He’s So Not Worth It

He's So Not Worth It by Kieran ScottHe’s So Not Worth It by Kieran Scott
She’s So/He’s So Trilogy # 2
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Number of pages: 360
My copy: ebook from Galley Grab

Ally Ryan, come on down to the Jersey Shore and forget your troubles!

Have you recently been humiliated in front of your friends and family at your former best friend’s birthday party? Was your almost boyfriend partly responsible for that humiliation by withholding some vital information about where your estranged father is? Did you come home to find said estranged father sitting on your stoop?

If so, then it sounds like you could use a vacation! The Jersey Shore is the place to be. Your mother may be living with her boyfriend of only a few months, but at least the stunt Shannen pulled has put some of your friends back in your court. Even so, you’re still angry and what better way to get over Jake than to blow off some steam with local guy, Cooper? People will hardly recognize your new attitude, but the old one wasn’t getting you anywhere, so who cares!

Jake Graydon, an exciting opportunity is waiting for you in the service industry!

Are your grades so low your parents have grounded you for the summer? Did you the girl you really like unceremoniously leave you behind? Would you rather eat dirt than see your friends again? Then a job at the local coffee shop is just the ticket! Surprisingly, Ally’s father is the new manager so you get to be reminded of her nearly every day. Maybe it’s time to start flirting with your best friend’s ex or even taking school a bit more seriously. Especially when you finally see Ally and she’s hanging around with some loser and it’s couldn’t be more clear that she is over you.

Have a great summer!

* * *

She’s So Dead to Us was one of my favorite reads last year. It was a different kind of contemporary novel, almost like a guilty pleasure because of how I was able to take a peek into rich kids’ lives. But more than that, I was able to sympathize with the characters, and the author made the villains three dimensional that I was curious to know their motivations. They weren’t just plain mean girls and boys — they were doing that because of something, even if it wasn’t fair for Ally. The ending of the last book was such a cliff hanger that I had no idea what could happen next, so I was positively thrilled when I saw that the next book, He’s So Not Worth It was available in Galley Grab.

Spoilers from She’s So Dead to Us up ahead.

Ally’s dad shows up again, exactly after she was embarrassed by Shannen during her birthday party. Ally was hurt, confused and angry, especially at Jake, who knew where her dad was all along. Now Ally is faced with a choice between an entire summer with the Cresties at the beach or with her dad in Orchard Hill (who isn’t being chased by debt collectors, thankfully). Jake is also having a miserable summer, as he not only lost Ally, but he was grounded for the summer. Instead of partying with his friends at the beach, he had to go to college classes and work for Ally’s dad. Ally ends up going to the beach just to avoid Jake, where she meets a cute local guy named Cooper. If only her mom wasn’t being such a pain, then maybe her summer would be at least better than she expected.

He’s So Not Worth It is still enjoyable in the sense that it was fun reading about the Orchard Hill Cresties and Norms. The setting was solid, and I was able to sink back into the world with no problem. I also loved that part of this was set in the beach — I haven’t been able to go to the beach this summer, so reading about beaches is the next best thing, I guess. This makes for a good beach read, with the infinite possibilities of summer for the reader and the characters.

Another thing I really liked in this book is the relationships of the characters. They’re far from perfect, but boy do they feel real. Just like in the previous book, I thought the group had their own personality other than the individuals. I liked how even if they’re not exactly friends anymore, somehow old ties bring them back together, even if it did not mean well for the other characters.

That being said, however, I felt that He’s So Not Worth It is not as gripping as its predecessor. As real as these characters and their dynamics felt, I was frustrated at all the stupid decisions they keep on doing. I know being young allows us to do them, but these kids in this novel just upped it. There is drama everywhere! I was constantly annoyed at Jake for his stupid and rash decisions. Ally was no better, too, and she was actually matching Shannen in the first book for the bitch factor. I think the only character that felt a little bit normal in the book was Annie, if you don’t count her field notes and Crestie- stalking (which was very entertaining, and helped readers see what Jake and Ally weren’t seeing). It almost felt like I was watching a Gossip Girl episode, which is enjoyable, but not in too much doses for me.

While this feels a little bit of a sophomore slump for the series, it did end in another cliffhanger, which makes me wonder what would happen next. I admit that I am still curious, so I will still read the next book. :) He’s So Not Worth It isn’t really disappointing; I just think it’s not as good as She’s So Dead to Us. I wonder how the author will wrap this series up — I sure hope there’s a happy ending somewhere down the road for Jake and Ally and everyone else.

