Thursday, 17 May 2012

"Breaking Beautiful" by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Description from Goodreads:

Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.

When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? Debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf takes readers on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and, ultimately, forgiveness.

After receiving a Kindle for my birthday, I immediately downloaded quite a few books that I knew I couldn't buy in the UK (English publishers suck). Breaking Beautiful was one of them. It immediately caught my eye on the book blogs and Goodreads, and I couldn't wait for it to come out so I could read it. 
Allie was a really great character. She actually felt like a person, and her voice spoke to me. I think I read about twenty chapters in one day, I was that desperate to finish it and find out what happened in the end. The murder mystery really reeled me in, and the ending wasn't what I expected at all. I had all these ideas and clues about what happened and who did it, and then it turned out it didn't happen like that.
Jennifer Shaw Wolf really created some wonderful characters in her debut. Allie and Blake had a fab relationship, and it really moved me to see their feelings change and their personalities grow. Allie's brother Andrew was also fantastic, and my heart ached for him when Allie described what their lives could have been like. Caitlyn, James, Angie, Allie's parents, and Trip's parents were all good secondary characters with different characterisations, but I really hated Trip and everything that he put Allie through. 
In conclusion, an amazing debut from a talented new author which kept me on the edge of my seat, and churned my emotions like a whirlpool! I can't wait for Jennifer Shaw Wolf's next novel, Shards of Glass!

Rating: A+

"The Duff" by Kody Keplinger

Description from the book:
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper knows she's not the hottest girl at school, but when school jock and resident moron Wesley casually refers to her as a Duff - Designated Ugly Fat Friend - the gloves are off! If there's a thin line between love and hate then Bianca has crossed it. She just never thought she was capable of breaking anyone's heart...

I never thought this one would come out in the UK, but eventually it did and I'm very pleased. The Duff was a great book, full of laughs, hot guys and advice. Bianca was refreshing - I'm not used to reading books with main characters like her in them. She was sassy, realistic, witty, and she wasn't afraid of being herself. Yet, this also hid her insecurities about herself, which loads of girls have, and when Wesley really plays on those insecurities, well, "the gloves are off!".
Her best friends, Jessica and Casey, were nice and likable, but I didn't understand why Bianca felt she had to keep so much from them. She knew she wasn't perfect, but the way she kept secrets from them made me think she thought she had to be...? Anyway, at first I thought Wesley was awful too, but my heart thawed like Bianca's did. I'm glad it wasn't instant either, because that would have been totally unrealistic. Their relationship was weird at first, but then it got better, and then she started going out with another guy, but I don't really understand what she liked about him, or why they were together, really. He was like, the total opposite of Bianca, whereas Wesley really got her sense of humour and she could be herself around him. I really liked the ending - it was really sweet!
Overall, The Duff was a fab read with just the right mix of humour, romance, and realism.

Rating: A-