Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Review: The Unexpected Everything

The Unexpected Everything is Morgan Matson's newest book - just published today - and only the second book I've read by her. It's crazy because she writes exactly the kind of YA I love - contemporary, smart, funny, sweet, and real. Sarah Dessen is one of my all time favourite authors and Matson's books are a lot like Dessen's. I read Since You've Been Gone two years ago and promptly fell in love with Matson. So, I was thrilled when an ARC of her new book showed up on my mailbox. I read it last week after a hellish end to a weekend (if you follow me on Twitter you'll know our townhouse got broken into while we were away for the weekend) and it put me in such a good mood. I freaking loved The Unexpected Everything. Loved. It.

Here's the synopsis:
Andie had it all planned out.
When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.
Important internship? Check.
Amazing friends? Check.
Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks)
But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.
Because here’s the thing - if everything's planned out, you can never find the unexpected.
And where’s the fun in that? 
I think the next time an adult says they don't want to read a book about a teenager (because they're young, immature, annoying, etc.) I'm going to shove The Unexpected Everything in their face. I actually found myself forgetting Andie was in high school. Granted, it was a bit easier to do because the book took place during summer vacation and Clark was a couple of years older than she was. But it also had a lot to do with Andie's personality and the way Matson wrote her (and all of the other young characters). Andie was a pretty mature 17-almost-18 year old but she was still a teen and still acted like it at times (it would have been weirder if she hadn't acted her age). I hate when YA authors dumb down their characters because they think their audience (also teenagers) can't handle "complex" characters or storylines like you're supposed to find in an adult novel. Matson doesn't do that - she treats her readers with respect and the result is an amazing novel.

I need to talk about Bertie here for a second because his little storyline gave me some huge laughs. Important information: Bertie is a dog. A large, fluffy, white dog. First of all, I would love a white, fluffy dog. Also, I was pretty thrilled when Andie noticed a P.G. Wodehouse quote in Clark's house. I was even more thrilled when I realized the dog's name, Bertie, is a play on the name of one of the characters in Wodehouse's novels, Bertie Wooster. (If you've never heard of Jeeves and Wooster, I suggest you watch the show featuring Stephen Fry as Jeeves and Hugh Laurie as Wooster. I also really need to work on reading the books asap.) Plus, me tweeting about Bertie and his name resulted in a fantastic conversation with Matson herself. I tried very hard not to fangirl or sound like an idiot. :)

I loved the friendship between Andie, Palmer, Toby, and Bri. I found it pretty realistic and made me nostalgic for high school friendships (not high school itself...no thank you). Like Andie, I was lucky and my friends and I were pretty drama-free. But, once you graduate high school, those friendships you had for the last four years become so different. Even before I had any idea the girls would encounter some problems, I found myself wondering if the four of them could survive being long distance friends. As Toby realized, sometimes you need to find out who you are apart from the friends you've had for forever. All that being said, I really liked reading the scenes with all of the girls together. It made me think about those friends from high school I'm still in touch with and what went wrong with the ones I don't really talk to anymore.

I also absolutely loved Clark. He was so smart and funny and so very right for Andie. I also found it interesting to read his interactions with Andie and her friends. Clark was homeschooled and, because of his career, he lives a fairly solitary life. Reading as he hosted his first party and how he interacted with the girls and Tom, Palmer's boyfriend, was so great. Also, the romance between he and Andie also seemed really realistic which I loved.

I really can't say enough good things about The Unexpected Everything. Morgan Matson has written an absolutely fantastic novel that every contemporary lover should pick up at some point before fall. It's the perfect summer book (I really miss summer vacations...not so much the school year though...) with characters you'll fall in love with, and a story you'll become so invested in. Even though I've only read two of Matson's books (I plan on getting to her backlist very soon), she's definitely one of my favourite YA authors.

*An ARC of this novel was provided by the publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Review: Hot Dudes Reading

If you're both a book lover and a social media lover, you've probably already heard of the @hotdudesreading Instagram account. If you haven't, check out that link and get a sense of what the book of the same name is all about. I will wait. *hums tunelessly* Fun account, right? I didn't really think the book Hot Dudes Reading was exactly necessary - until I read it. There's just something about actually holding the book in your hands that made the experience that much more fun.

