Review: Something In Between
I received a copy from Netgalley.
This was an interesting book, as it dealt with a tough issue, but I can’t say I actually liked the main character much at all. This book is about a Filipino girl Jasmine, who has spent most of her life in America, she’s captain of her cheerleading squad, incredibly smart and when she wins a very prestigious award that comes with a college scholarship, she’s thrilled to pieces, only to discover to her horror when her parents make a shock confession – they don’t have green cards, they are undocumented.
I can’t even begin to imagine what that must feel like. Jasmine’s whole world is thrown into total chaos, there’s an immigrant reform bill going on as well that would be helpful, but it’s not doing so well. On top of that Jasmine meets a handsome boy Royce, who just happens to be the son of a very powerful Senator who’s supposedly big on anti-immigration.
With the deadline for college applications coming up, getting her cheerleading squad to Nationals, a new budding relationship, Jasmine doesn’t seem to know which way is up and which way is down. Her family are very close, which was nice to see, though her dad is a bit on the strict side. They banded together to deal with the problems. There was a really good family dynamic, which was believable, Jasmine had two annoying little brothers who at the start of the book were loud irritating and got in the way, but the way the novel was written made them likeable (if annoying) characters. The parents had nicely formed personalities as well.
Jasmine herself, I didn’t actually like much after all. She was supposed to be one of these really nice, smart and popular types, but I found her pushy and condescending. I certainly empathised with her struggles as the novel progressed. I read the first hundred pages or so, then the second time I picked it up I finished it in an afternoon, I couldn’t put it down. Naturally she’s struggling with her family situation, and it’s worrying her to no end – are they going to be deported?
They find out what options are open to them, and decide which route to go down.
Then there’s Royce, the rich boy she falls madly in love with. Royce at first appears to be your typical senator’s son – rich and charming, but turns out to be a total sweetheart. He was lovely, very considerate and nice and not at all what you tend to expect from the very wealthy background he comes from.
The class divide between him and Jasmine seems to be a big issue as the relationship progresses throughout the book. Royce claims he’s not affected by it. She’s the one with the issue. She makes big deals out of little things and whines a fair amount. Yes she’s struggling with something gut wrenching, but she’s not the only character with problems in the novel. Royce is offering her help but she’s too stubborn to take it.
It was certainly an interesting read, if kind of predictable in the plot. Jasmine wasn’t my favourite character, but I definitely would recommend this for a good read about a tough issue. I did purchase a finished paperback copy.
Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin (UK) Limited for approving my request to view the title.
I feel sort of bad for DNFing this one as this was a book I picked for a giveaway win. It sounds very much like my sort of book - average girl goes to super fancy boarding school and becomes friends with the most unattainable girl on campus - the one everyone wants to be friends with but it's this girl from a regular background that gets her attention. Things start to go great but then go very wrong.
Trigger Warnings for suicide and drug use.
I made it 265 pages and frankly just don't care anymore. I don't quite get what the point of this book is. I don't like the characters enough to care to want to finish to find out.
The style of the writing is bizarre. It's like the main character is chatting to a friend as she's telling the story, it's almost like - so I did this and that happens and you know that sort thing that you never think would happen to you? That totally happens to me and I know what you're thinking and don't think like that! Paraphrasing obviously. But it's sort of like that and disjointed and weird.
The main character is supposed to be very intelligent and sometimes it clearly shows and she can be very deep and insightful in surprising way. Other times the rambles are pointless. She starts off by describing her only friends with their disabilities and character flaws, she talks endlessly about wanting to kill herself, almost like it's just something to do. Which is annoying because of the almost blase way she talks something so serious. Then the plot sort of trails off and nothing really happens with it. It's never addressed. Only when she needs to use those emotions to manipulate something to her own advantage to change dorms. She pretends she's so stressed she'll want to kill herself and then remembers like - oh yeah, I sort of really wanted to do that so play off those emotions. Kind of disgusting. She uses the word "spastic" a lot when describing how her best friend is acting strange. And that pisses me off. No need to use that word.
The main character is horrible and annoying, and almost nothing has happened plotwise. Other than she's made friends with a very rich but flakey girl and now both girls are doing drugs - popping pills. One can get away with it because she's rich and everyone wants her to like them, but the other one is a scholarship student and can't afford to be strung out on drugs and not keep her grades up. It's blah and boring as hell. One is having an affair with a teacher and the other thinks it's a spectacularly bad idea. There are two potential boys the main character could be interested in.
I just have no desire to read anymore of this.
I received a copy from Netgalley.
A delightful story focusing on two teens during Pride week in San Francisco. Mark is in love with his best friend Ryan while Kate’s best friend has set her up with a girl who she’s built up in her mind and finally gets to meet after hearing about her from other people. Only instead of going to the meeting Kate chickens out and winds up at the same club where Mark and Ryan are hanging out. A chance meeting and somehow a friendship forms as the night progresses between Kate and Mark.
Mark is trying not to be jealous while Ryan is out on the dance floor and having fun, Kate is trying not to freak over ditching out on meeting Violet, the girl she’s supposed to be meeting. Each chapter is told in a viewpoint of either Kate or Mark, both voices are likeable, and very believable. Mark as he tries to convince Ryan they should be together, and the effects this has on him when trying to work through as Ryan meets someone else. While Kate is struggling to understand why she’s friends with her best friend Lehna. She’s known Lehna forever, they’re both out and proud and a beacon for other gay kids at their school. Yet Lehna’s personality is very forward and brash and I found her character irritating and obnoxious. Violet, the girl Kate is supposed to be meeting is actually Lehna’s cousin, and Lehna has told her things about Kate that aren’t exactly true.
Though through meeting Mark at a club in San Francisco and winding up at a glamerous party somewhere later, Kate finds the stories Lehna told about her are actually, in a kind of unexpected way, turning out to come true. Out of the two storylines, Kate’s I found was more interesting when Violet finally turns up, Kate’s story I found as a reader I was able to identify with much more and therefore liked her character a lot more. And there was some pretty swoony romance.
While I liked Mark, his story was more angsty, and seemed to just be focused on I love Ryan, does he love me or this other guy he’s started seeing and wouldn’t have started seeing him if I hadn’t convinced him to go out that night? It does get a bit emotional, but I did find it kind of repetitive. Though together, the two stories actually did work pretty well.
There was one bit towards the end where Mark and Kate go to a poetry slam and some of their other friends are there, some of the poetry was a little lost on me, some of it was awful, while other pieces were incredibly powerful and very moving.
All in all a very good read that managed to smoothly go from quirky and funny to angst to emotional and switch back and forth provoking a range of different emotions. I liked this so much I bought a finished copy.
Thank you Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for approving my request to view the title.