April 24, 2013

The Good Girl, The Neighbor & The Cyborg

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Release Date: January 2013
Publisher: Penguin | Dutton Children's Books
Pages: 368 pages
Series: Just One Day #1
Source & Format: Bought; Hardcover
Amazon Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads)
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there's an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Thoughts on Just One Day
This was one of those books that was so hyped, I figured there was no way it could live up to my expectations. Well, I'm happy to report that I was wrong! I wanted to write a full review for this, but I don't think I can even find the words to describe what I love about this book. I so identified with Allyson - following the rules, being a good girl - and that made me care all the more about her story. For me, the strength of this book wasn't even the romance. We barely meet Willem before he's whisked off the page! What I truly loved was seeing Allyson grow and come into her own. It felt like such a realistic picture of what happens as you become an adult - that questioning of who you are and what you want to do with your life. But don't get me wrong, I am eagerly anticipating seeing the romance conclude in Just One Year. I just wish it was being released sooner! Don't worry, I've already preordered my copy.

So Quotable
"We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love in one day. Anything can happen in just one day."

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Release Date: June 2012
Publisher: Penguin | Puffin Books
Pages: 394 pages
Source & Format: Gift; Kindle ebook
Amazon Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads)
The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them... until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

Thoughts on My Life Next Door
I wasn't sure how I'd feel about My Life Next Door. It was one of my most anticipated books last year, mostly because of the way the cover made me feel. Does that even make sense? Probably not, but oh well! I just could not wait to meet the Garretts - I had a feeling I'd be in love from the very first page! But then the reviews started rolling in, and it seemed like people had more lukewarm feelings that I'd hoped for. I wasn't dying to read this one anymore. For Christmas, my sweet friend gave me a copy of the book and I finally got around to reading it a few months later. I'm so glad I did! This was such a lovely book, and it will make you long for a dip in the pool with the boy next door. There are so many things to love about the first 3/4 of the book, and then THE EVENT happens. I wasn't sure what it was before I started reading, and I won't spoil it here, but I noticed many reviewers expressing dissatisfaction with a twist toward the end. Now that I've read the book, I do understand why. The way it's introduced and handled made me a little anxious. My stomach was in knots because I did not like where the story was going. Thankfully, all was right in the end. However, it did leave the book feeling a little off - the pacing is leisurely for most of the book and then races along right at the end. However, this was definitely a fun read. Aside from a few pacing issues, I found much to love about this sweet summer story!

So Quotable
"The Garretts were my bedtime story, long before I ever thought I’d be part of the story myself."

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Release Date: January 2012
Publisher: Macmillan | Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 387 pages
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1
Source & Format: Bought; Kindle ebook
Amazon Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads)
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She's a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world's future.

Thoughts on Cinder
Okay, guys. I'm going to be honest here, and it's going to put me in the minority. While I enjoyed the creativity of Cinder, I didn't really love the book. I think this was one of those "too hyped" things for me. I'd included the book in a Top Ten Tuesday post about series I needed to start, and almost every single comment specifically named this book as one I MUST START IMMEDIATELY. Listening to the masses, I knew that I couldn't put off this read any longer. Now, I wonder if my expectations got the best of me. I understand why everyone loves it so much, and I really did love that it was like nothing I'd ever read before. However, I just didn't completely connect to the story or the characters. I kept being pulled out of the story because I was trying to figure out the world, and I didn't really see the relationship developing between Cinder and Kai. I also felt like the "revelation" was more than a little obvious, so the climactic moment didn't really have the impact on me that was probably intended. All of that being said, I have purchased Scarlet and plan to continue with this series. Just because I didn't crazy love book one doesn't mean I won't hit my stride with the next installment!

So Quotable
“I’m sure I’ll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on.”

14 comments:

  1. Aww, a little sad that you didn't love Cinder as much as I did, but I understand. I'm eager to hear your thoughts about Scarlet next!

