Review: It’s the End of the World As We Know It by Saci Lloyd (ARC)

Saci Lloyd’s It’s the End of the World As We Know It is a wild ride through a wormhole and into a parallel world full of internet speak, zombies, uncontrollable algae, and unique and weird characters. You’re in for some craziness.

It's the End of the World As We Know It by Saci LloydAuthor:  Saci Lloyd
Genre: Young adult, humor, science fiction
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Publication Date: January 1, 2015
288 pages, paperback

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Hodder Children’s Books for letting me read this.

Let me start by giving you a short list of the things included in this book:

– A power-hungry Lolcat – the ruler of Deva (the parallel Earth) is a freaking cat that speaks like those Lolcats, u kno, lik dis. Hard 2 undrstand sumtims.
– Little infobots that surf on energy waves
– A sex-crazed poisonous fungus
– Zombies
– An angry, badass girl who might be a little bit robot

Alright, if that doesn’t sound awesome to you, I don’t know what else I could possibly say to convince you, but I’ll try. This book is trippy, you guys. I barely knew what I was reading most of the time, but that was pretty much the best part. It was surreal, weird, absolutely cuckoo, and so much fun. It’s got weird, unique characters that had me giggling like an idiot. They each speak a certain, specific-to-them way, which was cool yet irritating (internet speak as dialogue for a few of the characters. The whole time!). I think people who enjoy weird, strange, and wonderful books will have a lot of fun with It’s the End of the World As We Know It. On the other hand, I definitely don’t think this book is for everyone. It’s super bizarre and really odd, so you’ve got to into this one with an open mind or you’ll probably be weirded out by the book. Personally, I love silly, peculiar books, so this was super enjoyable!

However, I do want to say that occasionally It’s the End of the World As We Know It felt like it was trying a little too hard to be quirky, to be like Douglas Adams. It bothers me a little when publishers compare books to something like Hitchhiker’s Guide because it sets the bar SO HIGH. Most of the time I was loving how crazy everything was, but it felt a little over the top sometimes, which, I suppose, is par for the course.

I also want to share the riddle this book starts off with:

Q: How many mad scientists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Two. One to hold the bulb, the other one to turn the universe.


The bottom line: It’s the End of the World As We Know It was a fun, weird, and crazy ride on a rift through time and space. It was full of quirky characters and interesting sci-fi themes, though sometimes it felt like it was trying too hard to be weird. I still had so much fun reading it, as it was wildly imaginative and surreal.

Rating: 7 – pretty good

DNF Review – Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross (ARC)

Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross is a Snow White retelling that was really intriguing at first, but I just couldn’t finish it. Reasons below.

Tear You Apart by Sarah CrossAuthor:  Sarah Cross

Genre: YA, fantasy, fairy tales, retellings

Publisher: Egmont USA

Publication Date: January 27, 2015

384 pages, hardcover

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Egmont USA for letting me read this.

Tear You Apart is set in a strange town called Beau Rivage that is full of the Cursed – people who’ve had curses places on them by malevolent fairies, each curse repeated over and over. So you have past Snow Whites and Cinderellas and Sleepy Beauties. It’s a seriously cool concept and I was really intrigued by it. Viv is a Snow White; she knows that her stepmother Regina (WHYYYY would you give her the same name as the OuaT queen??) will eventually order her best friend Henley (given the Huntsman curse) to kill her. I LOVED Beau Rivage, overflowing with curses and princesses and evil stepmothers. It reminded me of Storybrooke from Once Upon a Time, which was a plus. I could have really loved the fairy tale retellings but I couldn’t finish.

But there were a lot of things I didn’t like:

– The absolutely volatile relationship between Viv and Henley. Viv is jaded and horrible and she toys with Henley’s heart and if he were to want to kill her, she’d definitely be the reason why. She pushes him away for something he might do but then turns right around and cuddles with him. She got on my last nerve and is a big reason I stopped reading.

– I liked Henley at first – he was just trying to love Viv – but his obsession with her was creepy and weird.

