Mini-Review: One of the Guys (Lisa Aldin)

The Deets: 

Audience: YA
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9781939392633
Publisher: February 10th 2015 by Spencer Hill Press
Genre: contemporary, coming of age
Source: e-ARC from Netgalley






One of the GuysTomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. She'll take horror movies, monster hunts and burping contests over manicures. So Toni is horrified when she's sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a lady while the guys move on without her.

Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date. Word spreads of Toni’s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay big money for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up Toni Valentine’s Rent-A-Gent Service.
But the business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends--the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date. With everything she's built on the line, Toni has to decide if she wants to save the business and her old life, or let go of being one of the guys for a chance at love.























I must be in a contemporary/ romance sort of mood, because One of the Guys is the second contemporary book I've read in a row.  I would classify this one in the "beach read" category, though. It was a very quick read with a few moments of humor, but I really felt it lacked much else.

Within the first few pages, I could tell that Toni was all about Loch. It was so obvious. I felt the lake monster hunting was a bit lame for a group of teenagers going into senior year of high school, but I kept reading.

Toni was a fun character when she paired up with Emma Elizabeth. Their shenanigans at Winston Academy (and beyond) lead to some pretty interesting situations for all characters involved. On her own, however, was just so-so. She's definitely a tomboy, but it felt off. She is resistant to Winston Academy and everything it stands for, but then proclaims she wants to be a girly girl. I didn't really buy it. Nothing about her actions in this book made me think she wanted lipstick and skirts.

 My favorite characters-- by far-- in the book are the boys. Each one is very different and has inner demons to overcome. You have super nervous boy that is head over heels with a girl he's scared to approach. Adorable. Then there is super angsty boy that blames everyone else for his problems. He's a bit annoying, but luckily he's minor in the plot overall. You just have to put up with his loathing and jerkiness at a few points in the story.  Finally, you have mega nerd monster hunter boy that doesn't know he's pretty cute. He was pretty solid in his role of best-friend-that-happens-to-be-a-guy.

As I'm writing this, I wish I could come up with something that really stands out to me in this book. But I can't. One of the Guys reads more like a journal of a high school girl than a YA novel. There is nothing that indicates "diary" by any means, but there are some pretty large gaps that just get skipped over. That's what gives me the diary vibe. It's as if Toni is telling her story and leaving out anything that she doesn't want to discuss in detail.

I won't say I disliked it or that I'm sad I read it. It was ok, and I flew through the pages. It's a good book to read if you have it around and nothing else is speaking to you. Light and fluffy and nothing heavy in this one. But I would almost guarantee that teenage girls would eat this up, especially if they have crushes on their guy friends.  


Mini- Review: Breathe. Annie, Breathe (Miranda Kenneally)

The Deets:

Audience: YA
Pages: 306
Publisher: July 15th 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN: 9781402284793
Genre: contemporary




Breathe, Annie, BreatheAnnie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.






I'm not sure why Breathe, Annie, Breathe caught my attention. I'm not a fan of contemporary fiction, so that couldn't be it. Maybe it's because I hate running, and a character that feels the same way spoke to me? Regardless, I picked up Breathe, Annie, Breathe and ran with it.

Annie's voice is easy to relate to. She's devastated by the death of her long-term boyfriend, and absolutely racked with guilt. One unfortunate event has her thinking about the 'what ifs' and paralyzed by her sense of loss.

The start of the book mirrored the beginning of a running program: it has spurts of energy, then lagged to catch its breath. But like a good runner would do, I stuck with it. As soon as Jeremiah crossed Annie's path, I was hooked. He was a mystery and I wanted to discover his secrets right along with Annie.

To be very honest, I think Jeremiah's story was the most interesting for me. Annie took the role of a secondary character because I really didn't care about her running struggles. I wanted to know why Jeremiah was so broken and flighty. He had a lot more depth than Annie, in my opinion. But to be fair, when Annie and Jeremiah interacted with one another, there were sparks and the story seemed to merge into one fluid path. Both needed something but didn't know how to cross the red ribbon to find healing.

For me, the ending wrapped up too quickly. As soon as Annie graduated high school it was like BAM! college life. That could have been a separate book easily, but I do see what the author was doing. The linear time period wasn't defined by a school year or calendar; instead, it was paced based on the time it would take to train for and run a marathon.

Overall, Breathe, Annie, Breathe was a quick read that had some emotional parts to give you the feels. There was enough sarcasm between the main characters to make you smile and believe their attraction (and resistance to it). If you want a break from your genre of choice, Breath, Annie, Breathe is a nice way to deviate from your normal path.



Read an excerpt: http://mirandakenneally.com/writing/e...


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