Is it fate that brings Eli and Maya together? Or is it just luck? Either way, it’s life-changing for both of them. Each dealing with their own version of trauma, they’re thrown together under the most unlikely of circumstances.
Eli is truly a victim. Kidnapped at a young age, he’s currently on a mission from his abductor – walk into the mall with explosives strapped to his chest and get redemption from all who have done the world wrong.
Maya is a victim of another sort. She’s a victim of her own anxiety. Hair pulling, skin tearing, sinking deep within herself…this is how she deals. She’s also at the mall that day, keeping her dad company while he gets a new driver’s license to complement his new life.
When their paths cross, neither of their lives will ever be the same. You see, Maya’s the one who sees Eli. She’s the one who notices something amiss. And she’s the one who decides to save not only everyone around her but also Eli himself.
Fast forward several months…Eli is trying to get back to a normal life, whatever that is. And Maya is still dealing with her anxiety, made understandably worse with her close encounter with death. And they meet again, this time when Eli transfers to Maya’s school. They’re drawn to each other, understandably. Will Maya be able to save Eli a second time? And will Eli be able to save Maya as well?
This is a very intense book starting from the first page. Heartbreaking at times, uplifting and hopeful at others, it’s the story of what can happen when we open our doors and let others in.
I guess I’m one of those people who don’t really mind fan-fiction. Hell, I guess I’m just not smart enough to see it in most books. Maybe because I’m not obsessed with many writings. Or maybe I think we all take inspiration from where we can get it, so I don’t really often see fan-fiction as a knockoff. Some people act like it’s a terrible thing and cheating. Other’s can’t get enough of it. I’ve never been bothered either way. If anything I should think it would be an honour. At the end of the day there are very few original concepts out there…and even then the artists still got their inspiration from somewhere!
Starting this book was like an eye opener. Two chapters in and I was like, “oh shite, I’m not sure I will like this.” I mean it was so obviously “The Breakfast Club”. I was like, “really? are you freaking serious?”
But then again, growing up in the 80’s who can’t say that TBC wasn’t just, the be all, end all of everything 80’s. Who doesn’t love that movie?
Then I got over it, and the book progressed. I won’t say I was shocked at the ending. Or surprised. I won’t say I had it all figured out, but I had a pretty good idea of what happened, just not how all the players tied in together.
At the ending, I wasn’t left feeling cheated. I didn’t feel the author took shortcuts or intentionally mislead.
I wasn’t blown away by it, but I did enjoy it once the novel moved on from TBC type feel. I did go back and forth about which character I liked best (this isn’t a bad thing!). I enjoyed them all. I could also relate to them all (just like in TBC). I wanted good things to happen for all of them.
If this is what McManus has to show us in her debut novel, I seriously can’t wait to see what her next one will be like.
For a long time, young adult novels pretty much ran the gamut from surviving a bully to falling in everlasting love. Thankfully times have changed somewhat. Today’s authors are giving us stories full of believable characters, not just those who fit into a stereotypical mold of the perfect teenager.
Libby has A LOT of things going against her. She’s overweight, significantly so. She’s never had a boyfriend. Her mom is dead. She’s been homeschooled for the past several years and is way out of touch with the high school scene. She has no friends and has been bullied in the past. And, oh yeah, she achieved national notoriety when she had to be cut out of her house because of her weight.
But she also has a lot going for her. She has a loving father. She’s lost a ton of weight since that infamous incident. She’s funny, kind, smart, and resilient as all get out. And she’s back in school after so many years away. Of course there are struggles, but Libby’s up for the challenge.
And then there’s Jack. As one of the popular, cool kids he’s the exact opposite of Libby on the outside. But he has his problems and insecurities, too. His swagger and confidence comes from a place of insecurity and shame. He’s covering up a secret that he’ll do anything to protect.
Although Jack and Libby seem to have nothing in common, they’re unwillingly thrown together as the result of a cruel prank. They find friendship first, and then something more. Is it possible that two such different people can actually be happy together?
This is kind of a sappy romance book, which I’m usually not a fan of. But I loved Libby’s spunk and her spirit. She’s strong and confident as she flies in the face of everyone’s idea of the perfect teenager. I would only wish that all young girls could have such confidence. It’s very good most of the time. Granted, there are parts of the story that were highly unbelievable for me just because I know how society treats people who are different. It’s certainly something to wish for, though.
