Through to You by Lauren Barnholdt

18629799Opposites attract—and then complicate—in this romantic, relatable novel from the author of Two-Way Street and Sometimes It Happens.

It starts with a scribbled note in class: I like your sparkle. Harper had casually threaded a piece of blue and silver tinsel through her ponytail in honor of school spirit day. And that carefree, corny gesture is what grabs Penn Mattingly’s eye. Penn—resident heartbreaker of the senior class. Reliably unreliable. Trouble with a capital “T.” And okay, smolderingly sexy.

Harper’s surprised by Penn’s attention—and so is Penn. The last thing he needs is a girlfriend. Or even a friend-with-benefits. The note is not supposed to lead to anything.

Oh, but it does. They hang out. They have fun. They talk. They make out. And after a while, it seems like they just click. But Penn and Harper have very different ideas about what relationships look like, in no small part because of their very different family backgrounds. Of course they could talk about these differences—if Penn knew how to talk about feelings.

Harper and Penn understand their attraction is illogical, yet something keeps pulling them together. It’s like a crazy roller coaster—exhilarating, terrifying, and amazing all at once. And neither knows how to stop the ride… (Goodreads)

My rating: 2 stars –

Review:

I first read Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt when I was in 8th or 9th grade. Last year I picked up One Night That Changes  Everything and enjoyed it.  So, when I came across Through to You I didn’t second guess myself. If I’ve liked two books already who says I wouldn’t like another one? And plus I also have a soft spot with books about opposites attract (which can be seen by my obsession with Perfect Chemistry by Simon Elkeles). What I was hoping to be a good book full of little romantic moments really turned out to be more of a bore-a-thin and writing that seriously made me want to scream.

If any of you are in high school then you have most likely read Catcher in the Rye. Personally, I hated that book. Holden was the worst character I have ever read and I despised Salinger’s writing. And as I started reading through to you I saw a connection to dear ol’ Salinger and Miss Barnholdt. See, it wasn’t Harper and Penn per se, I was okay with them, it was the writing. Often their passages were full of thoughts taking different directions. It’s like they could be talking about a goddamn cat and the next thing I know they would be talking about some cat their neighbor had and that it was a very nice cat or something like that. But all I kept thinking was Oh dear god I’m reading Cather in the Rye only a lot less depressing and more teen angst. It confuses me really that Barnholdt would be writing like this when her other books never sounded like this. A drastic change if you ask me and not one I enjoyed.

It wasn’t just the writing that made me so angry, it was also some of the things that happened. Here’s my list:

1) Penn’s constant “I didn’t mean anything but giving her that note but yet I sort-of did but yet I didn’t” train of thought.

I wanted to grab Penn by his ear and yell at him to just MAKE UP HIS MIND. Because even if you didn’t mean anything it’s messed up to constantly follower Harper.

2) Harper so easily following Penn.

Look, we’ve all liked jerks here. It happens to the best of us. Hell, it happened to me two times this year. Yes, two flipping times. Sometimes we just really don’t think. So who am I to judge Harper? I can’t. But I can judge her on doing something stupid like, you know, ditching school with the guy who JUST GAVE YOU A NOTE. When the guy I liked kept pressuring me to drink I didn’t just do it because he may have liked me. I was uncomfortable to I said eff off. But Harper didn’t and that really made me angry. You barely know the guy but hey, at least he’s hot.

3) Penn.

So technically this isn’t something that happened, but Penn was the cause for half the things I hated. I didn’t like his indecisiveness. As I stated in the beginning of this list, all Penn did was question whether or not he truly meant anything by his note. It was getting to be annoying after a while.

 

I decided to only give you guys the three main things that really annoyed me with this book. If I didn’t then this list would be very long. Now, the one thing I do want to say is that maybe I’m a little biased because I hated the writing mainly because it reminded me of Salinger. So if you didn’t read Catcher in the Rye (which you are lucky if you haven’t) you could still like Through to You.  That being said, I also hated half the things that the characters did so that really isn’t biased. Which leads be to saying don’t bother with this book. Maybe if you you’re to barrow the book then read it. But your money isn’t worth spending.

