The Tangled Web of Love

To paraphrase William Shakespeare, What a tangled web we weave, when our senses love makes us leave.” These three books are about teens falling in love. They all have some merit to them, but only Tell Me Three Things is well written. However, most of time I try to introduce you to good books, so I thought you’d like to see what else gets published. And romance always makes a story more appealing.

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I can’t imagine constantly hating my sister so much that I’d want to punch her. But, on the other hand, it wasn’t til the end of her life that the two of us became good friends.

A Million Miles Away

Lara Avery

Kelsey Maxfield and her twin sister, Michelle, do a typical teen thing; throw a party while their parents are gone. But Michelle disappears into her bedroom with her latest boyfriend, Peter, abandoning her friends at the party. Kelsey and her sister don’t get along well to the point of having separate bedrooms and balconies so they won’t punch each other in the stomach. But deep down they do love each other and Kelsey is devastated when Michelle dies in a car wreck after leaving Peter at the airport for his tour of duty in Afghanistan. Soon, Peter starts sending Michelle letters and skyping with her, or so he thinks. Kelsey keeps promising herself and then her friends that she will tell Peter the truth, but since he seems to feel that Michelle is his salvation for the ordeals of serving in the military, Kelsey doesn’t have the heart to tell him. Before long, she’s looking forward to her time with him. She does finally realize she’s keeping her sister alive in her mind and eventually tells him the truth. The story is nice, but the grammar is appalling and the underage drinking permitted is scary. The author gives the reader the impression that there are no virgins over the age of fourteen in all of Lawrence, Kansas.

BIBLIO: 2015, alloyentertainment/Poppy/Little, Brown and Company/Hatchett Book Group/ Ages 15 +, $18.00.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Young Adult

ISBN: 978-0-316-28368-7

ISBN: 978-0-316-28369-4

ISBN: 978-1-4789-0457-1

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This is book is boring and formulaic, but it is the second in a series so some people must have liked.

Flirt: Never too Late

A. Destiny and Rhonda Helms

There is not much to recommend about this second book in the series. The only tension revolves around Abbey’s changing feelings toward the boy who is to star opposite her in the school play. Because of what he said at the school dance at the end of their freshman year, she thinks of him as a total jerk. She makes no effort to see if that is an accurate picture of Jason and resists getting to know him better. Her best friend, Olivia, has a major crush on Jason and gets all bent out of shape when she sees the connection growing between Abbey and Jason. Abbey’s home life is good. She even thinks her step-father is a gem. She gets good grades, has friends, doesn’t get bullied, is artistically talented and likes her teachers. Her only problem is her changing feelings about Jason, who even apologizes for his comments at the dance. She’s afraid to tell him her true feelings for fear of being rejected and of losing her best friend. My, we should all have such gleeful lives. High school is a challenging time for any teen and boy/girl or best friend relationships do add a lot of angst. Just about any young adult novel out there has relationship issues as, at least, a sub-plot. But a whole book with just the one problem is boring. Plus, there a few glaring grammatical mistakes sprinkled amongst the chapters. Jason is an appealing character, but Abbey and Olivia are not sympathetic.

BIBLIO: 2014, Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division/Simon & Schuster, Inc. Ages 12 +, $17.99.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Young Adult

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8404-7

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8403-0

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8405-4

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The third book is, however, a winner, with appealing characters and a bit of a mystery to it.

Tell Me Three Things

Julie Buxbaum

Jessie A. Holmes moves to Los Angeles because her widowed father marries a rich woman, also widowed, who lives there with her son, Theo. Not only has Jessie now lost her mother, she’s lost all she’s known her whole life. Of course she finds her new “parent” to be impossible and calls her the “stepmonster.” To make matters worse, she is enrolled in a very ritzy, pretentious school full of snobby kids. And the “Queen Bees” are out to get her, especially when she becomes friends with the main Bee’s boyfriend. But then an anonymous person starts emailing her using the screen name of Somebody/Nobody or SN for short. He becomes her refuge and helps her find friends at the new school. She resists adapting to her new life and is not on speaking terms with her dad, much less the step members of her supposed family. Slowly, she makes her way into her new situation and begins find things in common with Theo. But she keeps wondering who SN really is and becomes closer and closer to him through their email exchanges. Of course to make things more complex, she falls for Ethan who is mysterious and her English class partner on writing a paper about an epic poem. In the end, she realizes that the “stepmonster” really isn’t all that bad and she does make friends with at least two girls. You’ll have to read the book to figure out who SN really is. The book is nicely written and the suspense of finding out who SN is keeps the reader going. In addition to the usual themes of bullying and adjusting to new places, the book lends itself to discussions of literature and poetry.

BIBLIO: 2016, Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s Books/Penguin Random House LLC, Ages 14 +, $17.99.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Young Adult

ISBN: 978-0-553-53564-8

ISBN: 978-0-553-53565-5

ISBN: 978-0-553-53566-2

ISBN: 978-0-399-55293-9

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Please let me know if you’ve read any of these books and had a different opinion.  Try as I might not to have my snobbish side play a role in my reviews, I’m afraid I don’t always succeed.  Thanks for reading my blog.  Sarah

2 thoughts on “The Tangled Web of Love

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