January 18, 2015

Book Review | We Were Liars



I have to say that this is one of those books you have to go into not really knowing anything about the book. However, I know some people don’t like that so I will include a brief premise of the story below so you can get a good idea of what to expect.

We Were Liars is a contemporary young adult novel by E. Lockhart that follows Cadence, the eldest granddaughter of the highly distinguished Sinclair family. Every summer Cadence and her cousins, who refer to themselves as “Liars,” spend vacation on their family’s private island, swimming and goofing around. But this summer is different. The aunts are crying, and the Liars seem to be avoiding Cady since her accident two summers before. Cadence knows that everyone is keeping a secret from her, and she is determined to find out what happened the night of her accident.

The premise of this book sounded pretty interesting and it was getting a lot of hype prior to its release so I was eager to pick this one up. Sadly, I was a little disappointed with the actual book. I found myself getting easily distracted while reading this, and that’s never a good sign with any story. I’ve read the Ruby Oliver quartet by E. Lockhart as well, and while wasn’t my absolute favorite series, I still enjoyed it and found myself interested in the plot. We Were Liars didn’t hold that same interest. The characters felt underdeveloped, and the story sometimes felt a little repetitive, though it did begin to pick up towards the middle.

Really, the biggest problem for me was the title. It’s catchy when you first glance at it, but I never understood why the older Sinclair grandchildren referred to themselves as Liars in the first place. I didn’t feel like that was explained very clearly.

I do want to give this story another shot so I plan on picking it up in the future, but it’s not one that I would immediately reach towards on a rainy day. I think that this is a book that other people might enjoy, especially if you like mysterious accidents and secrets and stuff like that.

January 11, 2015

Book Review | Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality


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Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality follows Lexi, a high school girl crushing on a popular guy who only sees her as a friend. Lexi is often labeled as a girl with a great personality, or, as she describes it, undateable. Dared by her best friend, Lexi gives herself a makeover, thought she doubts that makeup will change how people see her. That is until she is suddenly noticed by the popular guys. Lexi is suddenly approached by cute guys and invited to parties, but after getting a taste of the popular life, she begins to wonder if this is the life she really wants.

Lexi is also a buddy fashion designer with her sights set on moving to New York City, but at the moment her fashionable talents are only put to use by making little kid pageant outfits for her younger and snobbier sister, Mackenzie. Mackenzie’s pageants have put a financial strain on the household, which puts a strain on Lexi’s relationship with her mother since their mother feels Lexi should be contributing to Mackenzie’s pageant funds and Lexi feels that pageants are stupid and a waste of money.

This story definitely shone more light on the beauty pageants for little kids and the extremes some parents will take to live vicariously through their children. The mother very much reminded me of some of the parents on Toddlers and Tiaras (I will admit I’ve watched a few episodes). They don’t care how much money they spend or how ridiculous it is to dress up their children like they are forty-years older than their actual age, not as long as they get to parade their child around and show how much better their kid is to someone else’s.

My least favorite character in this book was the mother, which was obviously the goal. She made me so unbelievably angry. She had no regards for her children, especially not Lexi. She was always putting so much emphasis on appearances. Her refusal to acknowledge their financial problems was insane, and I don’t know what mother would ever feel it was okay to steal money from their child who earned it, even if you claim you are going to pay them back.

Now let’s talk about Lexi’s transformation in the book. Almost every girl goes through this phase either in middle school or high school where they feel like they aren’t good enough to get guys to notice them if they act like themselves. They feel like they have to have the clothes and the makeup and look as adorable as possible in order to catch the attention of the cute boy. Lexi came across to me as a girl who had pretty high self-esteem when it came to who she was and what she wanted out of life, but she was beaten down by her mother constantly saying Mackenzie was the prettier sister. It also didn’t help that Lexi’s crush was dating a beauty queen with the perfect hair, makeup, and clothes. I think this comparison to the pageant world and Lexi’s real life put a strain on how she viewed herself and that’s why she felt like not making any effort. As the book progressed, though, Lexi seemed to become more confident when it came to her appearance, especially when she stopped trying to be one of the popular kids and accept who she was with or without makeup . Makeup is a great way to enhance your features and give you confidence, but it shouldn’t be a mask to hide behind. It should just make your true colors come through even brighter.