 

~ Lauren

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The Three Books You Shouldn’t Read

Yes, I actually read books. Well if you count screaming and getting so fed up with a book you throw it as reading. And not even in a good way. See, many of you may know I have an obsession with romance. I’m a hopeless romantic. Dream of the day when I meet the guy who makes me feel… whole. So in the mean time I read those books instead to fill that empty hole inside of me. But somewhere in my four years of high school these romance books that I cradled in my arms, that I loved with every fiber of my being, have turned to complete Sugar Honey Ice Tea. And I have given up. Yes, me, Lauren of YA Book Spot, has given up on all cute romance novels. Here are the three books that prove why said romance novels have gone down the sinkhole to hell:

1) Royally Lost by 18530135Angie Stanton

 Dragged on a family trip to Europe’s ancient cities, Becca wants nothing more than to go home. Trapped with her emotionally distant father, over-eager stepmother, and a brother who only wants to hook up with European hotties, Becca is miserable. That is until she meets Nikolai, a guy as mysterious as he is handsome. And she unknowingly finds herself with a runaway prince.

Nikolai has everything a guy could ask for-he’s crown prince, heir to the throne, and girls adore him. But the one thing he doesn’t have…is freedom. Staging a coup, he flees his kingdom and goes undercover on his own European tour.

When Nikolai and Becca meet, it’s their differences that draw them together. Sparks fly as they share a whirlwind of adventures, all the while dodging his royal guard. But Becca’s family vacation ends in a matter of days. Will Nikolai and Becca be forced to say goodbye forever, will his destiny catch up to him, or will they change history forever?

I was desperate. So very desperate for a romance novel that I picked this book up just hoping that it would turn out to be this great book full of laughs and true love. But no, it turned for the worst when the protagonist Becca started speaking. Now, the thing is I love history. I’ve had a 100 average my whole career as a student. I could name Generals from the American Revolution all the way to World War II. I just really love history. Now imagine reading a book with a main protagonist who constantly bashes history. Well, you get Royally Lost.

Instead of Royally Lost, I think the book should be changed to Royal Shit (excuse my language. I just have a lot of anger feels). Becca was nagging, no good, ANNOYING girl who just constantly complained about history. She saw it as useless. “Why live in the past?” She said at one point. BECAUSE WE LEARN FROM OUR PAST MISTAKES. You are in Europe, taking these amazing tours to these historical sites and you couldn’t care less? No, I’m sorry. Excuse me while I go push her off the Pont Du Gard.

One more thing that made me angry would be how easily she just went with Nikolai. “Oh look, a hot European guy who’s speaking to me. Let me totally take him on his offer to explore these random parts of Europe where I have never been! Screw stranger danger!” So maybe Becca didn’t say exactly this, but she sure as hell was acting this way. The  number one rule of Europe is you stay with your group. Even if you hate them and would much rather throw yourself into a bullfight (I may or may not have thought this when I was in Europe), YOU STAY PUT. Yes, Nikolai was a prince, but I could rewrite this entire book as sequel to Taken.

Do not read this book. Becca is naive, dull, and so stupid I swear my freaking lamp knows more than her.

 

182489332)Pulled Under by Michelle Dalton

A shy teen befriends an attractive beach town tourist in this refreshing summertime romance, in the tradition of Sixteenth Summer andSeventeenth Summer.

In the small town of Pearl Beach, Florida, Izzy Lucas needs only her surfboard and the water to be completely happy. She wants nothing to do with parties, popularity contests, or showing her face around the clichéd touristy hangouts. Izzy’s tight group of coworkers at the local surf shop have tried relentlessly to break shy Izzy out of her (sea)shell. But Izzy isn’t interested…until the day Ben Barker walks into the store.

Ben’s from the city. He’s cute, charming, and wants her help adjusting to beach town culture. As the weeks of surfing lessons and pizza shack visits fly by, Izzy and Ben realize their attraction goes beyond mere friendship. But Ben is only in town for three months, and Izzy wonders if this amazing guy is worth stepping out of her comfort zone for what might be the perfect summer romance—or her first heartbreak

My quest for a romance continued and led me to this book. This very boring book. I live by the beach. the smell of the ocean is the best smell in the world. I was intrigued by this book because the beach was in it. But that was the only good thing. The main character Izzy barely grew as a character and I found myself wanting to know more about her friend Sophie than Izzy herself.  Izzy’s relationship with Ben was also anther strike against Pulled Under. They just did nothing for me. Once again there was no growth between the two. Nothing that made their relationship feel real.

I barely made it through the book. And I usually finish a book like this within three hours. I skimmed through Pulled Under and found myself bored even doing that. And that ending? I still don’t understand it.

Yet again I found myself disappointed by another book. I wish there were more cute YA romance books out there. Or at least good ones. I mean, at least it got two stars.