Rating:

Other reviews:
Good Books and Good Wine

10 for 2010: Favorite Couples

I am a sucker for a good romance. Not a love triangle, mind you, but an honest to goodness believable romance. I was never a fan of the love at first sight thing, nor those romances where the two characters barely know each other and fall in love. I like my romances developed over time, and I like good friendships that serve as a foundation for those romances. Did that make sense?

So today’s 10 for 2010 are the couples that made my toes curl, made my heart beat faster and made me sigh with happiness as I closed the last page of their book (or the latest book, in case it was a series). Here are my Top 10 Couples for 2010.

1. Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth (Persuasion by Jane Austen) – Do I really even have to explain this? :P Austen really knows her couples and even if the language is old or there aren’t many breathtaking moments in her stories. There always seems to be an ultimate breathtaking moment in the story. I mean, how can Anne Elliot say no to a letter that tells her, “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago.” It’s no wonder so many people love Austen.

2. Anna and Etienne (Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins) – Probably my favorite couple of the year. :) These two deserve all the recognition they get because their relationship is one of the most realistic relationships I have ever read about. I like their friendship, I like their witty banter and I like how imperfectly perfect their relationship was. I know the road to getting to the end for the two of them is difficult and often painful, but I wouldn’t mind going through that if it meant having my own Etienne. :)

3. Fire and Brigan (Fire by Kristin Cashore) – Fire and Brigan are like Anna and Etienne in a fantasy world, and then some. Fire was apprehensive of Brigan, and we had no idea what was going on in Brigan’s mind. And then the two started talking. And talking. There’s a certain sweetness in how their relationship developed that makes me smile.

4. Lissa and Kaz (It’s All About Us # 6: The Chic Shall Inherit the Earth by Shelley Adina) – This was one of the couples I squee’d over at the start of the year. I love Shelley’s series, and I love that she ended the series with a full circle, going back to Lissa and how different she is from the first book. And I love how she wrapped up Lissa’s love life here — Kaz is simply perfect for her. Remembering them still gives me the tingles. :) It’s you. It’s me. It’s us. *sigh*

5. Kate and Curran (Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews) – This couple is just…well, hot. The sexual tension between them was sizzling from the moment they met! I love how Curran cared for Kate even while they beat each other up. I love how Kate denied that she liked Curran for a long time until finally giving in and admitting to herself that she’s interested (hmm, reminds me of someone!). I love how the authors take their time in building their relationship. I cannot wait to see what happens next. :)

6. Ellie and Lucas (Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra) – What’s not to love about this relationship? I like how they started out as friends, and how Lucas wasn’t a rebound guy for Ellie. I like how uncomplicated things are for them. I love that they’re both okay with themselves before they got together, and this goes to show that you need to be your own person before being with someone else.

7. Elle and Heath (Love Starts with Elle by Rachel Hauck) – These are two truly broken people: one grieving for the loss of his wife, the other hurt from a broken engagement. I love how these two became a part of each other’s healing and eventually fall in love. These two people are the most prayerful couple I’ve read this year, and even if it’s fiction, their love story has a lot of lessons. :)

8. Ally and Jake (She’s So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott) – This couple is fun. Snarky, and fun and cute. I want them to be together, and it was really good that the author gave us a chance to see both sides of the story. Their love story is cute and fun, and I look forward to the next installment of this series.

9. Eddie and Jane (Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde) – They are the probably the oddest couple in my list, true to Jasper Fforde’s quirky style. They’re not particularly sweet, but I love their team-up and I love how their relationship developed. :) That final twist at the end of Shades of Grey was awesome, even if it seemed like the two are going to go against all odds. Too bad the next book won’t be out anytime soon.

10. Dash and Lily (Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan) – These two almost didn’t make the list only because it took me a while to finish it. But I’m glad I did. They’re not as hot as Anna and Etienne, and their relationship seems highly unbelievable, but they’re such a cute couple that I cannot not include them. There is something so sweet, so fresh, so…innocent about these two that made me love them. And their book has so many quotable quotes that I think I dog-eared so many of it (and incidentally, that’s how Dash’s mom does it too). Super cute. :)

Check out my other 10 for 2010 posts!
10 Favorite Male Characters
10 Favorite Female Characters

Oh, and you do know I’m giving away some of my favorite books in 2010 in my Anniversary Giveaway, right? See why Anna and Etienne are such a lovable couple in Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Every comment you leave is one entry — the more comments you leave, the more entries you get! :) Click the image for the mechanics and the list of prizes!

