Saturday, August 28, 2010

Supernatural Saturday: Review of Beautiful Creatures

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

[from Goodreads]
 
Rating:   2.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: YA paranormal fans
High point: The gorgeous prose
Low point: The sly digs
Reader maturity: 13+

I pondered for a long time, trying to decide what to say about Beautiful Creatures. It's a novel much beloved by readers, bloggers and critics and yet...for me, it lacked a certain spark.

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl have a way with words, for sure. Their descriptions settled me deep in the Old South, amidst kudzu, Spanish moss and decaying Gothic mansions. They have a way with a story too, weaving the past seamlessly in with the present to create a rich, full mythos.

So what didn't I like? The subtle and not-so-subtle disparaging remarks about the South pulled me from my literary journey time and time again. While many of the stereotypes are true, I didn't like the repetitive criticisms of Southern culture. It felt like Beautiful Creatures mocked the Dixie way of life in its entirety. While Southern pastimes and etiquette may seem odd to an outsider, the South is a unique place to live, with advantages and disadvantages, just like any other place.

The other thing, I think, is the narrator, Ethan. He's a great guy, to be sure, but that's exactly what put me off about him. He's a little too understanding, too patient, too...perfect. I like my fictional love interests with some flaws!

As a whole, these aren't large things to have issues with; for some reason, though, they stuck in my craw (so to Southern-speak), and I just couldn't get past them. Please don't misunderstand--the authors are fantastic writers, and if I stumble upon a copy of Beautiful Darkness, I'll read it. My feelings on Beautiful Creatures are just too mixed for me to focus on the gorgeous storytelling.

Title:  Beautiful Creatures
Author:  Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Genre:   Teen Fiction - Suspense
Year:   2009
Book Source:  Won from Aine's Realm

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Friday 56: Firespell

Closest Book:  Firespell

Author: Chloe Neill
Page 56, sentence 5:  "The click of tumblers echoed across the room. She winced at the sound, but placed a hand on the door, took a final look around, and disappeared."









Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
*Post a link along with your post back to Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Book Blogger Hop 8/27

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy for Books so that readers and bloggers can get to know each other a little better.
In Jennifer's words:
This is a weekly event where book bloggers and readers can connect to find new blogs to read.  It's a great way to network with other bloggers and make new friends!  Every day I seem to find another book blog that I start following. In the spirit of the Friday Follow, I thought it would be cool to do a Book Blogger Hop to give us all bookies a chance to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on!  It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!
So head over to the Blog Hop and have some fun! Thanks for stopping by!

To answer this week's CRAZY question:

I use a rating system in my reviews. It's detailed over on the right side of my blog. The distinctions can be a little fuzzy, especially since I take into account the quality of the writing, my enjoyment of the story and the amount of questionable content, but I think it functions well as a general gauge of how I feel about a particular book. And you know if it gets 5 out of 5, it has to be good!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Giveaway of Minder T-shirt [CLOSED]

I'm honored to be able to offer you guys a chance to win a Minder T-shirt!
 
The cover of Minder is as awesome as the book (you can read my review here) and looks fantastic as a shirt design too. I'll admit that I'm considering entering some other bloggers' giveaways just to get my hands on one...

THIS one, anyway, is just for my readers. :-)

Rules in a Box:
  1. You do NOT have to be a follower, but I'd love to have you around, of course! :-)
  2. You must be 13 or older to enter.
  3. Since it's from the author/publisher, this giveaway is international!!
  4. Ends at 11:59 pm CDT September 7th, 2010.
  5. Winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond.
  6. Entries will only be accepted using the FORM, and you MUST include your email address so I can contact you. No email = no books.
  7. Winner will be chosen using a spreadsheet random number generator. 
I reserve the right to amend the rules as needed. (Hopefully this won't happen, but just in case...) If you have any questions, feel free to email me or leave a comment. GOOD LUCK!

Extra points in a Box:
  1. +1 for tweeting/facebooking/blogging/linking anywhere else. Leave a link or it doesn't count. (You only get points for one link, but you're free to do more!)
If you can't see the form below, you can find it here.

