My Grade: A-
Plot / Premise
Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.
But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice—stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years old?
Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.
Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.
Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school.
And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.
I’m really not that into YA, but I have been reading more of the genre lately. It’s refreshing to read about quasi-innocent characters and it often takes me back to my teenage years and reinforces how incredibly naive I was.
I can sum this story up in two words: cute and predictable.
I got this book for free – it’s one of the few I’ve downloaded free that I would have actually paid for.
The main character, Maddie (Tilly to those that love her), is absolutely adorable. She’s sweet, yet tough, wise, yet naive, smart, yet clueless, strong, yet vulnerable. She is funny (there are parts I literally chuckled at) and easy to relate to.
Like I said, there’s nothing unusual about this story – in fact, I sort of pictured a Disney movie in my head while reading it.
What I really liked about the story was the writing. And the tone. It was fresh, funny, and really well written. I felt like I was Maddie’s best friend, following her around and getting a pretty good glimpse of her personality, her issues and her thoughts. I empathized with the character and enjoyed everything about her. Ms. Wilson did an excellent job with characters, flow, tone …
It was an interesting, cute, fast read and I would definitely like to read more from Ms. Wilson.
By the by: I just found out that local libraries allow members to check-out ebooks. *SQUEE!* Check out this link and see if your local library participates. Or – go to your local library website and see if it’s possible. I borrowed two ebooks today and I have two weeks to read them. GAME ON!
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More from Write From Karen
I made the IT guy at work shorten my last name to just the first initial of my last name.
It makes me uncomfortable when customers, or in my case, patients, know my last name.
It’s not that I have anything to hide, but what’s to prevent a disgruntled patient from looking me up in the phone book, paying me a visit to my home?
It’s already so easy to find people nowadays, why make it any easier?
I’m sure people at work think I’m paranoid, but I like to think I’m cautious.
You just can’t trust people anymore.
My Grade: D
Plot / Premise
Born with blue in his collar instead of his veins, best-selling author Dean Cassidy chronicles his soul-scarring rise from New York’s darkest alleys to a place high atop the literary world. As difficult and unlikely as such a climb is, there’s yet another force working against Dean. He’s forever haunted by treasured memories of his long-lost teenage soul-mate. Theresa! Theresa! Theresa! She just won’t go away! Despite all Dean’s hang-ups and mental baggage, he eventually does marry another woman. And for twenty years his wife, Maddy Frances, remains so giving (and forgiving) she deserves to be canonized a living saint. Even after she finds Dean unconscious at a botched suicide attempt–a time-faded photograph of Theresa clenched in his hands-her love never wavers. But is Maddy’s loyalty enough to keep them together? Or will a force far stronger than fate alone change everything?
Though I can appreciate the character working hard for his success, and the fact that he ultimately grows up and makes the right decision (which, by very definition, comes with maturity), I could not get past the preachy-bankers-and-business-type-people-are-evil segments of this book. I have no patience for characters, or authors, who can’t resist pushing their political agendas on to their readers. I know it’s hard to separate the author from the story, but at the very least, insert a counter character into the story that brings up the other side of the (author’s) issue so that the reader is not left with a bitter after taste.
Look. Life is full of hard knocks and when people work hard, make good life decisions, and finally achieve success, we should be happy for those individuals, not begrudge their hard work. Being envious is a natural feeling, but to harbor resentment and use that bitterness as a roadblock toward a better life, is counter productive. For ultimately, Dean finally achieves success from his hard work and he has every right to savor that success – should he feel guilty for that success? Should he hand his hard-earned success off to someone who hasn’t made good life decisions or who has chosen not to work as hard?
Now that he’s one of the successful people he has resented all of his life – now what? It’s suddenly okay to have money and be successful because it happened to him?
Dean was selfish, immature and a punk. Though I understand his deep love for Theresa and his regret that it didn’t work out and his guilty conscience for his role in the break up, I felt the most sorry for Maddy, she had to deal with the left overs.
I thought the character was weak in so many ways – sure, his childhood was rough, but he allowed that experience to define him instead of giving him strength and courage to grow up and move past it.
I will say, the writing was pretty good. There were some editing glitches, but for the most part, it moved the story forward and the author did a great job depicting all of Dean’s conflicting emotions.
Though I didn’t care one whit for Dean, I’d be willing to read more of this author’s work.