– The darkness given to the story was really cool. BUT why does that have to come with abusive, clichéd relationships (can you say love triangle?)?? The characters are shallow and unlikeable on top of that. Strange that Tear You Apart has great world building and horrible characters.

I ended up taking a break from this book 50% of the way through to read something else in the hopes I’d want to finish it after. When I finished that book, I had no desire to pick Tear You Apart back up. And that right there is the reason I had to DNF this one at 50%. We all know that hardly ever happens for me, so I’m really sad about this. It’s also my first DNF review on the blog. I wanted to love this one so much, but I couldn’t do it.

I’m pretty sure I know what happens at the end anyway.

The bottom line: DNF’ed a 50%. I can definitely see some people liking this one. The retelling is interesting and Beau Rivage is a cool place. I just couldn’t get past the relationships and the MC.

Book Review: The Rabbit Back Literature Society (ARC)

A confusing but sometimes enchanting story that’ll leave you lost in the end, The Rabbit Back Literature Society is good but not great.

The Rabbit Back Literature SocietyAuthor:  Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen

Genre: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Literary Fiction

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (Thomas Dunne Books)

Publication Date: January 20, 2015 (US publication – first published in 2006)

352 pages, hardcover

Check out the synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Thomas Dunne Books for letting me read this.

What first drew me to this book was that absolutely gorgeous cover. Obviously. Then my friend Jo over at Drifting Pages bought it. Then I saw it on Netgalley and just had to read it. It has such an interesting concept. The Rabbit Back Literature Society was…good. Not great, but good. It’s well-written for the most part. The magical realism was really cool but also very strange, which I should have expected. However, it didn’t do anything. It didn’t go anywhere, which was really disappointing.

The thing that really disappointed me was the “mystery”. I like when books don’t answer all of your questions, leave you to figure out what you think happened. But I like when they answer SOME of them. One, even. There was little to no resolution for what was the biggest mystery in the whole book – the disappearance of Laura White. We do get resolution for one of the other mysteries, and I thought it was sweet and simple and wonderful, but we had NONE for the main mystery. It felt a little like I’d wasted my time.

The violence was also strange. I’m not sure if this is in part due to the fact that it’s been translated, but the authors of the society play “The Game” in which they can invoke a rule that allows them to hurt the other to get them to tell the truth. It was weird. There’s also one scene (only a few pages) that talks about an act of sexual violence that was seriously disturbing. I had to put the book down for a while.

I enjoyed the mysticism and magical realism, and most of the writing was interesting enough to keep me going. But feeling like you’ve part of the point when you finish is not something I like. Not bad but not great either.

The bottom line: I never really figured out what was happening or why I was reading about it. I will say that the book will push you violently out of your comfort zone, which I appreciated, and the magical realism was interesting and enchanting. I haven’t said much about the plot because 1. I’m not sure what the point was, and 2. I’m not sure there was supposed to be a point. If you like magical realism and translation, read this. But if you need things to be wrapped up, you’ll go insane at the end. Basically, read The Rabbit Back Literature Society at your own risk.

Rating: 6 – good, but not great

ARC Review: The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Effect US CoverAuthor: Graeme Simsion

Genre: Contemporary, humor, romance

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: December 30, 2014

352 pages, hardcover

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Simon & Schuster for letting me read this. 

Let me start off by saying that if you haven’t read The Rosie Project, this review could possibly spoil it for you. It is impossible to talk about the sequel without telling you the ending of the first book.

Alright, if you’re still here, The Rosie Effect starts with Don and Rosie now living in NYC; Don is working at Columbia as an assistant professor and Rosie is finishing up her Ph.D. They have been married for 10 months and 10 days (I love how technical Don is). Rosie surprises Don by telling him that they are pregnant (note that I said “they are” pregnant). Don reacts in his own way and, of course, struggles to connect with the Baby Under Development or Bud. Because he doesn’t understand a lot of social protocol, he gets in trouble with the law. Hijinks, heartwarming advice, and heartbreaking events ensue.

