Recollections: Reviews by a Book Lover

Review: Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders

Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders by Geoff Herbach

Picture from goodreads

Picture from goodreads

My copy is an Advanced Reader Copy from the publisher.

What it’s about: Gabe (aka Chunk) has a rule he learned from an old woman who used to clean his house, “Better laugh than cry.” For most of high school he has pretty much lived by that rule. Someone is making fun of him for being fat? Then do a dance and make everyone laugh. But when the soda machine money (to which Gabe has given a lot of money) stops going to the band, and starts going to the cheerleaders’ dance squad, well, Gabe is done laughing. It is an all-out war between the band Geekers and anyone who gets in their way, and Gabe is the unlikely leader.
What I thought: I loved this book. I was laughing out loud throughout – which for me is always a sign of a good book. I love how much Gabe grows and changes as the story goes on. Gabe’s friends call him Chunk (yes that is a Goonies reference for all you who know great movies ) and other kids (like the Jocks) choose other words to describe Gabe’s size which are much harsher. So Gabe gets called names a lot, and with his anger over the soda pop money comes the realization he doesn’t like being called fat. Gabe is no longer laughing because the only time it’s better to laugh than cry is when you can’t do anything about it. Gabe can do something about it, and he does. He starts working out with his Grandfather (you’ll love his grandfather) and eating healthier; he isn’t going to let food and soda control him, or use it as a way to deal with how he feels. Gabe starts to take control of his life health wise. He also starts to realize he also calls people names, and maybe the jocks, cheer bitches, and Goth, may not like those names any more than he likes being called fat. As for the war over the vending machine funds, well Gabe learns what it means to be a leader. He also learns a lot about his fellow classmates and friends.
I love Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders because I was laughing throughout, but also because I saw Gabe grow. As you read the book, you see as Gabe realizes, yes he is picked on but he is also the one who picks on others too. He just never realized he was name calling too. Gabe realizes a lot and you can’t help but cheer him on.
I highly recommend this book.



Audiobook Review: An Abundance of Katherines


An Abundance of Katherines

By John Green

What it’s about:  When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun–but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself. (Summary from

What I Thought:  I didn’t actually read this book; rather I listened to the audiobook.  I really enjoyed this book.  It made me laugh out loud several times.  Colin is a child prodigy with no hope of becoming a genius who has just been dumped by the 19th girl named Katherine, so he is whiney.  And can you blame him?  A washed up child prodigy who has just been dumped being annoying…expected.  So while others have complained about how much they hate Colin, I don’t hate him.  He is smart, he can’t help that he is going to have annoyingly smart tendencies, and he has been dumped so he is sad and moody.  I have to say I’m sorry I didn’t read the book because the book has graphs and footnotes, so I’m sorry I missed out on the fun formatting. 

As far as the audio went: I loved the narrator!  He had amazing voices for each character.  I’ve had negative experiences in the past with audiobooks putting me to sleep, but that was not the case with An Abundance of Katherines

I love John Green’s humor, and I was not disappointed by this book. 

Review: Struck by Lightning

Struck by Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal by Chris Colfer
Why I picked up this book: I saw a trailer for the movie and I wanted to see it. Unfortunately the theaters by me are not playing it 😦 So I did the next best thing…I went to Barnes & Noble and bought the book. Here is the movie trailer:

What it’s about: “Carson Phillips is at the bottom of the food chain in a high school filled with people he hates, stuck living with his depressed single mother in a small-minded town at the corner of nothing and nowhere. He has just one goal: escape to Northwestern University and a career as a hard-hitting journalist. His guidance counselor tells him that he needs to bolster his application by creating a literary magazine. Which means he needs submissions. From other students. Carson resorts to the only thing he can think of: blackmail.”–Jacket flyleaf. (Summary from

What I thought: I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read for me. Carson is filled with teenage angst. He hates high school, and while he is very hard on his fellow students, you feel for him because he is stuck in a small town with its narrow view points. School isn’t a happy place for him and his home life is even worse.

The majority of the teens in this book are stereotyped…dumb jocks & stuck up cheerleaders, so you’ve been warned. While I didn’t hate high school anywhere as much as Carson does, Colfer does touch on some aspects of high school which are universal for us all. The parking lot of every high school is a dangerous place, the hallways do tend to smell, and students can be mean to those who are different. Why is Carson so different? He’s smart, and yes there are other smart students, but Carson can’t help but question things, he isn’t happy just going all with every stupid rule. He also tends to be a smart ass.

Carson wants into Northwestern more than anything else, and honestly I don’t blame him for wanting out of his town. He resorts to blackmail to get the submissions he needs for his magazine. While that isn’t the best way to get submissions, he has forced his fellow classmates to write and writing can be cathartic. I like to think that Carson may have inspired one of his fellow students in the end.

Like I said earlier I really enjoyed reading this book. Carson’s quips at his fellow students and faculty made me laugh out loud at points. It may not be the greatest work of literature, but it brought back the teenage angst of high school for me. It succeeded in making me feel for the character, and I enjoyed hearing Carson’s story. There are times when we all want to get away; when we can’t wait for the next chapter of our lives to begin. Some of us are lucky and we get out, but sometimes the obstacles can feel overwhelming. I will also say this…I wish the book ended differently. If you read the book, you’ll know why.

“Life comes at you fast. It hits you and tries to escape and be expressed in any way possible. In a way, it’s a lot like…lightning.” -Struck by Lightning

Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Picture from

Picture from

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

As I’ve mentioned before I was temping in the children’s department of my local library.  While there I was able to read some picture books, and some juvenile fiction.  Since Diary of a Wimpy Kid has been the rage for a while I figured it was time I read the first in the series.

What it is about:  Middle school for Greg Heffley has its twists and turns.  In this novel we follow Greg through his mishaps and adventures as he writes in his diary.  We learn about the cheese touch, how Greg feels about his family, and friends, and how he deals with middle school.

What I like:  Diary of a Wimpy Kid is full of funny boy humor.  Will girls get a kick out of it too? Of course! We all lived through middle school, or are currently navigating through it, and therefore we can relate.  Greg makes some pretty terrible decisions, and is often very selfish in his actions.  While Greg may think he has gotten away with something, he soon gets bite in the butt for his choices.  There are tons of drawings to compliment the storyline, and these are also hilarious.

If you are currently in middle school, or just what to remember trying to navigate life while that age, then I recommend you pick up Diary of a Wimpy Kid.