Google+ YA Romantics: July 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

YA Hot Off the Presses: New Releases July 31 to August 6

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Hot Off The Presses highlights great new YA releases for the coming week.

What's coming out during the week of July 31 to August 6?
Click on these cover images to get to Goodreads!

The Waiting Sky by Lara Zeilin Survive by Alex Morel Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Other new releases this week:

Hide and Seek (Lying Game #3) by Sara Shepard 

Someday Dancer by Sarah Rubin

Destiny (Immortal #4) by Gillian Shields

Goddess Legacy (Goddess Test #2.5) by Aimee Carter

Thanks Amy at BookLovingMom (and also Kristilyn from Reading in Winter) for AGAIN reminding me that the new release master list I use does not include Harlequin Teen or Kensington Teen titles. I fixed the post!

Are you planning to read any of these? If not, what are you reading this week?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Survive by Alex Morel

by Alex Morel

To by published by Penguin Razorbill
on August 2, 2012

Source: ARC traded with another blogger

My summary: It's December, and Jane is headed home to spend Christmas with her family. Jane has a secret, and it's not her Christmas list. She doesn't plan to make it off the plane. She's researched a mix of over-the-counter meds that will kill her, planned how to evade the rules of the Life House treatment center in order to buy the drugs on the way to the airport, figured out just what to say to her therapist so he won't suspect a thing. Jane's plans are thrown into disarray when her plane crashes. She and her seat mate, Paul, are the only crash survivors. They'll need to depend on each other, and Jane will have to dig deep to find her will to live.

My take: This book was an emotional roller coaster that I wasn't sure I wanted to get on, then didn't want to get off. I loved Jane's narrative voice. Her father committed suicide, and she feels that's her destiny too. She's a patient at Life House, a girl filled with witty quips and self-effacing humor designed to hide her pain. She says stuff like:

I can't die in these shoes. They're old lady shoes my mom bought me in case Life House had a prom or something. Think about that for a second, and you have a little window into what I'm dealing with. My mom figured there might be some nice boys I could dance with here at this fine mental institution.

Survive had some definite parallels to This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. Both books take a character who thinks she has lost her desire to live, then plunge her into tragedy. At the outset, Jane is a snarkier, edgier character than Sloane. After the crash, she's still cracking me up, still using her razor-edged humor to keep Paul at a distance. But slowly, the two of them bond and begin to work together to move to a location where they might be able to be spotted by rescuers. Paul has sorrows of his own, and getting to know him helps Jane move out of her therapy-induced narcissism.

This book was intense, and got even more so as the story developed. There were two aspects of the ending that bothered me in the abstract, but after I thought about it, I decided they actually worked for the story. One of them is a spoiler that is also mentioned in the book's blurb, so don't read to the end of that if you want to be surprised. If you read the book, please email me so we can discuss. My friends and family are tired of hearing me yammer on about books they haven't read.

My biggest complaint about this book was that there were parts of it I wanted to read more slowly, but I couldn't do it. This is the kind of book that won't leave your hands until you turn the last page. I definitely recommend Survive to fans of edge-of-your-seat reads, snarky narrators, and heart pounding suspense. What a ride!

Forgot to say -- this ARC will be up for grabs on Freebie Friday this week!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Extra! Extra! 15

Extra! Extra!

Extra! Extra! is my weekly Sunday post featuring brand new additions to my TBR pile as well as a summary of what's coming up on the blog.

I'm home this weekend, so I'm linking up to Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and also Sundays in Bed With hosted by Midnight Book Girl.

Edited: Kate's post isn't up yet, so we'll see about that last part. But today, I'm in bed with.... Will Herondale!

Jealous? I'm enjoying this series so much!

What's new around here? I'm doing a pretty good job on my book reduction plan. Soon I'll get my pile way down by drawing winners for my July comments contest. A few more days to get those comments in!

I do have new books to report:

Auracle by Gina Rosati, which I reviewed yesterday.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas  

And I'm giving away Throne of Glass -- to enter, just click here -- and I'll likely be putting Auracle up for grabs in an upcoming Freebie Friday.

