The Boyfriend Thief (Stolen Kisses #1) – Sharna Norris

the boyfriend thief

Title: The Boyfriend Thief
Author: Shana Norris
Publisher: Paper Lantern Lit
Series: Series
Year Published: 2014
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Realistic, YA
Pages: 210
Rating: ♔♔♔♔

Goodreads’ Description

1 ill-fated hot dog costume. 2 former BFFs. 11 days to seduce a boy.

Avery James doesn’t believe in romance—she’s studied enough biology to know that love is nothing more than hormones and chemicals. Besides, she has more practical goals in mind, namely saving up for a summer humanitarian program in Costa Rica. But when her Diggity Dog House supervisor denies her a raise and Avery finds herself $500 dollars short for the trip of a lifetime, Avery has no choice but to accept an unexpected offer. The deal? She must steal her arch nemesis Hannah’s boyfriend before prom, giving Avery eleven days to seduce Zac Greeley.

Avery is sure the job will be easy. But a few midnight comedy shows and spontaneous dance parties (not to mention one particularly intimate carwash) later, Avery finds herself questioning everything she’s ever thought about love. Could Zac’s signature cherry-lime Slurpees be causing brain freeze, or is Avery actually starting to fall for him?

Will Avery be able to steal Zac away from Hannah before he steals Avery’s heart?

My Thought

four stars

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We All Looked Up – Tommy Wallach

we-all-looked-up-9781471124556_hr Title: We All Looked Up
Author: Tommy Wallach
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Series: Stand Alone
Year Published: 2015
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Realistic
Pages: 370
Rating: ♔♔♔♔

Goodreads’ Description

Before the asteroid we let ourselves be defined by labels: The athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever.

But then we all looked up and everything changed.

They said it would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we’d been, something that would last even after the end.

Two months to really live.

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My Thought

The best books, they don’t talk about things you never thought about before. They talk about things you’d always thought about, but that you didn’t think anyone else had thought about. You read them, and suddenly you’re a little bit less alone in the world. You’re part of this cosmic community of people who’ve thought about this thing, whatever it happens to be. I think that’s what happened to you today. This fear, of squandering your future, was already on your mind. I just underlined it for you. 

What I expected: An action-packed novel where teenagers ditch their problems and just enjoy an excited-thrilling adventure at the end of the world.

What truly happened: A new perspective of what actually would happen if the Earth is about to be eradicated by an asteroid. Brilliant! 😀

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We All Looked Up revolves around four teenagers (Elizia, Anita, Peter and Andy), each attach with labels (the jock, the slacker, the outcast and the overachiever). They are told their lives on Earth is running out of time – precisely two months before an evil asteroid will hit Earth and there’s 66.66% of chance they are going to die. Perhaps the odds are in their favours?

Now, allow me to explain the truth of this novel…do you get what I’m trying to say? Yes? No? Maybe?

I really like this book, it’s unusual compared to other apocalyptic novels. It stands out. Your usual cliches don’t happen as much in this novel compared to other contemporaries. This novel is deep. It’s meaningful. Definitely well-written in terms of the messages the author is trying to get across. Though, if you’re after a full-on action-packed novel then this may not be for you. I mean, there are a lot of actions in this novel but it’s different?

To others, yes, this novel does includes several hysterical actions that you would expect in an apocalyptic novel. However to me, the subelements stand out; by which I mean the philosophical aspect of this novel – that it’s realistic and there is a sense of religion underline throughout it.  The themes approached in the novel is fantastically well-done. At the same time, this novel may come across as slightly confronting for younger readers. Moreover, this book is very much about the four teenagers discovering their identity – of how they fit into this chaotic world, of what they really want in life and who they want to be – by simply starting to live.

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Now, let’s talk about the book 😉 

First thing first, I have learnt to love this one word that I never really thought about. Karass. It is when a group of people who, unknown to themselves, are somehow connected or linked, specifically to fulfill the will of God. See, this is where the religious element comes in for this novel. I think this word sounds very kickass and it is almost as beautiful as the word serendipitous. So thank you Mr. Wallach for introducing this word to me! ^-^

Secondly, I love how Wallach wrote about four very different characters, all with different personalities and different voices, yet they created a karass and they all became great friends through variety of adversities. In real life, I think everyone would be surprised by who their friends may turned out to be if they just ditch their labels for once. Some people like Peter in the novel carries the label of being a jock, yet he spends his time ponders about the meaning of life and the idea of Pyrrhic victory. Anyway, Wallach successfully developed those characters without them sounding the same.

