Friday, 30 December 2011


2011 has been a great year for books! I discovered many amazing authors this year. I read books that had me in splits, caused slow tears to slide down my cheeks and/ made me all starry-eyed. I can't think of even one book that I strongly disliked... But that maybe because I was overly choosy when it came to selecting books to read. Most of the books I read were pretty hyped to begin with!

It all started with Persnickety Snark's Top 100 YA Novels for 2010 that introduced me to a lot of great contemporary YA novels at the beginning of the year! A big thank you to Persnickety Snark for that! By the second half of the year, I started keeping tabs on what I was reading and by the end of November this blog was born!

Anyway, without further ado... *drumroll*

  • With reference to the books I've read in 2011
  • In order of recall

1. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

One of those books that spans over one night. Such an insightful, colourful, hilarious and meaningful book! I finished this book a couple of days back and it is easily the best book I've read in 2011!

2. The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

I laughed and cried and got sucked into the lives of Tom Mackee and his aunt Georgie. I thought it couldn't get better than Saving Francesca until this book came out. Melina Marchetta's a genius. I feel like rereading this book already.

Best. Book. Ever. From the PG Wodehouse love, Cities, Art and Protest to the guys I fell in love with along with Frankie! Frankie's someone I'd love to have as a BFF!

4. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

"Oh, dead man, you're dead wrong," I tell him. "The world goes on stupid and brutal, but I do not. Can't you see? I do not."

The parallels between modern day Brooklyn and Paris during the French Revolution. The characters, the little signs, the angst and the back stories. I found it so easy to get sucked into this well-researched world of Donnelly's.

5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephenie Perkins

One word- No, three words: ETIENNE ST. CLAIR! That is all, really.

(And Anna. Anna is awesome)

(And (oh, well) PARIS!!)

6. Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers

Courtney Summers' best book yet! Totally devoid of cliches. Very sensitive, raw and real.

7. Two Fates by Judy Balan

The unofficial tongue-in-cheek sequel to Chetan Bhagat's Two States. I didn't think I'd love it but I did! It was well written, witty and hilarious!

8. Class by Jane Beaton

The back cover said: "Malory Towers for adults!" I grew up reading Enid Blyton's so that was all I needed to pick it up! And it was so worth it! I've read it twice this year. I felt all warm and fuzzy reading about a boarding school that is built like a castle, lacrosse and the Tricks all over again!  

9. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (#3 of the Hunger Games series)

I LOVED the way the series ended. I think it was one of the best series endings. Though the death of a certain character broke my heart, the rest of it made sense. It was a realistic and bittersweet ending with just enough sweet in the bittersweet!

10. One Day by David Nicholls

Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY.

I LOVED THIS BOOK. It was so gorgeously written! It is the story of Em and Dex, Dex and Em. I enjoyed the period references, laughed a dozen times, got mildly frustrated with the characters at various points of time and cried buckets towards the end.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Follow Friday #2

It's Feature and Follow My Blog #2 for me. Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read!

Question of the Week: The New Year is here -- and everyone wants to know your New Years Blogging Resolution! What are you going to try to revise, revamp and redo for 2012 on your blog?

Ah, let's see. My blog is still two months young and there's a LOT I have to do to keep it going!

-  Get organised. College reopens in two days so I'm going to have way less free time. I need a schedule or I won't be able to post as frequently.
- Post more! Post as muuch as possible each week! 4 times a week would be fab!
- Variety in posts. Keep the memes and the reviews but also post on other book-related things.
- Get connected. Comment more, tweet more and get more out there! I'm pretty involved with commenting but as I said... the focus is on more.
- Keep it fresh! Because I'm still finding my voice.
- Have fun! That goes without saying. The past two months have been a blast so I don't see why next year won't be any less exciting! :)

2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge

New year's 'round the corner (Wooot!) and the TBR PILE Reading Challenge sounds great for next year! There are waay too many books that I've bought on impulse or been gifted which are still gathering dust in my actual or virtual (in case of e-books) bookshelf.