Here's a description of the book:
Humans of New York meets Porn for Women in this collection of candid photos, clever captions, and hilarious hashtags about one of the most important subjects of our time: hot dudes reading.
Based on the viral Instagram account of the same name, Hot Dudes Reading takes its readers on a ride through all five boroughs of New York City, with each section covering a different subway line. Using their expert photography skills (covert iPhone shots) and journalistic ethics (#NoKindles), the authors capture the most beautiful bibliophiles in all of New York—and take a few detours to interview some of the most popular hot dudes from the early days of the Instagram account.
Fun, irreverent, and wittily-observed, this book is tailor-made for book lovers in search of their own happy endings—and those who just want to get lost between the covers for a while.
Hot Dudes Reading is just that. Pictures of good looking guys reading in various places in New York City. The Instagram account has pictures from other cities but the book focuses on NYC. I liked how they separated the book into chapters based on the subway lines and neighbourhoods around the stations. It makes the book feel like a bit of a love letter to New York City.

I loved the interviews with a few of the Hot Dudes the authors captured on Instagram. The authors (we don't actually know who they are, how many there are, if they're young or old, or male or female) emailed questions to the guys asking what it's been like since they were featured, what their favourite book is, and why they prefer physical books over the digital variety. It was great getting to know some of the Hot Dudes a bit better.

I did find myself wondering if any of the photos were staged or what kinds of permissions were needed to publish this book. There are all sorts of blurry lines surrounding social media and what's free domain (and I absolutely do not pretend to know any of the rules) so I wasn't sure if the authors had to only use pictures of the guys they had heard from or if they could use any of the pictures they feature on the Instagram account. One of the reasons I got thinking about this so much is because some of the photos include other people in the background and all of their faces are blurred out. Does anyone have a legal or behind the scenes reason for why that'd be the case?

I read an ARC so it was a soft cover copy with black and white photos. I'm definitely going to check out the finished book when it's out in the wild (it's to be published today by Atria Books!) to see it in all its hard cover, coloured glory. Imagine how hot the dudes will look in colour in an actual book!

I absolutely loved the captions on these pictures. The authors toe the line between hilarity and propriety really well. Some may find the book sexist and, in a small way, it kind of is but it's coming from a really good place. The authors are celebrating really good looking men who are reading actual, physical books in public. As a book girl, I know this to be a rare thing. And, let's be honest, I thoroughly enjoy the eye candy. But back to the captions. They are clever and tongue in cheek and so so good. Because I want to get this review up before I have the chance to check a finished copy, I'll share a recent-ish pic from their Instagram page so you can get an idea of how amazing the captions are. And how hot the dudes are, too!

Hot Dudes Reading is a perfect gift for your bestie (and yourself). I giggled throughout the book as I mentally took the subway through New York City with the authors and Hot Dudes. I know you may think the book isn't worth it when you can just look at the Instagram account but the interviews with some of the guys add a little something, as does actually being able to flip the pages of a physical book. Does anyone else love the Instagram account? Do you think you'll pick this one up?

*An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Colouring Book Review: Lost Ocean

I've been a colouring book fan for years. Obviously I loved them as a kid but I also had a couple I worked on while I was in university. There was something about colouring a picture with crayons that helped with the stress of essays and exams. What bugged me was I didn't have much choice when it came to colouring books. I had a couple of Disney princess books and a My Little Pony one. Fun, absolutely, but a little strange for a 20 year old to be colouring. I hadn't realized exactly what it was I was missing until Johanna Basford's Secret Garden was released in 2013. I didn't buy that one (I wasn't working much then and pretty books lost out to necessities like, you know, groceries) but I did eventually cave and I bought myself a copy of Enchanted Forest early in 2015 when it was published (just before it sold out everywhere!). I absolutely loved it! It was just what I was looking for in a colouring book so when I had the chance to review Lost Ocean, published in October 2015, I jumped at it!

I did have a couple of issues with Lost Ocean. The main thing was I didn't find the paper quality to be as good as my copy of Enchanted Forest. The pages were a bright white instead of an off white and they just didn't seem as thick. I also found a lot of repetition in some of the illustrations. Maybe it's just me and my perception but sometimes it just seemed like the same kinds of drawings were on every third page. I thought I'd lovelovelove every design because the colourful scenery is one of my favourite things in The Little Mermaid but I think fish aren't what I love to colour! (The things you can learn about yourself, eh?)

