Sunday, September 30, 2012

Schooled (Book Review)

Title: Schooled
Author: Tali Nay
Publisher: Corner Chapter Press
Source: From author for review

Goodreads Summary:
"Do you have to have sex to have a baby?" It's a question that ten-year-old Tali Nay asked the office assistant at her elementary school after the woman had done her best to explain how it all happened to a roomful of confused girls. Or maybe Tali was the only one who was confused. It's entirely possible, for if there's anything she knew at this point in her schooling, it was that she—without fail—was the last to know about anything interesting. Take her first day of kindergarten, where it turned out that every other kid already knew which letters were the vowels. Her first lesson as a student was consequently one of humiliation, and her second—only slightly less important—was that puking in a classroom tends to start a chain reaction. A refreshingly honest deep-dive into what we actually take away from a public education, this hilarious and heartfelt memoir captures the things we learn in school that are never part of any lesson plan yet somehow have the biggest impact upon the shaping of our perceptions over the years we spend in a classroom. Things like competition, failure, scandal, popularity, disillusionment, triumph, guilt, and, of course, throwing up in public. From the glorious to the gloriously awkward, this everyman tale is a story of growing up, one semester at a time.

My Thoughts:
Warning: Mild Spoilers
I really struggled coming up with a rating for this book. In some ways, I really loved this book and in some ways, I just couldn't stand it. I'll start with the good points. Tali Nay is a very talented writer and I really loved her writing style and it kept me wanting to read more. I would definitely buy any other book she wrote. Her writing is funny and fun and very enjoyable to read. Each little story was worth reading and helped to add bit by bit to the story and I really liked the structure of the novel.
However, I didn't much care for the story itself. While often describing her life in words like tragic, humiliating, and unpopular, it's kind of hard to hear these words describing a schooling which I can only think of as just about perfect. As the valedictorian, prize-winning writer, lead actress, lead singer, prom queen, and class officer who is almost angelically perfect and naive, I really fail to view her life as anything close to tragic. I just got frustrated listening to the complaints for a student who really couldn't have asked for much more.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Menthol Kisses (Book Review)

Title: Menthol Kisses
Author: Abby Stewart
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: From Author for Review

Goodreads Summary:
When Logan’s sister, and closest confidant, moves off to college, Logan must get used to her new life. A solitary high school student in a small town, Logan embarks on a journey to follow in her sister’s footsteps and do something that will allow her to escape, forever. 

Logan’s new friends bring weekends of alcohol and drug fueled pasture parties -- but friendship turns to betrayal when Logan is raped by a boy she trusts. Lost and desperate, she seeks comfort in drugs. Logan struggles with her faltering friendships, alcoholic father, and complicated feelings for an older guy who promises her the world. As Logan loses herself in a false reality, her escape from small town life becomes less and less likely. 

Menthol Kisses’ sweepingly dramatic plot will remind us of the human capacity for redemption, forgiveness, and our persistent will to live. 

My Thoughts:
I couldn't put this book down. I have been so busy this week but I have been squeezing in reading time everywhere to make room for this book. It's a fantastic read. The characters in this book feel so real and the pain that Logan goes through becomes very tangible. She is terrific character; perfectly flawed and searching for a better life that she doesn't know how to find. It's a dark story but one that shows how people are capable of overcoming so much. I highly recommend this book.

Rating: 5/5