What else happened this past week on the blog?

Monday I reviewed Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan and unintentionally sparked a debate on type size in books. Read the comments!

Wednesday was St Vladimir's Summer School.  Our assigned reading was Blood Promise.

I also have a winner to announce:

Tayte's run of good luck continued as Rafflecopter selected her as the winner of Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. Congratulations, Tayte! It's a great read :)

What exciting stuff is on deck for next week?
Monday: Even though I'm a nervous flyer, I screwed up my courage and read Survive by Alex Morel. Did this harrowing plane crash thriller push me over the edge?

Tuesday: Hot Off the Presses AND I'm notifying winners of the July comments contest. Still time to get those comments in!

Wednesday: The gang and I are still in summer school. This week we're reading Spirit Bound, book five in the Vampire Academy series.

Thursday: The winner of Throne of Glass will be drawn!

Friday: Freebie Friday makes a comeback!

What's new with you this week? Leave me a comment or a link and I'll visit you back!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Auracle by Gina Rosati

by Gina Rosati

To be published by Roaring Brook/Macmillan
on August 7, 2012

Source: bought

My summary: Anna has a secret talent: astral projection. She can leave her body at will and float around unseen, then return to her physical self with no one around her the wiser. Anna uses her gift just for fun, or to escape her alcoholic father. But one night after Anna has left her body, she witnesses the accidental death of Taylor, a classmate. As if that isn't horrifying enough, Anna returns to her body to find that it's already occupied -- by Taylor.  Now Anna is counting on her best guy friend Rei to help her get back into her body and prove that their friend Seth is innocent of Taylor's murder.

My take: There were a lot of things I liked about this book. The set-up is clever and well thought out.   Body switching is a familiar concept in both YA fiction (Freaky Friday or Don't You Wish) and the movies (The Change-Up, 17 Again) but the concept of astral projection is an interesting one, and not something I've seen before in YA.

I especially loved the astral projection musical chairs -- taking the idea of body switching and then removing one body out of play -- that is set up in Auracle. Anna witnesses the death of Taylor, then discovers that Taylor has "stolen" her body. That leaves Anna literally out in the cold, unable to stop Taylor from blaming Anna's good friend Seth for her murder. 

The only problem I had with this book -- and this is just my own preference as a reader, not a flaw in the book -- is that based on Auracle's cover and blurb, I was expecting paranormal suspense. I wanted this book to be a thriller, focusing on Anna's high-stakes struggle to get her body back and exonerate her friend. According to the high school rumor mill, Taylor did some pretty bad stuff in her past, and I would have liked it even better if she had tried to pin her murder on Anna. 

Instead, Auracle was more of a dramedy. Or dram-com?? I'm not sure what the official term should be. It was suspenseful at times, but this alternated with a whole lot of funny. Taylor, a girly mean girl, takes over Anna's body and is up to no good, giving Anna's body a crazy makeover, coming onto Rei, attending her own funeral.  As I read, the tug of war between Anna and Taylor over Anna's body was paralleled by my own internal tug-of-war with this book. Every time the story veered from suspenseful to comic, I wanted to yank it back.

Auracle is definitely a book with a lot going for it. Anna and Rei are appealing characters and there's a nice romantic spark between them. I'd recommend this book wholeheartedly to readers in the mood for a paranormal book with a comedic bent, like Ghost and The Goth by Stacey Kade or the Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins. 
                      Don't just take my word for it!

Here are other reviews by:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Win Throne of Glass! Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway Hop

I'm thrilled to be participating in the Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway Hop, hosted by Colorimetry and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer.  Isn't this button pretty? I want to wear a flowy dress and lie in a tree reading. I read in yoga pants on the couch with a diet Coke.

What am I giving away? A finished copy of Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas!

I met Sarah Maas at BEA -- she looks a lot like the girl on the cover!  Here's the blurb:

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to meet her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves and warriors in a competition, she is released for prison to serve as the king's champion.