Want to Read Wednesday: Sunshine

They took her clothes and sneakers. They dressed her in a long red gown. And they shackled her to the wall of an abandoned mansion-within easy reach of a figure stirring in the moonlight.

She knows that it is a vampire.

She knows that she's to be his dinner, and that when he is finished with her, she will be dead. Yet, when light breaks, she finds that he has not attempted to harm her. And now it is he who needs her to help him survive the day...


[from Goodreads]


This meme is hosted by Boy with Books. I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Review of Minder

Sixteen-year-old Maddie Dunn is special, but she needs to figure out how to use her new abilities before somebody else gets hurt. Ganzfield is a secret training facility full of people like her, but it's not exactly a nurturing place. Every social interaction carries the threat of mind-control. A stray thought can burn a building to the ground. And people's nightmares don't always stay in their own heads. But it's still better than New Jersey--especially once she meets the man of her dreams...
[from Goodreads]
 

Rating:  3.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Paranormal, sci-fi fans tired of things that only come out after dark
High point:  The promise of the story to come
Low point:  The abrupt ending
Reader maturity: 15+

Minder follows a new minder named Maddie as she discovers what she truly is...and what she can become. She learns the ins and outs of the mysterious Ganzfield Academy and shows the misled charms what she's capable of, thwarting their attempts of suggestion and humiliation. Along the way, she finds a soulmate (of course!), some new friends and a dark plot to destroy her new way of life.

Minder starts out a little choppy. I was hesitant to continue because the writing made me feel like I was watching a blurry movie, but I'm glad I stuck with it. There's a [good/brilliant] reason for the uneven style of the first chapter, and once I realized that the rest of the novel would be a smoother ride, I sat back and enjoyed.

Kate Kaynak sets up a strong backstory for G-positives, with pseudo-realistic science explaining the trait and its inheritance, as well as the government testing that led to the discovery. The holes are all neatly plugged ("Why did the government let the program go?" "The charms!"), and it feels organic and reasonable ("Oh, yes, of course!").

Maddie is a strong, relatable main character--tough enough to stand up for herself but definitely confused and occasionally horrified by her new surroundings. She's the minder the everyman/woman would hope to be in her situation. Her love interest is schoolgirl-perfect, too, very sweet and understanding and mildly tragic, like the lovable puppy-eyed guy in a rom-com (and just as attractive!). The scenes depicting their "soulmating" (100% clean, I assure you) are breathtaking in their descriptions. I could see exactly what the author was describing. Pages flew by, like the hours in the novel, without me even realizing it.

For the most part, I had no feelings toward the supporting cast either way. I feel that Minder is a set-up book for this series and that some of the things left unanswered and explored (Seth! Who is Seth?!) will be delved into in later novels. What did exist of the characters, I enjoyed. The roommate and the new girl and the sparks all have potential to become interesting, three-dimensional characters. And did I mention that I want to know more about Seth?

As far as the adults in the novel go, Dr. Williamson is a different sort of authority figure. While many headmasters are arrogant and condescending or completely weak against their stronger students' forces, Dr. Williamson knows exactly what's going on and has a reason for everything. He's a stickler but also a supporter. His down-to-earth attitude was a refreshing change from the stern, unbending or clueless disciplinarian.

My only complaint is that I wish Minder had been...fuller. It felt like most of the story revolved around Maddie and her love interest and their unique connection. While those scenes were great, it unbalanced the book, leaving me surprised (and feeling a little cheated about the Seth thing) that the end came so soon. Like I said earlier, Minder establishes the Ganzfield universe, and the next novels may contain more mystery and less soulmating, so I will content myself with that hope.

As a warning for younger teens, I need to address the topic of the charms and their less-than-admirable intentions toward the non-charms. While nothing explicit occurs in the novel, the thoughts of immature and hateful teenage boys are shown, in a stereotypical (and possibly accurate) way. The curt images aren't explicit or detailed, but they do exist in raw form, as more than an allusion. Due to their brevity and context, they're not a reason to abandon the novel, but it's not appropriate for younger teens. There's some swearing, as well as some suggestive thoughts from Maddie, but in terms of reader maturity, they're inconsequential when compared to the issue with the charms.

