Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Mini Reviews #30

Today I'm reviewing three YA contemporaries that deal with growing up, finding your identity and learning to trust in yourself. FUTURE PERFECT by Jen Larsen, DUMPLIN' by Julie Murphy and INFINITE IN BETWEEN by Carolyn Mackler are all fall 2105 releases. Have you read any of them yet?

Future Perfect by Jen Larsen

"Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness." 
   Ashley has never accepted her grandmother's offer...until now. This year is different when her grandmother offers tuition to Harvard if Ashley only accepts to undergo weight loss surgery. Well, doesn't this sound nice? It really wasn't. Ashley's family story was prominently on the annoying side. It's no wonder Ashley doesn't really feel content with her situation when her family is falling apart. I never saw them as a unit, but more as a bunch of ignorant people living under the same roof. Unfortunately, I never liked any of them enough to fully engage in Ashely's story or really care about the outcome. 
   I hoped FUTURE PERFECT would be a book about personal development and defying social conventions. Does your weight really change your identity? Or does the shape of your body influence your happiness? Yet, Ashley's story doesn't really offer that much insight into the topic or even her opinion. She loses herself in crazy adventures rather than facing her true feelings and her strict grandmother.

2/5 ** FUTURE PERFECT - Lightweight YA contemporary!

When I picked up FUTURE PERFECT I was very curious about the story's concept and Ashley's emotional world. There's a lot of talking going on but dialogues or inner reflections never really went deep enough to present readers with the bigger meaning to FUTURE PERFECT they've been anticipating from the beginning.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: October 6th 2015
Length: 320 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, love, friendship, family, body image
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads Summary  

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Self-appointed fat girl Willowdean is confident about her body. Until her crush, popular beautiful Bo, surprisingly reciprocates her feelings and she starts to doubt everything. To prove herself and regain confidence she enters the local beauty pageant. 
   Willow is a strong protagonist who is very aware of her body and how people always tend to think she's nothing more than the fat girl. But she's happy and likes her body the way other people will never be able to accept themselves. I loved that about her! Will's romance with Bo wasn't my favourite part of DUMPLIN' but Will's relationship with her best friend and her passion for Dolly Parton and her music. I admired Willow for entering a beauty pageant together with a few other people to show off their less than beauty-queen-perfect bodies. In the end that's how DUMPLIN' conveys a very strong message!

3/5 *** DUMPLIN' - A smart, ironic and funny YA with a strong message regarding body image! 

If you ever feel insecure about yourself and need a push to be more confident, you should pick up a copy of DUMPLIN'. Willowdean with her hilarious and powerful character should definitely give you a feel-good reading experience!

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publishing Date: September 15th 2015
Length: 375 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, love, friendship, beauty pageant, body image
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads Summary  

Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler

"Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor, and Whitney meet at freshman orientation. At the end of that first day, they make a promise to reunite after graduation. So much can happen in those in-between years….".
Carolyn Mackler's INFINITE IN BETWEEN offers a pretty great concept to readers who enjoy multiple narrators in a novel. Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor and Whitney are all very different characters and have their own voices who become very familiar after only a short reading time.
What I liked most about INFINITE IN BETWEEN is that a few key scenes resonated through all of our five teen's narration. Since the day they met their lives are intertwined. Every teen has something special about him or her. Identity, sexual orientation, love and friendship all play an important role at some point in their stories. Their stories of growing up.
   Since the story concentrates on these five teens from the beginning of freshman year til graduation every character gets to tell his story on  roughly about one hundred pages only. Therefore Carolyn Mackler had to be very considerate when choosing which character got to tell which part of their story. INFINITE IN BETWEEN is a collection of very short chapters of all five protagonists, making it a pretty quick read. We never really learn everything about them, but just dip into their lives for a short period of time. I prefer a story that focuses on one protagonist and allows a more intimate relationship between character and reader. Nevertheless INFINITE IN BETWEEN was still a quick read and a nice change from other YA contemporaries.  

3/5 *** INFINITE IN BETWEEN - A diverse tale of growing up!

Witness their most painful embarrassments and their greatest achievements. All their teen angst and their happiness. Carolyn Mackler's INFINITE IN BETWEEN is a story of growing up everyone can relate to.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: September 1st 2015
Length: 480 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, love, friendship, school, growing up
Source: Publisher
Goodreads Summary  

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous mini reviews sweetie. <3 But ugh, I'm sorry you didn't love any of them :( I have been curious about Dumplin.. as it sounds pretty good, but yeah. I won't read it :) I'm glad you liked it a lot, though, despite not loving it. Thank you for sharing about these books :D