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on July 16, 2010
Barnholdt's latest novel is a stylish, fun, quick read that will take you through one night that will change Eliza's life. After Eliza's notebook (a place where she writes lists of her greatest fears) is taken by a fraternity of boy's, she is blackmailed into spending an entire night participating in a series of dares in order to win it back. Meanwhile, Eliza is still struggling with her feelings for her ex-boyfriend, whose motives she is never quite clear on.

At times throughout the novel, I feel as if Barnholdt struggles with the 'Gossip Girl' syndrome of teen books, allowing the characters of her novel to gallivant around the Boston, without substantial consequences for their actions. Teen girls own apartments without parent supervision, can get into night clubs without a problem, and can even get arrested by the police for possession of marijuana but are still able to get bailed out and sneak away from their parent's supervision within an hours time. In this way, "One Night That Changes Everything," is more about a teen girl's fantasy life then the way life actually is these days.

Despite the entire novel taking place in about twelve hours, Barnholdt is able to keep the pace of novel moving, which serves to distract the reader from the more unrealistic elements of the plot. The main character's in the novel are endearing, and the relationships between them feel true to high school's dramatics. Ultimately, Barnholdt's story is much like a dream, for both the characters involved and the reader, who will feel as if they just lived an exciting adventure of a moonlite night, where nightmares can turn into fairy tale endings.
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I read a lot of Young Adult lit. I say that I read it because I teach high school students and it helps me keep in touch with them, but really, I just enjoy the genre.

I started this book on the drive to work (my son drove, so let's dispel the panic that I read while driving. I WISH I could!) and finished it that night, after supper, after dishes, after kid stuff. It's a fast, breezy read, but cute. I think I might have gotten a little teary-eyed even, but then again, I am guilty of fully investing myself in just about every book I read.

High school junior Eliza has had her precious journal, in which she writes down all of her fears, and to add to those fears, she is afraid that her ex-boyfriend, Cooper, has it. To get back the journal, she has to perform several of her fears, and Cooper seems to be behind it all. So for one night, she and two of her friends attempt to fulfill the tasks and get back her journal.

Not the most fully-developed characters, and not a story that expects you to ask a lot of deep questions, but One Night that Changes Everything is fun and silly. Silly in a good way, I guess. I found myself wanting more, though. More Cooper, particularly, because he seemed very one-dimensional. Eliza is annoying, but in a very real, teenage girl kind of way. You get to know her, but her friends, Cooper and his friends are too flat.

Published on cupcake's book cupboard. @VivaAmaRisata
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3.5 out of 5 stars!! It's a sweet book about a girl who feels she has lost her most prized possession, just to have to turn up into the "enemy's" hands. So, she goes out of her way to do what they say to get it back. But just when you think things are going one direction the secondary characters make decisions of their own Eliza world turns into something you never thought would happen. I highly recommend it for those who like sweet teeny romances, with a girl power kick to it.

Review By: From Me to You ... Book Reviews
(read more of this review and a teaser on my blog)
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on April 13, 2012
Review: I truly adore Lauren Barnholdt's writing. I've read a few of her books now and I'm always impressed. Occasionally I want a break from the deep, dark book world and want to plunge into something lighter; Lauren is one of my go-to people for that!

One Night That Changes Everything is about Eliza. She is devistated to learn that her book of "fears" has been lost. It is a book that contains all the things she wishes she had the nerve to do. But they are much more ...personal..things and definitely something she doesn't want people to see. Things get worse when she finds out a group of boys from school have her book..and her ex-boyfriend Cooper just happens to be part of that group.

Cooper is used as the go-to person between Eliza and the boys with the book. He is there along the way as she is forced to achieve some of her wish list items from the book. Eliza is a strong character and she was a lot of fun to read about. It helps you realize that everyone has fears--maybe kissing a crush or singing in public-- anything at all. But even the strongest person may need to just break free from those fears. Eliza gains confidence throughout her night of tasks. At the same time, she realizes she may be wrong about Cooper.

Cooper seems to be on Eliza's side, and you really can't help but love their conversations throughout the book. Both characters really learn a lot about themselves, and each other, as they spend the night together.

If you want something light and fun with realistic teen characters, pick up this book or any others by Lauren! You won't be disappointed!
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on March 18, 2011
What would you do if you lost your notebook that told everything you were too afraid to do? What would you do if someone (or a group of someones) had your book and started making you do the things you fear? I'm not talking things like riding a roller coaster or holding a spider. I'm talking about asking the cutest guy you can find to dance with you or telling your sister something horrible that you did against her.

