Author: Amanda Maciel
Publication date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperTeen)
Source: an e-galley provided by the publisher for an honest review
Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault. At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media. In the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her own role in an undeniable tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.
With its powerful narrative, unconventional point of view, and strong anti-bullying theme, this coming-of-age story offers smart, insightful, and nuanced views on high school society, toxic friendships, and family relationships.
I'm embarrassingly late in posting this review. My reasons being that 1. I thought I already posted it and then 2. I forgot that I never actually wrote it, I just talked it all out in my head. This is the kind of book that warrants talking to yourself, writing and rewriting your thoughts in your head. I technically finished it since I skimmed the rest of the way (which was the last 10% or so), but it's basically a partial DNF. Throughout this story, I was intrigued by the plot, annoyed with the main character as well as disgusted, impatient with the author, and anticipating what would happen, but ultimately disappointed.
I'm always saying how great it would be to read through the antagonist's POV (especially a villain in a retelling), but this particular story and POV did not work for me. At all. It's one thing to read a POV that owns her "badness," a POV who's complex, or a POV that can garner sympathy despite her wrong choices. It's an entirely different thing when it feels like you're expected to sympathize with the POV despite she being awful, a POV who repeats the same mantra in denial, or a POV who doesn't improve. As you can guess, Sara from Tease is the latter POV and I hated it.
Title: Life by Committee
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Publication date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books (HarperTeen)
Source: an e-galley provided by the publisher for an honest review.
Some secrets are too good to keep.
Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her flat.
Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend.
Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe.
Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own.
But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?
What is it about Corey Ann Haydu that makes me want to read her books even though this is two out of two that has left me feeling uncomfortable and dissatisfied?
The subject of cheating is difficult to write, especially when the main character is in the wrong. What I want to know is how can Joe end up with two girls? Really. He's a complete dog (reality-wise, dogs are way better). From what we're told through Elise, he's a loser and weird and I have a feeling he's not cute either. Of course, Tab thinks he's wonderful. But we can all see through that and know that he's just one major flop. Joe and his womanly ways (or maybe he just attracts the unstable, who knows) were confusing to me. He behaved like a jerk to Tabby, obviously using her before running back to his girlfriend. After a few acts (which I can't talk about), he officially disgusted him.
Tabby's young parents are expecting a baby and, of course, she throws in the baby jealousy card, but it was way too early in my opinion. Her parents acted stranger to me through the story and I would've sympathized with her more if it didn't feel like the author was just making the parents act like this so that we would sympathize with Tabby more. This kind of manipulation doesn't work on me.
Those were my two main thoughts after finishing because besides the extremely weird group (my only thoughts: RUN AWAY, GIRL), the book was forgettable for me. I finished it, but I don't remember the ending. I blanked on Tabby's name until I reread the synopsis. When you can't remember anything about the book except for its frustrations and your negative feelings, you're not a good match.