Girl Meets World

Girl Meets World by Claire Betita de Guzman
Publisher: Summit Books
Number of pages: 143
My copy: paperback, bought from National Bookstore

From the author of No Boyfriend Since Birth comes another modern-day romance that’s sure to tickle your funny bone—and touch your heart. Mia Tupas is your typical shy girl daunted by the idea of talking to strangers and content with a humdrum routine of shuttling between work and home. But right after a fortuneteller spies a man in her future, Mia meets Leo, and the two hit it off immediately. There’s just one problem: Leo lives in Bangkok, and Mia balks at the mere thought of getting on a plane—she’s never even been around the country!

Still, the possibility of romance is tantalizing, and Mia manages to keep in touch with Leo through e-mail. But when she finally works up the courage to fly to Bangkok and find out where she stands, she discovers that Leo has left for Bali on the very same day.

Will Mia get her much-awaited chance at love? Join her on this entertaining, cross-country quest through Bangkok, Bali, and Vietnam for the man who just might be The One.

* * *

I wasn’t very impressed with Claire Betita de Guzman’s first novel, No Boyfriend Since Birth. It was my first local chick lit read as a research for my 2008 NaNoWriMo novel, and I ended up getting irritated at the heroine and the story because none of it felt real to me. When I saw that the same author has a new book out, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it because of her debut. The excerpt seemed pretty interesting, but I didn’t know if it was a justifiable impulse buy.

I eventually gave in and bought it last weekend using some expiring National Bookstore GCs and read the book in a couple of hours. Girl Meets World is the story of Mia Tupas, a homebody who writes brochures for a local tourism company and is perfectly content with her routine life – home, office, with the occasional restaurant delivery meal every now and then. One day, she meets her colleague’s friend, Leo, and they have an instant connection. Egged on by a fortune teller, homebody Mia decides to go to Bangkok to visit Leo to see if he is indeed The One, and finds herself on a sudden trip to Southeast Asia, following the guy who may or may not be The One.

Altogether now: what is wrong with that picture?

The moment Mia decides that she’s going to Bangkok to visit Leo in the story, I immediately wanted to shake her. Okay, the going to Bangkok was forgivable, and no matter how much she denies it, I know she knows that her goal there was to talk to Leo…but when she goes to Bali, well…I wanted to smack her. The Mia from the excerpt was interesting, but as the story went on, I found her too romantic. Perhaps it’s my pride talking, but I think anyone would know that Mia running after a guy she only really bonded over through chat is not a good idea.

Girl Meets World is a typical chick lit with love as the main goal, and while it is better than No Boyfriend Since Birth, I feel that it still lacked on what other good chick lit stories have. Mia’s growth and realizations about herself felt unnatural and flat, almost like she was reading it off some book. The supporting characters were interesting, but their exposure was too little that I couldn’t really connect with them. I’m willing to suspend by belief over the sudden change of course in traveling, but the different situations Mia encountered in the different places she went to felt too forced that I can’t buy it. I know chick lit is supposed to be fluff and this one has a lot of it…but I think chick lit must also be substantial, and I think the book kind of failed in that aspect.

This book had a lot of similarities with Amazing Grace by Tara FT Sering, which I really liked, so maybe that’s why I did not like how this book turned out so much. That, and maybe because I kind of have too high standards sometime. ^^ Girl Meets World isn’t a total waste of a read, so if you want to read something really light and fluffy, give this a try. Otherwise, go for something from Tara FT Sering, Marla Miniano or Mina Esguerra.

Rating:

Other Reviews:
Girl Next Cubicle

Amazing Grace, Amazing Race

Amazing Grace by Tara FT Sering

Amazing Grace by Tara FT Sering
Marshall Cavendish, 184 pages

Pre-school teacher, Grace Lim, thinks that she has finally found her man at age 27. Mr-Blind-Date-No.-7, Mike, has turned out to be everything that she s ever wanted, dreamt about, and more!

With a marriage proposal in hand, Grace thinks that she is set for life. Trouble begins to stir in paradise when Mike informs Grace that he is re-locating from Manila to sunny Singapore because of work.

But the conveniences of modern technology aren’t enough to bridge the distance between Mike and Grace, and what of Mike s colleague Kaela who appears in every photo that Mike s uploaded online?

So Grace decides to give Mike a surprise visit in Singapore but is she ready for what she will find?

The thing with Summit chick lit books is they seem to be too thin for a Php 150 priced novel. That’s why I hesitate buying them because I feel like they’re a bit too expensive for such a quick (albeit enjoyable) read. So when I spotted Anvil Publishing’s reprinting of Asian chic lit by Filipina authors from Singapore in National Bookstore, I was curious!  Here are some thicker chick lit books at the same price.

