133. Never Kiss Your Roommate by Philline Harms
A YA book about teenagers at a boarding school in rural England. Evelyn and Seth are both new students who become instant friends. Evelyn is assigned to room with notoriously difficult Noelle but who she winds up developing feelings for and Seth finds himself crushing on the school’s biggest flirt Jasper. All of this is playing out in the pages of the school’s notorious gossip blog Chitter Chatter written by an anonymous author known as The Watcher. This story apparently started out as an online story written by a teenager and it sort of reads as such, but I think it’s definitely a good start for someone who I think is still only 19 or 20 years old. I give it a 5 out of 10.
132. The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis
My book club decided to read this book. At least at the time we chose it I was the only one who had watched the series on Netflix. I will be curious to see what they have to say about it because I had a hard time figuring out what I thought about the book given how closely the series hews to its source material. There are a few things they add into the series and a few minor changes they make but it may be one of the closest adaptations of a book into a tv series or movie that I can think of and the rare instance where I did not think the book was better. I think the style of the series and the fashion was a big part of the attraction, so the book felt a little flatter without that. Though I also wonder how I would have felt about it had I not already known every little thing that was going to be done and said. I give it a 6 out of 10.
131. What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster
A story covering two generations in two different families one black and one white in a small town in North Carolina. Jade is a single mom raising her son Gee after the man he knew as his father is murdered in front of him as a small child. Lacey May is also a single mother raising her three girls Noelle, Margarita, and Diane after their father is sent to prison. They both lead hardscrabble lives trying to do better for their children leading to a fight over integrating a local high school. Overall I liked the book, but I did not care for the way that it ended. I give it a 7 out of 10.
130. The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes by Xio Axelrod
After Toni’s mother dumps her off in a small town in Pennsylvania as a teenager to live with a father she never know she meets Seb. They become fast friends and plot their way out of the town that is until Seb just picks up and takes off one night leaving Toni behind. Now years later Toni is on the verge of a breakthrough in her music career and has been given the opportunity to fill in for one of the hottest up and coming female rock bands in the country, but it turns out Seb is involved with the band and she doesn’t want to bring him back into her life.
I mostly enjoyed this book, but the level of notoriety this band did or did not have made no sense. The author seemed to want them to be both an indie band just signing with a label and on the verge of a big break through but also one that is relentlessly stalked by the papparazzi. I give it a 7 out of 10.
129. Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins by Emma Donaghue
Retellings of fairy tales. It was a very quick read. I liked them for the most part, but don’t really have much to say about them. I give it a 6 out of 10.
128. It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne
Audrey is anti-romance. Her parents are in the midst of a messy divorce that leaves her mother a wreck and Audrey feeling abandoned by her father. If their fairy tale romance didn’t work Audrey holds no hope that any romance can be real. She begins a take down of romantic comedies for a class project and shares her hatred of rom-coms with everyone at the cinema where she has recently gotten a job. It’s also where she meets Harry, the bad boy that everyone warns her against but whose charms she finds herself falling for in spite of herself.
This was a great YA novel. I felt real pain for Audrey and everything she was dealing with. I also was really happy with the end. The author faked me out for a second and I thought it was going in a different direction that I was really mad about, but then it came back around and ended how I thought it should. Although I’m guessing there will be people who will be mad that it didn’t end the opposite way. I give it a 7 out of 10.
127. First Do No Harm by Emily Smith
A mediocre romance that I don’t have much to say about. I give it a 5 out of 10.
126. Inconvenient Daughter by Lauren J. Sharkey
Rowan was adopted from South Korea by white parents in Pennsylvania. Her whole life she feels unwanted by the mother that gave her away leading her to try and fill that void with unhealthy relationships with men. I wanted to like this book more than I did. I found the adoption stuff interesting, but with long parts of the book about her doing irresponsible things and being involved in an abusive relationship that I was just not that interested in I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought at the beginning. Also I thought the ending sort of tied things up out of nowhere and not in a manner that felt like it earned. I give it a 5 out of 10.
125. The Summer of Everything by Julian Winters
It’s the summer before he heads off to college and Wes is living alone with his friend Emma while his parents are out of the country. They’re both working at the comic book store along with Wes’s best friend Nico who he is trying to figure out how to tell he is in love with him. When they find out that the comic book store is in danger of closing they band together with the rest of the rag tag bunch of employees to try and save it. The book is to some degree a rip-off of the Empire Records story complete with the kids working there being super into 90s music despite the book being set in current times. I just could not get into it at all even though it seems like something I would love. I give it a 6 out of 10.
124. Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian
In 1662 Boston Mary Deerfield is a 24 year old girl married to a much older man who has become increasingly violent towards her so much so that she takes the unusual step in trying to divorce him. Instead it leaves her cast as a potential witch. I liked the book for the most part, but I felt like it dragged on too long. I figured out who the person setting Mary up was early on and was ready for the end of the book by the time the first trial was over. All the stuff surrounding the second trial just felt like it didn’t add much to the story. I give it a 6 out of 10.