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review 2013-07-11 00:00
Screwed - Laurie Plissner Initial reaction: No, just no. If you're looking for a book that properly deals with teenage pregnancy and the options available for teens as well as treating the matter with sensitivity and coming to terms, I'd recommend [b:Me, Him, Them, & It|12439950|Me, Him, Them, & It|Caela Carter|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1366909469s/12439950.jpg|17422764] by a long shot over this book. This book just completely mishandled the issue and milked it for drama. It was a terrible read.Full review:I think the one good thing that I can say coming out of this read was that this was quick to go through, because I wasn't really invested in the journey taken by the characters in any capacity. I've only read less than a handful of novels that focused on teen pregnancy specifically (usually in the stories I've read, they were either a specific focus or a side story on the part of one of the characters), but among the ones I've read, this was probably the worst. It takes a story of a young woman (Grace Warren) and glorifies her pregnancy for the sake of the drama. It does not contain an ounce of realism. Granted, it shows Grace first discovering that she's pregnant after seven positive tests, a frantic call to her best friend, her parents pretty much shaming her and kicking her out of the house (only to be picked up by the wealthy neighbor - saving grace, anyone?), and shows her following a relationship with a guy while debating on whether to carry her pregancy to term. It was one of the most irresponsible, unrealistic, insufferable portrayals of this subject matter that I've ever read. I didn't like any of the characters in this book at all. Grace, the main character, is so dull you can't see any kind of apt reflection in her as a teen pregnant mother, the parents are purported to be strict Christians who shame their daughter (I think the mother even calls the daughter a "skank", and don't even get me started on the father). Yet the same parents are forcing her to have an abortion and when she says no, they kick her out of the house to "teach her a lesson." Nick, Grace's "baby daddy," really didn't feel like much of a character other than a massive jerk who it was hard to see why Grace went with him in the first place. I loathed Jennifer, Grace's best friend. Jennifer's voice was so annoying and the attempts at sexual humor on her part just made me rage more than anything else. Charlie was a Gary Stu...enough said.This really wasn't worth the time and I wish I had the time I had back from reading it, especially considering it is nowhere near the gritty read promised from the book's cover, nor is it realistic or sensitive to apply to teens who become mothers at a young age and face a myriad of difficult decisions along the way.Overall score: 0.5/5Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher F+W/Adams Media.
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review 2013-05-22 12:59
Screwed - Laurie Plissner
For some reason, I'm really big on books about teens seriously screwing up. I don't know why but I really like to read about teens making dumbass decisions. So when I saw SCREWED on NetGalley, I was pretty happy. Sadly, it didn't work out for me.

SCREWED was about Grace, the daughter of two religious extremists, who screws up (no pun intended) and gets pregnant. She makes some really dumb choices (like thinking the guy she had sex with would actually care) and gets kicked out by her parents.

Well, this is all good and well until what happens after she gets kicked out. This book was supposed be harsh and real but instead, it ended up laughable. Grace gets kicked out and her neighbor, who turns out to be a freaking millionaire, takes her in.

There is an incredibly small chance that a nice millionaire lives on your street and would take you in. If I got kicked out, an extremely rich person who happens to have a really hot nephew certainly wouldn’t take me in. I would have much rather had Grace living on her own, adjusting to the real world.

I can hear the people crying, "but that would make for a boring story!" Yeah, my only answer to that is, I don't think it can get any more boring than what it was. 

SCREWED isn't a bad book, it's a really stupid and boring book. I want to emphasis this fact. I don't think that SCREWED is a horrible book. It's a bad book, yes, but it's not a horrible book. It was just really boring because absolutely nothing happened. There wasn't any drama or action that made me really connect with the plot or the characters.

The main character was so lifeless. Her only personality trait was how utterly annoying she was sometimes. The love interest kept calling her "brave" but really, she didn't do anything brave. She had sex, she got pregnant, she got kicked out, and a millionaire took her in. Like Grace's friend said, she was living better now then she did when she lived with her parents.

The parents of the girl were complete stereotypes of that religious evil parents. That's all they are. It would have felt sort of anti-religion if it weren't for the fact that I know there are people like that. People who'd kick their kids out to protect the parent's image.