2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge
hosted by Evie from Bookish

Details (from the Challenge page)

Challenge guidelines:

1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.
2. As we would like to see quality reviews linked up to our monthly wrap-ups, only bloggers can enter. Sorry about that!
3. Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!)
6. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
8. At the end of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it's unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It's open to INTERNATIONALS. For participating in the mini-challenge you will get +1 entry.
9. If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking ;)
10. December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you'll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway - 12 books, 12 winners, INTERNATIONAL.
11. You don't have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!
1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children
I'm doing A Friendly Handshake (1-10) though I might end up taking on more! There are tons of books I own but have just not gotten around to reading like Before I Die by Jenny Downham, Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, Good Oil by Laura Buzo, stuff by Jane Austen, The Help by Kathryn Stockett (yeah, I know, what's wrong with me? I should've read this ages ago... at least when the movie was out!), Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (half-read... didn't finish) and more.

So. Happy TBR PILE Reading to me! :) On an unrelated note, my list of Top 10 Books read in 2011 will be out tomorrow!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Harbart by Nabarun Bhattacharya (translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha)

This weekend, I read Harbart, the English translation of Nabarun Bhattacharya’s first novel which won him the Narsimha Das Award, Bankim Puraskar and Sahitya Akademi Award. He went on to write several other major novels and novellas, short stories, poetry and collections of prose. Herbert (the original Bengali novel) was also made into a movie of the same name by Suman Mukhopadhyay which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali.

Harbart is the English translation of the Bengali novel- translated by Arunava Sinha, who has also translated several works of classic and contemporary Bengali fiction such as The Chieftain’s Daughter by Bankimchandra Chattipadhyay and Three Women by Rabindranath Tagore.

The story begins with the discovery of Harbart Sarkar’s body. Harbart has killed himself after one hazy, drunken night which I couldn’t quite make sense of. But why did he kill himself? We are taken back in time to his childhood, formative years and finally the cause of his death. Harbart is an orphan and is brought up by his aunt after his mother’s death. There are several instances in his life when he is ignored and abused. From the beginning, he seemed in need of love.

Various incidents such as his failed attempts at poetry and the arrival of Binu, a Marxist-Leninist activist shape his life and the path he takes. Harbart soon becomes the proprietor of a business that delivers messages from the dead to their loved ones. He embraces this role as he is no longer an object of ridicule. He is revered by all as a sort of ‘godman’. Plans are made for this “guppy in a tank” to rise in prominence when a rationalist association threatens to put an end to it all. Harbart’s untimely demise follows but he, as the blurb at the back of the book says, remains a mystery even in death.

Harbart surprised me with its prose that was so rich in detail yet evasive at the same time. It seemed impossible to take in the dark humour, the well-carved plot and the lucid prose in one go. I’m certain that many details, I’m hoping not very significant, may have escaped me in the first reading. But the tone of the story conveyed by the words that are so artfully strung together hits you every time. It is impossible not to be swayed by the story.

We also get a vividly painted picture of the streets of Kolkata (then-Calcutta). Everything, from the lizard to the nymph in the Park Street antique shop, the ghosts, delusions and the cockroaches disappearing into the drain stays in your head longer than it should. Although I haven’t read many translated works to compare… It is apparent that Harbart is fantastically translated. Reading it didn’t feel like reading a translation. The 150 page novella is packed with punch; unique and memorable in terms of style and pacing.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley!

I've finally warmed up to reading books on my iPad. It still doesn't smell or feel as good as paperbacks but the iBooks app is pretty neat (I prefer it to the Kindle app). I just discovered the Highlight and Note features (I'm kinda slow at figuring out stuff) and that became the dog-earring equivalent for me (which makes the book feel more mine, somehow). It is so NICE to be able to make notes and highlight the funny/poignant lines! That is something I wouldn't dare to do in a solid paperback coz I'm sure there will be a Madam Pince lurking nearby, waiting to yell, "Despoiled! Desecrated! Befouled!" (that line from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince made me laugh out loud the first time I read it. I know a person who is totally like that!)

Anyway, I discovered the Highlight and Note features on my iBooks while reading Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley. And it was such an APT time because now my e-copy of Graffiti Moon is graffiti'd with pink, green and yellow highlights and notes at various parts of the book! It's THAT quotable, intense, quirky and fun! I'm so glad I finished reading it by the end of the year!

what it's about (from

It’s the end of Year 12. Lucy’s looking for Shadow, the graffiti artist everyone talks about.

His work is all over the city, but he is nowhere.

Ed, the last guy she wants to see at the moment, says he knows where to find him. He takes Lucy on an all-night search to places where Shadow’s thoughts about heartbreak and escape echo around the city walls.

