Tag Archives: Sarah Ockler

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids – Sarah Ockler

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids – Sarah OcklerTitle: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Publishing Info: June 2, 2015 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Contemporary, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 2, 2015
Related Posts: The Selective Collective features The Book of Broken Hearts, The Book of Broken Hearts, #scandal

    The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.
Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.
Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.
When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .
  

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I’ve had a two very different experiences with the two Sarah Ockler books I’ve read so far (THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS being a five-star read for me and #SCANDAL being a two-star) so I really wasn’t sure what to expect from THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS but I had of course hoped to call in the higher star-range but I really didn’t let the hype — my own hopes that it would be on the level of TBOBH and the hype that it was an adaptation of The Little Mermaid — get to me too much.

Firstly, let’s talk about The Little Mermaid aspect — THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS is very much an adaption and not a retelling. This is everything I love in adaptations too! There were pieces of the characters, plot, and setting that I was able to identify as parallels in both stories but CHASING MERMAIDS was very much its own story and had its own tale to tell. It made me smile to see a character named Sebastian but who is also nothing like the crab in personality or the concept of the main character having lost her voice but in a very different way. I loved how Sarah Ockler took those ideas in order to sort of bring the feel of The Little Mermaid in but really create an entirely unique story.

Okay, now into the feelings. I don’t know why but for some reason I expected a little more fluff from this book. Maybe that was The Little Mermaid hype in my head, expecting a Disney-ish feel but Sarah Ockler is definitely not one to shy away from the serious and the real and the raw emotion. (Actually, in an idea world, #SCANDAL would have had more serious and CHASING MERMAIDS would have had more fluff but that really stems from my expectations of the two going in.)  I wouldn’t say that this expectation ruined the book for me but it did hinder my enjoyment in just a tiny way. In another way, though, I appreciated the severity and emotion that Sarah Ockler brought to these characters and this world.

Despite that all, I just didn’t find myself making a big connection to the book. I loved the sleepy Oregon beach town on the fringes of being turned into a commercial tourist trap (and it sort of had a Goonies feel as the kids tried to prevent that from happening) and I really enjoyed Christian and everything that his family drama entailed… But for some reason I had a really hard time connecting with Elyse which is a serious problem since the book is entirely from her point of view. I really don’t know why that was but I just couldn’t seem to get on the same page with her and make that emotional connection. She always felt distant to me. It wasn’t that she was an unlikable character but trying to describe why I didn’t connect is kind of ineffable. It just was.

There were a lot of good things about THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS but the few negatives for me sort of took precedence in my mind. Once I was about 75% of the way through, I sort of felt myself just wanting to be done with the book and that’s not a good sign. I wasn’t excited for the ending and I wasn’t disliking the book but I was just read to be done. It was enjoyable and a really fun adaptation but didn’t leave a huge impression on me.

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

summer of chasing mermaids gr updates

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Elyse // Character Obsessions: Music, her voice, finding what feels like home.
I really can’t pin my finger on why I didn’t connect with Elyse but I just didn’t. There was nothing “wrong” with her character but this was one of those times where I felt like I just didn’t quite connect. I actually really liked so many things about her but I can’t find the words to say why we didn’t become friends in this book. I actually think it may be the fact that she lost her voice — not her ability to speak, but she lost her voice when her voice was taken from her. She still stood up for herself and made herself known but of course she’s very different from the way she once was and that part of her I only got to see in flashbacks. She struggles to maintain her voice without being able to speak and I feel like keeping those feelings tucked inside prevented me from liking her a little bit.
Christian // Character Obsessions: His brother, saving the town, sailing, girls.
Christian I did like. His feelings felt so genuine — maybe because he was more forth-coming with them? I really loved his relationship with his little brother too. It was so endearing. He’s not perfect but he’s trying to figure out what he really wants out of life. His family life isn’t easy so it’s just so satisfying when he finally stands up to his father!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Adaptations. I really, really love adaptations (vs retellings). I really like seeing those little pieces of a story within an original story. This wasn’t retelling the entire tale of The Little Mermaid but it was so much fun to see inspiration and pieces of it in there!
Left Me Wanting More: Fluff. Stupid, I know, but I wanted it to be a bit fluffier. I think that’s just my expectations versus what was actually written on the pages.

