Not So Shy. This is one of those YA books where you know simply because of the subgenre that nothing is going to go above making out levels… and yet at times it almost feels like it might. It is *that* hot. Also feels overall somewhat similar to Lemonade Mouth (at least the Disney Channel movie version of it) with the focus on music and the guitarist from a band helping out in another performance. Which is an excellent comparison to have, in my mind at least, because I *love* Lemonade Mouth and still somewhat regularly listen to the soundtrack. 😀 Truly a great tale and a solid wrap up of this mini–series, even if I do have a quibble about the ending in a couple of respects. Very much recommended.
Dancing Queen. This was a solid tale of one person knowing how good they might be – and the other not having a clue. Fun but with some solid in-world discussions of class and elitism. As the third in a four part loosely coupled series, it holds it own and can be read in order or standalone. 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.
Standard Dallen But Enhanced Dallen! With this book, you get a standard Maggie Dallen story – think Hallmark High School – but this time, Dallen has done something I don’t think she has done before – use flashbacks as a regular part of the narrative. I’m not sure if she’s even used the technique before at all, but this is almost certainly the first time she’s used it as a regular part of the story. And she executes it very well indeed, in the standard version of slowly showing the history of how things got to where we know they exist while showing the people involved continuing their lives in the present. Solid story, and I love the experimentation as a writer. Very much recommended.