Against the Wall – Julie Prestater

Date read: 28th December 2013
Publisher: Kindle
Length: 298 pages
Format: E-book
Source: Free purchase on Amazon

 

Shelly Gelson had it all…a job teaching English at Carver High, her best friend, Mel, working by her side and engaged to her high school sweetheart, Chase Marino. That is until Chase breaks her heart and leaves her for another teacher at the school. Now Shel is left broken hearted and trying to figure out what she wants while watching Chase and the home wrecker make moon eyes at each other.

Enter Matt Fuller, Shel’s friend for the past 5 years and the perfect rebound. He’s gorgeous, smart, funny and fits into Shel’s idea of the right guy. Only problem is there may be more there then just a simple rebound. Is it a way to fill a void left by Chase, or is there more smoldering between these two friends?

Find out what happens when the bell rings and the teenage drama ends and the adult drama begins. Who says being a teacher is boring? They obviously haven’t met the teachers at Carver High.

I downloaded this book as a free purchase on my Kindle quite some time ago… I think I originally heard of it on Maryse’s site www.maryse.net and downloaded it straight away, only to let it sit and wait for who knows how long.  Over the Christmas period I was looking for a quick read to blow away the cobwebs and opted for this.

Shelly is a sympathetic enough main character, who’s been dumped by her long-term boyfriend and then starts a relationship with her good friend and fellow teacher Matt.  Concurrently, her best friend Mel is having marital problems and becomes closer to Shelly’s brother Tyler (a companion novel, Between the Sheets, deals with Mel and Tyler’s relationship).

I’m finding it difficult to write this review… the book was well-written and I read it in just over a day despite working today, but I never felt as though I got to know the characters’ views or personalities relating to anything other than their relationship issues.  Yes, Shelly loves beer and won’t even contemplate dating a guy who prefers wine coolers.  She’s sarcastic, and has mother issues. Yes, Matty can be more feminine than his girlfriend, and Mel’s Hispanic.  That’s about it.  It’s such a shame, because the dialogue was really good on the whole…

Could he be prosecuted for murder?  Cause of death: broken heart.  Murder weapon: words laced with bullshit.  It’s me who should be thrown in jail for eating up every one of those words.  But I can’t help myself.

but I don’t feel as though I got to know the characters enough to work out if I would want to be friends with them in real life, which is the litmus test for a good book (even if I don’t like the characters, at least they’re fleshed out enough for me to decide that).

To conclude, I don’t think I’ll be seeking out the companion novel… but you never know.

 

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End of year survey 2013

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)

Contemporary YA – Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill, The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding, Speechless by Hannah Harrington,

Classic Fiction – Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer, Landfall by Nevil Shute

Romantic Fiction –The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne, A Girl Like You by Gemma Burgess

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley.  I know, I know, please don’t hate me!  I think due to all the amazing reviews I had been expecting something incandescently amazing, and was always bound to be disappointed with the result.  However, I read it super-quickly (as I tend to do with all books first time around) and will definitely read it again in the expectation that I will enjoy it a lot more next time around.

Also Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire.  I intensely disliked the characters, hated the way the book just plonked you right in the middle of their lives with a minimal at best introduction to what on earth was going on, and it took me ages to read because I couldn’t care less about their fate.  The annoying thing is I will probably end up reading Walking Disaster in the hope that it’s better.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? 

Darkhouse by Karina Halle.  I LOVED it.  I’m kicking myself right now that I haven’t read any more in the Experiments in Terror series but I have the second book ready to go so will be reading that in the early part of 2014 I’m sure.  Dex and Perry are hilarious characters and I can’t wait to read more about them. 

 4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

Hmm.  I foisted Hotel Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones on my best friend and my cousin this year and they both enjoyed it as a quick and funny read.  I also recommended The Lover’s Dictionary to people and lent it out to another friend but I read that in 2012… I usually swap books with people a lot more but I’ve been trying to embrace the library this year and so haven’t had the same amount of books to lend.

 5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

Experiments in Terror hands down.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

Both are debut authors… Lauren Morrill and Amy Spalding.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

The last book I finished… Last Letters Home, edited by Tamasin Day-Lewis.  This was linked to a programme of the same name which was originally broadcast a few years ago on ITV… I vaguely remember the programme but didn’t watch it for whatever reason.  It’s a collection of last letters home from servicemen in World War Two, along with other correspondence which didn’t turn out to be final letters.  It’s heartbreaking… like the letters between two brothers Ivor and Anthony and their parents, until Ivor is killed while serving in Sicily after only being there for four weeks.  Anthony writes to his mother about the nieces and nephews he will never have… cue me crying.  I’m trying to read more modern history books as I always go for Tudor and medieval books and this was definitely a good introduction.

