If you're new around here, Things I've Read Recently is a series of posts I do that are basically mini-reviews of books that I either forgot to review, didn't have enough to say for a full review, or just didn't want to do a full post about for whatever reason.
This edition are four random books I grabbed off my shelf because I need shelf space and it's kind of a casual goal of mine to read more books I own. You probably have no interest in any of these books, but it was fun to read things that were incredibly ridiculous while I was really stressed out, so here they are so I can drag you into my misery.
The Wrong Way Out by Linda Barr
Published: 1990 by Willowisp Press
Genre: Contemporary YA, or upper MG
Page Count: 142
Part of a series? Nope.
Got via: I think I bought it at a yard sale or something.
The only place I can actually find selling this is ebay. If you want it, I'll sell it to you WAY cheaper than that! I stole the picture from there, though, because the one goodreads isn't big enough. Oh, Abebooks has two copies for like 10 dollars a pop. Seriously, if you desperately want this, tell me, and it's yours.
Summary (from goodreads): No matter how hard I try, I can't understand why my best friend is hurting herself. Ever since her parents split up and her father moved away, she's been acting weird. And the worst part is that she's been drinking. Kirsten
Why does everyone try to tell me what to do? First my mom, then my brother, and now Kirsten. I especially don't understand what's bugging Kirsten. She's becoming really bossy lately. And she's always lecturing me about drinking. What's the big deal? Jackie
Kirsten and Jackie have been best friends since third grade. They shared just about everything - until drinking came between them. Could Kirsten convince Jackie that she had a choice - and that drinking was definitely... The Wrong Way Out
Thoughts: This was so ridiculously cheesy. First of all, can we talk about how these girls are supposed to be 14? They look like they're 30 on the cover!
The writing is kind of awful. Nobody talks like that, and part of the narration is literally one of the girls reading from her Health textbook. It reads like the book equivalent of an afterschool special, and not a good one. It's just completely unrealistic, preachy, and again, so, so cheesy.
Yeah, so, this one won't be staying on my shelf. I'll probably donate it somewhere, if I can find somewhere that'll take it. Or hide it on the library sale shelf when no one's looking.
Nothing Hurts But My Heart by Linda Barr
Published: This edition was published December 31st, 1995 by Pages Publishing Group, with a previous edition in 1987.
Genre: Contemporary YA, or upper MG
Page Count: 109
Part of a series? Nope.
Got via: A yard sale or something.
Amazon and then besides that, Abebooks is about the only thing worth linking.
Summary (from goodreads): Lisa Conklin is sure that this is a nightmare. An important gymnastics meet is only a few weeks away, and now there is something wrong with her back. The doctors are saying it's scoliosis and that Lisa might have to give up competing. But nothing hurts, Lisa tells herself.
Thoughts: Oddly enough, this one was actually better than the last one. The writing was still not amazing. It was third person, but it switched to first person "thoughts" too much, which was jarring. The language is pretty dated and I imagine the subject matter is, too. They've probably made a lot of advances in treatments in the 20-28 years since this was published.
Despite its flaws, I kind of still enjoyed this one. It was very quick, at least. Since it's so thin, I may just keep it. I have a soft spot for it because I've had it for so long, honestly.
Skip the next two if weight loss talk gives you the brain spikies.
Outta Sight by Mary Blakeslee
Published: January 1st, 1987 by Scholastic
Genre: Contemporary YA
Page Count: 212
Part of a series? I don't think so
Got via: Probably another yard sale. I've had it for ages, and really don't remember.
Amazon / Abebooks
Summary (from goodreads): Hope's two most favourite pastimes in the whole world are eating and daydreaming. In her dreams she is rich, beautiful, famous and, best of all, popular - nothing like the overweight, dumpy teenager that stares back at her every day from the mirror.
Then comes the summer of 1944 and suddenly Hope finds her wishes coming true - some of them, anyway. With the help of her cousin, Hope learns how to become the beauty she's always wanted to be. And sure enough, the boys do come flocking. But where are all her friends disappearing to?
Thoughts: I really did not like this. The writing is okay, although it's fairly dated and at times uses language that would make most people fairly uncomfortable (slurs, etc.). But the subject matter is a whole different story.
First of all, this is set around the war, but Hope is barely aware of it. At most, it's an inconvenience to her, like that she can't get underwear with elastic. She's incredibly shallow, honestly, and it's not pleasant to read about.
More annoyingly to me is how focused on weight loss the book is. Hope is characterized as fat and eating constantly, emotionally eating, sneaking chocolate, binging when emotional, gorging at meal times, and basically as being addicted to sugar. Cutting out sugar and washing her hair more/using "liquid green soap" and calamine lotion on her acne makes her hair not greasy and her skin magically clear (because no teenaged girl ever has, you know, hormones causing that stuff) and she loses almost 65 pounds in less than two months. Because that sounds healthy.
Hope's starting weight? 175 pounds. She starts out with a 30 inch waist which is treated as this massive size. Guys, she's a size 12. Her cousin apparently has a 20 inch waist. You know what you find when you google a 20 inch waist? Corset training. But Hope is a size TWELVE. Here's an Old Navy size chart, here's an American Eagle size chart (and neither have clothes for a 20 inch waist, not even "0" sizes). She is literally average. She would wear a large T-shirt. Not extra-large or 2x or 3x, but a large. A size TWELVE.
Just keep repeating that to yourself for a while. Apparently she diets herself down to 110 pounds in a couple months, which is in no way concerning or dangerous, obviously. But apparently she's so much healthier, and the boys all fall over her and everyone loves her, yada yada, it's The Fantasy of Being Thin in book form. And, of course, we only see the happy honeymoon period, and not the part where the weight comes back.
I do not recommend this, and it will not be returning to my shelf.
Warning: Baby-Sitting May Be Hazardous to Your Health by Cynthia Blair
Published: January 23rd, 1993 by Fawett
Genre: YA/Upper MG Mystery
Page Count: 118
Part of a series? Yes, this is like 3 out of 5 of this "A Bubble Gum Gang Mystery" series.
Got via: It's a weeded library book, so a library sale.
Amazon / Abebooks
Summary (from goodreads): As far as Samantha is concerned, there are all kinds of mysteres. Can she handle baby-sitting as an after-school job? And why does the most popular girl in school actually want to be her friend? But the scariest mystery of all is also the most dangerous: someone is selling secrets at her dad's computer firm - and his business is in trouble. It's definitely a case for Samantha and her two other Bubble Gum Gang pals, but the price of finding the spy may be way too high...
Thoughts: Apologies for the awful picture. The biggest thing that annoyed me in this one is that one of the characters, Carla, is apparently fat and is dieting throughout the book to lose five pounds so her parents will throw her a frozen yogurt party. She's twelve. No one needs to be dieting at twelve. She's probably about to go through puberty! And seriously, look at the girl on the cover (the one with dark hair). She's tiny. Old YA books were awful to fat, or even chubby characters.
That was annoying, but luckily it didn't dominate the story, so I didn't have a stroke from the stress. Otherwise, I liked it alright. It's pretty dated (twelve year olds carrying purses!) and the plot is not nearly as dramatic as the summary, but I like mysteries, I like the "Girl gangs doing stuff" genre, and the baby-sitting angle is always pleasing to me, so in general, this one will probably keep its shelf space. I just wish it hadn't had the dieting subplot!
Well, that was... fun? For lack of a better word. On the plus side, I have a little bit more shelf space now! And I feel less ranty. I'm sitting here staring at several library books now, so hopefully next week we'll have some books that are actually, you know, good.
Thanks for reading anyways!
Peace and cookies,