Thursday, July 5, 2012

From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas A Review

From What I Remember

by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound
Goodreads Summary:
KYLIE: Tijuana WHAT? I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY, and is this a wedding band on my finger.

MAX: It all started with Kylie's laptop and a truck full of stolen electronics. Okay, it was kind of hot, the way she broke us out like some chick in an action movie. But now we're stranded in Tijuana. With less than twenty-four hours before graduation. Awesome. 

WILL: Saving Kylie Flores from herself is kind of a full-time occupation. Luckily, I, Will Bixby, was born for the job. And when I found out she was stuck in Mexico with dreamy Max Langston, sure, I agreed to bring their passports across the border -- but there's no reason to rush back home right away. This party is just getting started. 

LILY: I just walked in on my boyfriend, Max Langston, canoodling with Kylie Flores, freak of the century. Still, I can't completely hold it against him. He NEEDS me. It's even clearer now. And I'm not giving him up without a fight.

Okay, you have to read this one. If you read one contemporary this year, let it be this. You will laugh your a** of at the antics and outrageous things that happen. In this novel, you don't ever want to say, "It can't get any worse," because somehow it can. Of course, being teenagers, they take it a lot better than I would, but this is a great novel, especially at this time of the year.

I think the strengths of this novel were the characters. They were well written and stayed true to their characters but they grew. By far, the most uptight and in need of change was Kylie. Kylie was class valedictorian, care giver to her brother with Asperger's Syndrome, cook, chore person and anything else that needed doing while her mom worked full time evenings and her dad was a traveling salesman. She had never had a date and her one friend was Will Bixby a cross dressing gay guy who became friends with her when she could quote a line from a movie that he quoted to her in seventh grade. BFF's ever since. He has made it his mission to get her out of her jeans and t-shirt, buying her stylish clothes and always trying to get her to have a life. So when she accidentally gets trapped in Mexico with Max Langston, he thinks it's the best thing that's happened to her.

Max Langston lives for peace. He doesn't talk about feelings or anything that will get anyone upset. He will give in to Lily, his girlfriend, just to keep the peace. He never has really examined anything too closely. He keeps his world small because the less junk he knows about the less he has to deal with. His dad has cancer and is dying, only no one, not even his mother will admit that he's dying. He doesn't even really knows how he feels about Lily but he doesn't want to upset anyone, so he doesn't do anything about it.

Will Bixby is gay. That's fine, he's comfortable with that. But he wasn't cool with his parents sending him to a shrink to talk him out of it. So to throw his gayness in everyone's face, he wears dresses, girls clothing, always mixing something masculine in with it, but he does it to make a point. No, he really doesn't like girl's clothes. But he's making a statement to his parents to his school. His parents eventually came around, but no one, other than Kylie has ever come around at school. Will is by far, the funniest. Some of my favorite quotes from him:

  "They've finally stopped badgering me about my clothes, but do they really need their son 
     wearing a black spandex mini to his high school graduation? Seems like cruel and unusual
     punishment." (p.105) Talking about his parents.

  "...Dad surprised me. He's a little bit to the right of Attila the Hun. ....a Republican to 
   the core. I think he came out of the womb in khakis and a blue blazer. His great- great
   great-grandparents came over on the Mayflower. He was in an eating club at Princeton He is
   so white, they've named a shade of Benjamin Moore paint after him (Bright,Uptight White #7)."

Lily Wentworth is blond, thin, beautiful and smart. She's rich and she and Max have been together for an entire year. But she's also a bit shallow and looks out for herself more than anyone else. She doesn't play a huge part in the book, but her scenes are pivotal, as she's Max's girlfriend. She also knows how to play Max like a fiddle. She knows just how to get what she wants actually from pretty much any guy, for that matter.

So, how did they get into Mexico? It started with an English assignment given on the day before the last day of school. Everyone else blows it off, but Kylie ever conscious of her status of valedictorian doesn't want to lose it so when she gets paired with Max she insists they do the assignment. She even promises to write his paper, too. When they are talking about the assignment her backpack with her computer gets stolen and the chase begins. She goes on foot. Max meets her with his car, they switch up when her stuff is transferred to a U-Haul with some big scary tattooed dudes. One things leads to another and they are in the back of the U-Haul without the guys knowing. That's not the funny part. That comes later. But it's a little funny. C'mon.

The funny part is that Kylie finally decide to cut loose in Ensenada, Mexico. So much goes on in one day it feels more like a week, but it's one awesome day and night! And when she decides to cut loose, she does it all the way!

Here is another favorite line but it's a spoiler if I tell you who says it:

    "Please, do tell me more about the multiple girlfriends. That is so sexy." (p 280)

Now, I started this review saying the characters were the book's strengths. But, I don't think this book really has any weaknesses. It just has such great characters that they really, really shine. You have to read this book! It's got to be one of the funniest I've read ever! It's a series of mistakes that leads to a series of coincidences and it makes you think about where you are and how you got there. Was it chance, accident or design? But it's all funny and happy with some over the top characters and great friendships. I will definitely be putting this one on the keeper shelf. I already want to read it again!

Recommended for lovers of light, funny YA contemporary. Strong language, drinking, sex. Use you best judgement as to whether you're mature enough to read it.



  1. Oh, I'm definitely in the mood for a story that will give me good hearty laughs. Glad to know that the characters are fun to get to hang out with.

    1. They are such great characters! I think Will was my favorite!! You MUST read this one!

  2. Yes! I loved this one too! It felt like a movie when I read it so I wasn't surprised to hear the authors are screenwriters. Apparently its been sold to be a movie already too. Awesome review Heather!

    1. Yeah, I read it had been optioned, not necessarily going to be a movie, but would be a perfect one! Can so see it!! They used to write Lizzie McGuire episodes if any of you were watching Disney back then. (Hillary Duff)

  3. Huge yay for amazing characters - character driven stories are always my favorite ones, and I know from this review as well as our emails that this is a book I absolutely cannot miss out on:) I definitely want to know how they ended up in Mexico! Thanks for the fantastic review Heather:)

    1. Hilarious story behind how they got there and the girl is the strong one in this book! Fabulous book!! Not one to read in public or at least don't drink while you're reading, you'll snort your drink up your nose!

  4. Heather, wow! I can tell from your review that you really did enjoy this one. :) I have to say, I love it when the novel is good but the character's stand on their own. Characters are the most important element in a book for me so it's always great to find a book where they are likable. :) Also, love the quote from page 280. Now I'm really curious!!! Great review. :)

  5. This sounds like such a perfect contemp for me. I love one with humor. Plus no real negatives? Perfect!

  6. Sounds like a fun book for summer! The characters sound very enteraining.


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