 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

Just One Day.  Literally read it in just one day, and have read it again now that I’ve read Just One Year.

 9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Annoyingly, I tend to leave a full calendar year between re-reads as I have SO MANY BOOKS on my TBR pile and feel guilty if I indulge in too much re-reading.  Books I’ve read before which I hope to re-read in 2014… Going Home by Harriet Evans, Unsticky by Sarra Manning, Rites of Spring by Diana Peterfreund and Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

I don’t really look at covers!!  Does that make me a bad person?  I could try to make a bad joke about not wanting to judge a book by its cover…

11. Most memorable character in 2013? 

Ha.  Vidal from Devil’s Cub, every time.  He’s hilarious.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marsha Pessl.  I didn’t understand what was going on half the time but the writing was beautiful.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? 

Last Letters Home.  My grandfather served in the Far East during World War Two, and it really made me think about the constant uncertainty he and his family at home must have sent.  I know that my grandmother still has a couple of telegrams that he sent home – including one sent after he learned of the birth of their first child, and now I want to know if there are any letters.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read? 

Er… Cinder by Marisa Meyer?  And even that isn’t too old…

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?

From Come See About Me by C.K. Kelly Martin:

People expect you to talk to them, even the ones who tell you they understand.  They want energy you don’t have.  They want you to care about something and I don’t.

 

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Shortest:  I can’t even begin to work it out… If I do I will update this post!

Longest:  Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann.  Hated it.  624 pages of torture.

 

 17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

The end of Cinder!  But no-one else I know IRL has read it.  Which was disappointing given that I finished it while sitting on a bench at Weston train station, on my way home from a meeting, and had no-one to squeal at.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Mary and Vidal from Devil’s Cub, Lincoln and Beth from Attachments.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp by Eva Rice.  I have been waiting for this book for EVER.  Her previous novel, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, is one that I have bought for more friends than I care to mention.  Again, I think I will enjoy this book more upon reading again, but the pages flew by (and it’s a brick of a book which I bought in hardcover because I was so excited to see it in Waterstones).

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

 Hmm… Special Topics in Calamity Physics.

21.  GENRE YOU READ THE MOST FROM IN 2013

YA fiction for sure.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?

Willem from Just One Day/Just One Year.  Yum.  I would also add Poe from the Secret Society Girl series but that would be cheating seeing as I started that series in 2011.

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

Divergent by Veronica Roth.

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

Sylvester by Georgette Heyer, if only for the quote from the hero’s nephew that something is giving him pain in his pudding-hole (meaning his head).  I snorted and then proceeded to refer to pain in my pudding-hole every time I have a headache from now on.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson.  The decline of the heroine’s father reminded me so much of when my auntie was ill and then passed away a few years ago, and brought back feelings I thought had been forgotten.

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

A Girl Like You by Gemma Burgess.  Yes it’s pretty standard chick-lit if you go solely by plot, but the writing is brilliant and the characters well fleshed out.  I have the first in her Brooklyn Girls series loaded on my Kindle and ready to read, I’m looking forward to it immensely.

 2014 and beyond….

 

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?

This is the hardest question in the world!!  Eek!  There are so many books to read in my house… I honestly would not have it any other way, but it does make choosing what to read a little challenging, to say the least.  I am going to pluck an answer out of thin air and say Scarlet by Marisa Meyer, both because I am genuinely excited to read it, and because I have a copy from the library and have already renewed it three times without starting it.  Ahem. 

 

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando….

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

None in particular… Let’s see where the books take me!

 4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?

I don’t know of any series ending in 2014 that I’m reading!  This could either go one of two ways… either all the series continue, in which case I will be a very happy lady, or a couple end unexpectedly, and I will be sad.  Let’s hope the former, yes?

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?

I would actually like to become a regular blogger!  In the past I have either not had access to the internet at home, or have had such an irregular shift pattern that I haven’t had the time or inclination to sit down and write a considered and put-together review of the books I’ve finished.  This will change… to the extent that I have 16% to go of the book I’m currently reading on my Kindle and have already started the bare bones of the review!  This is my resolution.  Go forth and conquer!

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