in the unconscious. This lust, once freed, starts growing. Their imaginations run free, and they soon discover their potential… They are waiting for someone like me.

    A spectral, nameless narrator haunts the lost and wounded of big-city Seoul, suggesting solace in suicide. Wandering through the bright lights of their high-urban existence, C and K are brothers who fall in love with the same woman – Se-yeon. As their lives intersect, they tear at each other in a struggle to find connection in their fast-paced, atomized world.

    Dreamlike and cinematic, I Have the Right to Destroy Myself brilliantly affirms Young-ha Kim as Korea’s leading young literary master.

  2. Vivian Versus The Apocalypse by Katie Coyle
    Goodreads • Bookdepository

    A chilling vision of a contemporary USA where the sinister Church of America is destroying lives. Our cynical protagonist, seventeen-­year-­old Vivian Apple, is awaiting the fated ‘Rapture’ -­ or rather the lack of it. Her evangelical parents have been in the Church’s thrall for too long, and she’s looking forward to getting them back. Except that when Vivian arrives home the day after the supposed ‘Rapture’, her parents are gone. All that is left are two holes in the ceiling…

    Viv is determined to carry on as normal, but when she starts to suspect that her parents might still be alive, she realises she must uncover the truth. Joined by Peter, a boy claiming to know the real whereabouts of the Church, and Edie, a heavily pregnant Believer who has been ‘left behind’, they embark on a road trip across America. Encountering freak weather, roving ‘Believer’ gangs and a strange teenage group calling themselves the ‘New Orphans’, Viv soon begins to realise that the Rapture was just the beginning.

  3. Fire with Fire (Burn for Burn #2) by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
    Goodreads • Bookdepository

    When sweet revenge turns sour… Book two of a trilogy fromNew York Times bestselling author Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian.

    Lillia, Kat, and Mary had the perfect plan. Work together in secret to take down the people who wronged them. But things didn’t exactly go the way they’d hoped at the Homecoming Dance.

    Not even close.

    For now, it looks like they got away with it. All they have to do is move on and pick up the pieces, forget there ever was a pact. But it’s not easy, not when Reeve is still a total jerk and Rennie’s meaner than she ever was before.

    And then there’s sweet little Mary…she knows there’s something seriously wrong with her. If she can’t control her anger, she’s sure that someone will get hurt even worse than Reeve was. Mary understands now that it’s not just that Reeve bullied her—it’s that he made her love him.

    Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, burn for a burn. A broken heart for a broken heart. The girls are up to the task. They’ll make Reeve fall in love with Lillia and then they will crush him. It’s the only way he’ll learn.

    It seems once a fire is lit, the only thing you can do is let it burn…

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published September 10th 2013 by St. Martin’s Press
Rating: 3/5

Goodreads

Summary: From the author the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Review: Here’s the thing, I’m a little unsure if I liked this book or not. I took almost a week to finish reading this in between life and university, and now that it’s over I’m a little lost. I had such high hopes for Fangirl, having heard endless reviews for Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. When I first heard the premise, I got incredibly excited – and so it sat in my To Be Read list for months. And now… I wouldn’t go to the extent saying I loved this book (I don’t), but I wouldn’t say I hated it. I liked it (enough).

I expected to see a lot of myself in Cath, given my extensive love for fanfiction writing. For most of us, we’ve probably written fanfiction (slash fics, no less) and I’m fairly certain a lot of us still belong to a fandom, actively or otherwise. Cath is obsessed with Simon Snow and is a BNF (big name in fandom) in the Simon Snow community. I had so many issues with Cath and I couldn’t really relate to her all that much, to my surprise. I was once a BNF/fanfiction writer, and to a certain extent, I’m still very involved in fandom. Cath is a lot like me in certain aspects: fanfic writer, shy and introverted, very reluctant to try new things/make friends. For the most part, I understood why she tries so hard to not stand out and hide away in her room. Starting school can be a very daunting thing, especially when you’re shy and sort of awkward, and I get it. But here’s what I don’t get – how does anybody blatantly give up on a major assignment just because “she doesn’t want to”?