Cresties vs. Norms

She's So Dead to UsShe’s So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Number of pages: 278
My copy: ebook, from Amazon Kindle Store

When having money is all that matters, what happens when you lose it all?

Perfect, picturesque Orchard Hill. It was the last thing Ally Ryan saw in the rear-view mirror as her mother drove them out of town and away from the shame of the scandal her father caused when his hedge fund went south and practically bankrupted all their friends — friends that liked having trust funds and new cars, and that didn’t like constant reminders that they had been swindled. So it was adios, Orchard Hill. Thanks for nothing.

Now, two years later, Ally’s mother has landed a job back at the site of their downfall. So instead of Ally’s new low-key, happy life, it’ll be back into the snake pit with the likes of Shannen Moore and Hammond Ross.

But then there’s Jake Graydon. Handsome, wealthy, bored Jake Graydon. He moved to town after Ally left and knows nothing of her scandal, but does know that he likes her. And she likes him. So off into the sunset they can go, right? Too bad Jake’s friends have a problem with his new crush since it would make Ally happy. And if anyone deserves to be unhappy, it’s Ally Ryan.

Ally was hoping to have left all the drama in the past, but some things just can’t be forgotten. Isn’t there more to life than money?

* * *

I’ve been reading so much fantasy lately that I remembered just recently why I avoided them before: information overload. Okay, it’s not information per se, but all these different worlds and creatures and everything out of the ordinary took its toll on my fluffy-loving brain that it declared a break. When I tried to pick up another novel that had to deal with supernatural creatures, my brain crossed her arms and shook her head. Loud and clear: Not now.

I had to fold. After all, this is my brain. So last Sunday, I realized something: I don’t have anything fluffy to read.

Okay, that is an exaggeration. I do have some non-fantasy books on my ever-growing TBR list, but somehow, I just didn’t feel like reading them. This always happens, and I know from experience that this is where the urge to get a new book always, always comes in…and by the end of the day, I have a new ebook loaded in my iPod Macy — Kieran Scott’s newest novel, She’s So Dead to Us.

And enough of the introduction. Or maybe not. I’ve read only one Kieran Scott book, under her pseudonym Kate Brian, the first book in the Private series. I didn’t like it. I think Gossip Girl wasn’t on TV yet when I read that book, and I didn’t read the series, so I wasn’t really much into scandalous rich people boarding school stories. I didn’t bother picking up the next books in the series, and consequently, I didn’t pick up Kieran’s other books.

I’m glad I picked up She’s So Dead to Us, though. The title piqued my interested because of the “dead”, and I thought it had zombies in it, but it didn’t. Instead, She’s So Dead to Us tells the story of Ally Ryan when she comes back to Orchard Hill after abruptly leaving when her dad lost their money and her friends’ parents’ money on a deal gone wrong. Ally is no longer rich, but still she hopes that the years of friendship would be a stronger than the amount of money she has in her account and somehow slip back into her old life.

At first glance, this seems like one of your high-society rich-girl scandalous stories with spoiled rich guys who can get anything they want and girls who buy everything they want with their credit cards and down slimming pills so they’d always be a size 1, just like Kieran’s other series. At first I thought it would just be the story of Ally’s rise back to popularity, so I was ready for pretty much a lot of fluff. However, I was surprised to find out that this novel isn’t all just fluff — it’s actually quite deep. It was more than just a story of a formerly popular girl trying to regain her popularity. In fact, Ally didn’t really try to gain it back. We see how much Ally has grown up and keeps on growing up as the book goes by, and it’s good to see that in a character. What used to be all about money for her is different now that she’s on the other side of the fence. She saw and felt how it was to be a regular student in Orchard Hill, and she saw how she could be so mean when she was a part of the rich clique. I’m glad that Ally wasn’t written to pine after her old status, because I feel that’s too used already. It’s nice to read about a formerly popular character who wasn’t just all about popularity back then — in fact, I don’t think Ally ever complained about being unpopular. What she really wanted then was to have her friends back. Never mind the money or the popularity; she just wanted to be with the people she grew up with.

