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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

SUMMER READING: The view is great...but how DID I get here?

1…2…is this thing on?


*adjusts feedback settings*

Welcome back to the place to be when you’re in the mood for a good read and most of your bookish blogging buddies are at BEA….Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.  Yep, that’s me.  The stay at home blogger during the bookish fun craziness that is BEA, or at least that’s what I’m told the experience is like first hand.  *sigh*  Alas, not able to attend this year yet again, but am I fretting?  Am I focusing on only this sad lonely fact?  No…well, not much.  (^_^)  Okay, so I am a little jelly, but can you blame a bookish girl?  That’s what I thought.  Anywho…

Don’t miss your chance to win Oogy, Cleo, My Name is Memory, and Saving CeeCee Honeycutt or if you happen to be an international participant, a $10 GC!  This is the LAST WEEK to get your entries in for my THREE YEAR BLOGOVERSARY celebration so don’t miss out!  Also, I’m got your chance to win a copy of a SUMMER READING MUST HAVE…book 2 in The Goddess Test series, Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter.  This is a quick “one-week-only” giveaway so just click on over to the post and get your entries in.  Now, moving forward…

Today, we are continuing my unexpected series of posts (unexpected because I didn’t plan the sequence, it just fell wonderfully that way) featuring must have books for your summer reading…you know, the “un-required” sort.  Speaking of “un-required”, that just so happens to be the moniker of the publisher’s site featuring today’s title…as well as a few others you may want to get your hands on post haste.  Not one to keep you in the dark for long, it’s time to discuss the book from what I remember, or rather today’s featured book of choice is…


From the publisher
KYLIE: Mexico? What a nightmare! I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY! Wait! Is this a wedding band on my finger??

MAX: It started with Kylie’s laptop and a truck full of stolen electronics and it ended in Ensenada. It was hot, the way she broke us out like some chick in an action movie. But now we’re stranded here, with less than twenty-four hours before graduation.

WILL: Saving Kylie Flores from herself is kind of a full-time occupation. Luckily, I, Will Bixby, was born for the job. And when I found out she was stuck in Mexico with dreamy Max Langston, sure, I agreed to bring their passports across the border – but there’s no reason to rush back home right away. This party is just getting started.

LILY: This cannot be happening. It’s like some cruel joke. Or a bad dream. I close my eyes and when I reopen them, they’re still there. Max and Kylie Flores, freak of the century. In bed together. If Kylie thinks I'm giving him up without a fight, she's dead wrong.

See what I did there?  With the play on words?  Hehe.  Anywho…this is a furiously fast and crazy fun story PERFECT for a summer escape.  Pardon the “valley-girl-esque” sound to my review, but it’s SUMMER….lighten up!  ^_^ 

It’s amazing how much can happen in just TWO DAYS!  No really, this book comes in at a fairly substantial 460+ pages (semi hefty for a Young Adult book) and takes place over just TWO DAYS…and you know what?  It works (..for the most part…I’ll explain later).  Once you have the characters cemented in your brain (a daunting task for me when there are several leads…though the authors help you out by labeling each chapter and making it one voice per chapter), strap yourself in for a wild ride because as the synopsis promises, there is DANGER, ROMANCE, and way to much alcoholic beverages consumed (remember kids, this is FICTION, don’t try this at home) that all add up to an experience NONE of them will soon forget.  Let’s talk characters…

Scholarship student…which makes her automatically feel the need to prove herself.  Scary smart and endearing with her innocent view of the world tainted only by life experiences and a few too many movies (though the “finish this line” game she plays with Will is AWESOME and I LOVED the movies quotes at the opening of each chapter!).  She’s that diamond in the rough, the girl who doesn’t know how much she really has going for her until one day…chance and circumstance blow her cover once and for all.  She …authentic, non-cookie-cutter and bucked the trend on most of the things we see as “standards” today.  Needless to say, I LOVED this girl!  I’m thinking in real life, we could definitely be friends.

Son of the richie rich elite with smarts to spare despite his brawn/popularity over brains persona.  He’s not seen as the “dumb jock” per se but its pretty close.  But wait fair readers, before you write him off…there is more than meets the eye going on here, though the eye is definitely pleased.  When given the chance, he’s a talker, he likes a girl equal parts rescuee and rescuer, crumbles in times of panic (yeah, thank goodness for his take charge cohort up there because honestly, he would’ve been toast a time or two!) and yet can charm the pants off any crowd.  One too many cocktail parties you say?  Perhaps, but despite his wrong choices, he usually has good intentions at heart.  In the end…after we get to know him…I’m definitely on board with his presence.

Again with the richie rich child but a bit more flamboyant in this case.  You see, Will is out of the closet in a big way and he wants to make a statement in his little old town, cross dressing seemed like the easy answer though the heels can be a killer!  (LOL!)  He’s Kylie’s best friend and confidant, always there for the ride no matter where it might lead, and always pushing his friend to be the best version of her even if she doesn’t listen.  He sees her potential and wants it to shine just as she does in him….what more could you ask for?  As one of the leads in our summer escapade, he has a role to play in the “festivities” as well and play it he does.  I’ll leave the mystery there for you to discover but let’s just say that he may have promised to rescue his bestest friend, but he didn’t say anything about not having a little fun before the adventure drew to a close.  *wink*

Oh Lily.  How to describe you.  I wanted to dislike you through and through, after all you were oh so wrong on so many and for so many things!  Your life was handed to you on a silver platter (richie rich child…again) on which you gladly placed your discards but karma can be a b….and unfortunately, you got yours back in spades.  Did I feel bad for you?  Sorta…I mean it’s be a hard situation to follow no matter what lifestyle you were use to and you do show some humanity once you realize what’s done is done, but alas fair chica, I still can’t call you friend.  A backbone and SOME humanity do not amount to the total package and I don’t care how Barbie-esque you are, there’s a LOT to be said for substance. 