The next question is: are they any good?

I finished reading Tara FT Sering’s Amazing Grace this week, and I can answer 1/3 of that question (since there are three Asian chic novels out as of now): it’s very good.

Amazing Grace is the story of Grace Chua, a 26-year-old Filipina-Chinese single woman who has been egged on by her friends and family to find a man and settle down before her biological clock stops ticking. Grace realizes that, and she allows herself to be set up for blind dates. However, none of the guys were deemed worthy, until guy #7, her Valentine’s Day date, Mike. She and Mike clicked, and after two years, he proposes to her. It would have been perfect if Mike hadn’t gave her the next bit of news: he got a job in Singapore and will have to move there for two years for his contract.

Grace was determined to make the long distance relationship work — after all, they were engaged, and there’s no way she’s letting go of that! — but things become complicated when Mike seems to have less and less time for her (acting like she has some kind of contagious eczema or something), and he always seemed to mention a woman named Kaela in their conversations. Grace goes to Singapore on a weekend to surprise him, and finds herself in a race around three countries, all in an effort to get her man back.

Amazing Grace was unlike all chick lit I have read so far, and it was mainly because of the second person POV used in the story. Second person makes use of the pronoun “you”, making it seem like the reader is also the main character in the story. I’ve managed to write one second person POV story, and I am not even sure if I did it right. From NaNoWriMo research, I’ve learned that its best to avoid writing in second person POV because it almost never works properly. For this novel, however, I think it really works. The POV effectively puts the reader in Grace’s place, but still maintaining enough character to distinguish Grace from the reader.

Grace is a quirky, relatable character. I loved being in her shoes, I loved reading her thoughts, I love her reactions to the situations she was in. It was easy to sympathize with her and that may be because I was in her shoes as I read it, but I also felt her pain when she found out about Mike. Grace is not exactly a woman scorned, but there was a sense of desperation in her that made her want to save the relationship even if her sister says to let him go. Her growth in the story was believable in the sense that there wasn’t really much drama over her epiphany. More often than not, there isn’t much grandeur whenever we reach a certain point or realize an important thing in our lives; it usually comes quietly. The same thing happened to Grace, although unlike others, she found herself in a hilarious situation. What is that exactly? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out. :)

Other than the effective second person POV, there were a lot of fun sequences in the story, all in respect to the humor of chick lit. There were the good life lessons, too — lessons that a single woman would definitely find useful. :) I’d also like to praise the epilogue of the novel — it had me chuckling all the way to the end. :)

Amazing Grace is a fun read, and it is worth the Php 150 I paid for. If you enjoy chick lit, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one too. :) If you’re not yet convinced, here are some quotes from the book that I found memorable/funny/both. :)

And factoring in the fact that only fictional chicks in movies get the guy they like on the first and second try (or after many cute pratfalls in equally cute outfits), you can expect a period of tumultuous hitting and missing, so getting together with someone by the time you’re 28 will require you to start looking around and dating about…well, last year. (p.15)

The truth is, you begin to suspect, a woman will go through great lengths designing the rescue, and then hurry back to the place of distress where she will recline and pine, and wait for the man she has chosen to act out the rescue. Then she will gloat and tell all her friends about it. The man, clueless on all unseen workings, will then appear extremely pleased with himself and feel entitled to act it out again — on someone else. (p.38)

In this day and age, a Bad Hair Day, contrary to what the term says, is no longer just a 24-hour nightmare. With a single click of a teeny digital camera, your Bad Hair Day will not end when the sun goes down, but rather, will continue to live on for as long as your friend’s Multiply account is online. (p.81)

Again, you wonder: How did you get here?

Lena calls out from the room. “What?”

Say: “Nothing!”

You really should do something about your tendency to think aloud. (p.151)

Rating:

2010 Challenge Status:
* Book # 53 out of 100 for 2010
* Book # 8 out of 20 for Project 20:10

My copy: paperback, Php150 from National Bookstore

Cover image & blurb: Goodreads

CymLowell

Teaser Tuesday: Amazing Grace by Tara FT Sering

Last week, I blogged about two books I was currently reading, hoping that one of them would be book # 50 for 2010 before the first half of the year ended. Book # 50 ended up to be a different book, one that I bought on a whim and finished in two days. Crazy, I know. But I guess I overestimated myself with the two books since they were quite long.

Since I already gave teasers for those two books, I’m giving one from another. Yes, I read a lot of books at the same time, and I know that’s crazy, but I have different books for different occasions. I only read one book a time if it’s a classic, but since most of the books I’m reading are all YA/fantasy/chick lit, I can afford to focus more than one.

