Monday, August 27, 2012

From What I Remember - Stacey Kramer & Valerie Thomas

From What I Remember book cover
From What I Remember by Stacey Kramer & Valerie Thomas
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: May 15, 2012
Source: Netgalley (Thanks) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the opinions expressed in my review.]

KYLIE: MEXICO WHAT? I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY, and is this a wedding band on my finger.

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

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: I just walked in on my boyfriend, Max Langston, canoodling with Kylie Flores, freak of the century. Still, I can't completely hold it against him. He NEEDS me. It's even clearer now. And I'm not giving him up without a fight.

If you’re looking for a read that’s (a) fun and entertaining, (b) filled with adventures that toe the line between believable and crazy and (c) full of really interesting and surprisingly complex characters, look no further – From What I Remember fits all three categories to a tee. This book is another awesome summer read, and I think Stacey Kramer & Valerie Thomas have written a book that is perfect for this season.

I love how this story reads like some of the movies I love (think: She’s All That, A Cinderella Story, What a Girl Wants, etc). That’s not surprising, considering that the writers have dabbled in writing screenplays. It’s fun to read because you can see it all playing out so clearly in your head – from the quieter and more serious moments, to the laugh out loud craziness that ensues. Everything makes sense, flowing logically from one moment to the next, and I loved that aspect.

Plus, this book finds its setting in a place that feels exotic – Ensenada, Mexico. I absolutely loved the descriptions of the place, especially the beach and the festival, and I think the writers did a good job in bringing it to life. It’s extremely fascinating to me to read about places that I’ve never been to – and reading this book made me want to visit Mexico straightaway!

There are so many shenanigans that occur in the span of the three days in which the story takes place – including, for instance, a stolen laptop, a huge party in Ensenada, getting drunk enough to do crazy things, some pretty decent stunt driving and many more. It’s entertaining, despite sometimes causing me to ask if those things could really happen, and I can guarantee it’ll be a fun read, no matter what your answer to that question is.

I also really like the characters in this book – Kylie, Max, Lily & Will. Each of them has their own specific thing that they’re known for, as well as secrets that they’ve been holding on to. What is really great about this book is how each of the characters manages to change from beginning to end, and how the craziness really leads to them rethinking their choices and reactions. My favorite character happens to be Kylie, and that’s mostly because I find I can relate the most to her. Will is a close second, simply because he’s so much fun to read about!

The secondary characters are pretty great as well, especially Jake (Kylie’s little brother), Charlie (Max’s best friend) and Manuel (an adult they meet in Mexico) and his son Juan. I think it’s really wonderful how they were given such distinct personalities, since it definitely adds some color to the story that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.

Also, reading From What I Remember caused some nostalgia for high school. I can remember exactly how these four felt back in the days between the final requirements and graduation – like you’re free and have no idea what to do with your extra time, like you can celebrate but also mourn at the same time, like you’re relieved it’s over but panicking over what’s to come. As I read, the feelings came right back to me, and I really longed for those days when life was a lot simpler for me than it is now.

And the romance! I don’t think I can get away with writing a review without talking about the romance. Even though the attraction was instantaneous, I can actually kind of see where the characters were coming from – because I know what it feels like to meet someone and be instantly attracted to them. It’s not surprising to me how they fell into something like love so quickly, since they realized that they were definitely suited to each other. Kylie and Max are such a cute couple that, even if he did go behind Lily’s back (which I DO NOT approve of, by the way), I was still rooting for them in the end.

From What I Remember is definitely a book that will keep you entertained and interested. It made me smile quite a lot, and I love that it wasn’t only about the romance or about teens blowing off steam. There were deeper personal issues that the characters had to face, and that touch made it be more than just a fun and forgettable contemporary book.

Plus, the authors write so seamlessly, you can’t really tell which parts were written by which author – it sounds so cohesive. That’s normally not an easy feat to accomplish, but it happened in this book.

I highly recommend From What I Remember, especially as we’re just about to say goodbye to summer. If you want one last hurrah for your summer reading, definitely pick up this book. I promise you – it’ll be fun!

This post is part of Travel Tales, co-hosted with Novel Sounds and Rather Be Reading.

13 comments:

  1. Great review, Alexa! This sounds like an awesome read ... while I like a good existential teen read once in a while, it's nice to see that this one is a little deeper.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  2. I've seen this book around and always stop to look at it, but haven't actually picked up a copy. There's something about the cover that always pulls me in, but I wasn't sure if I'd like the actual story. Thanks to your review, I think I'll give it a try :-).

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  3. Ahhh another book I might have to bump higher on my TBR list! Sounds like such a fun read!

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  4. PRETTY MUCH AGREE WITH THIS REVIEW! It took me by surprise how much I enjoyed this book, it was just so LIKABLE and it certainly helped it shares my love for In-N-Out, hehe. I totally get what you mean about the nostalgia for high school, it made me remember how graduating felt. Fantastic review, A! <3

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  5. I haven't read this one, but I'm on kind of a contemporary kick right now, so I may have to check it out.

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  6. I saw this book some time ago and was immediately curious with the story. nice review!

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  7. I've seen so many gushing reviews of this that I'm kind of kicking myself for not having read it yet! I love that there is character growth and it just sounds like such a fun read! Plus, it's the opposite here and winter is just about ending so I think it'd probably be a perfect book to start the summer with x) Fantastic review!

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  8. This sounds good, and the glowing reviews such as yours excited me further. Think I'll have to pick this up one day. It sounds crazy and fun and the perfect, light read to devour when your mind needs a break. Lovely review!

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  9. I've been meaning to get a copy of this one it sounds SO good, the reviews I've read have all been awesome and I love books that cause high school nastalgia!! It just sounds like so much fun! Great review, muffin!

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  10. I've been seeing such fun and great things about this one. I need to go ahead and read it - it's been sitting idle on my Kindle for too long. :)

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  11. This book sound like a lot of fun. I think Screenwriters who write novels really have a good grasp of story and tension.

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  12. Shenanigans! Great secondary characters! Yes please.

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  13. Oh my word, I can't wait for this one! It sounds like such a fun, entertaining read. I'm adding it to my Christmas list...which I am starting a bit early this year lol!

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