Required Reading: August

And what do you know — another month has come and gone, and we’re now in August!

Now July. What a reading month it is. I think this is the month I’ve read the most books this year — a whopping 16. Plus this is also the first month in this entire year that I actually finished all of my Required Reading books way ahead of time. :) And that is 5 books to boot. Awesomeness. Now for the recap (reviews are linked to the titles!):

  • The God Box by Alex Sanchez – my first LGBT book, and it was pretty good. I liked how the Christian aspect was tackled, although I had some issues with the flatness of some of the characters.
  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart – Oh, I loved this book. Frankie is so smart and witty that I want to be her. Or be friends with her. Definitely one of the good uns. :)
  • Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers – What an intense novel this one is. I liked it, but it’s definitely not for light reading.
  • What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones – Now this one was also nice. I am really starting to like novels in verse, because they’re so quick to read and I feel like such a fast reader after I finish one in a few hours. Of course, who am I really fooling? Still, I will definitely pick up the sequel for this book.
  • Dark Blue by Melody Carlson – Ah, the only disappointment among these books I read. I wanted to like it, but it’s hard to like a book when the main character is so annoying.

I think July just goes to show how much of a contemporary reader I am. I practically breezed through these books, and I was surprised when I realized that I’m almost done and I had a full week ahead of me to read anything else. I will make a post about this in the future, but I think I can conclude that contemporary YA has always been my first love. :)

And now we head for August.

Required Reading: August

August is a very exciting month for me because I’ll be going on a major trip. For the benefit of those who don’t know me in person, or those who don’t follow my Twitter or my personal blog, I will be off to Europe for two weeks at the end of August. I’m joining the World Youth Day 2011 celebration in Madrid, Spain for a week, followed by some mission trips with my Catholic community for another week. It’s the first time I’ll be in Europe, so I figure that the best things to read for this month are those set in Europe as well. :) Like the following:

  1. Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto
  2. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
  3. No and Me by Delphine de Vigan

I’m only putting three books in the list this time because I’m quite sure there won’t be much reading time when I’m actually in Europe, except maybe for the flight and train rides. I’m also pretty sure I won’t be able to blog as much in the next weeks, and I’m not sure if I can bring my laptop (or even samsung netbooks) on my trip. Anyway, all three books has an element of Europe in them somewhere — let’s see if it will help me recognize those places in the books. :)

Oh, and I’m bending my rules here a bit — No and Me is also for the TwentyEleven challenge. :P Problem?

Happy August everyone! If you’re joining the challenge, leave a comment so I can include you in the round up! :)


Some Girls Are

Some Girls Are by Courtney SummersSome Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Number of pages: 245
My copy: paperback, bought from Fully Booked

Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard–falling from it is even harder.  Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High… until vicious rumors about her and her best friend’s boyfriend start going around.  Now Regina’s been “frozen out” and her ex-best friends are out for revenge.  If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day.  She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully.  Friendship doesn’t come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend… if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don’t break them both first.

* * *

A few weeks ago, I found myself stuck at home without Internet, so I tuned in to the TV. I caught this show, If You Really Knew Me, and ended up crying in the middle of watching the episode. I had a pretty happy high school life, so I was a bit distant with the situations of the kids there, but it did not stop me from shedding some tears for the kids featured in the show.

When I read Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers later, I can’t help but think that the students from Hallowell High could use a Challenge Day for themselves, especially after how the popular group dealt with our heroine Regina. Regina Afton used to be a part of the Fearsome Fivesome, until she got frozen out after rumors about her and her best friend’s boyfriend spread around. What follows is a series of serious bullying, as her ex best friends are out of revenge — the bloodier, the better. Regina finds herself trying to make amends with loner Michael Hayden, a boy he used to bully. She comes into terms with just how bad she really was, and wonders what makes her different from the girls who are making her life a living hell.

When I finished reading Some Girls Are, I was exhausted. I knew this book is about bullying, but I didn’t expect it to be almost bloody. The Fivesome turned Foursome was more than mean — they’re evil. I don’t understand how some people can deliberately hurt other people and influence others to do the same, too. Maybe it’s because I can’t relate that kind of high school life, but…who would want to? The thought of being in that same school is scary, and I don’t blame Michael wanting to be alone after everything that happened to him.

This isn’t an easy novel to read. It was hard and bloody and sometimes scary — at one point, I wanted to beg it to stop. I wanted to whisk Regina away to another school and forget what happened to her. I also wanted to bonk Regina in the head for her to do something reasonable, like oh, tell someone? Some Girls Are is very hard to put down. I just have to know what happens next, even if it meant reading how Regina’s ex-friends would do something that would hurt her again. This reminds me of those TV shows I watch where I utterly hate the villains. Hate. When someone or some people are as evil as the ones in this book, it’s hard to find the good in them, and it’s easier to just hate them.

The ending is a tiny bit anticlimactic for my taste, but after all the things that happened in the book, I guess that’s a relief. I just wanted it to end, and while I’m not entirely convinced that the bullying has ended there, I think it’s the right end for Regina. Don’t get me wrong, though — this novel is very good. I can’t say how real it was, but it sounded like it is, and I commend Courtney Summers for this.

This book reminds me of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and She’s So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott, but grittier. If you were a fan of those two books, you may want to pick this one up. Some Girls Are is one of those books that will make you angry and desperate and relieved. It’s far from a comfort read, but I think it’s a very important one.

Rating: [rating=4]

2011 Challenge Status:
Required Reading – July

Other reviews:
Book Harbinger
Attack of the Book
Persnickety Snark

Required Reading: July

Everyone’s been saying this now, but of course I will say this again: look, it’s July. It’s the third quarter, it’s the second half of the year. Where is time going?

