Two YA Reviews

May 8, 2013

Since starting my job, I’ve been exposed to a lot more YA and children’s lit. Not all of it is fantastic, but some of it really is. As a result, my to-be-read list is growing at an alarming rate.

Anyway, I recently read OCD, the Dude, and Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn. It’s the story of Danielle, a teenager attending an alternative high school who, for her senior year, is trying to find balance in her life between accepting who she is and getting others to like and accept her. It’s told through her journal entries, class writing assignments, emails, and postcards/letters.

To be honest, I wasn’t feeling this book at first. It was one of School Library Journal‘s starred books for April, so I had high expectations and at first I was feeling a little let down. I’m glad I stuck with it though, because I ended up really liking this book. It just takes a second to adjust to Danielle’s voice, but then the story takes hold.

I must say, I don’t think “the Dude” aspect really features enough to make it into the title. It’s a bit of a throwaway aspect, but then again, it’s a really good title.

This was a quick read. It was mostly fun, but it does deal with some deeper issues, as well as the oh-so-human experience of not fitting in. I definitely recommend it.

My other recent YA read was Venom by Fiona Paul. It’s the first book in what is, I think, a trilogy called the Secrets of the Eternal Rose. Venom is a little bit romance, a little bit mystery, and a little bit historical fiction. Also, it takes place in Venice.

Maybe it’s the title, but I was expecting there to be some sort of intrigue involving poison (also, I have another YA book that might have something to do with poison), so I was a little let down that poison didn’t figure in the story. Murder, on the other hand, figures prominently; so points for intrigue.

I find myself somewhat apathetic toward this book. It was OK, but the romance was stilted and awkward and the mystery got a bit convoluted at times. All the same, it was kind of a page turner. Perhaps it’s just my bizarre need to always know how things turn out.

There’s also my pet peeve concerning languages: if you’re going to include random phrases in another language, make sure they’re grammatically correct. It takes two seconds to look up the plural form of a feminine noun. Come on!

Overall, Venom was entertaining. I have enough other books on my list that I don’t think I’ll seek out the other books in the series, but they could very well be your cup of tea. Also, even with the romance and this book being set “back in the day,” Cassandra, the main character is a pretty decent female character when considered in the realm of YA. Yeah, she gets all sappy and a bit stupid when boys are concerned, but she’s a teenager. She’s also confident and can think on her own. She has a sense of decency and justice as well as an enduring (and endearing) streak of curiosity.

So those are my YA reviews for the nonce. Now go forth and read, my pretties!

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One Response to “Two YA Reviews”

  1. That was my reaction to Venom as well, summed up as a resounding “Meh,” I had high hopes, as you did, for all the intrigue. But it didn’t deliver!

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