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BookChick (Simcoe, ON Canada)

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Girl Crazy
Girl Crazy
by Russell Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.60
14 used & new from CDN$ 0.05

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intense and raw, July 20 2010
This review is from: Girl Crazy (Paperback)
Justin, an unhappy teacher at a community college in Toronto, has just gotten out of a relationship with the reserved Genevieve. They're carrying on an awkward pretense at being friends when he meets Jenna, a girl in her early twenties who is having a miscarriage when he overhears her conversion on a payphone and decides to help. Justin gets her to a hospital where she will be looked after by a friend of his, a medical resident, and slips her his number before he leaves. Jenna calls a few days later and they get together for coffee. Justin is attracted to her toughness, her vulnerability, and her blatant sexuality. Justin loves women, women of all shapes and sizes. He loves their breasts, their hair, their shape, their smell. Much of the novel is devoted to Justin's descriptions of the beautiful women that he encounters.

Justin and Jenna start having a relationship- one that it sexual and raw and tumultuous. Her erratic behaviour draws him in again and again, and he can't seem to let her go. When Justin finds out one of the secrets that Jenna has been hiding, will they be able to make it work, or will that be the end of the road for them?

If I had to describe "Girl Crazy" in one word, it would be "intense". The whole ride is intense, and exhausting, but only in the way that something can be exhausting if it is so new to you. Jenna's world, a world of ripe sexuality and drugs and guns, is so different from the life that Justin led before he met her, yet he is inexplicably drawn to it. If I got to describe this novel in another word, it would be "dark". At times reading the book is like being exposed to the dark underbelly of humanity. Everything that your parents warned you against is in here, from the drugs to the underground poker games to the dimly lit insides of a strip club.

Reading "Girl Crazy" was a little like being a voyeur. We are privy to many of the thoughts that Justin has, and he has a fixation with women. We read about how he feels about women and their various parts, and we read about how the tiniest sliver of silk or a brightly coloured headband can turn him on. It was fascinating, and wasn't pornographic but rather psychological. It was like studying the inside of the stereotypical male brain.

I'm going to caution those who don't appreciate sex in their books to stay away from this one; there is lots in here. However, if you can handle that stuff, "Girl Crazy" is the fascinating portrait of what makes a man tick, while offering insights into the lives of those who tend to make bad decisions.

Get Lucky: A Novel
Get Lucky: A Novel
by Katherine Center
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.68
60 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A fun, interesting read, July 20 2010
This review is from: Get Lucky: A Novel (Paperback)
Sarah Harper has just been fired from her job in New York after she makes a questionable decision by sending out an e-mail filled with breasts to every single person on her work e-mail list- including the interns and the bosses. Thankfully, it's Thanksgiving and she's headed home to Texas to spend time with her sister and her husband, as well as her father, who hasn't been the same since their mother died. When she gets to Texas, her sister Mackie tells her that she and her husband, Clive, have given up on being able to have a child. Their fertility doctor explained that Mackie's uterus is just not able to sustain a pregnancy. Combine a heartbreakingly decorated nursery at Mackie's house with Sarah's deep love for her sister, and you have a dangerous combination. Sarah insists in carrying Mackie's child- a child who will be a product of Mackie and Clive's genetics, but who Sarah will give birth to. It will give Sarah a chance to so something good for once, plus it will give her time to regroup from her New York mistake.

What the sisters weren't considering was how weird it can be to carry your sister's child. Or how Sarah will feel when an ex-boyfriend shows up and Sarah starts to have feelings for him. Or what will happen when someone from New York calls Sarah up asking for a huge favour. All she needs to do is get through the next nine months and she'll be home free- or so she thinks.

I'll admit that I was a little worried about how Katherine Center would handle the issue of surrogacy in "Get Lucky". Having done some research on it in University, I know that it is a sensitive and deeply emotional topic. I needn't of worried. Center handles it with grace- both addressing it and not making it a focus at the same time. We don't get the sense that Sarah really connects with the babies growing in her belly throughout the pregnancy, and the focus is not on how many times they kick or the various doctor's appointments. Instead the focus is on Sarah, handling new emotions, coming to terms with her time in New York, and looking for love and a lasting relationship even while carrying her sister's babies.