I can’t remember the last time I read a book with such a fitting title. I mean, when you’re talking about navigating the world of high school as a confused and misguided teenager, it truly does become the most dangerous place on earth.
The story really begins a few years before. Something very tragic happened in middle school. And while certain people were definitely to blame, very few will admit it. Fast forward to high school. Same kids, different problems. Switching back and forth between several characters, we hear it all. Bullying, both face to face and online. Drug and alcohol use. Hooking up. Hooking up with teachers. Being ignored by parents. Just because your parents are loaded doesn’t make these problems, and a myriad of others, any less damaging. Some people are resilient and able to move on. Some people pretend they’re okay but they aren’t really. Who you are in high school and what you choose to do can determine the rest of your life.
This story is dark. It’s depressing. And it leaves little hope for the state of the American teenager in today’s world. But it’s also very realistic as much as parents and other adults might want to think otherwise. The issues presented are happening. Maybe not all at the same time and in the same school but still.
I must also caution that, although this is described as a young adult book, I would leave it for older and more mature teens only.
Have you ever read a book so crazy insane with angst that you wanna set it down and walk away, but you JUST CAN’T DO IT? Well, that is how I felt read Just Friends. My word… Teenage drama to the nth degree. Seriously.
Just Friends is about…well, friends. Friends and enemies. Frenemies really. The characters were so insane with teenage drama and feelings, I thought my head was going to explode. At one point I hated every single character. None of them were making good choices. They only cared about hooking up, which is true for most teenagers, but my word… Selfish, emotional and so over the top wishy washy. He likes her, but she doesn’t know if she likes him. But the he hooks up with someone else. But he really likes her, even though she doesn’t know if she can be with him. All of that and more. Teenage drama.
Now I say all of that, but in reality, I was sucked in from the very first chapter. I couldn’t take my eyes off the page. I needed to know what happens and who “really” like who, and why is she acting this way. GAH!!!!
If you stepped into your local high school, you would probably hear lots of the same conversations that were in the book. Ms. Murphy nailed the inner feelings and actions of teenage girls. Supremely. Not to mention that the boys were realistically stupid as always. Sex and sports.
I haven’t read an angst filled NA book in quite some time, so I wasn’t sure what my reactions were going to be. But it’s safe to say, there was a lot of yelling and “What are thinking?’ being shouted.Again, teenage drama. I know the characters are in high school, but they are doing lots of grown up things that I can’t label YA. This book will get your heart racing and tugging. Your heart will hurt and twist at the same time. So much fun.
Everybody staring as you walk into the cafeteria. Nobody to sit with. Not-so-subtle whispers as you walk through the hallways. Names scribbled on bathroom walls. If you never experienced any of this in high school, consider yourself lucky. The teasing and bullying can be brutal.
Alice Franklin has always been somewhat lucky. Although not one of the most popular kids, she’s nonetheless always been accepted in the culture of her small town Texas high school. That begins to change after she’s rumored to have slept with two guys at a party. When one of them, Brandon who is also the star quarterback, dies in a car crash, everyone knows it’s because Alice was sending him harassing text messages. The rumor mill goes into full force and Alice is totally, completely on her own. The story is told from four points of view. Elaine is a self-professed popular, cute girl. Kelsie is Alice’s once upon a time best friend before popularity wins out over loyalty. Josh is Brandon’s best friend and was in the car when it crashed. And Kurt is a loner in his own way but somehow finds the courage to reach out to Alice. We don’t hear Alice’s voice until the very end, and what a voice it is!
This debut novel from Jennifer Mathieu is completely mind-blowing. It’s a relentless but honest look into small town and particularly high school dynamics. How do rumors get started? Why don’t people take the time to find out if a rumor is true? To what lengths will someone go to in order to protect their social standing? And what kind of inner strength does it take to survive something like this? There are many lessons to be learned about all of the above from this book. A word of caution: There are numerous scenes involving drinking and some sexual content so proceed with caution, although I think it’s completely appropriate for mature, older teens as the message within is so valuable.