I realized a few days ago that I have really slowed down on my reading in the past few months. Maybe I’ve just been too tired to stay up late reading like I usually do. Whatever. So my goal for this year is to read more. Also to keep track of what I read, so that I can do fun look back posts like Jill. To start off, I’m posting this kind-of-review. Mostly I’m just going to talk about these books I just read.
The first two books that I have read so far this year just happen to be by the same author, Leila Sales. I read her first book, Mostly Good Girls, first.
I have a confession to make. When I was reading this book, I didn’t really like it. In retrospect, I think that’s because I kept expecting something really scandalous to happen. I don’t know why though. It’s like I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop and it never happened. So then what is this book about? The book follows high school junior Violet as she tries to get good grades (straight As, actually), get the boyfriend of her dreams, and not have her school’s literary magazine, of which she is the editor, suck. But what the book is really about is Violet’s friendship with Katie. I think part of the reason I disliked reading this book is because I kept thinking how much I’d rather be seeing things from Katie’s perspective. To me, Katie is the much more interesting half of this pair of best friends. Katie is always coming up with awesome projects for her and Violet to do, like creating mazes for her dog and timing him, or becoming pool sharks. On top of that, throughout the book, Katie gets more and more defiant and angry, but Violet just kind of ignores this.
I struggled with Violet. I wanted to smack her upside the head a lot. Mostly because she kept ignoring all these signs that something was not right with Katie. Also because she was jealous of Katie. I kept wanting to yell at Violet and be like, “Look, we both know Katie’s awesome, but there’s no reason that you both can’t be awesome.” Sure, Katie gets a perfect PSAT score. But it’s not like she can help it. Why should she have to dumb herself down just to keep a friend? That’s not cool. Not that Violet would ever suggest that, but you can definitely tell that Violet may have thought that a stupider Katie might have been better at one point or another. But her jealousy wasn’t what really bugged me about Violet. It was that she was whiney about her grades. She kept saying that she wanted to get straight As, blah blah blah. But then there would be times when she didn’t bother to finish her homework, or thought she should be studying and then went out anyways. And the whole time I was just like, do your dang homework! Gah! How hard is that concept? If you do your homework, you’re much better prepared when the test on that subject material rolls around. But I guess I’ve been out of high school for almost ten years now, so what do I know?
Now that I’ve just told you why I didn’t like the book, I have to tell you that I actually do like this book. I had to sit on it for a while but I’ve come to appreciate just what Mostly Good Girls did. Like I said, nothing terribly scandalous happened. But then this wasn’t an action driven novel. It was more about the characters and their journeys. I think that if I had gone into the book knowing that it was character driven, I would have enjoyed it while I was reading it. But overall, I can safely say that I really do like this book. I wish I could tell you why I ended up liking Violet, but that’s really the whole point of the book and I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you who do end up reading it.
The second book I read was Past Perfect.
First things first. How cute is that cover! Super cute! The only reason I read Mostly Good Girls was because I wanted to read this book. But! My library branch didn’t have Past Perfect and so while I was waiting for them to transfer it over I read Mostly Good Girls because they DID have it. Past Perfect is about Chelsea and her summer working at Essex Historical Colonial Village. You guys. She works as a colonial era re-enactor! How cool is that!? Way cool. I’ve always wanted to do something like that, but I didn’t grow up close enough to any places that could have employed me. Chelsea gets to dress up and pretend to be someone else from a different time all summer! And on top of that her best friend is working there this summer, too! Tons of fun! Wooo! Oh wait. Chelsea’s ex-boyfriend, Ezra (I kept picturing this totally emo teenager), is also working there this summer. Which is totally not cool, because Chelsea isn’t over him. But! But! There is a war on! And Chelsea is second-in-command! Which is way awesome. Except then she meets one of the super cute and totally crushable enemies. And everyone knows you shouldn’t fraternize with the enemy! The war has been going on ever since Reenactmentland opened up right across the street from Essex. Reenactmentland is all about the Civil War, and they’re so passionate that they soak their coat buttons in urine just so it looks more authentic. Dedication, right there.
This book was super fun to read. Not only did I get to learn about what it might be like to be a re-enactor, but there were snippets of history all over the book. So I learned stuff too! Double whammy. It’s hard to beat that. Also, did I mention super crushable enemy boy? Because that was fun too. Chelsea’s got a pretty awesome BFF, Fiona, too. Together they are also spending their summer becoming ice cream connoisseurs. Ice cream! Yes! Who wouldn’t want to do that? Also, there’s a really cool scene where Chelsea finally lets herself remember what a jerk Ezra really was/is.
So to recap: I liked both books, but definitely liked Past Perfect better. My recommendation would be to start with Past Perfect, and then if you liked that, then read Mostly Good Girls. I will be watching to see what Ms. Sales’ third book will be. I definitely can see her becoming one of my favorite authors in the future.