Thursday, August 4, 2016

Review: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Publish date: 2015
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover
Length: 372 pages
"Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather's ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess's classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess." (Goodreads)

I'll be honest: none of Jennifer Lynn Barnes's books have ever appealed to me. I met her a few years ago at a Smart Chicks Kick It tour (maybe 2011? 2012?) and thought she was a lovely person and was bummed that her books didn't sound like me books. Fast forward to sometime earlier this year (maybe 2015, who knows) and I started reading really good reviews about The Fixer. It sounded completely different than her other books, so I decided to go for it and really enjoyed it.

I put this on hold a couple months ago at my library and embarrassingly, totally forgot to pick it up. I blame general May craziness at school. A few weeks ago, I started thinking about what books I wanted to take on vacation (the MOST important thing I pack, let's be honest) and got this and The Conspiracy of Us from the library. I wish I'd read The Fixer earlier because it was pretty entertaining and very fast paced. Some of it was fairly unbelievable, but really, I think a lot of YA is unbelievable.

Some of the politics were a little confusing at first, but I got used to who everyone was pretty quickly. I liked all the little twists and turns and while I didn't love all the characters, there's no one that would stop me from reading the sequel. I stayed up really late one night on vacation to finish it, so that should tell you about the plot :)

I see it compared to Heist Society and while I suppose they are both thrillers, they aren't that similar (but I didn't really like HS). I also saw a comparison to the show 24, which I would say is better. But really, if you like political thrillers with secrets and twists and a fast moving plot, read The Fixer!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Review: Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels by Ann M. Martin & Raina Telgemeier

Publish date: 2015 (First published 2006 and 1986)
Source: School media center
Format: Paperback
Length: 192 pages
"Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey are best friends and founding members of The Baby-sitters Club. Whatever comes up -- cranky toddlers, huge dogs, scary neighbors, prank calls -- you can count on them to save the day. But baby-sitting isn't always easy, and neither is dealing with strict parents, new families, fashion emergencies, and mysterious secrets. But no matter what, the BSC have what they need most: friendship.

Raina Telgemeier, using the signature style featured in her acclaimed graphic novels SMILE and SISTERS, perfectly captures all the drama and humor of the original novel!" (Goodreads)

As a kid, I was obsessed with the BSC. I started reading them in 2nd grade and didn't stop for years. I've been reminiscing about them lately (more than usual!) by listening to the podcast "The Baby-Sitters Club Club." Two guys in their 30's discuss the books one by one, analyzing one book per podcast. It is HILARIOUS. I absolutely love it and it's been making me think about how much I loved all the BSC books. During all my reminiscing, I remembered that the media center at my school has the graphic novel adaptations and ta-da, my next two reads.

I ended up reading Kristy's Great Idea and The Truth about Stacey, which are considered #1 and #2 of the graphic novel quartet. It was a fun reading experience since I know the stories, of course, but haven't read them in years so it was a nice little trip down memory lane. Of course, not every single detail was in these versions, but I thought it was enough. I think these would be fun for someone who read the BSC books as a kid and for someone completely new to the series.

As usual, I enjoyed Raina Telgemeier's illustrations. I've read her previous GN Smile and liked it a lot. Her drawings are simple but effective and work well with the story and overall series. If I see the other two in the series at the library, I will definitely pick them up!