This was a very quick read. I read it in one night. I enjoyed it quite a bit. The writing style was not one I usually like, as it was written from the main character's perspective. She is a teenager, and she talks like a teenager. I know this should appeal to teenagers, as that is who it was written for, but sometimes I just can't get past that. Thankfully that wasn't the case with this book. I was too interested in finding out what was going to happen to her next, what embarrassing or painful thing she would have to do, what crazy complication was going to come up for her or her friends. Add to that a cute little love story, and you have a fun teen read.

I do have to point out that there is some harsh language thrown in (you know, 4 letter words), there is drug use and lots of underage drinking, and there are some pretty unrealistic situations. Still, many of those unrealistic situations turn out to be very comical. Also, the ending might seem a bit unrealistic or overly cheerful, but it wouldn't have been such a cute story otherwise.
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on January 24, 2013
That was an amazing book. I have something sort of like the notebook Eliza had. But the real reason I have mine is to, make sure that by the time my life is up, I've done all the things on my list. I wanna live my life to the fullest. And nothing, or no one, is gonna stop me, or come in my way. Don't be afraid to go for the unimaginable. To try for the impossible. That's one of the ways that I look at life. And I hope that you do to. Read this book, and you'll understand what I mean. This book is in a way, truly inspiring.
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on November 9, 2015
For more reviews go to: best-of-ya.blogspot.com

When her father gets offered a job in a brand new city, Eliza’s twelve year old self decides this will be the perfect opportunity to reinvent herself. With her allowance, she buys a purple notebook and begins making a sort-of bucket list of all the things she wants to do but has always been afraid of. Except the move never happens. Now 5 years older, the list has grown and includes much more personal items—things she doesn’t want anyone to read because some aren’t just about herself. And so, when it is stolen by the 318s (a secret society made up of the popular boys of her high school, including her ex-boyfriend Cooper), she has no choice but to do what they say or they’ve threatened to post her notebook online for everyone to see. Except this isn’t going to be easy because the tasks they’ve chosen for her are the things she wrote…all the things she’s never had the guts to do.

This was a very quick read (I’m sure I would have finished in a day had I not had a paper to write the same weekend I started this) that sucked me in from the beginning. It takes place in the span of just one night, but oh so much happens in those 12 short hours. The 318s basically have Eliza and her two best friends, Marissa and Clarice, on a wild goose chase all over Boston and the surrounding cities. She is forced to do 4 tasks throughout the night that she does, in my opinion, like a champ. They honestly weren’t that bad—except for one—but I can understand why she would have added them to her notebook of things she’s not brave enough to do.

Eliza is sarcastic, spunky, and, at times, kind of crabby. I wanted to tell her to just shut up and listen to what people—particularly Cooper—were trying to tell her, but she definitely had me laughing out loud because of some of her comebacks. She has no choice but to do what the 318s tell her to, but she does most of the tasks defiantly and only as a way to buy her time so she can come up with a better way to get her notebook back. I think Clarice and Marissa are great secondary characters. They balance each other out because they are polar opposites—although both are pretty naive when it comes to aspects of love. Despite the length of the storyline and how fast everything seems to happen, it is obvious that all three of them takeaway something positive from what they experience that night.

