YA books

Welcome to Day 08 of the #BookReviewBlogChallenge, and the LAST challenge prompt!

Big shout out to all the participants – I had an amazing time reading all your entries and found some brilliant authors to add to my TBR pile. My eyes are shining up like stars just thinking about the new books I plan to read! Irrespective of who wins, you are all “STARS”.

And this brings me nicely to today’s theme – “STAR”.

Blog Challenge Day 08 entry

My entry is a YA book titled “Next door to a Star”. This is not my normal genre, at least not since my teen years. However, I decided to give it a try since the cover and blurb looked intriguing, and a friend recommended it. I was hoping this would be a good author/book to gift to my nieces and young cousins, but the jury is still out on it!

  • Title – Next Door to a Star
  • Author – Krysten Lindsay Hager.

The story is about a young girl (Hadley) staying with her grandparents for a vacation, where she meets and befriends a teen TV mega-star. Later, Hadley gets to move in with her grandparents and go to the same school where the star attends. Hadley gets caught up in the dramas that follow a shy teenager at a new school, compounded by the glitzy world of being in cahoots with a teen heartthrob. Will Hadley remain calm and sensible, will she get disillusioned or worse mesmerized by superficial lives ephemeral fame?

REVIEW SCORE = 4.0/5

Thoughts on the Book:

First, I must admit the author writes extremely well from a teenager’s perspective. Puberty and teenage can be hard, especially on young girls as they try to balance school, hormones, cliques, and a keen desire to be perceived as “cool” and “popular”. Everything is a “drama” and blown out of proportion! The author fleshes all those emotions quite realistically, and readers will remember their own school years. Or recognize classmates, kids, and nieces/nephews in some or all the characters.

Second, the book is written from an age-appropriate standpoint, no steamy scenes or violence or foul language. If you are a parent or (aunt like me) who wants to vet a book before kids read it, then I do not see any major red flags for this book. The book feels akin to the movie “Mean girls” – you want to roll your eyes at times, but the story is relatable to teens and tweens.

However, as an adult I do have some concerns that the book might send the wrong signal to some kids. Trying to fit in is normal, but how far do you want your kids to take it? Being introverted is not a gate pass to be deferential or act a doormat! I just want to shake Hadley at times, but all parents feel that way, so perhaps the author is correct at portraying things as they truly occur in real life! I did feel I was over-analyzing the book at times. Plus, some of the girls are too silly for words.

For these reasons, I did not go with a rating higher than 4.0. However, if your teen just wants a quick read. If your child or YA relative normally reads classic books, or will not be overly influenced by fictional characters, then you might consider giving this as a change in tastes!

Similar Works

  • Books – “Nancy Drew”, Babysitters club books (series), Sweet Valley High School books (series)
  • Movies – Mean Girls, Bring it On, Ice Princess.
  • TV Series – That’s so Raven (Nickelodeon), Never Have I ever (Netflix).
  • Genres – Teen & Young Adult, Young Adult Contemporary Romance, YA.

Hope you all found this blog challenge as engaging as me!

Until next time, Adieu and happy reading! 🙂

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Welcome to Day 07 of the #BookReviewBlogChallenge. It is amazing how fast time flew and we are almost at the end of the competition! So, the theme “Time” for today’s challenge ties in quite nicely! 😊

Last week’s prompt was any book with 400+ pages and Unidragonfrag won it hands down with her entry of “Worm” – an ebook serial spanning ~7000 pages! Whew! That is longer than the Harry Potter series combined!

365 Days of FB

My entry for today’s theme is “365 Days of F(i)B-Bing” by Nirupama PRV. It is the story of a young techie, Avantika, who dreams of being perceived as cool and successful. To achieve this, she decides to post every day on Facebook, hoping to boost her popularity and create an illusion of fame and acclaim. What happens next is a series of hilarious and interesting twists.

As the fine line between real and virtual blur, her past fabrications close in on Avantika. Can she keep up or lose it all? Do her Facebook frolics triumph or backfire? That is the crux of the story.

  • Title – 365 Days of Fibbing.
  • Author – Nirupama PRV

REVIEW SCORE = 5/5 *****

Challenge Theme

Time = Days! That is the connection I am using to tie between the theme and this book. Often individual days are slow and boring, but time (years and even a lifetime) often just speeds past!

Some of the individual entries in the book, written as a sort of hybrid diary, may not feel catchy, but the overall book is brilliant! By the time you finish this book, you will be motivated to start writing everyday or posting selfies on Instagram just to test out the theory! 😉

What I Loved about the Book:

First, the author is a phenomenal storyteller! I could see parts of me in Avantika. The way she reacts is exactly how any 22-year-old would! Isn’t that the goal of every fictional book – to make the reader immerse so deep in the book, they forget it is a mythical world?

Even if you have never worked for the software industry, you will still relate to many scenes in the book, like the interactions between Avantika and her friends, the confusions and aspirations every one has from their first job. If you come from a large family and especially if you are of Asian or Mediterranean origin, the scenes between Avantika and her cousins/family/wedding scenes will feel 100% real.

Also, love the cover!

If you like witty writing or standup comedy, you will love this book. The book is funny without being a comedy or satire. An excellent read if you just want something to perk yourself up. In many ways, this book reminded me bestselling author Nick Spalding, who wrote hits like “Logging off” and “Dumped Actually”. Or a classier, more confident version of “Bridget Jones Diary”!

One special note, this book is not necessarily from the YA (young adults) genre but can be read by teens as well, since the book does not have any censored topics or steamy scenes. It will probably make an excellent Graduation Day gift. Lord knows, with the chaos of the Covid19 pandemic, the class of 2020 could use something to lift their spirits and take their mind off all the mental stress!

Similar Works

  • Books – “Dumped Actually” by Nick Spalding, “Bridget Jones Diary” by Helen Fielding, “Just a Name” by Becky Monson, “Stylist Takes Manhattan” by Rosie Nixon.
  • Movies – Confessions of a Shopaholic,  
  • TV Series – Never Have I ever.
  • Genres – Women’s Humorous Fiction, Urban, Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Coming of Age Fiction, Women & Relationships Humor, Literary Satire, YA Books

Until next time, Adieu and Happy Reading!

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