To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter below. Entries close at midnight on August 1 EST, and the winner will be drawn and notified the morning of August 2. If winner is a US resident, the book will be mailed as soon as the winner responds with a mailing address.

I love my international followers, so this giveaway is open internationally. (If my winner is international, they may receive a copy from the Book Depository if the cost of shipping the book from the US exceeds the cost of buying a new copy. If that happens, I might pick another US winner.) 

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. If you're new here, welcome! I hope you return for more reviews, YA book news and great giveaways!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just Finished Reading ... Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass
by Sarah J. Maas

To be published by Bloomsbury
on August 7, 2012

Source: ARC received from Bloomsbury at BEA (Book Expo America.) Read my review policy/disclosure statement here.

My summary: Infamous assassin Celaena has languished for years in a salt mine prison camp, then is unexpectedly summoned for an audience with the Crown Prince of Ardalan. He wants her to serve as the king's champion. To do so, she will have to compete for the title against dozens of thieves and murderers. She agrees, and is given a fake identity and swept into a new royal world that seems glittering and fine, but underneath is as cutthroat as the prison camp. She'll have to impress the Captain of the Guards, defend herself against those who want her dead, and solve a baffling mystery involving magic and murder.

My take: I don't read a ton of fantasy. My policy on fantasy is that if an author is going to dump me in a strange, disorienting world, he or she also needs to give me compelling characters, skillful world-building and a page-turning plot. On that front, Throne of Glass did not disappoint! Celaena is a strong and unique heroine and I was captivated by the book from the first page to the end.

That said, Throne of Glass was definitely different than I expected -- in a good way. After reading the blurb on the back, I was expecting the book to focus heavily on the champion competition, and was steeling myself for lots of gory gladiator-style fights to the death. That wasn't the case. Told in alternating points of view (by Celaena, Crown Prince Dorian, and Chaol, Captain of the Guards) this story has more has more to do with palace intrigue, romance and friendship than with bloody action scenes. The competition serves as more a backdrop to the rest of the plot, and the contests were not as intense as I had feared -- think archery and wall climbing. That's not to say there are no fight scenes -- the final stages of the competition are harrowing enough that I was on the edge of my seat.  But the story also includes plenty of frippery and longing glances, for those who like that kind of thing.

Throne of Glass traces Celaena's journey from murderous assassin to trusted warrior and loyal friend. The story includes a fantastic friendship between Celaena and Nehemia, a princess from another kingdom. Nehemia is a wonderfully complex character and the relationship between the two is a highlight of the book. 

Yes, there is also a love triangle. But since I've never read a love triangle involving an assassin, a prince, and a soldier, I was intrigued. I mean, you wouldn't think a prince would court an assassin, but Celaena doesn't know who her parents are, so I'd wager that in a future installment of this series, she might learn some interesting information on that front. Just saying...

If you love fantasy, and were crazy about YA books like Poison Study by Maria Snyder or The Thief by Megan Whelan Turner, you'll definitely want to read this one. If you're a reluctant fantasy reader, I'd also say you should give Throne of Glass a try!

If you're dying to get your hands on Throne of Glass, I'm giving away a finished copy! Open internationally and ends at midnight EST on August 1! Just click that highlighted text to enter!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

St Vladimir's Summer School: Blood Promise


On Wednesdays this summer, Steph at TheFakeSteph, Ashelynn of Gypsy Book Reviews, Jenn at OwlReadIt and I are all blogging about our reading (or re-reading) of the Vampire Academy series. If you've read the books and want to chime in, or if you're curious about this much beloved series, we hope you enjoy following along.

If you missed past posts, you can catch up on my post on Vampire Academy book one here and my post on Frostbite here, my post on Shadow Kiss here. 

Since it's summer school, I'm not doing formal reviews, just giving you my thoughts like we're passing notes in class.

New kid alert!  Lauren from the Headless Owl has joined our class! And Ashelynn is out of class this week due to technical difficulties.

