Sunday, June 03, 2012
Just for Fun-- Girl Books
11 October 2011
Jamie loves living on her parents' pumpkin farm in central Illinois. She has good friends in Sara and Dilly, and a crush on the enormously cute Danny. She works hard and hopes that some day she will be rewarded with being named Pumpkin Queen. When her rich, spoiled cousin Milan shows up at the busiest time of the pumpkin year to "work" on the farm, Jamie is not happy. She ans Milan used to get along, but Milan now goes out of her way to sabotage Jamie AND seems to be catching the eye of the still elusive Danny. When Milan decides to run for Pumpkin Queen, Jamie digs up some dirt on her cousin in order to improve her own chances of winning, but reconsiders when she finds out some details about the unhappiness in her cousin's life.
Strengths: **SWOON** This is the type of book I like, and this third book of Springer's (The Espressologist, My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours) is awesome. Jamie is a great, no nonsense character who is realistically drawn, and her cousin is realistically evil but with underlying problems that don't totally excuse her behavior. Even the parents are well done; involved but not overly so. Very nice.
Weaknesses: We have to wait until the very end for any romance. Sigh. Not fair. This would be a perfect pairing with Joan Bauer's Squashed (1992), wouldn't it? (Really? Twenty years ago? Wow.)
1 April 2012, Point
Things are tense during senior year at a performing arts school in New York City. Flashing back to freshman year when Emme, Sophie, Ethan and Carter met, and taking them up to graduation, we get to see all the machinations they go through to become successful in their fields. Sophie has a fantastic voice, and her plan is to become a superstar. Her friend, Emme, is a songwriter who gladly writes songs for her, but who is also in a band and has a good voice of her own. Ethan writes songs brillinatly, but is nervous about performing. He also likes Emme. Carter, who is dating Sophie, is a former child star who is currently in a soap opera. He doesn't really want to continue acting, although that is his mother's plan. He would rather draw. As the school prepares for the senior showcase, tempers flare, competition becomes heated, and relationships are stressed, many times to the breaking point. And that's even BEFORE these students make it into colleges!
Strengths: This was a fast-paced, light romantic book showcasing students who want to be stars in the performing arts. Always a popular topic, and Eulberg does a very good job at creating distinct characters that I had no trouble following in alternating chapters.
Weaknesses: This violates my main belief on bliss following. Seriously? Careers in the performing arts? Why are there no books about people who end up singing on local television commercials? This is not a topic I care to read about because it just makes me worry about the characters' career options.