Review: Lies My Girlfriend Told Me

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Title: Lies My Girlfriend Told Me

Author: Julie Ann Peters

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: June 10, 2014

Goodreads / Author’s website / Author’s twitter

I picked up Lies My Girlfriend Told Me because of – you guessed it – the font on the front cover. I’ll admit that I didn’t even read the blurb before I started to read the book.

So to begin, so you know what we’re getting into, here is a brief summary from the author’s website:

When Alix’s girlfriend Swanee dies of sudden cardiac arrest, Alix is inconsolable with grief. She slips away from Swanee’s service to her room, fully expecting the whole ordeal to be an extravagant hoax. But the only thing Alix finds is the bag from the hospital where Swanee was taken. She still can’t believe Swanee is gone, and when Swanee’s cell pings a text message, Alix just knows the call is for her, telling her it was all a prank.

The call, however, is from a person with the initials LT. And there are dozens and dozens of messages. Who is LT and, if this isn’t a joke, why is she calling a dead person? Alix is determined to find out the answer whatever the cost.

Alix finds out she was being two-timed by her dead girlfriend. Then she tracks down the other girlfriend – Liana, in Swanee’s phone just as LT – and finds out that she was being two-timed as well. Over the course of the novel, Alix and Liana both have to come to terms with how Swanee had manipulated them while also working through their grief over Swanee’s death and their strange and coincidental relationship with each other.

A year ago, I would have been overwhelmed with gratitude that two same-sex couples would be showcased as the main characters of a real YA book. I’ve been reading so much queer fiction lately that this isn’t overly impressive. Still, as far as queer lit goes, this was well done.

As the pieces fell into place, I knew where the story was headed, and I even knew that Alix’s decisions were going to get her in hot water. I wanted to keep reading because I wanted to know how it would all work out. The book was emotionally compelling and I think that anyone who’s ever been burned by secrets and lies can definitely relate. Plus, the prose was beautifully written. The story flowed like poetry and I felt every second of it.

However, a major downside was that there wasn’t nearly enough character development throughout the book. I was empathetic towards Alix because of what Swanee had done to her, but not because of who she is as a character. I didn’t find her likable in the slightest and her endless complaining and entitlement grated on my nerves.

Still, I enjoyed Lies My Girlfriend Told Me as a whole. It was, in turns, both sorrowful and romantic, and it showcased grief in a way that was new to me. I’d recommend it to readers who want a a sad, sweet book that explores equal parts guilt, anger, and love.

4 out of 5 stars.

Tara

Review: The Vanishing Season

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Title: The Vanishing Season

Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication Date: July 1, 2014

Goodreads / Author’s facebook / Author’s twitter

I had high expectations for this book just from reading the summary, but I was so, so disappointed after I’d read it. It just didn’t live up to what I hoped it would be.

More on that in a moment, but first – a brief excerpt from Jodi Lynn Anderson’s HarperCollins page:

Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter’s come to lay a white sheet over the horror. Door County, it seems, is swallowing the young, right into its very dirt. From beneath the house on Water Street, I’ve watched the danger swell.

The residents know me as the noises in the house at night, the creaking on the stairs. I’m the reflection behind them in the glass, the feeling of fear in the cellar. I’m tied—it seems—to this house, this street, this town.

I’m tied to Maggie and Pauline, though I don’t know why. I think it’s because death is coming for one of them, or both.

All I know is that the present and the past are piling up, and I am here to dig.I am looking for the things that are buried.

From bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson comes a friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind.

That sounds great, right? That’s what I thought, but the book turned out to be nothing like I expected. There’s a love triangle between Maggie, Pauline, and Liam, who are all neighbors. A love triangle which is incredibly predictable, I might add. I hate love triangles.

But more obnoxious than that, there is absolutely no explanation of the ghostly presence that narrates short segments throughout the book. I mean, you find out who it’s supposed to be, but it makes no sense whatsoever and isn’t explained in the slightest. Other than that, there is nothing “haunting” about the book. It’s normal realistic fiction! There is a mysterious killer in town whose presence affects the main characters, but it’s not supernatural at all. Which is fine, just don’t advertise that from the start.

