Tuesday, June 23, 2009

So Loving this Book...

Congrats to Elizabeth--winner of Riven.

This week's give-away takes us in a whole different direction. It'll make you turn back the clock as quickly as you turn back the pages--back to high school, in fact. But, Bella Kirkwood in Jenny B. Jones' So Not Happening is soooooo not what I was in high school: she's everything I wanted to be.
Here's the blurb:

New York's social darling Isabella Kirkwood just woke up in a nightmare: Oklahoma. Problem is, it's right where God wants her.
Bella Kirkwood had it all: A-list friends at her prestigious private school, Broadway in her backyard, and Daddy's MasterCard in her wallet. Then her father, a plastic surgeon to the stars, decided to trade her mother in for a newer model.
When Bella's mom falls in love with a man she met on the Internet--a factory worker with two bratty sons--Bella has to pack up and move in with her new family in Truman, Oklahoma. On a farm no less!
Forced to trade her uber-trendy NYC lifestyle for her down-home charm, Bella feels like a pair of Rock & Republic jeans in a sea of Wranglers.
At least some of the people in her new high school are pretty cool. Especially the hunky football player who invites her to lunch. And maybe even the annoying--but kinda hot--editor of the school newspaper.
But before long, Bella smells something rotten in the town of Truman, and it's not just the cow pasture. With her savvy reporter's instincts, she is determined to find the story behind all the secrets.
How can a girl go on when her charmed life is gone and God appears to be giving her the total smackdown?

I loved, loved, loved this book. Maybe that's because my favorite moments in life were spent watching Molly Ringwald movies. The book is written for an audience of teen-age girls, and if you have one of those in your life, you should enter for a chance to win, because so many of the books targeted to them these days are, frankly, awful. A few years ago I saw every other girl reading a certain book so, intrigued, I read it for myself and felt immediately icky. Jones' book is sweet and clean, but with a comic edge so sharp, she cuts the grown-up chick lit attempts to shreds. I laughed loud and often while reading, all the while appreciating the subtle, but integral, message of faith. And, even if you don't have a teenager to hand the book off to, read it for yourself. It's a sweet summer break, and an opportunity to wish you could go back to highschool--even if only to meet the adorable editor of the newspaper.

Yeah--it was the high school newspaper aspect that hooked me. I, too, was a budding teen-age journalist. But the most interesting story I ever got to cover was the introduction of the cafeteria salad bar. Nothing like the exciting adventures of Bella. sigh...
That was me. Here's what Jenny B. Jones has to say about her high school life: In high school, I was the girl who knew I had a good thing going. I wasn't in a big rush to grow up and get out of school because I LOVED high school. Junior high and middle school I wouldn't do over again for anything, but high school was a great time. I saw my friends every day, I ate questionable food without caring, and I actually liked going to class. Except science. Ew. High school was a lot of fun. I remember giggling a lot and just being carefree. I was busy all the time--games, friends, studying, friends, the occasional job, friends. I loved that the world was all ahead of me. So many possibilities. I could be anything. I was also the girl who took a huge tanker of ice tea to school every day. It went with me everywhere like a security blanket. Me and Lipton. Together forever.

So, who were you back in the day?


  1. I always wanted to be a nurse until I spent a day as a nurses aid, that that was over for me. I never had an ambition to write I just like to read books. I tried to write the story of my life for my kids and grandkids but could not do that either. I did a little notebook on it, but nothing interesting.


  2. I'm still in high school, but I'm the nerd. No sports, or music, just math and science. Those are my things. I would like to be entered for the drawing, as I love Jones's books. Is commenting all I have to do?

  3. Edna--I never wanted to be a nurse, but I did one summer of candy-striping with a friend. I learned that the nursing profession didn't want me, either! But you should write your story for your kids. My mother did, and it's just a few stapled, typed pages, but I treasure it!

    And, yes, King's daughter--you're entered! Check back next week to see if you're a winner!

  4. I always felt like the outsider in high school. Always got good grades, never got in trouble (except for wearing my skirts too short-it was a long time ago!), never went to parties. It was junior high that I enjoyed the most. Even still, those times seem so simple and less complicated than the here and now. There are days I'd go back in a minute...other times not for anything!

  5. Moving the end of my 10th grade year was the best thing that ever happened to me. And getting contacts for my 16th birthday! I was still pretty awkward and shy in high school. I was on the high school newspaper - got to meet national news anchor Howard K. Smith once! And I too was a candystriper and loved it. I always wanted to be a nurse - and that's what I did - but a wonderful HS English teacher made me a bit conflicted. I love English, reading, proofreading, and words!

    And my teenage daughter would love this book!

  6. I was the nerdy girl who loved being in the science labs. Since 7th grade I loved science.

    This book sounds really good. In fact, I was just looking at it the other day at the bookstore, but I put it down when I saw it was for teenagers. After reading your review, I would love to read it after all. Please enter my name in the drawing. Thank you.

  7. Great comments, everybody! Be sure to re-visit the post and check out the new ending where Jenny B. Jones gives a little insight into her high school persona!

  8. In high school moving from one area of the country to another would be a major adjustment for any teenager. It would be interesting to read how the character of the book adjust to the changes.
    I enjoyed high school, our phy ed teacher started a girl's basketball team and track team and I thought that was great!

  9. I can't wait to read this book. I also was plucked from civility, Denver, Colorado, to the wilderness of Riverton Wyoming at the dangerous age of 12. I thought God had abandoned me, there were not even any public buses, for Heaven's sake. I can already tell that Bella reacted in a much more positive way than I did!
    I will let you know how I rate after I am done reading it!
    Your "other" sister in Wyoming - Tami G

  10. Can't wait to read this book. I am so excited!-Mikayla K.