Tag: YA

In Between by Jenny B. Jones

In Between by Jenny B. Jones

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Title: In Between (Katie Parker Productions, #1)

 Author: Jenny B. Jones

Published By: Think (2007)


Can we overcome our past? Katie Parker is about to get a new life—whether she wants one or not. With her mom in prison, and her father AWOL, Katie is sent to live with a squeaky-clean family who could have their own sitcom. She launches a full-scale plan to get sent back to the girls’ home when she finds herself in over her head…and heart. When Katie and her new “wrong crowd” get into significant trouble at school, she finds her punishment is restoring a historic theater with a crazy grandma who goes by the name of Mad Maxine. In the midst of her punishment, Katie uncovers family secrets that run deep, and realizes she’s not the only one with a pain-filled past. Katie must decide if she’ll continue her own family’s messed up legacy or embrace a new beginning in this place called In Between. (Taken from Goodreads)


Is there anything about In Between that I disliked?
No. No, there is not.

I loved everything about this book. The characters, the set, the plotline—everything! There was just enough twists, turns, and mystery to keep me wondering, but that put aside the characters were enough to make me want to finish it. It was a true story of a girl adapting to a new home.

Katie is a hysterical main charater. I LOVE KATIE. She is easily the best fictional character I have ever read. Ever. And I don’t say that about every character. She’s real. She’s always got another sassy comment or thought, another idea, another opinion of the world. I laughed out loud several times thanks to Katie’s witty remarks. I laughed my way through this book, in fact. Jenny B. Jones has got to be the funniest, sassiest person alive.

While her backdrop paints a picture of more criminal activity, Katie knows right from wrong and after an incident at the theatre, she is more than determined to be a good kid. For example, at first she’s totally opposed to “perfect girl” Frances Vega, but soon, that changes when she realizes her crazy friends are no-good and out for trouble. Full of questions and out for adventure, I loved Katie. All together, Katie’s life is nothing but ordinary.

“Mad” Maxine, Katie’s “evil” foster grandma, was another character altogether. She had me laughing at times and grimacing at others. She’s another one of those best-fictional-characters-ever. Katie, very, very wary of the woman, was certain she was pure evil, but to me, she mostly seemed plain out crazy. Which she was.

James and Millie Scott, Katie’s foster parents, are wonderful. They play the role of the encouraging parents while still worrying for Katie and her safety. James, a pastor at the church, aids Katie in her search for faith and for God. Pretty early on we learn of Amy, the Scotts’ daughter, who, for some reason, doesn’t live with them anymore—or anywhere around. Whenever she is brought up, there is tension and silence in the house, providing another occasion for Katie to wonder on.

I really can’t elaborate too much I love this book and series. Jenny B. Jones has got to be the wittiest, sassiest, funniest person alive to have come up with all these shenangains and characters who, like I’ve already said multiple times, are alive and real and literally the best characters I’ve ever read about.

Negative Content/Notes:

No negative content. However, Katie has a criminal background and sometimes has less-than-honorable thoughts: everything stays clean, yes, so it’s mostly just immature thoughts, but they aren’t always squeaky clean and perfect like some people expect Christian books to be.  However, I didn’t have a problem with it. It was who Katie was, and it wasn’t like she had bad intentions. She was just absolutely transparent to the reader, if that makes sense.

Overall: Read it. Read it. Read it.

Rating: 5.0

Recommended to: Teenage girls 13+.


Matched by Ally Condie

Matched by Ally Condie

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Title: Matched (Matched, #1)

Author: Ally Condie

Published By: Dutton Juvenile (2010)


In the Society, officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die. Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one…until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion. (Taken from Goodreads)


When I first read Matched, I somewhat enjoyed it. Cassia, a 17-year-old, goes to the Matching Banquet/Ceremony and finds out she’s Matched—designated to be married—to her best friend Xander. But then she sees another boy’s face before the screen fades. They tell her it’s a glitch, but she’s not so sure. Suddenly now Cassia is on a desperate, life-risking, lovestruck, amazing, and touching journey to figure out who she should be with and who she loves. (By the way, I was being sarcastic in the last sentence. That’s how the book is portrayed, not how I felt about it.)

The aspect of the Society that controls everything is a fantastic idea and results in a great storyline. At least, I thought it was so until I read The Giver, which released more than 10 years before Matched. I discovered that the whole set for the book had pretty much been lifted right from The Giver itself.  The ceremony? From Giver (the December Ceremony). The Society? From Giver (the Committee). Even the Matching part. The phrase “matching of the spouses,” appeared in The Giver first. (Needless to say, I loved the Giver—one of my favorite books of all time—so once I found out all the copying this book did, I decided I no longer liked Matched.)

Forgetting the whole copycat element: The storyline and the reading level were easy enough that a fourth or fifth grader could easily read and comprehend. For me, there was waaaaaaaaay too much romance and kissing for my taste. Yes, I get that this is what the book is about, but it was way too much. Not to mention that even though our main character and narrator, Cassia, is 17, her voice sounds no different than a twelve-year-old. The romantic scenes didn’t get inappropriate minus the constant kissing; the story itself sounds like a cute little love story, nothing more.

Negative Content/Notes:

Lots of kissing, but nothing inappropriate or weird. It was actually surprisingly clean for being popular YA. I don’t know if I can say that about the next 2 books though—I never read them.


To sum it up:Putting the whole concept with copying The Giver aside, because I totally get that that it could be a crazy coincidence, it was really just a cute little immature love story —though clean—and really nothing more.

Rating: 2.5

Recommended to: I really wouldn’t recommend it. If you love YA romances, you may like it. Probably ages 12+.