Once I got past my initial disappointment and final confusion and thought back over the whole reading experience, I realized that The Vanishing Season was not the worst thing I’ve ever read. I actually liked the author’s style, and there were plenty of fabulous moments of truth in the dialogue and character development. But overall, the book was just a “meh.”

2 out of 5 stars.

Tara

Review: #scandal

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Title: #scandal

Author: Sarah Ockler

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Publication Date: June 17, 2014

Goodreads / Author’s website / Author’s twitter

This deliciously social media-themed cover immediately caught my eye on the shelf of new arrivals at Barnes and Noble last week, so I put it on hold ASAP. It turned out to be an entertaining novel, although I did take issue with a few things.

First, an excessively long summary from the author’s website:

Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation.

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag — Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love…

As that summary basically explains the entire plot of the novel, there’s not much else I can say in that regard. Lucy’s quest to find the villain who hacked her Facebook and uploaded those pictures is fun to follow, and I definitely didn’t guess the culprit in advance. It was gratifying to watch her have to decide who to trust and what to put her faith into. I also appreciated the strong stance against cyberbullying, and the emphasis of the idea that bullying online can easily translate to bullying in real life – though both are equally harmful. I can definitely see high schoolers reading this book and loving the drama, but also walking away with a strong and positive message.

However, one of my main issues with this book was that in five years, maybe less, it will be completely outdated. Facebook plays a huge role in the story, as does social media in general. This is current and relevant now, but maybe not so in the future. But strangely enough, there were so many other pop culture references that I got lost. At one point, Lucy – an avid gamer – has a two-page conversation about an analogy to The Walking Dead, which I simply skipped over because I’ve never watched the show or read the comics. There are also a plethora of Hunger Games references and allusions. Even weirder were the references to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Veronica Mars. Do teens nowadays even know who those characters are? For a novel that was so up-to-date the rest of the time, certain things like these stuck out and confused me. An unrelated complaint of mine is that the action of the novel was drawn out for entirely too long. The 400 page book could have easily been 200 pages, in my opinion.

But overall, I did find it a fun read. Lucy’s allies were endearing and unique, and the tone of the book was comedic, with a few darker undertones. The chapter titles made me laugh every time. If you like contemporary mysteries with a little romance and a lot of comedy thrown in, you might as well give this one a try.

3 out of 5 stars.

Tara

Interview with Author – Shay West!

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Today I’ve got a new feature for the blog – an author interview! Recently, I talked to YA author Shay West about her book Dangerous Reflections and her views about writing and the sci-fi/fantasy genre. If you haven’t read my review of the book, check it out! And then read Shay West’s awesome answers to my questions.

Tara: Where did you get the inspiration for Dangerous Reflections?

Shay: I was getting ready for work one morning and just had this weird thought pop into my head wondering how I would react if my reflection changed into someone else’s face. Then the ideas snowballed from there and thus Dangerous Reflections was born.

Tara: How did you go about researching the history for each point in time that Alex traveled?

Shay: I wish I could say I sat in dusty old libraries with dozens of books piled around me but I just did Google searches mainly. I didn’t really have any ideas of where I wanted her to travel when I first started researching but ideas popped into my head and I did a little digging to see if I wanted to pursue that plot line or let it go. Most of the stuff I looked up I never ended up using, not even in the other two books.

Tara: What has been your favorite time period to write about, and why?

Shay: 16th century France where Alex ends up in the body of courtesan. I had just finished watching Dangerous Beauty and thought about how times have changed. And it was sort of fun and awkward to put Alex in a courtesans body because she knows what their profession is, and worrying about whether she would have to do “it” was pretty entertaining!

Tara: Where do you see the fantasy/science fiction genre heading in the next few years?

Shay: I think more and more women will branch out into this genre, although I think it will also be difficult to really make a name due to the enormous amount of books out there to choose from. But it’s also wonderful to think of all the rich and vibrant voices still to be discovered!

