From What I Remember… by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas

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Che devo dire? Ogni tanto mi parte il trip degli YA contemporanei e frivoli, e leggo cose di cui mi pento già mentre li sto leggendo.

From What I Remember è l’incarnazione di questo pentimento: racconta la storia improbabile di come la studiosa (ma non bellissima solo a causa di come si pettina) e lo sportivo (da prendere a sberle in diverse occasioni) si mettano insieme.

Il laptop della protagonista viene rubato, e la migliore idea che viene in mente a lei è di inseguirli e lui la segue, come nei peggio film i due si ritrovano nel retro di un camion pieno di refurtiva verso il Messico (e The Cartel mi fa pensare a una fine ben differente per i due futuri innamorati).

Giusto per riassumere l’assurdità, in Messico:
– lei ritrova il migliore amico del padre, sconvolto che lei ignori che il suddetto padre abbia giocato i Mondiali di Calcio nella squadra messicana (Laptop privo di Google, it seems…)- da sfigata patentata lei muta in una esuberante amante dei party e dell’alcool
– delfini sullo sfondo mentre i due si baciano
– scarso panico per la cerimonia dei diplomi del giorno successivo (in cui lei, da studente modello, deve tenere il discorso)

Il tutto con intorno l’esuberante amico gay e l’ex fidanzata stronza (ma proprio senza cuore, così nessuno ci resta male che viene mollata).

From What I Remember è un insieme di situazioni assurde e personaggi stereotipati, ma almeno non è scritto male, e le citazioni dai film all’inizio di ogni capitolo sono simpatiche.

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What can I say? Sometimes I have the trip for contemporary and cheesy YA, and I usually regret them in the middle of the reading.

From What I Remember incarnates my regret: it tells the unlikely story of how a studious girl (but not beautiful because of the way he keeps her hairs) and the sporty one (that deserves to be punched in various occasions) ends up happily together.

The protagonist’s laptop is stolen, and the best idea she has is to follow the thief (like in the worst action movies), ending up in the back of a truck full of stolen goods that is travelling to Mexico (and The Cartel makes me think about the more realistic ending for this story – less kisses and more blood).

To list the amount of absurd events, in Mexico:
– she finds her father best friend (who she know nothing about), and she discover that the same father used to play the World soccer Cup in the mexican team (I think the Laptop came without Google, or Internet)
– she abruptly changes from nerdy to a party girl who loves booze
– dolphins in the background while the two are making up
– low panic for the possibility to miss the graduation the very next day (where she has to have to speak)

This with the exuberant gay friend and the bitchy ex girlfriend (so evil in order to avoid any possible compassion feeling for her being dumped).

From What I Remember it’s a mix of impossible situations and cliché characters, however it’s an easy read and the quote at the beginning of each chapter are a good idea.

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From What I Remember… by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas ★★☆☆☆

[ARC] The Cartel by Don Winslow

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Da quando ho scoperto Don Winslow con L’inverno di Frankie Machine cerco di non perdermi nessuno dei suoi romanzi (vedi ad esempio Savages & The king of cool). Uno dei romanzi meglio riusciti dello scrittore è però Il potere del cane, un’epopea del narcotraffico in cui entrano in scena numerosi personaggi; The cartel prende da dove avevamo lasciato Art Keller e Adan Barrera e ci racconta cosa è successo dopo.

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Since I read for the first time a novel by Don WinslowThe Winter of Frankie Machine – I try to keep up with his novels (like for example Savages & The king of cool). One of his best novel is in my opinion The power of the dog, an epic about drug trade in Mexico and USA where lots of characters have a role; The cartel begins where the other book left Art Keller and Adan Barrera and tells what happened afterwards.

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Savages & The kings of Cool by Don Winslow

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Leggi questo articolo in Italiano

Savages

I like Don Winslow’s novels, they are engaging, violent (there was no violence they will be unrealistic) and have a movie-like cut.
The one I love the most is “The power of the dog”, but also the other novels are good, despite they contain less point of view.

This one is almost a movie (and there is in fact a movie from this novel – directed by Oliver Stone): short chapters (minimal sometimes) build up the plot  frame after frame.
The novel is about California, drugs, narco, but it is also a love story so the heroes will try anything to save their princess and have the most feasible happily ever after.
 

The Kings of Cool

This is a great prequel, so great that defining it prequel is kind of diminishing its beauty.
It is true that it tells about what happened before Savages, and the nostalgic of Chon, Ben and O cannot avoid the reading. However the story goes back in time through the sixties, the seventies and the eighties talking about the drug dealing during these years.

It is a great circle that in the end brings to the protagonists of Savages – that it is impossible to forget – by links that connect past to present and biological families to the family one chose to have.
This novel and its follow-up provides together an overview on the drugs traffic in California, but they also talk about affection and love between three young people who are truly The Kings of Cool.

Who read “Savages” knows for sure the characters: Chon and Ben, friends but so different, the former pro violence, the latter against it, and there is also O, the glue that patch together the group. There is also their Mexican nemesis and there is reference to other Winslow characters belonging to other times and novels.
I link a lot the writing style, short phrases, shorter chapter that are useful in providing settings and moods.

The evolution of Paqu character is unlikely, in particular with respect to her determination when she was young, this is an aspect that did not convince me.

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* Savages by Don Winslow ★★★★☆
** The kings of Cool by Don Winslow ★★★★☆½

*I read this book in Italian
**I read this book in English