Overall, I really enjoyed Minder. It was a fun read, fast-paced and left me wishing I had time to finish it all in one sitting. I'll definitely be getting my hands on Adversary and Legacy to find out what happens in the coming war. Kate Kaynak has written a promising debut, and the series can only get better.

Title:  Minder
Author:  Kate Kaynak
Genre:  Teen Fiction - Romance & Friendship
Year:   2010
Book Source:  Received an ARC from the author for review

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Supernatural Saturday: Review of Wake

Ever since she was eight years old, high school student Janie Hannagan has been uncontrollably drawn into other people's dreams, but it is not until she befriends an elderly nursing home patient and becomes involved with an enigmatic fellow-student that she discovers her true power.
[from Goodreads]
 









Rating:   3.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: YA paranormal fans
High point: The aftertaste
Low point: The blinders
Reader maturity: 15+


Wake is one of those books that had a much greater impact upon completion than it did during the reading. I had trouble getting into the novel, but after I finished, I realized just how well-written it actually was. It's written in 3rd person, present tense with a mix of short and long "entries," almost like a diary, creating a feeling of disjointedness and confusion. Within that form, there is some beautiful prose that captures the essence of the situation and paints a picture clearer than any long, flowery descriptions. For example:
He sits beside her with two soda and an apology. (paperback, p. 152)
I loved the relationship between Janie and Cable. They have their issues, but even when they're both being stubborn, they try so hard to keep it together. Janie jumps to some insane conclusions sometimes, but for the most part, she seems like a pretty rational teenager, at least for someone who has to worry about falling into people's dreams all the time.

The supporting characters were a little flat, but I think it's the writing style rather than an error in the writing itself. The "entries" allow the reader to focus on Janie and Janie's thoughts and actions, which can, of course, be like watching the world through blinders--just like how Janie sees it. Aside from the dreamwalking, the plot was a bit of a stretch; however, it all fell into place nicely, and I'm looking forward to Fade and Gone.

Title:  Wake
Author:  Lisa McMann
Genre:   Teen Fiction - Suspense
Year:   2008
Book Source:  Won from Shooting Stars Mag

Friday, August 20, 2010

Book Blogger Hop 8/20

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy for Books so that readers and bloggers can get to know each other a little better.
In Jennifer's words:
This is a weekly event where book bloggers and readers can connect to find new blogs to read.  It's a great way to network with other bloggers and make new friends!  Every day I seem to find another book blog that I start following. In the spirit of the Friday Follow, I thought it would be cool to do a Book Blogger Hop to give us all bookies a chance to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on!  It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!
So head over to the Blog Hop and have some fun! Thanks for stopping by!

To answer this week's CRAZY question:

I follow over 300 blogs...and I read all of them. I don't read each post from start to finish--if it's a romance review, for example, I'm not interested--but I try to keep an eye on what everyone's up to and comment whenever I can (and have something to say).

The Friday 56: Jinx

Closest Book:  Jinx

Author: Meg Cabot
Page 56, sentence 5:  " 'That was gross,' Tory commented. 'I know,' I said, my head sinking into the deep, down-filled pillows. 'I'm sorry.' 'Do you want me to get my mom?' Tory wanted to know. 'No,' I said, closing my eyes. 'I'll be alright.' "










Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
*Post a link along with your post back to Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Better Know a Blogger: Me!

Hey, guys! How was your summer? I can't believe it's almost over...but since I'm not in school anymore, I think fall will be about the same, only cooler*. :-P

Things around here have been crazy (in a good way), but I'm about ready for everything to settle down so I can get back to my hobby--reading! (And telling you all about it, of course!)

Anyway, what I really want to tell you is that I was interviewed by Tiger Holland at All-Consuming Books for Better Know a Blogger. It turns out that we share a blogoversary! Check it out and look around All-Consuming Books. It's well worth your time.