But the one thing Lucy can’t see is the one thing that’s right before her eyes.

the cover

Don't you love the cover? The yellow paint-can set in a black background spraying the words, "an artist, a dreamer/ a long, mean, night"! It's the cover that first wow-ed me. I'm talking about the Aussie cover. The US edition cover is also pretty cool- zeroing in on two people on a dark, magical night.


It took me a month to finish reading this book. I usually take less than a day for 250 page book, so that was kind of unusual. It started out a little slow for me and it has also been a busy month. But it was so worth it as despite the initial reluctance to get on with the book, I was soon sucked in. Every time I returned to the book, it was like I had never left and I was still a part of that one night of confessions, graffiti, epiphanies and nose-punching!


Graffiti Moon spans over one night- the night Lucy, Jazz, Daisy, Ed, Leo and Dylan are out celebrating the end of Year 12. The story is told through the perspectives of Lucy and Ed and interspersed with poems by Leo. I'm usually not a fan of two person narratives. There's usually one person who you are a little bit more interested in or it just seems unnecessary. BUT it was perfect for Graffiti Moon. Lucy and Ed both have things holding them back, confessions to make and things to ponder over. It was perfectly paced and didn't end or begin too soon.

I took an immediate liking to Lucy. She wasn't stereotypically whiny or ready to bite everyone's head off. She was funny and could hold her own ground. And I loved her parents! It took me a little longer to like Ed- I had to wait for his back story, when his insecurities were delved into and the mask came off- but when it did, I was instantly wow-ed. Leo, who writes poetry and lives with his grandmother and Jazz who thinks she is psychic were another three-dimensional pair! Dylan and Daisy didn't have much to do in the story but I was constantly amused by their bickering!

It was fascinating to see these characters develop and evolve throughout the night. They were constantly showing different shades, learning more about themselves and making important decisions. So many other random things added colour to this well developed story: pink vans, cockroach-eating Malcolm (what a fun antagonist!), the owner of the paint shop (I loved Bert as much as Ed did), Lucy's memories-in-bottles folio and the graffiti'd walls of the city.

Graffiti Moon has convinced me that it doesn't get any better than Aussie YA (Melina Marchetta is my other favourite Aussie author)! What an amazing take on relationships, art, growing up and just seeing things (and people) in a whole new light!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Friday, 23 December 2011

Follow Friday!

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkie and Alison Can Read. It's my first time and it looks like tons of fun!

This week's question...
If you had to spend eternity in a book, which book would you choose and why?
 A part of me screams HARRY POTTER, DUH! How could I say no to an eternity of Quidditch, being schooled at Hogwarts, shutting people up with spells and chillin' with some butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks? Best world ever! Which is why the day I finally get to go to the Harry Potter theme park will, I'm sure, be the happiest day of my life!

The other part of me says, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Because... well, because. It involves partying with the Oompa Loompas and an unlimited and awesomely made supply of chocolate! 

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

SHIT HAPPENS: Desi Boy In America by Karan Puri

what it's about (from

Anurag Sinha, a thoroughbred nerd, leads a cocooned life, confined more or less to the four walls of his room. A one-of-a-kind dad, a weepy mother and weird relatives complete his life. Average girls ignore him, hot girls bully him and school studs abuse him. His Delhi existence goes on until the big day arrives. Our hero gets a scholarship. To University of Rochester. To New York. To united States of Bloody AMERICA! Life must only look uphill from now on. America must be at least hundred times better than india. A roller-coaster American ride leads our desi boy to an exeptional journey rippling with twists and turns. Nonchalant blondes, mugless washrooms, strange slangs, good-hearted friends, beefy encounters, boozy nights and even a white girlfriend??? America shows Anurag itself in all its psychedelic craziness. But dreams and roller-coaster rides don't go on forever. What will happen to our hero? Will he return to his life in India or will he stay on? Dream on!


The description of the book made me pick it up right away. Shit Happens seemed like a fresh, fast paced and fun read- just what I needed after a week of tests in college! And it WAS fast paced. And fresh. The name 'Shit Happens' says it all. It was a roller coaster of a ride- exploring identity, love at first sight, making it in a new country, a new environment and coming back a changed person. The characters seemed genuine, though they could've done with a few quirks. Anurag, who the story was about, was the typical geeky underdog and his transformation into a confident and well rounded person was believable though, as I said before, it was all VERY fast paced.

