Author: Maureen Johnson

Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson (Book Review)

Posted June 1, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 5 Comments

Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson (Book Review)Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
Published by HarperTEEN on May 17, 2007
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 323
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
5 Stars

Sometimes you have to get lost . . .

The Girl: Clio Ford, seventeen, wants to spend the summer smooching her art-store crush, not stuck on a boat in the Mediterranean. At least she'll get a killer tan.

The Mission: Survive her father's crazy antics. Oh, and also find some missing underwater treasure that could unlock the secrets of civilization.

The Crew: Dad's wacky best friend Martin, his bizarre research partner Julia, her voluptuous daughter Elsa . . . and then there's Aidan, Julia's incredibly attractive, incredibly arrogant assistant.

What's going on behind Aidan's intellectual, intensely green eyes, anyway?

As Clio sails into uncharted territory she unveils secrets that have the power to change history. But her most surprising discovery is that there's something deeper and more cryptic than the sea-her own heart.

. . . to find what you're looking for

Like I mentioned a few days ago in my review of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I adore themed reads. So… naturally, I read this on a transatlantic cruise that spent half its time in the Mediterranean Sea, which is where this book takes place. I mean, seriously. The reading conditions could not have been more perfect. As Clio lounged around her dad’s luxury yacht, I was sitting on my balcony overlooking the Med, picturing everything and totally knowing what she was seeing as I read. Needless to say, I loved this book. But I just loved it because. You know what I mean? There’s not a lot for me to say specifically. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Maureen Johnson is made of win. She threw in history, mystery, adventure, suspense, romance, and humor. I love all those things!! Honestly, I was not suspecting the adventurous and suspenseful elements in the story. I was pleasantly surprised, and could not tear through the pages fast enough. Oh, and the chapter titles in this book are funny too!

2. I liked Clio a lot, but it took me a while to decide. She spent way too much time complaining about the terrible summer aboard a luxury yacht, with side trips to amazing Italian towns. I mean, come on. Who would NOT want that? She whined too much. But once she decided maybe things weren’t so bad, I got to see more of her. She’s completely relatable on so many levels. She’s an artsy (like me!!) teenager with real concerns about her life, real dreams, and real frustrations. Her parents are divorced, and she hardly sees her dad. So now he’s called her up and taken over her summer. She has to leave her job, her crush, her friends, her life, and go float around with a boat full of strangers and her eccentric dad. Of course she’s annoyed, and that’s part of the fun. Her inner thoughts are so funny, yet so real. I know I’d feel the same way.

3. I also really liked the supporting characters. Clio’s dad is so eccentric, it’s almost unbelievable. I laughed a lot. I liked Elsa more than I expected. She’s this gorgeous, perfect person… haha. I usually dislike characters like that because the focus is on how wonderful they are instead of important things. She was real, and did not act like she knew how pretty she was. Aidan is wonderful. He’s a nerd with a mysterious, attractive side as well. His bickering with Clio was too funny.

4. Yes, this is a cute beach read, but it’s not all fluff. There’s deep issues here, like dealing with a barely-there relationship between a daughter and estranged father and discovering what kind of person you want to be. Clio goes through a lot of self discovery. She has time to think and work things through. I really liked seeing her progress.

5. The book is a little slow in the beginning, but boy does it pick up! Like I said, I was completely thrown off guard with the direction this book went. I loved it, though, and really enjoyed the twists and turns.

6. I found so many quotes I loved! I’m not usually one to write down book quotes, but Maureen’s writing just forced a pen into my hand. I had to leave my quote book inside my cabin, since I was worried it would blow off my balcony. I was having to get up and down so many times to go in and write something in it, that I finally just sat on it. Here are some of my favorites:

  • “You know things are pretty bad when your mind is having crisis talks with your suitcase.”
  • “Clio had the strange flash that this was what the person who invented cheese must have been like–a blond goddess.”
  • “Something about this boat screamed, ‘I am a very popular model in the world’s oil-bearing regions. I cost more than your soul!'”
  • “I’ve always wanted to be in a relationship based on local sandwiches.”

Bottom line, this book made me a Maureen Johnson fan for life. I’ll admit, it’s the only one of hers I’ve read… oops! I discovered her on Twitter, and think she’s hilarious. And now I love her books too! I’d recommend this to lovers of YA contemporary romances, beach reads,  adventurous travels, and treasure hunts.