I’m so torn on this one, you guys. I wanted to love this so much more than I did. One thing that I still loved was Don. Even though he is outrageously frustrating at times (he has a lot of faults, most of which aren’t his fault, and these get him into a lot of trouble and sticky situations), he is charming and tries so damn hard in his own way. I fell in love with him again, which was why it was so heartbreaking to see him struggling to know how to deal with this situations he finds himself if. He is adorkable and oh so charming.

SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON’T WANT SOME SPOILERS: On the other hand, Rosie loses pretty much all of her charm. She decides that Don has no say in what happens to her or her body, stops taking her birth control without telling Don (Don and Rosie had decided to wait), and gets pregnant. She is in the middle of her Ph.D. thesis and program and has no plan for how to take care of the baby once it comes. And then she gets mad at Don when he is not immediately excited and attached to Bud. Um. What? She becomes mean, petty, even rude, and she changes it from “we are pregnant” to “my baby”. It’s like she completely forgot who Don was and the type of person he was (even though she’d accepted him and knew who he was when she married him). The way this plays out is completely heartbreaking and I spent most of the novel hurting for Don.

A favorite quote (taken from an e-ARC and subject to change in the final version). Excuse the language, but it’s funny to me.

I am well aware of my incompetence in predicting human reactions. But I would have been prepared to bet on the first word that Rosie would say when she received the information. I was correct by a factor of six.

“Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.”

The bottom line: This Guardian review said The Rosie Effect was “twice as long and only half as good” as The Rosie Project, and I think I might have to agree. I’m struggling to rate this one because there were still things I loved about this book (Don – mostly, the feels, the writing, seeing the world through Don’s eyes, the ending) but Rosie’s changes pissed me off and Don’s idiosyncrasies got a little out of hand and were very frustrating at times.

Rating: 6.5

ARC Review: Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn’t Fly

Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn't Fly

Author: Stephen Graham Jones and Paul Tremblay

Genre: Young adult, fantasy

Publisher: Chizine Publications

Publication Date: November 11, 2014

250 pages

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Chizine Publications for letting me read this.

Mary is a normal teenager, but her life gets flip turned upside down when, at her young cousin’s birthday party, a teenage boy climbs up into a tree and takes off – floating away in the wind. When most of the other kids in town start to float as well, including her little brother, things start to get weird. Her brother Terry gets kidnapped and the government puts a quarantine on her town. How is Mary supposed to figure it all out when she’s completely grounded and everyone and everything else is up in the air?

This book just kind of fell flat for me, which is weird since everyone in the book is floating in the air. I think I had higher expectations for this book than I realized: that title, that cover, the synopsis. It sounded so cool, and the book has a lot of potential, but the book just didn’t match up.

I thought that it moved way too fast. This book happens over the course of, like, one day…? I think. It all just kind of blurs together into this one big lump.

As for Mary, I’m not sure how I feel about her. We are told that she has these anxiety problems, but we never really get to experience them before she apparently evolves into someone who is able to take charge to go on a mission to save her brother. I wish we’d been able to see her with her anxiety first. However, one thing I do like about Mary is that she doesn’t really fit in with the story (which did make it hard to connect with her at first). I think that’s the point of her character though: to show how absurd everything that’s happening is. She sticks out, and because she can’t fly, she’s grounded unlike the other characters. This helped make the fantasy aspect of the story feel like it could actually happen.

As for the other characters…meh. They were interesting, but other than the crazy, Bible-bashing cult of relatives Mary has, none of them were particularly memorable. Well, except for the villain. The writing about him actually made my skin crawl, so that’s a plus – not that I like my skin to crawl, but obviously he was creepy enough to get a physical reaction from me.

The bottom line: I suppose I did enjoy this book, and obviously I was intrigued enough to finish. I just don’t know if this’ll be one I remember.

Rating: 5 – take it or leave it

ARC Review: Get Happy by Mary Amato

A sweet, fun, emotional read from Mary Amato (author of Guitar Notes), Get Happy made me…well, happy.