I hope you all have a great weekend and make the most of your final pre-back-to-school week (for some of you, at least)!

*I meant the temperature, but I suppose that it might be even more awesome as well. :-)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Want to Read Wednesday: The Replacement

Mackie Doyle seems like everyone else in the perfect little town of Gentry, but he is living with a fatal secret - he is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now the creatures under the hill want him back, and Mackie must decide where he really belongs and what he really wants.

A month ago, Mackie might have told them to buzz off. But now, with a budding relationship with tough, wounded, beautiful Tate, Mackie has too much to lose. Will love finally make him worthy of the human world?


[from Goodreads]

This meme is hosted by Boy with Books. I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Review of That Summer

For fifteen-year-old Haven, life is changing too quickly. She's nearly six feet tall, her father is getting remarried, and her sister,the always perfect Ashley,is planning a wedding of her own. Haven wishes things could just go back to the way they were. Then an old boyfriend of Ashley's reenters the picture, and through him, Haven sees the past for what it really was, and comes to grips with the future.
[from Goodreads]
 







Rating:  2.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Teens...especially girls
High point:  The promise of the writing to come
Low point:  The angst, the current writing...
Reader maturity: 13+

I fell in love with The Truth About Forever and I enjoyed Lock and Key. That Summer failed to impress me in the way that either of the other two did; however, while it's probably not going to gain a permanent place on my shelf, it's still worth a read.

I read That Summer thinking that it felt younger and less polished than Sarah Dessen's other novels and lo! and behold, it's from the mid-90s. Ms. Dessen has come a long way since then, although she wasn't off to a bad start. It's hard for me to put a finger on what I didn't like, but I think it's this.
  1. The main character is a little younger than the other two. 
  2. She's less mature. 
  3. She spends a lot of time moaning about what she doesn't like about herself. (I don't know any 15-year-olds who haven't done this, but I'm not yet in that place in my life where I don't mind revisiting that awkward period.)
  4. She spends a lot of time complaining about her family. 
Regarding #4, messed up families seem to be a writing specialty of Sarah Dessen and I'm cool with that, but the approach was missing the gut-wrenching-dismay-followed-by-hopefulness that the other novels possess. And the ending left me feeling deflated, which is my own fault because I had expectations based on her other novels. It's not fair of me to keep comparing it to later works, but I can't help it. Really, if I hadn't read the others, I probably would've left my thoughts of the book on "meh" and not been so critical.

That Summer feels like a good start to some greater works. If you're itching to try a Sarah Dessen novel, this probably isn't a good one to begin with, but if you're a fan, it's worth a read.

Title:  That Summer
Author:  Sarah Dessen
Genre:  Teen Fiction - Romance & Friendship
Year:   2004
Book Source:  Purchased

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Supernatural Saturday: Review of Firespell

As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia’s boarding school, Lily Parker thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she’ll have to face…

When Lily’s guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she was shocked. So was St. Sophia’s. Lily’s ultra-rich brat pack classmates think Lily should be the punchline to every joke, and on top of that, she’s hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building.

The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout’s a little weird—she keeps disappearing late at night and won’t tell Lily where she’s been. But when a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout running from a real monster.

Scout’s a member of a splinter group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, who’ve sworn to protect the city against demons, vampires, and Reapers, magic users who’ve been corrupted by their power. And when Lily finds herself in the line of a firespell, Scout tells her the truth about her secret life, even though Lily has no powers of her own—at least none that she’s discovered yet…

[from Goodreads]
 
Rating:   4 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: YA paranormal fans
High point: Lily and Scout
Low point: The set-up
Reader maturity: 13+

There was only one thing wrong with this book, and even though it's purely my own fault, I'm very put out. What, you ask, could possibly be so bad about it? Well...I left it in the car in the heat, and the glue on the binding split into a neat line down the back of the spine. I attempted to jam the pages back into the glue while it was still hot and sticky, but I fear that my copy of Firespell will never be the same...

