Monday, September 7, 2015

#MMBBR Guest Reviews: The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman @SusanJGilman and Don't Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom

One of my dearest friends, Sara, and her daughter Abby (age, 15) are my guest reviewers today!!!  
Here are their thoughts on: 
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman 
Don't Ever Change, by M. Beth Bloom

In 1913, little Malka Treynovsky flees Russia with her family. Bedazzled by tales of gold and movie stardom, she tricks them into buying tickets for America. Yet no sooner do they land on the squalid Lower East Side of Manhattan, than Malka is crippled and abandoned in the street.

Taken in by a tough-loving Italian ices peddler, she manages to survive through cunning and inventiveness. As she learns the secrets of his trade, she begins to shape her own destiny. She falls in love with a gorgeous, illiterate radical named Albert, and they set off across America in an ice cream truck. Slowly, she transforms herself into Lillian Dunkle, "The Ice Cream Queen" -- doyenne of an empire of ice cream franchises and a celebrated television personality. 

Lillian's rise to fame and fortune spans seventy years and is inextricably linked to the course of American history itself, from Prohibition to the disco days of Studio 54. Yet Lillian Dunkle is nothing like the whimsical motherly persona she crafts for herself in the media. Conniving, profane, and irreverent, she is a supremely complex woman who prefers a good stiff drink to an ice cream cone. And when her past begins to catch up with her, everything she has spent her life building is at stake.
SARA'S REVIEW: The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street was a fun summer read because who doesn't love ice cream (especially during the warm summer months)?  Each time I picked up the book to read, it made me want a cold, sweet ice cream treat!  I enjoyed the first person narration of Gilman's debut novel.  The personality of the main character, Lillian, gets you hooked and allows you to travel though about 70 years of her life as she emerges from a poor immigrant to a wealthy ice cream queen.  The history of how ice cream evolved is woven into this novel in a very unique way.  A 4.5 star read!

Eva has always wanted to write a modern classic—one that actually appeals to her generation. The only problem is that she has realized she can't "write what she knows" because she hasn't yet begun to live. So before heading off to college, Eva is determined to get a life worth writing about.
Soon Eva's life encounters a few unexpected plot twists. She becomes a counselor at a nearby summer camp—a job she is completely unqualified for. She starts growing apart from her best friends before they've even left for school. And most surprising of all, she begins to fall for the last guy she would have ever imagined. But no matter the roadblocks, or writer's blocks, it is all up to Eva to figure out how she wants this chapter in her story to end.
Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell, Don't Ever Change is a witty, snarky, and thought-provoking coming-of-age young adult novel about a teen who sets out to write better fiction and, ultimately, discovers the truth about herself

ABBY'S REVIEW: Don't Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom was a good read with many relatable characters.  During the story the main character, Eva experiences many new things during the summer after her senior year of high school.  As an aspiring writer Eva has been challenged by a past teacher to write what she knows.  In doing this, she realizes that she doesn't have very many life exciting experiences and spends the summer trying to change that.  I enjoyed seeing Eva's relationships change with those around her and she ultimately finds herself through this.  I would give this book 4 stars and recommend it to any young adult reader because it is an easy book to relate to and makes you think about how the experiences you choose can form the person you become.

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