Playing With Matches

cover artSuri Rosen’s debut novel demonstrates a talent for narration. The quick witted observations of the narrator reminded me of Gilmore Girls (a show I adore). The writing flows, in an easy conversational manner that will work for reluctant readers.

The novel explores the difficulties of finding love. It shows readers the extra challenge that finding someone within a small faith community can be, especially with the added pressure from family to settle down when you’re young. The dishonesty,divas, and other dilemmas are cause for both distress and amusement. The protagonist is impulsive and irresponsible but has many endearing qualities.

I’m skeptical about the wisdom to rush back into to dating after a broken engagement, the hasty proposals, and many other tidbits of advice that she offers with some success to her “clients”. Perhaps the reason for so many broken engagements in the story is people didn’t get to know each other first?

It was an amusing read, with a writing style I enjoyed. I think it will be most popular with Jewish teen girls, but you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy it. Red Sox fans will probably find more in common with the characters as well.

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The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing

Ck. Kelly Martin’s novel The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing is an emotional drama.

The book explores the balancing act of being in high school, where girls are ostracized for being too uptight and chaste, or are taunted and humiliated for being too promiscuous. This is amplified with the prevalence of social media because word or even video of every mistake can spread quickly. The conflicting pressures from boys, friends, and family can be overwhelming as demonstrated in the novel.

cover artSerena has a complicated family life that has an impact on the rest of her relationships. Her favourite brother’s drug problems and disappearance leave her with mentally absent parents. Her other brother’s fame overshadows her, as she struggles to deal with the loss.

The author does a fantastic job of making the everyday struggles resonate. From insecurity about her weight, to a mix of excitement and shame about her sexuality, to the disillusionment she feels about her role-model turning out to be flawed- Serena feels like a real person.

Teens looking or realistic drama will enjoy this.