Mini Reviews # 7

The books of my seventh mini review edition have one thing in common, they are Netgalley or Galley Grab titles from 2011 (yes, I am feeling very guilty about it) that I didn't get to on time and kept pushing further down my review list until this day. So here they are, my reviews for IMAGINARY GIRLS by Nova Ren Suma, WHEREVER YOU GO by Heather Davis and ORDINARY BEAUTY by Laura Wiess. 

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Ruby and Chloe are sisters and so close nobody could ever separate them. They are family and best friends, until one unfortunate night in which one of Chloe's classmates is found dead in the city reservoir and Chloe leaves town and Ruby for two years. When she returns things have changed and she's beginning to see Ruby with different eyes, too.
The reservoir, presented as a dark and mysterious power, held no fascination for me and the story around the flooded town of Olive didn’t creep me out like it creeped out other readers. 
Ruby is so bossy and too self-absorbed to be good for anyone. Chloe would be much better off without her and could have been an amiable character without her constantly admiring her sister and protecting her impossible behavior. A possible romance for Chloe was hinted at, pretty frustrating was that it was never fully carried out till the end. The story in its entirety was all kinds of hazy and the sisters' bond never felt real to me. IMGINARY GIRLS has some of the most unsympathetic characters I have ever encountered and I just didn't get it. The whole point, the story, the sisters' relationship, Ruby. I better leave it at that.

2/5 ** IMAGINARY GIRLS –  Unreal and indefinable in many ways!

Only a few pages into IMAGINARY GIRLS and I knew this wasn’t my kind of story. I stumbled from scene to scene and sadly never felt at ease with Chloe, Ruby or the story in general. Somehow I missed the essential meaning of this story and everything felt kind of pointless and like the glue between scenes was missing.

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publishing Date: June 14th 2011
Length: 348 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, mystery, sisterly love
Source: Netgalley

WhereverYou Go by Heather Davis

Holly's boyfriend Rob died in a car accident, but he never truly left. As a ghost Rob has to watch life going on without him, how Holly is sad and lonely and how Holly and his best friend Jason become friends and perhaps even more over their mutual loss.
WHEREVER YOU GO is told from three different perspectives. Holly tells the story from a 1st person point of view. Then Jason’s scenes are written from a 3rdperson pov and Rob is using a more descriptive, dialogue-like narrative style by directly addressing the reader. 
With Jason wandering the scenes in ghost form, this book wasn’t an entirely ordinary YA contemporary read. It has a great romance nevertheless. Jason is much like Holly and I was surprised to see him so supportive of her situation, helping out wherever he can and taking Holly, her sister and their grandfather on delightful excursions. He’s the definition of a real good guy. So it only feels natural for them to fall for each other.
In WHEREVER YOU GO Heather Davis takes up a few serious issues. One of them you should find out about on your own, because I wouldn't want to spoil anything. Otherwise a major spotlight is thrown on Holly's grandpa Aldo and his illness. He has Alzheimer's and can't live on his own anymore. Aldo is loosing a bit more of his power over his memories every day and needs support mastering this difficult part of growing old. He is very lucky to have Holly, who is the only one left to care for him, with Holly's sister too young and their mother working all the time. You can’t but feel for Holly, who is very motherly and a teenager that has to manage an entire household on her own. She cares for her sister, her grandpa, the flat and goes to school and therefore she, as people like her in real life, deserves the admiration from all of us. 

4/5 **** WHEREVER YOU GO – A gentle read about the transiency of life!

This book might not have major drama, but it's strength definitely lies in its quiet and tender moments. Great parts of WHEREVER YOU ARE are about familiar issues of various origins and forms. Stories like WHEREVER YOU GO are a relevant means to highten awareness and help affected people to be more open about the issues worrying or burdening them. As a person who considers family as the number one priority in life, I could very much relate to this story!

Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Publishing Date: November 14th 2011
Length: 320 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, loss, ghost, familiar issues, Alzheimer's
Source: Netgalley

Ordinary Beauty by Laura Wiess

ORDINARY BEAUTY is the story of Sayre Bellavia - this is a very beautiful name, don't you think? Her life has never been like any other teen's life. It wasn't easy with a mother who was on drugs or alcohol and Sayre wasn't even given the chance at normalcy or a careless childhood. Her mother has never wanted Sayre in her life, and she's experienced so many violent scenes in her young life it's deeply saddening.
When I started this book, I was expecting to get more of a contemporary love story and less a portrait of a troubled family. It was both, though the romance is more subtle. At some point Sayre's past and the mystery around what had to happen to turn every good thing into something full of hatred and disappointment, simply draws you into the story. 
I was shocked at how her mother treated Sayre - it is really bad and would surely make every loving mother furious - and the strong person she became nontheless. She never gave up and despite her past she's still become an intelligent and warmhearted young adult. She must have had something in her that resisted all the darkness and filth around her. 
Note that ORDINARY BEAUTY contains explicit content and various scenes with sexual or abusive - emotional and physical - relationships and usage of drugs.

4,5/5 ***** ORDINARY BEAUTY -A story about the terrible and tragic tests of faith and life and a girl one cannot but love!

This is the portrait of a family who experienced many hardships in life and Sayre, the girl who could be the family's only hope at something better, something strong and pure. In the beginning I didn't think I'd love ORDINARY BEAUTY as much as I did in the end, which was all thanks to Sayre and her impressive volition.

Publisher: MTV Books  
Publishing Date: June 14th 2011 
Length: 290 pages 
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, drugs, abuse, friendship, family, familiar issues 
Source: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab

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