Get HappyAuthor: Mary Amato

Genre: Contemporary, YA

Publisher: Egmont USA

Publication Date: October 28, 2014

256 pages, hardcover

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Egmont USA for letting me read this.

Get Happy is about high-school girl Minerva just wants to buy a ukulele and play songs while hanging out with her friends. In the novel, she learns that her father didn’t abandon her like her mother told her, and so she begins to investigate him. As Goodreads says, she “builds a substitute family with her friends in place of the broken family she grew up with.”

I’m not going to lie, I’m also a little iffy with books I get approved for on Netgalley. They can be hit or miss with me. It was also said to be for fans of Sarah Dessen (hit) and Gayle Forman (miss), so I was worried, but I shouldn’t have been. This one was a HIT. I’m really impressed with Amato’s writing and with this book.

Get Happy is a coming of age story for Minerva; we see her grow up and into herself as she navigates her first job, finding out her father is not who she thought he was, and fights with her mother. Realistic fiction has a tendency to feel decidedly not real, but not this book. Minerva’s feelings and actions all felt real and genuine, and because of this, I was really able to connect with Minerva and feel for her when it all went to hell. There was one part where something horrible happens (which I will not spoil) that I actually felt like I’d been punched in the gut. That’s a great author that can make me have such a reaction.

Minerva wasn’t the only great character either. Her best friend Fin is so full of life and a ton of fun. New friend Hayes is developed well too. Even the girl we don’t like is fully developed, so we actually do feel annoyed when she shows up. No characters were wasted or useless. I also liked that the parents in the book weren’t just in the background; they care about and protect their children. Even if they don’t always do the right thing, they’re still there.

The bottom line: Get Happy feels like a fun, light, easy read but it has some pretty deep feelings to get through. I really enjoyed it and am happy that I was able to read it.  Recommended for anyone who likes good contemporary, realistic fiction.

Rating: 7.5/10

ARC Review: Oh Yeah, Audrey! by Tucker Shaw

Oh Yeah, Audrey! by Tucker Shaw has a cute premise but the execution fails to impress.

Oh Yeah, Audrey!Author: Tucker Shaw

Genre: Young adult, contemporary

Publisher: Amulet Books

Publication Date: October 14, 2014

256 pages

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Amulet Books for letting me read this.

Oh Yeah, Audrey! is about Gemma Beasley, a 16-year-old obsessed with Audrey Hepburn and her character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly Golightly. Gemma and her two internet best friends, Brian and Trina, started the Tumblr blog of the same name as the book, and they have planned to meet up for the first time in NYC for a special showing of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But after meeting up with everyone, she’s swept off her feet by a cute boy with a lot of money.

This book is a ridiculously fast read; I read it in just a few hours. It was okay, but I wouldn’t say it was great…maybe not even good. It felt really unrealistic: everything in the book was constructed to move the story, and the characters, along to teach them something about themselves and life. The decisions that Gemma made were because the author wrote her making the decisions; Gemma herself didn’t make them. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but when I read a book, I want it to seem like the character is doing the things. I don’t want to be pushed out of the story because it is so obvious it’s a work of fiction.

As for the writing: the descriptions felt really superficial and the character had no real depth to them. On the other hand, there were some good descriptions though:

“She doesn’t hold back her opinion. Like two opposite people in one. But I like them both and, besides, who isn’t at least two opposite people in one? Sometimes I feel like four or five people during the course of the day.” *

But then there were some bad descriptions too. I was surprised to find out that this was not a debut novel.

Gemma comes across as seriously immature, which I’m not sure was the point or not. The end of the novel does have more of a quiet emotional moment that did help the novel in my opinion. I wish that more of the novel were like that. Gemma has recently lost her mother, but this doesn’t really resonate in the book. Rather, Gemma (or the author) brings it up when she wants sympathy.

The bottom line: This was a really cute idea that just fell a little flat for me in its execution. I think bigger fans of Breakfast at Tiffany’s (not saying I’m not a fan; just saying super fangirls like Gemma) will enjoy the correlation to the movie and references to Audrey Hepburn. Not a memorable book for me.

