Tag Archives: young adult

The Other Girls

We are perms and curling irons and hot rollers, Finesse and Vidal Sassoon. We are Wet n’ Wild, Lip Smackers and blue eye shadow. We are feathered hair with wide tooth combs in our back pockets and baby blue satin jackets. We are shinny gold headbands and tiny braids. We are the other girls.

We are tanning with baby oil, sunburns and freckles. We are Clearasil, Noxzema and Sun-In. We are the other girls.

We are plastic bead necklaces with matching earrings and belts. We are leather flats with cuffed jeans and socks to match our sweaters. We are leg warmers, torn sweatshirts and spandex. We are knickers, penny loafers and argyle socks. We are the other girls.

We are taffeta and tulle, hand corsages and white nylons. Garters for his visor and slow dance kissing. We are anxious, holding hands, completely clueless. We are the other girls.

We are clove cigarettes and secret Virginia Slims hidden in the glove box. California Coolers, Bartle’s & Jaymes and fake IDs. We are the other girls.

We are busy signals and dial phones with long cords that stretch to the closet. We are binder paper, Pee-Chee folders, Trapper Keepers and brown bag book covers. We are VW bugs, Honda Civics and Pintos. We are the other girls.

We are red-heads, we are brunettes, mousey brown and dishwater blond. Stubborn waves, stick straight, split ends and never right. We are the other girls.

We are laughter, we are tears, we are sadness, we are joy. Seen by some but making up all. We are the other girls. We are all the other girls.

Fifteen by Beverly Cleary

My last post talking about my gateway book got me thinking about my favorite Beverly

Cleary novel which I discovered in 6th grade, Fifteen. Beverly Cleary is probably best known for her middle grade books about Ramona Quimby but she also wrote several good teen reads. Fifteen is my favorite of these.

Even though it was written and set in the 1950s, I can see a lot of parallels between Fifteen and my own teenage years in the 1980s. Jane Purdy, the main character, meets dreamy Stan Crandall one summer afternoon while babysitting a rambunctious 8 year old. That was pretty relatable. While cute boys can be few and far in between, they can show up in the most unlikely places. Thanks to a family with two teenaged brothers who moved to our neighborhood the summer before my sophomore year, I too had similar babysitting capers. I even remembered meeting a boy at a church function once and a week later he called and asked me to go to the movies. Unlike Jane, however, I was not excited about the encounter, nor did I think he was dreamy so I told him no. Looking back I realize I was not only a brat to this poor boy but I probably missed out.

Jane’s approach to Stan was also very relatable. She spends entire days getting ready for their dates (the description of her clothes is fantastic) and

gets insecure when she doesn’t hear from him on a regular basis. She even displays some of my own bratty behavior when she turns down an invitation to a school dance from another boy because she was waiting for Stan to ask her. Karma comes back to bite her when she finds out Stan is taking another girl and poor Jane is faced with days of misery assuming that her time with dreamy Stan Crandall is over for good. She even displays some scandalous behavior (well, scandalous for back then) that she is immediately ashamed of.

If you are not familiar with this delightful teen novel I highly suggest you pick it up. In addition to taking a time capsule back to the 1950s, you may also remember some of the spark you had for similar experiences in your own teen days. You will also get to find out what Jane does to get her mojo back.

I will forever love Fifteen by Beverly Cleary and give it a permanent Shrimp Coma Mrs. B.

Mrs. B rating shrimp coma

*You can get this dress from pintuckstyle’s etsy shop

Princess in Waiting by Meg Cabot

I’ll admit, the first time I read Princess in Waiting, volume 4 of the Princess Diaries seriesPrincess in Waiting by Meg Cabot, I wasn’t that excited. Don’t get me wrong, I think the series as a whole is great! But there’s something about book 4 that makes it different from the rest of the books. I thought about what that might be during this current read and I think it’s the fact that book 4 is missing controversy and build up to some big event.

In Princess in Waiting the big event is Mia and Michael’s first date and the only controversy is Mia’s insecurities about how much Michael likes her. The first time I read this book I was kind of disappointed with the lack of excitement but this time around I kind of liked that quality. With all the drama and surprises of the first three books I was glad to relax a little in book 4 where Mia settles in for her second semester of high school and finds out what it’s like to be Michael Moscovitz’s girlfriend.

