Solid Tale Of Striking Out On Your Own. Dallen and Benjamin have been writing separate entries in common series for a while now, but this was the first time (at least since I’ve been reading either of them) that they actually co-wrote a book together. Their styles have been similar enough to work in separate books, and here they blend so well that I’m not sure I could say which author wrote which perspective. Overall the tale is full of the fun-yet-serious approach both authors use so well, and really does do an excellent exploration of two different perspectives on young adults feeling the pull to strike out on their own and see just what they are made of. Very much recommended.
Say Anything Meets A Star Is Born. This is the 2nd book in the current collaboration between Benjamin, Maggie Dallen, Stephanie Street, and now other friends as well. In this one, the overall arc only impacts the story as the macguffin – the real story is in fact two people who are very different than their public images suggest finding ways to understand each other and come together. And along the way we get a lot of the best elements of both Say Anything and A Star Is Born, without the depressing elements of those stories. We also see a few different crossovers with various other Benjamin stories, usually at particularly key moments. All in all a truly fun, excellent high school/ young adult romance. Very much recommended.
More Spinning! This series has been a spinoff from another series where Benjamin worked with a couple of other authors and each wrote one book in the trilogy. Here, Benjamin prepares to spinoff yet again and opens up the world in a bit of an interesting new direction while having at least one direct callback to another book in this world. Discussed the actual sport in question a bit more than is typical within these books, without sacrificing the focus on the couple in question, and also has a few “extra perspective” chapters that Benjamin has seemingly taken as part of her style here. Very much recommended.
Rules Are Meant To Be Broken. In this continuation of the Tomboys series, we get spicy Texan transfer Marissa and star-Quarterback-with-a-heart-of-gold paired up with great effect. Another solid HS romance, though with fewer perspectives than the first book – this one just has the two "standard" perspectives from this type of tale, the leading couple themselves. Arguably more loosely coupled from its predecessors (the "back door pilot" and the official "book 1" of this series), this one in particular can work as either the next book in the series (for those who have read the previous books) or as a good entry point to the series/ author (for those who haven't). Very much recommended.
Solid YA Romance. This actually continues the world introduced in Benjamin’s collaboration with Maggie Dallen and Stephanie Street last fall, The Trouble With Tomboys, and serves as Book 1 to its own series, making Benjamin’s entry in that former series what would be called a “back door pilot” in TV terms. And honestly, this was exactly the kind of bubblegum pop high school romance I know *I* needed in these challenging times. Just a fun few hours to get wrapped up in a fictional world and leave the “real” one behind, and this does that excellently. Very much recommended.
Fun Sporty HS Romance. Fun and light, this book has been – along with its predecessors in the trilogy – a nice change of pace from the more “serious” books I’ve been reading of late, and this is one of the reasons I love this style of tale. Fair amount of angst here – these *are* teens we’re dealing with – and some pretty awesome pranking going on in this particular book. Overall it stays true to everything about the tale, even including a healthy respect for baseball and its traditions. Truly a great book, and now I have yet another new author to follow. Very much recommended.