The ending was a nice refreshing change. I’m a sucker for happily ever after and often don’t like it when the girl doesn’t get the guy, but the way Elizabeth Eulberg made this story play out, it made sense for Lexi to be on her own. In fact, I was hoping for her to be on her own and move to her dad’s or somewhere that wasn’t home with the mother.



I love Elizabeth Eulberg’s books. Her characters are always so interesting and it is easy to get caught up in their world. I would probably give this about a 4 out 5. It was a fun read that I would definitely pick up again. If you are looking for something a bit different in the contemporary YA genre, I recommend that you give this a try.

January 9, 2015

Series Review | The Lying Game


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The Lying Game series by Sara Shepard stars identical twins Sutton and Emma who were separated at birth and do not know of the other’s existence. A nice, rich family adopted Sutton while Emma was off living with their maternal mother for the first five years of her life. After her mother abandoned her, Emma was placed in the foster program and lived in multiple homes that she would run away from.

The story starts with Emma’s skivvy foster brother finding a video online of a girl who looks identical to Emma. After doing a bit of digging, Emma gets in contact with Sutton agree to meet up, but Sutton never shows at their meeting spot. Sutton’s friends find her and she pretends to be Sutton, hoping it’s a joke. The next morning Emma learns that Sutton is dead, and that she needs to keep pretending to be Sutton or else she will meet the same fate. Emma goes to report Sutton’s disappearance to the police, but they dismiss her, thinking it is another Lying Game, Sutton’s game of over-the-top pranks. Emma is forced to go through the charade of being Sutton. None of Sutton’s friends or family notice that “Sutton” is acting differently, but a classmate, Ethan Landry, does. Emma enlists Ethan’s help as she searches for Sutton’s murderer amongst the close family and friends.

There are six books in the series all told from what appears to be the POV of the deceased Sutton is narrating the story while following her lost twin sister, Emma. However, we also can see how Emma is thinking. The narration confused me at first -and truthfully it still does- but once you start getting into the plot, you forget about it.

The ghost of Sutton who narrates does not remember the events on the night of her murder, but as the series progresses and Emma finds more clues, Sutton begins having small flashbacks.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this series, as well as the adaption ABC did of the show, though the plot lines are very different between the books and the show (as there always is) with Sutton still being alive and constant side dramas sprouting up.

Pick up the first book and/or watch the series on Netflix. You wont regret it :)

January 6, 2015

Book Review | Better Off Friends

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Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg stars Levi and Macallan, longtime best friends who secretly begin to develop feeling for each other, but hide it from the other in order to preserve their friendship. Told from a dual perspective, the story follows Levi and Macallan from their meeting on the first day of seventh grade until their junior year of high school, along the way experiencing heartbreak and tests of their friendship, and learning that home isn’t always a place: it’s a person.

I kept hearing this described as the YA equivalent to ‘When Harry Met Sally,’ and I was not disappointed. This was one of those books that had you hooked from the beginning, and made you wish you had a Levi in your life.

I thought that Better Off Friends was one of those stories where it’s obvious to everyone that these characters were going to end up together eventually, but the bigger focus of the story was on their friendship. We were given a view into how tightly knit their friendship was from the beginning and how much they helped each other grow as people, with Macallan opening up about the loss of her mother and Levi’s struggles fitting in at school.

The thing I personally loved the most was how passionate Macallan was when it can to her family, especially her uncle who had a slight disability. I could totally relate to Macallan in how she stood up for the people she cared about. Having a few family members with mental disabilities, I hated when people picked on others who needed a little more assistance than we did. I applaud Elizabeth Eulberg for incorporating this into her story.

My only problem was how invested I got in the characters and it was so disappointing the closer I got to the finish. I tried to prolong it as long as I could because I wasn’t ready to let go, but like all good things it has to come to an end.

Better Off Friends deserves 4 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a light, cute book.