October 13, 2015

Mini-Reviews: This Ordinary Life + A Step Toward Falling

I've been doing mini-reviews for New Adult and Romance books only but I've decided to do the same for YA books when the mood strikes!

[Publisher: Luminis Books, Inc. | Pub. Date: 10/1/2015 | Genre: YA Contemp]
This was an unexpected gem! I was drawn to it initially because the main character, Jasmine Torres, dreams of becoming a radio host and she’s vying for an internship with a New York City radio station. It felt different and fun and as I read, it’s a theme that continued throughout. Even though there is a lot of drama too, it just never felt over-the-top. Which is absolutely attributed to Jasmine’s no-nonsense attitude. Her younger brother suffers from seizures and because their mother is an alcoholic (something she vehemently denies), that means Jasmine has to step in as mom 99% of the time. The obvious love she and her brother share was incredibly heartwarming. As someone who is very close to her family, that appealed to me greatly. Then she finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her and what does she do? Breaks up with his ass and doesn’t look back. (My kind of gal!) She has a best friend who is so supportive and I just loved their repartee. And lastly, there’s Wes. Like her brother, he has epilepsy but lives a normal life which gives her hope. He’s cute, funny and obviously into her. The way he adorably pursues her was just too sweet for words. The author managed to squeeze in all these characters really well, allowed us to connect with Jasmine’s day-to-day life (the radio stuff was so interesting!) while teaching me more about the trials of epilepsy. All in all, great book!

Do I recommend? Yes! This one is flying under the radar and I urge you to check it out.

[Publisher: HarperTeen | Pub. Date: 10/6/2015 | Genre: YA Contemp]
The story in A Step Toward Falling is one that will make you think and question what you would do in a situation like the one described here. Belinda, a girl with developmental disabilities, is attacked one night at a football game. Two of her fellow classmates, Emily and Lucas, witness the attack and in fear or panic, freeze up and do nothing. When the school finds out, both Emily and Lucas are required to perform community service at a center for disabled people. The chapters alternate between Emily and Belinda’s point-of-views as they each deal with the aftermath. Belinda’s perspective was eye-opening in a lot of ways. We learn a lot about her disability, what she’s capable of (and vice-versa), her hopes and dreams. But it was also difficult to read because as a reader, I knew she was interpreting situations differently from the reality and it could be uncomfortable. That was definitely the strength of her chapters though. With Emily, she’s never really fit in and doesn’t have the best support system (one of my gripes about the book) but she’s always been the type of person to do the right thing. Until that moment with Belinda. It would be easy to judge her but instead, I chose to be open to her personal journey of becoming engaged with her community service, trying to make things up to Belinda and discovering who she really wants to be.

Do I recommend? I liked the story itself a lot and I was interested in the characters (Belinda, Emily and Lucas) all individually but I didn’t feel as though I got to know them as well as I had hoped.

2 comments:

  1. I'm hoping to read This Ordinary Life soon (I'm trying to prioritize the shorter books I got at BEA) so I'm really excited to hear that you enjoyed it. Yay!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This Ordinary Life sounds like a really great read! (And I really love that cover.) After reading your review for it, I feel like I should give it a shot myself since you enjoyed it so much.

    ReplyDelete