The characters were quirky and lovable- Mackie, determined to make Sarah's pregnancy a healthy one, Howard, her new boss who hates everyone, and Everett, the old highschool flame. I especially loved Dixie, Sarah's father's fiancee, with her quirky personality and her ability to continue being true to herself despite the opposition from everyone around her. The characters and their various personalities are part of what made this book so enjoyable.

In short, "Get Lucky" is a fun summer read, which manages to deal with a major topic in a respectful and serious way without turning the book into an epic debate on the subject. I enjoyed it, I loved the ending, and I'm definitely going to read Center's other books now that I've read this one.

Pieces of Happily Ever After
Pieces of Happily Ever After
by Irene Zutell
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 3.15
35 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A warm story about friendship and parenthood, July 20 2010
Alice Hirsch is floored when her lawyer husband, Alex, leaves her for his celebrity client (and notorious diva), Rose Maris. Alice is left in their home, the brand-new home that they just finished building, caring for their 5 year-old daughter, Gabrielle, and trying to figure out what in the heck happened to her marriage.

Suddenly Alice, who was never a fan of the spotlight, is a paparazzi magnet. An almost-divorced paparazzi magnet. Having never felt at-home in California, Alice doesn't really have any friends to turn to, other than long-distance ones. Shortly after her world is turned upside-down, Gabby starts kindergarten, and Alice makes an effort to get to know the other children's moms, knowing that she needs women around her to help her through her own personal tabloid hell.

Luckily, the friends that she makes are unconventional but warm and welcoming. They include a soccer mom who wears Winnie the Pooh sweaters, a former porn star trying to turn over a new leaf, and a woman with mysterious and chronic headaches. As Alice navigates through her newly single life, she tries to determine what it is that she really wants. If Alex leaves Rose, does she want him back? What kind of parent does she want to be? Most importantly, who has she become, and what does this new Alice want out of life?

My description of "Pieces of Happily Ever After" just doesn't do it justice. There is just so much going on in this book! Alice, the main character, is dealing with so much. Her husband has undergone a complete transformation in both personality and appearance and has gone off with a movie star, of all people. Her daughter, Gabby, is adorable, yet a handful. She's a subject of fascination for the paparazzi, who want to know all about the abandoned wife of Rose Maris' new boyfriend. Her mother has Alzheimer's and is deteriorating quickly. Despite the fact that there is so much going on, it never feels like too much. It just feels like Alice is doing her best to cope, getting through things one day at a time.

I really appreciated the secondary characters in the book as well. Faye, a psychic who Alice's friend introduces her to, is funny and a calming presence. Ruth, a former porn star trying to erase her past, is so earnest and such a good friend to Alice that I couldn't help but love her. Trinity, her mother's caregiver was also a welcome addition to the book, bringing a whole new dimension to the friendships that blossom over the course of the story. John, the paparazzo with heart was my absolute favourite secondary character.

I also loved the underlying princess theme. Gabby, Alice's daughter, is obsessed with Disney princesses in all shape and form. She's convinced that every woman is a damsel in distress, every man a Prince Charming. Irene Zutell manages to weave this into the larger storyline, emphasizing how life is not all "happily ever afters", but rather what we choose to make it. I'm going to read this one again just to see if I missed any of these clever references the first time around.

I only have one small criticism. I didn't like that Alice called her mother "mommy". It infantilized her. I don't know many grown women who still call their mothers "mommy", and I cringed a little each time that word appeared. However, this was a very minor criticism, and definitely did not detract from the book overall.

Irene Zutell's Pieces of Happily Ever After was alternately hilarious, heartbreaking, and warm. A reflection on friendships, parenthood, and marriage, I thoroughly enjoyed her novel and will definitely keep my eyes open for her future releases.

Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many
Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many
by Heather Wardell
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 23.81
9 used & new from CDN$ 23.80

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and fast-paced fiction, July 20 2010
Madeline-Cora Spencer (better known as MC) has had enough of the dating scene and is looking to settle down and meet someone special. Going against her fiercely private nature, she signs up one drunken night to be on the show Find Your Prince, a reality dating show similar to The Bachelorette. She's surprised and a little excited when she is actually chosen for the show, but is beyond horrified when she finds out that she's been tricked by the producers. Rather than appearing on a show where seven men vie for her affection, she will be appearing on a show that is a combination of Stranded! (Survivor) and Find Your Prince. Making MC's nightmare even more vivid is the fact that she knows the men that she'll be stranded with- each and every one is an ex-boyfriend from her past. With no way to back out without coughing up $250 thousand dollars in penalties, it's off to a remote island that will be home for the next 21 days in an attempt to win the $1 million dollar prize.

