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Ask Annie

Title: Ask Annie
Author: Suzanne Rand
Genre: Teen fiction, romance
Rating (out of 5): 2

Published is 1982, I'm sure it was a good book at the time. Maybe now, we've identified the common cliches, and avoided them, because this book is full of them.There's the "I'm in love with a boy who doesn't Know I exist", although I will admit that one's still quite prevalant.There's the "I'm torn between helping the boy by giving advice about his girlfriend, or Missing her". There 's "all the girls hate me, but I'm the boys' best friend.There's "the boys see me as a friend and not a girl". Normally, one or two of these wouldn't really bother me, but put altogether...added to that is now she conspicuously skips certain passages of time.

But other than that, it's a good read. ...

If you're in the mood for a trashy (teen) romance novel, then it's tolerable. Annie's started to give boys advice - fn not some why the girls don't like it - it's not just about their girlfriends. she's got as destructive crush on her best friend's twin brother, Tim.One thing that I absolutely despise in this book is how extraordinarily grateful Tim is when Annie suggests a compromise with Tim and his mother. He never forgets it and brings it up obsessively.

Now, I won't spoil it, but it is a bit predictable what happens in the end. Not really a good read for a kid in the 2000s.

The Boyfriend List

Title: The Boyfriend list
Author: E. Lockhart
Genre: Teen fiction
Rating (out of 5): 4.5

Ruby has begun to suffer from panic attacks, and like any good more, hers is desperately worried.Ruby visits a therapist to try and work out why this is happening, and as a homework assignment, Ruby's told to Make a list of all the boyfriends she's ever had -not just "official" ones, but the half ones, the ones she wanted, and the ones that perhaps wanted her(I'm not entirely sure why this has anything todo with her part attacks - that's not really explained that well). So, she makes a list of all the 15 boys she's ever so much as thought about.

There are 15 chapters, one for each boy. They also explain what Ruby mentions at the start - her boyfriend dumped her and her best friends stop talking to her in the same week, which is when her panic attacks started (which Ruby reckons is a pretty good explanation for her panic attacks.)

It's quite good-some of the stories behind boyfriends are quite cute - some, fun to read.The character is a likeable (always important) so you really get on her side.The only thing I didn't like about it was that, with so many character, it got a little confusing, although not to a great extent.

Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart

Title: Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart
Author: Gordon Livingston, M.D.
Genre: Non-fiction - psychology
Rating (out of 5): 3.5

So this book is basically a therapist telling us the 30 things everyone should know before they die. Well, need to know now, according to the subtitle on the cover.

Each chapter starts with a statement, which are normally quite profound. My favourite is If the map doesn't agree with the ground, the map is wrong. Another two good ones are Not all who wander are lost and Any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least.

The thing is, though, is that the content of the chapter doesn't really relate to the chapter title. Weeell...it's like...relevant through a couple of degrees of separation. You can tell it explains the chapter...but it doesn't explain how it explains it. The content of the chapter is interesting...the statements are interesting...but they don't quite fit together. It's like the jigsaw pieces...it has a sticky outy bit, and the one you're trying to shove it into has an indentation, but they're not exaaactly the right size.

It's sort of a good read...but just doesn't feel satisfying.

Love on the Net

Title: Love on the Net
Author: Margaret Clark
Genre: Realistic fiction, Teen, Australian
Rating (out of 5): 2.5

Well. It's the sort of book that you wouldn't just stop reading half way through, because you do want to find out what happens.

But...well, it may be hard to talk about this one without giving anything away.

Basically, the main character, Clem's, boyfriend moves to Barbados for a year. At first, she stresses about how they're going to keep the romance up when her father point blank refuses to let her call long distance, and letters take an uberly long time to reach their destination. Her brother, Jasper, says that once he gets connected to the internet, she might be able to email him.

I'm thinking that the book is set pre-computerrulestheworld era. Mm, first published in 1996. I was only four at the time, so I can't recall how common the internet was. But anyway, reading it now, as a member of the Y-generation, it all seems terribly unlikely. They refer to email addresses as email codes and email numbers, for goodness sake. At first, I thought it was just Clem's way of talking, not really knowing the computer lingo, but EVERYONE says it. It really gets to me. I'm just era-ist.

There's a lot of build-ups that lead to nothing, imho. One is with the way Julian (the boyfriend) seemed so distant on the phone, which made Clem worry...nothing came out of that. And then there's the potential other love interest (Julian's) which just doesn't seem to get resolved.

It was also quite predictable, I found, and unrealistic. Clem rings up a dial-a-tarot-fortune, or whatever they are, and everything just seems to fit. I was expecting something interesting, like the girl with the gold earrings she was told to look out for become her really good friend or something. But no. And the way she talked of moving to Barbados with him...I mean, seriously.

Add to that that she seemed like a love-sick 14 year old, but was actually in grade 11...

I'm thinking it could've been a really good read for 12 year olds in the 1990s. Not for me.

The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing

First book of the community will be:

Title: The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing
Author: Melissa Bank
Genre: Realistic fiction, young adult
Rating (out of 5): 4.5

This book is one that I would have expected to be up there with the best sellers, but I'd never heard of it before I picked it up (although it does say 'the number one bestseller' on the cover...most books I've never seen in my life have that as well).
The blurb of this book really doesn't describe the story well at all. The blurb is good, and so is the book, but they are hardly related. The story follows Jane, and begins with a chapter looking at her brother's girlfriend(s), and then her embarking on her own adventure of finding love. The blurb places too much emphasis on that first chapter, and also on the last one, which sees Jane pick up a book entitled How to Find and Marry Mr. Right. They really don't play such a big part.

The book is well written, and I like the use of words. Bank is also rather creative in the way of trying different styles of writing within the book - the first chapter is in past tense, while the second is in present, and it switches throughout the book, to no obvious detriment, which is admirable. One chapter is also written in the form of 'you did this' instead of 'I did this' (is there a name for this? 4th person, perhaps?) but not in such a way that it is cringe-worthy, and I have yet to understand why this is.

One thing that I didn't like about this book was how the chapters where all in different time periods, and it took a page or two to comprehend what was going on. It was also a teensy bit predictable, the last chapter, anyway.

All in all, though, a very good read. Definitely recommended.