Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

When Mallory finds her boyfriend, Jeremy, cheating on her with an online girlfriend, she decides to give up on all modern technology. Using a list written by her grandmother in 1962 as a guide, Mallory plans to regain control of her life and find her “thing”. What she doesn’t count on is how this list will effect her relationships with her friends and her family.

The List10594356

  1. Run for pep squad secretary
  2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
  3. Sew a dress for homecoming
  4. Find a steady
  5. Do something dangerous

Nevermind that her school doesn’t have a pep squad, she has no idea how to cook or sew, and the fact that she’s sworn off boys, I love that Mallory is determined to finish this list. She’s such a spunky character with a very fun voice. If all of Ms. Leavitt’s main characters are going to be like this, then I might need to check out her other books. Mallory just seems so real and so does her sister. I love the relationship that they have with each other–it’s the kind of relationship that I think all sisters should have. The parents are grandmother seemed a little more like sitcom people, but they were alright as well.

I was very happy that Mallory never really considered getting back together with Jeremy. It seemed like she had the natural post-breakup regrets, but she knew that he was no good for her. I also liked that she didn’t start dating some other boy right away. She (realistically) realized that she needed some time and actually took it. The last thing that I love about Mal is that she has a collection of MLB bobble-heads. I’m a big baseball fan, so this was just a little thing that made me like her even more.

Overall, I thought this book was written well and was a fun, easy read!

Overall Rating: 4
Violence: None
Sexual Content: Mild
Language: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Mild. Mal’s parents have a drink once or twice.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath and Wren are identical twins moving away to college for the first time. Cath is worried about leaving her bipolar father by himself and she’s angry at Wren for not wanting to room together. Now she’s stuck in a room with her scary roommate Reagan and the ever-present Levi–too scared to go find the dining hall. This is the story of Cath’s first year in college and how she learns who she is without Wren, who she is as a writer, and most importantly what things matter most.FANGIRL_CoverDec2012

This is the second time I’ve read this book and it’s one of the few books that I own on my Kindle even though I was able to check it out from the online library. It’s just…THESE CHARACTERS. I cannot get enough of Cath or Levi or Wren or Reagan. I fully expect to drive to Nebraska and find these people living and breathing. It’s really amazing to me how even though Cath appears weak and kind of weird at the beginning of the book, I wasn’t annoyed with her, I just empathized. This was definitely not my experience with my first year of college (I was more like Wren, minus the alcohol) but I felt like I understood it anyway.

Now, don’t even get me started on Reagan. I take notes in a journal while I’m reading just so I know what I want to blog about later. This was my note on Reagan: “Reagan. Is. Awesome”. She’s strangely protective of Cath and I love it! She’s so fiery and strong but so kind at the same time. Just read this:

“I feel sorry for you, and I’m going to be your friend.”
“I don’t want to be your friend,” Cath said as sternly as she could. “I like that we’re not friends.”
“Me, too,” Reagan said. “I’m sorry you ruined it by being so pathetic.”

I don’t know, that might seem kind of mean for her to say, but really. Just classic. She’s an awesome character. Maybe you have to read the book to understand.

Levi’s great as well, of course. He’s an imperfect guy, but he’s almost perfect for Cath (I say “almost” because I think one of the points of this book is that no one’s perfect). I get tired sometimes of reading about guys who are “so ridiculously good looking” or who walk around all Adonis-like. Give me a break.

This book is definitely geared towards more mature YA readers. There’s nothing explicit in it, but I’d definitely say 16+ so just be prepared for that kind of content. Topics that parents may want to be aware of: Family issues exist from Cath and Wren’s mother leaving them at a young age, the family is dealing with Bipolar Disorder, and underage drinking. All major themes.

Overall Rating: 5
Violence: Mild
Sexual Content: Moderate. Mentioned quite a few times but not explicitly or crudely.
Language: Heavy. College language, but again, not too explicit.
Smoking/Drinking: Heavy. A couple characters smoke, one has a major drinking problem, but the main character does not do either.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean has a system for getting over boys. She sits down, writes the boy a love letter, addresses the envelope, and then sticks the letter in a hat box. She’s written five in all: one to a boy from summer camp, one to Peter who kissed her even though he liked another girl, one to a boy who’s moved away, one to a boy who comes out in high school, and one to her next-door-neighbor, Josh. Josh also happens to be her older sister’s (ex-)boyfriend–a sister who is conveniently on another continent going to college. These letters were never meant to be read, but one day they’re accidentally sent out. Lara Jean is left to deal with the fall-out of having some of her most private thoughts read by the very boys they inspired.51GdayQh-uL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

I really liked Lara Jean’s relationship with her two sisters Margot and Kitty. Their mother died when they were fairly young and so the three girls were left to be raised by their father. Margot is how I would imagine a typical older sister would act in a family situation such as this. She’s taken charge of the family and has always made sure that her younger sisters have what they need. This creates a unique relationship between her and Lara Jean. Margot is part sister, but also part mom which made things interesting at times. I also liked seeing Lara Jean interact with Kitty, her younger sister. Overall the relationships seemed very real.

I thought it was interesting that one of Lara Jean’s love letters would be to her sister’s boyfriend, but I didn’t really like how Josh reacted to it. It seemed to me like he had a chance with both sisters and he made his choice. When he receives his letter he all of the sudden starts to have second thoughts. I didn’t like that he started to go after Lara Jean a little bit and I didn’t like that Lara Jean wanted to make him jealous. What was that going to accomplish? Lara Jean knows that he’s probably going to try to get back together with her sister, but she’s going to subtly go for it anyway. That being said, if she hadn’t hatched her brilliant plan to make Josh jealous, then she never would’ve gotten together with Peter. I thought Peter’s character was interesting because he’s a lot more complex than he seemed on the surface and that’s something that Lara Jean discovers throughout the book. Also, I loved the interactions between Peter and Kitty.

I liked this book quite a bit! I always love when the characters seem real and I felt like Lara Jean’s family could’ve lived next door. I’ll definitely be reading the sequel P.S. I Still Love You which comes out May 26th.

Overall Rating: 4
Violence: None
Sexual Content: Moderate. Some innuendos and typical high school rumors.
Language: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Mild