Sunday, August 14, 2011


Stephanie Bradt: Once again, this is a dumb book with zero character development. It has been a few weeks since I read the book, but I suppose listing what I do remember about it will give an idea of what I got out of it:

The parents are getting divorced. The kids are sad. The main character, Karen, has certain questions about the divorce such as, "will we be poor?" “No,” says Karen’s brother, What’s-His-Name, “Dad will have to pay Mom once a month" or something like that. (By the way, Karen’s brother has lots of zits, which is mentioned several times and in several different contexts. Alright…thanks for that, Judy). Anyway, Karen’s new friend is a self-proclaimed expert on divorce and recommends that Karen buy a certain $7 book to learn all about it. Karen tells her grandpa about the book and he says, “ooh, I want one too.” Karen believes that her parents will get back together if one of the siblings were kidnapped. Sure enough, What’s-His-Name almost makes Karen’s dreams come true by running away.

The children of the story do have realistic and understandable questions and concerns about the parents’ impending divorce. However, as always with Blume books, there are several things that bugged me:

-Karen takes a bubble bath with her new friend and is slightly shy about it but whatevs. This has absolutely nothing to do with the story. This is the most random Judy-Blume-Signature-WTF-Moment yet. I think I will have to post a run-down of said moments in the future; the phenomenon deserves its own post.

-I think that instead of saying that he wanted a book too, the grandpa should have manned up and tried to answer Karen’s questions or at least talk to her about the divorce. He knew she was confused and having a hard time with it, but obviously was too stupid to do anything about it.

Lastly, What's-His-Name's excellent adventure:
-I can’t remember what actually triggered What’s-His-Name to run away, but I can assure you that I remember that it was something dumb.
-The parents fight even more over the four days in which What’s-His-Name is missing, leading Karen to the conclusion that her kidnapped/missing-persons theory is indeed false.
-It takes the parents like a day and a half to find ONE picture of What’s-His-Name to give to the police. They tell the police, “I’ll give you a photo of him in the morning.” Really? Why the hell would you wait until the morning? Who does that?! The cop is in your house with you now!
-When What’s-His-Name returns after four days, he tells Karen in a serious tone not to ever run away and she is like, “okey doke.” We never know where he was or what happened to him during those four days. It is like the blank space on the Watergate tapes or something.

After all is said and done, the parents still hate each other. The end. (of the world).

Jordan Bradt: I found a copy of IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD by Judy Blume, at the library’s used book room. Of all the Judy Blume books, I like this one the best. Yes, I actually like it. Sure, there were some random moments. For example, Karen, the main character, takes a bubble bath with her new friend, Val. There was also parental drama and sibling rivalry, but in this format, it fit. You see, the book is about divorce.

I would actually give this book to an older teen whose parents were getting divorced. It shows the emotion a child will go through, such as wanting to fix the parents and blaming themselves. It also depicted how the parents fight in a very believable manner.

A few ties were left unknotted. Karen never made peace with her teacher, who seemed to be a misunderstood character, and she kept believing that her parents favored her siblings more. At least her cat didn’t die. I had books where the pet passes away.

My favorite parts of all were the comments left by the past reader. There weren’t many, but they really captured a few of the “what?!” moments.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Stephanie Bradt: The one positive I had with this book was that there is evidence that Judy Blume tried to stay on her bizarre topic. There is no token perverted moment arbitrarily inserted into the story. Rather, the entire story is perverted. Although this is hands down one of Blume’s worst books ever, from strictly a plot standpoint, I think it is one of her more solid works. The book’s theme is awful, but Blume sticks to it.

Here goes: This book is ridiculous. First of all, it is yet another example of Judy Blume purposely going out of her way to get a book banned. I thought I knew what to expect with this book-- I knew it was by Judy Blume and that it was all about teen sex. However, that did not completely prepare me for just how graphic this book was. I will not go into the dirty details (although Blume certainly does), but this book is bad enough for YA in the year 2011. I cannot even imagine the firestorm it must have caused in 1975. Being read by like ten-year-olds.

Then there is the point of the story. Katherine’s first time was with her boyfriend, Michael, who is supposed be the “nicest guy in the world” or something like that. The reader is clearly supposed to like Michael and his “beautiful” and “loving” relationship with Katherine. That is all well and good, except for one problem: Michael is a douchebag. Not only is he a two-dimensional character, but his only dimension is that of a horny pig. Maybe it is a pacing problem and the fact that the book is short, but the only interaction between the main characters is Michael trying to get into Katherine’s pants. He is constantly groping her and taking off her clothes and she always says no and he ignores her and keeps going then reluctantly stops all pissed off, but says “I’m not gonna pressure you,” but yeah, no. I am surprised he was even able to function, since it seems like he has a hard-on throughout the entire book.

Speaking of which, Michael has a name for his man part, and that is Ralph. Seriously. He formally introduces Ralph and Katherine with the whole, “Kath, this is Ralph.” He later says, “I named it for you.” How romantic.

When Katherine finally is practically coerced into doing the deed, she loves it (after like the fourth time). And by the way, Michael and Katherine consummate their relationship even after Katherine finds out that Michael had had the Clap. How sexy. She never even asks any more on the subject.

After all this, at the end of the book, Kath finds someone she likes better than Michael. The end.

But let us not forget: There are still the Judy-Blume-trademark absurd subplots:

-The fat slutty friend named Sybil. She gets preggers and gives the baby up for adoption. She hopes the kid will be called Jennifer.

-Kath’s annoying little preteen-ish sister, Jamie, has a new little boyfriend named David. She also asks Kath if she and Michael were “f@#%ing.”

