Thursday, July 4, 2013

Book Review: From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas

From What I Remember
Authors:  Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas
Publisher:  Disney-Hyperion, 462 pages
Publication Date:  May 15, 2012

From Goodreads:
KYLIE: Mexico? What a nightmare! I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY! Wait! Is this a wedding band on my finger??

MAX: It started with Kylie's laptop and a truck full of stolen electronics and it ended in Ensenada. It was hot, the way she broke us out like some chick in an action movie. But now we're stranded here, with less than twenty-four hours before graduation.

WILL: Saving Kylie Flores from herself is kind of a full-time occupation. Luckily, I, Will Bixby, was born for the job. And when I found out she was stuck in Mexico with dreamy Max Langston, sure, I agreed to bring their passports across the border but there's no reason to rush back home right away. This party is just getting started.

LILY: This cannot be happening. It's like some cruel joke. Or a bad dream. I close my eyes and when I reopen them, they're still there. Max and Kylie Flores, freak of the century. In bed together. If Kylie thinks I'm giving him up without a fight, she's dead wrong.

What a great summer read!  The book hooks you from the very beginning, with Kylie waking up in bed in Mexico, next to Max, a gorgeous and popular guy from her high school.  She has a hangover, Max is only in his boxer shorts, and they are both wearing wedding rings.  How did this happen??  Then the next chapter is two days earlier and most of the book is finding out how they got to that point (and what happens after).

The characters are pretty typical:  Kylie, the smart, uptight valedictorian; Max, the popular jock; Will, the funny, gay best friend; and Lily, Max's girlfriend, who is rich, beautiful, and mean.  But the book doesn't keep them one dimensional.  The book is told from five different POVs (some chapters are told from Kylie's brother POV), which works.  I actually really like multiple POVs.  Most of the chapters are from Max or Kylie's POV, but you get the bigger picture from the other narrators.  I always like reading how other characters perceive and describe events and other people, since sometimes it's hard to visualize characters when it is only from first person POV.  When Will and Max describe Kylie, compared to how she describes herself, you not only feel like you can picture Kylie, but also how she sees herself (which is not as attractive as she actually is).

I really liked Kylie.  She's a very driven, ambitious, type A teenager who has her goal of going to NYU and being a screenwriter and has done everything  to achieve that goal.  However, she has missed  out on a lot of high school, and the time she spends with Max in Mexico makes her realize that she has been so focused on the future that she hasn't really appreciated living in the now.  She definitely has not been living a balanced life.

Max is a great character as well.  Kylie thinks she has him all figured out:  typical dumb jock, but Max has a lot more depth to him, as she finds out.  Even Lily, who is the typical mean girl, has issues and problems to deal with that make her character a bit sympathetic.  And although Will is portrayed a bit over the top, he's a great friend to Kylie, and his chapters are pretty hilarious.  It's a bit farfetched how Max and Kylie get dragged into Mexico (and the fact that such a type A, anal character would not have her laptop backed up), but that doesn't really matter.  

Since Kylie is movie-obsessed, and each chapter starts with quoting a line from a movie, I have to say that this book reminded me of the movie The Sure Thing, from the 80s.  Two very different characters and a road trip where a lot of things go wrong (and right).

Perfect book for summer!  Read it and just have fun!

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