Tag Archives: Gone girl

Billed as a Gone Girl meets Nashville, Escaping Perfect is a bit of a disappointment.

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Billed as a Gone Girl meets Nashville, Escaping Perfect is a bit of a disappointment.

Let’s start by clarifying that there is no real comparison between this book and Gone Girl or the show Nashville as far as I can tell.   Someone runs away.  There is romantic drama. Seriously.  The blurb for this book lead me to expect something darker and more twisty, but I still liked the concept – girl runs from controlling mother and finds the life she wants to live in a small town in Tennesee.  Unfortunately, things started to fall apart as the story strayed further and further away from reality.  I gave it three stars, but there are some real haters on Goodreads.

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Goodreads Summary

Gone Girl meets the TV show Nashville in this sultry summer read about a girl who runs away from her high-profile past to live the normal life she’s always wanted.

Cecilia Montgomery has been America’s sweetheart since the day she was born. A member of the prestigious Montgomery family—the US equivalent of royalty—her childhood was cut short after she was nearly kidnapped. Since then, Cecilia has been hidden away, her adolescence spent at an exclusive boarding school.

Her dreams of becoming a professional violinist—dashed.

Her desire to be a normal teenager—not possible.

Her relationship with her once-loving parents—bitter and strained.

Nothing about Cecilia’s life is what she would have planned for herself. So when an opportune moment presents itself, Cecilia seizes the chance to become someone else. To escape. To disappear. To have the life she always dreamed about, far away from her mother’s biting remarks and her sheltered upbringing.

Cecilia says goodbye to the Montgomery name and legacy to become Lia Washington: relaxed, wild, in love, free, and living on her own terms for the very first time. But being on your own isn’t always as easy as it seems…

My Thoughts

I liked Cecilia/Lia as a narrative voice, and I was excited for her to get a little experience and fun.  The town seemed awfully diverse and exciting for a small town, but I was willing to let that slide. I even liked the unrealistic but charming romantic interest she encounters.  Their romantic relationship is fairly unlikely and entirely too whirlwind, but I was okay with that as well because I wanted them together.  I thought there was a lot of drama in their relationship, and I really didn’t understand what exactly lover boy saw in Cecilia/Lia that made him want to reform (special snow-flake trigger warning).  I still didn’t mind it.  What I really minded was the terrible cliffhanger – if you want to resolve the major conflict and tease me with an enticing but smaller cliffhanger that is fine, but it just isn’t fair to leave a major conflict hanging like this book did.  I’m pretty irritated by this, and it think a lot of other readers will be as well.  It would be different if the story were more realistic, but if you are going to magic a romance, can’t you engineer a perfect ending?  I think too many of my high school kids will be frustrated by the final chapter to make this a book I would recommend highly.  Language and situations are appropriate for high school readers.

I received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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How to Disappear 

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How to Disappear 

With echoes  of Gone Girl and a fast-paced, threat-filled storyline, this twisty mystery will hold a lot of appeal for YA fans of suspense thrillers. It has its flaws, but I enjoyed.

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Goodreads Summary

This electric cross-country thriller follows the game of cat and mouse between a girl on the run from a murder she witnessed—or committed?—and the boy who’s sent to kill her.

Nicolette Holland is the girl everyone likes. Up for adventure. Loyal to a fault. And she’s pretty sure she can get away with anything…until a young woman is brutally murdered in the woods near Nicolette’s house. Which is why she has to disappear.

Jack Manx has always been the stand-up guy with the killer last name. But straight A’s and athletic trophies can’t make people forget that his father was a hit man and his brother is doing time for armed assault. Just when Jack is about to graduate from his Las Vegas high school and head east for college, his brother pulls him into the family business with inescapable instructions: find this ruthless Nicolette Holland and get rid of her. Or else Jack and everyone he loves will pay the price.

As Nicolette and Jack race to outsmart each other, tensions—and attractions—run high. Told in alternating voices, this tightly plotted mystery and tense love story challenges our assumptions about right and wrong, guilt and innocence, truth and lies.

My Thoughts 

It took a while for me to hit the groove with this book simply because it took a while for me to really puzzle out what was going on.  That wasn’t a bad thing. It was a really intriguing thing.  Nicolette saw something she shouldn’t have, and this time her stepdad (even with his crime boss connections) can’t help her.  On the run, but longing for the life she left behind, Nicolette struggles to keep herself hidden from the powerful men who want her silenced.  Jack has tried to forget the legacy of crime and violence connected to his name, but when the one thing he cares about most is threatened, he is willing to use every advantage he was born with to get the girl he’s been sent to kill.  This is a tense game of hide and seek, and the author uses both the dual narrative perspective and the dramatic irony it creates to keep readers holding their breath until the last page.  The really impressive thing about this book for me is how Nic and Jack both manage to come across as crafty and street smart while still reading like teens.  Sure, they both know that getting involved with the other is a horrible idea, but just like real and impulsive teens, they find the siren song of attraction is hard to resist.  I liked the fact that they made mistakes and were thwarted by stupid turns of fate because it added an authenticity to their characters and the plot which kept me in suspended disbelief just long enough to really get swept away by this story, a story that I would have scoffed at as completely unrealistic if I hadn’t been so invested in the outcome.  I think it might be hard for some readers to buy into two teens navigating this situation, but I also think most YA readers who pick it up will have a hard time putting it down simply for its tense blend of underworld mystery and dangerous attraction.   I will say that I wasn’t able to guess this ending at all, despite my excellent prediction skills, and it has a twist that I wasn’t really sold on, but I think it will delight most readers.  I don’t think this is a perfect book, but I did find it compelling and extremely entertaining.  I will definitely recommend it to my high school readers, especially those with a penchant for mystery and a yen for a darker kind of romance.  This one is going on my classroom library wish list and my high school librarian recommendation list.  Language and situations, specifically violence and some sensuality, make this most appropriate for high school readers.

I received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.


Wink, Poppy, Midnight is the most irritating YA I read this year

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Wink, Poppy, Midnight is the most irritating YA I read this year

The Amazon tag line for Wink, Poppy, Midnight reads,

The intrigue of The Raven Boys and the “supernatural or not” question of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer coalesce in this young adult mystery, where nothing is quite as it seems, no one is quite who you think, and everything can change on a dime.

My tag line for this book would read

This is nothing like The Raven Boys, and the only connection to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is the fact that there are insane people in the book.  Based on your familiarity with the unreliable narrator, which has flooded the YA book market this past year, you will probably guess what is going on despite our best efforts to fool you with twists.

Two Stars

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Goodreads Summary

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

My Thoughts

I’m sure there are people who will enjoy this story.  Unfortunately I am not one of them.  It grated on my nerves because it felt too designed and false.  From the moment it opens with the Gillian Flynn knockoff of a Gone Girl narrator to the appearance of the next narrator, the manic pixie dream girl who will be her rival for the affection of a schmo of a broody emo boy (third narrator), I knew I wasn’t going to be happy. Intrigued. Confused. Not delighted.  The pretty prose does little to make up for what is essentially a game of a plot – a game that most readers will see coming from a mile away because the entire scenario makes readers suspicious of everyone.  I don’t think real teens act like this unless they are mentally ill.  Calculating, manipulative, and representing the worst of humanity – they don’t redeem themselves in any way.  Trendy and artsy fartsy, yes.  Insightful or meaningful?  No.  I don’t feel this is an appropriate read for humans with souls, but if you can’t resist, you should probably at least resist until you are in high school.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.