Anyway now, as opposed to my Required Reading for May challenge, June wasn’t so good. I’m not exactly sure what happened, and to think scaling down to two books will help me finish reading all in a month. But nooo, I ended up reading other things, so Noli Me Tangere and The Book Thief remained just…started. Not exactly untouched. I started on them, but somewhere along the way, I stopped.

I did read many good books this month…so it’s not waste month, of course. I guess this goes to show how I feel about books with more than 500 pages. Heh.

So let’s start anew. Hello again, July!

Required Reading: July

I was consulting my Required Reading list for July that I kept in my planner and saw that there was no set theme again. I was lining up my books again and I realized that if I had a fantasy month, then I should have a contemporary month, right?Celebrate realistic YA with The Contemps!

So here we go:

  1. The God Box by Alex Sanchez
  2. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
  3. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
  4. What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
  5. Dark Blue by Melody Carlson

Oh gasp, look — five books? Well I figured this should be easier now, especially since I love contemporary fiction, and one of the books is a book in verse (I’m starting to like them very much now!). I am going to be on night shift for this month, too, so I’m hoping that that would help me read more whenever I find free time.

Or I could just keep on trying, you know. :)

If you’re interested in participating in this challenge, here’s a rule recap:

  • The books should be read within the specified month
  • These books should be in my TBR and not yet to be acquired
  • These books cannot be used for any other reading challenges I am participating in.

Leave a comment so I can put you on the round up! Happy July everyone! :)

Required Reading: July round up!

In My Mailbox (13): The First Weeks of January

It’s been a while since I did an In My Mailbox post, and it’s not because I went on a book buying ban, but because I was just too lazy to make a post about the stuff I got. I thought I’d be able to make it long into a the new year without buying new books, but alas. Who am I kidding?

So this is a consolidated post for the past three weeks of January, and maybe even some in December. If I can remember what I got back then, of course. :P

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.


  1. White Cat by Holly Black – I only got this because Chachic posted a positive review of the book, and see, I’m still easily swayed. It helps that I got the e-galley of the next book from Simon and Schuster, so when I saw this in Fully Booked, I knew I can’t let it go anymore. :P
  2. Some Girls Are by Courtney SummersHolly reviewed this early this week, and well, consider me sold. I love contemporary and I like reading about high school cliques (sans the scandals, of course), and this one got really good reviews. I’m so glad I spotted this one yesterday when we visited Fully Booked after the FBB/Flippers meet up. :)
  3. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta – This was actually the first print book I purchased this year. I saw it in Fully Booked Eastwood and didn’t let it go, forgetting that there was a sale that weekend. Pfft. Ah well. :)


Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal, translated by Soledad Lacson-Locsin. At yesterday’s Filipino Book Bloggers/Flips Flipping Pages meet up, someone had this translation of Noli Me Tangere up for book swap. I have been wanting to get my hands on a translated copy of this novel for a long time now, but I wasn’t sure which was the best translation. This one was what Blooey and the Flippers read last year, and is said to be a really good translation. I got it and no one stole it from me, so…yay. Finally!

Now a little backgrounder: Noli Me Tangere is written by the Philippines’ National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. This is a required reading in high school, but I never really read the novel in its entirety because our copy in high school was the summarized version (no, it’s not abridged, if you’re thinking that’s the term — it was actual chapter summaries that we had to summarize for another report. Hmph). I figure in my life as a reader, I must read this novel at least once in my life. So yay.

The bookmark is one of the giveaways for the Flippers meet-up. :)


  1. Captivating by John and Stasi Elredge – this is a Christmas gift from my friend RE. I’ve read this one in college and it was one of those good books for women that I really liked. My mom has my other copy of this and I don’t even know where it is right now. Haha. I don’t know if I will read this anytime soon, but it’s nice to know I have another copy here to refer to when I need it. :)
  2. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis – this is lent to me by RE, too, and this is the best C.S. Lewis work according to him. This is only a lending copy though. Heh. I have a feeling I’ll like this one, too, and I’ve reserved it for February reading already. Now to find a copy of this one. Hmm.


Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram. I’ve seen this book from Kai‘s blog, and I added it on my wish list for the sheer pink-ness of it. :P I followed the author on Twitter, then on Facebook for her contest and even exchanged tweets with her during NaNoWriMo. I never expected to win because I’m not really lucky with winning, but lo and behold: I was her second winner! :) Thanks, Kelly!

This kind of took its sweet time to arrive at home, and I thought it would be lost in the mail forever, but good thing it arrived just before 2010 ended. :) I love how pink the book really is. :D The book is signed, too:


I got too many ebooks since December. Talk about crazy buying binge? Sort of. :P I also got a ton of e-galleys from Simon and Schuster’s Galley Grab. :D


  • Miss Match and Match Point by Erynn Mangum
  • Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John – loved this!
  • Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen – my physical copy is with some friend, so I splurged on an ebook.
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – loved this, too! Review coming up soon
  • Infinity by Sarah Dessen

For Review:

  • Save as Draft by Cavanaugh Lee
  • Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell
  • Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
  • Red Glove by Holly Black
  • Stay by Deb Caletti
  • Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

There is probably more, but I forgot about them.

I know I said I won’t be stressing over my TBR, but I really think I should get to reading the other books that are starting to pile up in the apartment, the ones I acquired before 2010 ended. I really should work on that. I should.

Yeah, I always say that. :P I bet most of you guys do too. :P