Rating: 5 – take it or leave it

*Quotes taken from an advance copy of the book. Note that they might change in the final edition.

ARC Review: Virgin by Radhika Sanghani

VirginTitle: Virgin

Author: Radhika Sanghani

Genre: Contemporary, new adult

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: August 5, 2014

Kindle edition: 304 pages

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

How did I get this book: Netgalley

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Berkley for letting me read this.

Let’s start with a brief synopsis from Goodreads:

Okay, I admit it…I didn’t do it.
This is normal, right?  I mean, just because everyone I know has talked like they’ve already done it doesn’t mean that they’re telling the truth…right?
It’s not like I’m asking for that much. I don’t need the perfect guy. I don’t need candlelight or roses. Honestly, I don’t even need a real bed.
The guys I know complain that girls are always looking for Mr. Right—do I have to wear a sign that says I’m only looking for Mr. Right Now?
Sooooo…anyone out there want sex? Anyone? Hello? Just for fun?
I am not going to die a virgin. One way or another I am going to make this happen.
Hey, what have I got to lose? Besides the obvious.

What I thought:

*PARENTAL ADVISORY ADVISED for this review. It may be unsuitable for young readers.*

If you couldn’t tell from that synopsis, this book is clever, laugh-out-loud funny, and well, actually quite meaningful and honest. This book is an authentic and evocative portrayal of what it’s like growing up in a society so obsessed with sex and whether or not you’ve had it. It’s about relationships and yes, sex, including all the parts of sex that you don’t normally discuss with people – well, personally, I’ve never discussed the state of my [WARNING: might be something icky you don’t want to read] pubes with my friends. I think, just like the blog that two of the  main characters start, this book can be a bit of a go-to for teenage girls who don’t get to talk about this stuff or have a lot of questions about all things sex. I do think some people will not want to read a book that gets as graphic as this, so I will say that you should avoid it if you don’t want to read about a girl learning how to give a BJ (via YouTube instructional video) or whether or not she should shave her pubes. I was fine with most of it, but there was one part that was a little too gross for me. Ellie, the main character, goes into a lot of detail about the fact that she’s a virgin, and we get her SUPER awkward stories about what she has done. However, she once says that she is [possibly inappropriate for young readers] “definitely going to give him access to my untouched hymen tonight.” GROSS. That phrasing was unnecessary, I think.

On the other hand, Ellie is honest about her sex life (or lack thereof). Her thoughts on sex and pubes and everything else felt so true and relatable. Again, I don’t usually discuss these types of things, but what girl hasn’t thought about all of this? She’s pretty self-deprecating in the beginning and not accepting of her own virginity (though no one else seems to really care that much), but she grows a lot in the book. The book is also written conversationally, so it was like the reader was discussing everything with Ellie (graphic or romantic or otherwise) like we were chatting over a beer at a pub.

Two things that irritated me: Ellie and her friend Emma start a blog about vaginas. A vagina blog. So they call it a vlog. Now if you’re someone who likes YouTube or the internet, you know a vlog is actually a video blog (like TheVlogBrothers or Tyler Oakley or Danisnotonfire). Every single time the word vlog was mentioned in this book, I had to remind myself it wasn’t a video blog. That got annoying. The author is young; she should’ve known what a vlog was. I just think a different word should’ve been used. Also, Ellie worries about whether she’ll get “Magna Cum Laude” or “Summa Cum Laude” with her degree. This may not bother everyone, but this book is set in London; in the UK, these types of designations are not given (I checked with my Scottish friend). Again, this won’t bother everyone, but it got on my nerves. It was probably the publisher trying to help Americans understand, but they left in things like a “First” degree (actually written as 1st in the UK usually) and “revising” (which means studying). I know these two things were small, but they irritated me so I wanted to mention them.

The bottom line: Virgin is a highly entertaining, funny, relatable, honest read. I think it will be good for teenage girls who have questions about sex or virgins who want to know more or really anyone who is or wants to be sexually active. It’s a very enjoyable read.

