Thursday, July 21, 2011

The TBR Back Burner Challenge: Round 7 Reviews

So, we are right in the thick of summer now and being such I think it's time that I bust out the summer reads. So here are the reviews for two beachy, summery, road trippy books that have been sitting patiently in my TBR pile waiting for hotter weather to lure me to their summery goodness.

EvilEva reviews...... The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han.
Belly measures her life in summers. Every year she leaves town with her mother and older brother, Steven and travels to the sandy shores of Cousins Beach. There they meet up with her mother's best friend, Susannah and her two sons, Conrad and Jeremiah in the beach house they've owned for as long as Belly can remember.
This year Belly looks forward to sunning, swimming and swooning over Conrad. But Conrad is acting all aloof and soon Belly finds a new guy named Cam to help her forget about Con and his crumby attitude. But even though she likes Cam she can't stop thinking about Conrad.  And now Jeremiah seems like he might be interested in Belly as more than just a friend too.
It's all so teen-angsty confusing! Seems like "turning pretty" might not be all it's cracked up to be.

I really wanted to like this one because it was recommended to me be the fantabulous ladies over at YA Crush (it's a great book blog run by two hilarious Michael Moscovitz lovers! Check it out.) but I just couldn't get into it.
I didn't really care for Belly's voice. I found her to be whiny, selfish and a bit on the conceited side. Which I guess is kinda par for the teenage girl course but still. I felt like she never really redeemed herself for having such suckish qualities. There was a lot of talk about this being "the year she turned pretty," the year people (boys mostly) finally started noticing her, a time when she should start to grow up and mature slightly faster than her boobs have. But she doesn't. She remains semi-annoying Belly throughout the entire book (even after she learns something pretty devastating about Susannah.)
Something else I found a bit disappointing was the lack of swoon. With THREE boys to choose from, there should have been swoon aplenty. There should have been panty-melting, heart-a-twittering, knee-weakening, butterfly-inducing swoon. But I didn't feel it. Conrad was a douchebag. He ignored Belly most of the time and when he wasn't ignoring her he was being kinda assy to her. And yet Belly was tee totes in love with him forevs, even while dating Cam.
Cam seemed like a nice enough guy except he let Belly walk all over him and was kind of a pussy when it came to her. But maybe that's just because he knew she wasn't really that into him and he was trying his hardest, by giving in to her every whim, to get her to like him. 
Then there was Jeremiah. He was my fave of the three guys. To me though, their relationship gave off a "in the friend zone" vibe and it seemed like Jeremiah didn't really mind that until the end of the book when all of a sudden he too is in love with Belly. 
But really, Cam and Jeremiah didn't even matter cos Belly only had eyes for Conrad. For some reason. 
On the Rate-A-Date-O-Meter, if there is such a thing, I'd give Belly and Conrad a Carrie and Mr. Big. That's what I was reminded of the whole time I was reading this book. Because, much like Carrie with Big, Belly is obsessed with Conrad. She thinks about him even though she's with another guy (a nice guy who is completely moony over her and actually treats her well.) She'll drop everything and everyone just so she can spend one moment with him (even if he spends that moment ignoring her.) It's like he's her life force. Without Conrad there is no Belly. Which is pretty sad. 
So this just wasn't the book for me. It didn't have any particularly funny parts or any sexytimes. The chapters alternate between present Belly and past Belly. And, sadly enough, there's not much of a difference between the two.

The Scale of Judgment says...... 2 and a half.

EvilEva reviews...... Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.
Amy is having a difficult summer. Her father unexpectedly died a few months ago, her twin brother Charlie is stuck in a rehab facility in North Carolina and after being all alone for weeks Amy now has to drive from the only home she's ever known to join her mother in a new house, in a new city, on the other side of the country. 
The problem? Amy doesn't drive.
So her mother has enlisted Roger, a friend's son, to get Amy and their car from California to Connecticut. 
What starts out as an awkward trip, perfectly, boringly mapped out by mom, quickly turns into a surprising, awesome epic detour!

I LOVED this story! I LOVED these characters! Roger is sheer awesome sauce! His name has now officially been added to my Book Boyfriend Hall Of Fame. And I would totes be BFFs with Amy any day! They both seemed very real to me. I liked the fact that, in the beginning, Amy was a little wary and uncomfortable traveling across the country with someone she barely knew and how the further they went she began to loosen up and unravel the story of why she doesn't drive, refuses to wear sunglasses and can't bear to listen to Elvis anymore.
Roger was the perfect road trip companion for her. He was sweet and funny and nice and was very compassionate towards her and everything she'd been through. 
I thought that Amy and Roger's somewhat lukewarm friendship slowly and steadily turning into something more was totally swoontastical! It's like 200+ pages of adorable foreplay!
I even loved the secondary characters. Walcott, Bronwyn and Lucien were all great in their own ways. And even though they only occupied about one to two chapters, they still made a distinct impression and had their specific roles to play to move the story along.
I also liked that Morgan Matson described the journey in such rich detail. It made me feel like I was in the backseat along for the ride. I thought the scrapbook element and the multitude of playlists was a cool bonus too. 
This book made me wanna take my own road trip immediately. It also spurred me to make my own Epic Detour Playlist (which I've included below.)
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour is a fantastic book about love, lose and the courage it takes to move on. I would HIGHLY recommend this book especially right now in July cos it would make the PERFECT beach read!

The Scale of Judgment says...... 5!

EvilEva's Epic Detour Playlist #1

"Taking Cues From Roger" aka "Because I Heart Music" aka "I Also Love Lists"

Song Title                                   Artist

"Right Now"                                SR71
"So Long, Astoria"                     The Ataris
"Back To California"                 Sugarcult
"Vegas"                                        New Found Glory
"Be My Escape"                         Relient K
"Our Time Now"                        Plain White Ts
"Good Life"                                One Republic
"Uncharted"                               Sara Bareilles
"Movin' On"                               Good Charlotte
"Crazy Ride"                               Michelle Branch
"It's Alright"                               MxPx
"Maps"                                        Yeah Yeah Yeah's
"Wish You Were"                      Kate Voegele

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