Jen | Before Midnight

A (hopefully) safe space for yet another GR refugee.

Easy - Tammara Webber O. M. G.

I can't even right now.

My brain has exploded from awesome.

Review to come.


I just spent a week reading books that were, at the end, so disappointing. I was so, so relieved that there was absolute closure for the end of this one. Perhaps that’s why I liked it so much.

The writing in [a:Tammara Webber|4826501|Tammara Webber|]’s [b:Easy|13548456|Easy|Tammara Webber||19113823] flows so well. It moves easily from scene to scene, and the shift of time is barely noticeable. The story jumps right in, doesn’t hold back, and I found myself wanting to know, badly, whether Jacqueline and Lucas work out.

Speaking of characters, I really wanted to like Jacqueline. At some points, I was cheering her on, and at some points I really wanted to ask her, “are you serious?” both in her defense and at her. I think a lot of my problem is that I have a hard time identifying with female characters, mostly because so many of them are non-confrontational and sometimes I really just want them to stand up and say, “enough!”

Eventually, Jacqueline gets there, but it’s a long road for her. By the time she’s there, though, I really appreciate her as a character, so there’s that. I was really glad to see that, in her progression to get to where she needed to be as a person to be happy with her life, there was little to no back-sliding.

There was, however, one instance where I really didn’t like her. She digs into Lucas’s background once she realizes Lucas and her econ tutor, Landon, are one and the same. She googles him, his mother, asks the econ professor (who is a family friend of Lucas and his father). Everything she can to glean information except going to the source--Lucas himself. I really don’t go for that kind of thing, and it really made me dislike her, so Lucas’s reaction when she finally tells him was so reassuring. It restored my faith in the author. I figured if the author could write Jacqueline into this hole, surely she could write her out of it, as well.

Lucas was such an intriguing character. I really, really liked him. At some points, he comes across as more wish-fulfillment than real, but at other times he’s so human. He lies to Jacqueline to protect her, just because he wants to be with her. His motivations are purely selfish in this instance, and I can’t really say anything except, “I don’t blame him.” I rooted for him, all the way. Especially when he comes through for Jacqueline not once, not twice, but thrice (haha), in big ways.

Of course, I wouldn’t get by reviewing this without talking about the other characters, in particular Erin and Kennedy, as well as the Greek system. Erin is Jacqueline’s roommate, and while she isn’t initially honest about the assault that happens at the hands of Kennedy’s frat brother, Buck, she comes clean when rumors start circulating that she’s getting down and dirty with him. Erin signs them up for self-defense classes that are held by the campus police.

I, personally, loved Erin. She was such a party girl (and an embodiment of many girls I went to college with), but she held such love for her friend that she was willing to sacrifice her Saturdays to go to self-defense class with her. I also adored her lust for doing bodily injury to an attacker, particularly in the groin area. But what really made me love her was her insistance that Jacqueline be present when Mindi, a freshman pledge in Erin’s sorority, must sit before the sorority and talk about Buck raping her at a party. Erin is so protective of both Jacqueline and Mindi that I really, really just wanted to be her friend and cheer her on at self-defense classes.

Kennedy was... You know what? He was a grade-A jerk. What made it worse was that he came across as such a Nice Guy (TM), but in reality he was an ass masquerading as something he wasn’t. He breaks up with Jacqueline (Jackie to his Kennedy) in order to be able to sleep around, and then almost two months later decides that it wasn’t such a good idea and wants to get back together with her. He decides it’s enough punishment that Buck is removed from the fraternity after it comes to light that not only did he assault Jacqueline after the Halloween party, but that he raped Mindi. Jacqueline hands him his own ass on a silver platter for that one, and goes with Mindi to make a police report. I couldn’t believe the nerve Kennedy had, to assume that getting kicked out of a frat was enough punishment for having the nerve to violate someone’s personal space, make them feel unsafe in an environment where they should feel okay, and basically let him off with a slap on the wrist.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed this book. Yes, I would totally recommend it, especially if you’re looking for a quick, contemporary read.
Fallen Too Far (Too Far, #1) - Abbi Glines What the hell did I just read?
The Iron Knight (Iron Fey, #4) - Julie Kagawa I liked it, but mostly I was disappointed.

Review to come.
Exiled (The Protector, #1) - M.R. Merrick This better be good. 4.02 rating on 12 March 2013.
Screwed - Laurie Plissner Soon. Very soon.
The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3) - Richelle Mead Oh, Sydney, I almost lost faith in you in this one.
Love, Lust & Faking It: The Naked Truth About Sex, Lies, and True Romance - Jenny McCarthy I went into this hoping for some humor. After reading [b:Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth|12499|Belly Laughs The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth|Jenny McCarthy||14795] a couple years ago while I was pregnant, I was hoping to continue the humor and giggles.

Instead, there are lots of supposedly-humorous anecdotes about Ms. McCarthy's love life, Hollywood life, and general life experiences, including about getting a boob job, botox, and being harassed and physically assaulted at school. I couldn't really find the last one humorous at all, and even though she was trying to make a point about friendships, I really kept thinking to myself, "WTF, I'd report them to the police for setting her hair on fire while on the school bus, which is school property."