Week Four assigned reading: Blood Promise by Richelle Mead.

Very brief plot summary:

Rose leaves Lissa and goes off in search of Dimitri, whom she hasn't seen since the Strigoi attack. She has to find him so she can keep a promise that she made. (It's a Blood Promise, right?) But ... things go wrong. To make matters worse, Rose is terribly worried about Lissa, who doesn't seem to be herself. At all. 

What I loved about this book:

Rose travels to Russia

I've always wanted to go to St. Petersburg. Jealous! Except Rose is there for business, not pleasure. The kind of killing-the-person-you-love-business ... eeep!  If I were Ashelynn I would have put that in all caps. But I have more self-control on the keyboard than that!

Sydney! She shows up for the first time in this book and since she has short hair, I imagine her as Michelle Williams:

There are new kids at St. Vlad's and as usual, they're NO GOOD. (Whoops, how did those caps sneak in there?)

Lissa's having a hard time with Rose away:

But, to be honest, at 55% way through Blood Promise,  I'm getting a little restless. Not a lot is happening. Then, all of a sudden WHOA NOW WE ARE TALKING! Look who's here:

Photo by Tzuky15 on deviant

Dimitri shows up and I think Rose is capable of doing what she came to do, but no. She can't. Because she's so torn between doing what she thinks Dimitri would want and the fact that she loves him.

But then FINALLY she's back to herself and does what she needs to do:


How do I know Rose is back to herself? Because she tells Adrian to write her an outline detailing why he would be a good boyfriend. An OUTLINE?

And Adrian is all, "I'm on it." What????

All of this is terribly upsetting, so I can't wait to dive into the next book, which Jen M from Some Like It Paranormal promises is all kinds of awesome.

Leave a comment and tell me what you think, but don't tell me what happens next! I'll be offline for part of the day, but I'll be back tonight :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

YA Hot Off the Presses: New Releases June 24-30

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Hot Off The Presses highlights great new YA releases for the coming week.

What's coming out during the week of July 24-30?
Drain You by M. Beth Bloom Endlessly by Kiersten White Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

You probably know that I loved Drain You by M. Beth Bloom -- a tongue-in-cheek look at the 90s and girl-meets-vampire stories.  If you missed it, you can read my review and fun 90s glossary here.

Also a huge fan of Kiersten White. Can't wait to read the final installment in Evie and Lend's story in Endlessly.

Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard. I haven't read that one but Caitlin recommends it for fans of Cassie Clare's Infernal Devices series and zombie fans in general. Sounds intriguing, but I'll have to grill Caitlin about the gore level. Check out Caitlin's review here.

Other books releasing this week:

The Triumph of Death (Alex Van Helsing #3) by Jason Henderson

Guitar Notes by Mary Amato

Red Heart Tattoo by Lurlene McDaniel

Monday, July 23, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Spark (Skychasers Book #2)
by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Published by: St Martin's Griffin
on July 17, 2012

Source: bought from independent bookstore

Can you read book two without refreshing your memory on book one? There is recap of major plot points, but I was still a little lost on some of the backstory and characters.

My 99% spoiler free-summary of both books: In book one,  fifteen year-old Waverly knows nothing except life on a spaceship. Waverly was born on the Empyrean which, along with sister ship the New Horizon, is headed to a distant planet after the collapse of earth. Repopulation is an important goal of the space mission, and Waverly has pledged to marry ship captain-to-be Kieran. Then the Empyrean is inexplicably attacked by the New Horizon. In the chaos, children are torn from their parents. Stubborn, opinionated Seth takes advantage of the chaos to assert control, and lead the crew of the Empyrean into a high-risk rescue mission.

In book two, the Empyrean is now almost completely populated by kids. Kieran has re-established control and locked up Seth. Just as Anne Mather, captain of the New Horizon, insists that she wants to negotiate peace, Waverly becomes convinced that a saboteur is hiding on the Empyrean. Estranged from Kieran, she decides to investigate on her own.

