Monday, November 18, 2013

Double Feature Review: Books I could never hate

By Melissa Amster

The Hating Game by Talli Roland

When Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy.

After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £200,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes.

Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

I've been a fan of Talli Roland's writing for quite a while, so I knew it was time to check out the first novel she had ever written and see how it compared with her current novels. I am definitely impressed with her strong introduction to the chick lit genre! The Hating Game was a cute story with a clever concept. Talli offered different character perspectives throughout, bringing them together in an entertaining symphony of thoughts and interactions. There was a great build-up to the main conflict, as well. Although it tied up into a pretty package, it was worth seeing the outcome because Mattie had been through so much to get to that point. The only thing that didn't work so well for me was how poorly produced the show came off. It was hard to believe it would have such a following with a ridiculously bad host. However, I think it was a satirical statement on how reality TV captures its audience. I enjoyed this novel a lot and laughed out loud many times. Of course, I'd love to see it as a movie and have already made casting choices.

Mattie: Michelle Dockery
Adam: Benedict Cumberbatch
Kyle: Michael Fassbender
Nate: Josh Sussman
Jess: Zoe Jarman
Seamus: Russell Brand

Confessions of a Hater by Caprice Crane

Hailey Harper has always felt invisible. Now her dad has a new job and the family is moving to Hollywood. Just what Hailey needs: starting a new high school.

As she's packing, Hailey finds a journal that belonged to her older sister, Noel, who is away at college. Called "How to Be a Hater," it's full of info Hailey can really use. Has Hailey found the Bible of Coolness? Will it help her reinvent herself at her new school? Will her crush notice her? Will she and the other Invisibles dethrone the popular mean girls? After all, they deserve it. Don't they? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

I don't normally read Young Adult novels. However, I love Caprice Crane's chick lit novels, so I couldn't pass this one up. She has a knack for the YA genre and it shows in this novel! While it's basically Mean Girls meets Freaks and Geeks with social media included, Caprice tosses in some game changers and surprises, making me laugh along the way, as well as sympathize with Hailey. I lived vicariously through her in some ways, as it seems she still had it pretty easy, even with the crap she dealt with from the mean girls. (I was a bit jealous of her sometimes!) I think Caprice made a lot of good points about mean girl behavior, that all teenage girls should be required to read it. (It would be such fun required reading though!) Of course, if it were made into a movie, the Modern Family girls Ariel Winter and Sarah Hyland would play Hailey and Noel, respectively. You could probably get teens from Pretty Little Liars and Glee to fill in the other parts. While I would read another YA novel if Caprice wrote it, I still hope she'll write more chick lit in the future as well!

Thanks to Macmillan for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Talli Roland:

More by Caprice Crane:

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