The producers of the show have more unpleasant surprises up their sleeves, and by the time the 21 days are up, MC may have had enough surprises for a lifetime!

Reading "Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many" was more fun than watching reality TV! MC, the main character, was closed-off emotionally in many ways, yet you couldn't help but root for her to find happiness all the way through. The exes were all so different, and that kept things interesting, but they weren't so different that I couldn't imagine MC dating all of them. They all had things about them that were attractive, and they all had drawbacks as well. The whole scenario had a very "real" feel to it, as in I could imagine this show and the cast of characters actually being in existence.

Another aspect that I loved about "Seven" was that it brought the filming of reality TV to life for me. I've watched Survivor a whole bunch of times, but can honestly say that I've never wondered where they go to the bathroom. Seven addresses a lot of these issues; where people go to the bathroom, for example, or the logistics of signing a contract before you know what you're really in for. It was all really interesting stuff, and added an additional aspect to the book.

My favourite part had to be the love stories unfolding throughout the book. None were overdone, but all were fun. Most of them are secondary to the plot, and appropriately in the background, but my favourite one is between MC and one of her exes (I won't tell you which one, because that would ruin the fun!).

Heather Wardell has written a book that is fast-paced, creative and fun, and it does the women's fiction genre proud. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and recommend it to anyone looking for a fun read that will keep you smiling.

Finding Marco
Finding Marco
by Kenneth C. Cancellara
Edition: Hardcover
15 used & new from CDN$ 3.04

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great book for the armchair traveller, June 29 2010
This review is from: Finding Marco (Hardcover)
Mark is the CEO of a company dedicated to making fuel-efficient vehicles. When he tries to take the company in a new direction, one that will cause short-term debt, but long-term growth, the board of directors shoots him down, afraid of their stock going down for a couple of years, but unable to recognize that their denial to move forward will eventually put the company under. After much soul searching Mark determines that his ethics are being compromised, and may have been for many years, and he no longer wants to be a part of the company. Mark resigns and escapes to Acerenza, Italy, his place of birth, for refuge.

There Mark is transported back to his childhood and a place where things seem simpler and more pleasurable. He takes stock of the family vineyards, meets up with old friends, and celebrates an old-fashioned Christmas. Mark must decide if he wishes to return to Canada and join the corporate ranks once again, or if he is willing to give up his wealth and status in the pursuit of a happier future.

"Finding Marco" is the book of a man having a mid-life crisis. Instead of buying a new car or trading in his wife for a trophy wife, Mark longs for home. He longs for the sights and smells of his childhood, and luckily has a supportive wife and daughter who encourage him in his journey of self-discovery. That's what the underlying theme of the book is: self-discovery. Often we, as humans, become so caught up in money, and status, and the trappings of a technologically advanced world that we forget what it is like to experience the simple pleasures of life, and we forget what it is like to be truly happy. Mark finds that he is no longer happy living the status quo and decides to pursue those things that will make him a truly happy man.

I especially enjoyed the descriptions of Acerenza, Italy. I'm a bit of an armchair traveller, considering that I don't have the opportunity to travel often (and generally not as far as Italy), and I enjoyed the descriptions of the everyday life of those living there. Despite the fact that technology has been evolving there as well (in one part a friend of Mark brags that they now have cars and big-screen TV's), mules still abound, and people still take nightly strolls to talk to neighbors and "show off their finery". Doors aren't locked, and are often left wide open so that neighbors can come calling. These descriptions were enchanced by the fact that Kenneth Cancellara is actually a native of Acerenza, Italy, and could draw from his own memories while writing these descriptions.

One small problem that I had with the book was the fact that it sometimes felt like I was reading a biography, rather than fiction. I would have enjoyed more detail on the daily life of the character Mark, and I would have liked to understand his thoughts more. Instead I found that the book was very event-focused at times, which detracted at times from the story itself.

Aside from that, this was an enjoyable story of mid-life, self-discovery, and a return to roots. I recommend it to armchair travellers such as myself, or to anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to change their path in life.

