Saturday, March 17, 2018

Finding Felicity (Book Review and Giveaway)

Title: Finding Felicity
Author: Stacey Kade
Publication: Simon & Schuster, hardcover and eBook, 2018
Genre: YA
Plot: Caroline Sands has never been particularly good at making friends. And her parents’ divorce and the move to Arizona three years ago didn’t help. Being the new girl is hard enough without being socially awkward too. So out of desperation and a desire to please her worried mother, Caroline invented a whole life for herself—using characters from Felicity, an old show she discovered online and fell in love with. But now it’s time for Caroline to go off to college and she wants nothing more than to leave her old “life” behind and build something real.

However, when her mother discovers the truth about her manufactured friends, she gives Caroline an ultimatum: Prove in this first semester that she can make friends of the nonfictional variety and thrive in a new environment. Otherwise, it’s back to living at home — and a lot of therapy. Armed with nothing more than her resolve and a Felicity-inspired plan, Caroline accepts the challenge. But she soon realizes that the real world is rarely as simple as television makes it out to be. And to find a place where she truly belongs, Caroline may have to abandon her script and take the risk of being herself.

Giveaway Link: Enter by 3/29/18 to win a copy of Finding Felicity:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Purchase Links: Goodreads Amazon Barnes & Noble iBooks IndieBound Book Depository

Audience: Fans of books in which the heroines muster their wits, but an older YA audience might find the heroine a bit pathetic or the story too tame.

My Impressions: I never watched the TV show Felicity but I always meant to, as I was living in New York when it began and I always enjoyed stories set at college (a subset of the school story), so was interested in the concept behind this book (also was curious because I remembered one of the actors turned up on Scandal). Finding Felicity is a poignant story about a young woman whose natural shyness has been exacerbated by the departure of her father with his second wife, while Caroline moved across the country and had to start her sophomore year of high school at a new school in Arizona. She is so lacking in self confidence that she literally becomes speechless when confronted by the cool kids at school. Her obsession with the TV show Felicity is an understandable way to escape from the casual cruelties of adolescence (even if she takes it to unbelievable extremes) and I faulted the mother for failing to recognize how miserable her daughter was.
Surely we have all anticipated new beginnings, whether at school, work, or a new home, and yearned to be perceived differently, and I have enjoyed many books with this theme such as Emily of Deep Valley, Don’t Call Me Katie Rose, This Adventure Ends, and a hilariously funny book that turns the theme upside down called How Not to Be Popular in which the heroine/new girl in town tries NOT to make friends because it is so painful when one has to move. However, I did get tired of Caroline’s abject misery and lack of self-esteem. Her story becomes more interesting when she stops moaning and – with the help of her new roommate - starts making an effort to find out who she really is instead of pretending to be someone else.

I liked the character of Lexi, the daughter of the college janitor, who has (with some justification) a chip on her shoulder about being a scholarship student at a college full of rich kids but comes through when Caroline really needs a friend. Even Liam, the boy Caroline foolishly follows to Ashmore, is extremely convincing: the kind of young man who is carelessly kind when he remembers and it does not inconvenience him but ultimately will not consider the feelings of anyone but himself – the best moment of the book is when Caroline turns down his invitation to play Beer Pong. Luckily, there turn out to be some kindred spirits for Caroline and Lexi and, refreshingly, the book ends with the promise of friendship rather than a romance cure-all.  And I think a less cluttered cover would have worked better.

About the Author: The daughter of a minister and a music teacher, Stacey Kade grew up like many of us reading Harlequin romances on the sly. She is the author of two young adult series and recently published her first adult contemporary, 738 Days. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and dogs.

Source: I was provided an ebook by the publisher and the Fantastic Flying Book Club for review purposes. Please follow other stops on the tour below:

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