Cath developed as a person in most aspects but I felt that she was still very adamant about fanfiction and about what people had to say about it. I think that she’s so immersed in this fandom that she completely forgets that she’s a real person that needs to do actual work to graduate. I liked her as a character when we weren’t talking about fanfiction or having to listen to her defend herself because of it.

I really liked Reagan’s character, she was feisty and funny as was Levi. I didn’t really enjoy Wren’s character; she wasn’t diverse in the sense that I kind of had her figured out from the get go. She’s a party animal and that’s all there is to her character. She was just an okay character, but wasn’t very interesting.

Relationship-wise, it was kind of predictable the way things were going between Cath and Levi as opposed to Cath and Nick. I didn’t really care about Nick but I did like Levi. I enjoyed their relationship/friendship, even though he was really strange in the beginning but I ended up liking him individually and with Cath.

I wish the ending didn’t feel so rushed, considering this is a pretty long book at 400-odd pages. I didn’t like how it ended, and while Cath did change towards the end, I felt that I was short-changed of that progress with her. I’ve already gone through 400 pages with her, throughout college, I would have wanted to go through this change with her and applaud her for it. What am I supposed to do when out of nowhere she just changes? I don’t know how to explain this, but I hope you understand what I’m trying to say.

I had a hard time going into this book and it took me SO LONG to finish. This is my first Rowell book and I don’t know if this is what the rest of her books are like but I’m a little bit disappointed with it. It was good, but it wasn’t great. It is a book that most people can relate to, not just Harry Potter, but of any fandom. I really liked the idea behind the book, the premise was really interesting so I would still recommend everyone to read this book.

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45 Pounds (More Or Less) by K. A. Barson

45 Pounds (More or less) by K. A. Barson
Published July 11th 2013 by Viking Juvenile
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads

Summary: Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:

She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.

Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!

Review: 45 pounds is a good book. It is well written, funny and honest. 45 pounds revolves around Ann and her struggle with weight loss and trying to find comfort in her own skin. Ann has always been on the heavier side and everyone around her seems to be of “normal” weight, especially her mother. So when Ann gets an invitation to her aunt’s wedding, she decides to lose 45 pounds before the wedding with the help of an infomercial weight loss programme.

45 pounds really hits home for me. I have been in a position where I really loathed how I looked or thought “we’ll I gained a few pounds, might as well eat this cheeseburger”. Ann is so honest with her feelings and I understood where she coming from and the struggles that she’s having with everyone calling her fat. Ann’s progression in the book was so phenomenal. Her character grew in so many ways that I just beamed from chapter to chapter. I really liked Ann as a protagonist because while she was honest, she wasn’t too honest that made her hateful. There are bits and bobs where I found her to be a tad bratty, especially when it came to her family which did turn me off initially but because she made strides to try and change and accept the help she’s offered, her character as a whole developed nicely and rather wholesome. Ann’s relationship development with her mother is definitely one that I enjoyed reading about as well as her friendship with Raynee.

Now on to the things i didn’t like. One in particular was Ann’s relationship with her best friend. I’m not sure if I just missed it but I don’t seem to recall why they stopped being friends or why she’s the way she is. It didn’t even seem like they had a relationship, even as they met up. There was no indication that they were best friends, even if it was a while ago. It’s redundant in the sense that she’s supposedly the best friend but she rarely shows up and is so insignificant even though she’s the “best friend” and is one of the “issues” that Ann was facing earlier on in the book.

I’m also not really a big fan of the love interest. We didn’t get to see much of him nor their relationship so it was a little bit odd to always see him mentioned but you know nothing about this guy. It’s just hard to root for a fella you don’t know, okay?

