Book Review

Recent Reads: Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers, Crossing the Line and Dare You To by Katie McGarry.

A round up of some of the books I’ve recently read.

imageSome Girls Are by Courtney Summers. St Martins Griffin.
Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard—falling from it is even harder. Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High… until vicious rumors about her and her best friend’s boyfriend start going around. Now Regina’s been “frozen out” and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day. She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn’t come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend… if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don’t break them both first.

Regina is the focus of this book, once a member of the highest and meanest tier of school, some pretty awful actions mean her position changes overnight – she’s now at the very bottom of the pile and number one target for her former co-conspirators. The opening of the book, the incident that causes this downfall, is hard to read and leaves you wondering what else is going to happen in this book.

The book is all about the social structure of high school, particularly the more toxic aspects of it. The teenagers in this book are not nice, they have few if any redeeming qualities. Their actions are brutal, and the consequences are far reaching. All of this makes the book a gripping, but unpleasant read – the tension levels at times made me feel sick with nerves. Never once though was I put off, this is such a strong novel, it’s hard, shocking and oh so very real. It’s been a couple of weeks since I read it, and still I’m thinking about aspects of it – truly a book that gets under your skin.

imageCrossing The Line by Katie McGarry. MiraINK.
Katie McGarry captivated readers with her “riveting, emotional”* Young Adult debut, Pushing the Limits. In this gripping novella, she tells the story of Lila and Lincoln, who discover that sometimes it’s worth crossing the line for love…

Lila McCormick first met Lincoln Turner when tragedy struck both their lives. But she never expected their surprise encounter would lead to two years of exchanging letters-or that she’d fall for the boy she’s only seen once. Their relationship is a secret, but Lila feels closer to Lincoln than anyone else. Until she finds out that he lied to her about the one thing she depended on him for the most.

Hurting Lila is the last thing Lincoln wanted. For two years, her letters have been the only thing getting him through the day. Admitting his feelings would cross a line he’s never dared breach before. But Lincoln will do whatever it takes to fix his mistakes, earn Lila’s forgiveness-and finally win a chance to be with the girl he loves.

Wow, that’s a pretty long blurb for a novella, I’m afraid my review will be quite a bit shorter!

I really loved Pushing the Limits and was thrilled to hear there would be further books and novellas featuring key characters. This is the first of the novellas, focusing on Lila – Echo’s best friend. I must admit it took me a few pages to settle into the book, and understand how it fitted into the world McGarry has created, but as soon as I’d done so I loved it.

Whilst it is a much shorter story, I didn’t feel robbed or cheated – the characters are still well developed and I really cared about them. I particularly loved hearing about Lila’s wonderful organisational techniques – I’ve got a few new ideas to try now!

imageDare You To by Katie McGarry. MiraINK.
If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom’s freedom and her own happiness. That’s how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn’t want her and going to a school that doesn’t understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her, but does….

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn’t be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won’t let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all….

This is the first of the companion novels to Pushing the Limits, it focuses on Beth – Noah’s friend and housemate and introduces Ryan, a baseball star in the making.

I have to admit, when I read about the dare element of this book I was really worried. I generally find that books with secrets like this leave me so stressed out as I read, and so I end up not really enjoying the book. I was so pleased to find that this part of the plot didn’t play out as I’d expected it to, and so I could just enjoy the reading experience.

The majority of this book is set at a different school, in a different town, to Pushing the Limits so there’s a whole new lot of characters to get to know. Beth makes numerous trips back home though, giving us time to catch up with Echo and Noah, and with Isaiah.

This isn’t a perfect book, but the writing is so good that I was completely swept away by the reading experience and can happily overlook things that might have been gripes in a weaker book. I’m completely in love with this series, I think it’s the closest a series of books have got to making me feel the way watching Friday Night Lights did.

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