Anyway. Enough of that. Today’s Teaser Tuesday (hosted by MizB) is from an Asian chick lit novel that I got a week ago.

Amazing Grace by Tara FT SeringAmazing Grace by Tara FT Sering

Pre-school teacher, Grace Lim, thinks that she has finally found her man at age 27. Mr-Blind-Date-No.-7, Mike, has turned out to be everything that she s ever wanted, dreamt about, and more!

With a marriage proposal in hand, Grace thinks that she is set for life. Trouble begins to stir in paradise when Mike informs Grace that he is re-locating from Manila to sunny Singapore because of work.

But the conveniences of modern technology aren’t enough to bridge the distance between Mike and Grace, and what of Mike s colleague Kaela who appears in every photo that Mike s uploaded online?

So Grace decides to give Mike a surprise visit in Singapore but is she ready for what she will find?

Filipino chick lit is starting to grow, and I’m glad to see variety in the choices! Interestingly, the book is written in second person POV, so it’s like I am Grace in the story. I’ve learned to avoid writing in second person in my pieces, because it almost always doesn’t work as well as it should be. I just started reading this book, and I’m liking it so far, so I guess its second person POV works!

Here’s the teaser:

And factoring in the fact that only fictional chicks in movies get the guy they like on the first and second try (or after many cute pratfalls in equally cute outfits), you can expect a period of tumultuous hitting and missing, so getting together with someone by the time you’re 28 will require you to start looking around and dating about…well, last year. (p.15)

Hee! At least I’m not yet at that age yet, so I have time. I think I’m still at the age where I care more about acne treatments than that…but I can’t say I haven’t thought about it!  I’m no fictional chick, though, so I feel like there’s work cut out for me. Eeep! :P

What are you reading this week? :)

In My Mailbox (1)

I don’t know how often I’ll be able to do this, but I thought I’d try whenever I do have a stash to blog about. 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.

Here’s what I got this week:

Table for Two by Marla MinianoTable for Two by Marla Miniano

A corner table at a cozy coffee shop witnesses many things:

A long-time couple about to break up after college graduation. A young teacher accepting a dare from her teenage brother to quit dating for two months. A wedding photographer trying to convince his best friend not to get married. A boy meeting up with the girl he never quite got over. And a girl sitting alone, reading romance novels, wondering if today is the day she will stop being lonely.

Do their lives intersect and intertwine — spiraling them through an obstacle course of love and loss and hope and heartbreak? And can they each find the happy ending they so desperately want?

I’ve already finished reading this book and I thought it was positively charming, and it has a lot — and I mean a lot — of quotable quotes. I’ll be posting a review of this book soon.

Amazing Grace by Tara FT Sering

Pre-school teacher, Grace Lim, thinks that she has finally found her man at age 27. Mr-Blind-Date-No.-7, Mike, has turned out to be everything that she s ever wanted, dreamt about, and more!

With a marriage proposal in hand, Grace thinks that she s set for life. Trouble begins to stir in paradise when Mike informs Grace that he is re-locating from Manila to sunny Singapore because of work.

But the conveniences of modern technology aren t enough to bridge the distance between Mike and Grace, and what of Mike s colleague Kaela who appears in every photo that Mike s uploaded online?

So Grace decides to give Mike a surprise visit in Singapore but is she ready for what she will find?

This is one of the new Asian chick lit published here by Anvil. I’ve seen this about a month ago but only got around today to buying myself a copy. A friend said it’s a good read, and I like that it’s thicker than the other local chick lit which makes the Php 150 (around $3-4) feel more worth it. The story is told in second person, though, and I’m really curious about how that works out.

The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles #1) by Rick Riordan

Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a “research experiment” at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them–Set–has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe–a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

I saw this last week and I didn’t mean to buy it today (I meant to buy Ever by Gail Carson Levine), but I realized I should get this one because this would be a more relevant book to review since it’s just out. Egypt and such adventures — should be fun. Funny because I haven’t even finished reading all Percy Jackson books yet, and here’s another Riordan. Funny, though, I’m trying to remember if I read any of his books before Percy, and I remembered: 39 Clues #1.

That’s it for my mailbox this week. I’m still kind of wary about buying actual books because I have no storage space yet. And impulse buys — eeep. Maybe when my room gets fixed, I’ll be more into impulse again? That won’t be too soon, though. :)

Don’t forget, Philippine residents, I’m giving away a copy of Feed by Mira Grant — you can enter until June 30! Have a great Sunday, everyone!