 

Lastly, number 3:

 

18635079How to Meet Boys by Catherine Clark

Find out what happens when you fall for your best friend’s worst enemy in this timeless and hilarious story of a forbidden first love and forever friendship.

Lucy can’t wait to spend the summer at the lake with her best friend, Mikayla. But when Jackson, the boy she’s been avoiding ever since he rejected her, reappears in her life, Lucy wonders if this summer to remember is one she’d rather forget.

Mikayla’s never had much luck talking to boys, but when she (literally) runs into the cutest guy she’s ever seen, and sparks fly, she thinks things might be looking up…until she realizes the adorable stranger is the same boy who broke her best friend’s heart.

As things begin to heat up between Mikayla and the one guy she should avoid, will Lucy be able to keep her cool or will the girls’ perfect summer turn into one hot mess?

Catherine Clark, the author of beach-read favorites Maine Squeeze and Love and Other Things I’m Bad At, has once again crafted a hilarious and spot-on portrayal of what it’s really like to be a teenager. Readers will love this irreverent coming-of-age story…and will be breathlessly turning the pages to find out what happens next.

I give up. I’m waving the white flag because I am done. I never knew it was so hard to write a cute romance novel. I find it sad when I read better stories on Wattpad. I picked up How to Meet Boys by Catherine Clark because (as you can tell) I am desperate for a cute, care-free romance book.

And now I wish I hadn’t.

I always feel this connection with characters who have never had a kiss, or even a date, because I myself (even at 18) never did any of those things either. I was into the book in the beginning because both main characters were like me. Dateless and guyless. Then by page 137 I just gave up. I couldn’t stand Lucy. It was an actual hatred. I found her rude, annoying, and selfish. I skipped her POVs half the time. I think the book would have been better without Lucy’s POV.

Mikayla wasn’t as bad. But dear god YOU ARE 17! STOP ACTING LIKE YOU’RE STILL IN 8TH GRADE. The writing was also terrible. I don’t know if it was me, but half the time I felt as if half the words were spelled wrong. Not only that, but the maturity of the writing was extremely low.

I am so angry that cute books aren’t being written as good anymore. I think authors need to read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell because she did it right. Take notes too. Cath was that perfect mixture of nerdy/experienced/socially awkward girl. I would not recommend How to Meet Boys to anyone. I couldn’t sit still long enough to read it. I don’t care about insta-love (it really does not bother me), but what I do care is that it’s done right. And sadly, it seems that no one knows how to do it anymore.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am telling you right now to not read these books. They are boring, filled with naive characters, and writing that is more 4th grade than high school. If anyone knows a good romance please let me know. I’m getting desperate. Just tell me in the comments. I promise an actual nice review full of fangirling and squealing tomorrow for The Dark World by Cara Lynn Shultz (one of the BEST authors out there).

 

~ Lauren

Alienated by Melissa Landers

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them. 

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.
But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class. 

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet. (Goodreads)

My Rating: 5 million stars yes

My Review:

Now, I guess you can say I have an alien obsession… which I’ve probably stated about a million times. I grew up around The X-Files, alien documentaries, and more. Until Sophomore year of high school I could never find any YA books with aliens in them. Then I read Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout and my life become whole. I feel that ever since J. Lynn’s Lux Series, aliens have frown in popularity and more books have been made. Not all of them are good. Some of them are out right boring. But no. Not this little gem.

*stares fondly at cover* I love you Alienated. *crushes to chest*

First off that cover drew me in. It’s so beautiful and amazing. Simple too. I know how we all say we never judge a book by its cover but, come one, we all do. This is far from being a boring cover. It’s out of this world. Get it? Because aliens? No? Okay I’ll stop now.

The one thing that I love most about Alienated is that there really isn’t any war against another alien race. If you watch Star-Crossed on the CW then it’s basically like that. There are protesters and a radical group; people trying to pass laws that don’t give L’eihr’s their rights. In this book it’s politics that matters. That’s refreshing. What I love is how Melissa Landers also mentions past history, like the 1960s civil rights movement. Alienated is basically the civil rights movement, but with a twist.