We see the best, the worst, and the true colors of all four of these characters as events go from unusual to bizarre to flat out “really-you’re-gonna-take-it-there”. I laughed and I teared (not full out cry, but there are a few parts that just give you pause), I leered and I cheered…I may have even blushed a time or two!  The whole spectrum of emotions is represented leaving you with a roller coaster affair you can’t miss. There’s even an inclusion of the love of family.  That’s right, slowing it down a notch for just a moment. 

This review wouldn’t be complete without a nod to Kylie’s family, after all they are who helped to shape her into the fabulous person she is today.  Patience and kindness, love and loyalty, all taught at home…but not necessarily from who you might assume.  Now, don’t get me wrong, her parents are great…a hard working Mom and a Dad, well…he tries, but there are things holding him back (which we uncover on Kylie’s journey as well!)…but her real teacher is Jake, her brother.  He’s a special kid but much smarter than the world gives him credit for…everyone except Kylie.  She accepts him for who he is quirks and all.  She doesn’t try to change him or make him conform to the “norm” just because his norm is a few shades different than Johnny Q Public.  He’s wicked smart and genuine in all he does; a handful at times, but who isn’t?  His world is black and white and he calls it as he sees it, no holds barred; in short, a great addition to this tale that you’ll be happy to know.  Now back to that story…

The story is actually a recounting of the last 48 hours as Kylie tries to remember what happened to land her in the spot she is waking up to find herself in (how’s that for intrigue?).  I love the fact that although you kinda sorta knew what to except, you really didn’t because the narrative switch offs kept you in the dark JUST enough to hide the twist about to be sprung.  The characters were one puzzle to figure out but the story drawing them together whether by chance or fate was something else altogether.  Who knew that an unexpected road trip would uncover so much not only about your traveling companions but also about your past…and perhaps your future?  Secrets come to light and truths are uncovered that change not only how they see each other but how they perceive themselves.  It was an unexpected addition to an already rip-roaring story that added even more depth and heart.  Nice touch.  Now on to the not-so-fun…

There were only two problems I had with this book and they were minor to say the least.  First, there were times when the multiple voices of the story seemed OVER heard from; as in too much about every step of the journey.  It can happen when all of the characters are giving their two cents because things tend to over lap at certain points, but this issue straightens itself out as the narrative moves forward.  Second and final issue, the voice of the characters versus their actual ages.  They’re teenagers, about 18 years old to be precise, and graduating from High School in a manner of (two) days but a few times, I found myself wondering if they were actually in Middle School. I can’t quite put my finger on just what created that feeling, perhaps the dialogue itself or their handling of a few minor situations (as compared to the BIG ones), but it was there and caught me off guard.  Now again, don’t let that scare you off the potential read because it is fleeting, VERY seldom, and could possibly have been corrected prior to the book’s actual publication (my copy was/is an ARC)…just something to be aware of.

In summary, one wild ride through the last days of High School that you WON’T want to miss and a perfect addition to your SUMMER READING list!  I read somewhere that someone who didn’t particularly like the book said it was “unrealistic”, couldn’t possibly happen.  Okay, well for starters…hello, it’s FICTION!  Second, who’s to say it couldn’t happen?  I mean okay, so it’s doubtful this EXACT sequence of events would play out in the exact same order but really look at the elements.  A stolen laptop and someone desperate to get it back.  A car chase.  A long shot romance…times two.  A Mexican vacation.  High School graduation.  Gratuitous drinking.  Police involvement.  Yep…I’d say that’s pretty realistic to me…but you be the judge!  Recommended reading for older teens and beyond.  If you’re young/old enough to remember what its like to be a teenager, experiencing things for the first time with your best buddy at your side and your eye set on tomorrow, this is…well not exactly that, but FUN a haphazard ride through all of it that will have you laughing, smiling, ooh-ing and ahh-ing all the way to the BIG finale.

ARC for review courtesy of authors Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas.  (THANKS ladies!)  For more information on this book as well as their combined history of intrigue and authordom, feel free to visit their official site, like them on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter (1 and 2).  This book was released just last month from Hyperion and should be readily available on a bookstore shelf near you.  Want to discover more books for your SUMMER READING list?  Be sure to check out their site, ‘Unrequired Reading’ for more on this title as well as others that just might need to find a home on your “to read” list.

Until next time…happy reading!


Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Great review. And you aren't the only one sitting at home while so many are having a wonderful time at BEA. ;)

....Petty Witter said...

wonderful review but alas not a book for me.

Fairday Morrow said...

This sounds like an interesting book. Glad you enjoyed it so much. Summer reads are such fun!


Alexia561 said...

Awesome review! Saw this one around and wasn't sure what it was about, but loved your review and it's now on my must-read list!

GMR said...

Melissa: Solidarity... ^_^

Petty Witter: Ah well, perhaps next time.

Fairday Morrow: Definitely!

Alexia561: Alright! *high five* ^_^

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