Addiction Rating
Read it

I wasn’t crazy about it but it was a really nice story and I was definitely interested! It got a bit slow for me towards the end, but I did still enjoy the book.

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BOOKS LIKE THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY     GOLDEN

Redesign Reactions [2]: The Book of Broken Hearts

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Welcome to Redesign Reactions, where we talk about books, covers, and what happens when new cover designs take over a series!

On this edition of Redesign Reactions, let’s talk about
THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS by Sarah Ockler!

THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS is actually the first Sarah Ockler book I read and so far, it’s still my favorite. Something I find so difficult is NOT judging a book by its cover. I actually read this for a group feature so I trusted my friends who had selected it and I’m so glad that the book was just absolutely fantastic for me… but I feel like it’s suffered some real cover struggles. Before I get into discussing, let’s take a look at old and new and see what you think:

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OLD COVER: Would I have picked this book up based off of the cover if I hadn’t been reading it with my friends? Truthfully, probably not. Not having read Ockler before, I had no incentive to pick up this book. A stock photo plus a boring purple background… it doesn’t tell me anything about the book and it’s not representative of the story in any way at all. Honestly, this is one of my least favorite covers EVER because it’s just such an obvious stock photo (I’ve seen it elsewhere before) and I feel like it’s such a misrepresentation of this beautiful book.

NEW COVER: So do I like the new cover better? Well… I think it’s better than the original. It was obviously selected to represent specific elements of the book (the motorcycle, the couple) but I’m DEFINITELY still not sold. Why does this couple look like they’re at least thirty years old when this is a YA book? And considering I can’t see a stitch of clothing on them, it almost feels like they’re some sort of stock romance cover models. The image in the rearview is still pretty cheesy too because you can tell they just fit the image into the mirror and it’s not like it’s really a reflection. (Okay, I’m being picky, but you get it.) And to get REALLY picky, I don’t like that motorcycle either. It was something I really loved about the book because my husband (who was only my boyfriend at the time that I read it) loves vintage bikes (he has one that he restored) and it just don’t look anything like a vintage motorcycle, or at least not what I was picturing. (I’ll be honest… I don’t know everything there is to know about vintage bikes so hey, it could be. But I don’t think it is.)

Which do I like better? I guess the redesign since they took the time to pick out things from the book to put on the new paperback cover… But I still feel like it was just kind of thrown together. Maybe it’s a budget thing? I have no idea how cover designs work, but I think this one could have been just a bit nicer and really been a much better cover!

So tell me! Which design do you like better? Take the poll below and let me know in the comments which you prefer and why! I’d love to hear your reactions!

[bctt tweet=”Which cover for The Book of Broken Hearts do you like better: Original or redesign? Take the poll at @bookaddictguide!” via=”no”]

 

#scandal – Sarah Ockler

#scandal – Sarah OcklerTitle: #scandal by Sarah Ockler
Publishing Info: June 17, 2014 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Edelweiss, Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 11, 2014
Related Posts: The Selective Collective features The Book of Broken Hearts, The Book of Broken Hearts, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

    A private, high school senior gets an unwanted turn in the spotlight when a Facebook scandal goes viral after prom in this comedic, edgy novel from the author of The Book of Broken Hearts and Bittersweet.Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time. When Cole surprises her at the after-party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of…and the biggest BFF dealbreaker ever. But before they get the chance to ’fess up to Ellie, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising photos of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral. By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal, just weeks before graduation. Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know that there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love…

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As I’m sure many of you know, I was a HUGE fan of the first Sarah Ockler book I read, THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS. I have to read any other ones besides that and #SCANDAL but I’ve heard good things about the rest! Obviously, when I went to start #SCANDAL, I had some pretty high expectations. I had heard from others who had already read it that it definitely was a different style than Sarah’s previous books and I tried to put myself in that mindset but… well… I failed.