Besides the plot, I also love Cara. I read that some people didn’t and I don’t get how. At first I thought I was really going to hate her. That she would be this stuck-up girl towards Aelyx, but instead she was actually extremely welcoming. Cara went out of her to make Aelyx feel comfortable and I love that she stood by him, even when her boyfriend didn’t want her to. Cara is also one of the strongest characters I’ve read. No, she’s not brandishing a weapon like she’s in Dauntless. What makes her strong is the fact that she stood by her decisions, stood by Aelyx, even though so many people turned their backs on her. Cara always kept her head held high. That’s true courage to me. So often we find ourselves changing our beliefs based on others opinions. We need people like Cara in this world. I loved when she said, “This is how discriminatory legislation gets passed- people know it’s wrong. but they’re too lazy or too scared to take action.” That last part has to be my favorite. Cara is so opinionated but doesn’t care what people have to think.

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Aelyx. Dear lord I love him. I loved seeing him grow as a character, seeing all those human qualities he picked up. Oh my god, and the best scene had to be when Aelyx googled kissing. He reminded of a little kid. A whole new world indeed…

Alienated isn’t full of action, but it’s full of choices. It’s about standing by your beliefs no matter what. There’s no race against an evil alien race, but instead a fight against humanity. It’s about overcoming prejudices. See, the problem isn’t just the humans, but also the L’eihr’s. I want to see them work together. I love Cara’s relationship with her parents, with Aelyx. Forget fighting with hands, we need more characters like Cara: characters who fight with words. Melissa Lander’s writing is beautiful. I could feel the characters emotions. I swear, after reading this book and wanted to have a debate with everything. I’m always hesitant about a sequel where the characters are split up. It frustrates me to no end when that happens (which is why I haven’t read Never Fade). I’m also a person who loves cliff-hangers because they make waiting that much more fun. I just hope Cara and Aelyx aren’t split up for that long. And that there is no, I repeat NO LOVE TRIANGLE. NONE. IT’S NOT NEEDED.

 What I think people should take away from the book is this: People are people. No matter who they are (even if they’re an alien from another world).

~ Lauren

Rift by Andrea Cremer

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Chronicling the rise of the Keepers, this is the stunning prequel to Andrea Cremer’s internationally bestselling Nightshade trilogy!

Sixteen-year-old Ember Morrow is promised to a group called Conatus after one of their healers saves her mother’s life. Once she arrives, Ember finds joy in wielding swords, learning magic, and fighting the encroaching darkness loose in the world. She also finds herself falling in love with her mentor, the dashing, brooding, and powerful Barrow Hess. When the knights realize Eira, one of their leaders, is dabbling in dark magic, Ember and Barrow must choose whether to follow Eira into the nether realm or to pledge their lives to destroying her and her kind.

With action, adventure, magic, and tantalizing sensuality, this book is as fast-paced and breathtaking as the Nightshade novels. Goodreads

My rating: 3.5/5 stars

My review: I actually never read the Nightshade series. I never wanted to. I hate love triangles and that one detail was a major turn off for me. I don’t know if Rise has one (although I’m really hoping it doesn’t.)
I enjoyed Rift a lot. I actually wanted to read this book more than Nightshade. Ember is an interesting character. I think one of the characteristics that I loved about her was this fierceness she had. She refused to be controlled by her father and didn’t listen to what society wanted of her. I could have done without Eira’s POV though. I really felt like it caused a detachment from Ember. When I was getting into Ember’s story it was cut short.
Eira’s POV also seemed to just drag on. Ember’s was like that too but it was a lot better. I don’t know why it worked for one character but not another. I did find myself skipping scenes for both though. Once again, the dragging got in the way.
Besides the dragging, I loved the storyline. Andrea Cremer is amazing at capturing the emotion of her characters. I felt myself on the verge of tears many times and really felt like I was part of the action. Also, Barrow is just… *sigh*. There is just so much to say. I wish the book is just Barrow and Ember’s POV. I hope that’s what Rise is. Just them. Alone.
I love the characters and I swear if any of them die in the next one I’m done. Really just two characters I don’t want to die. I just giggled at this scene with them… and went aw… even though it was actually a scene I was basically crying during. I do know though that this book was setting up for action. It ended on the note Divergent did. Characters on the run and war in the air. That’s really the only connection.
My mom promised to take me to get Rise tomorrow. Thank god. I seriously need it. I definitely think you should read Rift. I don’t know if you need to read Nightshade first, it didn’t seem like you did. I’m sure there were little things that a Nightshade reader picked up on. I enjoyed Rise a lot. I loved the characters. Besides Eira. I really hope more is explained about her. She just confused me and I didn’t like her POV at all. Dragged way too much.
Did you read any of Andrea Cremer’s books? What do you think of them?

~ Lauren

PS- I had to rewrite this whole thing. I’m so sorry.