Tag Archives: terrible girl names

Review The Edumacation of Jay Baker by Jay Clark

A few “sexy” bullet points about Jay: 
– He is in love with a cheerleader named Cameo “Appearance” Parnell 
– He is forever losing “Love-15” to tennis-playing goddess Caroline Richardson 
– He rocks a touche array of pop-culture references, jokes, and puns 
– His family-life cookie is about to crumble. 

Live vicariously through Jay as he faces off against his mortal enemy, gets awkward around his dream girl(s), loses his marbles in a Bermudian love triangle, watches his parents’ relationship implode, and, finally, learns to get real and be himself(ish).

Genre: YA Fiction
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Page Count: 272
Source: My copy.
Rating: 3/5

I really liked this book. I liked Jay and his quirks, and loved (most) all of the supporting characters. He suffered from some serious teenage boy syndrome during his rival with Mike and the bad choices he made where Cameo was concerned, but he made up for it in character so that was okay.

I had a real hard time connecting with Cameo, who is mostly responsible for the loss of rating. I know the author tried to portray her as a mistake-prone girl with good intentions, but I just wasn’t buying it. She wasn’t sincere to me.

Caroline, however, I loved. I was able to picture her perfectly and could definitely see myself being friends with her. I know that the author’s fiancee is named Caroline (and he is Jay), so one can only hope that she is like Caroline in the novel, because she is really down to earth. I do wish that we could have experienced the development in their relationship though, rather than “it’s one month later and we’re dating”.

Ms. Lambert was probably my favorite character though. Funnier than even Jay, I thought she was witty and very intelligent. Anyone who has a teacher like this, who cares about their students as much as she did, is really lucky.

I knew going into the novel that its main plot point was a love triangle (which I usually stay away from at all costs) but it wasn’t overdone so it turned out okay. Plus, it was told from a boy’s perspective which is not as common, so I was interested to see how that would play out.

Wholly, The Edumacation of Jay Baker is a humorous, witty contemporary that does deal with some real issues (divorce, etc.), but is not a tearjerker or anything like that. I would recommend it for a pretty light read.


Review Lucid by Adrienne Stoltz & Ron Bass

What if you could dream your way into a different life? What if you could choose to live that life forever?

Sloane and Maggie have never met. Sloane is a straight-A student with a big and loving family. Maggie lives a glamorously independent life as an up-and-coming actress in New York. The two girls couldn’t be more different–except for one thing. They share a secret that they can’t tell a soul. At night, they dream that they’re each other.

The deeper they’re pulled into the promise of their own lives, the more their worlds begin to blur dangerously together. Before long, Sloane and Maggie can no longer tell which life is real and which is just a dream. They realize that eventually they will have to choose one life to wake up to, or risk spiraling into insanity. But that means giving up one world, one love, and one self, forever.

This is a dazzling debut that will steal readers’ hearts.

Genre: YA Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: October 2, 2012 (my brother’s birthday!)
Page Count: 342
Source: My copy.
Rating: 5/5

If I went with my first instinct, I would want to give this book five stars. Ideally, for me, I would give this book two ratings: one for the first half (three stars) and one for the second (five stars). But that’s just not how it works so I’ll go with four. (You’ll notice I rated it five stars. I’ll explain that later.)

This book was really two different books for me. Somewhere in the second half, without warning, it went from the story of two teenagers falling in love to a mind-bending psychological thriller. Shutter Island wasn’t as terrifying, and I really wasn’t expecting that from this book.

Lucid started out with two teenagers just trying to find their place in the world. I loved Maggie and quickly disliked Sloane (and her name). Maggie was a free-spirited, outgoing, driven young person, a girl I had to keep reminding myself was seventeen. She rose to the challenge and acted so far beyond her years it was astonishing to me. I admired her strength. Sloane, on the other hand, was an angst-ridden teenage girl who only cared about a cute boy she didn’t know, as opposed to her dead best friend. She swore to God after proudly professing her atheism and seems to care only about having a boyfriend who drives a Porsche. Which okay, is realistic. Sometimes, these are the things that teens care about. But when you put them side by side like that: Maggie, pursuing an acting career, stepping up to take care of her sister, and Sloane, ditching her brother when he really needs her because all she wants to think about is this boy (with whom her relationship is, frankly, kind of obsessive), it’s really kind of pathetic. Mostly, I just wanted to slap some sense into this girl. I wanted to wave Maggie in front of her face and yell, Pay attention! You could learn something.

And so I suffered through Sloane’s chapters because I wanted to learn more about Maggie and her glamorous, albeit lonely, life. Alongside her, I wanted to walk Jade’s dog and go to auditions and fall in love with Andrew. And her side of the story was all at once beautiful and sophisticated, told intelligently from the perspective of a seventeen year old girl turning twenty-six. And that’s not to say her life was perfect because it definitely was not, she just happened to rise to the occasion and make the very best of it, where Sloane could not.

And as I’m writing this review, I thought about changing my review to a three because of how much I disliked Sloane (and her name) and the way the ending went, but by doing that I just proved to myself how deep the psychology of this novel goes and therefore the rating will stay. Because it’s fucking brilliant.

Oh, man. I gotta give this book five stars.

Explaining the depths of this novel and how far it goes to fuck with your head is really difficult without spoiling it. There’s a word I want to say to try to explain, but I can’t even say that word because I’m afraid that will spoil it. (I even looked at other reviews. They didn’t say the word.)

Let me just say this. Everything in this novel is a piece. You may not think it is as you’re reading it and you may just think its another angst-ridden YA novel, but it’s not. It is, but it’s not. It is because it’s not. Or it’s not because it is? DO YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN.

Read it. Just give it a chance. It will seriously fuck with your head, terrify you to the bone, and leave you feeling breathless. And (like me), you’ll realize (hopefully not in the middle of writing a fucking review!) how brilliant it really is. I’m a bit sad that I can’t explain how passionately I feel about it for fear of spoiling it, but if you’ve read it you’ll understand. And if you haven’t, you should.