Had me laughing from the beginning all the way to the end, even when I was crying, there was still a little heartbroken humour. Anika had the most honest voice I have ever heard, and truly, the most hilarious.
I loved hearing the story from Anika, she was delightful and funny.
This book had such an interesting, at times frustrating, contrast: the voice felt authentically teenaged (self-centered, overreacting and over-exagerating, ignorant/naive, thinking she's a bad person when she's actually pretty sympathetic, etc.) but the language felt almost anachronistically mature ("she's a good egg", and word choices nobody uses in conversation, let alone teens). In some ways, Anika was unbelievable as the lone-man-out (her grasp on racism felt way too mature for a teenager, especially considering her sheltered, if unconventional, upbringing) and yet I was charmed by her flawed appearance, her "half-Romanian-but-blonde-and-blue-eyed" dichotomy, and her "spider stew" self references. There are a few phrases that Portes was too keen on (using them three times, fine. Eight times? Now you're just pissing me off): stone-cold fox or silence, spider stew, etc.
The Mean Girls thing I bought, even though I think modern high schools (and certainly mine, in the late nineties) are too diverse and modern for that these days. Of course, I didn't go to school in Nebraska, so I'm willing to believe things run like a John Hughes movie there, sure. I'm not sure when this story takes place, as nobody in the narrative mentioned cell phones or the internet, nor did anyone use modern teen language (though some of the slurs and swears were dead on), although the bantering teasing about sex felt true-to-life. As did the adult/teen relationships, both good and horrendously broken, and the sibling relationships.
Anika's mom was probably my favorite character- balancing humor and sympathy adroitly. There is a lot of humor in here, mostly the kind that makes me smirk and nod. And while I didn't relate to the characters, I did get caught up in Anika's life (even though I did want to shake her at times). And then, of course, the ending was bittersweet. It was also unexpected- a love triangle forms and for a moment it looked like Portes was going to demonize one suitor in order to force Anika to choose the other (and again: none of the above IS a valid choice, authors!), but she steered the plot in a different direction.
Overall, it was a quick and engaging read, good but not great.
Rollercoaster of emotions. That ending though. The message here really spoke to me and made me question why I cared what other people thought about me.
This book was a really fast read that got me hooked by the 2nd chapter. And each chapter is fairly short. Anika was really relatable and easy going character. I recommend this book, but you should prepare yourself. ^_-
The book's message really gets me. And the bittersweet ending? I loved it!
I loved this book but the ending was so sad!
What do you do when the coolest guy in town wants to date you but you are in love with the high school geek? Anika has some choices to make. Shocking turn of events!
This book impacted me so much. I love it and I think it sends a great message! But soooo sad. Thank you for this experience! I fell in love with the charactors.
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