#SCANDAL was VERY different for me as a reader. Not just in style but it didn’t even feel like I was reading the same author. All of the bare bones were there of the things that I loved in THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS – a strong female character, a rocky but great family relationship to explore, a super swoony boy, and friendship trials/tribulations – but none of those elements really seemed to work or pan out for me in #SCANDAL. Almost all of them felt completely undeveloped and overshadowed by the plot and without that feeling of reality from the characters and their relationship, I was just lost in the drama of the book.

#SCANDAL had some, well, scandalous topics. Lucy finds herself the victim of a social media explosion after being photographed kissing her best friend’s boyfriend (now ex, although that wasn’t news to the school yet) and an innocent situation turned completely and untruthfully raunchy. I really appreciated a lot of the situations that Lucy had to deal with and I thought Sarah Ockler did a great job of showing how social media really does affect our daily lives, especially when it comes to the relationships we have with our peers. Things can easily be taken out of context or thrown out of proportion because of the passive-aggressiveness of social media and many people end up not confronting issues head on. I think Sarah Ockler did a really great job of exploring those angles and I loved all of the questions both characters and reader came up with throughout the course of the book.
What I didn’t enjoy was how most of the characters handled these situations. If Lucy is innocent (we know she is), why didn’t she stand up for herself more? I’m not a vocal person by any means and I don’t really push myself into situations or even speak up for myself at times, but if I was involved in a scandal that was entirely untrue, you BET I would be all over the place defending myself, tracking down the culprit who was spreading rumors about me, and trying to make things right. Lucy was portrayed to be this kickass, zombie and guts-loving, nose ring-wearing girl and I felt like she didn’t once have that sort of personality outside of her videogames. I’m not saying that stereotypical look + attitude combination exists all the time, but it was surprising to me that she would be bold with her looks and actions everywhere EXCEPT for handling this scandal and her friendships. I was just really disappointed with her character.

I really wasn’t sold on many of the relationships, sadly. We find out many different things about Lucy’s relationship with her sister, but they’re only briefly touched upon and then quickly resolved. The swoony aspect between Lucy and Cole are totally glossed over because of the situation surrounding them. They had some REALLY cute moments but there were just so few and far between. I was really disappointed with the friendships too. Everything just seemed so catty and superficial. I just felt like every relationship in the book really could have benefitted from a bit more development.
I really just wasn’t a fan of the overall feel of the book, to be perfect frank. I can appreciate keeping a lighter tone with such a heavy topic, but I would have liked to see it addressed a bit more seriously. Again, all the messages were there but I didn’t quite like their delivery. The whole vibe was just a bit TOO Gossip Girl meets Mean Girls and I think it got a little too silly for my tastes. I would have liked this to feel a lot more realistic instead of getting carried away with being fun.

I’m just so sad that this one didn’t really seem to work out at all for me. I was really hoping for another knockout after THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS and I think that was really just a tough book to follow. The overall feel left me wanting so much more of the reality of each situation and everything just felt a little underwhelming.

