reading / writing

Double Review (because I can)


and for some strange reason, the books I was looking forward to are not doing it for me (I seem to be in a weird place), nor is my writing actually coming out like anything good. So I figured it would be an opportune time to do some reviews.

going vintage








blurb: (from goodreads)

When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars). The List:
1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous
But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club president–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far.

This was at my school library and has been one of those books I put on my ‘to read’ list for whenever it finally came into paperback because I really try and not buy hardback unless it’s a book I must own or author I know and love (AND NEVER LETS ME DOWN).  I liked the idea of romantizing the past (see my love for Midnight in Paris) and it just seemed fun.

It was fun. I believe I read it one or two sittings (silly job gets in the way of my pleasure reading). The character of Mallory was easy to relate to because the fact that her deciding to do this ‘blast from the past’ fast isn’t unusual according to her family for her to go through some sort of weird fashion/lifestyle phase. I liked that about her. I liked that she tried to be proactive about something when her heart got broken. I loved that the author touched on the miscommunication and onslaught of reaction with social media when the break up happens.

It’s not life-changing (wasn’t for me), but I liked that she was action-oriented and didn’t just let things happen to her. That seems to be a common trope in YA female-protagonist stories lately. The romance that develops is also cute, realistic and even though I knew who it would be the moment he showed up, it didn’t really matter. He was great.

I also liked the subplot with her grandmother and her story. I didn’t expect it and it really added some gravity and maturity to Mallory’s story and growth.

I gave it four stars out of five. There was a lot of comedy with dealing with not being able to use a cell phone, computer (hello homework) and general being cut off from people.


blurb: (from goodreads)

Sophie Sophia is obsessed with music from the late eighties. She also has an eccentric physicist father who sometimes vanishes for days and sees things other people don’t see. But when he disappears for good and Sophie’s mom moves them from Brooklyn, New York, to Havencrest, Illinois, for a fresh start, things take a turn for the weird. Sophie starts seeing things, like marching band pandas, just like her dad. 

Guided by Walt, her shaman panda, and her new (human) friend named Finny, Sophie is determined to find her father and figure out her visions, once and for all. So she travels back to where it began—New York City and NYU’s physics department. As she discovers more about her dad’s research on M-theory and her father himself, Sophie opens her eyes to the world’s infinite possibilities—and her heart to love.

I read this story back when I read for a literary scout (ages ago) and out of the ten or more manuscripts I read for him, this was one of my favorites, if not my favorite. I remembered it because I had not liked the MC in the beginning and the book won me over by the end (which is unusual because your first impression of a character is fairly on target). She grew on me, the strangeness of her hobbies and personality grew on me and the story was much different than anything I’d read.

So I was very excited when this finally was published so I could read it again and support the author. I bought this back in the fall and only finished it a month ago. Which if you know me at all, is unusual because I really do devour books if I’m really into them.

And that leaves me with a confusion of thoughts.

Because I still really like this story and the characters and the ideas that it generates. But it did take me ages to read and often I was back to where I couldn’t completely stomach Sophie Sophia. I believe that a reader could be easily put off by her ‘quirkiness’ and almost ‘hipster’ attitude about her clothing, 80s music love, etc. I don’t think that’s what the author intended and Sophie’s choices make sense with her background, but that could put someone off. The hallucinations (for lack of a better term) make this very different than your regular YA and the incorporating of string theory puts this book into a genre I don’t have a name for.

But it’s good. It really is. I love the growth of Sophie, her friends, her journeys, the lit and art references and how she finds out about her family (her dad especially). I think it’s a story that should be read and enjoyed and learned from. I just have a hard time thinking of teens en masse that would like it. I know a few students specifically who might enjoy this book, but it’s not an easy sell. I’m impressed that the publisher took a chance on it because it doesn’t fit into an easy category.

Four out of five stars. It would probably have been five if I could have gotten through it easier. I’m still unsure how much of that was just me and my life and how much was the book. lol.

© ecnewman, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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