Plotwise, this book didn't bring anything new to the table. It was a very bland rehash of numerous other books. CRANK was another fairly standard book but it had soul to it. The characters had personality and the prose conveyed FEELINGS, something that Plissner just couldn't do.

SCREWED definitely screwed me over (oh my god, these jokes are never going to get old). I thought it could be something really new but it wasn't. I cannot recommend this book to anyone.


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review 2013-05-22 00:00
Screwed - Laurie Plissner Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book.Oh man, I have to like … actually take a second to mentally prepare myself to write this review.To put it in a nutshell: I thought this book was poorly written, highly unrealistic, and sexist. I will illustrate why, but … that's all you really need to know, if you don't have patience to read the whole review. Basically … I spent most of this book making a Grumpy Cat face.I saw Screwed while browsing through NetGalley, and after skimming the description I said to myself, "Hey, a book about teen pregnancy! I have read next to zero books about pregnant teenagers, so maybe this will be interesting." I was happy when I was approved to read an advanced copy. And even though I'd seen some pretty "mehhh" reviews of it, I still thought maybe it would be a cool book.It was not a cool book.Everything about the packaging of this book screams "EDGY!" From the in-your-face title to the gloomy-looking cover … And I mean, it's the story of a 17-year-old girl who gets pregnant. That's some pretty heavy stuff there. So yeah, it makes sense that it would be marketed as "dark" YA fiction. But just because this is a story about a pregnant teenage girl, and just because the characters say "shit" and "fuck" every other word, don't be fooled. This book is not dark. Maybe it's a very light shade of gray, if anything. After reading this book, I think this would be a more appropriate cover for it:This book is the Disney fairytale version of teen pregnancy. It's the story of a girl who is perfect at everything, but just happens to get pregnant … and continues to be perfect at everything, and whose life in fact gets even more perfect than it was before. And there are next to no consequences of her pregnancy at all. All it does is make her life a billion times better. … Right.Well, as much as I just want to write one huge ramble, I'll try to break this down into different categories. The writing:I could not stand the writing in this book. I just … could not.First of all, the dialogue was painful. I think it was supposed to be funny a lot of the time, but … I usually couldn't even tell. The characters' speech leaps between sounding like it's from a soap opera and sounding like it's out of a bad "quirky" teen comedy or something. On top of that, the characters say things that are just ridiculously obvious/stupid."Only people who have sex can get pregnant."YOU DON'T SAYYYY."I'm afraid of heights … along with all the other things I'm scared of."Wait, wait … So you're telling me … you're afraid of the things you're afraid of? Oh my gosh.There was also the way Grace and Jennifer text each other:"HE'S ON THE LAKE WITH SOME CHICK, ON ONE OF THE FLOATING DOCKS. GO GET HIM.""NOW? HOW DO I GET HIM ALONE? WHAT DO I SAY?"Errrm, who texts like that? "HELLO FRIEND. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TODAY."There were also just some super WTF descriptions, such as:"And when Grace made that sweet little meowing sound and opened her mouth to his, he let himself go."Wait …Meowing sound?!Charlie: La la, time to make out with Grace.Grace: MEOW MEOW *Opens mouth*Charlie: Oh my baby lord, that's hot.… Whut. But the absolute worst thing about this book is the constant perspective changes. And I'm not talking about like, different chapters being in different perspectives. No. I wish. This was like … third person narration that switched between perspectives in the middle of paragraphs. It's horrible. It's kind of like:"Grace went outside and sat down on a bench. Mehh I'm pregnant, she thought. A random lady went by, walking her dog. I wonder what I'm going to make for dinner tonight, she thought. Her dog walked ahead of her, thinking, I want to eat some squirrels." Okay, there were no perspectives from dogs. But I wouldn't have been surprised if that had happened. You get the idea. The narration was constantly switching around, and I mean … constantly. When it first happened I thought it was just some silly mistake, but then it kept happening over and over again, to the point where I just don't think the author understands how to effectively use perspective. And … that's quite a major problem. I mean, I've seen problems with third-person head-hopping before, but nothing this bad. Seriously.The narration would leap into the thoughts not just of important characters, but of