Title: Starry Nights
Author: Daisy Whitney
Rating: 2 Stars/DNF
Release Date: September 3rd, 2013
Release Date: September 3rd, 2013
Where to begin with Starry Nights? From the beginning itself, the narration struck me as off and as the novel progressed, I was unable to connect with the story. Unlike Whitney’s last book, When You Were Here, her latest is devoid of much emotion. I was unable to become emotionally attached to any of the characters or even come to care about them. Moreover, for a novel set in France, this book could very well be set anywhere on Earth. Whitney fails to describe her vivid setting and capture the aura of a new country, one teeming with romance and magical qualities. As a French student – one who has been forced to study art excessively by a rather obsessed substitute teacher – I didn’t have much trouble following the narrative voice, but the lack of descriptions lead me to believe that many readers may possibly be confused by the art terms or merely bored by them. I know I was. With the exception of its cover, I am sad to admit that there is nothing exceptional about Whitney’s newest novel. It didn’t work for me, but just maybe its final version will be slightly more polished and woo readers everywhere.
Title: Her Best Worst Mistake
Author: Sarah Mayberry
Rating: 4.5 Stars
I picked this up late at night, hoping to read a chapter or two before calling it a day, but I wound up inhaling this entire short novel within two hours and seeing the beginning of the next day instead. And I love that feeling; there are few things more wonderful than losing all sense of time in a book and waking up to find that the world has moved on, even while you were stuck in a haze of fiction. Her Best Worst Mistake is surprisingly readable, being both sexy and thought-provoking, with a brilliant cast of characters to boot. Usually, with a summary as sketchy as this one - sleeping with your best friend's ex-fiancée - I'm typically running in the other direction, but the overwhelming amount of positive reviews for this one made me too curious to resist. And I'm glad I didn't. While I doubt I'll pick up anything more from this author in the foreseeable future, I know I won't be able to get this remarkable love story out of my head for awhile. If you're in one of those moods where all you need is some sexy times, thrown in with a couple who walks that fine line between hate and love where the tension is just sizzling, then look no farther. Her Best Worst Mistake won't be your worst mistake, but it could very well be your best. Guaranteed.
Title: The Spectacular Now
Author: Tim Tharp
Rating: 4 Stars
I'd have never picked up this novel in a million years if it weren't for the fact that the screen writers of "500 Days of Summer" wrote the screenplay for the movie version of this novel. And Shailene Woodley, of course. It seems a little shallow to admit that, but it's the truth. I'm not a fan of Contemporary YA and I'm especially not a fan of novels about teenagers partying and drinking - which is, admittedly, a lot of what this book is.
Yet, the narration throughout this story is superb. Sutter, the teen who has popularity, a car, a job, and a girlfriend. A really big heart. But also a drinking problem. An addiction. And reading his tale is a little like stepping into that mindset yourself. It captures the essence of the teenage years, but also the scary cliff that looms ahead when you're lost in your world. Sutter is so deeply dark with so many layers to just keep peeling. Aimee, the girl he intends to save, is just as screwed up in some ways and I love her unrelenting depths as well. All of these characters are written so starkly; realistic and raw in a manner that is difficult to describe. And this ending, though not the one I was clamoring for, did manage to grasp life in all its highs and lows. The Spectacular Now is a spectacular slice of life itself, with all its messiness and flaws, complications and oddities, and though it's not my favorite book out there, I can't recommend it enough.