Thursday, August 22, 2013

Grab Your Pole Series by Jenn Cooksey


Previously homeschooled Camie Ramsey is being shoved into the shark-infested waters of public high school, where even helium filled, penguin bespeckled arm floaties likely won’t help keep her inexperienced, fifteen-year-old head above water in that rip current of hormones and emotions. Camie’s worldly wisdom might be severely lacking (i.e., the closest she’s come to being kissed was sitting too close to the TV whilst Jake Ryan leaned in to give Samantha that fateful 16th birthday kiss), but she does understand her only hope for survival is if she’s thrown some kind of “social” life preserver before she sinks like a freaking rock. However, what will her fate be when she endeavors to flag down the only lifeguard on duty, the enormously popular and ridiculously beautiful Tristan Daniels? The most sought after and virtually most unattainable guy in school who not only makes Camie’s heart flatline on a recurring basis, he’s also the one guy who seemingly doesn't know she exists. Feeling like an inept piece of chum that could ultimately be swallowed by Jaws, can Camie get Tristan to rescue her from floundering in the treacherous deep, or is she destined to be Shark Bait?

This series is recommended for mature audiences due to strong language and sexual content.


The description above & the review below will mainly cover Shark Bait as to not spoil anything that happens, but since I read these books back to back to back (well, I read #3 as soon as I could get it downloaded into my kindle...terrible month long wait!) & it is essentially one continuing story (each ending in a way to make you want the next one immediately...especially The Other Fish In the Sea!) I'm going to review & recommend this series as a whole...or at least the part of the series that is currently available.

I won a copy of Shark Bait from a giveaway at Liis' Bookshelf.   I was looking for a new book to read at the time.  Liis told me this one was smart & funny & that I would love it.  She was right on all accounts!  This series surprised me on so many levels.  First, the cover...because we all know we do actually judge books by their cover...right!?  I had been reading mostly college age to adult romances leading up to picking up Shark Bait and based on the cover, I was expecting more of the same.  I didn't read the description prior to starting the book or I would have realized that it was actually set in high school.  This isn't a deal breaker for me.  I like YA books.  Second, the characters...Where the through line of the story follows the "will they/won't they" of Camie & Tristan.  The side characters are as compelling (and sometimes even more so) as the main two.

Jenn Cooksey breaks convention left & right with this series.  Her characters are real.  They curse, they drink, they have sex (or at least think about having sex) other words, they act like a lot of teenagers.  All of these things come together to make a more "mature content" story than a lot of YA novels.  With all of this, she doesn't dodge the tough subjects, but also doesn't bog the story down with a message or lesson as to what is right or wrong.  They make mistakes.  Sometimes they learn from them & sometimes they don't.  

Shark Bait is Camie's story.  We see everything through her innocent eyes.  As we meet The Other Fish In The Sea, the perspective drifts.  What Jenn does with this one was fun.  She switches point of view several times, but doesn't warn you of the change.  You get the chance to be in several of the girls heads, but you have to pay attention to the clues given to figure out who is telling the story.  With Shark Out Of Water, we finally get to see what the boys are thinking.  With the "new fad" of retelling a story through the male POV emerging, I was glad that we got the perspective shifts without revisiting the same story in this series.

While there were moments that felt distinctly high school & made me feel old as I judged the characters for their immature decisions, there were many more that just made me laugh.  Without giving any detail (because, really, what fun would that be?!), I'll list a few of the things I loved....Jillian (Really a brilliant character...though sometimes I doubt that she's actually 12/13), Tristan's Wall of Infamy (Best plot moving device I have seen...maybe ever!), & Buffy (any author that peppers their book with Buffy quotes gets bonus points in my book!).

If you are looking for a fun/clever read, definitely check out this series, but be prepared to buy them all....because once you start, you'll want to keep reading!  And before you know it, you'll be waiting impatiently with the rest of us for GYP #4....just be glad you aren't in the group of of us who had to wait on Shark Out Of Water!

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