Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Don't Call Me Baby + The Art of Goodbye by Gwendolyn Healsey

Don't Call Me BabyAuthor: Gwendolyn Heasley
Publication: April 22, 2014
By: Harper Teen
Amazon | Goodreads 

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.

Don't Call Me Baby is a sharply observed and irrepressibly charming story about mothers and daughters, best friends and first crushes, and the surface-level identities we show the world online and the truth you can see only in real life.

*Thank you Katie from Little Bird Publicity for sending these in exchange for an honest review.* 

As a blogger myself, I was curious to see what these characters were like and where this story was headed. My first thought was that this reads like an upper MG or lower YA book which is great for those who enjoy a light-hearted, clean read. The other thing that stood out was all of the product placement. One of my friends is a Mommy Blogger and often gets asked to review and advertise various products on her blog, so seeing that aspect included in the story was entertaining for me. 

As for the characters themselves, I didn't enjoy the mother at all. I thought she was selfish and inconsiderate of everyone around her. I have a teen at home too and there's been a shift in the last year or so with what he will allow me to share online and what he won't. Almost every time I snap a picture of him and his younger brother, I'm met with questions, "Are you going to post that on your blog? Twitter? Instagram, Facebook? etc.?  My initial reaction is to tell him I'm the parent, it's my picture and I can do whatever I want to with it. (You know, because he's not the boss of me.) BUT then I remember it isn't JUST about me. Just because I may be proud of him and want to show him and his achievements off to the entire Internet doesn't mean HE wants that too. So, I could certainly appreciate Imogene's behavior toward her mother. She's a teenager who doesn't feel like she's had much say in her life at all. It's natural for her to fight back. However, I do think she and Sage could've used their class project in a more constructive way. 

Dylan was nice and their budding relationship provides Imogene with a listening ear as well as a glimpse of what it's like to have parents who've all but checked out of your life.

The story, like all of Heasley's books, ends well.

The Art of GoodbyeWhere I Belong Novella
Publication: March 14th, 2014
By: Harper Teen Impulse
Amazon | Goodreads 

The heroine of Where I Belong is back in The Art of Goodbye, a romantic digital original novella about first loves and second chances.

It's Corrinne Corcoran's last night in town before heading off to college, and she's determined it'll be the most epic night ever. She's planned every detail of each hour of the night, from what dresses she'll wear, to what parties she'll hit, to which of her best friends will be with her. But Corrinne's perfect plan for her last night in New York goes awry when she runs into a ghost from her past, and the boy she's never been able to forget—her ex-boyfriend, Bubby, from Broken Spoke. And Corrinne starts to wonder if her expertly planned goodbye to New York City was as perfect as it seemed. . . . Set over the twelve-hour period before Corrinne sets off for college, The Art of Goodbye will make you believe that true love can find you when you're least expecting it . . . again.

This was fast, flirty and fun.

If you haven't read Where I Belong or it's companion, A Long Way From You, then you probably will be lost. I was a little a lost myself because I kept wondering who this Benson dude was and where in the world was my Bubby?! Last I'd read, he and Corrine were about to ride off into the Broken Spoke sunset where they would live happily ever after (even if only in my imagination). But apparently not.

Corrine is back in NYC and she has big plans for her last night before she heads off to college. Plans that do not involve anyone else's .02 and especially not a chance run-in with Bubby. But one tinkle break leads to another and before she knows it, Corrine comes face to face with the guy she thought was in her future, not her past.

Over the course of the story, we find out exactly what happened between Bubby and Corrine and two things jumped out at me. 1) This was really too short. And by short, I mean, I WANTED MORE BUBBY! and 2) For being teens, they sure did have easy access to alcohol in public places. Not once did they get questioned or carded.

Overall, I think this was a good addition to the books. It's a clean read which was also refreshing, and fans of Bubbine will enjoy it.


Gwendolyn Heasley is a graduate of Davidson College and the University of Missouri-Columbia where she earned her master’s degree in journalism. When she was a little girl, she desperately wanted to be the next Ann M. Martin- the author of the beloved The Baby-Sitter’s Club series. She’s incredibly grateful that the recession rendered her unemployed and made her chase her nearly forgotten dream. She lives in New York City, teaches college and eats entirely too much mac and cheese for an adult. She’s also currently at work on her third novel for Harper Collins.


1) What was your favorite part about writing DON'T CALL ME BABY?
The research. I loved reading mommy blogs :) I have my Master's in Journalism and love to research and learn about something  new for every novel :)

2) If Imogene had a theme song, what would it be and why? 
Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson. 

3) What is the best piece of writing advice you've ever been given?
Revise. Very few first drafts are amazing...but with revision, time and love, anything is possible :) 

4) What was the last book you read and loved? 
Something Real by Heather Demetrios, a friend and fellow VCFA student. 

5) I ask all of my blog guests this question...brownies, cupcakes, or pie?
What about a brownie pie with cupcake frosting? <-- LOVE THIS IDEA!
If I have to choose, it's brownies. Always brownies. I'm from the midwest. We love bars of anything, especially brownies. 


1 comment:

  1. Lol, loved the interview! Don't Call Me Baby is definitely on my must-get-and-read list!