Friday, 16 December 2011

Mini Review Madness: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw, Mad Love, Reel Life Starring Us, Hidden

Hi everybody, for today's installment of Mini Review Madness I'm going to be taking a look at the following books:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw - Jeff Kinney
Mad Love - Suzanne Selfors
Reel Life Starring Us - Lisa Greenwald
Hidden - Miriam Halahmy

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw - Jeff Kinney

Summary (from Goodreads): The highly anticipated third book in the critically acclaimed and bestselling series takes the art of being wimpy to a whole new level. Let’s face it: Greg Heffley will never change his wimpy ways. Somebody just needs to explain that to Greg’s father.

You see, Frank Heffley actually thinks he can get his son to toughen up, and he enlists Greg in organized sports and other “manly” endeavors. Of course, Greg is able to easily sidestep his father’s efforts to change him. But when Greg’s dad threatens to send him to military academy, Greg realizes he has to shape up . . . or get shipped out.

Greg and his family and friends, who make the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books a must-read for middle school readers, are back and at their best in this hilarious new installment of the series, which is sure to please current fans while attracting new ones.

Mini review: As you know, I'm a big fan of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. I find them funny now so I know I would have found them absolutely hilarious if they'd been about when I was younger. Greg is such a likeable protagonist and it's great to see him and the rest of the cast develop as the series progresses. I have actually read the series out of order but, for me, that doesn't take away from the enjoyment of each book. I think these work well as both standalones and part of a series.

Mad Love - Suzanne Selfors

Summary (from Goodreads): When you're the daughter of the bestselling Queen of Romance, life should be pretty good. But 16-year-old Alice Amorous has been living a lie ever since her mother was secretly hospitalized for mental illness. After putting on a brave front for months, time is running out. The next book is overdue, and the Queen can't write it. Alice needs a story for her mother-and she needs one fast.

That's when she meets Errol, a strange boy who claims to be Cupid, who insists that Alice write about the greatest love story in history: his tragic relationship with Psyche. As Alice begins to hear Errol's voice in her head and see things she can't explain, she must face the truth-that she's either inherited her mother's madness, or Errol is for real.

Mini review: I love this book! It's such an interesting story that I almost wish it was a little longer in length, as it is fairly short as it stands. Errol is captivating from the outset and I found myself completely drawn into his story, alongside Alice. I won't give too much away as there are some great twists and turns throughout the plot, all I'll say is that I definitely recommend this one to all fans of YA.

Reel Life Starring Us - Lisa Greenwald

Summary (from Goodreads): Rockwood Hills Junior High is known for the close-knit cliques that rule the school. When arty new girl Dina gets the opportunity to do a video project with queen bee Chelsea, she thinks this is her ticket to a great new social life. But Chelsea has bigger problems than Dina can imagine: her father has lost his job, and her family is teetering on the brink. Without knowing it, Dina might just get caught in Chelsea’s free fall.

Filled with honest truths about status and self-confidence, as well as the bubbly, infectious voice Lisa Greenwald mastered in her breakout, My Life in Pink & Green, this book is sure to charm tween readers everywhere.

Mini review: Ah, I'm sad to say I was disappointed with Reel Life Starring Us. I'd heard some great things about it and it sounded as though it'd be right up my street but unfortunately I just couldn't connect with Chelsea, Dina or any of the characters in Greenwald's novel. I think this one is definitely suited to younger teens rather than older teens but it's not one I'd rush to recommend.

Hidden - Miriam Halahmy

Summary (from Goodreads): "Hidden" is the first in a cycle of three novels set on Hayling Island, off the South Coast of England, near the Isle of Wight. Each novel is stand alone but a minor character in the previous novel becomes the major character in the next.

"Hidden" is a brave novel, tackling the issues surrounding Middle-Eastern immigration into the UK through the eyes of a British teenager. "Hidden" is a literary, coming-of-age novel dealing with judgement, courage, preconceptions and the difficulty of sorting right from wrong. "Hidden" is humorous, yet hard-hitting and speaks with a voice which teenagers will connect with.

Mini review: Hmm, I still have mixed feelings about this one. Hidden is definitely a book with a lot of potential and I think it's the beginning of what will be a popular series, though I wasn't completely convinced by it. I'm not sure that I'd pick up the next two books in the series but there are a lot of vey positive reviews out there so do check them out before you make up your mind. For me, the writing just wasn't tight enough and it felt as though I was reading an early draft of a novel, rather than the finished article.


Note: All books were sent for review by the publisher

1 comment:

  1. I really liked Mad Love as well! It makes me happy to see other people liking it :)


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