In Too Deep by Amanda Grace | Book Review

In Too Deep by Amanda Grace | Book ReviewIn Too Deep by Amanda Grace
Published by Flux on February 2012
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!





book synopsis Sam’s determined to make the most popular boy, Carter, notice her but her real motivation for doing this is to make her long time best friend Nick jealous and hopefully realize that there is something more between them. After she has an encounter with him at his party, rumors that he raped her get started after they see they state in which she leaves his room and it just keeps spreading. Suddenly people who never noticed her are comforting her and telling her stories of Carter being terrible to them and she doesn’t deny these rumors. Everything gets out of control and Sam realizes she needs to put a stop to this but just can’t seem to figure out how to do it without losing Nick and having people think she did this on purpose or that she started the rumor.

good books to readOh how frustrating this story was!! That doesn’t mean I didn’t LIKE this book because I certainly flew through it and thought it was interesting but HOLY FRUSTRATING. So if you read my plot summary, you’ll know this all centers around a LIE. A very damaging lie that the main character perpetuates — that this super popular guy raped her at a party. She didn’t START the rumor but she doesn’t deny it, especially when girls start coming forward with how much of a jerk this guy is and people start comforting her,  so it’s this frustrating situation that you watch play out where you are going OH GOD THIS IS SO WRONG. TELL THE TRUTH!

You understand her predicament in the beginning knowing that she had no intentions of confirming this rumor but it happened and got out of control really quickly so you sympathize with her but then you are like OKAY ..this needs to be stopped. NOW. And it’s frustrating to watch her not do the right thing because of what she has to lose if she does. You GET where her mind is at  and what she has to lose but it’s nonetheless frustrating because it’s so wrong.

The other thread of this is the fact that the whole reason she was even trying to be in the same room as this guy was to make her best GUY friend jealous because she’s in love with him. And turns out the feelings may not all be one-sided there. So as this lie grows and Nick and Sam get closer  she’s feeling guilty about it and keeps wanting to tell him the truth but knows she could lose him. I really liked Nick and thought their relationship was sweet but it was hard to truly get behind it because, as the reader, you know this huge lie and it doesn’t set well with you the longer she keeps it up (well, me at least). My other barrier with the relationship is how it just sort of happens despite them being friends for so long. It just felt off.

I read this in one day because I just HAD to know how bad this rumor was going to get, if she was going to do the right thing and how/if it would change her relationship with Nick. I have to say I was actually really satisfied with the ending because I thought, as this novel played out, it could go really, really wrong for me personally.

book reviewsI thought In Too Deep was a quick, pretty good read. It was definitely different and one of those books where it’s going to be a frustrating ride with the MC — just so you know. You hate her decisions in regards to the rumor that he raped her but you understand how things got out of control and that SHE didn’t start this but, at the same time, you know she could have stopped them and not perpetuated everything. I think this it was an interesting look at rumors and how they happen and how they affect people and the consequences that come from them. You feel so conflicted towards Sam the whole time! Interesting read, kept my attention for sure but not a favorite just because I don’t feel like it will really stick with me.

short book reviewIn Too Deep by Amanda Grace

books you may also likeSpeechless by Hannah Harrington, Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers, Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian

for-fans-of-bookrealistic fiction, stories about rumors & their effect, MCs that will frustrate you even though you GET some of their actions

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? If you’ve read it, what do you think? Did Sam frustrate you or did you understand where she was coming from even though she made some poor choices with how to handle it? Can you think of any other books that are centered around a rumor (false or not).

The Perpetual Page-Turner



Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt | Book Review

Going Vintage Lindsey LeavittBook Title/Author: Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
: Bloomsbury – March 26th 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: No!
Other Books From Author: Sean Griswold’s Head, Princess for Hire series

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I received this as an e-galley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

Upon finding out her boyfriend has a secret online girlfriend (a girl whose avatar name is BUBBLEYUM), Mallory declares she’s completely swearing off  guys and modern technology as a way to get over Jeremy, avoid the rumors flying at school and make her life less complicated. Her inspiration for “going vintage”? A list of goals she finds in some of her grandmother’s belongings from 1962 when she was in high school. The list includes things like run for pep club (there isn’t even one!), sew a homecoming dress (she doesn’t sew!) and do something dangerous. Making her life less simple ends up being a whole lot more complicated than she realized while she’s running around to start a pep club that Jeremy’s (cute) cousin joins, avoiding Jeremy and learning how to live in the 21st century without her cell phone, internet or the other modern conveniences she’s used to.