Husband And Wife: A Novel
Husband And Wife: A Novel
by Leah Stewart
Edition: Hardcover
23 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend this one to every woman that you know, June 29 2010
Sarah Price, mother of two small children and the wife of a fiction author, gave up her dreams of writing poetry to support the household. Her husband, Nathan, stays at home with the children and works on his novels. His upcoming novel, Infidelity, has received some fantastic pre-publication raves and everything is set to change for their family. That is until Nathan confesses that Infidelity is loosely based on his own personal experience- a year prior he cheated on Sarah while away at a writer's conference. Sarah is stunned by the revelation. She was under the mistaken impression that her marriage and home life was a happy, balanced one.

Sarah isn't quite sure how to proceed. Does she kick Nathan out? Does she stay with him and try to forgive him? She finds that neither answer is quite what she was looking for, and she sets out to try to reassemble the jagged pieces of both her life and marriage.

"Husband and Wife" is filled with lyrical prose, the kind that you want to say out loud and savour on your tongue. I practically devoured the beautiful words, as one would a particularly delicious dinner. For that reason alone I would have recommended the book, but Leah Stewart has filled the book with raw truths as well, making it that much more enjoyable. At first glance one may think that Husband and Wife is a reflection on marriage. It is, but it is so much more. It is a reflection on marriage, motherhood, parenthood, and losing oneself in the midst of all of the additional roles that we take on when we become responsible for others. There were so many instances in this book when I thought, "Yes! Leah Stewart really gets what it is like to be a parent and to have not one ounce of patience remaining in my person to be used on the kids. She understands what it is like to put the kids to bed at 6 o'clock just because I can't take one more minute of being responsible". Stewart has captured, and mananged to convey on paper, the all-consuming job of being wholly responsible for small children.

I don't know if there is much more that I can say about this book other than to tell you to read this one. Recommend it to the woman in your life, the mother, the wife, the sister, the friend. This is a book that women have to read, if only so that they understand that there is a person out there who understands what it is like to lose a little of your identity when you have children, but that it is never too late to get those pieces back.

So Much For That
So Much For That
by Lionel Shriver
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 32.99
10 used & new from CDN$ 3.04

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting and raw, June 29 2010
This review is from: So Much For That (Hardcover)
Shep Knacker, after building his handyman business his entire life, is finally rewarded when he sells it for a cool $1 million dollars. He's been saving for "The Afterlife", the journey he plans to take to Tanzania, the one with no return date. His wife, Glynnis, is less than sold on the idea of leaving America to live out their remaining days in a foreign country and has been clinging to their current life. Shep reluctantly returns to his old job, although this time he's an employee rather than the boss.

Shep finally concludes that there is no time like the present to start his retirement and tells Glynnis that he will be moving to Tanzania, with or without her. Glynnis drops a bomb of her own- she has cancer, and will require his health insurance in order to pay for her upcoming treatments. Shep returns to work as if nothing happened, but as his retirement nest egg shrinks significantly as a result of the out-of-pocket expenses he pays for Glynnis' treatments, his plans of escape seem further away than ever.

"So Much for That" is a commentary on what it's like to be a middle-class American, the nice guy, and a victim of the misleading and complicated health care system. It was kind of like the book version of Michael Moore's "Sicko", only fictional. It amazed me what the Knacker family had to go through in order to receive treatment for Glynnis' cancer, and they even had insurance! It seemed that every day Shep was on the phone with yet another branch of his insurance company, disputing yet another denied claim, and it certainly made me thankful for the Canadian health care system.

"So Much for That" is more than just a social commentary, and it became, for me, one of those books that I initially didn't expect to love, but ended up exceeding my expectations in every way. In fact, this book stayed with me long after I read the final chapter, and has a place of honour on my bookshelf. The characters, Shep, Glynnis, and friends Jackson, Carol, and Flicka, are vividly developed and quickly become people that I cared about. Even the distant Glynnis, at first holding a high opinion of herself as a gifted artist, despite the fact that she rarely takes the time to actually work on her art, grew on me as her story progressed. In fact, one of my favourite quotes in the book comes from the mouth of Glynnis. While ill she contemplates her lasting contributions to the world in general and says,

"She had cleaned things that only got dirty again. No one had ever put on a gravestone "Here Lies, etc., She Swiffered the Kitchen Floor."" (page 310 of the hardcover edition)

Lionel Shriver has written a story that was begging to be written. The ending had me both laughing and crying (as in actual tears being shed), and the rawness of the book shocked me at times (warning: this one is not for the faint of heart, as there are some rather graphic scenes). It's one of those books that will make you think, make you laugh, and it may even make you cry.

