Friday, April 11, 2014

Review of the 'Stories About Melissa' series by Bethany Lopez


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.

**My thoughts**

This book was really cute! It is written as a bunch of journal entries by Melissa, a fourteen year-old girl who has just entered her freshman year of high school. She is the oldest of four children, with two younger sisters and a younger brother. Closest in age is her sister Megan, who is the polar opposite of Melissa. Melissa is really into fashion, boys, and looking good. Megan, on the other hand, doesn't care what she looks like and hangs out with the boys. She makes Melissa absolutely crazy!

Melissa gets herself into a bit of trouble when she finally starts dating Brian. For the first time ever, she is getting into fights, exposed to alcohol, and being heavily impacted emotionally by the choices of her new friends. She is not the same person!

But, Megan learns some good life lessons as she learns how to cope with all of these issues. 

It's a positive voice in the world of young adult literature, that would be appropriate enough for even middle schoolers to read. I probably would have even loved this book around the age of 9, looking ahead to those high school years. Situations seem pretty realistic, and the journal idea is one that speaks to girls as readers, I think. The characters also seem realistic, though some of their conversations are almost "After School Special" -ish. That's okay, though, because it teaches kids how they SHOULD be communicating with each other, and some of them may actually do it in real life. I am looking forward to reading the next installment!

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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.

**My thoughts**

This second installment in the series is an even faster read than the first one. I am still a fan of Melissa and her tell-all style in her journal. It's about six months since she left us in Ta Ta For Now and her whole world is about to change. Her mother has been ill during this entire pregnancy, and the new baby is going to completely change all of their lives in a way that they never imagined. Without giving away the details, I have to say thank you to Bethany Lopez for this little plot twist, because it isn't one that you often see in books. I can see a lot coming up in the future with this storyline.

Melissa's little sister Megan is definitely going through some serious hormonal changes and is even more annoying. Yet Melissa keeps looking out for her, as all good big sisters should do for their younger siblings.  

Melissa continues to learn more about friendship and young love as she wraps up her first year in high school. I love all of the references to places that they go, because I grew up about an hour or so south of Dearborn, in Toledo, OH. The lifestyle and the scenery and so many of the references feel like home to me. 

Just as after reading the first book, I am looking forward to the next installment. 

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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?

**My thoughts**

New people coming to town and infiltrating your group can make everything change. Cassie is new to the area, but quickly becomes good friends with Melissa and her group. But Cassie's appearance also means new love relationships. Melissa has to sort out her feelings toward the boys she has been juggling in her heart and has a hard time doing it. That's the best part about a journal in these situations - you really get inside her head as she tries to figure out what is going on. Giovanni, the Italian exchange student, is another fun addition.

Tensions are mounting at home, as Melissa and Megan keep on fighting. I have to say that I have never seen two girls roll around and fight as much as these two! My younger sister and I left the physical aspect of our fighting behind us at a much younger age, though we did have epic arguments for several more years.

Like in the other two books, Melissa's voice rings clear and true as she continues to navigate those tricky waters of adolescence. A major life lesson comes into play, one that so many teenagers face and should never have to face. With the experience comes a new level of maturity in Melissa, but also a new set of problems sure to come in the next installment. 

Another fast and fun read.

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The last few months have been a rough road for Melissa. Her grades have slipped, her parents treat her like a prisoner, and her closest friends are too involved in their own lives to spend time with her. Desperate to escape her depressing funk, she starts spending more time with Layla, who introduces her to a new crowd...the wrong crowd. When Melissa starts to go down a dangerous path, can anyone get through to her before she does something she'll regret?

**My thoughts**

It's easy to get sucked into the wrong crowd when a hot man is leading the way. I was just like Melissa for years, well into college, falling for the hottie musician. There is just something about the lead singer of a band, or the brooding guitarist. You want to impress him a bit, so you may venture out of your comfort zone and do a few naughty things. Props to Melissa, though, because she does draw the line at a few more serious situations.

It sucks when all of your friends keep growing and maturing and taking different paths along the way. It's a part of life that can sometimes move a little faster in high school, as everyone is dating and working through those hormones. Plus, life at home is still tough as they adjust to Max and to Mom not working. Her relationship with Megan continues to ebb and flow. Most of the time they are fighting, but still defend each other if someone else gets in the way.

Melissa gets herself into a lot of trouble along the way, but again manages to learn some good lessons. She continues to grow and to mature with each installment. This was yet another super fast read for me, and now I am sad that I have to wait for the next one to come out!

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About the Author

Award-Winning Author Bethany Lopez began self-publishing in June 2011. Since then she has published various YA and NA books. She is a lover of romance, family, and friends, and enjoys incorporating those things in what she writes. When she isn't reading or writing, she loves spending time with her husband and children, traveling whenever possible.

Author Links:

1 set of paperbacks of the series
1 set of ebooks of the series
a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for reading and review the Melissa books. I'm so happy that you're enjoying her journey!