Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Book Review: Here I Go Again

Lissy Ryder was the teen queen who rose to the top by bringing everyone else down. No one was safe from Lissy’s clever put-downs. Then she grew up...but did she really? Karma has Lissy divorced, living in her parents’ house and trying to start a new PR business with very little luck. Then she has a run-in with an old classmate who decides to give her a dose of clarity. Before she knows it, she’s in good ol' 1991, trying to make a fresh start that will hopefully change her karma for the better. However, the results are more than what she bargained for and soon she has to figure out what version of Lissy Ryder she is meant to be.

Tracey Meyers:
Normally, I wouldn't do this, but I'm making an exception . . . I have two reviews of Jen Lancaster's second novel, Here I Go Again.

First Review: Cliff Notes Style
BUY THIS BOOK! I know I'm a random stranger urging you to spend your hard earned money on a book I'm not telling you much about, but you have to trust me on this one... This book ROCKS as much as the song it's named after.

Seriously! Typically I don't read books as quickly as I read this one.  If I didn't have to work or sleep, I probably would have gotten through it even faster than I did.

Actually, don't tell my boss, but I did in fact read some of this book while I was "on the clock".

Phew! Now that that is out of my system .....

Second Review: A Detailed Review
Though I haven't read anything written by Jen Lancaster, after reading the synopsis for this book, I was chomping at the bit to get my hands on a copy of this book ASAP!

I have to admit I didn't expect the book to be as complex and full of depth as the story actually was.  The twists and turns of this story really hit at so many facets of what is possible when it comes to the idea of righting the wrongs of our past.  Also, just when I thought I had the main character, Lissy Ryder, figured out I saw there was another layer to her which chipped away at my initial impression that she was a self-absorbed, snot who didn't have an ounce of compassion or concern for others.  By the end of this book I not only liked her, but was rooting that she too would get her happy ending.

I also liked the characters that were part of Lissy's life.  Each of them helped me understand her more and how she became the person she was at the beginning of the book.  Of all of these characters, her mother was the one that gave me the greatest insight as to why she was the way she was at the beginning of the book while her father gave me the most insight into who she would be by the end of the story. 

Overall, not only did I thoroughly enjoy this book to the point I plan to pick it up again, but it also makes me want to dig into Jen Lancaster's other novel, as well as her memoirs!  If they are even half as good as Here I Go Again, I know I am in for quite a treat.

Melissa Amster:
Recently, on Facebook, an author asked if her readers would want to read a novel where the main character was not very likable. At the time, I responded that I wouldn’t want to read a novel like that. However, thanks to Jen Lancaster’s witty portrayal of Lissy Ryder in her second fictional novel, Here I Go Again, I changed my mind. See, I didn’t like Lissy Ryder. At all. She was selfish, bratty and incredibly delusional. I enjoyed seeing her receive the karma that had been awaiting her since her high school bully days. However, just like Darcy in Something Blue (Emily Giffin) and Taylor in Mrs. Perfect (Jane Porter), Lissy eventually grew on me as a sympathetic character for whom I ended up rooting by the end.

Needless to say, I LOVED Here I Go Again! The end.

Just kidding! I wouldn’t leave you without reasons. I am a sucker for time travel stories and this one spoke out to me in so many ways. First of all, it was like Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion meets Back to the Future with a little 13 Going on 30 mixed in. Next, part of it took place in the 1990s! Needless to say, there were a lot of 90s pop culture references and I’m all about that! And having a lead character named Melissa (even though I would never go by “Lissy”) was a huge plus, as well. From beginning to end, it was a suspenseful page turner, as I was dying to find out if Lissy would ever get things right in her past or in her future. The fact that it was purely fictional made it a perfect escapist read. It also carried Jen Lancaster’s trademark snarky humor. I could tell that Jen put a lot of thought and love into this novel and it totally shows!

The only criticisms I have are just me being picky. Like I thought Lissy’s mom was awful. What a poor role model for a daughter to have! However, I know there was a reason she was like that and she added extra fuel to Lissy’s motivation to change her ways. Even so, she seemed like a caricature while the other characters seemed more genuine. I also thought it was a bit strange that people would refer back to the same event when stating why their lives turned out a certain way. Like one night made such an impact on so many lives. Maybe I’m so far removed from high school that I can’t really pinpoint the outcome of my life to one particular event from that time. And since the characters are in their mid-late 30s, it seems odd for them to blame everything on an isolated event in high school.

Overall, I can’t stop raving about Here I Go Again and I encourage each and every one of you to go out and get it ASAP!

Thanks to Penguin for the book in exchange for an honest review. They're giving away some copies over at our interview with Jen Lancaster.

More by Jen Lancaster:


Unknown said...

Great Reviews. I read all of Lancaster's book's, except one (which I will) last year. I LOVE her!

Book Mama said...

The funniest thing that an animal at the zoo did was ... a few years ago we took a trip to L.A. We're from NY, so taking a trip to L.A was an adventure all in itself. We went to the Los Angeles Zoo with our 3 boys. While looking at the hippo who appeared to be basking in the sun, it all of a sudden stood up and had a bowl movement. Now, let me tell you that hippos don't have just any old bowel movement. Theirs sprays backwards and FAR. Needless to say, some hit my one son and it's something that none of us have or will forget!

I already follow this blog ... and LOVE it and like it on FB too :)

I also shared this contest on my FB. :)