Hadley doesn't want to fly to London, but that's not why she missed her flight by four minutes. She was just running late-- but try explaining that to her father, for whose wedding she now might or might not be on time. She's struggling to stay awake and occupied in the airport when a boy helps her with her suitcase-- and the two strike up a conversation. When they end up next to each other on the plane, they spend most of the long trip talking. Hadley is upset that her father moved to the UK to take a teaching job, fell in love, and left her and her mother. Oliver is more tactiturn, but she does find out that he is studying at Yale. When the
Strengths: Any book that ends up in London with a romance with a cute boy named Oliver... well, have to buy this one! plane lands, the two get separated, and Hadley realizes they never exchanged contact information. After struggling through part of the wedding and reception, she feels a desperate need to hunt Oliver down, and does manage to find him. How deep is their connection? What is the statistical probability of love at first sight?
Weaknesses: A bit more family angst than I personally like in a romance, and, well, this wasn't Before Sunrise (1995). *Sigh* I didn't quite feel the connection between Hadley and Oliver, and the fact that she actually hunted him down was somehow... wrong. True to life, but not as romantic as just bumping into him a week later on the Tube. Won't matter to my students!
Resau, Laura. The Ruby Notebook.
Sequel to The Indigo Notebook. Zeeta and her mother have lived in a different country every year for as long as Zeeta can remember. After a year in Ecuador, they are settling into life in Aix-en-Provence, France. Zeeta is very excited that her American boyfriend, Wendell, is coming to spend the summer with her, but she is conflicted when she meets the appealing Jean-Claude, who is traveling and working with a performing group. Complicating matters is someone leaving small gifts for her that she thinks may be from the father that she has never met. When Wendell arrives, he is a bit distant, and Zeeta is concerned that she will be like her mother, who has never been able to maintain a relationship for very long. With the help of an elderly gentleman, her new friends in the performing group, some mystical friends of her mother's, and Wendell himself, Zeeta is able to make some sense of the relationships in her life.
Strengths: This was a great book for describing travel, and the romances will make this appealing to my girls who go through a book a day.
Weaknesses: This felt more like adult fiction, with a slow, languid narrative. I also found the mystical qualities in some of the characters confusing. (Wendell sees visions, etc.) Still, I think I will order the entire series, including the new The Jade Notebook for my girls who can't get enough of books like 13 Little Blue Envelopes.
Brody, Jessica. My Life Undecided.
Brooklyn is really good at making really bad decisions. The latest-- having a huge party at her mother's model home and managing to burn it down trying to make fajitas while drunk with plastic vegetables-- results in her best friend, Shayne, dumping her, as well as 200 hours of community service at a nursing home. Realizing that she is incapable of making good decisions, Brooklyn puts together a blog (http://mylifeundecided.com) and lets the readers of her blog decide what she will do. Grapes of Wrath or The Old Man and the Sea? Try out for rugby? Brooklyn manages to abide by the decisions for the most part, even though her readers think she should be more interested in Brian (her new debate partner) and less interested in Hunter (very hot new student). Things don't go smoothly, but Brooklyn tries to move beyond her shallow past, stay out of trouble, and decide if her friendship with Shayne is really they way to happiness.
Strengths: This was a very fun, light read that is about the vicissitudes of high school life and romance while still being appropriate for middle school. Whew. Enjoyed tremendously even though the plot is a tiny bit similar to Notes from the Midnight Driver. Brooklyn does mature.
Weaknesses: The cover will date very badly, but this is offset by actual web site at the addressed mentioned in the book. I didn't quite buy Brooklyn as someone who would have a party in a model home and hang out with Shayne, and she did take to debate a bit too quickly for me to believe. Still a fun read.