(images and descriptions from Goodreads)
WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE by Rebecca Behrens
First daughter Audrey Rhodes can’t wait for the party she has planned for Friday night. The decorations are all set and the pizza is on its way. But the Secret Service must be out to ruin her life, because they cancel at the last minute-citing security breach and squashing Audrey’s chances for making any new friends. What good is being “safe and secure” if you can’t have any fun?
Audrey is ready to give up and become a White House hermit, until she discovers Alice Roosevelt’s hidden diary. The former first daughter gives Audrey a ton of ideas for having fun…and more problems than she can handle.
From the opening scene of the failed pizza party, I could tell this was going to be a fun MG book. But it’s so much more than that. While only a handful of people know what’s it’s like to be a “First Kid,” most of us can relate to the pains of being in eighth grade. Audrey is trying to fit in at school, crushing on a boy and wishing her parents (and all the other adults in her life) would realize she isn’t a little kid anymore. And most of us probably did over-the-top things to prove we were oh-so-grown-up. Luckily, our tween/teen antics weren’t reported by the media for the whole world to discuss.
Then there’s Alice who lived a lifetime before Audrey but who’d been in the same position. Her diary entries are great, so full of personality. After I finished reading, I did some research into Alice and was happy to learn Emily Spinach was real. If you want to know who that is, you gotta read the book!
WAMA is an interesting mix of the past/present, told in a way that’s funny, sweet, smart, and sometimes painful – there’s a scene that involves a librarian reading to kids and I wanted to hug Audrey afterward. Definitely check it out!
AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES by John Green
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. He’s also a washed-up child prodigy with ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a passion for anagrams, and an overweight, Judge Judy-obsessed best friend. Colin’s on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which will predict the future of all relationships, transform him from a fading prodigy into a true genius, and finally win him the girl.
First off, for all of you out there like me who can’t wrap their brain around the virtual improbability of someone dating 19 people, all with the same name, I will give you this: Colin considers pretty much ALL interactions with a Katherine as a relationship, even if it’s like five seconds of hand-holding.
Moving past that, how great is this opening line?
The morning after noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated from high school and got dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, he took a bath.
The final line is also fantastic, but I’m not going to give it away.
John Green is really good at writing male protags who are intelligent (yet clueless), somewhat socially awkward and definitely self-absorbed. Chapter 13 is pretty much Hassan telling Colin all the things I wanted to tell him.
Speaking of Hassan, Green also excels at writing mouthy (in the best possible way) BFFs.
There were a few things that bugged me about this book, most notably the “…” parts of some convos because I’m not good at filling in blanks, but overall I loved the small-town setting, the friendships, and that feeling, so perfectly captured, of the terror and excitement of being eighteen and having the whole world stretched out in front of you.
If anyone is interested in Colin’s theorem, I found this site that lets you plug in your own data:
I tried it with three of my teen relationships and it was right each time. Creepy!