There are a lot of great discussion topics that come with this book. As society progresses on, we become more self conscious and a lot of the time I hear young girls worry about how they look or if they’re fat or not. Not everybody can look like the cookie cutter Hollywood star and this book could really reach out to the masses and tell them: it’s okay to be you. We shouldn’t be so obsessed with how we look or what we eat, so much that we starve ourselves to look “better”. You can be the best version of yourself by doing it the healthy and right way. And of course, we shouldn’t forget the little things like seeking comfort in supportive friends and family. 45 pounds is such a wonderful read, with so much real potential in helping to change mind sets.

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#FridayReads | 13/09/13

This week’s #fridayreads are all on my kindle!

I will be reading the highly anticipated book Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. This will be my first Rainbow Rowell book and I am really excited to finally get my hands on it. I have been waiting for this book to come out forever now; the premise of the book sounds really good and so relatable. I am only 11% in right now – it’s a little slow, but it looks like it’s picking up now so I’ll be continuing this for the rest of the day (and hopefully finish by tonight!).

I will also be reading what seems to be one of everyone’s YA contemporary books, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. I have read a little bit of this and it’s alright so far. I saw some reviews talking about playlists and ticket stubs etc. so I’m quite excited to read on and get to those playlists. I’m such a sucker for music-related stuff.

These will be my two reads this weekend! What will you be reading?

  1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
    Goodreads • Book Depository

    A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

    Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

    Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

    But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

    Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

    Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

    Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

    For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

    Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

    And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

  2. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
    Goodreads • Book Depository

    Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew–just in time for Amy’s senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she’s always known toward her new life.

    Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy’s mother’s old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she’s surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she’s coming to terms with her father’s death and how to put her own life back together after the accident.

    Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road–diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards–this is the story of one girl’s journey to find herself.

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#LocalLit: Library Haul | 12/09/13

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#LocalLit is my personal project into reading and promoting more Singaporean Literature.

Okay, I’ve been lusting over these books for the longest time but I’ve been trying to go on a bit of a book buying ban. So what better way than to take advantage of the libraries! The books below are mainly poetry books so they should be pretty quick reads for me.

I love how Math Paper Press always keeps their designs looking minimalistic yet extremely gorgeous. Math Paper Press is a small publishing company here in Singapore. You can check some of their stuff here or visit their Facebook! (You can purchase these books from BooksActually – they ship internationally!)

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  1. Bursting Seams by Jollin Tan
    Goodreads • BooksActually

    Bursting Seams
     is a raw and passionate exploration of the body through poetry. The book mines the inescapable linkages between physicality and difficult emotions in poems that are traumatic and revealing, but also tender and self-empowering.
  2. Transparent Strangers by Loh Guan Liang
    Goodreads • BooksActually

In Transparent Strangers, the city is more than steel and glass: it is also a landscape where emotion is as much architecture as it is part of human experience. With subjects ranging from burial sites to Taiwanese dramas, this debut collection of poems meditates on the distance we must cross with words to make the everyday unfamiliar again; if only to understand ourselves better.

 

Cyril Wong’s prose poems remark, instruct, exclaim and curse at a world long settled into its desire-ridden forms. These protracted sentences both attack and reflect on the miasma of memory, working life, the delusions of family life, and the paradoxes of lust and love, moving between meditative moments, philosophical arguments and cryptic to lyrical tongue-lashings. Time, or our failure to exist meaningfully beyond its dimensions, forms the heartbeat of this book.

 

Is love born from duty, misplaced ideas of nobility or the thirst for dependence? Jerrold Yam’s second poetry collection confronts the very act of creation, wrestling it from family, religion and sexuality—a triptych of forces that bears as much a promise for redemption as a capacity for cruelty and hurt.

 

My name is Benjamin Hong, aged 8, height 90cm, and studying at Loyang Primary School.

Mummy said we are going to Bedok Reservoir, and I changed out of my school uniform. She forced me to wear a red T-shirt & shorts. She painted my nails red too, but that was super fun.

