[Review] Belles by Jen Calonita

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 356 (Hardcover)

Summary
Fifteen-year-old Isabelle Scott loves her life by the boardwalk on the supposed wrong side of the tracks in North Carolina. But when tragedy strikes, a social worker sends her to live with a long-lost uncle and his preppy privileged family. Isabelle is taken away from everything she’s ever known, and, unfortunately, inserting her into the glamorous lifestyle of Emerald Cove doesn’t go so well. Her cousin Mirabelle Monroe isn’t thrilled to share her life with an outsider, and, in addition to dealing with all the rumors and backstabbing that lurk beneath their classmates’ Southern charm, a secret is unfolding that will change both girls’ lives forever.





Review
Oh. My. Gosh. Belles was awesome! Awesome! Honestly I prefer first-person-POV, but once I had adapted to third-person-POV, this book became so engrossing. The book switches POV between Izzie and Mira, which let us get to know both girls. The sentences just flow and I enjoyed the writing very much. I think the author has chosen the words well and I actually shed tears at heartbreaking moments.

I could relate with the characters easily, especially with Izzie. Her character felt real and I was rooting for her for the entire book through the happy and sad moments. Mira took a while for me – she’s too submissive when it comes to her friends, but gradually I began to understand her more and at the end I liked her too. I was glad that eventually, she learns to trust and accept Izzie in her life – even stands up for Izzie. Hayden is a kind brother and he always tries to encourage Izzie when she feels bad about herself. I loved these characters. They are not perfect, but they seem real and every breakdown they have only makes them even more realistic.

Let’s not forget about the romance. Yes. Well, I think it’s too predictable that Brayden is Izzie’s love interest. But that didn’t stop me from being curious about how their relationship would turn out.

The plot is in fact very common among YA books but it managed to keep me wondering what would happen next. School’s Queen Bee torturing the lower classes with a sprinkle of family issue, full of drama and not to forget well-concluded ending. The author practically closes Belles perfectly, but with a little hint of the next book. Recommended.


Quote:

“I want someone who builds people up, not tears them down. I need someone who makes me laugh and isn’t afraid to rib me when I’m being a royal jerk.” She smiled a little. “You’re that girl. I want to be with you, and I want everyone to know it.”

Rating:

5 mouth-watering cakes!


[Review] Don’t You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)

Summary
When plain and unpopular Annie Nutter gets zapped by one of her dad’s whacked-out inventions, she lands in a parallel universe where her life becomes picture-perfect. Now she’s Ayla Monroe, daughter of the same mother but a different father—and she’s the gorgeous, rich queen bee of her high school.

In this universe, Ayla lives in glitzy Miami instead of dreary Pittsburgh and has beaucoup bucks, courtesy of her billionaire—if usually absent—father. Her friends hit the clubs, party backstage at concerts, and take risks that are exhilirating . . . and illegal. Here she’s got a date to lose her V-card with the hottest guy she’s ever seen.

But on the inside, Ayla is still Annie.

So when she’s offered the chance to leave the dream life and head home to Pittsburgh, will she take it?

The choice isn’t as simple as you think.





Review
Don’t You Wish easily becomes one of my favorite contemporary books that I will never forget. I like it when a book exceeds my expectations. Seriously, I didn’t think that possible. I thought that this was gonna be another common contemporary that maybe I could like, but certainly wouldn’t make it to my favorite list. Well, I was wrong. TOTALLY WRONG. 

I love everything about this book. The story somehow reminds me of Before I Fall, except I definitely wasn’t bored. The writing is simple, but it managed to hook me and make me interested in it from the beginning. I love the way Annie brings change to Ayla’s life. Surely popularity and perfection have their prices ― the message that Roxanne St. Claire tries to deliver is clear and it got me right in the heart.

Despite the fact that she’s stuck in Ayla’s life (which she has been craving for), Annie stays true to herself. I found myself relating to her easily – regretting my decisions, wishing something hadn’t happened. But when she has the chance to live a luxurious life full of popularity and money yet also fake friends and wrecked family, she realizes that “this life” is not as perfect as it seems. I adore her and what I learned from her is: be grateful for anything in your life even though it’s not flawless, because you never know that it’s perfect until you lose it.

And there’s this sweet, sweet guy named Charlie who helps Annie to realize that the inside is always more important that the outside. I really love this guy. He’s an outcast and used to be homeless, but he cares a lot about his family, especially his wheel-chaired sister. 

Don’t You Wish is an amazing read and well-written, with valuable messages and perfect ending. Remember, be careful what you wish for…

Rating:

5 Chocolate Cakes


[Review] 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Pages: 340 (Hardcover)

Summary
Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Blvd either.

Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteen birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.

In a hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and, regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have 52 reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.




Review
There are plenty of parts that I love in this book. Funny, awkward, touching and heartfelt moments that make me sympathize to Lexi. I know at the beginning she sounds like an ungrateful-spoiled-daughter who does nothing but drinking and partying and shopping. However, she gradually starts to learn a lot of important life lessons as she goes through weeks of doing low-wages jobs which her super busy father had
set.

I pretty much enjoyed the book, laughing at some funny scenes and tearing up a bit on heartfelt moments. But what I like the most is Lexi’s close relationship with her human best friends and canine best friend.

Holly is a Papillion dog she rescued some time ago and since then they have been growing closer and closer. The way Holly cares about Lexi is just cute and I can’t help but smile.

I myself like dogs and I also have a few at home. And Holly reminds me of them. Sometimes my dogs will wait for me in front of my bathroom door. Every time I get home (and every single member of my family), they will greet us enthusiastically and wag their tails so hard that it might hurt a bit when it slaps my leg. And I also believe dogs have a high sense of loyalty and understanding that even exceeds human occasionally. (I’m sure you all have heard about Hachiko, a Japanese dog that waited for his owner for more than 10 years)

In “52 Reasons to Hate Your Father”, we get to watch Lexi changes into a mature 18-year-old girl. The book may doesn’t focus on Lexi’s love life, but it centers around her relationship with her dad and ends with an unexpected realizations. That love is not a mere business negotiation. That she has the potential to be a greater person. And more importantly, her dad isn’t as badl as she always thought.

Here are a couple of quotes I love the most from the book:

“People can be so annoying sometimes. With all their stupid opinions and hidden agendas. But dogs? Dogs don’t have any agendas. They’re as honest and open and devoted as you can get. And that’s why they’ll always cheer you up. They’ll always love you. No matter how badly you screw up.”

“Because apart we might be different as night and day, black and white, right and wrong, but together we create two sides of a whole. Together we balance.”


Rating:

5 Chocolate Cakes!


[Review] Divergent by Veronica Roth

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 487 (Hardcover)

Summary

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series–dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.





Review
Describing Divergent:

Action-packed. Fast-paced. Thrilling.

It took a long time for me to pick up this book and I didn’t buy it at first sight, but once I started reading it, this book really drove me into its world. And I’m glad that I bought it. Despite the fact that I finished reading it weeks ago, I haven’t written a review yet. So this is what I think:

What attracted me first was its epic-blazing-cover. It reminded me to The Hunger Games movie poster (you know, the burning Mockingjay thing). But I have to admit that Divergent cover is way more awesome and eye-catching than The Hunger Games. In my opinion, this is the best dystopian book cover that I’ve ever seen so far.

Speaking of dystopian, in the past recent years, a myriad of dystopian books were released following the success of Hunger Games trilogy and starting a new trend among YA readers. Almost all of them have a rebellion element and so does Divergent.

The first two chapters were interesting enough for me to enjoy this book. And of course, it’s written in Tris POV. Even after the tense increased, I found myself still paying attention to every sentence, excited about what was happening in the story, and anxious about how it would end. Veronica Roth definitely has done a great job for keeping me hooked even in fighting scenes.

As a Dauntless, Tris does dangerous and adrenaline-rushing things (such as: jumping off a train to a roof and sliding a zip line from a 300-meter-tall building). The idea of jumping from a train sounds stupid for me, though. She meets new friends and then falls in love with Four/Tobias.

One of the most inseparable elements in YA books is romance. I have to admit that the romance in Divergent is not suck at all. Slowly but surely. Tris isn’t being annoying by complimenting Four’s appearance in every of her inner thought. And Four isn’t playing with the word “love” – he decides to say that he loves Tris after he is sure about his feelings. He trusts Tris’s ability even in her weakness and he never underestimates her even once. A rare type of boy, isn’t he? The point is: It’s not an ordinary love-at-first-sight romance.

Tris easily becomes one of my favorite characters throughout the story. Her inner thought is very interesting; I liked how she reveals things and comments about what happens around her. She develops into a strong character. Veronica has written the dialogues nicely, too!

But, my number-one-favorite character is the funny, easygoing, friendly URIAH! I fell in love with him at once.

Overall, Divergent is truly an amazing book. It has fascinating plot, like-able characters and slow-paced-love-story. It’s fabulously written and also I learned a lot from this book.

Certainly one of my favorite book and so far the best dystopian book I’ve ever read. This is recommended for those who love dystopian books and action-packed story.


Rating:

5 Chocolate Cakes!