Finally, my favourite character is Anita. I may not be an overachiever at school anymore but I can relate to her the most. No, my parents are not as disciplinal as Anita’s and nor are they wealthy. I certainly hope so though, so I can have a library to myself. It will be my dream come true. But Anita is one who I can relate to and envy the most. I think when it comes to characters, either you pick the one you wish it’s you in real life or you choose the one that has similar life experience to you. I mean, isn’t that always the case? When it comes to romance, Anita doesn’t make a move compared to Eliza, in fact the way romance occurs to Anita is parallel to my life.

My second favourite character is Mr.McArthur! 😀 He is AMAZING!

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If I have a teacher like him (which I sort of do) I would buy him his favourite food everyday. It will be an honour if I could meet him in real life! He is one of those people whom you wish will be your mentor for the rest of your life. Am I right?

I also love the fact how Andy slowly discovers his true friends as the novel progresses, and Peter’s sensibility, as well as the fact Wallach mentions Tumblr in his book. I mean, that is my favourite place to go to when I want to read about the new bookish goss, and no authors as far as my reading experience goes have included Tumblr in their novels. So Mr Wallach you rock! ❤.❤

The character that I like least is Eliza. I don’t know why, but I feel like she is nonchalant towards everything she does even though she does cares about some things. She gives out this really cool vibe that when you walk pass her – you either shrinks or you meets her with the same intensity eyes to eyes. Yes, she tries to unite the society but I feel like it’s not her style to do that? She seems too ignorant to worry about the real world issues which in fact is not what happened. Maybe I just wish it is Anita instead. Awkward because Wallach says in an Q&A that he is most likely to resembles Eliza. 😦

Then there is Misery and Bobo..

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They p*ss me off! Bobo is the reason why there are so many violence and abusive cases out there! Why? I mean why would you want to hurt someone you love? It just doesn’t make any sense to me why men can be so aggressive when they don’t get what they want. It scares me into thinking that this could be anyone you know. Then there is Misery. From the start till the end, I have no idea why Misery would not leave Bobo. I just don’t understand this dysfunctional relationship between them. What has happened to cause the change in Misery? I think it will be more convincing if Wallach includes a past/background story of Misery and Bobo’s love story.

P.S. I can’t believe that there is an album that goes with this novel! I mean isn’t that amazing? Listening to the music when you’re not reading the book, and when you’re charging your phone/i-pod or whatever it’s that may be, you will be reading the novel. So cool! 😀

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Final Words: This novel took a new perspective for an apocalyptic novel. I reckon it goes against the old order of what a supposedly end-of-the-world contemporary novel should be like. So well done to Mr Wallach! So if you want a fresh take on contemporary genre with romance not being the main element then this is a book you should definitely read. I’m glad this is a standalone as anymore of this story continued would just destroy the plot. For me, this novel was excellent at the start, however, as it continued it descended slightly.

The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1) – Jenny Han

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty9780141330532
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Puffin Australia
Series: Summer
Year Published: 2010
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Realistic
Pages: 276
Rating: ♔♔♔

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Every year Isabel spends a perfect summer at her family friends’ house. There’s the swimming pool at night, the private stretch of sandy beach… and the two boys.

Unavailable, aloof Conrad – who she’s been in love with forever – and friendly Jeremiah, the only one who’s ever really paid her any attention. But this year something is different.

My Thought

The Summer I Turned Pretty’s main character Isabel (aka Belly) is a young teenager who has always preferred summer over any other season of the year. Because every summer her mum, along with Belly and her brother would visit Susannah’s house (her mother’s best friend). Susannah has two boys – Conrad and Jeremiah, and one of them Belly has been forever in love with (Conrad), the other which has developed a crush on Belly (Jeremiah). In Belly’s opinion, she thinks she has always been perceived by the boys as her younger sister and tagalong. However, this summer she is about to find that everything has changed and it’s her time to grow up.

Hmm, my feelings of this novel is quite ambivalent. I really like a lot of aspects and elements in this book. However, it wasn’t good enough to give me a mind-blown reaction or a book hangover. Maybe I will just do list! 🙂 It always helps me to clarify and organise my thoughts.

‘+’ Positives

Let’s just say you shouldn’t be fooled by the title of the novel and lose interest because of the lameness. Though what might have been lame to me may appear lovey-dovey to you. Who knows? All I know is that at the time I needed a short and sweet read, and this turned out just perfect.

This novel touches on subjects such as divorce, friendships, family bond, brotherhood, terminal illness and its impact on family, and of course love revolving around Belly. I love all those elements because it broadens the idea of love and what a contemporary series should definitely include.