completely irrelevant characters such as Grace's doctor, the lady who ran the adoption agency, a receptionist, some random girl Nick is sleeping with, and "Awesome Girl C." The complete lack of believability:When this book first started out, I thought maybe it would be realistic––Grace's babydaddy totally blowing her off, her parents kicking her out of the house for getting pregnant, etc. But that's where the believability ended. I'm pretty sure Grace hallucinated the rest of the story after that. But, no. The very instant Grace steps out onto her porch with her garbage bags full of clothing, her kind and elderly neighbor––a woman named Helen––walks by, and quickly gathering what Grace's situation is, graciously offers the pregnant teen a place to live at her house. So … okay, that's not too unbelievable, right? Well, Helen isn't just any average old lady. First of all, she's a Holocaust survivor, and when she was a child her whole family was murdered by Nazis. Okay … well … the odds of that are pretty slim. But. Fine. That's not the part that pisses me off, though. The part that pisses me off is that Helen lives in a multimillion dollar mansion––complete with a guest house, a swimming pool, and a private chef … and that's just the beginning of it. So basically, Grace is a pregnant teen who has been kicked out of her home, and her fairy godmother instantly rushes in to sweep her up and carry her off to Disneyland. On the very day Grace's parents kick her out, we then find her in this situation:"Clean and fed and rested, Grace curled up in an easy chair in the corner of her new bedroom. The blue room was wallpapered and upholstered entirely in blue toile. It was like a room in one of the museum houses at Colonial Williamsburg Grace had visited two summers ago, right down to the mahogany four-poster bed. After lunch in the enormous clawfoot bathtub, Grace had taken a long nap, and now she was waiting for Vera, [Helen]'s cook ... to ring the bell signaling that dinner was ready."It doesn't end there. Not only does Helen offer Grace a place to live in her luxurious house, but she also just gives Grace an American Express Platinum Card, and without even hesitating offers to pay for all of Grace's medical bills and her tuition when she goes to college after having her baby.Oh young women, don't worry about getting pregnant and kicked out of your house … you will surely be rescued by a wealthy old woman who is willing to give you an unlimited supply of money! BUT THERE'S MORE.So, Helen lives in a freakin' mansion and bathes in money or whatever. But also … SHE HAS A SEXY NEPHEW WHO LIVES WITH HER. AND OH MY GOSH, HE'S GRACE'S AGE. WHAT A CRAZY RANDOM HAPPENSTANCE!I … just …Yeah. I think you can figure out where it goes from there.A few more extremely unbelievable coincidences happen, but they're slightly spoilerish, so:Even through her pregnancy, Grace is applying to colleges. So, she ends up applying to six schools, all of which are ivy leagues. The very day she gives birth to her baby, all six of the schools happen to send out their acceptance letters on the same day. (HAHA GOOD ONE.) And … *drumroll* ALL OF THEM ACCEPT HER. YAAAY. So realistic, eh?Okay, so Charlie (Helen's sexy nephew) is also headed to college, but Grace asks him not to tell her where he's going because she doesn't want them to be influenced by each other's decisions. So I say to myself, "I bet one billion dollars they're going to end up at the same college anyway." And …I was right. They both coincidentally happen to choose to go to Dartmouth. GREAT. Just. Barf. I don't know what else to say on the matter.Oh yeah, also right after she gives birth, her friend tells her she's a "skinny kid again." LOLOLOLOL. The lack of plot:As you may have gathered, there's not much of a story in this book. Grace gets pregnant, kicked out of her house … and then gets to live like a princess. But oh, her life is so hard! Blah blah. After angsting around for nine months, she finally has a baby and gives it up for adoption. Then the last 10% of the book or so is dedicated to Grace's adventures being a junior counselor at a mountain-climbing camp for troubled teenagers. (And that's relevant to the story … how? Also, mind you she goes off to do this DIRECTLY after having her baby. Hahahahaha right.) The characters:… Are basically cardboard cutouts.Grace is completely bland and has no personality. I understand her being upset over being pregnant so young and cast out by her parents, etc. But she also seems to take her situation for granted. - "Grace wept bitter tears for the loss of her dignity, the loss of her family, the loss of her flat stomach …"… Yeah. You poor thing. There was even a point where the author pretty much said that Grace had no flaws."Charlie had tried to find things wrong with Grace in a useless effort to contain his rapidly growing feelings for her. But the more closely he examined her, the