My Name Is Memory
My Name Is Memory
by Ann Brashares
Edition: Hardcover
42 used & new from CDN$ 0.32

5.0 out of 5 stars A story of love that transcends time, June 24 2010
This review is from: My Name Is Memory (Hardcover)
Daniel has "the memory", the ability to remember sizable portions of his past lives as well as the ability to recognize souls that he has met in previous lives. "The memory" is very rare, only one child born among thousands will have it, and having it can be both a blessing and a curse. Daniel can remember 552 Asia Minor, 1918 England, and 1972 Virginia, but what he remembers most clearly is her. He knows her best as Sophia, although in present day she has the name of Lucy, but she is the only one who he has ever truly fallen in love with. Their first encounter, in Asia Minor, was fateful, and Daniel spends much of his lives searching for her so that they can be reunited once again and so that he can atone for his past sins.

Lucy is in high school when she encounters the moody loner Daniel. For reasons that she can barely understand, she develops a full-on crush. Daniel appears not to notice her, but on the very last day of high school they have a strange interaction where Daniel calls her "Sophia" and asks if she remembers him. Lucy runs away from him and continues on with her life, but after an encounter with a psychic, she becomes determined to find him again. The only problem is that nobody knows where Daniel is now, or knows how to find him.

Suddenly desperate to find one another, Daniel and Lucy embark on a dangerous path, and they must overcome virtually insurmountable obstacles if they want to be together.

I have to confess something: I have never read a book by Ann Brashares. I've never read her wildly popular YA series "The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants", nor have I read her adult novel "The Last Summer (of You and Me)". Something about My Name is Memory attracted me to it right away; perhaps it was the story of everlasting love. I'm so glad that I read this book! It was amazing, and the touch of the mystical enchanted me. I love the idea that true love can last for more than a lifetime, that it can be essentially everlasting and can last over many lifetimes.

There were so many new and interesting concepts that were introduced to me in this book concerning past lives. I'm not sure how many of them are based on existing ideas and how many are a product of the author's imagination, but they really stuck with me. The one that was the most thought-provoking for me was the concept that dreams are often made up of memories from past lives. There were other interesting concepts in this book as well, such as young children remembering pieces of their past lives in their early years, but forgetting those pieces as they grow. And, of course, of love lasting for more than one lifetime. My Name is Memory offered me a different perspective on life as we know it, and it certainly gave me a lot to think about.

The characters in this book were so well developed, and I especially loved the character of Daniel. He was brooding and mysterious, but gentle and loyal at the same time. We get to know Daniel the best because the story alternates between the present day with Daniel and Lucy, and Daniel's past lives where we are given a glimpse into the different things that Daniel has experienced, as well as the different times that Daniel and Lucy have encountered one another. The switch between the past and the present day were both effortless and intricately researched, and as Daniel describes his previous lives I felt as I was there with him.

The only problem that I had with the book was the ending, because there were so many questions left unanswered. I am hoping that these questions only remain unanswered in this book because there will be a sequel to "My Name is Memory". I'm definitely not done with reading the story of Lucy and Daniel and I certainly hope that I will have a sequel to look forward to about love that transcends all else (Edited to add: I am so excited to find out that this will actually be part of a trilogy!).

J'adore New York
J'adore New York
by Isabelle Lafleche
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 19.99
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fresh and fun fiction!, June 23 2010
This review is from: J'adore New York (Paperback)
Catherine Lambert is thrilled when she applies for, and is offered, the opportunity to transfer from the Paris office of her prestigious law firm to the New York one. Catherine has always been a lover of fashion and can't wait to explore all that New York has to offer her.

