Book Review: Bascomville by Mark A. Calde

Genre: Contemporary, Teen

Page Count: 284

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.67 out of 5 stars

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Welcome to the life of Max Bascom, whose home is Bascomville. Bascomville has its own special kind of normal, where fathers can get job leads from their sons and Christmas dinners can end up to be Chinese take out. Max does his best to navigate Bascomville and to keep it running as smoothly as possible through good times and tragedy. And he also forms a special bond with the girl next door, Janice, who understands Bascomville despite coming from a world much different. 

This book is so fabulously written. I usually don’t take review requests, but I’m glad I did for this book. It’s part romance, part literary masterpiece, and it captures “growing up” so well. I wish I had this book when I was in middle school or high school because I can relate to making your own kind of normal.

“Us? Normal?”

“How do you know we aren’t? How do we know everybody doesn’t make their own?”

She considered this for a moment then dismissed it. “If everybody made their own then nothing would be normal. Nothing could ever be normal.”

“Exactly.”

That’s my kind of definition of normal. And I think everyone needs to remember that normalcy doesn’t really exist a little bit more.

I didn’t see the plot twists coming ahead of time and I never got bored. On top of that, this book is incredibly quotable. There’s some good life advice in here, like when Max helped Janice cover up vandalism on her house:

And I knew then that ultimately we can save neither ourselves nor our loved ones from life. We can only live it.

Max is a complex character that I like and dislike. He is, ultimately, human, not a hero. He tends to overreact sometimes when Janice is involved, but for the most part he’s likeable. He’s loyal to his family, loves his little sister, and wishes for a world with a level playing field.

My favorite character is his little sister Lily, though. She actually has it worse than Max. She lives at home with her parents after Max goes to college and has to deal with her mother pretending she doesn’t exist and her father pretending to be her best friend to make up for it. Her home life is lousy at best and she practically raises herself for her last years of high school. But she’s strong enough to not break under pressure and she’s not one for self-pity.

“Fair is for dorks. I don’t need fair to make things work.”– Lily Bascom

So why only a 4.5 instead of a 5?

It’s because of the long descriptions, like this one that characterizes Mr. Birnbaum, Janice’s father, through his workshop.

I stepped inside and caught my breath. It was, to me, a foreign wonderland, this workshop. I am not a particularly handy person, and the panorama of neatly arranged rows of tools hanging on pegboards, the fittings categorized in plastic bins, the copper piping slung above the rafters, the worktables and vises and clamps and braided electrical cords all echoed the prowess of this man. I felt humbled, and strangely calm. I still wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing but I was no longer nervous about it. I could leave disappointed, even chastised, and be all right with it. Such was the power of Sheldon Birnbaum and this place.

While these descriptions certainly add character and depth to the story, they can sometimes be a little excessive and make my attention lag. This book is certainly not a fluff book and isn’t meant to be one, but the long descriptions make it slightly more harder to get through than it has to be.

This is a good book for anyone to read and I can’t recommend it enough, especially to teens. It helps us remember that we all need to make our own normal.

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5 Teen Romance Novels to Read If You Like Jackie and Hyde from That 70’s Show

tumblr_lo3sjpglvz1qbtz74o1_500Okay, I have a huge confession: I’ve been watching a lot more of That 70’s Show than I should be. And I really like Jackie and Hyde together. They’re a hilarious and unlikely pair with great chemistry, which makes them one of the most popular pairs on the show.

For those of you who haven’t watched That 70’s Show, the show is about a group of teenagers growing up in rural Wisconsin in the 70’s. Jackie is a rich, spoiled, and shallow girl while Hyde is the group’s burnout bad boy. Orphaned, broke, and not at all interested in applying himself for a better life, he seems like a very poor match for the status-obsessed Jackie. But somehow they manage to keep from killing each other and bring out the best in each other. Here are 5 teen romances to read today if you like Jackie and Hyde together.

Continue reading “5 Teen Romance Novels to Read If You Like Jackie and Hyde from That 70’s Show”

10 Romance Novels to Read If You Like Doctor Who

72e887e547dc1a48f9231b3952375896Doctor Who is a show I’ve been binge-watching recently, not only for the plot and the antics, but also for the amazing love stories in the show. While most people probably don’t consider Doctor Who  a romance, that is basically what it is. There are the main love stories, like the Doctor’s love with Rose Tyler, a woman he can never be with, and his marriage with River Song, a time-traveling femme fatale brain-washed to kill the Doctor but falling in love with him anyway. And who can forget Rory and Amy, who have to have the most ideal marriage ever? There are also the single-episode stories, like John Smith and Joan Redfern in “Human Nature” and the Doctor and Astrid in “Voyage of the Damned”.  So here are ten books for Doctor Who fans who can’t get enough of these fantastic love stories.

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Boyfriends for Sale: Bad Boy Edition

We all love to read about the bad boys even if we’d never want to date them in real life. There’s something incredibly sexy about the dangerous and mysterious. And come on, we’re all romantics at heart. We always want to see the best in people, no matter how grim their reputations are. Here’s a list of books that can satiate our desire for bad boys.

Continue reading “Boyfriends for Sale: Bad Boy Edition”

Book Review: Love Fortunes and Other Disasters

In Grimbaud, love is on everyone’s mind. From the annual ritual of getting a completely true love fortune from Zita’s charm shop to the statue of Love in the square, that is just about the only thing that matters in the town. This is great for those who have found their matches and live happily ever after. For those who are fated to be single forever, not so much. They quickly become the social outcasts in the town and join the Spinster and Bachelor villas.

For Fallon Dupree, a spinster fortune is just another reason that she’s an outcast in Continue reading “Book Review: Love Fortunes and Other Disasters”