Other than that, though, I had no complaints with Firespell. It's a fun, bewitching read that had me giggling at the antics of several of the characters. This isn't an epic paranormal series--at least so far--and in not purporting to be anything serious, the story doesn't take itself too seriously. It's meat and substance with a nice helping of dessert to keep it light.

Chloe Neill brilliantly captured the essence of teenagehood without entering into any cringe-worthy territory or overused slang. The main character is sensible and smart and confused and uncertain, but the whirlwind of emotions never becomes tiresome or too mature. I enjoyed the establishment of the world, centering on teenagers and mashing together several different supernatural myths and creatures. Together, these create a seamless premise that, while not new, still feels fresh and interesting.

I felt that Firespell moved a little slowly, but it also appears to be the set-up novel for a series that holds great promise. I really want to know more about St. Sophia's and the secrets of the other characters in the novel, especially Lily's parents. I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel, Hexbound, and hope that it explores more of the history of these unique beings and sheds some light on the mysteries unearthed in Firespell.

Title:  Firespell
Author:  Chloe Neill
Genre:   Teen Fiction - Girls & Young Women
Year:   2010
Book Source:  Won from Teens Read & Write

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Friday 56: The Subtle Knife

Closest Book:  The Subtle Knife

Author:  Philip Pullman
Page 56, sentence 5:  " They found a department store, shabby like everywhere else, with clothes in styles that looked a little old-fashioned to Will's eye, but they found Lyra a tartan skirt and a green sleeveless blouse with a pocket for Pantalaimon. She refused to wear jeans, refused even to believe Will when he told her that most girls did. 'They're trousers,' she said. 'I'm a girl. Don't be stupid.'




Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
*Post a link along with your post back to Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Want to Read Wednesday: Paranormalcy

Sixteen-year-old Evie's job is bagging and tagging paranormals. Possessing the strange ability to see through their glamours, she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. But when someone--or something--starts taking out the vamps, werewolves, and other odd beasties she's worked hard to help become productive members of society, she's got to figure it out before they all disappear and the world becomes utterly normal.

Normal is so overrated.
[from Goodreads]




This meme is hosted by Boy with Books. I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Supernatural Saturday: Review of Jinx

It's not easy being Jinx.

Jean Honeychurch hates her boring name (not Jean Marie, or Jeanette, just . . . Jean). What's worse? Her all-too-appropriate nickname, Jinx. Misfortune seems to follow her everywhere she goes—even to New York City, where Jinx has moved to get away from the huge mess she caused in her small hometown. Her aunt and uncle welcome her to their Manhattan town house, but her beautiful cousin Tory isn't so thrilled. . . .

In fact, Tory is hiding a dangerous secret—one that could put them all in danger. Soon Jinx realizes it isn't just bad luck she's been running from . . . and that the curse she has lived under since the day she was born may be the only thing that can save her life.

[from Goodreads]
 
Rating:   3 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Anyone looking for a witchy brew
High point:  The formula; why mess with what works?
Low point: The formula...it didn't pop
Reader maturity: 13+

Jinx reminded me of several recent Meg Cabot novels, such as Airhead and Avalon High. It's fun and it's cute but it's not particularly memorable. That doesn't mean you shouldn't read it; it's still a fun romp for a summer evening, especially if you're a sucker for a ridiculous love story (cute guy meets jinxed girl...you get it) like I am.

Jinx was a cute witchcraft story, focusing more on Jinx and her teenage issues--presented in a reasonable way, they didn't make me roll my eyes or anything--than on witchcraft, which I appreciated. Jinx's cousin was pretty out there and had me worried for a while as to where the story was going (and I'll admit, I skipped to the end to assure myself of the ending). It was typical Cabot-happiness though, with ups and downs and several parts that made me laugh aloud. Of course, there's the ought-to-be-unattainable-but-nice hot guy and the catty friends and the good bestie. It's a predictable formula, but it works.

