Karo, Aaron. Galgorithm.
5 May 2015, Simon Pulse
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Shane, who is still smarting from his breakup with "Voldemort" a couple of years ago (it hurts to say her name), is the match making king of his high school. He has devised a way for guys to improve their personal communications with girls whom they like, and instructs guys who are having trouble connecting with girls on what they should do. While this sounds a little manipulative at first, most of Shane's advice is fairly solid-- spruce yourself up, pay attention to the girl, and be firm and honest in dealings with her. (If the girl asks "Is this a date?", the answer should be an unapologetic "yes".) Shane's best friend, the quirky goth girl Jak, thinks he is doing a good thing, even when one of Shane's clients starts using the technique on her. Shane is even approached by a math teacher who is interested in another teacher, and is successful in helping him as well. Shane soon starts dating one of the hottest girls in school and knows he should be happy, but starts finding that he is a little jealous of the guy whom Jak is dating. When Shane's formula is discovered and publicized through social media, some of the relationships he helped facilitate fall apart... for a while. Is Shane's secret formula really secret... or a formula?
Strengths: This was very fun, and I enjoyed it a lot. I think it's great for guys to read tips like "actually pay attention to the girl", and laughed when Shane changed his line about a girl having great eyelashes for his teacher's use-- being older, the teacher was supposed to ask the other teacher if she used Latisse. The male teacher didn't know what this was, but was assured by Shane that the female teacher would be impressed that he knew. Fun twist at end, good use of current technology and interests... I would like to see a more middle grade appropriate book from this author.
Weaknesses: The falling-in-love-with-best-friend subplot seemed a bit trite.
What I really think: Walks a bit too close to the YA line for me to be completely comfortable with, but since there are so few romance books for boys, and there is a huge need, I may think about purchasing it. 8th graders would love it, but 6th graders might be a bit disturbed. This author's other books definitely cross the line into more high school territory.
Sheldon, Dyan. The Truth About My Success
June 9th 2015 by Candlewick Press
Paloma Rose is a television star, and she has to put up with a drunken, absent father, an overbearing mother, and constant attention by the press. She reacts to all of these things by being a colossal brat, which is endangering her career. Her agent, Jack Silk, is especially displeased. When he sees Oona Ginness working in a restaurant, he notices that she bears a striking resemblance to Paloma. Oona is dealing with the death of her mother, a father who won't get out of bed, and trying to do well in school so she can get scholarships to college. When Jack asks her to impersonate Paloma while Paloma is on a well-deserved vacation, the money he is offering makes her agree. Oona moves into Paloma's house, but Paloma is sent to a "brat camp" instead of a posh resort. There, she spends two weeks in bed before reluctantly participating in camp activities and pretending that she is seeing the error of her ways. Oona takes the show by storm, and no one guesses that she is an imposter. She even reads a paparazzo the riot act for scaring her dog, scoring her big points with the public, as well as an exclusive interview. While Paloma's mother is stressing about getting the house ready, Oona meets Paloma, who has run away from the camp. How can the two combine forces and make it possible for things to work out for both of them?
Strengths: Sheldon is one of my go-to authors for light, romantic books for girls. (Especially now that Janette Rallison is doing demon books. Sigh.) This was a fun celebrity romp, much like Calonita's series, or Rallison's My Double Life. Will definitely buy a copy, since there is an insatiable need for this sort of book.
Weaknesses: Actually, no romance. Huh.
What I really think: Glad that Sheldon decided against embracing the dark side again, like she did in One or Two Things I Learned About Love. The covers don't lend themselves to dark stories.