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  • ARC Review: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
  • Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Review: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
  • Review: Titans by Victoria Scott
  • Review: Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff

Saturday, May 17, 2014

ARC Review: Don't Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley

This book tackles that question: how much of your life can you share online? And what does privacy mean for a blogger who blogs about not just her life as a mom, but of her daughter's?

Title: Don't Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley
Release Date: April 22nd 2014
Published by: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher (Thanks Megan!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
Buy from local bookstores: National Bookstore | Fully Booked

Summary:

All her life, Imogene has been known as the girl on THAT blog.

Imogene's mother has been writing an incredibly embarrassing, and incredibly popular, blog about her since before she was born. Hundreds of thousands of perfect strangers knew when Imogene had her first period. Imogene's crush saw her "before and after" orthodontia photos. But Imogene is fifteen now, and her mother is still blogging about her, in gruesome detail, against her will.

When a mandatory school project compels Imogene to start her own blog, Imogene is reluctant to expose even more of her life online...until she realizes that the project is the opportunity she's been waiting for to tell the truth about her life under the virtual microscope and to define herself for the first time.

There are a few words I can use to summarize this book. Communication, understanding and letting go. Imogene had to put in more effort to connect with her mother and make her listen and listen well to what she has to say. In the book, Imogene used her blog to get back at her mother. In a sense, I can't blame her for what she did, because that's the only way she knew of to get her mother's attention and look at Imogene long and hard and think of how the blog is affecting her. Understanding, and this should come from both sides since Imogene's mom refused to listen to her, and Imogene refused to listen what her mom had to say. They had to understand what blogging means for the both of them, understand what they can and cannot share online and understand what the effects of using social media brings to their family. They had to understand that it's not just "mommylicious" and "babylicious". They had to learn to compromise, see what to let go and when it's time to let go, when it's time to change and try to live in the real world without having social networking invade what's supposed to be private. Because why wait for something online to affect you in real life? And it's not just Imogene, but her whole family as well.

This book reminds me of that trademark Gwendolyn Heasley way of making me hate her characters at the onset and gradually changing my mind as the story progresses. Though this book essentially is about blogging, I could not easily connect with Imogene or her mother at first. They both had their faults and committed mistakes that can't easily be forgiven. I am not a mother, and I couldn't bring myself to sympathize or put myself in Imogene's shoes, but I did feel for her at times. Why would you want to have a whole blog dedicated to you? Have strangers recognize you? Know things about you that people normally wouldn't know? I understand Imogene's desire to break free of the "babylicious" persona and be her own unique self apart from it, though sometimes I think she and her friend Sage, who has a vegan blogger for a mom, takes their "rebellion" too far to the point that they just sound petty, immature and juvenile. But they learned. Oh they did learn their lesson, along with their moms.

What I did like in the story though is amidst all the disaster and chaos both Imogene and Sage's rebellion has created, things happened that made them learn and discover things about themselves on their own. Sure there are misunderstandings and fights, but Imogene discovered what she and her family can do even if her mom doesn't blog, the reasons why her mother was blogging and why she couldn't just let go, that she can just be Imogene and not be babylicious, that she can have crushes too. Sage too, forged her own path. And though it was a little bit sad that they had to find out about these things separately, they both grew to be a little more understanding and kinder.

Dylan is so cute! It's hard to believe that an understanding and kind guy like him exists, but he was (sometimes) the voice of reason for Imogene. Sure there were a lot of awkward moments and their opinions differ from each most of the time, but their moments together, though simple and fleeting, were fun to read of! Imogene's grandmother was so cool, and I liked her father as well, levelheaded and calm even when things start to get ugly.

You don't have a story about blogging and not get blog posts as parts of the book! Don't Call Me Baby was peppered with blog posts that helped shed light and gave more insight to Imogene, her mom, and Sage's feelings, no matter how unpleasant they are. It helped give the characters more depth as well and what ultimately helped to make me like the book just a little bit more. Though I didn't get how the fallout of Sage and Imogene's relationship started and why it seemed to happen out of nowhere, the conflict moved the story forward, though it was abrupt.

Don't Call Me Baby is that kind of heartfelt read that felt a little ordinary and too typical at first that ends up giving you an "awww" moment and making you feel a little bit warm inside. It makes you think of moms and daughters, their relationships, the hit or miss, conflicts which are all part of growing up and being in a family. Gwendolyn Heasley attempts to explain what it's like to blog, how it can affect real life and how social networking can influence relationships in this lighthearted, quick, enjoyable story.

Content (plot, story flow, character):
Days after I finished reading this book, I still can't put my finger on what exactly it is that this book needs more to leave a stronger impression on a reader. I did enjoy the reading experience, but I feel like it needed to have more impact reading wise especially with the theme it tackles. Still a fun, steady read though.
.5
Okay: Liked, but The Goddess demands more!


Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:
Love the cover!

5 comments:

  1. I like that mother and daughter have blogs :) I can't imagine my mum doing something like that :p
    Anyway, it sounds like you enjoyed it but it wasn't WOW!!!
    Thanks for the review

    Ruty@Reading...Dreaming

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ruty! Yep, it's an enjoyable read but it's not as memorable as I thought it would be. It was still a nice read though!

      Delete
  2. As a compulsive blogger, this sounds really interesting! I hope I can get my hands on a copy!

    ^_^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me know if you get the chance to read it! Would love to know what you think of the book. :)

      Delete
    2. I managed to read it! I really liked the premise, but the lack of conflict (it felt like Imogen never really stood up to her mom) meant it was only ok instead of fantastic.

      My full review is here: http://allsortsofbooks.blogspot.jp/2014/07/dont-call-me-baby-by-gwendolyn-heasley.html

      Delete

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