THE VIEW FROM GOODREADS

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Lucy // Character Obsessions: Zombies, video games, Cole. 
Lucy, Lucy, Lucy. Why didn’t you stand up for yourself?!? That’s one thing I can’t understand. Why did no one encourage her to come forward and say or try to prove that all of these scandalous accusations were false? Why didn’t she WANT to? Who wants to be tortured and ridiculed like that? I mean, obviously she didn’t but that was just something that bothered me throughout the whole book. I also felt like she was so passive with her friendships as well. I really had just hoped for so much more from her.
Principal Zeff // Character Obsessions: Advice, cookies, Facebook.
WOW, this principal should be fired. Instead of solving problems and really taking matters into her own hands… She encourages Lucy to take the blame for her “actions”? Even though she knows she’s innocent of the accusations? And then comes up with BS activities to “help the students”. No. Just no. So unprofessional and just a terrible principal.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Issues. It was so interesting to really sit back and think about your social media presence as well as consequences for whatever you do, especially in a public setting. It’s terrible that people are actually treated that way, but unfortunately it’s something children and adults alike need to be aware of nowadays, especially with how easily things go viral on social media and the internet.
Left Me Wanting More: Gravity. I wanted things to be a bit more serious. Yes, the whole scandal did have its very serious consequences but I felt like the lighter tone of the book really just set a glaze over everything. Sugary, sweet fun. I think it should have been less cute, more serious. .

Addiction Rating
Skip it

I know others enjoyed it but I was just so disappointed in this one. I can’t really recommend it. If you want to try a Sarah Ockler book, I will forever recommend THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS. I personally plan on reading others to try to cleanse my palate.

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

       Blaze   The Break-Up Artist

The Selective Collective features #scandal: Round Table

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The Selective Collective reads #SCANDAL by SARAH OCKLER

The Selective Collective features #SCANDAL by SARAH OCKLER provided to us by SimonTeen for review and use in The Selective Collective feature!

For my part in this Selective Collective post, I got to ask some questions to the ladies of the Selective Collective and we had a lot to say regarding some of the major themes in #SCANDAL! This book sure raised a lot of questions about a lot of things, and we really had a great time digging into some serious topics!

Before we jump in, here’s a little info on the book:

#scandal sarah ocklerPublishing Info: June 17th 2014 by Simon Pulse
Source: Physical ARC provided to us by Simon Teen for review and use for the Selective Collective promotions

Book Synopsis: Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.
When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.
By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation.
Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.
There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love…
From Goodreads

ROUND TABLE: Chatting with The Selective Collective about #SCANDAL!

One of the things that really shaped #scandal was how each character reacted to the rumors and gossip both about themselves and involving others. If you were in Lucy’s shoes, how would you have handled the situation?
[Daphne // Gone Pecan] In a way, I understand and appreciate the way that Lucy handled the situation, but I was frustrated that she never defended herself. However, I do think that her defending herself may have made the situation worse.  I would have had to defend myself, however futile it would be.  I would also probably have written a long email or letter to Ellie explaining myself so that she would have my side of the story.  There would probably be a lot of flipping off involved, too, to her (my) classmates.  At the stage they were in the school year, right before graduation, I would not have felt the need to lay low and take the abuse.  I will probably not have to see these people again after graduation, so I would not feel the need to play nice.
[Candice // The Grown-Up YA] I’ve never really been the subject of major gossip mongering like this, so I can’t say that I would 100% react this way… but it just seems to me that if I had been a teenager who was basically labeled the school slut because of this situation, I’d probably go to my mom. Yeah, maybe that’s lame, but I think after a while the pressure and insults would be entirely too much for me to handle and I’d eventually break down and go to my mom. Now, as an adult in the situation? I’d probably still go to my mom, ha! But I don’t think the situation can be experienced the same way. As a teenager, it’s a lot harder to escape your situation. You HAVE to go to school Sure, you can change schools, but unless you can go to a private school or convince your school board to let you go to another school, you’re pretty much stuck. As an adult though… you can escape. You aren’t legally required to stay at your job, your church, your neighborhood, your social groups… I think that if I was facing as an adult what Lucy faced, I’d probably just leave. People will believe what they want, no matter what the truth is.

