Magan: Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

book cover for Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill  (website | twitter)
Other Books Written by This Author: Meant to Be
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte
Pages: 352
Target Audience: Young Adult
Keywords: swapping lives, figure skating, hockey, Canada, summer camp
Format Read: ARC received from the publisher via NetGalley. (Thank you!)

Summary: Two Sloane Jacobs’ coincidentally meet in a hotel lobby where they’re each about to attend four week summer camps. After realizing they’d both like to temporarily forget about their own troubles, they decide to swap lives and attend the other girls’ summer camp.

Well, hello 2014! I’m so excited to be kicking off this new year with a new release that I thoroughly enjoyed, Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill. Here’s a little backstory:

Sloane Emily is a senator’s daughter. She’s got family issues that she wants to run away from and insane amounts of pressure she’d love to escape. She’s being sent to figure skating camp, against her will, for four weeks where she’s expected to perform well and make a splash back into the competitive figure skating community.

Contradictory to Sloane Emily’s seemingly “perfect” life (from an outsider’s perspective) is Sloane Devon’s. Her family is barely making ends meet, she’s losing her edge in hockey — along with all of her confidence — and the only chance she has to be a starter her senior year is to redeem herself at hockey camp.

These two girls couldn’t live more opposing lives, but a chance encounter at a hotel leads them to swap places and spend four weeks pretending to be the other Sloane Jacobs. I’m sure you’ve all seen movies like The Parent Trap or 17 Again in which two people swap lives and learn Really Important Things about themselves. Being Sloane Jacobs has that same feel-good aspect, but with great doses of humor that made me laugh out loud as the girls struggled to embrace the other’s sport. I’m not a reader that loves all loose ends tied up perfectly either if things don’t feel realistic and Morrill did a lovely job incorporating strengths and weaknesses into the story that made everything feel a bit more believable.

While the story takes place at the beginning of summer, the ice rink setting made me feel like winter was the absolute appropriate time for me to be meeting these girls. Their stories are told from alternating points of view, giving a clear picture of what each girl’s struggles are and how she’s managing to keep up the facade of being someone else. Perhaps the only time I wasn’t entirely comfortable reading from both POVs was during the epilogue when the girls were face-to-face having a conversation. (I also didn’t fully see the need for the epilogue as I would have felt pretty satisfied without it.)

I texted Estelle when I finished reading and mentioned Being Sloane Jacobs gave me the same kind of happy feel as Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler. There’s tons of self-discovery, a sweet love story (or could there be two?), depth, and a generous dose of laughter. If you’re itching to use a gift card you were given for Christmas, definitely consider using it toward the purchase of Lauren Morrill’s newest release, expected in bookstores on January 7th.

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series review for The Ruby Oliver Series by E Lockhart

Magan: The Ruby Oliver Series by E. Lockhart

series review for The Ruby Oliver Series by E Lockhart

The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver
The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them
The Treasure Map of Boys: Noel, Jackson, Finn, Hutch, Gideon—and me, Ruby Oliver
Real Live Boyfriends: Yes. Boyfriends, Plural. If My Life Weren’t Complicated, I Wouldn’t Be Ruby Oliver

The Ruby Oliver Series by E. Lockhart
Publication Dates
: 9/26/2006 | 4/22/2008 | 7/28/2009 | 12/28/2010
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 229 | 208 | 248 | 225
Target audience: Young Adult
Keywords: high school, friendship drama, seeing a therapist, dating relationships
Format read: First three borrowed from my library, the fourth purchased for my kindle.
Summary: Ruby Oliver is just a normal girl with two best friends — until she begins having panic attacks and has to see a therapist because her boy life is out of control and her best friends are no longer speaking to her.

Things I Know About Ruby Oliver and Why You Should Read This Series:

  1. Ruby is a little bit (okay, maybe a lot) crazy. She is boy crazy. She doesn’t interact with people well because she is so self-conscious and feels like she’s doing and saying the wrong things all the time. She blurts out whatever comes to mind and doesn’t think before she speaks. (This makes for some great laugh out loud moments while reading.)
  2. Ruby just doesn’t understand boys. She wants to date them, but is pretty judgey and particular about them. She gets herself in awkward situations and The Boyfriend List portrays how it seems like she’s had lots of crushes on boys and really gotten around, but that’s just not the truth. When she finally does get a boyfriend (hello, Jackson!) — things are anything but easy. Especially when…
  3. Ruby’s best friends aren’t super trustworthy. Her BFF Kim? Yeah, she kind of gets in the way and steals Ruby’s boyfriend. And you know what? She turns things around and makes Ruby seem like the bad person. So what happens to poor Ruby? She has panic attacks because school starts to suck so bad when all of her friends turn on her. And that leads to…
  4. Ruby begins to see a therapist. She doesn’t really know what to talk about and she’s a bit ADD in her thought process, jumping (leaping) from one topic to the next, but her therapy sessions are quite entertaining (especially as she begins to understand herself a bit more and doesn’t want to listen to what she knows needs to happen). She begins to realize that she’s got way more than just boy issues. For instance…
  5. Ruby’s parents are also crazy. Her mom is extremely self-involved and is always experimenting with some new diet. She dapples in Ruby’s life in the worst possible ways, and while she thinks she’s being helpful, she’s really not. Her dad is really into plants and has a greenhouse and Ruby’s just not into that, but does connect with him more. (It’s really easier if Ruby just avoids her mom because their relationship is just… complicated.)
  6. Ruby’s seclusion leads her to make a new friend. Or two. Noah and Megan are two people Ruby doesn’t ever socialize with much, but while she’s got no one else to talk to because her life is crap, she is kind of forced to get to know these two better. Turns out Noah’s got a lot of attractive qualities and Megan’s not the person Ruby pegged her to be (funny how that happens, right?).
  7. Ruby is relateable, funny, sarcastic, self-depricating, pure, and original. There’s really been no other character for me that has rivaled Ruby Oliver. I could have breezed through all four books in one day because I just ate them up. After waiting (months) for the last book from my library, I finally broke down and purchased it for my kindle because I just had to know how Ruby’s story ended. Each book dictates a year of Ruby’s high school life, beginning freshman year.
  8. You’ll only grow to love Ruby more throughout the series. Sure when Rub is a freshman and she’s going through all the stupid things she’s done, you might shake your head and say, “SILLY GIRL!” But, she grows up, she gets wiser, and becomes more comfortable in her own skin. She becomes a bit more daring and bold. (If that’s possible — she has some guts, I tell ya.) The more I read, the more I wanted to continue to read.

If you want a fun series that you’ll breeze through quickly and laugh out loud multiple times while reading, Ruby Oliver is your girl. These books made me remember all those times when I didn’t know what I said wrong that made my friends upset with me. It made me laugh at how naive I was when it came to boys, and how monumental every emotion seemed to be back in high school. You’ll remember what those times were like for you, but from Ruby Oliver’s  humorous perspective.

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The Boyfriend List (Goodreads | Amazon)
The Boy Book (Goodreads | Amazon)
Treasure Map of Boys (Goodreads | Amazon)
Real Live Boyfriends (Goodreads | Amazon)