I could hear Mummy’s footsteps on the gravel. I could hear the water in the distance, ebbing closer and closer. There were no stars, just darkness. I didn’t want to open my eyes. With my head against Mummy’s chest, I could hear the rhythmic beating. The sound made me calm and relaxed. All I heard was the sound of water splashing around Mummy’s waist.

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Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson

Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson
Published June 14th 2011 by Harper
Rating: 5/5

Goodreads

Summary: ‘As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me …’

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love—all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine’s life.

Review: Wow. I finished this book a couple of days ago  but I’ve been trying to let it all sink in while I try to find the best way to write this review.

Before I Go To Sleep is a phenomenal book. I have to admit, it took me a while to fully get into the story but once I got deeper into it, I was hooked. Christine doesn’t remember anything that happened to her the day before once she goes to sleep. So in order to battle this, she sees a doctor (in secret) who encourages her to write in her journal before she goes to sleep.

This book is split between present day and her journal entries, as she tries to remember what happens to her the day before by looking through her journal. The story is a little slow in the beginning, but quickly picks up once we look through the journal. I really enjoyed the journal aspect of this book. It was filled with such real thoughts and raw emotions and is one of the most realistic diary-type of book that I have read so far.

I really enjoyed reading about Christine’s life and trying to figure out her life together with her.  Even though Christine has amnesia, she remains a very strong character. She’s one of those characters you can’t get out of your head for days; she makes you care about her a lot.

The book was extremely well written and the plot was so well thought. There’s so many different fragments of Christine’s memories and journal entries that left me wondering what really happened to her. Watson kept it really mysterious, with several twists in the book – the biggest twist being towards ending when everything started to piece together.

It was really such an incredible read and it was so interesting to go through this journey with Christine. Before I Go To Sleep reads almost like an autobiography of an amnesiac trying to remember her days and find her memories. It was such a fantastic read, I would highly recommend this to everyone who is looking for a good thriller.

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#FridayReads | 6/09/13

For this Friday’s #fridayreads I decided to only read one book as I’ll be heading out this weekend.

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This week I will be reading Before I go to Sleep by SJ Watson. I decided that I would try to read more Adult fiction this year, so I picked this book up. I’ve read about a quarter into it and I’m really enjoying the book so far.

It’s a psychological thriller book and revolves around a woman in her mid-forties called Christine. Christine has amnesia where she can’t remember what happens to her the day before after she goes to sleep. In order to help herself remember her days she writes in a diary, which essentially is a good chuck of the book.

Since the book is written in a diary format, it shouldn’t take too long to read. I’m really excited to continue on with the book and see how the story will pan out.

Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson
Goodreads • Book Depository

‘As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me …’

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love—all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine’s life.

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Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara

Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara
Published October 16th 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads

Summary: A resonant debut novel about retreating from the world after losing everything—and the connections that force you to rejoin it.

Since the night of the crash, Wren Wells has been running away. Though she lived through the accident that killed her boyfriend Patrick, the girl she used to be didn’t survive. Instead of heading off to college as planned, Wren retreats to her father’s studio in the far-north woods of Maine. Somewhere she can be alone.

Then she meets Cal Owen. Dealing with his own troubles, Cal’s hiding out too. When the chemistry between them threatens to pull Wren from her hard-won isolation, Wren has to choose: risk opening her broken heart to the world again, or join the ghosts who haunt her.

Review: I hadn’t heard much about this book. I found this book in a bookstore once and was compelled to buy it solely on it’s cover. The book jacket didn’t offer much so I put it back on the shelf, went home and looked it up. It wasn’t until my recent trip to the library that I found this book again and immediately went to borrow it.

Where does one begin to write a review about such a beautiful book? This book brings justice to it’s title. Lovely, dark and deep reads like a poem. Amy McNamara has a degree in poetry so it’s no surprise how poetic and elegantly this was written. I had high expectations going into this book and McNamara doesn’t disappoint. I devoured this book cover to cover, lost in her beautifully written passages. McNamara does imagery well – showing, not telling.

