romance

The Here and Now – Ann Brashares

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“Sometimes I only hear what we don’t say. I only think the things I shouldn’t think and I remember what I should forget.”

” ‘For now people are thrilled about everything digital, endless data forms, your own piece of the cloud and all that. Nobody has much respect for paper at the moment, but I think the excitement kind of dies down after a while,’ I tell him. ‘As time goes on I think people, definitely my father, come back around to respect the power of actual things you can actually touch.’ ”

“Maybe it isn’t corruption or greed that makes you cowardly. Maybe it’s not weakness, suffering or even fear. Maybe it is love.”

 

Once upon a time, I loved the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. I think most girls of my generation will agree that they were some of the better and more realistic (despite the whole magic pants thing) novels for our age group at the time. The characters were all strong, even in their weaknesses, and they felt very well developed and authentic. It’s because of my nostalgia for the books about sacred jeans that I was especially excited to read The Here and Now, also by Ann Brashares, which is to be released on April 8th.

Prenna James is a seventeen year old immigrant to the United States, except she hasn’t immigrated from another country, she’s come from another time. In the year 2090 we have led our planet into such a place of ruin that its inhabitants can no longer survive, and decide to send 1000 of their best and brightest back in time to recolonize the world in 2010. Of course, in order for the colony to survive they must follow a strict set of rules in order to keep their existence a secret from the ‘natives’, AKA the people that are really from that time period. They can never reveal their true identities, they can never try to change history, and they can never be intimate with anyone outside of their colony of time travelers. Obviously, in true dramatic narrative fashion, all of these rules are broken when Prenna falls in love with another senior named Ethan, and the two set off a timeline domino effect by being together.

While the book started out strong, I’m very sorry to say that it didn’t finish that way… at all. Yikes.

None of the characters felt very well thought out. Prenna and Ethan have this whole love-at-first-sight-based-on-nothing thing going on that I think is awful in young adult books (actually, any book) because it sets up some seriously unrealistic expectations. There are so many holes in the plot I had difficulty following along (from big things like the time travel issues not lining up, to small things like characters using other characters names without having been introduced first; see chapter nineteen), and the motivation behind everything anyone does is convoluted at best. If you only have three (or was it two? or maybe four? I was never quite sure) days to save the world, why are you playing cards for hours on the beach, debating about whether or not to have sex and drinking sangria illegally? This is difficult for me to say, because I had high hopes for this book, but it feels like the author wasn’t sure if she wanted to write a really well thought out time travel piece, or a coming of age story about two star crossed teens. Instead she’s done both, and she’s done both poorly. And the ending? Don’t even get me started on the ending.

All that being said, I did really enjoy the letters scattered throughout the book from Prenna to her deceased brother Julius, describing her perception and understanding of our world today. She has a specific observation I found interesting about how kids today would rather sit inside playing video games than go outside and use their imaginations, which is totally foreign to her as in the future that she is from, the kids dream of being able and allowed to go outdoors. I also found the ‘history’ of how the next 75 years will supposedly play out for humanity to be extremely thought provoking, as most of it is grounded in the truth of issues we are actually dealing with today. Our potential future is terrifying if we don’t start making some necessary changes today.

 

Unfortunately, I would advise against reading this one, as much as I wish I could say otherwise.

 

Until next time,

The OMPP.

Mad Love – Colet Abedi

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“‘I don’t share, little girl,’ he whispers into my ear, his voice cold. Little girl?”

“I’m good with a bottle of champagne from Trader Joe’s. And P.S., they have really good champagne.”

“Do you know what sacred is? Sacred is buying this b*tch tampons at two a.m., because she’s bleeding like a double homicide crime scene and can’t make it to the pharmacy. Sacred is waxing her armpits and bikini line so she wouldn’t look like a beast as the high school graduation beach party. Sacred is driving her ass to Jerry the Fairy’s and waiting down the street, in a goddamn rose bush, with thorns in my ass, by the way, just so that she wouldn’t be alone when she dumped him.”

“‘I don’t want anyone else thinking those thoughts, Sophie,’ he said rather possessively, as his gaze raked my body. ‘You belong to me.’ ‘I’m yours,’ I agreed, nodding my head.”

“‘Talk to me Goose,’ Erik demands as I suck in the night air trying my hardest not to act so obvious…. ‘I don’t mean to take away from what’s obviously a serious situation but Sophie is so not Goose. If anything she’s Maverick and you’re Goose,’ Orie breaks the silence.”

