The Kindle and chick lit

I decided to get the Kindle for Android app earlier this summer to read Meg Cabot’s Insatiable after I discovered that it’d be cheaper to just buy the digital version, plus I’d get it right then. I’m super impatient so right then sounded pretty awesome.

I’m not really a big reader aside from Gilmore Girls and Anne of Green Gables fan fiction and was hesitant to get a Kindle, the app or digital copies of books because I didn’t think I’d use them. It was actually quite the opposite.

Whoever came up with the idea to make previews for the Kindle was a marketing genius. I just collect a dozen or so books that sound mildly interesting, get the previews and go through and read. Some I passed up, but with at least half of them, I’m addicted by the time I get to the end of the free sample and buy the full book without hesitation. I end up spending far more money than I would have without the samples. I’ve purchased fourteen full books on the Kindle in the last two weeks and read most of them.

I think the biggest bonus for me is that I can read while laying in bed in the dark without having to worry about a book light or holding the pages open. My back-lit phone is awesome. And now I can say I read more than fan fiction.

I’ll briefly review a couple of my favorites (with synopses by Amazon).

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park is by far my favorite. It’s hilariously witty. Smart humor of all varieties; pop culture references, nerd references. I laughed out loud numerous times. I cried. I read straight through the book with the penalty of showing up to work without sleeping. Far better than the standard chick lit. I’d even go as far as saying that it’s better than Meg Cabot, my chick lit idol.

Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it.

When Julie’s off-campus housing falls through, her mother’s old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side … and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there’s that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That’s because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie’s suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that … well … doesn’t quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.

 

Heart on a Chain by Cindy Bennett was heartbreaking and another that I read straight through. This wasn’t so much funny as it was emotionally powerful.

17-year-old Kate has lived her whole life in abject poverty, with an alcoholic father and drug-addicted mother, who severely abuses Kate. At school, her second-hand clothing marks her as a target. Her refusal to stand up for herself makes her the recipient of her classmates taunts and bullying. That is, until Henry returns.

Henry Jamison moved away six years earlier, just as he and Kate had begun to develop feelings for one another. He returns to find the bright, funny, outgoing girl he had known now timidly hiding in corners, barely speaking to anyone around her, suspicious of even him.

Kate can’t figure out what game Henry is playing with her – for surely it is a game. What else would the gorgeous, popular boy from her past want with her?

Kate finally decides to trust Henry’s intentions, opening her heart to him. Just when it seems he might be genuine in his friendship, tragedy strikes, threatening everything Kate has worked so hard to gain. Can Henry help her to overcome this new devastation, or will it tear them apart forever?

 

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is the most girly on this list. It has a predictable ending, but the path to get there is fun.

Anna Oliphant has big plans for her senior year in Atlanta: hang out with her best friend, Bridgette, and flirt with her coworker at the Royal Midtown 14 multiplex. So she is none too happy when her father sends her off to boarding school in Paris. However, things begin to look up when she meets Étienne St. Clair, a gorgeous guy–with a girlfriend. As he and Anna become closer friends, things get infinitely more complicated. Will Anna get her French kiss? Or are some things just not meant to be? Perkins has written a delightful debut novel with refreshingly witty characters. There is strong language and mention of sexual topics that make the book more appropriate for older teens. The chapters are concise, and the steady pacing leading up to the “will they or won’t they?” moments will capture even reluctant readers. Teens will feel like they are strolling through the City of Lights in this starry-eyed story of finding love when you least expect it.–Kimberly Castle, Medina County District Library, OH.

 

October Breezes by Maria Rachel Hooley had me conflicted. On one hand, it (and its sequel Summer Sunsets) was a great read. But on the other hand, it was pretty blatantly anti-abortion. I’m not one of those gung-ho pro-choice people–I really don’t know what to think about abortion.

The book is about a girl named Skye who gets unknowingly drunk (so naive, I know), raped and pregnant as a high school sophomore. If there were a poster child for pro-abortion advocates, it would be this case. But the book and its sequel are so overtly anti-abortion, talking about how it’s a horrible decision that she can’t take back. She ends up attempting suicide and spending two books (and seven years) depressed about the abortion. I’m not saying she should have been so nonchalant about it because it’s a big deal and it would affect her later, but I found offense with the rhetoric of everyone else saying it was “the wrong decision,” and “a bad choice,” as if raising the child of your rapist at the age of 16 is a great choice. I think that might be part of the reason I enjoyed the book so much; being offended made me more passionate about it. I don’t know. Either way, I’d recommend a read.

Another complaint  I had was the cute blonde girl on the cover of the book even though Skye is half Hispanic, but what do you expect, huh?

Skye Williams knows everything there is to know about mistrust: Dad skipped out when she was five, leaving Mom with an angry daughter and an upside-down mortgage. Then there were the boyfriends—at least a dozen—hot on his heels and hot for her mom, none of whom stuck around long enough to figure out Skye hated them—hated the underage toys they brought as bribes and the way they looked at her, speeding past with the same distaste they would have for a yellow traffic light. And now this Warren Jacobs has shown up to sweep Mom off her feet—and all he’s brought with him is a crummy, dog-eared book. She doesn’t even read! How can Mom even like this guy, much less trust him? He’s just another loser with a capital L.

But Warren’s not the only concern rocking Skye’s world. Devin Abbott, a guy she’s known since kindergarten, has changed. Almost at once, he’s become this tall, broad-shouldered guy with dark hair and easy eyes she might date—if he hadn’t always been her best friend. Skye swears there’s nothing between them, but everyone else thinks differently. Devin doesn’t act the way he used to, especially when Kellin Morgan, senior quarterback, asks Skye out. Flattered, she accepts, and, Devin sulls up—and he isn’t the only one. Kellin’s best friend, Tyler Rutherford, gets bent out of shape, too, as he’s always wanted Skye for himself. When Kellin and Skye attend one of Tyler’s famous parties, neither senses the impending disaster. Afterwards Skye is left with consequences that will change not only her life but also that of everyone who loves her.

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