A room without a book is like a body without a soul - Cicero

To Be Read Soon!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Haters by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

When Pasquala Rumalda Quintana de Archuleta (Paski)'s father returns to Taos from a business trip wearing a velour Juicy men's track suit, she knows her life is taking a turn for the worse. Paski and her father move to Southern California, where his comic strip has been optioned for a movie. 

At her new high school, money is everything and the haters rule - especially beautiful, cruel Jessica Nguyen. While Paski tries to concentrate on mountain biking and not thinking too much about ultra-hot Chris Cabrera, she is troubled by visions. Her psychic grandmother warned that ignoring her gift would lead to trouble. Can Paski ever find a home in the land of the glamorous haters?

                                                                                                                       -Fantastic Fiction

Like many others, this book has been on my shelf for a while, and what really pulled me into buying it was the amazing cover and the synopsis that seemed to promise an edgy and unusual twist to the typical YA high school drama novels. It didn't really deliver the edginess and uniqueness that I longed for, but it was still an O.K. novel that I recommend to readers who don't mind the over-done cheesy high school plot.

Having said that, probably my most favourite element was the romantic relationship that ensued between our heroine and Chris, and Paski's Dad's reaction to it as well. I found that it was so well executed and realistic, and I can tell that the author's views on sexuality are the same as mine, and I loved the subtle incorporation into the book.

So the book jacket did also promise some psychic abilities on the part of Paski, but I don't know if it was just me, but I think I kind of ignored that in favour of the 'Haters' aspect mentioned. I think I pictured more of a darker bullying theme, rather than the quite inconsequential and light mean girls aspect that was woven throughout Paski's odd struggles with clairvoyancy.

Overall, I think that the messages in the novel are great, even if some are a little bit too predictable and unrealistic. This book should be read by young readers who enjoy mean girl themes with a little bit of supernatural tied in. The message about sexuality is definitely the selling point, and I think that it can be related to every reader, and sends a very realistic and strong message that should not be ignored, and really should be present in all YA novels!

Spoiler Alert: Don't read past this point if you don't want to know specific book details!

So the book starts out rather predictably with Paski moving to a different place after her (quite weird) father gets a movie deal for his comic book series. Of course Paski has trouble adjusting, but I was hoping for a less cliché aspect to be present, which kind of peeked out a little bit at me, but never really delivered completely.

For instance, I loved how twisted Jessica Nguyen seemed when she practically tries to kill Paski and throws her in the pool after her friend drugged her. But the reactions and developments of the characters never seemed to encompass the dysfunctionality that I was expecting. I think that the author was trying to convey too many important plot aspects, and didn't really have time to develop any of them into greatness. The visions were probably the thing that I could've done without the most. They seemed way too cheesy, and I didn't really expect them to be so out there throughout the novel. I hated how Paski seemed so blasé about them and how she just went around telling people without repercussions. It came across as very tacky.

Probably my favourite part, as with any book, was the romance aspect. At first, the relationship between sexy Chris Cabrera and Paski seemed cliché and predictable with a hint of unrealistic, but I was willing to overlook that in favour of the amazing allegorical themes that a young reader would hopefully take away from the book: that sex should be talked about, and it is OK to see it in young adult novels. Nothing about it was vulgar or obscene like our society dictates, and what teens really need to know is the exact sentiment expressed by Paski's father: that sex is something great shared between two people who love each other, and is perfectly normal, as long as the proper precautions are taken in preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. The hook-up scenes seemed so realistic, and I kept thinking to when I was in high school, and it was like she took the memories right from my head! Valdes-Rodriguez definitely hit the nail on the head by going beyond regular YA novels. I felt that just the right amount of awkwardness was present, and it depicted perfectly the struggles that teens face today, in regard to dealing with their sexuality.

Ok, moving on... I mostly found the book well done, if a little predictable. The ending did seem to wrap up rather suddenly, some of the dialogue was a little cheesy, and at times I felt that our heroine, Paski didn't deserve as much sympathy as she thought she did, but I think this book is worth reading!

Yay for sexuality!--Cheers & Enjoy♥

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