Mad Love by Colet Abedi is a difficult review for me to write. I want to be honest about how I felt about it, but I don’t want anyone to feel as though I am passing judgment on them if they enjoy this kind of story. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good romance novel, especially to read while relaxing on a sun-drenched beach somewhere. It’s an escape, and that’s awesome. What I don’t like however is a love story where the female protagonist is as naive, insecure, and easily malleable as the main character in this book, Sophie Walker, is. Additionally, I also don’t enjoy when the love interest is possessive, brooding, jealous, and controlling, as is Clayton Sinclair. What’s even more frustrating is that she seems to straddle (no pun intended) a fine line between understanding the way that Clayton order’s her around isn’t okay, and owning up to her knowledge of that, but then going along with it anyway. What I did love about this book is Sophie’s two best friends, Erik and Orie, a fantastically hilarious gay couple whose dialogue and relationship is both witty, yet completely realistic, and what’s even better is that no one, I repeat, NO ONE in the book makes a big deal about the fact that they are gay. In fact, there’s basically zero acknowledgment of it being any different from a hetero relationship at all, from any character, even snotty, entitled teenage boys.

Now Mad Love doesn’t come out until March 10th, so I don’t want to say much more here and possibly spoil anything for anyone. This book ends on a pretty brutal cliffhanger, and includes a snippet of what is sure to be an interesting sequel. However if I had to summarize it, I would say it’s got a similar vibe as Fifty Shades of Grey, except at a beautiful resort in the Maldives, and without a red room of pain.  I could see it being as successful as the Fifty Shades trilogy as well, if it gains the right momentum after its release. That being said, I do have to acknowledge my dislike for love stories where the man is eerily possessive and domineering, and the woman who seems incredibly smart and independent, (I mean, she quits law school, and breaks up with her long term boyfriend at the same time much to her parents dismay, to find out what really makes her happy) so easily throws away her backbone when a good looking guy wants to sleep with her. I find it insulting, and it makes me so desperately wish there were romance novels out there that this wasn’t the popular relationship dynamic. However, some people like this dynamic, and would enjoy reading it. If that’s you then please go out and buy a copy of this as soon as it comes out. It’s a fun and easy read, and Erik and Orie’s interactions will have you laughing your ass off.

One final note, because I feel an obligation to put it out there. Men? Trust me, this is not the way any woman deserves to be treated or spoken to. Please do not become disillusioned that this is in any way “romantic”. Ladies? If he berates you and then gives you the silent treatment because he doesn’t like the dress you’re wearing, leave, and find a man who respects your opinions and independence enough to let you live your life the way you want to, and supports you in that unconditionally.

Happy reading my loves! Until next time,

xo

OMPP

The Obituary Writer – Ann Hood

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“Rose had told Claire once that men had affairs to stay married, and women had affairs to get out of their marriages.”

“Later, when her mother came in to kiss her goodnight, Claire asked her if love felt like ginger ale bubbles. “What you want,” her mother said, “is someone who can take care of you. A man who can provide for you and your children. Someone steady. Someone predictable. If you want to feel ginger ale bubbles, Claire, drink a glass of ginger ale.”

“Do you know the secret to writing a good obituary?” She asked Claire. Claire shook her head no. “All the dates and degrees and statistics don’t matter,” she said. “What matters is the life itself.”

The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood is another one that will go into my “undecided” category this year. While it has its moments of really beautiful writing, I found it extremely predictable, which is quite possibly one of my biggest pet peeves, ever. The story follows the lives of two different women in two different eras; Vivien, in 1919, is an obituary writer searching for David, the MIA love of her life, and Claire, the quintessential ‘perfect’ sixties housewife with an obsession for Jackie O and the possibility of carrying a baby that is not her husband’s. As the story progresses you learn how the two women are linked, and how they will move forward in their loveless lives.

A book like this isn’t my usual style, as I find myself usually rolling my eyes at ‘chick-lit’ more often than actually enjoying it. Especially a novel like this, that deals with women so dependent on a man for their happiness, kind of turns me off. However, despite my occasional eye roll and its predictability, I liked how it ended, and found a couple quotes that were worthy of remembering.

It was an interesting read and quick to get through, (I started it yesterday) and probably a lovely book to take on holiday with you to read on the beach.

Nothing groundbreaking, but then again so few ‘chick-lit’ books these days are *cough* Fifty Shades *cough*. And for the record? I hate the term ‘chick-lit’. Does anyone have any better suggestions?

Until next time! Xo

OMPP