Title:  Jinx
Author:  Meg Cabot
Genre:   Teen Fiction - Girls & Young Women
Year:   2007
Book Source:  Purchased

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Friday 56: She Walks in Beauty

Closest Book:  She Walks in Beauty

Author:  Siri Mitchell
Page 56, sentence 5:  " 'I don't think anyone would choose to live in a building that's falling down upon them.' 'Exactly. So if they do, then there's bound to be something wrong with them, isn't there?' 'Do you really think that's what the heir thinks?' Could he really be so unfeeling?"








Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
*Post a link along with your post back to Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Want to Read Wednesday: Insatiable

Sick of vampires? So is Meena Harper.

But her boss is making her write about them anyway, even though Meena doesn’t believe in them.

Not that Meena isn’t familiar with the supernatural. See, Meena Harper knows how you’re going to die (not that you’re going to believe her; no one ever does).

But not even Meena’s precognition can prepare her for what happens when she meets—then makes the mistake of falling in love with—Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side . . . a dark side a lot of people, like an ancient society of vampire-hunters, would prefer to see him dead for.

The problem is, he already is dead. Maybe that’s why he’s the first guy Meena’s ever met that she could see herself having a future with. See, while Meena’s always been able to see everyone else’s future, she’s never been able look into her own.

And while Lucien seems like everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, he might turn out to be more like a nightmare.

Now might be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future . . .

If she even has one.

[from Goodreads]

This meme is hosted by Boy with Books. I'll be spotlighting books I want to read, whether they've been out for 10 years or won't be released for another 10 months.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Review of The Debs

Laura Delacroix Bell — this dazzling trust fund girl’s size 14 figure doesn’t stop her from attracting the sexiest scoundrel in town, or the admiring eye of the Glass Slipper Club. However, a salacious secret could take her out of the running.
Michelle “Mac” Mackenzie — brainy, cynical, and maybe a tad judgmental, Mac would rather bury her nose in a good book than embrace her deb destiny. But being a debutante was her late mother’s dream.
Ginger Fore — this adorable tree-hugger wants to wear her grandmother’s vintage ball gown instead of splurging on an expensive dress. Yet when she gets tangled up with an older guy, Ginger will have plenty more to think about.
Jo-Lynn Bidwill — a former child beauty queen, Jo-Lynn is a bitchy vamp who makes it her mission in life to take out the debu-trash. And Jo-Lynn’s sights are set on Laura Bell.

[from Goodreads]
 
Rating:  3 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Teens...especially girls
High point:  The sneak peak at how the top 1% live
Low point:  The cattiness, the sneaking around, the drama, drama, DRAMA
Reader maturity: 15+

I was hesitant to start The Debs because I generally avoid stories that are about:  a) Texas [They never get it right! Fictional Texans are always oil barons or hillbillies.] b) Heiresses and c) Groups of girls. BUT, since this was on clearance and I really liked the cover (I'm a sell-out, I know), I picked it up.

I was pleasantly surprised, but considering my expectations going into the book, that gives The Debs far less credit than it deserves. Normally I'm not a fan of contemporary realistic fiction, but this was a cute story.

Laura, the "debu-tank" is a larger-than-the-average-deb, but she rocks, standing up for herself and relying on her friends. She's not thrown in as the token big girl, nor does she spend the entire novel moaning about her size. She likes who she is, and she's confident. Her size is only a factor in other people's eyes.

Mac, the reluctant deb, was the heart and soul of the group. Level-headed and practical, I identified most with her, due to her concerns over joining the Glass Slipper Club.

Ginger was a hoot, although as the one in the group making the most ridiculous decisions, I didn't have much sympathy. She's a great friend to Laura and Mac though.

Overall, I enjoyed this peek into the world of debutantes. My only other foray into this particular unknown was an unfortunate half hour of some reality show on cable while on vacation. This gave a sense of realism to the event, rather than portraying debs as a stereotypical group of over-privileged legacy daughters. The Debs is apparently the beginning of a series. Honestly, I most likely won't be picking up the sequel, but I think the novel worked well as a stand-alone.

Title:  The Debs
Author:  Susan McBride
Genre:  Teen Fiction - Romance & Friendship
Year:   2008
Book Source:  Purchased