Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How to Rock Braces and Glasses by Meg Haston

Once again, I dive into the world of teen girl angst. I have had this one on my to read pile for several months, and I finally decided I should get it back to the library.

So, we are following the life of Kacey Simon, popular girl. She gives out advice on the school's news broadcast and to anyone else within earshot any other time. She is quick to tell her clique what fashion mistakes they are making and why they should not be interested in a particular boys. That's where we are early in the story when Kacey's best friend Molly crushes on the new boy who happens to have a blue streak in his hair and wears skinny jeans. His jeans are reason enough for Kacey to caution Molly about pursuing him.

'Skinny Jeans' (real name: Zander) has overheard Kacey singing during rehearsal for the big school production of Guys and Dolls. He wants Kacey to be his rock group's new lead singer.

OK, we pause here because so far this story must sound like nothing out of the ordinary. You can see the complications of Kacey being in a band with the guy her best friend likes. There are also issues with the play because Kacey likes her leading man, Quinn, who she gets to kiss on stage. Potential girl angst ahead.

Here is the catch in all of this (big surprise - its in the title of the book): Kacey gets glasses and braces - both at the same time. One day she is at school being super popular and the next (ok, maybe there's a weekend in there) she is wearing huge glasses and lisping through her new braces. How can she do her broadcast and be on stage when she is being laughed at for lisping?

How much of her life does she lose? I'm not going to tell you that. I will say that she ends up hanging out with her neighbor (and former best friend) who offers to help Kacey return to her former status.

If you like this one, the sequel How to Rock Break Up and Make Ups is coming out this month.

For more information about this book, check out Amazon.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham

This is a nice story about friends trying to make up for lost time and hurt feelings. Four years ago when they were freshmen, Alice, Summer and Tiernan had a huge event that ended their long friendship. They were connected through their love of the boy band Level3. They spent time in broken down green VW bus (aka the Pea Pod) that sat in Alice's backyard. Over the years, the bus became an abandoned shrine to the band (who also broke up) and the girls' friendship with the numerous collages the created left behind on the bus's walls.

The timing is all too perfect for Alice when her parents fix up the bus and give it to her for graduation at the same time a one-time-only concert reunion is announced for Level3. Finding this out five minutes before the tickets go on sale, Alice impulsively orders three tickets secretly hoping she can get her former best friends to go. Oh and the concert is in Texas - at least a five day drive from her home in New England.

I think I can say without giving anything away that all three girls end up in the bus on the road. They each have their own reasons why. For the ex-friends who have not spoken to each other all through high school, it is bumpy road at best. There is the specter of the night of the winter dance when their relationship imploded haunting them, too. Not speaking about it strains even the best of moments on the trip.

To learn more about this book, check out the author's site.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

For What It's Worth by Janet Tashjian

Quinn lives in Los Angeles in 1971. For him, there is not better time and place to live because he loves music. He can tell you the most obscure facts about the big performers of the day: the Doors, the Grateful Dead, Joni Mitchell - just to name a few. His mom even hangs with Mama Cass of the Mamas & the Papas.

Music pretty much dominates Quinn's world. He collects albums; he transcribes music, he plays guitar and writes a column for the school paper. And then on the first day of school he meets Caroline.

The problem is that Quinn has never had a girlfriend before and is very insecure about himself and the relationship. He often checks his Ouija board for answers (hiding it from his mother who does not approve). Is the the Ouija board real? For Quinn it is and he believes for a while that he is contacting Club 27 - famous rock performers who all died at that age: Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison. Even though Caroline helps him make money from his connection to Club 27, Quinn still feels like his first real relationship is doomed.

This story is a nice trip into the past particularly if you like the music from this era. At times, I found the many references to the time period distracting, but overall I liked the story and its setting.

For more information, check out the Evergreen Library catalog or the author's site.