5 Stars

Let it Snow, by J. Green, M. Johnson, & L. Myracle (Book Review)

Posted December 20, 2011 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 10 Comments

Let it Snow, by J. Green, M. Johnson, & L. Myracle (Book Review)Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Lauren Myracle, Maureen Johnson
Published by Speak on October 2, 2008
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday - Christmas, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.

I love Christmas romances that aren’t sad. Why do all Christmas books have to be sad? The back of the book always says, “After Mindy’s mother died, her dog got hit by a car, her husband divorced her, and her kid ran away from home… she meets a man at the ER who was severely burned and can’t see. Love blooms, and a Christmas miracle happens.” Haven’t you read that before? Ugh. Christmas is happy! Not sad! The back of this book sounds happy. :) So I decided it was worth a shot, even though I don’t like the idea of short stories. I like to read a book that is one big story. Not three little ones. Needless to say, this book was a gamble. JACKPOT!! Halleluiah! I LOVED IT! Gush, gush, gush. Ok, on to the review. (Clearly I don’t read enough books that cause happiness to gush out of me. I’m not crazy, I promise.) Oh, and wanna know what else is fun? These three stories are all intermingled. I didn’t realize this until I started in on story #2. They all take place on and around Christmas Eve in Gracetown, NC during the biggest blizzard in the last 50 years. Each story discusses different characters, who end up all being connected. I loved all of them, and want to go find everyone at The Waffle House in Gracetown now.

The first story is called The Jubilee Express, by Maureen Johnson. I’d never read anything by her, and pretty much adore her now. Not many authors make me love them in roughly 100 pages, but I’m about to go buy more of her books! Anyway, there’s a girl named Jubilee (she was named after a building in a very expensive Santa village! Hahah!) who finds herself on a train to Florida because her parents decided to be crazy this year. A big snowstorm causes the train to stop in a small town, where she finds some interesting people (and some sweet ones) in the Waffle House. Her Christmas plans end up needing a slight alteration, but I doubt anyone would feel that she suffered as a result! I loved this story. Jubilee is hilarious. The thoughts running through her head had me laughing out loud. I loved the main guy in this story too. He is so sweet and sensitive. I’m not giving away more of the plot, because you just need to read it. That is all.

The second story is called A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle, by John Green. Oh my. It’s hilarious. The main guy, Tobin, has two friends named JP (my favorite character, because he is amazing) and the Duke (Angie). While watching Bond movies, they get a call on Christmas Eve to hightail it to the Waffle House to see 14 stranded cheerleaders from the same train Jubliee was on, hanging out and being cheerleadery. Their journey to this Waffle House (in the middle of a blizzard) is priceless. It includes a lost wheel, some scary twins, a Twister mat sled, and a dangerous beer keg. I died of laughter. And of course, it turns out to be an adorable story. I want to meet JP. The things he says are hilarious, plus he was wearing Tobin’s dad’s baby blue ski suit for the entire story because he thought it would make him look like a hardcore skier, just back from the slopes. Gotta impress those cheerleaders! Oh, good stuff, Mr. John Green.

The last story is called The Patron Saint of Pigs, by Lauren Myracle. This was a very “meh” read for me. Luckily it was the last story, because I don’t think I would have continued with the book if it had been the first.  It’s all about this girl named Addie, who I didn’t care for much, who cheated on her boyfriend a week before Christmas, dumped him, and now wants him back. She spends a lot of time whining about her situation, even though it’s her fault. And she spends a lot of time being mad at him for not responding to her latest apology e-mail with open arms. She CHEATED on him. Why does she expect a happy ending to this? The story also involves a little old lady who thinks she’s an angel, and a quest to acquire a little teacup pig that is to be her friend’s Christmas present. It was just weird, and a pretty weak way to end the book. The first two stories were brilliant, and long-lasting loves for me. This story really fell flat, and pales in comparison. The ending was also pretty cliche and unrealistic. I can look past this story, though, and rate this book 5 stars for the other two. If we factor in my rating for this one, the book would probably get a 3.5.

I definitely see myself re-reading the first two stories a lot. They are so sweet and Christmasy, not to mention a quick dose of the Holiday spirit. I was delighted to find them. Did anyone here love the third story? I’m pretty lenient when it comes to Christmas reads, but I held this one to pretty high standards after the first two. What do you think?

4 Stars