Tara: What advice would you give young adults who want to write and publish their own books?

Shay: Make sure you do your research and that you know the genre. I had the great fortune to have an agent – I won a contest – look over the first few chapters of Dangerous Reflections before I self-published it. I admit I hadn’t read much in the way of YA so was just writing like I would for an adult audience, with various points of view from Alex, her best friend, even her mom. This lovely woman kindly pointed out that the readers of YA, mostly teens, don’t want to have an adult point of view. It tends to draw them out of the story. So I did a major re-write of the book and I think it made it a million times better. And always strive to better yourself. When I look back at my first series (scifi/fantasy) I can see a huge difference in my writing now and then. Not to say it’s awful or anything, but my newer stuff is definitely on a whole new level.

Tara: And finally… why should people want to read Dangerous Reflections?

Shay: It’s not just a story of time travel to exotic places. Alex is dealing with a lot of stuff teens and even adults deal with on a daily basis: parents that walk out, feeling like money and having all the latest fashion and gadgets is important, bullying, first crushes, finding your way through life by just winging it. I think most anyone that reads this book will find something they can relate to.

Thanks so much to Shay West for taking the time to answer my questions. Make sure to check out her website, read her book – I thoroughly enjoyed it – and keep an eye out for her future endeavors!

Tara

Review: Dangerous Reflections

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Title: Dangerous Reflections

Author: Shay West

Publisher: Booktrope

Publication Date: June 17, 2014

Goodreads / Author’s website / Author’s twitter

I was contacted and asked if Dangerous Reflections sounded like something I’d be interested in reviewing. After reading the summary, I jumped on the opportunity, and thus – here is my honest review! (Bonus: an interview with Shay West is upcoming, so look for that tomorrow.)

A brief excerpt from the author’s website (the same summary that sparked my interest in the book in the first place):

Alexis Davenport wants to go home. She hates her new school, her mother for moving her away from her friends, and her father for walking out.

To make matters worse, Alex is haunted by images of strange girls reflected in her mirror. It’s bad enough juggling homework, a relentless bully, boys, and a deadbeat dad; now, she must save the world from an evil presence hell-bent on changing the past – and our futures. Who knew her A+ in history was going to be this important?

The premise of the book (the first in a series) is that Alex Davenport and her mother move into Alex’s aunt’s guesthouse, in a completely new town, at the beginning of a new school year. While Alex is trying to adjust to the new life she’s been thrown into, she is also dealing with something even stranger – seeing other girls reflected in the mirror where her own reflection should be.

When she touches the reflections, she finds herself sucked into those strange bodies – in different countries, in centuries past. Each time it happens, she arrives in the midst of a history-changing event and is forced to put her life in danger in order to right the wrongs being done to the timeline – though she has no idea how, or why.

I absolutely loved the time travel aspect, and those parts of the book were the ones that I looked forward to reading. Alex’s life with her friends and trouble at school are… okay, but it’s when Alex is thrown into the past and forced to rely on her own knowledge and experience that the book really shines. The imagery is vivid and the characters are so distinct that I felt as if I were the one who had been transported to another world. And even though the book isn’t written in first person, I still felt a distinct sense of empathy for Alex throughout.

There were some parts of the novel that seemed to drag – the pacing was slow whenever Alex was in her normal life, which I mentioned before – but overall, I thought it was both enjoyable and suspenseful. Once I got into the meat of the plot, I finished the book in a day because I was desperate to find out what was happening and why. It’s unclear by the end of the Dangerous Reflections whether the book is more fantasy or science fiction related, but either way, it’s a thrill ride. I’m hoping that I can get my hands on the next book in the series soon.

4 out of 5 stars.

For more information, be sure to check back tomorrow for my interview with Shay West, the author!