Lovely, dark and deep follows Wren Wells, a girl trying to find her place in society and coming to terms with the death of her boyfriend, Patrick. Wren is a recluse and likes her peace and quiet, finding solidarity in running. Wren meets Cal whose battling his own problems. Recluse. And so the two begin to meet and their relationship begins to blossom.

McNamara does characters well. Wren is someone who is lost and she’s trying. This is the thing that makes McNamara stand out from most – her characters are realistic. Wren’s thoughts, emotions, turmoil. Every bit and piece about Wren is so realistic that you almost feel like you know her in reality. Wren is shut off from the world and rejects help – a trait that can be dislikable but McNamara stays true to how a person griefs. Everyone griefs differently, and Wren’s idea of grief is as such.

Wren’s relationship with Cal is somewhat undeniable. A relationship between two troubled teens isn’t anything particularly new, but again, McNamara makes it work. Wren and Cal’s relationship blossom in stages the way a real relationship would. At one point, I didn’t understand why Cal was reacting to the relationship a certain way but in the later pages I understood. These are two people, trying to go by with real troubles that even something as trivial becomes important because they need each other yet they understand why if the other decides not to pursue the relationship.

I did love the other characters in book like Mary and Zara. I didn’t enjoy Michael or Meredith’s character – not because they were badly written, but because of how they are in the book. It’s amazing how much McNamara can make you feel even if a character appears for a few pages or chapters.

The book does drag out, understandably so considering the writing was incredibly poetic. The last 100 pages or so, while I did enjoy it I felt that it was unnecessary to make it drag out over so many chapters and pages. The ending was a little abrupt and I didn’t particularly like that since we were only starting to see Wren’s character change. I would have loved to see how her character evolved a little bit more rather than just touching the surface.

Having gone through a painful loss myself last year, I thought this book brought out the feelings and thoughts appropriately. Death is something hard to talk about, let alone write about and McNamara does it in such a manner that brings you calmness among the calamity. The book indeed is lovely, dark and deep. It is such a fantastic read and I can foresee myself reading this book again sometime in the future. Highly recommended!

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Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor

Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor
Prep School Confidential #1
Published July 30th 2013 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: 5/5

Goodreads

Summary: In this breathtaking debut that reads like Gossip Girl crossed with Twin Peaks, a Queen Bee at a blue-blooded New England prep school stumbles into a murder mystery.

Anne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side—that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston. Determined to make it back to New York, Anne couldn’t care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school.

When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it. With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read—even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder.

Review: Leave all your Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars comparisons at the door. Okay, I admit, I partially did read it because of the Gossip Girl comparison (what can I say, my 14 year old self devoured each and every book). Prep School Confidential reads nothing like Gossip Girl.

I really enjoyed Anne’s transition from a bored misfit to such a strong female protagonist, determined to find the truth about what happened to her roommate Isabella. With each chapter, I find myself rooting for Anne more and more, liking her a lot more than I did at the start. Anne started off as your typical bratty teenager but quickly became likable after Isabella was found dead. She was determined to bring justice for her friend and I found her keeping tabs on the news feeds for Isabella’s murder case very heartwarming.

Anne doesn’t give up. Even in the face of danger and threats, she will do anything to find out who killed Isabella. One of my most favourite things about Anne is how she doesn’t whine – she cries occasionally when she’s shaken, but she never lets it stop her from unravelling the truth. Anne Dowling does not falter and that’s why I love her.

The plot as a whole wasn’t anything particularly new but Taylor does it in such a way that is absolutely divine. Everyone at Wheatley has a secret – especially the administration. Anne interacts with all these different people and we learn a lot of different things that leads back to one particular event. Taylor kept me in suspense; there was a lot of “who done it?!” and you’re kept on your toes. There were many times when I thought I knew who the killer was only to learn something else that didn’t fit. Taylor weaves all these little information and people together seamlessly in such an engaging manner.