Do you think the strong presence of social media today shares the blame for the rapid spread of not only news but gossip? Should we blame social media or do you think it’s all about how people choose to use it?
[Brittany // The Book Addict’s Guide] Social media is always about how you use it but I do think people need to be careful how much they share. We’re just more in tune to technology nowadays — people always on their phones, always on the internet — and I think it’s only human nature to be drawn to the shocking and the surprising so gossip easily spreads like wild fire. I wouldn’t say social media’s to blame but I think it does help things easily get carried away and it easily fuels rumors or gossip — gossip that isn’t always true as we see in #SCANDAL too. It’s great for sharing with many people at once, keeping in touch with people without always having to directly be in contact with them, and getting general news from the public as well… But with anything, it has its downfalls!
[Candice // The Grown-Up YA] Absofreakinglutely. I don’t think you can put blame on social media because it’s basically like blaming a pen for writing a letter. The pen is not enchanted to write words; you have to pick it up and use it. Same with social media. Social media doesn’t start rumors. People do. I feel like over the recent past we’ve started saying how people are meaner, crueler, more gossiping… I don’t think that’s true at all. I think there are just increasing outlets (ie social media) for hateful and cruel thoughts to be spread. Until we change how we utilize social media, the spread of gossip will only increase.

Have you ever distanced yourself from social media because of drama?
[Sandie // Teen Lit Rocks] Definitely! I was involved pretty heavily in an online group that would often devolve into heated debates and angry “battles” about everything from midwifery to breastfeeding to sleep training to disposable diapers. Many of us were first-time moms who were militant and defensive about every aspect of motherhood, and it seemed every day brought a new round of ugly or passive-aggressive missives. Some of us, 12 years later, are still close or at the very least Facebook friends, but many relationships fractured or ended completely. I stopped posting as much in the mid 2000s after my second child was born, and I no longer had the tolerance or the need for the drama.

In times of crises, people’s true colors can really start to show. What do you think Lucy learned about herself? Her family? Her friends?
[Brittany // The Book Addict’s Guide] I was actually kind of upset with how Lucy handled the situation! I mean, I’m not the kind of person who usually stands up for myself or tackles confrontation and issues head on — let’s be honest. But I expected Lucy to really take action and not just be okay with taking the blame for things. I really wanted her to make sure that people knew she wasn’t really responsible for everything that happened. I also felt like her sister could have helped way more. I was thinking she would grow out of her TV star/spoiled brat phase with Lucy’s crisis and really act like a big sister should and stand up for her little sister… She DID but it wasn’t really the way I was expecting and I guess I just expected her to be more protective. I really was upset with her friends too. If I was Lucy, I’d be dumping some friends supersuperfast. Few people seemed to have her back BUT we also saw some whose true colors really shined when Lucy really needed someone to lean on.

Were you surprised by how Lucy’s friends and peers handled the scandal situation? Do you think the amount of bullying is on the rise?
[Daphne // Gone Pecan] I didn’t understand how the best friend reacted.  If I were in her shoes, I would have wanted to have Lucy’s side of the story.  Sure, the photos were damning evidence, but I wouldn’t have been able to cut her off.  I would have had to have a discussion with Lucy, especially considering what I know about Ellie & Cole’s relationship.  It breaks my heart that the girls were so hard on Lucy and contributed to the gossip & bullying of her.  The whole mob mentality of bullying is most worrying.  People going along with out any real notion of the truth just to join in on the fun of collective bullying.  I don’t know if bullying is on the rise or that it’s just more visible because of social media and the unfortunate rise of bullying-induced suicide.  I do remember bullying being pretty common when I was going to school, but social media does play a part.  It’s very frightening.  My 7 yo is very well versed in bullying because it has become an important cause that the school system has taken up, but I honestly don’t know if it is helping the situation.