Rating: 8 – freaking fantastic

Reading next: Struck by Lightning by Chris Colfer

Book Review: One Past Midnight by Jessica Shirvington

One Past MidnightTitle: One Past Midnight

Author: Jessica Shirvington

Genre: YA, Sci-fi

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Publication Date: July 22, 2014 (TODAY!)

Hardback: 352 pages

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

How did I get this book: Netgalley

NOTE:I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Bloomsbury USA Childrens for letting me read this.

Let’s start with a brief synopsis from Goodreads:

For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she Shifts to her ′other′ life – a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she′s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she′s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.

With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments which bring her dangerously close to the life she′s always wanted… But just what – and who – is she really risking?

What I thought:

As you can probably guess, this novel is about a lot of the big choices we must make in life when it comes to love and life. One Past Midnight is very thought-provoking and it makes you consider which choice you would make if you were in Sabine’s place: would you choose the life where you’re wealthy and have the “perfect” life (aka divorced parents, a controlling boyfriend, and two jerk brothers) or the middle class family (with the alcoholic father but loving little sister)?

Shirvington is really great at world building and she has laid out all of the details for Sabine’s shift: do injuries in one world translate to the other? What happens if she goes to her other home while in the opposite body? These were all questions I was ready to be asking as I finished the novel, but everything I was wondering about, Shirvington answered. Well, except: How did this happen to Sabine? Why does she have two lives???

Sabine is realistic though I found her kind of obnoxious at times. She’s extremely superficial, especially when she is in her Wellesley body, which is the wealthier of the two. I feel like we got way too many descriptions of her clothes and what she and her friends looked like when they went out. Even when she’s in her Roxbury body, which was more middle class and where she supposedly cared less about her looks, she was obsessed with getting her miniskirts and shirts perfect. I got annoyed with her when she would go on for paragraphs about her looks. She was selfish too, which I think came into play in the novel and was resolved; you definitely can’t say that Sabine didn’t grow throughout the novel – A LOT.

So we’ve got two love interests here: one is Dex, Sabine’s boyfriend in her Wellesley life who makes my skin crawl (he makes Sabine’s skin crawl too) and Ethan, who comes into her Roxbury life kind of out of nowhere. I know that Dex is supposed to be Sabine’s constant in her Wellesley life, but I honestly don’t understand why she stayed with that guy for so long when even she didn’t like him, and I think it took too long for her to realize this. She’s been talking the whole book about how she can barely stand him (she counts the seconds when they kiss!) and then about halfway through says to herself that maybe she shouldn’t be with him? Hello!

I loved Ethan, but I don’t know if I really felt any of Sabine’s emotions in regards to anything else until the very-sad-part which I won’t give away. As much as I enjoyed the story, it was, at times, really hard to connect with her. Ethan was dark and brooding and mysterious and total eye candy for my mind. Ha. I don’t want to give anything away, but THE FEEELLLSSS. Oh man.

I’d like to also say that I completely saw the end coming, but I won’t say that I wasn’t super happy when it did. I was definitely smiling.

The bottom line:

Overall, I really liked this book. It was a pretty quick read and I loved Sabine’s growth. Her Shifting was really interesting and so well developed. It was sometimes hard to connect with Sabine, but I felt all the emotions at the end. This was an emotion and compelling story. I’d recommend it for sure, especially just so you can meet Ethan.

Rating: 7 – pretty good

Reading next: Saga [volume 3] by Brian K. Vaughan

ARC Review: Rich Kids of Instagram

Rich Kids of InstagramTitle: Rich Kids of Instagram

Author: The Creator of Rich Kids of Instagram & Maya Sloan

Genre: Pop Culture, New Adult, Fiction

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication Date: July 8, 2014

eBook: 336 pages

Stand alone or series: Standalone

How did I get this book: NetGalley

NOTE:I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Gallery Books for letting me read this.

Let’s start with a brief synopsis via Goodreads:

Based on the wildly popular blog “Rich Kids of Instagram,” a dishy and hilarious novel about the intersecting lives of the world’s most extravagant, unapologetically uber-rich teenagers.