In between anecdotes, Jenny inserts chat transcripts between herself and different, random people, ranging from therapists and "experts" to a couple of girls working at the Chicken Ranch Brothel in Las Vegas. Personally, the only transcript I read was the Brothel girls. I read the beginnings of the transcripts but eventually ended up skimming over most of them. Chat transcripts don't hold my attention at all. It's too much like reading Shakespeare in school, minus all the fancy thee and thou.

I tried really hard to like this book. I really did. It just didn't happen.
Immortal Beloved - Cate Tiernan For the lulz
Ashen Winter - Mike Mullin Loved Ashfall. Can't wait to read this one!

UPDATE 3/23/12
Ooh... it has a cover! While it isn't pretty, it's still nice, and appropriate. Even more excited about this one now!
Warm Bodies - Isaac Marion LOVED!
The Vincent Boys (The Vincent Boys, #1) - Abbi Glines Eh.... I just... There were some parts that I enjoyed, but overall? couldn't do it.
The Mark of Athena - Rick Riordan WHAT? how dare it end like that? I demand the next book!

Full review to come.
Girl of Nightmares - Kendare Blake OMG only 3 more people in front of me at the library! Soon! So very soon!
Hate List - Jennifer Brown I must admit, I had a hard time with this book at first. It was kind of slow-going, especially since recently I’ve been reading plot-driven books, and this definitely is not one of them. Once I got into the rhythm of reading a book that was more about character, it became an easy read and I read it in just a few hours.

Hate List is not an easy read. It’s not really a book you walk into with expectations of a light and fluffy read. This is definitely not that, either. A lot of my notes are angry caps-locked fun. I got angry at Val a lot--mostly because she was blind to a lot of what was going on around her, especially before the shooting. For example, within the first fifty pages, Val flashes back to a conversation she had with Nick regarding suicide. She likened his thought to Thelma and Louise, an infamous movie about two female criminals who end their own lives by driving off a cliff. Nick disagrees and likens it more to Romeo and Juliet. My angry caps-lock note for this exchange says, “Are you dumb or just really dense?”

Actually, what disturbed me more than anything about that exchange was that Nick thought of the notion of suicide as romantic. I think he was mis-reading Shakespeare the whole time, if he thought Romeo and Juliet was a romance.

At another point, Val reflects on how she started the Hate List. And I got mad at her again. Truthfully, Val reacted how a lot of teens react to having a really bad day--she blames everyone else. The more I thought about it as I read, the more I realized that this book is more truthful in terms of teenage reactions than a lot of the teen books I’ve read lately.

And then there were her parents, who decided that not only could they not trust their daughter anymore, they also didn’t like her anymore. There was more guilt-laying and hate-spewing from them than from Val’s peers at school. As a mother myself, I wanted to revoke Jenny Leftman’s mother card. She didn’t deserve to be a mother. Especially not when, instead of feeling relieved that her daughter didn’t do it, she continues to condemn Val when she’s found innocent.

“Are you joining up with them so you can finish the job that Nick started?” (p. 223)

This? This made me sick.

In contrast, Nick’s mother, who we never really meet, gets full stars from me. Despite her son having caused this tragedy, she loved him no matter what. She has “beloved son” engraved on his tombstone. Nothing else. Just that. And Val thinks she can hear what his mother was trying to say to him:

“You were beloved, son. You were my beloved. Even after all this, I still remember the beloved you. I can’t forget.” (p. 345)

I hated Val’s peers, to a certain point, but at the same time I could certainly understand their anger and hatred towards Val, who helped create a list that got several of them killed. They didn’t know why they were on that list. Truthfully, some of them probably deserved to be ratted out as the bullies they were, but some of them were just sitting at the wrong lunch table, or happened to be passing by at the wrong time. But no one deserved to die like that.

The principal of the school drove me nuts. In an effort to save his own ass, he decided it was okay to continue pressuring and bullying his own students. I really wanted to slap him at certain points, especially when it seemed like he was singling out Val, determining that she was just as guilty as Nick (just like her parents do), when it’s not really his place to determine guilt or innocence and I really just wanted him to shut up and do his job and stop lying to the press about it.

The only thing I felt was missing was Val coming to the realization that Nick would have done this whether she had created the list or not. I wanted desperately for her to realize this. Bullied kids don’t let go; they create a list in their head of every minor detail of every encounter with bullies. They remember. Nick didn’t need her list; he used it to get revenge for her, when it really wasn’t what she wanted. A little bullying back, some choice words placed for her, sure, but the end result was definitely not what she wanted. I think Val could have used a little closure on this note for herself, but maybe in the future she’ll come to realize it on her own.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. And, seriously, read it. Read it and enjoy it and love it. Not because I told you to, but because it’s a book that should be read a lot. It really should.
Battle Royale - Koushun Takami, Yuji Oniki Wheeee! I found a copy at Target! Can't wait to start reading!
Size 14 Is Not Fat Either - Meg Cabot Re-reading because I have book 4 on hold at the library. Need a reminder of what happened.

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