It portrays a realistic summer’s love.

First of all, I need to praise Jenny Han’s writing, because damn she is brilliant at what she is doing! Han successfully portrays Belly’s thoughts. I was not once confused by her actions and motives. Even though her heart (feelings) and her brain (logic) constantly tell her different things, it was easy to follow. Meanwhile, Han did one thing which Amanda Hockings should’ve done while she was writing Wake. Between chapters of telling what’s happening in the present, Han also included chapters of Belly’s past memories of Conrad and Jeremiah. This is brilliant as Belly’s love for the boys will not seem spontaneous, rather it will feel right. If Belly decides to date one of the boys, then their relationship doesn’t feel instant as those past memories have built up. It certainly is a great technique to save the instalove from happening as it’ll feel natural and meant to be. On the other hand, Gemma & Alex’s relationship in Wake turned me off because it feels like instalove, as all Hocking did was just to say they have been best friends since forever. It just doesn’t work like this unfortunately.

When I first read the age of Belly, I panicked. I wasn’t far into the novel, but I was nervous of what could have happened if I continued. The protagonist was 3 years younger than me, in which I feared I wouldn’t be able to relate to as they often appeared as twelvies to me. However, Han has done a brilliant work with the way she writes Belly’s thoughts. I could relate to her! Most of the time when I read, I would forget Belly’s age unless it was mentioned in the novel every once in a blue moon. This is impressive because authors often forget what it was like to be teenagers again. Hence their writing always seem a bit whiny and nagging when the age of the protagonist is so young.

So you rock Jenny Han!

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‘-‘ Negatives

One word: Belly. >.<

Maybe it’s just me who has this suspicious theory, but I feel like she is trying to balance Belly’s perfectionism (e.g. perfect body and tan skin etc.) with an embarrassing name. Thus she is approved by the readers of having a “hot” body because puberty has made all boys turned their heads. This is just my thought, because if I have that name…I think I will dig myself a hole and just hide in it forever.

Oh, and she is also known as Belle as well. Like…what’s with the names right?!

(Yet, here I’m sitting, thinking why puberty hasn’t made me hot? :/)

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Secondly, this novel was quite predictable. I don’t know if Conrad’s frustration at a particularly problem (promise no spoiler) was meant to be earth shattering for the readers and made them burst into tears. Well, I can tell you guys that I didn’t burst into tears. But there were obvious clues throughout the book of the bad news so it wasn’t jaw-dropping for me. In fact…

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I don’t like Susannah as much as Belly’s mother. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. I’m not heartless okay? It’s just…I feel like the author tried hard to make her seems like a goddess. Maybe also the fact that I have no family members who have yet to die from cancers and I certainly hope not! However, I feel like there is too much spotlight on Susannah thus I always shifted my focus to Belly’s mother. I just feel sorry for her the way Belly treats her mother. I mean, the sad truth is I completely get why she doesn’t like her mother over Susannah, as I shamefully is like that too. The guilt I feel right now… Anyhow, when it was revealed that Susannah is getting sick again – I almost didn’t care.

SPOILER OVER; KEEP READING…

I was so happy when the author did Belly’s mum justice. Like, finally she is being acknowledged.

Thirdly…
Gahhhh, it’s so sad…. But there is not one boy I could root for throughout this book. Not Steven, not Conrad, not Jeremiah, not Cameron, and certainly not Mr Fisher either. Jeremiah is nice in a realistic way, and I was hoping he could be a bit more hmm…perhaps unrealistically gracious in the book? I was hoping Conrad could be a bit more developed in terms of personality. I get it that he is the cool guy, but he needs to have a cool personality like Fang from Maximum Ride to be labelled as cool. Then there is Steven whom I think is perfectly developed in terms of his role in being Belly’s brother. However, because he is Belly’s brother, his lively personality is not shown as much as Jeremiah or Conrad’s. Then there is Cameron. He is a “straight edge” and I love that about him. He does comes off as having an odd personality. Like he could turned out to be a serial killer or psychopath and you don’t know it. So sayonara to him. And no way was I going to start developing a crush on Mr Fisher as his atrocious action deserves him a punch in the face.

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Finally, I thought the ending was quite rushed? I mean, I get that it is a series. But I was hoping for a slightly longer length novel, like even 15 pages more to progress the story slightly. The last chapter happened abruptly, and I didn’t see that coming so it was like…what the hell? It wasn’t a cliffhanger, it just irritated me.

Final Words: I think there are too many good books out there waiting for me to pick up so I don’t think I would read the next book soon unless someone gave it to me as a present or I just needed a quick energy boost to my reading slump.