by Julie Hammerle
July 10, 2017
Blurb from Goodreads: It’s not chemistry between Tinka Foster and Sam Anderson that made them agree to fake date. With her parents trying to set her up with an annoying student golf coach, and intentionally single Sam’s family pressuring him to bring a date to his brother’s wedding, they could both use a drama-free summer.
So it’s not his muscular arms and quick wit that makes Tinka suggest they tell everyone they’re both taken. Definitely not. And it’s not butterflies that makes a kiss for appearances during the lake party go on way too long—so long that Sam wishes it were real.
Release Day: January 16, 2017
A Sascha Ramble: So last night I was reading a novel for an upcoming book tour and realized that my negative notations were growing exponentially. With what felt like hours put into it (bear with me, I read really quickly), I was only at 43%, but my forehead was showing bruising from the head-to-table action (hyperbole). I despise DNFs and will always push to finish a novel, hoping for something redeeming. This time it wasn’t happening. With the phrase, so many books, so little time echoing in my brain: I got back on the horse and started Pushing the Boundaries. Within no time at all it seemed like I had hit the 50% mark. This is one way I know that a book works—if I read a huge chunk without ever looking to see how much is remaining. End o’ ramble.
Myra is a Pakistani-American girl who is going with her mother, a doctor, to Haiti to do charity work in a clinic. Myra is looking forward to the experience, not so much for the medical side of it, but because she is hoping to take the picture that will be her ticket to art school.
Elias is 17 and has just started his new job as an interpreter. He drives the van that picks up the newly arrived American charity workers and overhears Myra call him “cute,” a term that he had only heard before to describe “children and dogs.” He feels that this beautiful girl is going to be trouble.
Pushing the Boundaries is told in alternating points-of-view of Myra and Elias. I found the prose to be a tad too simple for my taste, but wonder if the author, Stacey Trombley, wasn’t trying to put it more in the voices of the teenagers involved. There was some nice description, however, and the writing flowed, so simple wasn’t really a detriment.
I liked how the story unfolded, showing us Myra’s perspective. How she always feels like a foreigner in the States because of the color of her skin, but that in Haiti she feels even more foreign. Yet, despite how different she might be in America, she possesses all of the opportunities and advantages that are unknown in Haiti. Another nice juxtaposition is how Myra’s family, despite being privileged, does not possess the love and solidarity that Elias’ family has.
Myra is impetuous, not always understanding what the result might be for her actions. She leaves the safety of the clinic grounds to go on an adventure and gets herself into trouble, but is rescued by Elias. The ramifications of her action reach farther than she expected and she is forced to make some realizations about herself and tries to make amends for her selfish action. I felt that this was a pretty realistic depiction of some American teens.
The ending is almost kind of “fairytale,” but I thought it a sweet conclusion to a story that is intended to open the eyes of its reader to situations they may know little about.
“This country is like a whole new world. I feel as though it was a spaceship that brought me here instead of a plane. This country is only a few hundred miles from the Florida coast, and yet it seems like it’s hundreds of years behind.”
I would definitely recommend Pushing the Boundaries for the young adult audience. Older readers’ mileage will definitely vary.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
From Amazon: Pushing the Boundaries
rating: (4 out of 5 butterflies)
Publication Date: July 25, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Crush
I am such a sucker for “feel good” entertainment. Give me Ally MacBeal bopping at a Boston street corner to the song playing in her head with strangers joining in. Or the scene from Love Actually where Jamie goes to Aurelia’s family’s restaurant to propose to her in bad Portuguese and the music is playing and there’s chaos and happiness. Or “the speech” from Kristan Higgins’ Just One of the Guys that may be one of the best get-together speeches in any chicklit book I’ve ever read.
So now I am adding Resisting the Rebel by Lisa Brown Roberts to that group. If you could see me, while I write this, you’d know I am still smiling! The “Prom-posal,” which I will not detail here because—NO SPOILERS—is one of the best, fantastical, feel-good moments in YA lit.
Mandy, named after a 1970’s song, is popular and a member of pretty much every extra-curricular high school activity there is. She also suffers from ADHD and dysgraphia and is barely hanging on academically. But, with the help of various mantras, her fascination with everything from the 70’s, which helps her feel closer to her mother who died of cancer, and a generally kind outlook, she pushes on in every area except for her crush on Gus, a boy she’s known since kindergarten.
Caleb is the class bad boy. He has only to glare at underclassmen to get them to stop doing whatever it was they were doing. He wears a leather jacket (of course!) and believes that one day he will be a writer. He’s also a brain.
Sometimes the scariest villains look the most innocent. And heroes don’t always wear white.
In order to get his ex- to stop stalking him, Caleb convinces Mandy to start fake-dating him by suggesting that it would make Gus jealous enough to ask her to Homecoming. But the sparks fly between them and Mandy and Caleb are ultimately confused about the real nature of their relationship.
Resisting the Rebel is cute and funny. (On their first meeting, Caleb describes talking to Mandy: “Sort of like talking to a kindergartner on crack.”) It’s also extremely well plotted; the characterizations are good; and it’s just plain fun.
If you’re a fan of YA romances and those too infrequent “feel good” moments, here’s a book for you.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Entangled Crush in exchange for an honest review.
From Amazon: Resisting the Rebel
rating: (4 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5 butterflies)