Is there anything you think children, parents, or public can do to try to prevent events like this from occurring? (Educating your kids on bullying? Restricting/monitoring social media/phone/internet usage? Staying more active in a child’s life? Stepping in when things go too far?) 
[Sandie // Teen Lit Rocks] I think parents need to take an active role in managing the way their children/teens engage in social media. Parents should be “silent friends” on all of their kids’ social media accounts — monitoring but not necessarily outing or posting or embarrassing their children. Parents should also make sure to explain their family “rules” about sharing photos and personal information online. Parents need to have these uncomfortable but necessary conversations with their kids. Personally, I’m keeping my kids off of social media for as long as I can. I’ve known or read about too many avoidable situations, all because parents weren’t really aware of what their teens (or even tweens!) were doing online or on various social media site or apps.
[Candice // The Grown-Up YA] I’m not a parent, so I can’t say “Well if parents would do this…” in response to this question. However, I think we as a society place too much emphasis on social media/modern technology and less emphasis on healthy relationship building; relationships are more than Twitter and texting and Facebook, especially during our formative years. Even children at extremely young ages have Facebook pages – my younger cousin had one in 3rd grade! Very young kids are made aware of things (Hollywood scandals, scathing online discussions, etc.) that are way too adult for them. I don’t believe it’s a lack of parenting, as so many people are quick to say, but that our generation – the generation that is raising kids right now – has been brought up in a similar society where online bullying, social media, Internet, etc. is the norm. I don’t believe it was QUITE as bad 10-15 years ago (mostly because there weren’t as many platforms and AOL charged by the minute), but it still existed. I think it’s only in recent years that we’re seeing the full effects. I think we, as adults, should do all we can to educate younger generations on how to treat others and how to have healthy relationships with others. We shouldn’t be afraid to step in and be the bad guy if it has a positive outcome – the principal in this book comes to mind (who I felt was terrible, btw). We should be active in kids’ lives, whether through parenting, as older relatives, coaches, teachers, mentors, whatever. Times are changing, yes, but there’s no reason we as a society have to let everything go to pot. Reading #scandal as an adult was hard for me because my first thought was “Where are the parents?! Where are the teachers?! What is with this principal?!” I give young people quite a lot of credit because I know they are capable of so many amazing things, but I think we sometimes forget that they’re still children who NEED to be monitored and supervised. Yes, give them freedom, but there needs to be boundaries.

And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of #SCANDAL so please go visit their take on the book as well!

Tee @ YA Crush  Review: #scandal
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA  Author profile + giveaway!
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks  #scandal & Unrequited Love
Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan  From Page to Screen

 

 

The Book of Broken Hearts – Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken Hearts – Sarah OcklerTitle: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
Publishing Info: May 21, 2013 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Contemporary, Psych/Mental Health, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 18, 2013
Related Posts: The Selective Collective features The Book of Broken Hearts, #scandal, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

    Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one. Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas? Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong? Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

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Oh my gosh, you guys. THIS BOOK. Of course I expected to like this book, but I seriously had a book hangover when I finished. THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS was the perfect read for me. It was so beautifully written, had a perfect romance, a great family aspect, and also some serious issues that came together to create a masterpiece.

I say that this was the perfect read for me because there were just so many ways in which the book just totally drew me in and I was able to make a personal connection.
ONE: The motorcycles. My boyfriend (at the time — now husband!) Shane is car/motorcycle guy and I’ve spent countless hours in the garage with him reading/watching/helping/learning. To watch Jude go through the same thing with Emilio as he works on her father’s motorcycle, it kind of brought all those memories back to when my own personal relationship was blossoming and it brought all those little butterflies back!
TWO. The language. The culture is in this book is a big part of the story from the family dynamic to the food to the customs. Emilio is Puerto Rican and Jude is Argentinean so both of them (and their families) tend to slip into Spanish from time to time when speaking to each other. I’m not Hispanic in any way, but I was a Spanish major in college so I just always feel my own little personal connection when characters speak Spanish, even if it isn’t my own heritage. I feel like it’s a little secret that I’m able to know what they’re saying when they slip into a different language while the general audience might not.
THREE. The setting. The book takes place in Blackfeather, Colorado which appears to be a fictional town (I looked it up), but these past couple of years, we’ve taken a few different trips to Colorado & Wyoming so that general area of the country, although not home, holds a special place in my heart.