The other big difference about Princess in Waiting is the first half which takes place in Genovia, not New York City. Mia is, of course, bored to tears spending her Winter Break in Genovia, not to mention wild to see Michael. I, of course, loved reading about all the princessy deliciousness of the royal palace and all the activities Grandmère has lined up for Mia.

Mia’s neuroses, especially where her relationship with Michael is concerned, did get a tad on my nerves in this book. However, her constant advice seeking about romance did make for an amusing quote:

Somewhere between the two of them – Grandmère and Lilly – must lie the truth to maintaining a successful relationship with a man.

Hesitation notwithstanding , I still give this book a Shrimp Coma Mrs. B.

Mrs. B rating shrimp coma

Princess in Love by Meg Cabot

Have you read Princess in the Spotlight yet? If not, you better go do that before you readPrincess in Love this review because I’m going to break it wide open with all sorts of SPOILERS with my review of book three in the Princess Diaries series, Princess in Love. OK, you’ve been warned. Here we go….

If you already read Princess in the Spotlight you know that Mia’s mom and Mr. G got married and Mia is going to be a big sister. (wow, felt good finally letting that all out) You also know that Mia’s secret admirer is….drum roll please….Kenny! Oh.

Yep, Mia has a boyfriend and he’s her lab partner Kenny. That must be why the book is called Princess in Love, because Mia is in love with Kenny. Or is she? We all know that Mia has had a crush on someone else for some time now. While she spends a lot of time thinking about this other guy, she also has plenty of other things to worry about in this book. Really important things like finals and Christmas shopping and her trip to Genovia where she will be officially presented to the Genovian people as Her Royal Highness Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo. Oh, and let’s not forget about French kissing.

Yes, even though Mia finally has a boyfriend, she still hasn’t entered the territory of French kissing and she’s quite concerned about it. She not only has no expertise in this area (thus the need for a well written how-to guide from the fabulous Tina Hakim Baba) but Mia is not even sure she wants to share her tongue with Kenny. She eventually does get to experience kissing of the French variety but you will have to read for yourself to find out who the lucky garcon is. I will tell you what Mia learns about the art of French kissing though:

“It isn’t gross if you’re in love with the guy.” *

Want to know what my rating is? Like you even have to ask! I give Princess in Love a Shrimp Coma Mrs. B all the way!

Mrs. B rating shrimp coma

*or as I discovered in 1984, you’ve had a California Cooler or two.

Princess in the Spotlight by Meg Cabot

Volume 2 of the Princess Diaries series, Princess in the Spotlight, starts up with some Princess in the Spotlightreally big news, another huge life event that Mia has to get used to. I won’t tell you what it is but I’ll tell you this much: Mia takes the news a lot better than she did when she first found out she was a princess.

On the royal side, Mia is getting ready for her first big interview with Beverly Bellerieve on the prime time news show, “Twenty Four/Seven.” Unfortunately the interview doesn’t go very well. Mia ends up blurting out all sorts of information that makes life rather difficult for her.

Besides the interview there’s plenty of other fun things going on in the book. There’s sleepovers and weddings AND Mia starts getting notes from a secret admirer! He’s someone who professes to like Mia well before she became a princess. I know who you’re thinking…I thought it was that same person as well when I read the book the first time. I won’t spoil it for you now, but you better hurry up and read it because I’m going to break open this whole thing when I talk about book 3, Princess in Love.

It was during this second read of Princess in the Spotlight that I remembered why I love Grandmere so much. During the wedding scene (I won’t tell you who’s, you’ll have to read to find out) Mia gets a chance to show Grandmere how much she’s learned about being a princess in such a short time with this beautiful quote:

‘’”…a princess, no matter what kind of adversity she is facing, has to put on a brave face and not hide behind her wealth and privilege.”

There’s no question about the rating, of course. It get’s a Shrimp Coma Mrs. B all the way. 

Mrs. B rating shrimp coma

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

Like many of her devoted fans, my first introduction to Meg Cabot was The PrincessThe Princess Diaries Diaries. I read the series several years ago and oh my what a joy! I’ve been looking forward to reading the series again and the anticipation of book 11, Royal Wedding which releases on June 2, 2015 seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Just like the first time, my second read of The Princess Diaries did not disappoint. Written in the first person, the book is the diary of high school freshman Mia Thermopolis. Starting on September 23 we find that it is the first few weeks into the school year of New York City’s Albert Einstein High School and Mia has a big problem: Algebra. She is not only flunking the class but she has just learned that her mother is dating the teacher, Mr. Gianni.

