Harmony Book Reviews

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Cover ImageTHE JULIET CLUB is about six teenagers taking a Shakespeare Seminar in Verona, Italy, which is the same place
where the famous
Romeo and Juliet is set. The three Americans, Tom, Lucy, and Kate, are winners of a Shakespeare
essay contest and have traveled halfway around the world to attend the seminar. They’re all excited, for different reasons,
to be spending a month in the beautiful country of Italy. The other three teenagers, Benno, Giacomo, and Silvia, all live in
Verona and happen to be studying at the seminar.

Each of the teenagers is very different from the rest. Kate is very educated and her father is a noted Shakespeare scholar,
who just happens to be the main rival of Francesca Marchese, who will be teaching Kate’s seminar. Kate, who’s still¬† suffering from a broken heart whether she’ll admit it or not, plans to spend the summer studying and discussing
Shakespeare even more than before. Lucy, a friendly, bubbly, and beautiful southern, is crazy with happiness about being in Italy. Unlike the girls, Tom doesn’t seem interested at all in Shakespeare, but more in playing soccer (football). Benno is
happy and ready to work for whoever will pay him. Giacomo, Benno’s best friend and the boy all of the girls fall for, is less than thrilled about going to the seminar, but his mother insists. Silvia is an angry but beautiful girl who gives off the vibe
to stay away from her. Somehow, these six very different teens end up together in Italy, where romance is always
blooming.

During the seminar, they are to act out scenes from the play and to answer letters written from Juliet’s point of view, because hundreds of teens throughout the world write to her every year about their love problems. But the teens are not only studying love – they’re experiencing it. Their lives are filled with the same experiences of falling in love, heartbreak, and jokes that Shakespeare’s plays were filled with.

This book had a fun setting, great characters, and a whole lot of potential. The thing is, it switched points of view so often, and focused on so many relationships, that it was hard to keep track and relate to the characters. But even so, I’m still looking forward to reading Ms. Harper’s previous book and any books to come.

A Horse Named SummertimeWhen fifteen-year-old Katie Harrison receives a pregnant Morgan horse named Summertime as an early birthday present, she’s crazy with joy. It’s the first step toward her dream of raising, training, and showing horses in the future. But Katie’s happiness ends when her mother, who was always against the idea of getting a horse, decides to sell Summertime after Katie has a riding accident.

With the help of Brian, the cute boy who just moved into town, she’s able to show her mom that Summertime really is a sweet horse. Her mother finally agrees to let her keep Summertime, but not the baby. Katie is still determined to find a way to keep the foal, though she says nothing to her mother.

Even as Katie keeps her grades up in school and takes care of Summertime, things don’t go smoothly. Her mother, who is afraid of Katie growing up, does not approve of Katie hanging out with Brian, especially because he’s older. So when Brian asks Katie to the dance and Katie isn’t allowed to go, Katie’s afraid that Brian will think of her as a little kid. And when Brian refuses to teach Katie to jump, she knows there’s something wrong.

As a horse lover, I jumped at the chance to read this book. It was a good story and I could definitely relate to Katie. However, the whole book seemed to revolve around dialogue, and telling, not showing. While I love dialogue, most of what the characters said in the story seemed forced and unnatural. I think that if there had been more showing instead of telling and the dialogue was more natural, there would have been more character development and their actions would have seemed more reasonable.

That said, if you, like me, are able to get past the dialogue and into the story, I’m sure you’ll like this book just as I did.

 *Reviewed for TRT*

CoverIn the third book of the Uglies series Tally is finally a Special. A fighting machine. She and her best friend, Shay, are still with the group they formed as Pretties – the Cutters. Dr. Cable has given the Cutters permission to capture The New Smoke in anyway they want. Yet even though she wants to destroy it, Tally still has memories of The Smoke and the time she spent there. Does she really want to wipe it all out?I enjoyed this book, though not as much as the first two. It was action-packed with twists and turns but it was missing something. A certain character’s death didn’t seem that real to me and the characters seemed to have changed more than they should have. David, for example, was a great guy. Sure, Tally wasn’t that fond of him at the end of Pretties when she was with Zane but suddenly, he had seduced her? It could be my memory but I’m pretty sure it was nothing like that and the Tally I loved in the first two books never would have thought that. I realize that she changed but that part, along with others, didn’t seem right to me. I also wasn’t too fond of the ending but that’s something I can get over.

Besides those parts, I loved that book. It was great to hear more about Tally, Shay, David, and the rest of the characters.


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