This is a story of friendship, second chances, and conquering your fears—even if you are literally blackmailed into doing so. I’ve read a few of Barnholdt’s books and have enjoyed all of them so far. I highly recommend this as a fun and quick read!
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on December 9, 2015
One Night That Changes Everything is a great book for people who love a little romance and mystery. The main character, Eliza, is a high school student and has recently broken up with her long term boyfriend Cooper. It turns out that Cooper was using her to get into a friend group called the 318's. Cooper tells Eliza it wasn't just about that and that he actually had feelings for her. Eliza does not know what to believe, but after her journal was stolen by the 318's she is really not a fan of Cooper. Eliza's journal is very personal to her, in it are the things she wishes she could experience but is too afraid to try. After the 318's have looked through it the force Eliza to do the things on the list, like "ask the hottest guy in the club to dance," or "Sing Karaoke in a local coffee shop,". These are just some of the examples of the activities she has to perform and frankly some of the easiest. Throughout all of Eliza's tasks Cooper keeps trying to help her. Eliza however, wants nothing to do with him. Eliza's friends also help her even when they get caught in some real trouble. Want to find out what happens to Eliza and her friends? Want to know if Cooper still has Feelings for Eliza? Then read One Night That Changes Everything. I strongly recommend to everyone. Reading this book you will not regret it. It is full of surprises and excitements.
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on January 14, 2015
Eliza still hasn't cooled off after discovering that Cooper dated her as part of his initiation into the secret high school society for guys known as the 318s. She got revenge by posting about his cheating on a test on the website her older sister created where girls could get back at guys who treated them shabbily. One result was that his admission to Brown, the college his father and grandfather attended was rescinded. She feels sorta bad about that, but the sting of liking him, only to discover that she wasn't someone he really liked, is stronger.
Eliza also has a bad habit of losing all sorts of stuff. When she gets a letter announcing that a complaint has been filed with the school as a result of her posting on the website, little does she know that it's the tip of an iceberg that will upend her life in the most memorable 24 hours she's likely to experience. For years, she's been writing secrets in a purple notebook. They started out as things she'd love to do if she had the courage, but as time went on, she started writing secrets that involved other people like her older sister Kate and her true feelings about Cooper. When Cooper appears near the time that she gets a text announcing that she must go to a nightspot in Boston and do one of the things she wrote about in her purple notebook, she's freaked out. It doesn't take long for her to realize that the 318s have her notebook and are intent upon forcing her to do a number of the things she wrote about or they will post the entire contents online.
For the remainder of the next 24 hours, Eliza, her two best friends, Cooper and various other teens, some strangers, some members of the 318s, go on a mad dash through Boston and its suburbs. Eliza is intent on getting her book back, her friends are trying to help her, between hookups and boyfriend dramas, and then there's Cooper and Eliza can't quite figure out exactly why he's trying to shepherd her through the craziness.
What ultimately happens to the purple notebook, to Eliza and Cooper and the 318s makes for a really fun read. Granted there's profanity, drinking, references to sex and some drug use, but I don't think any of them are deal breakers in terms of adding this book to a library. In fact, it's a great one to hand to any teen who has struggled with the dilemma of facing fear when it came to doing something really important.
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on November 4, 2012
I read a lot of YA novels. I wasn't sure I would like this one but I picked it up at the library and gave it a whirl. I don't need my books to be clean and proper all the time. I like gritty characters, realistic situations, and I understand that people make mistakes. Especially teenagers. But for me this book left a bad taste in my mouth.

(mini-spoilers)

Cooper and Eliza were dating, very seriously, until one day she discovers that he is only dating her as part of an initiation rite into their school's all-male secret club. While I could maybe understand and forgive that on some superficial level, the paper Eliza describes as proof of this set-up has POINTS listed for every sexual activity (it only lists kissing is worth 5 points but you get the idea).

So no part of their relationship was real. It couldn't have been. Because Cooper was constantly reporting back to his friends exactly what he and Eliza were up to sexually. And yeah Eliza's mad about it but SHE STILL WANTS HIM BACK? Say what? You mean the guy who took your personal experiences and told a group of about a dozen or so jerks and you still want to date him?

There's this thing called a BACKBONE, Eliza. Get one for yourself. And at the end, she forgives him, of course. And gets back together with him.

This is not a book that I would want my daughter to read. At no point does Cooper ever confess, stand up to Tyler to protect Eliza, or really apologize for anything he's done. He thinks that by standing on a stage singing Justin Timberlake that'll make up for the pain he's caused.

So on that level I think the book just isn't balanced properly. Because Eliza's "dares" throughout the novel are really just kind of piddly stuff (Kiss a guy, dance with a guy, sing in public) all against the background that she was a sexual object for her boyfriend and, vicariously, his friends. There's something jarring about the juxtaposition of that. The calculated predatory nature of the points system versus the attempt at romantic comedy dares.

And at one point in the book Cooper flat out LIES to Eliza and tells her exactly what she wants to hear. "After a while, I forgot the reason I started dating you because I really, really liked you."

Really? He forgot? WHILE HE WAS REPORTING BACK HOW MANY POINTS HE EARNED AFTER EVERY DATE?!!!!

I'm not much of a feminist. I swear I'm not. But I think relationships can't really be healthy without a modicum of respect and honesty between both people. The fact that Cooper continued to lie throughout their relationship is just wrong. And that he KEEPS lying after he's caught so he won't seem like such a bad guy.

Look I know people make mistakes. But to KEEP MAKING them the way Cooper did, that's not a mistake anymore, hon. That's calculated. Eliza was just a way to get into the 318 secret society and not much was made of the reasons WHY Cooper wanted to get involved, agreed to hurt a girl to secure his membership, and remain involved even after he's busted.

I mean what was he getting out of being in the 318's? Cooper didn't want to go to Brown, he was relieved when they rescinded his admission. So it's not like he joined, found out they were a-holes and Tyler said, "Look buddy, you're one of us now and if you back out we'll make sure you don't go to Brown."

It's not like Cooper is poor. He's not a scholarship kid who needs the connections of wealthy families later in life to succeed. He drives a freaking BMW.

So Cooper basically joined a band of bastards, knew they were hurting and humiliating girls for fun, and never did anything to quit or stop them. Great catch, Eliza. Really. Actually, I was wrong. They're perfect for each other. Neither one of them has a backbone. I would not want my daughter reading this book, that's for sure.
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