As if the Algebra problem isn’t enough, Mia then finds out that her father has been keeping a very important secret from her: he is the Prince of a small European country, Genovia and as his sole heir Mia is a Princess who is one day expected to take over the reign.

Finding out that you are a princess sounds like every girl’s dream, but Mia is smart enough to see past the glamour and money. Being the ruler of an entire country sounds like a horribly stressful proposition!

Despite the seriousness of the matter, the tale of Mia’s first month of royalty is delightful and funny. As she struggles with this new identity Mia finds out who her true friends are and also meets a few new ones.

While Meg Cabot wrote several great books before this, The Princess Diaries which was published in 2000 is truly her best work. In all of Meg Cabot’s books you can tell there is a little piece of herself in the main characters but Mia and her friends have a little something else that makes them very special. I’m not sure what it is but maybe in this next read I’ll find out.

If you are looking for a fun teen read, or want to find out what I find so special about Meg Cabot, please do read The Princess Diaries. I’m sure it’s no secret that I give this one a full fledged Shrimp Coma Mrs. B.

Mrs. B rating shrimp coma

Awaken by Meg Cabot

Good news! I finally finished the Abandon series by Meg Cabot. Even better news? The Awakenbooks get progressively better, so much so that I can honestly say I really enjoyed the final book, Awaken. The best part is I finally got the key story elements I love so much from Meg Cabot: spunky heroine and a good support network.

Awaken starts up right where Underworld leaves off. It is a few hours later and Pierce, having finally embodied the spunky Meg Caboty heroine we all love, is helping out on the docks of the underworld greeting the newly dead. She is already an asset to the place being polite and helpful (unlike John and his cronies) to the confused new arrivals. She even hands out glasses of water.

We quickly learn that Alex and Kayla have been brought to the underground as well and like Pierce we’re not sure how long they are going to stay or what they are going to do next. Unfortunately we don’t get to find out because a couple of fury possessed ships show up ready to reek havoc on the place. Hot hunky John, ruler of the underground and Pierce’s boyfriend, jumps aboard one of the boats to prevent the impending disaster and disappears along with the fates. Now it’s up to Pierce and her friends to bring the fates (and hopefully John) back to where they belong.

A lot happens in this book. Pierce desperately wants to find John but discovers that she is also tasked with having to restore balance to the underworld and save the world above from destruction by the evil furies! Along the way storylines that began in the previous books are resolved. We get the full scoop on Seth Rector, Alex’s dad and Pierce’s parents. We also get a really cool quote:

We do need storms sometimes, because they clear away the bracken so that the sun can shine on flowers that might never otherwise have had a chance to bloom.

I love this quote, which is the theme of the book, because it’s a good message about life as well. Sometimes you have to suffer through hard times in order to get to better times. This is kind of like how I felt at the beginning of this series actually. While I wasn’t a fan of the first book I stuck it out and was finally rewarded with this final one which was pretty delightful! I give it a good solid, classic Mrs. B!

Mrs. B rating classic

Underworld by Meg Cabot

This is book 2 of what I have decided is my least favorite Meg Cabot series. Luckily, I did Underworldenjoy this one more than the first. 

Like the title says, Underworld starts in the underworld where John has whisked Pierce away to protect her from her fury possessed grandmother. Pretty early in the book Pierce learns of her destiny, something that took me by surprise (in a good way). In fact, I may never eat waffles again. She then learns of some disturbing news of what is happening on Isla Huesos and convinces John to take her back.

One of the things I liked about this book is the development of Pierce’s character. While I still found her a tad annoying, I began to see hits on the strong spunky heroine we expect from Meg Cabot. We also meet some fun new characters and begin to see the development of the support network I missed in the last book.

It did occur to me while reading this book that this series would translate well to film. So while I’m not too excited about the book, I would love to see the movie or TV versions.

The improvement of this book from the first in the series gave me a bit of hope. While I would recommend it to fellow Meg Cabot fans I still reserve my editorial comment that “it’s not one of my favorites.” I give this one

3 Mrs. Bs.