more smitten he became."Lovely. The more you try to find something wrong with her, the more perfect she gets.It was also never really clear to me why she chose to sleep with Nick (the one who impregnated her) in the first place. He was also a completely boring, typical "douchebag jock" character. It was stressed numerous times that it was understandable why Grace had slept with him because he was SO HAWT. But … that was it. Apparently the only thing that distinguishes him from other people is … his beautiful face and body, or whatever.Jennifer is one of those annoying "quirky" best friends who you just want to shove out a window. And really, most of her quirks didn't even make sense. For example, she had this inexplicable tendency to refer to vaginas as "encyclopedias."Charlie (the sexy nephew one, remember?) is also just … a completely flat character. He is a typical "good boy" character––sexy AND smart as balls. He never seems to think about how anything sexy Grace is, and that's his only train of thought. There are numerous other characters, but I don't think any of them are really worth mentioning, since I had trouble seeing a personality in any of them.The slut-shaming:Ah haha. Where to start.The slut-shaming in this book was so bad. So bad.It seemed like the author was going to rather great lengths to tell the reader, over and over, that Grace isn't like other pregnant girls. No, no. Grace isn't a slut or a whore like all those other teenage girls who get pregnant. She's different. I can't count how many times the reader is beat over the head with how smart Grace is … and because she's smart, that makes her superior to any other girl who has ever gotten pregnant. (Because let's face it, smart girls NEVER get pregnant. #Sarcasm)Just a few gems to show you what I mean:- "Teen pregnancy was for girls in the life skills program, not a girl with a perfect GPA who spent her spare time trying to solve the twin prime conjecture."- "How could someone with a 2350 on the SAT end up naked in the back of some sleazebag's car, seduced by a few well-chosen words whispered in her inexperienced ears?"- "… The moral demise of a member of the National Honor Society and an AP Scholar was far more interesting than someone in the vocational training program getting knocked up. That would be business as usual; this was news."- "Most girls in Grace's position were headed to beauty school or a cashier job at the local Walmart."You see what I mean? There was this constant bashing of the "type" of girls who usually get pregnant, and about how they're the scum of the earth compared to the flawless Grace. And then there were all these parts trying to emphasize that Grace is most definitely not a slut––but in a way that totally slut-shamed a large percentage of other women. "Even if she'd done it on the first date, there was something about this girl that was so unslutty."Right. Girls who do it on the first date are definitely sluts.And then there's Charlie telling Grace, "By definition, [having sex] one time means you can't be a slut …"… Excuse me? I was not aware of the definition.The definition of "slut" according to Charlie: a woman who has sex more than once.And here's the real jewel in the crown of slut-shaming:"She didn't look like Dr. Weston's typical pregnant teen patient. … For a second, Dr. Weston wondered if she'd been raped, because she didn't have the look of a girl who would get swept away by a little sweet talk and a couple of Coors Lights."….…..……..I don't even know where to start. Things that are wrong with this quote, just on its own:- Pray tell, what does the typical pregnant teen patient look like? Like she was "asking for it"? Because that sure seems to sound like the implication here.- You can't tell, just by looking at a girl, what her sex life is like. You can't. YOU CAN NOT. Understand?- Even if you could, who the hell are you to judge if she does get "swept away" by sweet talk and alcohol or whatever? It's her life and she can do what she damn well pleases. - The fact that the doctor looks at her and says "Oh, she must have been raped, because no way that girl would willingly have sex!" That is just … disgusting. So if some girl had walked in wearing a miniskirt and a shirt that bared her stomach, would you wonder if she was raped, Dr. Weston? Because based on the logic of that quote there, apparently it's safe to assume that girls who have less clothing on their bodies are incapable of being raped––because they look like whores, right? But if a girl who dresses more modestly walks in … oh no! She must have been raped! No way a perfect girl like that actually chose to have sex!Okay, okay. *Lets out a long sigh*That's about all I have to say. I think this book could have explored a lot about an important issue. But instead of shedding a realistic light on it, it was made completely unbelievable––and on top of that, the way it was written was confusing, the characters were dull, and it was condescending and offensive. I'm done.