-Kath's progressive NOW and Planned Parenthood extraordinaire 70-something-year-old grandmother gives Kath birth control. "But don't tell your parents," she says.

And my all-time favorite sub-plot:
-Arty is a quiet-ish guy who does school plays or something like that and he might be gay. Or not? Kath’s friend, Erica, thinks so because he would not try to kiss her. Erica: Maybe you are just an ugly asshole. Anyway, Erica practically tries to rape Arty (remember kids, take it from Aunt Judy—constantly pressuring someone to have sex is romantic). Erica finds out that Arty is impotent and gets frustrated and leaves him. Arty is sad and tries to kill himself by hanging himself from the shower curtain rod, but luckily, it cannot support his weight. Arty just falls into the tub and hits his head and stuff. This is good, says Katherine, now he can get the professional help he needs. W. T. F.

This book is wrong on so many levels.

Jordan Bradt: Years ago, my family moved into a new house. It belongs to my grandmother and is attached to her farm. We rented the house while building our new one. I found a box of “destroyed” books (covers ripped off) in the attic. These books included novels from the OZ series and FOREVER by Judy Blume. I read them, and was deeply disgusted by FOREVER. It’s fine as an adult novel, but young adult? No. I ended up giving it to my cousin, after she saw me reading it.

Jump forward to college. I had to read the book again for my Children’s Literature class. All of us, including the teacher, were disturbed by the novel. Now, here it is in my grasp again, and…well, let me start with the first paragraph. “Sybil Davidson has a genius I. Q. and has been laid by at least six different guys.” Yup, and the book sticks with that same theme throughout.

Quite a few random moments made me blink. The babysitter smells Dad’s things because she has a thing for him. Grandma is described as being busy with Planned Parenthood. Erica, the friend, wants to get laid before college. She also wants to do it with every guy in school, including the teachers. The parents have loud sex, and Katherine listens. Erica’s love interest fears he might be gay – but instead, he’s just impotent. Katherine discusses her period with Michael (then, even though she has her period, he still tries to touch her, and she’s only upset because his sister is nearby). Michael’s sister and her husband offer them a joint. Michael names his penis Ralph. He teaches Katherine how to make him come using her hand. Mom only wants her to apply to 3 schools…she does it through her high school and needs parental permission. Mom makes her read an article about how every relationship ends – very depressing idea.

Michael is the male love interest. He wears glasses, which is mentioned a lot. He calls Katherine quite a bit, which is nice, and something that happens in healthy relationships. Oh, and this one time toward the start of their “affair,” they make-out on the couch and he asks her if she’s a virgin. Maybe that’s part of being in a healthy relationship, too, but if a guy asked me that, I’d think he only wanted one thing – which, oh yeah, he does. He slept with a girl twice before, and got “VD” from her.

Katherine is the main character. She can’t decide if she’s ready or not. I had trouble really understanding her character, because the book seemed to be happening around her, not with her. She reacted, without really acting.

So, to their first time, which is the point of the book – they go to his sister’s apartment. Katherine worries about bleeding, so he gets a towel. He doesn’t want to use a condom since she just had her period, but they do anyway. He comes almost instantaneously.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


This is Book Eight. Click here for the Bradt Cousins' review of Book One.

Stephanie Bradt: Book eight of L.A. Meyer's BLOODY JACK series. Here we go again. It feels redundant, but again, nothing happens in this book. Yet, apparently something keeps me coming back for more.

I liked reading about Australia when it was just starting out as a British penal colony. Naturally, our obnoxious heroine, Jacky, is sent there. This book kind of reminded me of book four, IN THE BELLY OF THE BLOODHOUND, which I really did not like. Jacky and a bunch of other girls are on a ship together in captivity. Yay. Randall joins the Marines, which I thought was cool, just because the Marines are awesome. I still hate Randall, though.

In other news, Jacky is kind of forced to marry Higgins in order to ward off the advances of all the horny sailors who still, for some reason, are all in love with her. There is a mean and perverted captain in this book who reminds me of the mean and perverted captain in UNDER THE JOLLY ROGER (still one of my favorites of the series).

This book kind of disappointed me. Even though I was expecting nothing to happen, I guess I had assumed that, eight books in, something would happen. Jacky and Jaimy STILL do not get together and, to me, the whole thing is just getting trite and redundant.

This book's featured side in Jacky’s love dodecagon: I don't know...I guess it sort of was Higgins, in a weird twist of fate.
My favorite new character: Jacky becomes the sort of love slave thing of a female Chinese pirate. WTF? And meets an Indian boy in India named Ravi. They are both annoying as hell.

Jordan Bradt: I love the Bloody Jack series by L. A. Meyer. WAKE OF THE LORELEI LEE is the eighth book, and one of my favorites. Beloved, old characters resurface within the pages and Jacky is at her sexy, hypnotic, energetic best. Plus, Jacky is all over the world. They are in the United States, then London, then India – for Jacky has been naughty, once again, and sentenced to Australia. This book is a full-fledged romp on the historic high seas. Once I got past the opening chapters, which dragged a bit, I couldn’t put the book down – which was hard, considering it is 552 pages and I do have a life outside of reading.

Two things really bothered me, though. The first is that JAIMY AND JACKY STILL DO NOT GET TOGETHER!!! I want them to get married already, or at least have sex. I am getting very frustrated that L. A. Meyer continuously keeps them apart.

The second thing that really bothered me is that Jacky marries Higgins onboard the ship headed for Australia. Um, why?! It explains it in the book, but still…WHY?! There is even a part where Jacky rests her head on his shoulder and plays with his chest hair. WHAT!!??

Overall, interesting book, but some places just made me cringe.