Monday- What are you Reading

Like those who know me well do, I’m not usually drawn to contemporary YA novels, especially of the romance variety, but I just got drawn to this debut from Emma Lord as it was all over Tweeter and that got me wondering. Well, I then picked it up to see what all the noise was about, and got myself very surprised to find that this book is actually quite entertaining. Although the story-line is not exactly outrageously unique, for after all, the story is based on a social media war—of which there’s been quite a smattering of those lately—I found this book to be quite cute and humorous. At the center of it is Pepper Evans, a teenaged perfectionist and daughter of owners of a fast-growing burger chain, and Jack, her classmate, an underrated boy who for most of his life has lived under the shadow of his more popular twin brother.

The two are unwittingly drawn into a Tweeter battle when they take sides in a war of words between their parents’ businesses, the inciting incident being the supposed or actual theft of a grilled cheeseburger recipe by Big League Burgers, on Pepper’s side, belonging to Jack’s grandma. While this warfare is raging on the internet, a romance is developing between Pepper and Jack. A sprinkle of supporting characters add sizzle to this conflict-filled story and you’ll love to see how siblings add unusual twists to this entertaining piece.

Emma’s writing is modern and refreshing and the snarky Tweets she cooked up between her protagonists are quite hilarious. I have already given this book four stars on Goodreads, even though I have yet to finish it.

I’m Not Dying With You

A collaboration from two female authors. This YA contemporary novel from Gilly Segal and Kimberley Jones features two teens, one black, the other white, who hardly know each other well in the beginning, but then get sucked into violence which starts at their school and ends up in the city streets.

Although this unusual YA story that is told from two different perspectives explores some topical issues that are worth paying attention to, I felt it didn’t hit all the right spots. It felt rushed in some areas, whereas in others it felt too convenient, like the authors just came up with this quick story idea because they had a subject they wanted explored at all costs.

Lena, the black girl is the cool stylish one, madly in love with a rapper who in many ways doesn’t show like he shares the same deep feelings with her. Many times over, she just seems like an afterthought. Campbell, the white half of the novel seems like the more grounded one. She is new to town, living with her divorced father after her mother has been forced by circumstances to accept a job outside the country.

I listened to the audio version of this book and the two voices did come out distinctly enough. The story’s two sides mesh quite well and subtle comparisons are made between the problems that black youths face and those that whites do. The idea was a good almost political one, but somehow the plot still didn’t rise to the great level that I expected.

It’s a three-star rating for me. If you have read this one tell me what you think.