What Catherine is not counting on is the fact that New York will be far more challenging that she initially anticipated. Catherine is under constant pressure to meet her billable hours quota, and her bosses aren't afraid to put more work on her desk. She thinks that she may be developing a friendship with someone in the office, but then she finds out that he is transferring to the Paris office. A client crosses a line with her and yet she is blamed for the fact that he can't keep her hands to himself. Catherine is just about ready to give up when she meets Jeffrey Richardson, a handsome and powerful client who is smitten with her. Suddenly her visions of what New York would be like are coming true: candlelit dinners and weekends away with a sexy man. But things seem a little too good to be true, and they are. Jeffrey makes a request of Catherine that complying with would go against every ethical fibre in her being, and she must decide how badly she wants to succeed in New York.

"J'adore New York" is the debut novel from Isabelle Lafleche, and I look forward to reading more from her. The story flowed, and she kept it interesting even when explaining technical laws. It probably helped that Lafleche was a lawyer in Quebec and she used her prior experience to explain the trickier terms to those of us knowing little about the law. Despite its length of 390 pages, there's lots going on and before I realized it, I was at the end.

I loved Catherine, the main character. She brings to New York her optimism and enthusiasm, and even when New York shows its true colours, Catherine tries to hold on these qualities in herself. She spends some time soul-searching, to discover what it is that she really stands for, and those parts of the book quickly became my favourites. The underlying message was that our future is not set in stone, but is rather a result of the choices that we make. Another stand-out character was the flamboyant and funny Rikash, Catherine's secretary in New York. Although he is a secondary character, he manages to keep things light, and I enjoyed the scenes he appeared in.

"J'adore New York" takes a serious topic- shady deals and corporate corruption- and manages to make it both fresh and fun. The result is the perfect beach read- light and easy to read, yet containing enough substance to make things interesting. It provides an insiders look into what really happens inside the walls of a prestigious law firm.

The Opposite of Me: A Novel
The Opposite of Me: A Novel
by Sarah Pekkanen
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.43
79 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling and well-written debut, June 22 2010
Lindsey Rose feels like she's finally going to get out of her gorgeous fraternal twin sister, Alex's, shadow: after many long hours spent working at an advertising agency, she is in line for the vice presidency. She'll be the youngest vice president that her company has ever had, and she will have everything that she's ever wanted in life. One devastating night takes it all out of her grasp, and she heads home to Maryland with her tail between her legs.

Lindsey has always been labelled "the smart one", while her sister has been labelled "the pretty one", so Lindsey decides not to tell her parents that she has lost her job and everything that she has worked so hard for, and instead decides to keep up the charade that she is scouting out a new location for her former employer.

As if living with her parents and being unemployed isn't bad enough, Lindsey is forced to become involved with Alex's wedding plans to Prince Charming. Watching her sister, who has always had everything handed to her on a silver platter, preparing to walk down the aisle nearly breaks her resolve to re-invent herself. However, when an old family secret is revealed, and when Alex faces some unexpected challenges, Lindsey and Alex discover that things are not always what they seem to be and they both come to see themselves and their role in their family in an entirely new way.

I love "The Opposite of Me"'s gorgeous cover. I mean, I'm not one to generally judge a book by its cover and all that, but it certainly helps when the cover is as appealing as this one! The picture on the cover is of the back of the heads of two women, one a brunette and one a redhead, and when we learn that Lindsey is a brunette and Alex is a redhead, it made sense. I love that it doesn't show their faces, I like being able to imagine that for myself.

Beyond the obvious cover appeal, the story itself flows effortlessly. This is at first glance a larger book (400 pages), but the story is so enticing that I couldn't put it down. I didn't find the dialogue awkward like I have in some debut books- awkward writing is one of my biggest pet peeves and usually detracts from my overall enjoyment of any book. Instead, I found a carefully plotted story with words that flowed, and it easily held my attention.

The characters in this book were especially well-developed. The emphasis is on Lindsey, and the story is from her point of view, but we do get strong glimpses into Alex's mindset. Lindsey and Alex's parents were hilarious, and they provided comic relief at the more serious parts, which helped the book to maintain its overall lighthearted tone.

The ending was predictable, but that made it no less satisfying for me. In fact, one of the things that makes me sigh wistfully at the end of the book is how good the ending was. After I was done reading "The Opposite of Me", you can rest assured that there was lots of wistful sighing.

Sarah Pekkanen has written a strong debut novel, and I'm thrilled that this will not be the last we hear from her (she's already submitted the manuscript for her next book). "The Opposite of Me" is a compelling look at the complicated bond between sisters.

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