Tara

Review: Starbird Murphy and the World Outside

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Title: Starbird Murphy and the World Outside

Author: Karen Finneyfrock

Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Publication Date: June 12, 2014

Goodreads / Author’s website / Author’s twitter

I had no expectations for this book as I only picked it up because it was a new release. I was taken in by the great font choice and the great font choice only yet again. Starbird Murphy and the World Outside is probably the most surprising book I’ve read so far this summer, though, in terms of what it was about and in terms of how much I enjoyed it.

A brief summary from the author’s website:

In her sixteen years of life, Starbird has never touched a dollar bill. She’s never been in a car. She’s never used a cell phone. That’s because Starbird has always lived on the Free Family Farm, a commune in the woods of Washington state. But all that is about to change. When Starbird gets her “Calling” to be a waitress at the Free Family’s restaurant in Seattle, she decides to leave behind the only home she’s ever known. Nothing could have prepared Starbird for the World Outside, or for what it would teach her about the Family—and herself.

What I loved about this book was its rare take on communal life. Starbird’s feelings for and loyalty to the Family are what drove this book for me. The heart of the book is what she experiences while at home and then when she ventures to the outside world for the first time. She has to face how the world views her family, and decide whether its worth defending – making some revelations about herself along the way. Starbird Murphy and the World Outside does a great job about looking at one issue from multiple perspectives and allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions and opinions.

There’s a bit of mystery included in the story when Starbird starts to look over the finances of their restaurant and stumbles across some surprising findings, and when she continues to search for her older brother who disappeared in the outside world years ago. Also, there’s a few interesting takes on romance and love, and I thought the love story aspect of the story was adorable.

All of the characters were multi-faceted and thoroughly engaging to read about. Starbird was likeable and relatable and everything you’d want in a main character. I was rooting for her the whole time, and I had a great time doing so. Overall, this is a new and exciting contemporary YA book that you should definitely give a shot if you are tired of reading about the same thing over and over.

5 out of 5 stars.

Tara

Review: My Last Kiss

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Title: My Last Kiss

Author: Bethany Neal

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Publication Date: June 10, 2014

Goodreads / Author’s website / Author’s twitter

This cover caught my eye on the new releases shelf at Barnes and Noble – and the summary grabbed my attention, too. I was looking forward to a good murder mystery, especially because the person solving the mystery was doing so posthumously.

A quick summary of My Last Kiss from the author’s website:

Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss—the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died—is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn’t a suicide as everyone assumes. She can’t remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she’s worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend.

If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she’ll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made—good and bad—that led to her last kiss.

A book where the protagonist is a ghost trying to figure out how she died – it was intriguing. Only her boyfriend, Ethan, can see her as a ghost – something that isn’t really explained. But I can’t quibble with logic when ghosts don’t even exist in the first place.

What I liked about the book was the shifting between the present – where Cassidy is a ghost – and the past, mostly focused on the night that she died. I was fully pulled into the mystery and was constantly trying to figure out how she did die. Was it an accident? Who was she with? Did someone push her? And in the end, the answer surprised me. So the book was very well done in that respect.

What I didn’t like so much was that Cassidy herself wasn’t an interesting character. There was nothing that made her stand out, other than the fact that I felt bad that she was dead. She just wasn’t sympathetic other than that. There was also an obnoxious love triangle between Ethan, Cassidy, and stoner Caleb, which was necessary for plot reasons but – come on. I’m so done with love triangles.

If you want an immersive mystery with fabulous minor characters and don’t care if there’s a love triangle and a semi-boring protagonist, do give this one a read.

3 out of 5 stars.

Tara

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Give to Readers Who Have Never Read YA Futuristic Speculative Fiction

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Top Ten Tuesday is a book blogging meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

The topic for today’s TTT is: “Top Ten Books I’d Give To Readers Who Have Never Read X (examples: New Adult novels, historical fiction, a certain author, books about a certain topic, etc).” I had a hard time deciding what genre I wanted to go with, so I chose speculative fiction, which I believed was fiction that speculated what could happen in the future. That makes sense, right? Well, apparently speculative fiction is a blanket term that covers most of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. I also didn’t just want to use “dystopian,” because not all of the books had futures that were horrible and, well, dystopian. Most of them aren’t great futures, but no world is perfect.