For the skinny book that it was, Shit Happens managed to touch all of those obvious as well as subtle yet hilarious desi-boy-doing-his-postgrad-in-the-US (which is very, very common)-isms. But at times, I found myself wishing for a little more elaboration on the angst and maybe the introduction of more characters (His Professors? People he ran into? The only people other than Anurag and his family who are mentioned are Lizzy, who he falls for and her boyfriend Aaron. And university is a BIG place) and interactions that could've spiced things up!

BUT for what it is, it is a pretty good book. It is a decently written and very cute first effort! I especially liked the way things were wrapped up. The conclusion was very effortlessly awesome! I even had a tear in my eye ;) It was the middle that could've been fleshed out a bit more!

RATING: 3 out of 5 stars

Monday, 12 December 2011

Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers

what it's about (

When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he seemed to find inspiration in everything he saw? And, most important, why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. Culler seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on… but are some questions better left unanswered?


I'd read Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers just before I picked up Fall for Anything and Fall For Anything was easily the better novel! The main character, Eddie, felt very real and her attempts to come to terms with her father's suicide was captured realistically. No part of this novel was cliched. The myriad of feelings, breakthroughs and the search- every part of it felt so interconnected and raw. This rawness, really, did it for me. The author makes sure you get under the main character's skin and the way the book ended left me stunned, in a good way.

The way Fall for Anything ended took me by surprise but it worked and added to the richness of the story. I loved this book and will definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a real, intense and well-written YA read.  

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

law of unfaairness

The Law of Unfairness
You will happen to own tons of brand new AWESOME books (YA and non-YA) just when you're busy, busy, busy. College has drained me out. I have a week of tests ahead of me and all I want to do is snuggle up with Graffiti Moon (which I'm currently reading) and chocolate.

A trip to Landmark and e-shopping =

Saturday, 26 November 2011

2012 Harry Potter Reading Challenge

The Reading Fever's 2012 Harry Potter Reading Challenge is going to be EPIC because Harry Potter has always been my life! Harry Potter introduced me to reading writing, random spell-casting and I got to know my now bestest friends through much Harry Potter and Tom Felton versus Daniel Radcliffe-related bonding (we were eleven years old). Post Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows equaled post-Potter depression. Post-Deathly Hallows the movie part 2 was even worse. My friends and I stayed till the end-credits, refusing to believe that it was all over.

It has been a while since I've reread the series, drooled at the Great Hall feast food, laughed every time Ron says "bloody hell" and realised that oh my god, Harry is all grown up which is so WRONG. We grew up together before [SPOILER ALERT (highlight to read)] circumstances shaped him into the level-headed hero that he became with adorable kids given names like Albus Severus and Lily Luna. 

I'm itching to reread the series, especially since it has been a while since I've reread the series in the correct order. So I'm really excited about the 2012 Harry Potter Challenge. Check it out if you (gasp) haven't read the Harry Potter series yet and want to or if you want to reread the series again for zillionth time, because Harry Potter is awesome like that. It never ceases to be any less magical.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly


BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.


The first few pages of Revolution depressed me for no reason. It depressed me as I thought, Oh no. Not another book about an over privileged kid ruining her own life. The angst was at its peak. The characters were all over the place. It was way too depressing. Especially since I'd loved, loved, LOVED Jennifer Donnelly's A Northern Light.

But then it got better.

THANK GOD it got better.

Andi's angst and depression was warranted.

Alexandrine's part of the story wasn't just a filler. Alexandrine was as much of a main character as Andi and I was as interested in her story as Andi's. I also LOVED how both their stories were skillfully weaved together and were interconnected- how parallels were drawn between present day Brooklyn and Paris during the revolution.

Andi's world and the world of the French Revolution were both richly painted. The amount of detail and the way all the plot lines were delicately balanced was something I was left marveling- with Andi's thesis, her moments with Virgil (the guy she meets in Paris who drives a cab called "EPIC RIDE"), the diary of Alexandrine and the story of Louis Charles.

But at the same time, some of the coincidences in the book were a little too coincidental and turns in the plot entirely dependent on fate and destiny. Andi's father's character felt a bit too flat, too extreme, though his decisions and his own struggle felt heart breakingly real. But the minor flaws didn't matter. REVOLUTION was a book that was intense and emotional, combining the fates of two similar yet totally different girls separated by centuries and the heart and soul of which was the French Revolution as well as music, Andi's second nature.

