Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











The Things You Kiss GoodbyeFrom Goodreads: Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.

But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.

Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.

When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.

Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love.

__________________________________________________________________

Connor captures the essence of a low self-esteemed, smitten teenaged girl traversing her first-ever relationship in this novel, and as we all know, love is “blind.” Thus, Bettina makes excuse after excuse for her abusive, sexually aggressive boyfriend, and she continually goes back to him time and time again, even after her hurts her in ways that no person should never allow. On the outside looking in, it’s easy to judge. I judged Bettina, and I’m sure any and all readers are going to do the same. We don’t understand her choices; we are screaming at her to wake up, to break up with Brady, to listen to Cowboy and pull it together. But sometimes it isn’t as easy for the person actually in the relationship to do that. If it were, I feel like there wouldn’t be as many domestic violence cases in the news—that no woman/man would allow it to happen to them, but think about it. There are many, many women in Bettina’s place right now. Why?

This novel is very realistic, and it’s not a happy story. There certainly is no happy ending, Bettina’s home life isn’t the best, her psyche is damaged, and she’s looking for love in all the wrong places. And though we may not want to acknowledge it, this is true for many teens out there in the world. It’s also true that there are teens out there with great families, great high schools, great relationships, and happy endings. This story isn’t one of them, though, and that’s okay. Even though it’s depressing and really not necessarily enjoyable for me as a reader, it’s real, and that’s why it’s so powerful. Perhaps that’s also why we don’t like it? No, I didn’t love this story. But I didn’t hate it, either. It’s somewhat eye opening for me as a reader, and makes me want to be even more vigilant and less condemning of others who are in situations that I just can’t understand. It also makes me want to help—to keep my eyes open and intervene when I can. Perhaps that’s the point of the story? Three and a half stars.

3.5 stars

I received this novel from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble

Advertisements


V is for VillainFrom Goodreads: Brad Baron is used to looking lame compared to his older brother, Blake. Though Brad’s basically a genius, Blake is a superhero in the elite Justice Force. And Brad doesn’t measure up at his high school, either, where powers like super-strength and flying are the norm. So when Brad makes friends who are more into political action than weight lifting, he’s happy to join a new crew-especially since it means spending more time with Layla, a girl who may or may not have a totally illegal, totally secret super-power. And with her help, Brad begins to hone a dangerous new power of his own.

But when they’re pulled into a web of nefarious criminals, high-stakes battles, and startling family secrets, Brad must choose which side he’s on. And once he does, there’s no turning back.

Perfect for fans of The Avengers, Ironman, and classic comic books, V is for Villain reveals that it’s good to be bad.

_________________________________________________________________

I recently read Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Super Villain, and liked the MG read so much that I began looking for a YA novel of the same caliber, which I found in V is for Villain. This young adult novel is sure to grab the attention of boys of all ages, and I absolutely adore that it’s making its debut at a time when my high school students are enamored with all things Avenger. Trying to get my students to read is a task in and of itself, but with enticing reads like this one, where the focus is on the comic book world of super-powered entities, well, we have a winner.

While I will admit that some of the storyline itself was a little predictable, it is still an attention grabber and I foresee my students gobbling it up. Dealing with the topics of bullying, family values, and self-esteem, the novel also has great themes that deliver a punch, leaving readers with a good message overall, even if our hero, Brad, is a villain.

I thought Moore did a great job fleshing out his characters, and their plights and decisions were well thought out and written in a believable manner (super-powers aside). It is a great novelist to capture younger readers’ attention, and it takes an even greater writer to take a fictional realm and make it a reality for said readers. Moore has done just that, I am definitely hoping for a sequel. I can’t wait to hear what my students think of this one. Four stars.

4 starsI received this novel from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing today:

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



et cetera
%d bloggers like this: