Sunday, July 20, 2014

Just Like the Movies

18018509Fiore, Kelly. Just Like the Movies
July 22nd 2014 by Walker Books for Young Readers 
E ARC from

Marijke is a track star and has a great boyfriend, Tommy, whom she feels could do so much better than having her as his girlfriend. Her parents were high school sweethearts and are still too lovey-dovey for her taste, so she worries constantly that Tommy will drop her. Lily has a troubled home life with a mother who is a serial dater, and has spent all of her time at school concentrating on her resume for college in hopes of getting a scholarship. She has a huge crush on Joe, who is involved with motocross but doesn't know she exists. A chance encounter between the girls exposes their shared interest in romantic movies, and the two come up with a plan to reenact movie scenes to add more romance to their lives. Prom is fast approaching, and the pressure is on for boys to have spectacular "Promposals", and the girls think they can help orchestrate these. Lily talks Joe into incorporating a raffle for these services into his motocross fundraiser, and Marijke tries to stop being paranoid about Tommy. The girls work together and take a lot of comfort for their new friendship as things go badly in each of their lives.
Strengths: Like this author's Taste Test, this is a light, fun romance book, and I need a lot of those. The movies referenced are all well known enough that most readers will have heard of them, or might want to investigate.My readers who like romance books sometimes read one a day, so I will definitely order a copy.
Weaknesses: I thought Tommy was not all that great a boyfriend, and Marijke's insecurities were a bit disturbing. Lily's geekiness is a bit overdone, as is her makeover, but I'm an old person with no patience for romance. Middle schoolers are not yet as jaded as I am and so won't mind these things!

17375024 Wettersten, Laura. My Faire Lady
June 3rd 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

When Rowena's boyfriend dumps her, she decides to look into a job doing face painting at a Renaissance Faire. She's also glad to live away from home and her parents, who are pressuring her to apply to high powered colleges so she can get a good job. Wearing period costumes and working with small children is a small part of her life at the site-- there's also plenty of romance. She is attracted to  Christian, who does the jousting demonstrations, but makes a good friend in Will, who travels the fair circuit with his parents. She knows that Christian is trouble, but he's so dreamy that she ignores Will's attentions. Working with Suze, Rowena also doubts her college plans, and decides that she would rather follow her bliss and major in art that to follow her parents' directions.
Strengths: Very fun look at life at a Renaissance fair, and I can see older high school readers who are struggling with college choices really enjoying this. The romance is decent, too, and Will and Rowena, as well as Suze and some of the supporting adult characters, are very fun. A good choice for a high school library.
Weaknesses: Think I will pass on this one for middle school. There's too much drinking and too few consequences, too much talk of college, and the romances are too angst ridden. Also, the whole "I want to be an artist" message is a bad one for anyone of any age. No bliss following! Gainful employment! And I say this as a Latin teacher who was out of work for nine very long years!


Michael G-G said...

Yeah, I have a hard time with drinking in middle grade, especially if the consequences are minimal. Your mini "no bliss following" rant cracked me up!

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