Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

This is another Sarah Dessen installment. It's called Lock and Key. I've already read one book of hers, Just Listen which made quite the impression on me. First here's the synopsis:

What happens when your past is not just past, but wiped clean entirely? How do you figure out where you're going when you can't even claim where you've been? These were the questions that inspired Lock and Key. It's the story of a girl named Ruby who is abandoned by her mother and determined to make it on her own, even---and especially---when she is sent to live with her long-lost sister in a whole new world of privilege, family, and relationships. As Ruby learns, there's a big difference between being given help and being able to accept it. And sometimes, it takes reaching out to someone else to save yourself

This is a story about seventeen year old Ruby and her life. Now Ruby and her mother moved around the country a lot of times. So their lives are almost unpredictable sometimes, and in the story they currently lived in this old yellow farmhouse. So one day Ruby's mother disappears without any notice, and she doesn't come back for months. So Ruby was left on her own. She tried to ignore the fact that she's too young to be living on her own and then she eventually learned that her mother had abandoned her. So she tried to live on her own at the yellow house for a few months until her landlords found her and sent her off to live with her long-lost older sister, Cora. Ruby and Cora hadn't seen each other since Cora left for college, leaving her and her mother.

So that's basically where the story started with Roby narrating the whole plot. She's a girl with a lot of memories behind her, and they're usually not very warming memories. Somehow she's in this state of self-proclaimed denial.Anyways, Cora, she has build a very good life for herself. A successful career, Jamie her husband and a great house. But Ruby has never lived a life like that, and she's not sure if she wants to. Jamie happily welcomed her into their home but Cora seems a little tense, so Ruby doesn't want to be a burden to her sister. She doesn't really trust people so easily, so she has put up a big wall around her as an emotional defense. She tries to escape this new life, but instead she got into a good school, finding a job and finding friends, and maybe a little something more with her next door neighbour, Nate who seems to have secrets of his own. There's a special thing to Ruby that is of a big significance in the book, she always wears the necklace with her yellow farmhouse key to remind her of her difficult but more familiar old life.

There are a lot of interesting characters in this book, like Cora's husband Jamie and Nate. As the story unfolds, I see Ruby discovering herself a lot more and opening up to people. Something she has always been reluctant to do. She begins to learn more about what a family is all about, she begins to lower her emotional defense wall and reconnecting with Cora. She begins to settle into the changes in this new life. I really liked this book, even though the plot started a bit slow and stale during the beginning, but it got more interesting towards the end. I loved how Ruby grew into a more open person, and this is something I can relate to. A touching and meaningful story of moving on, but still holding on and opening your heart to others.


Grade: B

Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita

Here's another review! I just recently read this delightful book. It's called Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita. First of all is the synopsis:

When Sam's best friend gets her first boyfriend, she's not ready to spend the summer listening to the two of them call each other "pookie." Sick of being a third wheel, Sam applies to be a counselor-in-training at Whispering Pines camp in the New York Catskills. But what she doesn't realize is that it's not going to be all Kumbaya sing-alongs and gooey s'mores. If Ashley, the alpha queen of Whispering Pines, doesn't ruin Sam's summer, then her raging crush on the surfer-blond and flirtatious Hunter just might. At least she has playful Cole, who's always teasing her, but is oh-so-comfortable to hang out with, and the singular gang of girls that become fast friends with Sam-they call themselves the Sleepaway Girls.

When I found this book at the store, I was actually in the midst of my summer holidays. So I thought, why not? I should buy a book with a really summery feel to it. And I'm so glad that I bought Sleepaway Girls. So, from the synopsis above you could already see what the story is all about! Summer Camp! There's Sam Montgomery, your average fifteen year old girl in her summer holiday. She has a best friend who apparently has found a new boyfriend and she hated feeling left out. Sam loves her, but she just doesn't like being treated that way. But then she finds her way out, by applying for a job as a counselor-in-training (CIT) at a summer camp called Whispering Pines.

Sam is in for quite the ride at Whispering Pines, this book wasn't all about the smooth ride of spending your summer at a camp. There were quite the amount of drama in this book. It involves the mean girl Ashley and her little entourage, and they didn't exactly make Sam's life fine and dandy at Whispering Pines. Then there are the two guys, the handsome and dreamy Hunter and the cool, pleasant, laid-back Cole. Well, they definitely brought a lot of sweetness in Sam's life at the camp. Yet she still made some funky friends that she got to know, and they really did had her back, and were with her through Ashley's backstabbing way. Okay, but Sleepaway Girls isn't only about the drama, there were actually a lot of details about Whispering Pines and the camp traditions. And since Sam is a counselor in training at the camp, she had to learn to take care of the little campers. I loved how they were described based on their age levels. Pez, marshmallows. It's one of many delights that I found in this book. I never really got bored while reading and I found the book very colorful.

I love the excitement of Sleepaway Girls, but it's also a book about Sam standing up for herself and deciding on her own. It's about friendship, loyalty and love. It is actually a meaningful story and not the typical Summer book that is mostly focused on the drama and stereotypes. As I said, I was never bored and I loved the feeling of looking forward to turning the page and reading more. The plot of the story was very real and it got me to look a little differently on summer camp. The characters were well defined and described, although I wished it could have been done more on some. From this book I also learned about the sacrifices we make for others, standing up for yourself. But I also learned that we don't always have to follow the path people want us to take, we could make a path of our own. It's definitely a great book to read during a car ride, (unless you get a little car sick) the beach or the pool with the sun kissing your face.

I hoped you had a good summer everyone!



Grade: B+

Marmut Merah Jambu - Special Post!

Hi all. Sorry that I have been kind of AWOL for the past few weeks. But I'm back for several reviews now. You can see that I've labeled this as a special post. I'm about to review a book by this special author from my country. And his name is Raditya Dika.

There he is on the cover page! So he's a writer, but not fictional. He's also a comedian so he loves to entertain himself, and make fun of himself. Weird enough. Haha. Raditya loves to write books about his life experiences, in a really funny way of course that will get you laughing to tears! I've never really heard of him that much until people started talking about his latest book called Marmut Merah Jambu. a.k.a Pink Hamster. So I became interested and decided to see what's all the buzz about Raditya Dika. And boy! I was hit by the Raditya Dika tornado!

Usually Raditya writes about random funny moments of his life. But in this book, it's more about funny encounters in his life about one of, well, maybe the most absurd and confusing matter in this life. Love. There are still the random stories in there though, which makes the book really special.

I honestly laughed a lot while reading this book. And a slight hint, you might want to read it in private. That means if you don't want to get funny and weird looks from people while you read. It tells about his junior school crushes and how dumb he made himself look in front of those girls, it's very genuine yet still very humorous. He's making his simple life stories so interesting and funny, and I really love that! Now, just when you feel like you're reading in peace, there comes the random phrases and words that gets you exploding in laughter! But then, there are the simple and delightful things coming unexpectedly that will make you think and smile. It'll make you think about how it feels when you have a crush on someone, that tingly feeling of just seeing them.

Marmut Merah Jambu is a book with a lot of different feelings or emotions wrapped into one. You know, it actually took me a while to realize the Jambu (Pink) part of the title. It's trying to describe to you that hint of love. Haha. Raditya Dika really did a fantastic job in telling us his private life stories that people wouldn't really care about, into funny, delightful and sweet stories that will make us smile. I really did enjoy reading this book, and I can always look back and read a specific chapter to get a good laugh. Maybe it is the best medicine. :)



Grade: A+

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