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review 2013-05-19 00:00
Screwed - Laurie Plissner Actual rating: 4.5(This review was originally posted at My Library in the Making.)Starting a book with the prose version of the "How can you call it murder if it doesn't even have a heartbeat yet?" debate might make it boring for some people, but this certainly wasn't the case for me. That argument was the first amongst the many dilemmas for Grace, the main character here in Screwed, and even though I'm very much against abortion, I'm sure I would consider it too if I were in her shoes.Grace was a typical goody-two-shoes with straight As, but even so, I never disliked her. I actually sympathized with her, enough to make me shed a handful of tears. She was naive and sometimes downright stupid, but it was nurture, not nature. I liked how she, for the most part, kept herself level-headed—the most obvious exercise of which was her choice to keep the baby. She also never made sure to blame the baby for her five-minute lapse of judgment, and she really surprised me when she decided to go through her senior year with her bulging baby bump for everyone to see. If that didn't prove the strength inside this twelve-year-old-looking seventeen-year-old, then I don't know what would.But aside from understanding for Grace's situation, this book also gave me some characters to hate. First were Grace's parents, the kind of people I hate the most: church-going hypocrites. They volunteered for the soup kitchen and whatnot, but being the local head advocates of chastity before marriage, they were even worse than angry and disappointed with Grace when she told them about her pregnancy—they were hateful, all the time worrying about what their whole town would think of them in the face of the scandal. And second was Nick, father of the "bean" inside Grace, who thought of girls as conquests and planned to conquer twenty-one properties before he went off to college.Although getting knocked up on her first time having sex—with a condom, no less—was nothing short of unfortunate, Grace still had luck on her side in the form of her personal support group. Her BFF, Jennifer, who was practical and sassy but ever-supportive; Helen, the ridiculously rich, loving, and helpful old woman who lived right across the street; and Charlie, who was a very nice surprise. I had absolutely no idea about his character because he's a no-show in the blurb, so forgive me if this is a little spoiler-y. Anyway, Plissner sure knows how to create an attractive gentleman of a character. Even if the growth of the romance between him and Grace wasn't shown very well, it was still believable enough to be sweet.Admittedly, the plot could've used more complexity, but the characters shone enough to overshadow that. Also, the ending left me wanting a tad bit more, but it was still satisfying. Screwed definitely made me question a lot of my previously-solid opinion on teenage pregnancy and whatnot, and it has nailed down Laurie Plissner in my list of auto-read authors.MY FAVORITE PART was when Grace went into labor—or, more specifically, that scene from Jennifer's perspective :))
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review 2013-05-17 00:00
Screwed - Laurie Plissner I'm sorry, but this book isn't for me. It's not taking itself seriously, especially with such a complex subject matter (teen pregnancy). The character gets pregnant and in the first 5 pages she gets asked, "Was the other head a turtleneck or a crewneck?" WHAT THE FLYING FUCK? And trust me, there are more of that kind nonsense stuff in the book.


How amazing it would be to discover that kind of nirvana with a guy who thought of her as more than a place to park his junk for 5 minutes.

It was nearly impossible to imagine how a little limp of flesh covered with tiny bumps could be that powerful.


LOL. Just LOL. And WTF, too.

This puts stereotypes to the extreme. Math wiz has only one friend, labelled a "nerd", seen as an outcast, get called a "nobody", a dunce in social ways... I mean, seriously? If you're brilliant, I think that comes with fricking common sense. And oh, because they're such brainiacs, they call vagina an "encyclopaedia" and a dick a "Volkswagen".

OMG... I can't even.

I'm sorry, but I just want it all to stop. This was really written terribly. The 3rd person POV is all over the place, too. We get the impression we see it from Grace's perspective, and here comes a paragraph or two with another person's thoughts. Um... that's really inconsistent, yo.

So, yeah, I'm not even rating it. I only got as far as 19%. I already know she gets disowned by her parents, and she gets adopted by the millionaire next door... wow. It's not only ridiculous, it's also delusional. How convenient. *rolls eyes*
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