Friday, May 3, 2013

Mini Reviews: Life in Outer Space and Smart Girls Get What They Want

Life in Outer Space
Genre: YA Contemporary
ARC: 308 pages
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont
Release Date: February 1st, 2013
Rating: 4 stars
‘Full of energy, wit and tenderness; this is one big-hearted and unique book.’ - Leanne Hall 

Sam Kinnison is a geek, and he’s totally fine with that. He has his horror movies, his nerdy friends, World of Warcraft – and until Princess Leia turns up in his bedroom, he doesn’t have to worry about girls. 

Then Sam meets Camilla. She’s beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his life. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a life of her own – and she’s decided that he’s going to be part of it. 

Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies ... but now it looks like he’s been watching the wrong ones. 

‘Hilarious and heartfelt.’ - Sally Rippin
Ever since Cindy Bennett introduced me to adorable geeks in her novel Geek Girl, I've been eagerly in search for books that feature smart, geeky and endearing heroes to get a breather from mysterious and angst-y ones. From the moment I saw  the cover and read the blurb to Life in Outer Space, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy.

Being inside Sam's head proved to be not only enjoyable, but also refreshing. He's a witty narrator whose voice connected to me, despite the movie and other nerdy and pop-culture references I mostly didn't get.  Enter the set of pleasant and varied minor characters that made this book an even more fun read. For obvious reasons, I liked Camilla the most . Camilla is the cool new girl in town who seem to blend among the Vessels (popular kids) and Sam's group. She helped Sam and went out of her way to do things he hasn't done before, like learning how to play guitar and watching rom-coms, or as Camilla say, feel-good movies. 

I inhaled this in just a few hours, and while the book didn't blow my mind or change my life, the added subplots deliver further substance and heart to the story. Overall,  Life in Outer Space is a wonderful debut novel by Melissa Klein. It was a light and sweet read that will tug at your heartstrings and appeal to everyone's inner geek. I highly recommend this if you're looking for something to give you good vibes in one sitting.

I would like to thank Dianne of Oops! I Read a Book Again for lending me her ARC!

Smart Girls Get What They Want
Genre: YA Contemporary
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Balzer +  Bray
Release Date: June 26th, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | The Book Depository
Rating: 3.5 stars
Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are best friends and total overachievers. Even if they aren't the most popular girls in school, they aren't too worried. They know their real lives will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. There will be ivy, and there will be cute guys in the libraries (hopefully with English accents)! But when an unexpected event shows them they're missing out on the full high school experience, it's time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. They make a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge—and they will totally rock it. 

Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she'll have to get over her fear of public speaking—and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed. It could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but has always stayed behind the scenes—until now. 

These friends are determined to show the world that smart girls really can get what they want—but that could mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for. . . .
Smart Girls Get What They Want is the kind of book that will leave you smiling and feeling fuzzy inside. It's funny, cute, and a little romantic, with its charming and overachieving characters I couldn't help but adore. And despite it being an easy and short read, the plot leaves plenty of room for character growth. We witness how Gia, Bea, and Neerja step out of their comfort zones and grow their potentials outside academics. Ultimately, it touches on how strong their friendship is, which I think is the highlight of the story.

However, I couldn't overlook the fact that it's predictable, clichĂ©, and it uses tropes I usually encounter in YA Contemporary. It wouldn't stay with me for a long time, and it will probably be forgotten by the end of summer. That being said, I still consider this a highly entertaining story to read in-between heavier books. 

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