This is strictly a reading update!
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was so fun. A plagiarism plot, a mean professor, Susan being a stalker, Esther dabbling in pens, Daisy being the all-around best, and a trip to Ikea. Did I mention Daisy is the best? I love her. I mean, they’re all pretty great IN GENERAL, but specifically in this volume Daisy is the best.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
It took me FOREVER to read this book in part, I think, because I kept waiting for the pageant to happen and NO PAGEANT STUFF happened until, like, the last two chapters with maybe one mention of pageant stuff in the interim. I also wanted more stuff with Willowdean’s mom and Ellen, and I think if they were all together doing pageant stuff then that would have happened.
I liked the ultimate message of the book and the characters (although I honestly couldn’t keep the motley crew straight besides Hannah and Millie), but I just wanted/needed a little bit more.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read this on the plane to Hawaii because my daughter and I always said we would.
What is there to say? Junie B. is the GOAT. The book is hilarious, and I love that Park always managed to capture both the antics of the kids and the frustrations of the adults in a way that doesn’t demean either.
Fave quote: “Mr. Scary was not looking at me. When teachers don’t look, you have to stand up and shout. Or else how are they supposed to notice you?”
MAKES PERFECT SENSE TO ME.
Also: “I kissed him [Ollie, her little brother] good-bye. And I pretended I would miss him.” HAHAHAHA. God, I love her, and I love Barbara Park’s writing (RIP).
4.5 stars, rounding up
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is adorable and fiercely feminist (which…of course).
I loved the girls’ discussion of puberty (“And maybe you’re a little jealous because you’ve never experienced the natural beauty that is menarche?”–I almost hollered laughing on the plane) as well as all the stuff about communication (who should text first? should you call? etc). I think these are valid concerns of most kids in that age group, and both topics were handled with Cabot’s usual grace and humor.
There’s a bit about social media here, too, that plays well. And there’s bunch of stuff about kissing, so if that’s not your thing, you may want to skip it.
I loved the call backs to the original series (esp. the bit about the unauthorized biographies of Mia’s life, which is never not funny).
I think my favorite thing about these books is that they show (a) how easy it is to adapt to a life of privilege (Olivia doesn’t have to think about money so seems confused about why Nishi would) and (b) that Olivia’s relationship with Grandmère is so different than her sister’s. The latter is an especially nice touch.
(3.5 stars, rounding up)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In an effort to get my writing mojo back, I am rereading books that I absolutely loved as a teen that made me want to be a writer. I first read this series when it was published as BOYFRIENDS/GIRLFRIENDS (yes, pre-Making Out) and still have the originals on my shelf. So when I say I loved them, I mean I loooooved them.
Anyway, this was fun to read because the ~drama~ is exactly what I loved about it. It’s like reading a soap opera with multiple characters, their POVs, and their relationships.
I only checked out this updated version because I was traveling and it’s available on Kindle. What’s hilarious is all the updated pop culture references (One Direction, Lindsay Lohan, Ed Sheeran) with no attention paid to the fact that none of the characters has a cell phone or other device that would drastically change the story otherwise. There’s also no note that says it was written in the ’90s and updated, so I’m not sure how today’s teen would feel about/register that part.
Nina and Ben remain the actual best, and I love them with my whole heart. The Aisha/Christopher story doesn’t hold up as well, but it is uncanny how much I related to Aisha’s attitude toward Zoey this time, and it’s also funny knowing what I know about the end of the series.
This was so nice to reread even though the beginning was kind of slow for me, but when the drama kicks in, it KICKS IN, and I am 100% here for it.
Also, between Dumplin‘ and Junie B., I finished a book that’s not on Goodreads (so won’t count towards my end of year total on there *shakes fist*): Procession of Martyrs by my friend and colleague, Emily Fernandez.
It’s a book of poetry, and it is delightful. My favorite poems are “Art” and “Avalanche.” One is about art (duh), and the other is about loss. Good stuff.
Currently, I’m reading:
I started Loser’s Bracket on the plane ride home, and I’m going to finish it. It’s pretty standard Crutcher fare so far. Good voice, interesting conflict. We’ll see where it goes.