Okay, enough with the personal connections. But you can see why this book was so special to me based on those elements alone! Of course, any book can have those elements, but it was the way the book was written as well as the combination of topics just made it so special. These characters all felt like extremely real people. The story was so genuine. My heart just went out to each and everyone, especially throughout Jude’s father’s Alzheimer’s struggle. Jude spends her last summer before college with her father, watching over him, taking care of him, and enjoying what could possibly be his last lucid moments before the Alzheimer’s takes over. This whole part of the book just ripped my heart apart. It was so sad to see him disappearing before the family’s eyes, but it was also so touching to see how the family came together, especially Jude’s attempts to do one last epic thing for her father by helping him restore his old motorcycle.

I absolutely loved the romance in this book. Emilio Vargas is the boy who ends up getting hired to restore Jude’s father’s motorcycle, but he comes with a catch — Jude’s older sisters have been wronged by many a Vargas boy in the past and all four Hernandez sisters have a pact to avoid all Vargas boys at all times. At first, Jude rationalizes that Emilio is just there to help with the bike and she won’t have a problem resisting his charms. Of course we know that’s not going to happen and at some point in time, she’ll have to answer to her sisters about crushing on a Vargas.
Besides the “forbidden romance” I just love how this relationship came to be. The “forbidden” aspect really is half of the fun because we watch Jude’s internal battle between sticking to the pact she made with her sisters and what her heart really wants. Not to mention that Emilio is adorable and he and Jude have a great back and forth throughout the whole book that made me laugh and made my heart flutter all at the same time.

The family dynamic in this book was honestly one of my favorite. I feel like too often, a family member is villainized and naturally, all of the characters in the book are right to hate that person. Both the Hernandez family and the Vargas family were just real people with real problems and real reactions. I saw the humanity in each one, and yes, there were definitely some really flawed characters, but they also had such redeeming qualities as well. It made matters so much more complicated because I wanted to feel for each and every one of them and I couldn’t possible hate any of them!
I loved the sisterly relationship in this book and how even despite the age difference between Jude and her sisters, they all start coming together for their father and for each other. It was exciting to see Jude really making a connection with her sisters in a different and more mature way. Now that she’s older, she gets to talk with them in a totally different way and she’s more respected than when she was just a kid and they were all teenagers and adults.

THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS was extremely beautiful and touching. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I cried. Several times. And ugly crying. Like, uncontrollably sobbing at the end of this book. It was just so, so touching and so incredibly realistic. Like I said earlier, I had a book hangover after this book. I tried to start two new books after I finished and I couldn’t. I had to take a day to let this marinate in my head and let my mind cool off. This is a book that will stick with me for a long, long time.

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Jude: God, I loved Jude. She was such a joy to get to know throughout this book. She matured, she fell in love, she learned so many things. I loved her dedication to her family and at the same time, her desire to be true to herself, even when it went against her family’s wishes. I just really loved her all around.
Emilio: Ohhh, Emilio. I can just picture him with that killer smile and flirty charm and he totally just got me. I loved the romance that developed between him and Jude. Jude has been told that all of the Vargas boys are poison, bad news but she begins to doubt that Emilio can really be that bad. Emilio has quite a story of his own and I really loved hearing everything from his side when all of those details finally come out.

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BUY IT NOW!

I MUST go pick up some more Sarah Ockler books after reading THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS. I can’t believe this is the first of her books that I’ve read. It was just that good for me.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS

     Nantucket Blue           Eleanor & Park

The Selective Collective features The Book of Broken Hearts: Favorite Father-Daughter Relationships in YA

The Selective Collective reads THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS by SARAH OCKLER

The Selective Collective features THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS by SARAH OCKLER, provided to us by Simon Pulse for review and book club discussion. For my part in this Selective Collective post, I had the “freebie” which means I get to talk about whatever I want! The only problem was, I was SO involved and invested in this book that I literally couldn’t think clearly so I turned to my fellow SC members for help. Sandie suggested talking about father-daughter relationships in YA and it was just such the perfect topic for this book.

