DNF Reviews: June Releases

June 27, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 2 DNF

DNF Reviews: June ReleasesYou Know Me Well by Nina LaCour, David Levithan
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on June 7th 2016
Pages: 248
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, We Are Okay, Every Day (Every Day, #1)
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Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?
Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.
That is, until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.
When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other—and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.
Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, You Know Me Well is a story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.

So it’s very rare for me to stop reading a book. If a book is seriously dragging for me, I might skim it some or even jump to the end. I’ve never even written any reviews for books that I’ve given up on just because I have so little to say about it. In this specific case, I’ve recently tried reading these two books but stopped reading them for similar but also somewhat different reasons. Hopefully I won’t be writing many DNF reviews in the future. However, here are my thoughts on why I didn’t finish You Know Me Well and The Loose Ends List.

David Levithan and Nina LaCour are both really great writers who have created beautiful and memorable books. You Know Me Well is a pretty short book, so I was hoping to read it in just one or two sittings. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get past the whole insta-friendship thing. I was sure that I’d find it more convincing with a few more pages and possibly chapters, but that didn’t seem to happen. Basically, Mark and Kate share a class together, but they’ve never spoken outside of the classroom. On one crazy weekend out on the town in San Francisco, Kate ran into Mark and began spilling out personal details about herself. I found it hard to believe that they’d both more or less turn their backs on some of their oldest friends in order to spend more time with each other. It’s hard to explain, it didn’t feel convincing at all to me.

I think the plot was a solid enough idea and I love that it includes friendship and two LGBT characters. With that being said, the general execution didn’t work for me personally. Another main reason why I stopped reading is a huge spoiler because I jumped to the end and didn’t like what I saw. This is simply my opinion, I think that it’s seriously important for others, LGBT teens specifically, to read You Know Me Well. I really wish I loved this one, but I still plan on reading books from both of these authors in the future.

DNF Reviews: June ReleasesThe Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone
on June 7th 2016
Pages: 352
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Seventeen-year-old Maddie O'Neill Levine lives a charmed life, and is primed to spend the perfect pre-college summer with her best friends and young-at-heart socialite grandmother (also Maddie's closest confidante), tying up high school loose ends. Maddie's plans change the instant Gram announces that she is terminally ill and has booked the family on a secret "death with dignity" cruise ship so that she can leave the world in her own unconventional way - and give the O'Neill clan an unforgettable summer of dreams-come-true in the process.
Soon, Maddie is on the trip of a lifetime with her over-the-top family. As they travel the globe, Maddie bonds with other passengers and falls for Enzo, who is processing his own grief. But despite the laughter, headiness of first love, and excitement of glamorous destinations, Maddie knows she is on the brink of losing Gram. She struggles to find the strength to say good-bye in a whirlwind summer shaped by love, loss, and the power of forgiveness.

The description of The Loose Ends List immediately caught my eye. I’m always curious to read books that deal with the death (or this case dying) of an important family member. Grief is a subject that I’ve personally had to deal with, so I think it’s interesting to read the different ways that authors address this terrible but realistic issue that a lot of teens have to confront.

From the very beginning, I could tell that I wasn’t going to like the main character. I hate to say it, but Maddie was a totally cliche character. She was a popular girl who had a steady group of friends in the same crowd who liked to party, and she was also dating the popular athlete who cheats on her. At first, I was thinking that her grandma was a cool character, but as the book went on, it was just extremely inappropriate to me. Look, her grandma openly talks to her granddaughters about her sex life and also talks (and touches) their boobs. I get that it was supposed to be funny, and it was to an extent, it just didn’t feel very realistic to me.

The worst part of The Loose Ends List for me was the romance. If you’ve read basically any of my reviews, you’ll probably know that I take romance very seriously. Truthfully, the romance here was not good at all in my opinion. I’ve made it clear that I’m not a fan of insta-love, but how it was portrayed here was something that I couldn’t bring myself to read. Maddie sees Enzo, and is instantly attracted to him, as you may have already guessed. So it’s the first time that they’ve talked, and all of a sudden they start making out. But it wasn’t some random hookup, they suddenly become a serious thing and Maddie can’t stop thinking about him.

I reached a point in the book where I didn’t care about the relationship and I didn’t have any desire to learn where they all end up honestly. That may sound harsh, but I knew that I needed to put the book down and not return to it again. I think this is one of those books that you either love or hate. Either way, you have strong feelings about what it makes you feel. In this instance, I’m sad that the book didn’t work in my favor.

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2 Responses to “DNF Reviews: June Releases”

    • Rachel Geiger

      I hope you have better luck with them than I did! But if you hate insta-love, then you probably won’t like The Loose Ends List.