Seventeen and Coping

Do you remember what it’s like when you were a teenager? How did you cope with society during these so-called awkward coming of age? Back then, did it matter to which you crowd you belong to? Today, I will share with you my thoughts on the books I’ve read under the Young Adult category. These books have one thing in common: the main characters are mostly seventeen years old.

To be fair, I will give a glimpse of my teenage years. According to my mother, I was a rebellious child back in the day. No, I wasn’t the kind who got himself into trouble involving alcohol and drugs. I never even tried to smoke, not even a single drag from a cigarette. Mom said that my kind of insurgence was in the form of doing things they won’t generally approve of at the time. One of which was the infamous situation I got myself into several years ago. My parents gave me a fair share of disciplinary actions then. The most common of which was grounding me indefinitely—confiscating my mobile phone and not allowing me to go out with friends (like I was the kind who went out with friends on a regular basis).

My parents, most especially my mother, almost gave up on me at one point when they no longer know what to do with me. There was even a time when they wrote me a heart-felt letter, pouring out their frustrations on me as if it were their only hope of getting through what’s in my head. I don’t know when this exactly happened, but I eventually came to my senses. It was only then that I realized how stupid most of choices were when all I ever thought of was myself: anything and everything to my advantage. I didn’t really care how my actions will affect the people around me, for as long as I get what I want. Sooner or later, I outgrew this phase in my life as it was getting old.

Art Geeks and Prom Queens
by Alyson Noël
Ratings: 
★★☆☆☆

Judging by its title (not necessarily its cover), you will have a hint of what this book is all about. The story is about how the life of main character, Rio Jones, changed the moment her family moved across the country, to a new city that’s completely foreign to her.

Rio is the only daughter of Griffin Jones and Jahne Jones (née Jones). Her father is a reputable lawyer who spends most of his days anywhere but their home because of the very demanding nature of his job. Rio’s mother, on the other hand, is a former model. Her contemporaries were Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, and Cindy Crawford to name a few.

Rio was born with a silver spoon. She came from a well-off family, thus allowing her to study at only the finest school in town. They used to live in Manhattan, New York before moving to the West Coast. Rio had a pretty decent life back then. Never did she got into trouble with best friends, Paige and Hud. She fell into the category of losers when she was everything but cool.

All this (and more) changed when she transferred to a new school in the middle of the semester. To her disbelief, her first ever violation (and detention) happened on her first day of school.

I had the impression that this book was like the Mean Girls movie, and I was right. Although everything was expected, from the conflict to the climax to the resolution, I still finished the book. I didn’t really find anything unusual in the story, so I’m giving two stars for the effort. I guess a typical teenager would have enjoyed this more than I did.

Anna and the French Kiss
by Stephanie Perkins
Ratings: 
★★★★

Anna Oliphant was exiled to Paris, France by her parents (her father to be exact) with the impression that sending her to the School of America in Paris will give her better education that finishing high school in Atlanta, Georgia. Anna’s father, James Ashley, was an instant best-selling author whose novels worked around two people falling in love, and then eventually one has to die from a terminal illness. His works became movie adaptations, too, thus putting him up on the spotlight. Anna’s parents were divorced, and she has antagonized his father since God-knows-when, but she loves her mother and younger brother the most.

Anna loathed the thought of being away from her family on school days, and she’s lived a slightly miserable life during her first few days in school. Foreign country, foreign school, and foreign language—they don’t make sense to her. Anna met her first friend, Meredith, on the day her parents had left her in the dormitory. She was bawling her eyes out when Meredith invited her to her room for a cup of hot chocolate. Since then, they have been inseparable until Étienne St. Clair came into the picture. The two got along well instantly, making them the best of friends eventually.

Now the conflict cropped up when Anna and Étienne developed feelings for each other, but the latter was still in a relationship with Ellie at that time. To make matters even worse, Étienne fell in a situation involving his mother that he completely has no control of. Not to mention his father who was beyond being helpful with the condition their family are suffering from. Anna, on the other hand, fell out of friendship with her long-time best friend, Bridge, who accidentally fell in love with Toph, the guy Anna had feelings for.

Okay, so what do I feel about this story? I honestly think it’s a refreshing read. I didn’t imagine I’d actually like its plot at all. It may be sound so common to most people, but it turned out otherwise when I’ve finished the book. I particularly liked how the author was able to pull of the transition from one scene to another without even getting lost. I oftentimes feel that way in most stories, so props to Stephanie Perkins on that note.

I don’t know one person who would not want to go to Paris, and experience first-hand the magnificence and the rich culture of The City of Lights. It’s amazing how the author was able to take me to Paris even in her writing. I did feel like I was in Anna’s shoes, touring around the city of France, talking in their native tongue. I would have told you more about this book, but I’d say this is a fun, light-read that will leave you gushing like a teenager towards the end. Not only did Anna’s experiences in Paris taught her independence, she also learned that home is where the heart is. You may want to take my cue because I’m putting this book in my favorites shelf.

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