It’s Monday! What are You Reading?

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Jen and Kellee atTeachMentorTexts.  It’s a wonderful opportunity for readers to share what picture books, mentor texts, and young adult novels that they have been reading and what titles are to come in the upcoming week.  I am knee-deep in YA Lit love!

What I’m Currently Reading: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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(Via Goodreads)

“Bono met his wife in high school,” Park says.
“So did Jerry Lee Lewis,” Eleanor answers.
“I’m not kidding,” he says.
“You should be,” she says, “we’re sixteen.”
“What about Romeo and Juliet?”
“Shallow, confused, then dead.”
”I love you,” Park says.
“Wherefore art thou,” Eleanor answers.
“I’m not kidding,” he says.
“You should be.”

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under

What I’m Currently Listening To, via Audible.com

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

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(Via Goodreads.com)
 12868761Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives—the ones we’d like to pretend never happened—are in fact the ones that define us. In the #1 New York Times bestseller, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson takes readers on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her long-suffering husband, Victor. Chapters include: “Stanley the Magical, Talking Squirrel”; “A Series of Angry Post-It Notes to My Husband”; “My Vagina Is Fine. Thanks for Asking”; “And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane.” Pictures with captions (no one would believe these things without proof) accompany the text.

What I Completed Over the Past Week: The Elite by Kiera Cass

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( Via Goodreads)  Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending

My Review of The Elite by Kiera Cass

While I really enjoyed reading the first installment of America Singer’s search for a balance between her familial duty and following her own heart in The Selection, I am sad to say that The Elite fell into the dreaded subpar sequel trap.  If The Selection was a fruit salad, then The Elite was a can of fruit cocktail: a lot of the same, but not nearly as fresh or flavorful.  What made this novel stale for me was that the majority of the plot pinged back and forth between Maxon and Aspen winning America over.  The virtuousness that I appreciated in our protagonist’s character in The Selection was almost nonexistent in the sequel.

Something else that bothered me was the drastic change in both America and Maxon.  Maxon was simply Blah in this installment and I missed the heavy dose of personality that was present in the first book.  Also, it was like a literary version of “What’s good for the goose won’t fly for the gander.”  While America fumed at the thought that Prince Maxon would spend his free time getting closer, emotionally and physically, with the other contestants (as is the purpose of the competition), there was no hesitation on America’s part to further confuse Aspen with the dead end hope that they had a future that began anew with flirting and necking in the Illean palace.  I suppose if we’re going to overlook the concept that both America and Prince Maxon flip-flop between kissing partners as much as a spineless politician trying to win Red and Blue States, the one thing that I couldn’t stomach was the way in which author Kiera Cass seemed to forget all of the character that she filled America with in her first novel.  The writing was very similar, except that about 1/3 of the novel could have been cut out.  Perhaps Cass was hoping that she was building more tension with the ebb and flow of America’s heart’s desire, but all it did was make me root for her to get caught with Aspen and get a caning about the face and head.  Ok, so maybe that’s harsh; perhaps to be thrown into the castle’s moat then.

I’m hoping that the third installment will redeem the series, Maxon and Aspen grow a backbone to America’s trifling ways, and America is forced into a career of being a singing, traveling telegram messenger.

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