Therefore, I had to get a little more specific.

So without further ado – the top ten books I would give to readers who have never read young adult futuristic speculative fiction, or to people who think that’s not their cup of tea. If that sounds like you – do give these books a try.

1. Legend by Marie Lu. Part of the United States is now the Republic, at war with its neighbors. Main characters June and Day’s lives intertwine as they begin to unravel their government’s secrets. Great story, great characters, high intensity, fabulous.

2. The Program by Suzanne Young. In this future, teen suicide is a global epidemic, and the only solution is The Program, which cures depression but also erases memories. Slone has to keep her head down and her feelings secret if she wants to avoid that fate – but of course that doesn’t work out. This book paints a terrifying future that is thrilling to read about.

3. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. When you turn sixteen, you undergo an operation that makes you pretty, and you receive access to a high-tech world of paradise and beautiful people. Tally is forced to go after her friend who runs away to avoid the operation, and she reaches alarming conclusions about their so-called perfect world. This is a spec fiction classic, in my opinion, and really shows what life could be like if our society continues to be so appearance-based.

4. Frozen by Robin Wasserman. Instead of dying in the car accident, Lia is saved by the Download – a program meant to solve the age-old problem of mortality. Her mind is downloaded into a new, computerized but life-like body – and she has to face the issue of being herself but not herself at all. I love the implications of the discussion about what really makes us human and what makes us ourselves. This book got me to think, while also being an engaging read.

5. Feed by M.T. Anderson. This one is another book about the dangers of a technology-reliant, consumeristic society. Titus and his friends run into a hacker who causes the feeds in their brains – which provide them constant communication, access to entertainment, etc, much like a smart phone but right in their heads – to malfunction. Then Titus meets Violet – a witty girl who wants to fight the feed. This book actually hits a little close to home – in terms of futuristic speculative fiction, it could happen tomorrow, which makes it even more impactful.

6. Salvage by Alexandra Duncan. Science fiction with a feminist twist – what happens when the earth has been transformed by climate change, when the ships that travel in space are conservative and male-dominated, when one girl takes her fate into her own hands? Read to find out. I reviewed this book earlier this year and adore it still.

7. A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka. More feminist spec fiction! I can’t get enough. In this book, a synthetic hormone in beef killed millions of adult women in the United States, sparking the Paternalist Movement to protect the country’s young girls – who have now become a commodity, used to be sold in marriage to the highest bidder. Avie intends to flee from her quickly-approaching marriage to a controlling politician, but can she make it to Canada before her world falls apart? I reviewed this one as well and hope you give it a chance, because it is majorly thought-provoking.

8. Cinder by Marissa Meyer. A sci-fi take on Cinderella! A deadly plague hits the population of Earth, the Lunar people are just waiting to attack, and Cinder – a second-class Cyborg – is caught in the crossfire when her mysterious past begins to unravel. This book has hints of fantasy, more than any other book on this list, but I did still want to include it because it’s one of my favorite books of all time and I’ve become a bit evangelical about it, if we’re being honest.

9. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. In this futuristic world, Mary’s village is protected from the Forest of Hands and Teeth, where the Unconsecrated reside, relentless in their quest to breach the perimeter. Yes, this is a zombie novel, and one of the best I’ve ever read. I don’t know what else to say about this book except read it, because it’s a brilliant take on the genre. It left me extremely unsettled about the future, and wanting nothing more but to read the next book.

10. This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. It’s the end of the world, and zombies are beating down on the doors of the high school, where six people are hoping to hold out and live – all except Sloane, who thinks that perhaps it would be better just to give up. I am in love with all of Summers’ books, and although this is another zombie apocalypse novel (yes, I know, I have a bit of a problem), it’s more human than almost anything I’ve ever read.

And finally, a bonus one: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. If all else fails to convince you how awesome this genre is, remember that technically The Hunger Games is YA futuristic speculative fiction! Ha.

