Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review: The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez

Summary: When Gaby faked a pregnancy to challenge stereotypes, she also changed her life. A compelling memoir from an inspirational teenage activist.Growing up, Gaby Rodriguez was often told she would end up a teen mom. After all, her mother and her older sisters had gotten pregnant as teenagers; from an outsider’s perspective, it was practically a family tradition. Gaby had ambitions that didn’t include teen motherhood. But she wondered: how would she be treated if she “lived down” to others’ expectations? Would everyone ignore the years she put into being a good student and see her as just another pregnant teen statistic with no future? These questions sparked Gaby’s high school senior project: faking her own pregnancy to see how her family, friends, and community would react. What she learned changed her life forever—and made international headlines in the process.

In The Pregnancy Project, Gaby details how she was able to fake her own pregnancy—hiding the truth from even her siblings and boyfriend’s parents—and reveals all that she learned from the experience. But more than that, Gaby’s story is about fighting stereotypes, and how one girl found the strength to come out from the shadow of low expectations to forge a bright future for herself.

Kim's Review: Whoa. This is probably the most interesting book I've read in a while. I've always been interested in social justice, so I knew I was in for a treat when I started this, but it was so fascinating to read about Gaby's family history and her experiences as she went through her project. It really opens your eyes to how cruel some people can be for absolutely no reason. I loved the message of breaking away from stereotypes and not conforming to what kind of person other people believe you should be.

There's one missing star from this review because of the writing. It could have been a lot better, but most of the time I was too into the story to care too much about it.

If you're looking for a quick yet inspiring read, here's your book. Gaby's story really teaches a lot about stereotypes and opens your eyes to how human beings can treat each other and why.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review: How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Summary: Jill MacSweeney just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she’s been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends—everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she’s somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one.

Mandy Kalinowski understands what it’s like to grow up unwanted—to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she’s sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It’s harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?

As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy—or as difficult—as it seems.

Kim's Review: I've been in a bit if of a reading rut for the last month or so; I'm sure any of you avid readers out there know the feeling. As hard as you try, you just can't get into anything. Luckily, this book broke that streak for me.

Zarr's writing is fantastic. It's realistic, emotional, and everything else you hope for in a novel. Not to mention the character development. At the beginning, I was a little annoyed by both narrators, but by the end I truly felt for them and was dying for their stories to end on a happy note. I cannot get over how powerful her storytelling is.

As I got closer to finishing this book, I was getting nervous about how it would end, but it was literally such a perfect ending and I'm so satisfied with it. God, this book is so amazing. Zarr writes with raw emotion and it definitely comes resonates with the reader. This book tugged at my heartstrings over and over again, but I loved every minute of it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Review: The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Summary: Meet Pat. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure a happy ending for him -- the return of his estranged wife Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent time in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat's now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he's being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he's being hunted by Kenny G!

In this enchanting novel, Matthew Quick takes us inside Pat's mind, showing us the world from his distorted yet endearing perspective. As the award-winning novelist Justin Cronin put it: "Tender, soulful, hilarious, and true, The Silver Linings Playbook is a wonderful debut."

Kim's Review: This book was brilliant. Having seen the movie first, I was surprised to find that they are equally amazing. I feel like with such a controversial topic as mental illness, it could have been easy to overdo Pat's character or make his personality over-the-top, but instead the author took a more subtle route and made it easy to understand him without clearly stating it.

I also enjoyed seeing Pat's obsession with football and the Eagles. I can't even put my finger on why, but I just loved that the author successfully made such a minor thing a big part of his life and his story.

I saw that somebody called this book an adult "Perks of Being a Wallflower," and that's probably the most accurate way to describe it. There are so many similarities between Charlie and Pat, and that's probably why I felt like I could get into and relate to this novel so quickly. My only complaint is that some of Tiffany's plot and story seemed a bit unrealistic, but hey, anything can happen!

I strongly recommend this to absolutely everyone, especially if you loved "Perks of Being a Wallflower." Sorry for the short review, I'm writing this during school and running out of time!