J to tha M: What We’re Reading

amokN to tha A

M:  I’ve actually read some good NA books lately I think you’d like

J:  Oh yeah? No dark seekrits?

M:  Heh, no. All were on sale, too

The first one is The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen – 99 cents

J:  oh yeah!

I read her novella

I like her

M:  Fell Down was good

very solid. I enjoyed

J:  it’s hockey, right?

M:  kind of

J:  her novella was sports, too. Blonde Date.

M:  both MCs play/played hockey

J:  yeah. injury for the girl

looked a little close to home for me

M:  The hockey was more background (and – sigh – not super realistic, but eh)

J:  I’ll definitely read it. Not sure why I didn’t just snap it up after I read the novella because I really liked how she handled the alpha/beta hero in Blonde Date

I’ll start it tonight

M:  I remember you telling me you liked Blonde Date

J:  yeah. thought the hero was really cute in that one

M:  I liked Adam in Fell Down, too

although he does have a girlfriend through a lot of the book – a mostly absent one, but still

but the author made it work

and the hockey stuff…

he broke his leg and can’t play until it heals, but it’s like he just gets a free pass vacation from hockey

An upperclassman on the team, who has been playing for the past couple years? Trust me. He would not get a free pass vacation from hockey

He’d still have to train (as much as he could), have curfew, still have all the rules and schedule of the team

They’d find something for him to do. He’d WANT something to do

but instead, they put in in the “accessible” dorm and it’s like he’s a regular student

no mention of a scholarship or how it affects one, even though his family has no money and the school is super-exclusive

but, one of those things probably no one else would notice and it was only a minor irritation

the rest was totally worth the read

J: I read a cute one, too

The Bowler University series one. Make it Count by Megan Erickson

Dealt with issues. A little like my Side Effects and the to-be-finished-someday sequel, Soundtrack

Yeah, it was cute. The girl has always gotten by on her looks, but she really hates that people assume she’s stupid

She goes to tutoring and finds out her boyfriend’s BFF is the tutor

of course, she doesn’t think she’s good enough because he’s crazy smart

and I just really loved Alec

there wasn’t cheating–not from the main characters, anyway, except for the emotional kind

I guess that’s just as bad in some ways

but it was done in a way that you rooted for them instead of being upset by it

you=all readers (or at least me)

M:  oh, that does sounds cute

J:  it is pretty cute

I’ll get the second one, for sure

M:  how does the author handle the boyfriend? I can totally deal that kind of thing if it’s handled well

J:  the BF was obviously distracted and upset by something way outside their relationship

by the time Alec comes in, she’s feeling very neglected and alone

and when her BF is around, she just feels used

there’s a good reason Max (the BF) and Alec are friends, even if they aren’t much alike

and there’s a good reason the BF is getting distant

by the time things explode between the main characters, she’s broken up with Max

realizes she deserves better, even if it is Max’s best friend

M:  sounds nicely done

J:  it really was

there were a few will-she/won’t-she times where I wanted to punch her, but then, it’s understandable that she’s dealing with a learning disability, finally feeling like she’s worth something after all this time

and also the breakup and the emotional beating she takes when she gives in to her ex’s BFF

but Alec

he’s a doll

M:  ooh, that sounds interesting

J:  total alpha/beta

more beta. just alpha when he needs to be

M:  that’s always interesting, too

esp when it’s done well

J:  plus the next one tells Max’s story

and I’m excited to see how she redeems him

the general consensus is that she redeems him very well

M:  I really like those kind of stories

Hard to find good redemption tales, but there’s just something about them I really like

turning a character around

J:  I think it just recently released

so I’ll probably get it after reading the one you just rec’d

M:  The Year We Fell Down was kinda similar – the hero already has a girlfriend

that trope sometimes makes me frustrated–either it’s more on the cheating side or the BF/GF is a total douche, which I think is often a lazy or easy out

and the GF in this is pretty much a rich bitch cliche, but there’s an interesting reason he’s with her in the first place

which was good, because usually it’s not presented well

Makes me sit there and wonder if the MC is so smart and cool and wonderful, why is he/she with a douche?

If there’s a good reason, I roll right along. Otherwise, it’s teeth-gritting time

J:  yeah. like, it’s easy to hate the BF in this one, until the whole story is revealed

and then you hate him even more for just a few minutes

and for good reason

but then you also forgive

for good reason

M:  now you’ve got me really interested. I shall read

J:  It’s only $1.99

M:  it will go on my list when I’m in the mood for a good NA. I can only read those by rec anymore, as you know

some make me so ragey, but the good ones are worth it

J:  this is not the typical NA

well, it is in some ways

but not in those dark seekrits, party-all-the-time, where-are-the-parents kind of way

I don’t understand why so many authors think the moment a character turns 18 the parents can just disappear

or even high school story authors

M:  Well, kind of like the other NA I’m reading now–the prequel (Elemental) and first book in the Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer

The first one – Storm – is free right now. I’m only about 2/3 of the way through, but so far it’s pretty good

solid characters, editing very good, sucked me right in, decent suspense and mystery

it’s free – you should get it

J:  just got it

M:  The parents are conveniently absent, though

J:  sure, some parents are absent, but those aren’t the only kids who have great stories

and dude. if there’s ever a chance for humor or mortification in a high school/NA story, it’s when parents are involved.

use them.

M:  haha – that’s a really good point

It’s like wanting to make the HS kids act like adults but in a teenage setting almost

so – buh-bye parents

and the kids can run amok like 20-somethings instead of HS students

J:  right. never happens

Also, the parents aren’t absent in Make It Count

I think perhaps the authors who leave the parents out must not have had a great relationship with their mom or dad

My parents were just as fun as some of my friends

and they found me hilarious most of the time, in all my seriousness

M:  I don’t think it’s that so much. More the convenience of not having the parents around so there can be amok-running for the main characters

I still managed to have some fun amoking in HS, and trust me, my parents were around

But it is harder for an author to figure out a way around a boy sneaking in to stay the night or go to crazy parties if parents are in the picture. Not impossible, but takes some work

I guess it’s easier just to kill parents off or have them work overnight shifts

Not to say it never happens in real life, but I doubt as much as it tends to be portrayed in books

J:  oh, I had some amok-running, too. It’s actually a part of being a teen, to get around the parents. and I think it should be a part of any story

M:  not sure why it isn’t

J:  even if the parents are absent a lot, they should still have some kind of influence

M:  and like you said, it’s a great point for adding conflict and tension

Actually, running amok sounds pretty good right now. Hmm. brb