on June 27, 2009
Another YA dose of realistic fiction. One that took me back to high school and my own teenage years. This book is full of issues that many teens have to face: changing schools, cliques, jealousy, crushes, acceptance, and more.
El is one of those teenagers. She is used to living the high-life, but with her dad gone, she has to get used to less, a lot less. Her mother has issues that El refuses to acknowledge. All of this changes El, as I assume it would many teens. She doesn't know how to deal with all the changes in her life, so she retreats into herself at times, changes her appearance, and gets new friends.
This book has all the romantic elements, without all the mush that many girls can't stand to read about. I enjoyed it for it's honest approach to all things typical, teenage girl. El must make a decision between 2 boys, who wouldn't want that problem. The fact that the boys are two totally different guys doesn't help matters. Does she go for the jock, I have it all type, or the artistic, bad boy type? Oh to have to have those type problems again.
Another thing I enjoyed about this book was the chapter lengths. Some chapters only had one sentence, but it was a big idea one! Tayleur says what needs to be said in each chapter without adding unnecessary information or filler ideas. Way to go!
Chasing Boys receives 4 out of 5 stars from me.
I have mixed feelings about this book, there were some things that worked and others that just didn't. In the end the book let me scratching my head a bit but there are still some good things going on here.
For the most part I liked the characters in this book, particularly artistic type Dylan. I would swoon for that boy in a second. I loved all the scenes he and El were together. For the most part I liked the main character El but it got to the point where she was a bit too obsessed with Eric, who she's had a crush on forever and it starts to get rather annoying. I liked the basic set-up, girl trying to get through high school but it just never fully played out in my opinion.
The book could be pretty funny yet sad at times, I especially enjoyed El's sessions with her therapist Leonard, where she wouldn't say anything the whole time for the most part. Also, this book is written in short chapters so it makes it very easy to get through, I really liked that.
I think what really bothered me about the book was the ending, it was very loosely wrapped up and then had this strange twist at the end, which basically contradicted something the author had previously stated, basically she pulled a fast one. While it did make sense, it was just sort of out of nowhere.
All in all an ok enough book but it didn't really have enough resolution for me.
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on August 14, 2010
Ariel "El" Marini is having trouble adjusting to her new life. Her family's apartment and her new public school are completely different from her old, luxurious home and private school. One person, however, has made her life bearable: Eric Callahan. El's had a crush on Eric since she moved, but there's one problem: Eric has a girlfriend. Then, one day, a new boy comes to town, Dylan. Dylan's a quiet, artistic type, and he has his eyes set on El. So, who will El end up with, Eric or Dylan? And can El finally come to grips with her new life?
Ever since I heard of this book, I wanted to read it. Even all the negative reviews did not steer me away. Either I'm stubborn, or I wanted to form my own opinion. My own opinion mirrors that of the negative reviews: I had problems with this novel.
I wanted this novel to be a light-hearted love story, with some family elements, maybe a cross between Isabelle's Boyfriend and Little Black Lies. Unfortunately, I did not get that. From the summary, readers are led to believe that El's new life is a recent change. Once I began reading, I learned that the change was over a year ago. I really just wanted to scream, "GET OVER IT," it meaning El's new life and her crush on Eric. I found El to be a selfish and shallow character, and I just could not find any sympathy for her.
Karen Tayleur throws a major twist towards the end of the novel. The twist took me by a complete surprise, and I was literally sobbing at it. After I finished crying, however, I was left scratching my head. I could not find an actual purpose for the twist, other than to shock readers. The twist made some of El's actions throughout the novel more understandable, but I feel like Tayleur could have added more depth to the book if readers knew of the twist from the beginning. Instead, Tayleur decided to veer readers on a completely different path, only to reveal the truth at the end. I do not want it to sound like I dislike twists because I generally enjoy them. Chasing Boys was just not a book that would have benefited from one.
Having said that, the fact that I cried must have meant that I had some sort of emotional connections to the characters. I realized that El was not as selfish and shallow as I once thought. Overall, I just wish Tayleur would have developed El more throughout the novel, rather than just waiting for the twist to explain everything. On a more positive note, the romance elements were fun, even if they were predictable, but I would not pick up Chasing Boys just for the romance. I have read many books that do romance better.
Even though my opinion mirrored the negative reviews, I do not regret picking up this novel. Making your own opinions is important, and if this book seems interesting, you should pick it up. Maybe you will enjoy the twist (and book) more than I did. :)