After my last post of mainly disappointing contemporary young adult novels I’d read recently, I promised the next one would be more positive– and although these three novels aren’t perfect, two out of three are ones I definitely enjoyed. All three books are contemporary young adult fiction, and they are all pretty quick reads.
Vivian Divine is Dead by Lauren Sabel*: Let’s start with the book that I didn’t like. I think this may have been a case of the cover and the title of Vivian Divine is Dead drew me in and I didn’t pay too much attention to the synopsis, but even if I had, I would have had higher hopes for it than it managed to satisfy. It’s about a teen celebirty who gets death threats in the mail and after something similar resulted in her mom’s death she decides that rather then tell the police she’ll go on the run to Mexico where she meets up with Nick, a charming boy she may or may not be able to trust. Because that’s obviously a brilliant idea. Honestly, this book was pretty fast-paced, but it was also pretty silly and melodramatic and Vivian herself is pretty spoiled and not very likeable and has absolutely no common sense. Reading Vivian Divine is Dead is kinda like watching a clown car crash in slow motion, and it might be hard to turn away but I kinda wish I had. It’s predictable and ridiculous, but luckily, it’s also a short read.
The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger*: I found this book again when I was helping pack up some of my stuff at my mom’s before she moved, and I had owned a copy for a few years but never read it, so I decided to finally dig in. The DUFF is the story of Bianca, a teenage girl with two gorgeous best friends, so it comes as no surprise when a guy from school, Wesley, tells her that she’s the DUFF, or designated ugly, fat friend. Of course, she still throws her cherry coke in his face. But with things going pretty badly at home, eventually Bianca ends up deciding to immerse herself in a enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley. But as promising as that sounds, things are bound to get complicated. Bianca is a cynical and sharp narrator, and there were definitely some swoon-worthy moments between her and Wesley. Although Keplinger’s style of writing isn’t my favourite and was sometimes cliche or overly explained, it The DUFF was fast-paced and easy to read. Even though the outcomes are predictable and tied up very nicely, I couldn’t help rooting for Bianca. Keplinger’s debut is worth picking up if you’re looking for a book with snark, honesty, and big issues all wrapped up in a romantic package.
Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens*: Words that will get me to read a book: contemporary, edgy, emotional. Unsurprisingly, these all also describe Stevens’ debut novel Faking Normal. Alexi has gone through something horrible, but she can’t tell anyone, and instead she scratches the back of her neck to make the pain real. When her neighbour, Bodee, comes to live with Alexi’s family after a tragedy, they start to lean on each other for support, but eventually both of them will have to face the truth. The end result is a relationship that’s sweet and complicated, and Bodee especially easily won over my heart, he is just such a sweet guy. There was a plot twist that felt a bit out of place in the book, and I’m honestly not convinced how realistic a lot of the storyline was, but the emotion of Faking Normal kept me reading and I would definitely pick up another book by Stevens in the future.
What have you been reading lately? I’ve been in a bit of a slump but I hope to get out of it soon!