Thursday, April 23, 2009

Keeping Faith

Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult
Publication Date: April 22, 1999
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: 422
Format Read: library book

Summary: When seven-year-old Faith White and her mother, Mariah, swing by the house on the way to ballet class, they find that Daddy is home and he's brought a playmate. This is not the first time he's been caught cheating. After a divorce has been filed and Dad has moved out, Faith begins talking to an imaginary friend who, it seems, is God. And God is not male but female. Faith is able to effect miraculous cures and is also occasionally afflicted with stigmata,a disease which inflicts wounds at the hands, feet, and side, as Jesus was wounded.

Mariah doesn't know what to believe. She wants to believe her daughter, but since she previously attempted suicide, no one believes her. When the media gets wind of the God-seeing child, the circus begins. The local rabbi takes an interest (Faith and Mariah are technically Jewish), and the local Catholic priest pays several inquiring visits. There is also a gang of psychologists who pay visits. Throw in a professional atheist for the romance angle and a vicious custody fight with an egomaniacal lawyer, and you have a riveting read.

Picoult once again dazzles us with a piece of art so enchanting it's hard to pull away. This book had me yearning for more, skipping meals and lessons to become a part of Mariah and Faith's world. It was so emotionally heavy that I felt as if I had a respnsibility to believe Faith, so she would be okay through her sicknesses.

Turns in the plot were unpredictable for the most part. I did not expect certain things to happen, and found myself shocked when something didn't happen. Ian Fletcher was my favorite character, playing the atheist rooting on the other team, but I found myself pulling for him all the way. He was lovable, and like so many in the world today, who swear they don't believe in God, but find that all along, they've just never looked This book earns a perfect 5 star rating.


Airhead by Meg Cabot
Publication Date: June 1, 2008
Publisher: Point
Pages: 337
Format Read: Hardcover

Summary: Em Watts is gone. Emerson Watts didn't even want to go to the new SoHo Stark Megastore grand opening. But someone needed to look out for her sister, Frida, whose crush, British heartthrob Gabriel Luna, would be singing and signing autographs there — along with the newly appointed Face of Stark, teen supermodel sensation Nikki Howard. 
How was Em to know that disaster would strike, changing her — and life as she'd known it — forever? One bizarre accident later, and Em Watts, always the tomboy, never the party princess, is no longer herself. Literally.

Ah, Meg Cabot. She's wowed us all before, but this time, I thought it was lacking. Emerson Watts, the classic Cabot star, a tomboy, and a major feminist, has to take her little sister to the grand opening of a mega-store, where a tween star will also be performing. It's her worst nightmare come true.

This horrible day turns into a disaster and changes her life- literally. Getting her best friend and the love of her life to notice she is a girl is now the least of her worries.

It had the classic storyline, with the star-crossed lovers destined to be together, the best friend, and the inevitable twist to the story I won't give away. Despite the charm she displayed in the novel, it was not my favorite. A light, fun read, perfect for tanning or procrastinating on a project, but not something to rush out and buy. Only 3 stars. It does deserve three because it did keep me entranced, yearning to find out (even though I already knew) what would happen between the two destined to be together forever.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sleepaway Girls

Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Pages: 304
Keywords: camp, romance, summer
Format Read: ARC from publisher (thank you!)

When Sam's best friend gets her first boyfriend, she's not ready to spend the summer listening to the two of them call each other "pookie." Sick of being a third wheel, Sam applies to be a counselor-in-training at Whispering Pines camp in the New York Catskills. But what she doesn't realize is that it's not going to be all Kumbaya sing-a-longs and gooey s'mores. If Ashley, the alpha queen of Whispering Pines, doesn't ruin Sam's summer, then her raging crush on the surfer-blond and flirtatious Hunter just might. At least she has playful Cole, who's always teasing her, but is oh-so-comfortable to hang out with, and the singular gang of girls that become fast friends with Sam — they call themselves the Sleepaway Girls.

I was hooked from the moment I started this book (finishing it in about a mere 5 hours!). The characters are lovable, the dialogue was intriguing and real, and the storyline, though predictable, was grasping.

The main character, Sam, has realized that she wants to break away from her best friend Mal, who now has no time for her. Thinking of herself, and not thinking at all, she signed up to be a camp counselor (counselor in training, or CIT) at Whispering Pines Camp.

She quickly learns that it's not just Kumbayah and S'mores; she finds it's actually hard work. And with Ashley, the snobbiest girl at the camp (as well as the director's daughter), criticizing her every move, she finds it hard to fit in. She does though, and meets many new friends, as well as attracts the attention of two boys. Hunter, the dream hunk, and Cole, the friendly-with-kids sweetheart who is determined to not let Sam get hurt by Hunter.

This is a tale filled with self-actualization. The story line is predictable, but intriguing at the same time, urging you to travel with Sam, and discover what's so great about the outdoors in the first place. It is also a tale of friendship, and finding it's okay to make new friends without feeling guilty you forgot your old ones. Being inside Sam's head was overly enjoyable, learning all about her personality and predicting the choices she'll make. (See, AP Psychology DOES have a use!) It earns a solid three stars, but don't skip over it. It was very appealing and cleverly worded. It was most definitely a chick flick. 

Read When: You are in the mood for a fun, light-hearted romance/friendship book you can curl up with and spend an evening reading the whole freaking thing.