Even though I didn't think the paper was as good as it could have been, I was still happy to find I could use my thin tipped markers in this book (I use Crayola ones). I like using markers for a couple of reasons. It gives me more options for colours but it also adds more saturation to the drawing I'm colouring. I find that Basford's intricate drawings seem to demand a few punches of intense colour. I only use those markers and pencil crayons in her books. Does anyone have any other suggestions for colouring materials? I'm always looking to up my colouring game!

My little issues are just that - little. Basford has created another beautiful colouring book that I had so much fun colouring over the holiday season. (It helped calm the rage created by working retail at Christmas, holiday craziness in general, and bingewatching Making a Murderer!) I don't know how Basford creates such intricate designs. I know a lot of people don't like the tiny parts to her illustrations but I adore it. I am in awe of her work and colouring her beautiful design is a wonderful experience for me.

Up next for Johanna Basford is Magical Jungle which is due to be published this summer. If you check out her Instagram account you can see some sneak peeks. I'm definitely intrigued! Have you jumped on the adult colouring book bandwagon? Do you have any tips or tricks for me?

*A copy of this book was provided by the published, Penguin Random House Canada, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Readalong: On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God

Can you believe it's already time to discuss the second book in the Georgia Nicolson readalong? (Side note: Maybe by book three my brain will finally remember that there is no H in Nicolson.) On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God was just as funny as the first book, Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, but...it happened, readers. I finally found myself getting super annoyed by 14 year old Georgia. I'm actually quite distraught about this!

If you want to read more about the reasoning behind the reread of these books, check out Jessica's post here. Again, we'll be reading one book every three weeks and we're discussing them on social media using #GeorgiaNicolsonReadalong, on our personal blogs, and on Goodreads in a special group.

Here's the synopsis of book #2:
Georgia Nicolson has started dating the Sex God (aka Robbie). So life should be perfect...except in Georgia's life, nothing is ever perfect. Her cat, Angus (the size of a small Labrador), is terrorizing the neighborhood. Her sister, Libby (who is slightly mad), hides her pooey knickers at the bottom of Georgia's bed.
Then the Sex God breaks it off because she's too young. It's time for a plan. It's time for a Red Herring. It's time for Georgia to become a "heartless boy magnet!"
As I mentioned, I was a wee bit frustrated with Georgia in this book. Usually I don't read YA books featuring characters under 16 because I, at almost 29, can't quite handle being back in a young teen's brain. Living through it once was bad enough! I tried really really hard to not judge Georgia for things she was doing that she would have no idea were actually quite ridiculous. For example, after Robbie the Sex God dumps her (he's quite a smart bloke, actually, and realizes that, at 17, he's much too old for her, at 14) she decides to get her revenge by dating someone else - and leading him on - just to make Robbie jealous. Poor Dave the Laugh. I can see that Dave is actually a really good guy but she's all moony over Robbie and refuses to see that Dave is completely worth her time. I was proud of Dave for basically calling her out for using him. I hoped Georgia would snap out of her "bad boy" phase. (I know I've read the books before but it's been ages and I actually can't really remember what happens with Dave the Laugh.)

I did find myself laughing throughout the book though. Actually, at one point, I had to try really hard not to burst into uncontrollable laughter while eating lunch at work. I don't think my coworkers would have quite understood what was so funny.

This book also gave me and my friends a new favourite saying when we first read it: "We have to put our feet down with firm hands!" I have no idea why we loved it so much (was Georgia really very smart? I now wonder...) but we did!

I also found a Doctor Who reference (Georgia's Uncle Eddy puts some toy on his head that makes him look like a Dalek) that I most definitely didn't understand when I first read the books. This is why rereading is such fun sometimes...there are moments and cultural references you may not fully grasp the first time around and it takes time, age, and experience to really get it.

In all honesty though, I just couldn't get into On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God. Georgia is so self-absorbed, whiny, and sometimes downright rude to the Olds (aka her parents) that it was hard to have as much fun with this book. I'm hoping the third book, Knocked Out by My Nunga-Nungas (these titles are so ridiculous! haha) provides more laughs than cringes. And more Dave the Laugh! The next review will be up May 3.

