Thursday, July 24, 2014

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen

Image via Goodreads
Title: Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek 
Author: Maya Van Wagenen
Release Date: April 15th, 2014
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Bought
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir


A touchingly honest, candidly hysterical memoir from breakout teen author Maya Van Wagenen 

Stuck at the bottom of the social ladder at pretty much the lowest level of people at school who aren’t paid to be here,” Maya Van Wagenen decided to begin a unique social experiment: spend the school year following a 1950s popularity guide, written by former teen model Betty Cornell. Can curlers, girdles, Vaseline, and a strand of pearls help Maya on her quest to be popular? 

The real-life results are painful, funny, and include a wonderful and unexpected surprise—meeting and befriending Betty Cornell herself. Told with humor and grace, Maya’s journey offers readers of all ages a thoroughly contemporary example of kindness and self-confidence.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek is a memoir written by Maya Van Wagenen. In this book, Maya recounts her school year as she carried out a social experiment - she's decided to follow the advice from a 1950s Popularity Guide by Betty Cornell for an entire year. She ponders on what being popular means and what makes one popular.

I don't usually read memoirs. However, since this book was highly recommended to me by a friend, I've decided to give this book a try. And I am glad I did. I really enjoyed reading Maya's journey. It's honest, funny and touching.

I gotta say, I really admire Maya's courage. She followed Betty Cornell's advice (from Cornell's Popularity Guide written more than 60 years ago!) on hair, make up, clothes, etc, no matter how embarrassing they are. There are moments when she was mocked and made fun of, especially when Maya started wearing clothes from the 50s. Still, she pushed through and didn't let that stop her from carrying on this journey.

Maya is someone of whom anyone who's been at the bottom of the social hierarchy in school could relate to. Me included. Reading this book brings back a lot of memories, some of which are good, some of which- not so much. I guess if I'd had this book when I'm still in high school, it would make a good companion and I probably would have done some things differently back then.

Popular by Maya Van Wagenen is truly inspiring and I highly recommend it!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Image via Goodreads
Title: Rebel Belle
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Release Date: April 8th, 2014
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Source: Borrowed
Genre: YA


Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have soooo much fun reading this book! I am drawn into the story from the very beginning of the plot. I love how Hawkins executed the story. The events of the story flows smoothly and as a reader, I could easily let my mind get into the whole storyline. I actually laughed, out loud, several times as I read.

The protagonist of the story, Harper Price is a Southern girl. In the beginning of the plot, readers get to see what happened to Harper that causes her to have great fighting skills all of a sudden. She has become a Paladin, which is some sort of guardian with super strength, and she is to protect her arch nemesis- David Stark from people seeking to kill him. The reason that there are people after David is that he is an Oracle, the only one, who could see into the future.

This story is surprisingly action-packed. All those action scenes told from the perspective of Harper,  just makes it more fun to read. Oh, and the plot twist at the end just caught me off guard. I did not see it coming!

I find the relationship between Harper and David adorable. They hated each other since they were practically babies but Harper soon realizes that she actually cares for him. Of course, I had known from the beginning that, like most storylines of novels I've read, two people who can't stand each other at first will most probably fall for each other as the story develops.

Rebel Belle is actually the first book of the series and I can't wait for the second book which is set to be published next year.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone as long as you don't mind a protagonist who is kind of a girly girl. In fact, after finishing this book, I've been recommending it to all my friends who would listen to be blabber about it, thus giving away too much spoilers. That is why I try to write this book review with minimum spoilers, hoping that I wouldn't ruin your reading pleasure if you decide to read this book, that is.
I really enjoy the story and I hope you do too.