Beach Reads

24 07 2012

The cat went away and read…


Cut (by Patricia McCormick)

Contrary to its title, Patricia McCormick’s Cut is not just about a girl cutting herself. Instead, we see 15-year-old Callie in a psychiatric ward, most of the book not talking about the reason for self-harming, getting her the nickname S.T. (Silent Treatment) by  the other teen patients who deal with more explicable issues like drugs or food disorders. When the book first came out in 2000, it was definitely one of the first books that dealt with “teen issues” in a serious way. Obviously, after this book came out, a string of books with similar such Serious Topics (teen depression, suicide, auto-mutilation, anorexia (here and here)) has been published. For putting self-harm on the YA agenda, you’ve got to give McCormick credit. However, more than a decade after its release and looking at the book more objectively, it’s also obvious that Cut may have been surpassed by other books in the same genre.

3 stars


Some Girls Are (by Courtney Summers)

Some Girls Are will bring out the Uber-Bitch in you if nothing else. In Cracked Up To Be, Courtney Summers already showed she has a knack for writing about high-school dynamics and the evils that especially the Mean Girls are capable of, and in Some Girls Are she shows us the meanies from their worst side.  Regina has been frozen out by her former best friend and all around popular yet feared Mean Queen Anna Morrison and her gang of Mean Minions. Mostly, this is Regina’s own damn fault, since one of these Minions (Kara) decides it’s time for her to get in, and for Regina to get out. So that’s basically what happens. Some Girls Are is a summer read, there I said it, but also a great book for the more reluctant readers out there. It’s fast and furious. It definitely has its merits (fairly OK characterization, though somewhat on the stereotypical side; a fluent writing style), but like all summer reads, it’s also fairly forgettable, except for one particular thing: the way Summers talks about the whole high school experience. No, I’m not really talking about the bullying, which is intense, of course, but I am talking about all the “extra-curricular” activities these kids are up to… just like in Cracked Up To Be, it shows how different the high schools are that Summers describes from the high schools I knew (and still know). Must be a cultural thing?

3 stars


I Know it’s Over (by C.K. Kelly Martin)

I Know It’s Over is a very rare YA read in that this is a book about a teen relationship that has ended (I know It’s Over) but gets complicated all over again, but uncharacteristically from a male point of view. Not only is this very refreshing in YA-land, C.K. Kelly Martin also writes believably and convincingly from 16-year-old Nick’s point of view, not just a male POV for the sake of a male POV. On Christmas Eve Nick finds out that his ex-girlfriend Sasha is pregnant. Through a series of flashbacks we get to experience the intense relationship between the two all over again, up until the point where Nick tells his father (Nick’s parents are separated) to go back so he can talk with Sasha about what has happened and what will happen between them now. Much like in Courtney Summers’ novels, C.K. Kelly Martin’s writing is extremely fluent, yet to the point and without any form of sentimentalizing or sugarcoating things, making this way more emotional than you might have bargained for in the beginning. And C.K. Kelly Martin addresses a lot of things in this fairly short novel: teen love and lust, teen pregnancy, drug use, abortion, yet with such an unflinching honesty that it’s hard to resist this book: PURE, UNPLANNED, PERFECT is what Nick wanted, but definitely didn’t get. Instead the reader gets a very realistic, honest book about teen relationships and making the tough decisions.

4 stars


Two more books were beach reads but will get a bit of a longer review later this week:

  • Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity (2012)
  • Adam Rapp’s The Children and the Wolves (2012)



One response

18 08 2012
This is not a test (by Courtney Summers) « Ringo the Cat's Blog

[…] I don’t think the cat will ever become Courtney Summers’ number one fan. After the OK effort of Some Girls Are and the only mediocre (at best) Cracked Up To Be, the cat still wanted to give Courtney Does Zombie […]

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