This is my latest “work-out” read (I like to workout and read — helps me not think about the pain) and it was just perfect to read while on the treadmill as it was an easy story to get into right from the start. Going Vintage was light and fun and absolutely adorable! It’s the kind of read that is easy to breeze through and is perfect when you are looking for something that isn’t depressing or dark or issue-y. Going Vintage was a happy-making book that dealt genuinely with typical high school experiences and family matters as we watch Mallory struggle through her list and with her new de-modernized life (seriously she says goodbye to all things that didn’t exist in 1962)!

I loved Mallory and watching her learn more about herself through this experiment. She’s your average girl with your typical problems and, while I can’t say she was one of those characters I was like HEY BESTIE, I liked her and found her easy to identify with and relate to. It was just really fun to watch her realize who she was apart from Jeremy (which is SO hard to do when you end a relationship) and stumble and triumph through this list and the breakup. It was the kind of growth I really enjoyed reading. Don’t get me wrong, I love TOUGH issues that shape people but I also really enjoy stories of people who grow and change without all that kind of stuff. I loved watching her maneuver through school with rumors and remember that she HAD friends before Jeremy, stretching herself to try new things and learning what to do with her time now that it doesn’t consist of everything Jeremy. So easy to relate to! Where do you sit? Who can you still talk to? How do you tell your parents? I loved see the light bulb click on that perhaps she didn’t think everything through but I love the way she keeps challenging herself even knowing that perhaps the grass isn’t always greener or that the technology isn’t the reason everything went wrong. I loved watching her learn to enjoy LIFE and new experiences.

Bonus points: YAY for family involvement in the story — sister, grandma and parents (involved in that OMG-MY-PARENTS-ARE-ANNOYING kind of way). They have their problems for sure but it was nice to see a family, who had their own problems and quirks, but were THERE and a positive force.

The only tiny thing I’ll say was that there were a lot of different pieces of this plot outside of the breakup and the list — a storyline with her grandmother, things happening with her parents, NEW boys in the picture. Sometimes some of those pieces felt choppy and not as well fleshed out. I’ll also say that I wish some of the characters were more memorable to me — some were really well written and others just felt more flat for me. PS. I LOVE MALLORY’S GRANDMOTHER THE MOST AND WANTED MORE OF HER!

All in all, Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt was a cute book with a ridiculously fun plot that is easy to get into and was a great story of finding out who YOU are outside of a relationship  (a lesson even a married lady like me needs to remember from time to time) among a few other things. It was pretty light, sweet and generally a bit predictable  (in some areas and not in a bad way — like how I think of those Disney Channel original movies I used to love — Double Teamed and Cadet Kelly FTW) and I really enjoyed it. I can’t say it is a book that changed my life or blew my mind but I really, really enjoyed it and it was such a fun and refreshing read in the midst of darker or more intense stuff I’ve been reading! If you are looking for a lighter read that is funny, different and so easy to relate to — this is a great one! Weighs in high on the fun scale!


 For fans of: lighter reads, a contemporary YA read that is cute and fun and don’t delve into heavy stuff, a romp through high school, great character growth, books without invisible parents or family, sweet romances

Going Vintage Lindsey Leavitt


Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  Heard of it?  If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it? Who was your favorite character? Did it make you think about all the technology that you rely on because I sure kept thinking about how I could never do it! But it made me honestly want to go on a social media/tv/electronic diet a bit and remember that life happens outside these screens!


The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes | Book Review

The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly BackesBook Title/Author: The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes
:  Candlewick 2012
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: No.
Other Books From Author: None — debut novel

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I bought this for book club!

After being exiled by her parents to Paris to be an au pair for the summer, part of the damage control they wanted to do after Paige is involved in a drunk driving accident with her friends, Paige comes back to Iowa to start school and everything has changed — her best friend is still having physical problems from the accident and is angry, her boyfriend seems to be spending a lot of time with her best friend and blowing Paige off and her sister pretty much hates her and lets her know what an entitled brat she thinks she is. This was supposed to be the perfect year where she and her friends made homecoming court but she sees it is a lot different now when she’s being ignored by her friends and suspects her boyfriend is cheating. She is forced to deal with truth and what is inside her head when she takes a creative writing class and the teacher inspires her to write the truth and find out who she is when the popular and pretty facade is stripped away.