My take:  At the outset, Glow seemed like a sci-fi romance and I really wasn't feeling the whole Waverly-Kieran relationship. But as I kept reading, I realized Glow was more of a sci-fi thriller  -- well-plotted, with a whole lot of twists and turns. It's not dissimilar to Across the Universe, but darker in tone. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Extra! Extra! 14

Extra! Extra!

Extra! Extra! is my weekly Sunday post featuring brand new additions to my TBR pile as well as a summary of what's coming up on the blog.

I am trying really hard to rein in my book buying until I get my giant pile o'books down, but I did get these two this week:

The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin -- this book will be part of a "Back to School" middle grade feature and giveaway that I'll be doing in August.

Spark (SkyChasers book #2) by Amy Kathleen Ryan -- I recently finished this and will review it on Monday.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Author Spotlight ... Lara Zielin

Author Spotlight

Welcome to a new periodic feature on my blog ... Author Spotlight.  In this feature, I'll showcase and review multiple works by a YA author.

Today's featured author is Lara Zielin, author of:

The Waiting Sky
To be published by Putnam Juvenile on August 7, 2012
Source: bought

The Implosion of Aggie Winchester
Published by Putnam Juvenile on August 4, 2011
Source: ARC traded with another blogger

Donut Days
Published by Putnam Juvenile on August 6, 2009
I didn't read this one, but just FYI

pic name pic name

The Waiting Sky

My summary: After Jane's alcoholic mother nearly kills Jane and a friend in a car accident, Jane joins her brother on a team of tornado chasers. Jane will have to come to terms with her mother's illness, her frayed relationship with her brother, and her feelings for a cute guy on a rival tornado team.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Pushing the Limits

Pushing the Limits
by Katie McGarry

To be published by Harlequin Teen
on July 24, 2012

Source: e-ARC provided by Harlequin Teen through NetGalley. Read my review policy/disclosure statement here.

My summary: Echo is reeling after two tragedies: her brother's death and a separate incident that left her terribly scarred, a night she still can't remember. Noah's still raw from the tragic death of his parents and the fact that he and his younger brothers were put into separate foster homes. The two are set on a romantic collision course when Echo is assigned to tutor Noah. He thinks a former it-girl like Echo would never be interested in a guy like him. She thinks a player like Noah would never look twice at a girl who has to hide her arms under long sleeves.  But their attraction to one another cannot be denied...

My take: I think many YA readers are drawn to paranormal and dystopian fiction because the life-or-death stakes in these books makes for a reading experience that feels both emotionally intense and fraught with peril. If you're a fan of that kind of edge-of-your-seat reading experience, I do think you can find it in other YA genres -- like YA contemporaries!

Pushing the Limits takes some typical YA contemporary tropes -- no one understands me, I feel lost, my life sucks -- and really ratchets up the emotional ante. Both Echo and Noah have a ton of psychological baggage -- she's wounded and wary, he's angry and defensive. Echo's got a mentally ill mother, a seemingly wicked stepmother, questionably loyal friends and a controlling yet neglectful father. Noah lives in the hardscrabble world of the foster system where love and stability seem in short supply. Both are slow to trust, each is reluctantly attracted to the other.

Although at times Pushing the Limits teeters on the edge of melodrama, it also offers up a compelling plot and multifaceted characters. Noah wants to do whatever it takes to reunite his family, and his love for his brothers is both touching and inspiring. Echo thinks she wants to remember the circumstances surrounding her injury, but it's clear that doing so is going to be wrenching for her. There's nothing very surprising about how either of these situations turn out, but I did really like the way that Echo and Noah are forced into reconsidering some of their goals and preconceptions. It's impossible not to root for these mismatched lost souls to end up with a little happiness. No insta-love or love triangles here -- their relationship is of the sultry slow-burn variety. Love it!

If you love sultry, emotionally intense books like Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols or Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, you need to put Pushing the Limits at the very top of your TBR.