Before I jump into that, here’s a little background on THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS to bring you into our discussion today:

The Book of Broken Hearts - Sarah OcklerCompleted: May 18, 2013
Publishing Info: May 21st 2013 by Simon Pulse
Source: Hardcover copies provided to us by Simon Teen for review and use for the Selective Collective feature

“Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.
Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?
Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?
Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.” — From Goodreads

What you don’t get from this synopsis is that Jude’s father is suffering from Early Onset Alzheimer’s. This is a HUGE part of the book and one that totally wrecked my heart. All of the characters in this book felt so real to me that it was absolutely heartbreaking to watch Jude and her family deal with the trials and tribulations of Alzheimer’s and how it really can bring your family closer and tear it apart all at the same time.

Since Jude knows she has very little time left with a lucid father, she willingly spends her summer before college taking care of him, keeping an eye on him, and helping him restore his old motorcycle. I absolutely loved the relationship that they had in this book and I really love when such touching father-daughter relationships are present in YA books.

I gathered up some of my favorite father-daughter relationships in YA and a couple other members of the Selective Collective weighed in as well and here’s what we came up with!

The TWILIGHT Saga by Stephenie Meyer: YES, I am starting off with Twilight and DON’T RUN AWAY, you Twilight haters! Hear me out: Bella’s father Charlie was honestly one of my favorite characters in this entire series. He had no idea how to raise a teenage girl and I loved the awkward relationship that he and Bella had throughout the first book. I loved watching that relationship turn from awkward to a loving, caring father who became really invested in his daughter’s life. He was funny, sincere, and I kind of loved his essentially “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about all of the paranormal that was going on.

SWEET EVIL and SWEET PERIL by Wendy Higgins: Anna grew up without her parents, so when she finally gets in contact with her father, it’s a bit terrifying that he’s a Duke, meaning a full-fledged demon. What I love about this relationship is that he’s actually a good demon (oxymoron?) and really cares about Anna when all of the rules and natural instincts towards Neph say to use her merely as a worker for his cause. I’ve loved seeing the relationship between Anna and her father grown throughout these past two books and their relationship has become a much bigger part of this overall story than I first anticipated!

THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT by Jennifer E. Smith: Hadley has a really tough time with her dad in this book. He moved to London and is marrying another woman and isn’t really involved in Hadley’s life. When she’s asked to be a bridesmaid for his new fiance, she can’t really say no and ends up spending an awkward time with the two of them. Of course there’s the adorable romance in this book, but that relationship that started to evolve between Hadley and her father was a really touching part of the book for me! Not everything is mended and totally resolved, but this could have easily been a book about a horrible father and an evil stepmother and things start to take a turn for the better at the end of the book, leaving off on a promising note for Hadley and her father.

Here’s what my fellow SC members chose and I can say that I 100% agree! 

Sandie’s picks: “I know he’s dead, but I found Katniss’ relationship with her father to be pretty powerful, as well as Mia’s and her dad’s in IF I STAY.” 
I couldn’t agree more! Even though Katniss’ father is never physically present in the series, his memory and his impression at Katniss really shapes the books. She makes a lot of decisions based on what her father taught her and who he raised her to be.
I also love Mia’s dad in IF I STAY. He was such a lovable character for me and I loved that he was kind of a hip dad! I really can’t wait to re-read this book too.

Kristina’s pick: “I really liked Violet with her father (well I guess both her parents) in the Body Finder Series.  He is so understanding of her and her abilities.”
Agreed again! I’ve only read the first book of this series so far, but I really love how her dad (and her mom and her uncle) are so supportive. I feel like it’s always nice to see supportive parents and a solid family when so many YA books have parents who are divorced/are splitting up, or the kids are orphans. I really love the solid family dynamic!

Hope you enjoyed this feature for THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS! And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS so please go visit their take on the book as well!

Tee @ YA Crush  Interview with Sarah Ockler & Giveaway!
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA  Round Table: The Book of Broken Hearts
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks  Review: The Book of Broken Hearts
Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan  Casting Call