Tuesday, August 5, 2014

REVIEW: BURNOUTS, GEEKS, AND JESUS FREAKS BY KAREN GORDON

They’re burnouts - a little short on parents, money and plans for the future, but they’ve got each other and a whole lot of fun. With a world of crazy at home, Carrie Gould needs them to keep her sanity. To stay in their world she needs to keep dating the guy with the party house, which would be fine, if she hadn’t fallen in love with someone else.

He’s such a geek. Ben Gorman is obsessive, smart, strong-willed and on the fast track to his dream of becoming an Army Ranger. He’s also the only geek with a girl. Joelle Welker is perfect for him; a self-proclaimed Jesus freak, who is dedicated to her beliefs and to building a future with Ben. But those plans don’t include his neighbor, Carrie, or Ben’s dedication to her.

Their friendship started by chance. Their love started with trust.

This is a sweet, silly smart-sexy story of first love and first lovers.

Kindle Edition
Published March 4th 2014 by Self Published (first published February 24th 2014)
Copy provided by author for an honest review

Buy it: Amazon | Goodreads


OUR REVIEW:

I wasn't really sure what to expect with this novel but the title covers a lot of it. You have the 'burnouts" Carrie's friends --a little less on the ambitious side (understatement) and fairly anti-school/establishment. You have "geeks": Ben and his friends. And, you have the "Jesus freaks" Ben's girlfriend Joelle and her friends. As we all know from high school, though, these labels are really just silly ways to try to keep people out or in...and there's a lot of crossover between groups. Carrie and Ben are evidence of this; somehow they manage to merge groups and, eventually, leave those labels behind. Funny how when I was in school, I would've probably been in Ben's group at first...now, however, I'm much more like Carrie (the anti-establishment part). Hah.

How do they do this? Well, they're neighbors and close friends..and eventually things change between them and as these shifts occur, new friends are made or exchanged or merged.
I loved that we get the background and build up of their relationship from when they were little. 

The first half to 60% of this book is really dedicated to the high school part of their story. How Carrie escapes the strangeness of her house to have fun with MG and Steve and others. We also get to know Ben and the story of his mom/dad/grandparents and the struggles he has with Joelle. It's in this first 60% that we get to know these characters but I found it to be slow going until about 40% or Carrie and Ben's first Christmas break. Ditto. Christmas Break was definitely the turning point. 

*** pausing here to say that both of the Christmas breaks that are shown are some of my favorite and really some of the sweetest scenes...as is the camping scene..so sweet*** ***Agree, Ben is really sweet.***

Once Christmas hits and prom drama happens we are zooming quickly to the end. The years pass swiftly and with many unexpected events happening. I was pleasantly surprised at Carrie's maturity at how she handled some things, especially considering how crappy her adult role models (her parents) were. I was a little unpleasantly surprised with some of Ben's choices too, even if I respected them and understood them. I think this is where a) my heart broke for the characters and b) my heart sort of broke for me. I don't mean that I didn't enjoy the book very much, but Shel is right. The last part went way faster in time after we had built up a certain pace and timeline from the beginning. I thought the story was going one way, and definitely went another...which is on me as a reader. 

Notice I'm being vague here so I don't spoil things...let's just say that I didn't always see where or how things were going to play out.

There were a few things I think I needed: a quicker pace in the beginning and a slower pace at the end, a little more explanation about Carrie's family--why and how ...I felt like I wanted to engage with that more and while I did feel for her, I was more annoyed with her mom and dad. That part definitely felt unfinished to me. But...I had a wise person (Cece Carroll) tell me once that just because parents suck, doesn't mean that there is ever a big resolution or showdown. I can't always get what I want! Haha. So, I am still working on that. I always want the showdown! 

I wanted to know more about Ben when he was gone..and more about Carrie..that last 40% would have huge chunks where time was a blink of an eye and then it would slow down and I wanted to understand more. I had questions. Truth. 

Overall, it was a sweet, fun novel and you'll have a chance to find out more with these characters when MG and Steve get the next story. We have to find out more about them. It was so foreshadowed all along in this one. Oh, how they will be tormenting each other I bet! 

Shelley: 3 stars
Courtney: 3 stars




About Karen Gordon




Karen Gordon was born and raised in the suburban paradise of St. Charles, MO, on the outskirts of St. Louis. She earned a B.S. in English from the University of Central Missouri (BS being the operative term) and a M.A. in Media Communications from Webster University, where she graduated in a hot pink mortar board because she didn’t like the school colors.

She currently resides in Olive Branch, MS (formerly Cow Pen) on the outskirts of Memphis, TN with her 2.5 super-smart kids, and an amazingly-funny, cute, geeky husband.

When not writing, she is a stay-at-home mom (chick in charge) and part-time teacher. Any down time is spent reading, catching up with friends and obsessively worrying about every little thing.

“Burnouts, Geeks and Jesus Freaks: a love story” is her debut novel. She is now frantically trying to recall her college years to write the sequel, “Popstars, Friends and Lovers.”

Find Karen: Goodreads | Twitter

Check out this e-book giveaway sponsored by this super sweet author! Enter away!! 
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