There is something compulsively readable about these books, with the summer house and the beach and the feel of fun, carefree times. And the drama: love triangles, deaths, fisticuffs, bad prom!, engagements, weddings, fights, a boy named Cam Cameron. Really, it has every sort of teenage angst you could want.
But. The characters. Belly never grew up as much as I was hoping for. It seemed like things just happened to her, without her actively making choices. And then there are the boys. I never really felt like I knew Jeremiah, and Conrad struck me as patronizing and mean. I didn't want her to pick either of them, which put a damper on things.
Mixed, for me.
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
It's a tough book with a lot of structural hurdles that make it hard to get into. (Phonetic spellings/dialect, no chapters, no quotation marks) But my real problem was that I was never invested in the plot to save Lugh. He's hardly in the story before he's kidnapped. And he's as old as Saba, so it's not like he was helpless. Then there's Saba herself. She was a bit too unlikeable and rough for my taste. She'd come close to earning my sympathy and then would do something jerktastic again. It exhausted me. On the plus side, Jack has his funny moments and the last 80 or so pages were interesting. But on the whole, this was a no for me.
Skip This 2/5
This is a really fun book. I love it when a writer can take something I know and like (Cinderella) and put a totally different spin on it (cyborgs). Instead of leaving her shoe, Cinder loses her whole foot at the ball. It almost reminded me of the Shrek movies, in the way that it combined bits and pieces of several different fairy tales, all with a twist. You'll figure things out well before Cinder does, but you can't really fault a retelling for being predictable.
Read This 4/5
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
Oh, the cute. This is sort of Jane Austen-lite, with a very sweet 1800's England setting and two fun characters. I loved reading about Philip and Marianne, and their bantering and outings and miscues. I would have read a whole book of just that, but of course there has to be some conflict. The whole questioning others' characters and loyalties went on just a bit longer than I wanted, but it doesn't take away from how charming the story is. I think it would be a great bridge book for people who are interested in the Jane Austen period but get bogged down in her actual books.
Read This 4/5