Can't wait to read it? I'm giving away my ARC. Just enter in the Rafflcopter below. Open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone
by Kat Rosenfield

Published by Dutton Juvenile
on July 5, 2012

Source: ARC swap with another blogger

My summary: Becca has just graduated from high school and can't wait to see the small town of Bridgeton in her rear view mirror. Of course she'll miss her boyfriend, James, and her family, but she's destined for bigger and better things. Then the body of a young woman is discovered at the side of a road, and the whole town's atwitter. The murder makes Becca look at her friends and neighbors in a whole different way and begin to doubt her own bravery.

My take: This book is a beautifully written murder mystery and coming-of-age story. Becca's chapters alternate with glimpses of the life of Amelia Anne.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

St Vladimir's Summer School: Shadow Kiss


On Wednesdays this summer, Steph at TheFakeSteph, Ashelynn of Gypsy Book Reviews, Jenn at OwlReadIt and I are all blogging about our reading (or re-reading) of the Vampire Academy series. If you've read the books and want to chime in, or if you're curious about this much beloved series, we hope you enjoy following along.

If you missed the last two weeks, you can catch up on my post on Vampire Academy book one here and my post on Frostbite here. Since it's summer school, I'm not doing formal reviews, just giving you my thoughts like we're passing notes in class.

Week three assigned reading: Shadow Kiss, Vampire Academy, book three.

Very brief plot summary:

After the deadly battle in book two, Rose is being haunted -- literally -- and she's afraid to tell anyone for fear that they'll think she's insane. When Strigoi attack St. Vladimir's, Rose has to choose between her friendship and loyalty to Lissa, and her forbidden love for Dimitri.

What I loved about Shadow Kiss:

Meatloaf:  Yes, meatloaf. A few days ago, Steph tweeted me saying she could see why I like Christian because he bakes meatloaf. Me: "Who? What? Meatloaf?"

Shhh. I'm a few books ahead. I did remember the part in Shadow Kiss where Rose tells Christian that he'll make a great housewife. Who doesn't love a guy who cooks?! I make a great meatloaf. Maybe Christian and I can trade recipes.

Ghosts. I also love ghosts. I don't want to tell you who is haunting poor Rose in case you haven't read the book yet. It's someone who died in book two. And this ghost haunting thing is going to come into play later on...

Ghosts from The Haunted Mansion at Disney World

Silence of the Lambs Moment: You know that moment in the film when Clarice goes to visit Hannibel Lechter?

Well, Rose goes to meet with Victor Dashkov in prison. Just like the Clarice scene, Victor tells Rose something that really gets to her. Don't listen to him, Rose!

Girly-Girl Moment: Just when things are getting grim, Lissa and Rose get manicures. Rose's nails look just like this:

Tarot cards: There's nothing like an ominous prophecy to shake things up in a book. Dimitri gets a reading that bothers him. And not a lot bothers Dimitri...

Romantic moment: Rose and Dimitri get a lot closer in this book. That's all I'm saying! I like Rose and Dimitri together. Yes, I'm on #TeamForbiddenLove. Deal with it, Steph!

Then.... the mother of all Cliffhangers: Whoa. I should have seen that coming. Seriously, Richelle Mead? You left your readers hanging like that? This is why it's never a bad idea to wait for the whole series to be out...

Tell me what you think, but DON'T tell me what happens next!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

YA Hot Off the Presses: New Releases July 17-23

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Hot Off The Presses highlights great new YA releases for the coming week.

What's coming up during the week of July 17-23?

Click on the images or highlighted text to get to Goodreads.

Holding Onto Zoe by George Ella Lyon

Small Damages by Beth Kephart -- loved this one. Click here for my review!

A World Away by Nancy Grossman

pic name pic name pic name

Other books releasing this week:

Before You Go by James Preller

The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee. My Goodreads review is here.

Added by Andrea @ Overstuffed Bookcase

Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan  -- I don't know why this wasn't on my list!!

