Buckle up, ladies and gents, because I finally lived up to my blog promise: I’ve gotten CUTTHROAT with a book! Going head-to-head in my YA collection this week is…
Girl Against the Universe, by Paula Strokes (Book Number: DNF) vs Sisters in Sanity, by Gayle Forman (Book Number #102 of 2016)
Let’s kick it off with the one that I ruthlessly dropped.
FIRST FIFTY: Girl Against the Universe
Maguire (yes, that’s her first name. RELAX, IT’S IRISH) considers herself *cursed.* In her defense, a lot of crappy things have happened when she’s been around, including her father, brother, and uncle dying in a car crash that she survived, and a roller coaster crashing when she was on it (?!?!?! UGH worst nightmare). So she’s decided to lean in to solitude and tries her damndest never to interact with other humans, lest her *curse* leaks onto them. Or something.
Her therapist, who apparently is a Next to Normal style rockstar and sounds like an all-around chill dude, encourages her to take baby steps so she can achieve her dream of visiting her family in Ireland and get on that damn plane without crashing it with her *curse.* So, she decides to join a sport at school and chooses tennis.
I kid you not, it seems like every other sentence from there was about tennis. And practicing tennis, and serves and backhands and whatever, and tennis clothes, and sometimes how a hunky guy she met at therapy who *just happens* to be a superstar 18-year old tennis player who lives in her town is also the manager of tennis at her school and, like, helps her with her serve and then they eat burritos with french fries in them. Or something. It was around then that I decided to drop this book because I frankly don’t care about tennis that much, unless Paul Bettany is playing. Also, I’m sure I can predict the ending of the book, so why don’t I do that right now: Maguire realizes her name is dumb and finally picks up a cute nickname; she probably gets mad at Hunk at some point, or her lets her down, but he redeems himself and they end up together; she wins the big tennis match; and she gets on the plane to Ireland and is cured.
FIRST FIFTY: SISTERS IN SANITY
Ah, the one I, in retrospect, should have dropped. This was a shaky two-to-three star read, and at the end of it I gave it an unenthusiastic “eh.” There was just a lot I didn’t like and very little I did like. But you can read about that on my Goodreads – let’s summarize the #FirstFifty, shall we?
Brit is a *rEbEllIoUs* teenager (maybe? It seems to me, and to her, she’s considered rebellious because she dyes her hair and is in a band, and sometimes stays out late. Shrug, I guess). She and her dad set out on a road trip to the Grand Canyon, stop in Vegas for like two pages where he’s mostly just moody, and then GASP. Turns out he’s depositing her in a super-strict boarding school in Utah meant to turn rebellious teens on the straight path! (This is actually really effed up of her dad, in my opinion. Like, maybe tell your daughter instead of tricking her into going to the Grand Canyon?).
Turns out this boarding school is essentially a prison with less regulated guidelines, as the girls do really horrifying-sounding group therapy where they just insult each other, carry heavy ciderblocks around a yard for no reason, and aren’t even issued shoes until the staff is convinced they aren’t an escape risk. Brit is convinced everything is the worst until she meets three girls who become her (title of book alert) Sisters in Sanity.
So, folks, how did the Battle go? In this round, I have to say…. They are BOTH losers! (as I am, for spending some time on reading them, and then crafting this). Read a better YA book, why don’t ya?
For Gayle Forman goodness, may I suggest If I Stay/Where She Went, and Just One Day/Just One Year
For better YA treatise on mental health, may I suggest Some Kind of Happiness (duh)