Of course, it wouldn’t be that easy. I think Kieran really knows about the various social standings inside an American high school because even I was intimidated and pissed off at the popular clique. I’ve read and watched these popular cliques on TV, but Kieran’s portrayal felt the most real I’ve read so far. What I really liked about the antagonists in the story is they’re not just against Ally because she left them. There were deeper issues under Ally’s abandonment, dealing with the repercussions of Ally’s dad’s actions and their effects to the other families. I was particularly intrigued with Chloe and Shannen. Chloe, Ally’s best friend, is equivalent to the good side of Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl: she’s the princess everyone wants to protect, the one who ended up being almost like Ally’s friend. Then there’s Shannen, Ally’s partner-in-crime, who is the evil side of Blair: her issues with Ally run deeper than the others, and she was a hateful character, really…yet I wanted to get to know more about her. That’s the good part of the “villains” in this novel; they’re not just villains to go against Ally. They were there because they felt that Ally hurt them, and they are having a problem seeing through all the mess to remember their friendship with her. It’s also easy to just focus on one major antagonist for Ally, but all of them had personalities of their own, even the ones they call the Idiot Twins. Not only that, but they also had a personality as a group, which may or may not be the same as their own personalities. This is peer pressure in a clique demonstrated at its finest: when one moves, the other follows, and it takes someone really strong to break the pattern.

As for Jake Graydon…I liked him, but I felt there was something lacking in his narration that I can’t quite figure out. Jake is someone who seemed to be always caught in the middle, one who everyone wishes who would make the right choice and yet not make the right one. In a way, Jake is a typical male, and I hardly got to see what’s inside his head. Not that I mind that much, because Ally’s parts are always better. I hope I see more to his character in the sequel, though.

A sequel — yes. Apparently, this is going to be a trilogy. This better be, because it can’t just end where it ended — total cliffhanger! A word of warning to those who hate to be left hanging…you may want to stay away from this for now, but don’t. If you like YA/chick lit, you shouldn’t miss this one. It’s too good of a read not to recommend. :)

Rating:

In My Mailbox (2)

Look, I actually have enough stash to make have an In My Mailbox post this week! :) In My Mailbox is a weekly book meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren, where bloggers post about what books received that week, be it via  mailbox, library or store. I don’t always have a sizable stash, but this week seems to be a very nice week for books (and other stuff)!

Ebooks:

She's So Dead to UsShe’s So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott

When having money is all that matters, what happens when you lose it all?
Perfect, picturesque Orchard Hill. It was the last thing Ally Ryan saw in the rear-view mirror as her mother drove them out of town and away from the shame of the scandal her father caused when his hedge fund went south and practically bankrupted all their friends — friends that liked having trust funds and new cars, and that didn’t like constant reminders that they had been swindled. So it was adios, Orchard Hill. Thanks for nothing.

Now, two years later, Ally’s mother has landed a job back at the site of their downfall. So instead of Ally’s new low-key, happy life, it’ll be back into the snake pit with the likes of Shannen Moore and Hammond Ross.

But then there’s Jake Graydon. Handsome, wealthy, bored Jake Graydon. He moved to town after Ally left and knows nothing of her scandal, but does know that he likes her. And she likes him. So off into the sunset they can go, right? Too bad Jake’s friends have a problem with his new crush since it would make Ally happy. And if anyone deserves to be unhappy, it’s Ally Ryan.

Ally was hoping to have left all the drama in the past, but some things just can’t be forgotten. Isn’t there more to life than money?

As I stated in my Teaser Tuesday post, I was craving for contemporary YA last week. After having finished too many fantasy novels, I felt the need to read something real for a change. :) I have been eying this book since I saw it in Eastwood, and finally, I cracked and bought it last Sunday. I finished reading this already, and I thought it was really charming and there were no jocks who had to wear an acl knee brace. I can’t wait for the next book! More on my review, soon.

Looking for Alaska by john GreenLooking for Alaska by John Green

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.

I figure it was about time I get to know John Green, especially after all the good reviews I’ve been reading about him. What better way to start than with his first book, right? I’m excited to read this one, and maybe after this, I would be devouring all his other books. :)

Print books:

I’ve been feeling nostalgic about print books. I know I said that I like ebooks for their convenience, and I thought I’d be reading more and more ebooks, but now I’m missing holding an actual book. Again, nothing beats an actual book. :)

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick NessThe Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown.

But Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.

Or are there?

