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Tag: sarah mlynowski

Booklist: Romantic Comedies

There is nothing like escaping into a fun-filled romantic comedy, especially when the pressures of real life loom large, and one could use a little levity, love, and fun. Diving into a romantic escapade can be incredibly satisfying, especially if it is one that can provide “all the feels.”

Rom-coms are often predictable in the best sort of way. If the story is true to the genre, you know the most likely ending…the romantic interests will end up together, but it is the journey to that end that brings us in. There are also other key elements that every rom-com has:

  • Two Main Protagonists – one, if not both, is adorkable and charming. They will be easy to root for in love and in life.
  • Side Characters – the tapestry of people that surround our hopeful lovers. They can be supportive, offer comic guffaws, or are the ones helping create obstacles and/or distractions that keep our lovers apart or push hem together.
  • Location – often as much as a character as our side characters. Our lovers are often traipsing over an area creating memories in key spots.
  • The “Meet-Cute” or the person next door – how our characters come into contact with each. The meet-cute will often be awkward or filled with tension where the characters do not like each other at first, or it can be charming. Sometimes, often in YA fiction, our soon-to-be lovers have been friends since childhood, and it is just seeing them each other in a new light.
  • The Challenge – often a false start where there is a misunderstanding, other potential love interest, or obstacle that seems to big to surmount comes into play separating our would be lovers.
  • The Grand Epiphany – what brings them together in the end. One or both will have a revelation that they can not be without the other, and usually a grand gesture will be involved in declaring love.
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Forecast clear? Hit the Road and Read!

photo by flickr user seanrnicholson
photo by flickr user seanrnicholson

There are many kinds of road trips; you’ve got your epic cross-country odyssey, your basic weekend escape destination, your communing-with-nature car-camping expedition, your established scenic byway (Route 66, Blue Ridge Parkway, California’s coastal 101…) but when the weather (finally!) takes a turn towards sunny and warm, any and all kinds of travel on our myriad motorways start to call to me, and I love to see the same “hit-the-road” enthusiasm reflected in my reading.

Reading about a road trip gives me that vicarious travel thrill, and sometimes (usually) even inspires me to plan an adventure of my own when I’ve put the book down, even if all I can realistically manage is an afternoon picnic to the other side of town.

Below are three novels that take their road trip credentials seriously while simultaneously delivering believable characters and engaging plots.

Amy and Roger's Epic DetourAmy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (2011 YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)

Sometimes when you pack up a car and hitthe road, it’s a one-way trip. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour is about the kind of road trip you embark on when you’re really leaving something behind, not just for a brief adventure or a temporary escape, but to actually start over again, geographically and emotionally. Amy has been tasked with getting her mother’s Jeep from southern California to Connecticut, where her mother waits with a new house and a new life for them both. But there’s a small problem; Amy hasn’t driven at all since her father died in a car accident months before, and the very thought of getting behind the wheel sets her on edge.

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Sleeping Bags and Books

I love summer for the flip flops, the roasting of marshmallows, and the great summer books. When I was younger, I went to a few camps–Girl Scout day camp and two basketball camps — but there were no cute boys and no campfire, and I never made lifelong friends. When I was young, I loved the Baby-Sitters Club books, and I read and reread Baby-Sitters’ Summer Vacation because I wanted that experience. In case you’re spending the summer at home this year, you can live vicariously through these fun books.

Sports and Fitness Camp

Huge by Sasha Paley (which was adapted for TV on ABC Family for one season): Wilhelmina can’t believe her parents forced her to go to fat camp. They own a chain of fitness centers and she’s not good for their image. Rebelling, she vows not to lose a single pound during the summer. Her attitude makes her bunkmate angry, especially when the two of the go after the same guy. Will the girls learn to get along?

Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis: Shelby follows her heart, which leads her into trouble. This time trouble equals summer camp, and not the leisurely camp with sports or canoe rides down the river — this is brat camp. It’s where the rich send their children for hard work and therapy and to learn discipline. It’s basically the worst possible way to spend your summer. Just when she thinks she might have everything under control, a boy appears. He’s a handsome British boy with a secret, and he has disaster written all over him.

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