Tara

Review: Say What You Will

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Title: Say What You Will

Author: Cammie McGovern

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication Date: June 3, 2014

Goodreads / Author’s twitter / Author’s website

The cover’s typography is what drew me to this book. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I didn’t even read the summary before I checked this one out of the library, my faith in the typography was that strong. But hey, my instincts turned out to be right! Or perhaps it was just luck. Either way, I feel blessed to have had the privilege to read this book.

A brief summary from the author’s website:

Amy and Matthew didn’t know each other, really. They weren’t friends. Matthew remembered her, sure, but he remembered a lot of people from elementary school that he wasn’t friends with now. Matthew never planned to tell Amy what he thought of her cheerful façade, but after he does, Amy realize she needs someone like him in her life.

As they begin to spend more time with each other, Amy learns that Matthew has his own secrets and she decides to try to help in the same way he’s helped her. And when what started out as a friendship turns into something neither of them expected, they realize that they tell each other everything—except what matter most.

Amy has cerebral palsy. This isn’t something that’s made explicitly clear at the start of the novel. Matthew has severe OCD. This also isn’t made explicitly clear. But the way that they help each other is beautiful. Matthew is one of the only people to tell Amy the truth, no matter what, and Amy takes steps to try to help her new friend in any way that she can. Sometimes they fumble – which is realistic. If everything were just perfect, in their lives or in their ever-changing relationship, it would be unbelievable.

I loved both main characters. I loved the way that Cammie McGovern handled both physical disability and mental illness (though I hate those terms, I can’t think of any better ones at the moment). The story is told in third person, which I appreciated after reading so many first-person novels. It is elegantly and movingly told, and while the book did veer towards the dramatic about 3/4 of the way through, in the end my overall impression of Say What You Will was one of incredulity at the sheer power of this story.

5 out of 5 stars.

Tara

Review: My Faire Lady

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Title: My Faire Lady

Author: Laura Wettersten

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: June 3, 2014.

Goodreads / Author’s website / Author’s twitter

As someone whose fondest memory of middle school was a field trip to a Renaissance Faire, this book immediately caught my attention. From just my impression of the cover, I hoped to get something light and fun, and that was exactly what Wettersten delivered.

A quick summary from the author’s website:

Rowena Duncan is a thoroughly modern girl with big plans for her summer—until she catches her boyfriend making out with another girl. Heartbroken, she applies to an out-of-town job posting and finds herself somewhere she never expected: the Renaissance Faire.

As a face-painter doubling as a serving wench, Ro is thrown headfirst into a vibrant community of artists and performers. She feels like a fish out of water until Will, a quick-witted whip cracker, takes her under his wing. Then there’s Christian, a blue-eyed stunt jouster who makes Ro weak in the knees. Soon, it’s not just her gown that’s tripping her up.

Trading in the internet and electricity for stars and campfires was supposed to make life simpler, but Ro is finding that love is the ultimate complication. Can she let the past make way for her future?

Reading this book was like eating a never-ending stick of cotton candy. It was light and fluffy all the way through, with plenty of laughs and plenty of fun. All of the characters seemed like caricatures of real characters – whether it be Christian, the picture-perfect knight, or Ro’s overbearing parents, who are enthusiastic about her face-painting endeavors because they think the experience will make a great college entrance essay. Usually, over-the-top characters annoy me, but these were well done and thoroughly entertaining for the most part.

The plot is predictable, so if you only read books with plot twists and mysteries around every turn, this definitely isn’t the novel for you. But as predictable as it was, there was something comforting in it. I really loved knowing where the book was headed but also enjoying the journey to get there.

I loved the take on living the Ren Faire life, and the drama between the workers there made me keep turning the pages. Ro is a distinctly lovable character, and while she, too, is somewhat over-the-top, her narrative voice is engaging and bright, and softens in just the right places. If you like a good romantic comedy, My Faire Lady comes highly recommended.

4 out of 5 stars.

Tara