This book was refreshing and entertaining from cover to cover. I enjoyed Anne as a main character and all the little characters in the book. I also enjoyed the love triangle, although I thought one of the relationships blossomed in a really odd way/wasn’t during an appropriate time. I liked that the love aspect wasn’t a big part of the book and it focused primarily on the murder.

Overall, this book was such a brilliant read. I wouldn’t have guessed that this was Kara Taylor’s debut book. I will definitely be picking up her next book when it comes out next year.

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Beneath the Glitter by Elle & Blair Fowler

Beneath the Glitter by Elle & Blair Fowler
Beneath the Glitter #1
Published September 4th 2012 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: 2/5

Goodreads 

Summary: From internet stars Elle and Blair Fowler comes a scintillating new novel that takes readers Beneath the Glitter of the glitzy L.A. social scene.

Welcome to a place where dreams are made.  And where nothing—and no one—is ever what it seems.

After their make-up and fashion videos went viral on YouTube, sisters Sophia and Ava London are thrust into the exclusive life of the Los Angeles elite.  Here fabulous parties, air kisses, paparazzi and hot guys all come with the scene. Sophia finds herself torn between a gorgeous bartender and a millionaire playboy, and Ava starts dating an A-list actor.  But as they’re about to discover, the life they’ve always dreamed of comes with a cost.

Beneath the glitter of the Hollywood social scene lies a world of ruthless ambition, vicious gossip…and betrayal.  Someone close to them, someone they trust, is working in the shadows to bring the London sisters falling down. And once the betrayal is complete, Sophia and Ava find themselves knee-deep in a scandal that could take away everything they care about, including the one thing that matters most—each other.

Review: This is not an intellectual book. From the title and the overwhelmingly pink cover, you could tell this is going to be a chick lit type of book. I am not the book’s target audience – but I’ve watched Elle & Blair on YouTube. If you don’t know who Elle & Blair are, they’re beauty gurus who essentially found fame through YouTube. Like with most things celebrity I tend to be a bit more skeptical about the books they write but Elle seems to be a reader that enjoys good books so I took a gamble.

Beneath the Glitter follows a pair of sisters Sophia and Ava London and their journey to starting their make up collection London Calling. The book read more like a memoir rather than a work of fiction, mainly because a vast majority of the plot relates closely to Elle & Blair’s own life. The London sisters also found fame through YouTubing and are interested in fashion and make up and wants to built a make up empire. The story itself wasn’t anything new if you already knew who the Fowler sisters are from watching them on YouTube.

There are many technical aspects of the writing that I didn’t enjoy, particularly the overuse of capslock. At the end of every chapter there is a small LonDOs and LonDON’Ts section, which is a list of things you should and shouldn’t do but really its just a summary of the entire chapter in bullet points. There is a lot of name dropping in this book. Things that the sisters themselves have done with Cellaris and JustFab is included in the LonDOs section of the different chapters. I don’t know if it’s part of the sponsorship deal or whatever but it’s all so blatantly there.

I really hated the ending, considering that was the “highlight” from the preface. It was very rushed and not well put together. I think they spent more time writing on what they believed was the “meat” of the book rather than what is the only climax of the book.

In terms of character, there wasn’t much development from either Sophia or Ava. Sophia was slightly more like-able than Ava. Sophia seemed more intelligent (albeit she was still annoying) than Ava who came off as this vapid lovesick teenager the entire book. The other characters weren’t that interesting either nor did they develop much at all.

I’m really glad I didn’t buy this book and ended up borrowing it from my local library instead. It wasn’t a good read at all. There were a lot of technical writing issues and character issues; a big portion of the issues I had with this book seems to come from the lack of thought being put into this book. This book would probably be more for younger girls than myself, perhaps girls in middle grade who are interested in this kind of things or people who are fans of them on YouTube.

I’m not sure if I’ll read the sequel to this book that was recently released. Perhaps if I found it in the library, I’d consider giving it a shot but I highly doubt it’ll be any better though I would still want to see how it pans out.