The “Rich Kids of Instagram” are not your typical well-to-do brats. These “kids” drive Ferraris, fly to their weekend getaways in private jets, and post self-indulgent photos of themselves online as frequently—and as wantonly—as they blow wads of cash. Not to mention that they’re more involved in sex, drugs, and power plays than most people twice their age.

Drawing from the ten most frequent contributors to the popular blog of the same name—which receives an average of 850,000 unique visitors a month and has been featured on 20/20, The New York TimesThe Washington PostForbesThe AtlanticBuzzfeedGawker, and others—Rich Kids of Instagram revolves around a core group of spoiled young people, from a Southern Belle poultry-empire heiress to a media mogul’s driven daughter and an old-money rifle heir with a Mayflower legacy; to a nouveau riche outsider who is thrust into the members-only universe of the .1%, with scandalous results.

In a world that is smaller, more connected, and more competitive than ever, where nothing is off limits, some kids are just trying to make a buck—or ten thousand. Prepare to be wowed by this saucy, compulsively readable book about the hilarious display of extravagant wealth and the teenagers who have fallen into it.

What I thought:

So if you didn’t know, this book is based on the Tumblr, Rich Kids of Instagram. The tagline of the blog says, “They have more money than you and this is what they do.” Before I saw this book on NetGalley, I’d heard of the blog, but I had never visited. Why would I want to look at pictures from douchey teens bragging about their money? I wouldn’t. I’m not really sure why I requested this book on NetGalley. I suppose, for me, there’s a difference between being forced to look at their wealth and just reading about it, especially if it’s fiction.

I think I sat down to read this book expecting to absolutely hate it, and I did and didn’t. I had my ups and downs with this book. It’s told from the perspective of six “rich kids” who range from total psychotic bitches to strange, new age sorta-hippies. While the kids themselves got on my nerves more than once, Sloan has a knack for creating unique perspectives. I have had problems in the past with books that are told from different, first person perspectives that were indistinguishable, but I was able to tell which of Sloan’s characters were telling the story.

On the other hand, I think there were TOO many characters giving their perspective and backstories and talking about their craziness. I was okay with it when we were reading from Annalise’s (the daughter of a media mogul) and Cordelia’s (a Southern belle who takes Annalise’s dream right from under her nose) perspectives; they were strong woman fighting for what they wanted, even if it wasn’t always in the most respectable way (scratch that, it was never respectable). It was fun seeing things through Cordelia’s eyes, who was constantly upbeat and positive, and then seeing Cordelia through Annalise’s eyes; I actually saw Cordelia as the hillbilly that Annalise saw her as (again, Sloan is great at making perspectives distinguishable) and it made me laugh when Annalise said, “I mean, she hardly speaks English.” Though I liked the two of them, I seriously couldn’t stand Desy (a wannabe pop star who is basically bipolar) and I thought Christian (a foreign royal who wants to design jewelry) was completely unrelatable and boring, as well as a total idiot.

Another thing I didn’t like was that there wasn’t really any concept of time. In each chapter there are several sections; you’ll read a few paragraphs then there’ll be a divider and the next few paragraphs are usually a flashback. You don’t really know how long ago any of this happened, and it made it hard to understand the characters’ changes, the friendships made, and the life lessons learned. In addition to this, I thought the excessive drug and alcohol abuse was a little over-the-top. Of course, I’ve never partied with these people, so I don’t know for sure, but it was pushing the line of believability for me.

The bottom line:

Rich Kids of Instagram is a sometimes interesting, sometimes boring and annoying look into the lives of those who have WAY more money than me. It is a super quick read. I was able to completely distinguish between the SIX different perspectives, but I did prefer some to others and I thought there were a few too many. I’ve heard if you like Gossip Girl, you might like this book, but I’ve never read or watched that so I can’t be sure. I don’t think I’d really recommend this book.

Rating: 5 – Take it or leave it

Reading next: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern