Review: Awkward by Marni Bates

From Goodreads: Mackenzie Wellesley has spent her life avoiding the spotlight. At Smith High, she’s the awkward junior people only notice when they need help with homework. Until she sends a burly football player flying with her massive backpack and makes a disastrous – not to mention unwelcome – attempt at CPR. Before the day is out, the whole fiasco explodes on YouTube. And then the strangest thing happens. Suddenly, Mackenzie is an Internet sensation, with four million hits and counting. Sucked into a whirlwind of rock stars, paparazzi, and free designer clothes, she even catches the eye of the most popular guy at school. And that’s when life gets really interesting…

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Let me take a moment to start this review by asking you a question. How often have I waxed poetic about a contemporary novel? If you come around here a lot you know the answer, if you are new here (waves at new persons) the answer is very rarely. This is because I like very few contemporary themes. I rather enjoy the incredibly dark or the fantastically light.

Marni Bates hits all my LOL buttons with her debut Awkward. We start the book with Kenzie talking to the notable crowd about homework. Why else would the notables talk to an invisible? Kenzie is leaving the notable stairs when she turns around hitting a boy in the stomach with her backpack full of AP textbooks. He falls down the stairs and Kenzie runs after him giving him really bad and not needed CPR.

Someone filmed the incident and it hit Youtube branding Kenzie as The Most Awkward Girl in the World. Her new found fame brings her designer clothing, her high school crush is finally interested in her, and backstage passes to a rock concert. Kenzie is so blinded by the bling and being notable that she can’t see what is right in front of her.

I loved every moment reading Awkward. Kenzie is such a fun character and so very likable. Watching her life blow up exponentially bit by bit was hilarious. Another great thing about the book is that Kenzie had an amazing set of friends and a very supportive family. She learned to be comfortable in her own awkward skin with their full support.

Kenzie learns that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. But once you get there you can spread some fertilizer and make it greener yourself.

I seriously urge you to make this your first book purchase of 2012. Marni Bates is a talent, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next! You can thank me later.

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Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

nightshade cover From Goodreads: Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything–including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Oh Andrea Cremer write me a sequel and do it now! I picked up this book at BEA when every YA reviewer I spoke to asked me if I had a copy yet. It was clear that Nightshade was set to be a huge hit for the fall and was included in Penguin’s big five promotion.

I am happy to report that Nightshade lives up to the drama. Cremer sets the reader up perfectly for a book two. I found myself really invested in Calla as a character. It has been quite a while since a YA paranormal has made me want to do anything besides brutally murder the whiny chick.

Calla is strong, and has a great sense of duty. Although it is hard for her to break traditions to do thing things she needs to do Calla is open minded enough to know she should live for herself and at least try to figure out why the Guardians are working for the Keepers.

The Keepers are magical folk that have been around since before humans existed, they help shape the world and use their magic to take care of everything in it. Calla is an alpha Guardian and it is up to her and the other packs to make sure that the Keeper’s holy lands are safe.

Calla has been promised to Ren (oh le sigh at the literary boi hotness) since they were born on Samhain. All of this is fine with Calla until Shay shows up and threatens to rock her very existence to the core. This is a book begging for the reader to pick a side. Do we choose the strong misunderstood alpha male Ren (oh yes please) or the equally strong mystery boy who has a role to play in Calla’s future as well?

Nightshade kept me guessing to the very end where Andrea Cremer leaves the reader waiting with bated breath for more! I do hope there will be a second book at BEA this year and this time I will know what I am gunning for when I make my way over to the Penguin booth.

If you enjoy L.J. Smith, Christopher Pike or, Annette Curtis Klause you will love Andrea Cremer.

FTC Disclosure: I picked up this book at a conference. I paid to ship it home. Boo to the ya.

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