The best part of REVOLUTION? I felt like I was a part of it. I got lost in the well-researched world of Donnelly's and her words that stirred something within me. I struggled as hard as Andi to find the point of the book, the inner struggles, the revolution, the point of it all and as I hit the end, I got answers, just when she did.

"Oh, dead man, you're dead wrong," I tell him. "The world goes on stupid and brutal, but I do not. Can't you see? I do not."

Because I'm a history nut and because the title of the book alone was meaningful on so many different levels (capturing a tangle of emotions, especially pain, sadness, the "WHY?!"s and guilt, so convincingly), this book made me go WOW.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Disreputable History of Frankie-Landau Banks by E. Lockhart

The Disreputable History of Frankie-Landau Banks by E. Lockhart is not your average YA read. Sure, there’s romance, quirky characters and you can relate to parts of it. But the book begins, rather than ends with Frankie catching the eye of Mathew Livingston, the “big man” of Alabaster Preparatory School. Frankie, who has acquired curves and tamed her frizzy hair over the summer is finally noticed by Mathew Livingston, who she has been crushing on for a long time. When she’s with Mathew, she also gets acquainted with his group of friends who are privileged, fun loving and members of a secret society called The Loyal Order of The Basset Hounds which has existed in Alabaster Prep since the 1950s.

Whether it’s that she’s the “bunny rabbit” of her family or that Mathew treats her like she’s someone to be taken care of OR that she has just taken a class called Cities, Art and Protest, she is spurred to infiltrate the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, which has always been an all-men society. Shaking their organization by impersonating the Bassett King and collecting information about them, she ends up controlling them and the direction of the pranks of the Bassets.


I had been putting off reading The Disreputable History of Frankie-Landau Banks for a whole summer. Why? I don’t know. Despite the amazing reviews it had gotten, the plot seemed too vague to really make an impression on me. That was a mistake I shouldn’t have made. Because I found The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks to be BRILLIANT. Let’s look at why,

1. FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS. What a masterpiece of a heroine! I loved her quirkiness, her need to prove herself and love for “imaginary neglected positives” (like petuous, from impetuous and dulgent, from indulgent). Oh, and that she reads P. G. Wodehouse, which spurred her love for imaginary neglected positives. I LOVE P. G. Wodehouse. His novels are like desert!

There is also a vulnerability to her, that’s odd when paired with her brains, ambition and determination but is nevertheless there. On the whole, these things made her likeable and towards the end, you, along with the detached narrator, are sure to believe that Frankie is destined to change the world.

I love boarding school stories! They remind me of Harry Potter and the Enid Blyton’s which makes me happy! Alabaster Prep, a swanky prep school in the same league as Andover and Exeter is described by Frankie’s father, an alumnus of the school and the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, as a school that will help you get connected and set you for life. Through the bonds fostered by the pranks, midnight wanderings and parties, of course.

3. THE PRESENT DAY BASSETS. Frankie says that along with Mathew Livingston, she kind of fell in love with the group of boys he hangs out with as well. They are a bit silly, elitist and have a knack for not remembering anyone who’s not in their group but also have clever conversations and their antics make her (and us) laugh. We end up falling in love with these boys as well, despite their exclusivity and self centeredness and in a way, BECAUSE of their exclusivity and self centeredness.

4. GIRL POWER! The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is all about feminism and girl power! Frankie is prone to being underestimated and coddled in the “patriarchal institution” that is Alabaster Prep (which was previously all-boys) as well as in her own family. When everybody finally sees what she can do, most of them shun her, while the same stunts provoked admiration and hero-worship when believed to be carried out by a boy.

“Why did you do that, Frankie?” asked Porter. “I mean, it was brilliant, what you did, what you made us do- but why would you bother? That’s what I can’t figure out.”

Frankie sighed. “Have you ever heard of the panopticon?” she asked him.

Porter shook his head.

“Have you ever been in love?”

He shook his head again.

“Then I can’t explain it,” Frankie said.

(p. 326/327)
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is a book, the crux of which is centered on the result of crushing on one of those hotshot boys everyone wants to be as well as the desire to prove oneself, to be more than just arm candy. It is more than just another Young Adult romance. It is about a fifteen year old girl who dares to step out of the box, cross the line and in the process, opens our minds and makes us introspect, laugh and want to be her friend. Best. Book. Ever.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars xD

Monday, 21 November 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

To say I had high expectations for Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephenie Perkins is an understatement. Stephenie Perkins' (author of Lola and the Boy Next Door) debut novel, Anna and the French Kiss had reawakened my urge for fun, quirky and clever young adult fiction (a void that only Sarah Dessen had been able to fill). Anna and the French Kiss took place in PARIS and Anna's love interest was called Etienne (!!), who had an English accent (!!!)! Her father bore an eerie resemblance to Nicholas Sparks and the novel had its share of cute, hilarious and swoon-worthy moments!

