Sep 5, 2014

Review ~ Stories about Melissa: Ta Ta For Now ~ XOXOXO ~ Ciao by Bethany Lopez

I didn't know quite what to expect when reading Stories about Melissa.  I read the first of  3 separate short books written journal entry style about a girl starting her first year of high school and then moving on through her Sophomore year by the end of the 3rd installment.  I enjoyed this series and think it would target the 12-16 year old age group well.  I am going to break my review up just a bit and give you some thoughts on each book.

Ta Ta For Now!

Summary from Goodreads:

Melissa begins her freshman year with one goal in mind, getting Brian Jackson to be her boyfriend. She will soon learn that things don't necessarily turn out the way you plan them, the value of true friendship, and the importance of family.

Ta Ta For Now gives us a little insight into who Melissa is, the fact she doesn't like living in a home with a lot of other kids and what her hopes are for her coming freshman year of high school.  I found Melissa to be a bit of a snob at times but all in all she had a good heart.  My favorite part of this book in particular was her sister Megan who is 12.  I had to look at front of the book to make sure the disclaimer that the characters of the book were fictitious and any similarities to any persons living or dead were completely coincidental because let me tell you.....Megan in the book is pretty much an exact replica of my 13 year old daughter....who also happens to be named Meaghan!  About a week ago I spent an 8 hour day cleaning her room.   Here is a small excerpt from the book that had my husband and I laughing to tears due to our recent experience with the room cleaning fiasco:

"I happened to look in Megan's room.  Holy crap!  I thought my room was messy!  Her room was not just disorganized; it looked like a pack of wild animals had made it their home.  She had clothes everywhere (I don't know how she could tell what was clean and what was dirty). But it wasn't only clothes, she also had old water bottles and Coke cans, and something that looked like a science experiment on the desk."

I read that paragraph to MY Meaghan and she responded with "I didn't have Coke cans in my room!" Yes true, but she didn't deny the rest! I will now return you to your regularly scheduled review....

Melissa goes through some disappointments and drama with girl friends and boys of course.  All in all I think she handles things well for her age although I would hope that if she was my child she would talk to me more if I was her mother.


Summary from Goodreads:

Melissa has learned a lot since her freshman year began, but it isn't over yet! Her world is about to change again with the birth of her new sibling, and she has to figure out how she will adjust to being the eldest of five kids. She, Jess, and Jimmy are inseparable, and she is having a fantastic time although she can't help but miss Brian as she tries to learn how to deal with his relationship with Layla. Everything seems to be happening at once and that is when she is introduced to Ben Campbell, a senior at Dearborn High, who becomes an interesting distraction as he helps her deal with the new developments in her life.

Although I liked Ta Ta For Now, I enjoyed XOXOXO a bit more.  Melissa and her family have some family changes that bring on some new adjustments for everyone.   I REALLY liked the character of Ben and how kindly he treated Melissa even though she is just a Freshman and he is a Senior.  He had a heart of gold and I actually would love a book written about him.  He was a character that I think has a lot of levels that I would love to explore.  High school is such a pivotal age that is was interesting to see how Melissa handled her families changes as well as her high school changes in this installment.


Summary from Goodreads:

Melissa has had a fantastic summer hanging out with her friends and making new ones. Life as she knows it will change when they all come together to begin their sophomore year at Dearborn High. Connections will be made and friendships will be tested. Will Melissa’s family and friends be able to help her through the challenges she will face in the upcoming months?

I loved the way Bethany Lopez handled the big issue that was brought up in this book (can't tell you what it is because it would give too much away) and dealing with things like this is something most all of us have to go through at some time in our lives.  Learning to depend on friends and family and turn negatives into positives is a priceless life skill that is brought out so well Ciao. 

My general feelings about this series are positive.  Living with a 16, 13 and 9 year old gives me some perspective into what kids are like at this age and I think the series is well written.  As I said before it would be great for the 12-16 year old target audience.  I felt like at times it may have strayed a bit from journal entry form in the middle of a chapter, but I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing.  It just seemed like A LOT of dialog to be writing in a journal. :) All in all I would recommend this series as it was enjoyable for a mom to read and I could see my 12 year old daughter enjoying it as well although I don't see myself reading them again.

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