Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading by Lizzie Skurnick

5644891I added this book to my TBR list after Meg Cabot mentioned her essay in it. I was a voracious reader as a child and still have fond memories of many of the books I devoured during that time. I was excited to read about those book by other people who enjoyed them as I did.

However, it turns out that with the exception of Meg Cabot’s essay and about three others, I hadn’t read any of the other “teen classics” mentioned herein. I guess my devotion to “Sweet Valley Twins,” “Sleepover Friends” and “The Fabulous Five” series limited my other reading possibilities. I really did enjoy Meg’s essay about Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret as well as the author’s essay about Little House in the Big Woods. I was happy to see the inclusion It’s Not The End of the World, but it’s “extra credit” write up left a lot to be desired.

I ended up skimming most of this book since the essays assume episodic knowledge of the book being discussed. Since I’m not a serial re-reader of anything, much less novels I read as a child, it was hard to follow most of the essays, even those about books I had read. Disappointing.

I also gave up on page 5 of Hating Valentine’s Day. Just knew it wasn’t going to be a book I would enjoy. I’m really trying to read all the Red Dress Ink books, but that one just wasn’t going to cut it for me.

Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

6066819Jennifer Weiner never fails to deliver a nuanced look at females, families, friendships and food. I started this book just after my own high school reunion and I think mine might have been a bit more interesting if it had ended like this book started.

I was a bit confused as to why our heroine went along with her crazy old friend, but as we went along I didn’t mind it so much. I really enjoyed how the past was revealed, piece by piece instead of a ton of exposition. Weiner gives us the POV of almost every major character in the book, except for the crazy friend. I really would love to see how she sees herself. Perhaps Weiner’s next book?

The ending was a little unbelievable and things seemed to wrap up a little to neatly for my taste. But it was a great ride up to that point, so I’ll forgive her.

Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner

536829I wasn’t sure whether I would like this book since it’s about “mommies” and it’s a murder mystery – two things that aren’t usually my style. I had gotten this book autographed when it came out over two years ago, but this was the first time I decided to actually dig into it.

I should have known better. Even though it wasn’t my usual fare, Jennifer Weiner knows how to write and I loved it. The murder mystery plot kept me guessing all the way to the end (I didn’t know whodunit at all!) and the relationships plots kept me interested as well. The book didn’t have the usual happy ending bow at the end, but I think that made me like it more. Things don’t get solved just because the book is ending and neither was this.

I’m ready for the next Jennifer Weiner outing – as soon as she finishes writing it!

American Girls About Town

923454I finished this book last week, but this is the first I’ve had time to actually write about it.

As I predicted, I really loved this collection of short stories. They go by very quickly and there were several that I wished had been turned into full-length novels. I could relate totally to some and not really at all to others, but they were well-written and just really fun reading. Some of the subject matter was the light, fluffiness you expect from these authors, but some was really dark and angsty.

The collection introduced me to some new authors to check out, which is always a plus. To sum up – check it out now!

Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner

421549I bought this book back in April in time to drive to Philadelphia for Ms. Weiner’s reading and book signing at the Philadelphia Free Public Library. Even though it had been on my “currently reading” list, I hadn’t actually picked it up to read until a few days ago. I’m sorry I waited this long.

Ms. Weiner doesn’t disappoint, and I am continually impressed how she manages to consistently write excellent books about and for women without resorting to the chick lit cliches. I couldn’t predict all the twists and turns the plot took, which was a pleasant and welcome surprise. It was a bit hard to adjust to the two different points of view that alternated after every chapter, especially when they both used “my mother” or something like that. But I think that also helped to show how similar they are, whether they want to recognize it or not.

Just a fantastic book and I can’t wait for her next one!