Have you read any of these? Planning to?
To inspire you to comment, here are just some of the great books and ARCs that will be up for grabs during the week of July 30 when I draw winners for my comments contest. No, that's not the whole Days of Blood and Starlight. I wish! It's an extended excerpt that a winner can choose along with another book!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Drain You by M. Beth Bloom

Drain You
by M. Beth Bloom

To be published on July 24, 2012
by HarperTeen

Source: e-ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss.  Read my review policy/disclosure statement here.

My summary: Quinlan "Quinn" Lacey is a 1990s L.A. princess, an only child who sulks her way through shifts at the video store and torments her co-worker Morgan with her skimpy outfits and her refusal to acknowledge his infatuation. She's spoiled and bored, the VJ of her own MTV universe. One night after work, she spots a classmate, Naomi Sheets, crying by the side of the road. But when she meets James, Naomi's mysterious brother, Quinn has finally met her match. He's frustratingly unavailable, enigmatically aloof. But no one denies Quinn anything, so she sets out to have him. She doesn't even care that he's part of a sinister world of the undead.

My take: Words I never thought I'd say in a YA review: I think you might have to be over the age of 30 to fully appreciate this book.  

In the marketing copy on my ARC, Drain You is pitched as Twilight meets My So Called Life. While I do see the parallel between the Angela-Brian relationship in MSCL and the Quinn-Morgan one in Drain You, I'd call this book The Lost Boys meets Heathers. Like Heathers, Drain You is a black comedy. It wittily skewers overly permissive modern parenting, 80s slasher movies, and girl-meets-vampire stories, among other things.

Main character Quinn is quite the piece of work. More Rayanne than Angela, she's gloriously self-centered, eager to keep Morgan slavering over her while simultaneously wrapping vampire James and his non-vamp brother Whit around her little finger. Quinn's relationship issues may not be entirely her fault -- her affluent parents raise her with benign neglect, communicating with her through cheery, passive-aggressive little notes as they social-climb their way through the L.A. party scene. 

I enjoyed Drain You so much that I didn't even need a plot, but there is one involving a pair of evil vampire twins, hilariously nicknamed "the Spaders" by Quinn. The Spaders are vampires by choice who enslave Quinn's best friend Libby, necessitating a somewhat farfetched kidnapping plot and a gruesomely comic scene involving drain cleaner that comes straight out of Heathers. Remember that? "It's one thing to want someone out of your life, but it's another to serve them a wake-up cup full of liquid drainer."

I will have to accept the fact that not everybody may get this book. Me? I could have read it forever. Kurt? Dave? Flannel? Heshers? Discman? Sassy magazine? Nine Inch Nails? If you're nodding, you're probably with me in that over-30 demographic. If not, it's not your fault you're so young. One day you'll be reminiscing like this about Justin Bieber and Katy Perry.

Under 30's, I want you to love this book as much as I did, so here is my...

Helpful 90's Glossary for the Tragically Young

Discman: crappy successor to the Walkman and precursor to the iPod. Played CDs. Not that portable and skipped like crazy.

Drain You: a 1991 Nirvana song from the album Nevermind. In the category of 90s Vampire Themed Songs, I prefer "The World is a Vampire" by Smashing Pumpkins. 

Hesher: Mulleted, acid-jeans-wearing metalhead. You know, like Wayne and Garth on Wayne's World? Oh, never mind.

Overly permissive parenting: Kids, I am here to tell you that there was life before helicopter parents. Some moms and dads who came of age in the 60s practiced this kind of hands-off parenting. Looking back, it seems kind of awesome.

Sassy magazine: 1990s era magazine aimed at indie-alt teen and twenty-something girls everywhere. R.I.P.

Spader: person reminiscent of ubiquitous 80s/90s smirking, pastel-wearing preppy movie villains played by James Spader.

Video Store: place you went on weekend nights to rent movies on VHS. This was before DVRs, video on demand, Hulu, etc.

VJ: video jockey -- the newly minted celebrities who played and introduced videos on MTV. Martha Quinn -- remember her? Downtown Julie Brown? Carson Daly? Is anyone with me here? Sigh. I'll just go sit in my rocking chair now.
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