Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Bermudez Triangle

"Their friendship went so far back, it bordered on the Biblical-in the beginning, there was Nina and Avery and Mel." So says high school senior Nina Bermudez about herself and her two best friends, nicknamed "The Bermudez Triangle" by a jealous wannabe back on Nina's eleventh birthday. But the threesome faces their first separation when Nina goes away the summer before their senior year. And in ten short weeks, everything changes. Nina returns home bursting with stories about Steve, the quirky yet adorable eco-warrior she fell for hard while away. But when she asks her best friends about their summer romances, an awkward silence follows. Nina soon learns the shocking truth when she sees Mel and Avery . . . kissing. Their friendship is rocked by what feels like the ultimate challenge.

This was a very pacey read. The book's about 384 pages long and things are not rushed along, which was fine with me as I wasn't in any hurry to finish it.

The Bermudez Triangle started out as a book about friendship which turned into one about coming to terms with one's sexuality and ultimately a test of the changing dynamics of friendship between the closest of girl friends.

Generally, it takes some time for me to get into a third person narrative because 90% of the time I read first person narratives. Which is not to say I don't like third person narratives, I like them very much if they are written well, as is applicable to all other books. It just so happens that most YAs are written in the first person. As for this book, it took me no time at all. The crisp prose and the vividly fleshed out characters pulled me right in. There is so much heart in Maureen Johnson's understanding of characters -- Nina, struggling with feeling left out by her best friends on her return, Avery, confused and angry about her sexuality and the repercussions of it in her world, Mel, coming out to her family and friends and nurturing a broken heart.

The character development is really well-done. You can really feel the changes in the three girls as they face perhaps, one of the biggest challenges of their life - coming to terms with what/who they really are. For instance, Nina has always considered herself as someone who isn't homophobic. Yet, when she sees her best friends making out, her emotions contradict her reason and that struggle within herself makes her so very real. 
In fact, the dynamics change so much that my favourite character at the beginning became my least favourite as the reading progressed. Not that I disliked her (that would be villainizing) but I liked the others more.

This was my first Maureen Johnson novel (yes, it was long awaited). It didn't exactly shoot up to my favourites list, but I liked reading it.  

It was well-written, honest and a wonderful study of the test of friendship. 

I will be looking forward to reading more books by the author. I'm especially curious about her upcoming title, The Name Of The Star (Shades of London #1). I think it has an interesting story. And do you see the Briton on the cover? ;-)
Have you read any Maureen Johnson book? What are you reading now?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Anna And The French Kiss

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?

Where do I start with this book? It had my heart melting to the ground and I squealed and swooned and invited crazy faces from my brother. Sure I heard great things about this book, but I had to read it to know what they were talking about. This book made me SO HAPPY, like giddy-schoolgirl-in-a-killer-crush happy. I'm majorly crushing on this book. Just like I'm majorly crushing on Stephanie Perkins.
We even had a little marriage-proposal-ring-exchange-merry dance ceremony on twitter. I swear. And I'd plug in those tweets if only I was tech-savy enough to do so.


Anna And The French Kiss. ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. I want to print the name across the sky, 'cause this is that book which makes you giggle and gurgle in delight. If you're down and out, pick this up. I swear this works as therapy. If you're not down and out, never mind, pick this up - an overdose of happiness is always appreciated.

I don't know how I feel about out and out romances. Especially ones where you can guess what's gonna happen. And lets be honest, the title here doesn't make much of a secret of it. You can get the feeling where this book is headed. But don't let that stop you, DON'T. 'Cause, oh my, this is a joy of a read. Crushes are the sweetest thing and Perkins' portrayal of that does-he-like-me-does-he-not feeling is done to perfection.

Anna is a most charming narrator. Her voice is spot on. At times she reminded me of Meg Cabot's Mia Thermopolis - smart yet so teenager-y. And then there's St. Clair. Etienne St. Clair, who in spite of his shortcomings is so droolworthy. And the best thing? The friendship between the two, and how important is friendship is before it transpires into anything else.

The entire cast of characters are diverse and multi-faceted and I have to go back to re-read to analyse how she constructed such great chemistry between them all. Despite the length of the novel, this chemistry is what kept me on my edge, making me feet tingle, turning the page in the rush to know what happens next.

Other things I liked in this novel:
~Paris! PARIS! Need I say more?
~ The setting is evoked beautifully. I could feel myself out on the streets there.
~ Oh good lord, the food. I just want to be in France right now.
~ Anna's obsession with films. It was interesting and original.
~ Pretty much of the global guy in St. Clair. French name, British accent, American citizen.
~ The friendships.
~ The host of lovable and relatable secondary characters.
~ The conversations between Anna and Etienne.

I loved this book to bits. It still has me goofily smiling at the screen as I write this. The author's skill in making a rather ordinary storyline into such an unputdownable read makes this book yummier than a chocolate eclair.

Stephanie Perkins recently revealed her next book:

For budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous the outfit—more sparkly, more fun, more wild—the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins move back into the house next door.
When the family returns and Cricket—a gifted inventor and engineer—steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

(Taken from here)

I know I can't wait for September already.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I just wanted to say...


Have a nice day.

(Photos: Source)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Thing about Book Trailers

You can like them or you can hate them but they are everywhere.
Books are like the movies now, you have promo trailers now which can either work in their favour or just make you go meh.

Personally, I like book trailers. The visual impact they offer can sometimes overshadow even the book blurbs and just make you go all out to buy the book. Sometimes they are like those beautiful covers that you see, which alone are enough to instigate the reader into picking up a book and heading over to the sales counter with it.
However, not all book trailers have such results. There are those lousy ones or ones that fail to channel the book and can often turn the reader away from the book in question.

More often than not, it is the blurb/summary which will make you pick up a book, but there might be times when it's just the book trailer alone. Has that ever happened to you?

It has happened to me, with the following trailer, which is still my favourite book trailer to date. The first time I fell in love with this book was via THIS TRAILER.

My Sister Jodie (by Jacqueline Wilson):

This is another trailer that is so full of beautiful people and tantilising music it has me pining for the book. Don't you just love it?

Another Faust (by Daniel and Dina Nayeri):

Here are some other trailers which caught my eye.

Prada And Prejudice (By Mandy Hubbard)
It has a Jane Austen-y feel to it (is that Regency music?). Plus, dukes.

The Body Finder (by Kimberly Derting)
It gives me the creeps, which, I figure, is the eventual purpose of it.

Hold Still (by Nina LaCour)
I love this one SO much. The girl's commentary reminds me of the Before I Fall trailer, which I liked too.

Thirteen Reasons Why (By Jay Asher)
This book that some fantastic fan made trailers on YouTube. This is one of them.

Which trailer is your favourite? Have trailers ever made you go all out to buy a book?
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