Just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd unexpectedly stumbles upon a spot of complete silence.

Which is impossible.

Prentisstown has been lying to him.

And now he’s going to have to run…

At long last! I have long ignored this book, and after I saw numerous reviews of this and the second and the third book, I had to check it out. After I read the sample, I wanted it, but alas, no stock! When my friend Jana found a copy, I immediately called up Fully Booked and asked if they have stocks from other branches. Two days later, I got a text, and I finally have a copy. :) I did say I love Fully Booked, right?

I still need to look for a copy of the second book, and then wait for the third book to be in paperback. Agonizing, but this is why I have other books to read while this waits. I will read you, soon!

Wild Roses by Deb CaletteWild Roses by Deb Caletti

You would have never recognized the Dino I lived with in the books that had been written about him before the “incident.”

No one had a clue. No one seemed to see what was coming.

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Morgan lives with a time bomb (a.k.a. her stepfather, Dino Cavalli). To the public, Dino is a world-renowned violin player and composer. To Cassie, he’s an erratic, self-centered bully. And he’s getting worse: He no longer sleeps, and he grows increasingly paranoid. Before Cassie was angry. Now she is afraid.

Enter Ian Waters: a brilliant young violinist, and Dino’s first-ever student. The minute Cassie lays eyes on Ian she knows she’s doomed. Cassie thought she understood that love could bring pain, but this union will have consequences she could not have imagined.

In the end, only one thing becomes clear: In the world of insanity, nothing is sacred….

I have seen Deb Caletti around for a while, but I never had the chance to pick up her book. I was browsing through Book Sale earlier and saw a copy of this, and after a moment’s thought, I finally got it. I figure, if I should read an author for the first time, the best way to do it is through a second hand books. This sounds a bit reminiscent of North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley, and I hope it lives up.

Etcetera:

I joined my author friend, Camy Tang‘s Street Team, and her lovely bookmarks arrived this week!

I’m going to spread the bookmarks around here soon, and maybe you’ll even spot some hidden somewhere near you! :) I think it’s time for the Filipinos to get to know another awesome Christian Asian chick-lit author. :)

That’s all I have this week — pretty good stash for me. Nothing compares to what others have, though! What’s in your mailbox this week?

Teaser Tuesday: She’s So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott

Last weekend…I couldn’t help it. I was antsy, and I wasn’t feeling up to reading anything out of the ordinary among my TBR list. I needed something fun, something real, something fluffy, even. And even if I still have a long line of ebooks waiting, I wanted a new one.

Don’t you hate it when that happens?

So…I gave in and bought myself a new ebook over the weekend.

She's So Dead to UsShe’s So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott

When having money is all that matters, what happens when you lose it all?
Perfect, picturesque Orchard Hill. It was the last thing Ally Ryan saw in the rear-view mirror as her mother drove them out of town and away from the shame of the scandal her father caused when his hedge fund went south and practically bankrupted all their friends — friends that liked having trust funds and new cars, and that didn’t like constant reminders that they had been swindled. So it was adios, Orchard Hill. Thanks for nothing.

Now, two years later, Ally’s mother has landed a job back at the site of their downfall. So instead of Ally’s new low-key, happy life, it’ll be back into the snake pit with the likes of Shannen Moore and Hammond Ross.

But then there’s Jake Graydon. Handsome, wealthy, bored Jake Graydon. He moved to town after Ally left and knows nothing of her scandal, but does know that he likes her. And she likes him. So off into the sunset they can go, right? Too bad Jake’s friends have a problem with his new crush since it would make Ally happy. And if anyone deserves to be unhappy, it’s Ally Ryan.

Ally was hoping to have left all the drama in the past, but some things just can’t be forgotten. Isn’t there more to life than money?

The title reminded me of zombies, but it wasn’t that. I love the cover, then when I read the sample, I knew I wanted the book. It’s been a while since I read something that was about high school and its complicated social groups that is actually good. So far, this one is a promising read — Ally is such a cool protagonist (and she probably uses good acne cleansers, too :P). I sure hope this doesn’t disappoint!

Here’s my teaser for this week:

She quickly reached for her putty knife, but it slipped out of her hand. We both grabbed for it, and my gloved fingers closed over hers. We froze. I stared down at our plastic hands, my heart pounding.

“Well,” Ally said. “That’s romantic.”

Sorry, I couldn’t help but post a longer teaser, this scene is just cute. :)