Mini Reviews: Contemporary YA Edition

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Release Date: May 5, 2009

Source: Bought

Rating: 2 out of 5

I have heard SO many great things about Jenny Han’s Summer series. After much anticipating, I have come to the conclusion that The Summer I Turned Pretty was so, so disappointing. My (non-reader) twin sister rereads this series every year because she LOVES it. But I just found that Belly was so naive all the time and her summer was all about spiting Conrad by dating other boys (poor Cam). And the plot was a drag! The entire story seemed like a diary entry of what happened in her summer with occasional throwbacks. I also felt that there was no climax in the story, and that there was no “end goal” to the story, it just kept going on and on until Belly’s summer ended. After deciding that I wouldn’t be continuing this trilogy, I went and asked my sister what happened in the rest of the books, and let me say: I’m glad I’m not reading the rest.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

Release Date: March 1, 2012

Source: Bought

Rating: 4 out of 5

I’ve had Me and Earl and the Dying Girl on my shelves for awhile now, but since hearing that it’s becoming a movie, I was pretty curious to read it. But then I heard that it’s about a girl with cancer and then I’m like, “Oh god, please let it not be like The Fault In Our Stars“. AND IT’S NOT THANK THE LORD. This story is completely unique and unlike TFIOS. Jesse Andrews’ writing is a little reminiscent of Andrew Smith in Winger in style and voice. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is perceptive, thought-provoking, but also downright hilarious. Better yet, the main characters consist of two boys and one girl, and there’s no romance. Yep, you heard me. Additionally, the format of this story is told in a unique way; Greg Gaines uses the screenplay format and utilizes scripts, regular text, and lists. Initially I thought this was going to be either hit or miss, and I’m happy to say it was a hit for me.


Paper Towns by John Green

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Release Date: October 16, 2008

Source: Bought

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

I can honestly say that I’m getting tired of all of the hype around John Green & his movies, but I figured I would pick this one up because it’s the last JG book of his that I haven’t read that’s on my own bookshelf. I had pretty low expectations because I was reading it simply to not feel guilty about having an unread book that I bought; therefore, I ended up really enjoying Paper Towns more than I thought I would. The quality that really worked in Paper Towns was its humor. Quentin’s two best friends, Ben & Radar are so hilarious and pretty much kept the story going. I feel that Margo Roth Spiegelman was a little cliche manic pixie dream girl, but that seems to be Green’s formula. Of course, there is the insightful life morals that Green adds towards the end of the story that really forces the reader to think. Overall, Paper Towns was incredibly engaging and enjoyable – it’s probably my favorite book by Green.


4 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Contemporary YA Edition”

  1. There are a number of books I read back before I started the blog that I loved then and know I wouldn’t be as big a fan of now – I feel like that would be the case with Jenny Han’s series Jen! I might have enjoyed it years ago before I read a ton of outstanding YA, but now I’d probably get frustrated with Belly as you did. Glad the other two were winners though!


  2. Humor just doesn’t work for me, so I didn’t enjoy Paper Towns much, let alone Winger. I’m really interest in picking up Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl, though, because that movie looks wonderful.

    As for Jenny Han, I don’t know why other people love her. I only read her TATBILB series and I hated Lara Jean, I didn’t find it cute, and I just wonder why people even love her books.


  3. I use to adore The Summer I Turned Pretty when I was younger and just starting out in YA, I read it a few years later and could not get over how annoying and naive Belly was. The ending wasn’t great either, very anticlimactic


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