Now, this readalong installment was also meant to discuss the movie adaptation of book one (which was inexplicably changed to Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging). Here's the problem. I've actually never seen it and I couldn't find it anywhere near me. Neither library I'm a member of had it and the one movie rental store (yes, we actually still have one) near me didn't have it either. There are other ways to find movies, I know, but I suppose I was feeling a tad lazy. I'm going to try to do an interlibrary loan for it soon though so stay tuned!

UPDATE! I wrote this post on Sunday and scheduled it to go up Tuesday morning. On Monday night I went to a friend's house and she surprised me by tracking down Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging! We had a lot of fun watching it, even though she's never read the books. I'm pretty sure I bothered poor Jess with messages as I was watching it, noting what was different and finding great amusement with life in 2008 (when the movie was released). There were changes, as there always are. Most of them didn't significantly change the storyline - Tom and Robbie were twins in the movie, and Dave the Laugh is introduced earlier than he was in the book, Mark with the giant mouth who Georgia kind of dates in the first book isn't even mentioned - so it was easy to relax and enjoy the movie. I did notice that Georgia seemed more upset about her dad moving away for work and the possibility of her parents' divorcing than she was in the book (she was actually quite mean in the book). I think that may have helped balance how awful she was to Dave and Jas (her best friend). After reading Jess's review of Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging (read it here!), I realized how negatively Georgia and her friends viewed being a lesbian - like it would be the worst thing in the world and they didn't want anyone to think they were lesbians. So, I was tuned in to how they approached it in the movie. Not well. It was just as awkward and some of the comments were pretty uncalled for. In funnier and better news, they seemed to lift lines right from the books. There are certain phrases that stick in your head when you're reading and it was amusing to hear them repeated back on screen. Overall, it was a lot of fun to watch. I wish I had watched it when it first came out so I would have been that much closer to being a teen (I actually told my friend at one point that I was oh so glad grade nine is over and done and I never have to be 14 again...such an awkward time period) but I still laughed and cringed in the appropriate spots while watching the movie. I consider that a win!

In case you missed it, here are my thoughts on book one, Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Review: Licked

Licked, a hilarious romantic comedy, is the first novel in a new series by Brooke Blaine. The book features a realistic heroine who's spunky, has a flair for vintage fashion, and is caught between two very different men. Did I mention her ice cream store that is full of flavours with naughty names? Tell me you're not intrigued! I sure was and Blaine delivered exactly the kind of novel I was expecting. It was fun and I was entertained throughout.

Here's the synopsis:
As the owner of Licked, an eclectic ice creamery and bar, Ryleigh Phillips doesn't have time for that love stuff. Serving up Nibble My Nuts sundaes and Drunken Sailor boozy shakes are as close to an orgasmic affair as she's had in months thanks to her expanding empire—until the night of her ten-year high school reunion.
When Ryleigh's crush, gorgeous ex-football god Cameron Mathis, comes streaking into her life (literally—streaking), she begins to wonder if she really can have it all.
Wouldn't it just figure that the moment you think life is perfect is when it falls spectacularly apart?
Enter Hunter Morgan, the contractor in charge of Licked's renovations. Devastatingly handsome, and a smartass to boot, he's got his eyes on Ryleigh from the moment he finds her passed out on his couch (yeah, that's a long story). There's just one tiny complication—he happens to be Cameron's best friend.
When the lines between relationships and friendships blur, and it's impossible to choose between two delicious flavors, what's a girl to do? Taste a sample of each? Or go out and get LICKED?
The actual storyline of this novel isn't what I enjoyed the most. I mean, I did like the plot but what set this book apart is the way it was told. Curse words and innuendo were used liberally in this book, which I appreciated. To me, it's just not natural if there isn't at least one f bomb in the whole novel. But maybe that's just me because I can sometimes (ok, often) swear like a sailor. Apart from the speech, the rest of the story - the setting, the characters, their lives - was so relatatable, and that is always something I love to have in the books I read.

I also liked that Ryleigh's friends are more than just the stereotypical BFFs you find in romcoms. They had their own, distinct personalities that had me interested in their lives too. I'm sure that probably has something to do with the fact that Licked is the first in a series, L.A. Liaisons, so her friends will become main characters themselves. (The next, Hooker, is out now!) Nothing is more annoying that having a vivacious main character with best friends who aren't good for anything but being spoken to. She may as well have a cat.

Of course, I did like the story. It almost veered into cliche territory with the whole reconnecting with a high school crush and then falling for his best friend, but somehow Blaine made it work. One of the relationships was so ho-hum boring and the other was blistering hot with a touch of sweetness (being a romcom, you can probably figure out which was which). Because I loved Ryleigh, I really wanted her to make the best decision for her. She did but, boy, did it take awhile for her to get there! Actually...the getting there was half the fun of the novel!

Overall, Licked was a lot of fun. Brooke Blaine has created a series with real, likeable women who find themselves in situations that almost any twentysomething could relate to. I'm really looking forward to reading Hooker sometime soon! Now, where can I find an ice cream parlour that serves flavours like Crushed Nuts and Ground-Shaking Orgasms?

*A copy of this novel was provided by the author via Rockstar PR in exchange for a review. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Monday, March 28, 2016

Review: The Way I Used to Be

You probably all know by now that while I may be a fierce Young Adult fiction defender I don't read a ton of it myself. Every once and awhile, though, I come across a YA novel that intrigues me. The Way I Used to Be was one of those books. I was hooked as soon as I read the synopsis - wary, yes, but mostly hooked - and I knew I wanted to read it. Amber Smith's debut novel broke my heart but I adored it.

Here's the synopsis:
In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault.
Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.
What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.
Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.
Sounds pretty heavy, doesn't it? It was. But in a great way. (OK, "great" might be the wrong word but you know what I mean. I hope.) Smith doesn't build up to the rape. The story opens just after it's occurred and has Eden trying to figure out what happened, pretend it didn't happen, and decide what to do next. When Eden's mom comes in her room and sees the blood on the bed sheets she assumes Eden got her period overnight and proceeds to give her advice on counting days, etc. so she can avoid another accident. Eden is shocked (and, likely, still in shock) and doesn't tell her mother the truth - then or for the next four years.

One of the (many) things to break my heart while reading this book was that Eden's parents just don't pay that much attention to her. All Eden wants, over the four years following the rape, is for someone to ask, outright, if she was ok and if something happened. But her parents don't ask. They just think she's going through a typical teenage rebellious stage and try to wait it out. 

As the synopsis mentioned, the book is divided into four sections, one for each year of high school. I was happy with this set up...for the most part. It was really good to see Eden through every stage of high school and how her relationships (with her friends and with guys) changed as time went on. And also how her relationship with herself changed. But, this isn't a very large novel so there isn't a lot of room to go into everything in every year.. That usually worked. My problem was it sometimes seemed like time was moving too fast and/or I wasn't even sure how much time had passed until Smith mentioned a holiday or specific month. (And she did that in really good, subtle ways, which may seem contradictory.) The other thing that didn't really help this sense of time was the middle two parts, sophomore and junior years, were longer and almost seemed to drag a little bit. Not enough to completely altar my view of the novel, but just enough to warrant a mention. It's worth it to stick it out, trust me.

I don't even think I could tell you every emotion I felt while reading this book. There were a lot of them and they were so strong. I felt like screaming with rage and crying with sadness. I wanted to reach through the pages and tell Eden that it was all going to be ok. I didn't know how but I needed so badly to make things better for her. It made me glad that, at the moment, I don't want kids and therefore won't have a daughter who might go through this. I was worried for my friend's daughter for when she gets to high school and has to deal with who knows what. And I was thankful, oh so thankful, that nothing like this ever happened to me in high school. But I was also worried - how did I judge other girls when I was a teen? Was there anyone I knew who went through something like this? Who do I know that has never told anyone about a rape or sexual assault? How can I make things better? How can I make myself a better person? So, yeah. Many feelings. I actually read the end of the book at the gym and I can only imagine the emotions that were playing across my face. I was gripping the book so hard as I was on the bike and had to keep telling myself that the gym is not the place to have tears streaming down your face because of the emotions you're feeling for a fictional character. But even though all of these things were heart wrenching and felt like a punch to the gut (over and over and over again), I wouldn't change a thing. I needed to feel those things to fully appreciate this book.

The Way I Used to Be was such a great book, even if it was incredibly hard to read at times. Amber Smith has written a novel that I think every teen should read (hell, everyone regardless of age). This is a book that should encourage a discussion about what to do if you find yourself in Eden's situation or if you suspect a friend is going through something difficult. I may have felt like crying while reading this book but I consider that a job well done by Smith. I know I've painted a picture of a very difficult read but it's worth it, my friends. So so worth it.

Also: If you want to check out another review, please read Tiff's at Mostly YA Lit. It's fantastic. 

*An ARC was provided by the publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Readalong: Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging

Last month the book world lost another author, Louise Rennison, the woman behind the fabulous Georgia Nicolson novels. These books were absolute favourites of mine when I was a teenager and I was so upset to hear of her death. I wasn't the only one. Jessica of The Paper Trail Diary, a friend and fellow blogger, decided we needed to reread the books in honour of Rennison. (Read more on the readalong here.) It's been years since I've read them and I never did finish the series. Book ten was published in, I think, 2009 which was when I was graduating university and not reading much YA. So, while I was sad to hear Rennison had died, I was happy to have the chance to reread her books. The goal of the readalong is to read one book every three weeks and we're discussing them on social media using #GeorgiaNicolsonReadalong, on our personal blogs, and on Goodreads in a special group.

For those of you who have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, here's the synopsis of the first book in the Georgia Nicolson series, Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging:
There are six things very wrong with my life:
1. I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years.
2. It is on my nose
3. I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room.
4. In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberfuhrer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic teachers.
5. I am very ugly and need to go into an ugly home.
6. I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.
In this wildly funny journal of a year in the life of Georgia Nicolson, British author Louise Rennison has perfectly captured the soaring joys and bottomless angst of being a teenager. In the spirit of Bridget Jones's Diary, this fresh, irreverent, and simply hilarious book will leave you laughing out loud. As Georgia would say, it's "Fabbity fab fab!"
I first read book number one when I was 13 or so. I don't remember exactly how I came across the books, but I did, and my best friend, her sister, and I devoured it and the rest of the books as they were published. I remember finding it hilarious at 13 and wondered if 28-almost-29 year old me would find it just as funny. Yep. I did. Of course, it was a little difficult getting into the mindset of a 14 year old again but I got there. I did kind of laugh when Georgia referred to her parents as "The Olds" because I totally would have agreed with her then but my view of my mom and step-dad is completely different now!

For the most part, I thought the story held up pretty well, considering it was first published in 1999. Teenagers really aren't that different no matter when they were growing up. I did notice, however, some issues that wouldn't fly with some teen girls today who are aware of feminist/gender issues. At one point Georgia talks about how embarrassing it is to have a dad who's emotional instead of handy. "Instead of DIY he talks about feelings and stuff. Why can't he be a real dad? It's so pathetic in a grown man." (page 17) I really hope that teen girls (and boys) these days realize that being a "real man" involves more than swinging a hammer and providing for his family. The other passage that made me cringe involved Georgia and her friend Jas walking up and down the main street in short skirts to see how many cars would honk. Teenage girls of today: Please do not do this. Wear the skirt because you like it, not because you want boys to stare at you.

The books are written in diary format so it makes it so easy to read. I blew through the first book in one day (I probably could have easily finished it in one sitting had I not had my sister staying with me for the weekend). I found myself giggling out loud and remembering how much fun it was to first read the book and talk about it with my friends. I don't think I had read many books by English authors before that point, certainly none with contemporary characters talking just like they would in England. (Let's not get into how certain books become Americanized.) I loved it because it exposed a whole new world to me - and a new vocabulary.

I know this is a pretty short review of Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging but I always find it hard to review a book I'm doing a reread of. Plus, it's 11pm on the night before I'm posting this and I'm exhausted! Coming up next for the Georgia Nicholson readalong is book two: On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God (these titles just kill me). We'll be discussing it on April 12, along with the film version of Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging (which, if you can believe it, I've never seen) (Also, why did they have to change "full-frontal" to "perfect"? Ugh.). I can't wait! Now, I'm away laughing on a fast camel (you'll get that reference in a few books!).

RIP Louise. We'll miss you.