Here’s the thing. I started this book at 11:30 at night and didn’t put it down until I finished it at 4am. I honestly couldn’t put it down. I just had to know all the whys and hows of the car accident, hoped that Paige would change and just a general interest in the plot itself. The writing itself was fantastic and I found the pacing to work well for me personally but I found myself really frustrated for most of the book — mostly the ending.

Let’s start with the good — honestly the plot is engaging enough and the characters, while excruciatingly frustrating, ring authentic and real for the first part of the book. Paige is a downright SNOT but you keep hoping that you’ll find some sort of redeemable quality in her that will make her change a little bit and honestly though she was whiny and selfish and totally self centric..there was a part of me that could relate to that because I feel like that’s how I was as a teenager. EVERYTHING that happens was like “but why don’t people see why I’m the victim here?” or like really super paranoid — but let’s be honest…I’ve been there. People’s actions might make me think they are mad at me or are about me in some way — when really they aren’t at all. I get it.

There is that Real High School Vibe I got for most of the book and I appreciated that, while frustrating, the characters were flawed and seemed to have dimension. There are some really awesome characters, too, that happen to NOT be in her little circle of friends (Ethan, Shanti, a certain teacher and her sister). I thought the unraveling of the night of the car accident was done really well — it wasn’t like HEY THERE IS A MYSTERY HERE but just so subtly inserted. I also really enjoyed how writing was a huge part of this book and part of Paige’s journey because writing has always just been such a healing and beautiful thing for me.

Now for what FRUSTRATED ME. True, I really despised Paige and thought she was annoying, whiny and selfish and your typical mean girl. But I can overlook that sometimes. Unfortunately, for me, this was a little too predictable. I pretty much knew how the accident went down. I knew she was going to be the “mean girl who is redeemed and changes her whole life” kind of girl. Which who doesn’t love a good Mean Girls story but the thing is…I didn’t buy it. Not at all how it went down. I applauded the authenticity in Paige’s character that she was a biotch for most of the book but then suddenly she becomes preachy and perfect and I just didn’t buy that ALL OF THE THINGS that happened or the conversations she had (also read: a boy) changed her that completely. I just didn’t and I think, with this book, either you are going to buy it or not. I fall on the “did not” side and therefore the end just didn’t ring as true to me as the rest of the book.

I don’t want to give much away so I’m not going to elaborate but I really have to feel an authentic change in my heart. I think she was headed towards it but the end was rushed and crammed so many things in, and made other characters even more repulsive, to make her look like the ultimate Redeemed Character that it just didn’t do it for me. ALSO so annoying that she acts like she does and gets what she wants in the end. I didn’t buy that quick of forgiveness in the end.


The Princesses of Iowa is that novel that I probably would have loved more in high school (because you know..I’m that creepy 27 year old lady reading it now being all crabby about it) but I do applaud the fact that rather than only focusing on Mean Girls and social hierarchies it dealt with a lot of other  issues — drunk driving, abuse, homophobia.  Unfortunately, while the writing was good and the plot held my attention enough, I just became increasingly frustrated with the ending and didn’t buy that Paige truly changed that much and was annoyed with how preachy and holier-than-thou she became so quickly — all from some things that happen and conversations with a boy. Paige is a character who you’ll love to hate but I did see something real in her — just wished her growth would have been a little bit more realistic for me at the end. I just don’t think she truly deals with things in the end and still gets what she wants.


For Fans  Of: Mean Girls stories, books set in the high school landscape dealing with social status and other HS issues, books that are for the most part not DARK or gritty but still deal with issues like drunk driving, homophobia, abuse, etc, contemporary YA fans who don’t have to LOVE the protag to like a book (because seriously Paige is hard to handle sometimes),


Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard of it? I don’t really have a problem with this but I know others do (with this book specifically)..can you loathe the main character and still LIKE a book? Like there are books that I straight up love but have horrid main characters. Did you find Paige’s transformation to seem real or was it just me?

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