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    1. I'll definitely post my thoughts on Scarlet when I read it! I'm hoping I connect to it better.

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  2. LOVE that you loved Just One Day! And I felt a similar connection with Allyson always following the rules. And her growth in independence was my FAVORITE part too!! This book and her journey totally gave me the oompf and courage to plan another trip back to Europe.

    And I really like Cinder but I agree that it wasn't drop everything and read right now! Scarlet, however, makes up the difference. It is an amazing sequel and I liked it better than Cinder, so don't give up yet! :)

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    1. I seriously wanted to go to Europe again after Just One Day. That book gives you major wanderlust! So glad that you adored Allyson's growth, too.

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  3. It warms my heart to see that you loved Just One Day (I did too!) and My Life Next Door (I also loved this one!). I'm sorry about your experience with Cinder (which is actually one of my favorite books!). I think one thing that reviewers like myself might have made more clear is that the book is a bit (1) predictable and (2) story-driven. It's a good series though, so I'm glad you're continuing on with it!

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    1. I think Cinder may have just been over-hyped in my mind. Seeing so many rave reviews made me think it was going to be incredible. And while it was definitely creative, it just didn't live up to the expectations I had in my mind! But I'll definitely be giving Scarlet a shot to see how it goes.

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  4. I'm in complete agreement with your feelings re: Just One Day. I loved that as much as it's about this whirlwind romantic experience, it's much less a romance overall and so much more about figuring out how to phase out of one stage of life and into another. As for Cinder, Scarlet blows it out of the water, so perhaps there's still hope! ;)

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    1. Yes, yes EXACTLY to you assessment of Just One Day. Seriously, that's it completely. Glad to hear you liked Scarlet better. Maybe I will too!

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  5. So glad you loved Just One Day!!!! I was so scared I wouldn't love it because I was expecting so much from it, but Gayle Forman totally delivered. I NEED Just One Year as sooooon as humanly possible haha.
    I can't wait to read Scarlet! Well, apparently I can because I still haven't started it haha. But I really enjoyed Cinder so much and I've heard book two is even better :)

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    1. I NEED JUST ONE YEAR, TOO! Seriously. I want that baby published like yesterday.

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  6. I just bought My Life Next Door for one of my childhood friends yesterday. She's going away next week and I thought it would be the perfect book for a trip. Not TOO addicting but with a sweet romance. Despite the weird moment (I have to agree... was not expecting that and it sort of broke up the book for me), you are right. It's the perfect summer read and still one of my favorite covers.

    EEK. So glad you liked Just One Day. I lent this to another childhood friend and she is more excited for book 2 than I am! (hahaha)

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    1. Glad you agree on that weird moment! I hated that it kinda dragged the book down a little. But yes, ADORE the cover (so much) and still thought it was such a fun read!

      JUST ONE YEAR - NEED IT NOWWWWW!

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  7. I want to happy dance because you loved Just One Day. And I agree: the romance was enjoyable, but nothing mind blowing - just yet. Allyson's character development is one of the best I've ever read. Maybe because I'm right there in the middle of it right now. (The whole first year of college, growing up thing.)

    I loved My Life Next Door too, mostly because of Jase and Sam's relationship and Jase's family. It's such a sweet summer book, but what I keep forgetting about is the drama towards the end. Like you, I wasn't a fan of it at all. I grew to understand it, but I wish it had been left out.

    I'm a LITTLE sad that you didn't love Cinder that much. I agree that the plot was pretty predictable, but I love the world Marissa Meyer created - so creative. I'm glad you did decide to continue the series, because I loved Scarlet more. This mostly because the way these two stories come together is really well done.

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    1. Totally agree on Allyson's character development - that was my favorite part of the book. I graduated two years ago, but I still so related to the way she grew and changed in college.

      Haha glad you didn't like that drama either!

      I definitely thought it was creative - I think it's just that I had too high expectations/it was over-hyped in my mind. Hopefully I'll connect to Scarlet more!

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