Saturday, August 05, 2017

Teen Romance

32333213Doller, Trish. In a Perfect World
May 23rd 2017 by Simon Pulse
Public Library Copy

Caroline is ready to spend her summer working at Cedar Point. and then start her senior year in Sandusky, Ohio. However, when her father takes her on their yearly after school trip to Kelley's Island, he breaks the news that her mother has gotten a position at OneVision, a charitable eye clinic she will run in Cairo, Egypt! Since her dad works two weeks on, two weeks off on a boat, she has to go with her mother. It's not an awful thing, but surprising news. Caroline breaks up with her boyfriend and sets off to Egypt. Once there, she realizes that it will be difficult for her to wander around on her own, but her mother employs Mr. Elhadad to drive her around whenever needed. This gives Caroline a chaperone and keeps Mr. Elhadad's taxi business busy. When he becomes ill, his son, Adam, is tasked with taking Caroline around the city. At first, the two are shy with each other, but they eventually discuss the differences in their cultures, and the similarities in their personal preferences. Adam teachers Caroline about the food and culture of his country, she meets his sister and joins a soccer team with her, and the two eventually share a sweet romance. When the OneVision clinic runs into problems, Caroline and her mother decide to return to the U.S., and Caroline and Adam must say their star-crossed goodbyes, wishing "I want you to have the best life even if I'm not part of it".
Strengths: This was a fantastic trip to Cairo, with so many details (both wonderful and not so great) about what the city is like. Food, customs, views. The romance is sweet, and the problems that Caroline and Adam face are explained in a very balanced and realistic way. It was interesting that some of Adam's friends liked her, and some did not. The mom is a great, strong character.
Weaknesses: I didn't care much for the epilogue. I would have preferred that the romance be sweet but over. That's really the best romance. Younger readers whose souls haven't shrunk in the wash will think it is romantic. I am a bit concerned about how realistic some of the details about Egypt and Egyptian sentiments are because I am simply not in a position to know if they are accurate.
What I really think:Definitely put this book on my list to purchase. It did make me angry, though, that men in Egyptian culture (purportedly) feel free to make rude comments to women. I imagine this is an accurate portrayal, because I had an experience somewhat similar to Caroline's when I lived in Athens, Greece 30 years ago. Because I was blonde, there were many Greek men who tried to chat me up on the street in not entirely appropriate ways. That this behavior has not been beaten out of men in every culture by angry women with umbrellas baffles and incenses me.

Brody, Jessica. In Some Other Life
August 8th 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Kennedy Rhodes is loving her life at her public school, even though she lied and told everyone she DID NOT get into the elite private school with which she is a little obsessed, since they get so many students accepted to Columbia, her dream college. When she breaks up with her boyfriend, (who is seeing her best friend on the sly!), she wishes that she could have made another decision. Of course, she wakes up to find her world a very different place. Her father is no longer a stay-at-home dad on the verge of a successful free lance photography career; her mother is more stressed; she is tremendously overbooked at the private school and is not dating anyone at all. Most importantly, the school has no newspaper at all, and at the public school, that was her claim to fame. When she stumbles upon a test selling scheme that got one of her friends in her new life kicked out of school, she starts to investigate what is going on, and figures out how little things can affect one's entire life.
Strengths: I love, love, love the "what if" novel-- let's just say that if I hadn't decided to take Latin in the 8th grade, I would not be blogging today because I would have a much more successful life! The fact that Brody can write a YA novel that is not filled with bad language and substance abuse warms my heart more than I can say. This just was very intriguing. Not great on the details because I read most of it while waiting for 8th graders to walk around Washington, D.C.
Weaknesses: Hmmm. Can't think of any. Again, see note on lack of details!
What I really think: Definitely purchasing! Love the cover.

Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. Jessica Brody can seriously do no wrong in my eyes - I just love her books! I've been really looking forward to In Some Other Life so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it. In a Perfect World also sounds great. I had no idea it took place in Egypt. Now I really want to check it out. Great reviews!

    Lauren @ Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf