Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you a young adult book that I recently enjoyed at the beach.
KYLIE: MEXICO? What a nightmare! I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY! Wait! Is this a wedding band on my finger??
MAX: It all started with Kylie's laptop and a truck full of stolen electronics, and it ended in Ensenada. It was kind of hot, the way she broke us out like some chick in an action movie. But now we're stranded here, with less than twenty-four hours before graduation.
WILL: Saving Kylie Flores from herself is kind of a full-time occupation. Luckily, I, Will Bixby, was born for the job. And when I found out she was stuck in Meixco with dreamy Max Langston, sure, I agreed to bring thier passports across the border. But there's no reason to rush back home right away -- this party is just getting started!
LILY: This CANNOT be happening. It's like some cruel job. Or a bad dream. I close my eyes, and when I reopen them, they're still there. Max and Kylie Flores, freak of the century. In bed together. If Kylie thinks I'm giving him up without a fight, she's dead wrong. -- Hyperion
Relatively speaking, I don't read a lot of young adult books. It's not that I don't enjoy books geared towards teens, I just think I've mainly been reading other types of books. I prefer adult books, but I also read a fair amount of middle grade books for my daughter and picture book and early readers for my son. Thankfully, Booking Daughter has never had the urge to read up -- she's been content with MG books. However, I'm realizing as she quickly approaches her thirteenth birthday that YA books might be more on my radar over the next few years. (Similarly, Booking Son is turning eight in the next few weeks, and I'm finding that he's interested in less and less picture books. As a mom, this is much harder to accept!)
One young adult book that recently captured my interest is FROM WHAT I REMEMBER... by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas. This novel about four teens who are on the brink of graduation and find themselves in some pretty interesting situations was very entertaining! Despite coming in at over 450 pages, I read this book in just a few hours one day at the beach and I couldn't put it down. I think that says a lot when a 43 year old woman is glued to a book that's not even geared towards her.
FROM WHAT I REMEMBER... tells the story of four teens -- Kylie, Max, Will and Lily. This crazy story begins when Kylie, the class good girl, wakes up in a strange bed next to Max, one of the most popular guys in school. She is even more shocked to find that they are in Mexico and both wearing wedding rings. All of this occurs within the first few pages of this book, and believe me when I tell you, that it was quite the beginning. Needless to say, I was hooked and had to know how these two teens ended up in this very unusual situation.
For the next almost 300 pages, the story is a flashback telling just how Kylie and Max ended up in bed together. Suffice it to say, that it's one wild and crazy ride -- literally. It begins when Kylie's computer is stolen. Naturally, she freaks out because "everything" is on it (including her valedictorian speech) and, of course, she doesn't have a back-up. So what does she do? She and Max hop in the back of a truck of stolen electronics and end up in Mexico. Once they are there, Kylie and Max forge a new friendship (or should I say relationship?) and learn about Kylie's father's past.
In a neat twist, the story returns to the first section when Kylie and Max wake up together with wedding bands; and for the last 150 pages or so, Kylie and Max find themselves scurrying to get back in time for their graduation ceremony. As confusing (and fun) as this whole adventure has been for Kylie and Max, things get very complicated when Kylie's friend Will and Max's girlfriend Lily arrive on the scene. All four teens find themselves discovering new things about each other... and themselves; and there are quite a few good messages about love, family, and friendship.
I thoroughly enjoyed FROM WHAT I REMEMBER... and I can honestly tell you that it's a book that I would have devoured as a teen. (Heck -- I kind of devoured it as an adult!) The characters were interesting and I think many girls will find themselves relating to Kylie -- I know I would have. While the story itself is a bit outrageous when I think back on it, I didn't feel this way at all when I was reading it. The authors managed to create believable characters that I found highly entertaining. I loved how much humor was woven into this story.
In addition to being very entertaining, this book also delved into some serious issues that today's teens face. There were some universal themes like parent/child relationships, peer pressure, and cliques; however, there were also some more complex ones like homosexuality, prejudice, secrets, lost dreams, staying true to one's self, forgiveness, and autism. Because there were so many deep issues, I do think FROM WHAT I REMEMBER... would make for an interesting discussion book for teen book clubs or even mother/daughter ones.
The authors have prior experience in film and that was very apparent to me while I was reading this novel. First of all, every chapter began with a quotation from a famous film. The quote summed up something pertinent from the upcoming chapter and it was like a trip down memory lane for me since I had fond memories for many of these films. In addition, Kylie and Max threw out movie quotes regularly in their conversations. I loved their banter and especially their appreciation for movies. And finally, it was obvious to me that these two authors have a love of film because the entire story just seemed like it could be a movie. I wouldn't be surprised to see FROM WHAT I REMEMBER... on the big screen in a few years!
In summary, FROM WHAT I REMEMBER... is a very fun book that I suspect teens will love! I know I did!
Thanks to the author for providing a review copy of this book.
If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!