Is Lola and the Boy Next Door as good as its companion novel Anna and the French Kiss? Does it live up to the deservedly high expectations?


Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket steps out of his sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, Lola must finally reconcile a lift her feelings for the boy next door?

heartfelt dialogue . lovable characters . CRICKET IS ALL KINDS OF AWESOME . wasn't as good ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS for me but was still really, really good

The good news is that Lola and the Boy Next Door has its share of cute and heartwarming moments. The characters are as lovable (Lola gives 'unique' a whole new spin to it) as the characters in Anna and the French Kiss. Anna and Etienne also make appearances in the novel- which felt a little forced but is still great. Etienne still makes you swoon!

And Cricket, the guy who comes back into Lola's life- oh boy! Cricket is the regular boy next door- inhibited, dorky and completely lovable. He makes your heart melt! As does Lola's extended family- including her two overprotective dads and her homeless biological mother, all of whom really, really make this book work as you warm up to most of them. Even characters you don't care for in the beginning eventually win you over- they are just so genuine, each of them justified in their own way.

On the whole, Lola and the Boy Next Door was an easy novel to read. The characters were very real and the dialogue was heartfelt. Still, it did not rival Anna and the French Kiss. Lola and the Boy Next Door wasn't necessarily unputdownable and Anna and the French Kiss was just more entertaining and engrossing. Nevertheless, I will definitely pick up the third and final companion novel (Isla and the Happily Ever After) when it's out!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sunday, 20 November 2011

A Girl Like Me by Swati Kaushal

It has been a week since I picked up A Girl Like Me by Swati Kaushal and some parts of the book are still so fresh and vivid in my mind! Featuring the typical spoilt, rich girl, the goofy boy who does his own thing and the guy who will always be a little out of your league, A Girl Like Me took me back to school. High school can have its share of sweet and heart wrenching moments as well as moments of angst and confusion. This was captured amazingly!


Where does the protagonist, Anisha Rai fit in all of this? Anisha, or Ani, who spent a chunk of her childhood in Minnesota, comes back to Delhi where her mother takes up a job as a creative director of a hotshot company. India brings back memories of her father, who is no more and she is determined to be detached and withdrawn. But in spite of herself, she is reunited with her childhood friend Keds, finds her own group of friends at school and falls for an older guy, college theatre enthusiast Kunal, who may or may not be good for her. In the home front, Anisha befriends the girl next door, triggering unforeseen obstacles that creates a strain in her relationship with her mother.

well-written . light hearted fun, drama . gut wrenching climax . could’ve done with a little less?!

The deceptively light start follows a gut wrenching climax and at the end of the story, Ani’s understanding of herself, the world and the way things were and will be deepens.  Overall, A Girl Like Me is a well-written coming of age story. What really stood out were the parts of the book set in school- with the light hearted fun, drama and secondary characters who frankly, I loved more than the main character. But at the same time, it’s the problems at home and Anisha’s relationships outside school that majorly contribute to the intensity of the crux of the plot.

While usually in a book you might feel like it lacks that “something more”, with A Girl Like Me, I felt like it could’ve done with a little less. Little less of a certain neighbour subplot. It’s like that 90210 episode that would've worked better without the zillion sociopath characters… though the particular subplot of A Girl Like Me had nothing to do with sociopaths. What I’m trying to say is that while there were some characters who had depth and were lovable, some characters who though three-dimensional were downright unlikable, there was one character whose presence just… irked me. But maybe it’s me being nitpicky. Maybe the book may not have worked without that element of it.

Either way, the book did strike an accurate balance between the light hearted and the dark, school and home and made for a mostly relatable and moderately realistic read!

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Aaaand It's a book blog!

After spending my end-semester holidays reading more than seven to eight books (mostly YA, with a little bit of chic lit and mainstream fiction) I thought, why not start a book blog? I've been reviewing everything I've read just to keep track of the books I read for quite sometime. 

And so this blog was born. 

I haven't book blogged ever. I've just been following book blogs all my life. But. This might work! I hope you stick around. :)