Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: Unmaking Hunter Kennedy by Anne Eliot

 Unmaking Hunter Kennedy
by Anne Eliot
Published October 17, 2012 by Butterfly Books, LLC
Kindle Edition: 422 Pages
*ebook obtained for review directly from the author as part of a book tour hosted by Supagurl's Blog Tours*

Synopsis via Goodreads:

"After a car accident--an event he considers a prank gone bad--pop star, Hunter Kennedy is forced to hide out with his aunt in small-town Colorado. He’s supposed to rest, heal his scars and attend high school in disguise until the press dies down. But he only wants to get back to work.

Worse, the girl who’s been assigned to make him over into a geek is a major geek herself. Vere Roth is a chattering pixie, a blushing tornado and a complete social disaster. He’s never met a girl who’s never-been-kissed, believes in romance and thinks Hunter’s a 'nice' guy.

Funny thing is...Hunter is nice around Vere because she’s his first real friend. He also can’t seem to stop sharing his secrets or keep her out of his heart. Knowing he’d never deserve a girl as sweet as Vere, he resigns himself to the friend zone, and helps his new bestie with her own makeover.

She tortures him daily for ridiculous guy advice on how to snag her life-long crush. A guy Hunter thinks is totally wrong for Vere, and sadly, one who has taken note of Vere’s transformation.

When Vere asks her best friend for some kissing advice, Hunter can’t resist...

And that’s when things get out of control...

High School Romance, first love, sweet romance..."

Get Your Copy of Unmaking Hunter Kennedy:   Amazon

About the Author:

 Anne Eliot writes middle grade and young adult fiction full time. She's a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and Pikes Peak Writers. Anne lives in Denver, Colorado, USA. Anne's favorite thing to write about is a first kiss. She loves to hear from readers. For more information, please visit her website.

Connect with Anne:

My Review:
Cute boys, quirky girls, football players, rock stars, drama, first kiss/first love, the emotional hurdle of learning who you really are - not who people want you to be.

I LOVED this novel. I honestly couldn't put it down.

First off, GREAT characters. I absolutely adore how quirky Vere & Jenna are. I really enjoyed the fact that Vere & her brother Charlie have such a great relationship - even if Charlie gets alittle misguided at some points. He has a great heart though & great intentions so you can't really hate him. When Vere & Charlie first meet Hunter - I was laughing my butt off. I found myself doing just that all through this book. Speaking of Hunter - *Swoon* - I <3 Hunter. He's officially been added to my fictional boyfriends list. Okay - yes he's way too young for me but that's why "fictional" lists are so great right? I can pretend I'm just that young all over again :) Hunter's life just seems to be absolutely spiraling out of control. Hunter has to fight his own demons - even discovering depression runs in his family. Feeling like his own mom uses him for his money, he ends up making a big mess out of the situation - ending up in what I would call a podunk town. Definitely a long way from LA, Cali. Even though this novel deals with such a dark, painful issue, the novel is bright & happy most of the time. Anne keeps the pace & brightens the mood constantly with the antics of Vere's awkwardness, "Dustin's" completely dorkiness, and Jenna...well, just being Jenna.

This novel moves at a constant pace - I wasn't bored a single time, nor did I feel like I needed to take a breather. I didn't want to stop reading.

I really loved how Hunter put himself out there - pretending to be the ultimate geek stereotype. I laughed so many times! The retainer topped it off for me! Absolutely "adorkable" - love that word btw. Then he has his moments where he's himself - the real Hunter - like when he picks up the old Strat that Vere shows him in the antique store. *swoon* Nothing is hotter than a man who knows how to handle a guitar. I can only imagine what Hunter's voice sounds like as he strums the guitar later in the novel. I wonder who he sounds like? I imagine a raspy, low sexy voice - almost bluesy rock... the only thing is, my thoughts on him totally don't match that crazy outfit his mom makes him wear in the beginning - totally over the top pop boy band gear >_<

The romance aspect was precious - it made me wish that I could go back to high school and enjoy these silly butterfly moments all over again. From Vere's crush on Charlie's best friend who she has known forever to Hunter starting to fall for Vere's absolute quirkiness. I adored reading from Hunter's perspective. I enjoyed his internal struggle where he was trying to stay away from her because of the deal he made with Charlie but realizing how hard it is because he's falling for Vere. This book is very tame compared to other novels I generally read because the most "action" you have is kissing but oh man are those kisses perfect. It was like being thrown right back into my teens - when I was so excited to get that first kiss - all those thoughts running around in my head about how it would be, the what-ifs that drove you crazy (what if I'm a horrible kisser, what if he tastes funny, what if he thinks I taste funny, what if freeze up....) Anne did a GREAT job connecting with all those feelings and bringing me right back to those days.

Here's a few of my favorite quotes:

"I’ll let Vere Roth drive me straight into hell if she keeps smiling at me like this."

"Hell. I’m about to go shopping in hell. Hell that sells poop."

"She thinks we’re both of the same species, but vultures don’t make friends with hummingbirds."

“If one fish nibbles my toes I’m going to lose all testosterone and scream like a little girl right in front of you. They won’t, will they?”

“Please! I made that pillow very happy. And you won’t believe the feathers it put in my ear. Still does, and I haven’t made out with it in over a year. You aren’t the only one with mega-skills"

Hahahaha just thinking about those quotes makes me laugh all over again!!! Oooh & the first kiss - jeewiz! Can I please have a re-do on my first kiss? Is Hunter available?? *sigh*

Overall Rating: 5 Whopping Stars
Cover Rating: 4.5 Stars
Characters: 5 Stars
Plot: 5 Stars
Climax: 4.5 Stars <--seriously had be biting my nails because I was so nervous for them!

I had a moment to talk to Anne about Unmaking Hunter Kennedy & specifically Hunter's music. Anne totally opened my eyes to a new musician I had never heard of - Jason Reeves. I'm loving it! Here's a little bit from our conversation. It's great insight & really connects you to Hunter's character even more. Anne makes some amazing points that people probably don't think about often - seeing who is behind the star persona.

I'm a sucker for rock music & guitar players so I'd love for you to address the musical aspect of Hunter's world. I was thinking about Hunter & his music over and over again while reading UHK. I picture this low, raspy voice - more old rock and not pop music - but that totally doesn't fit the pop outfit - all white & glittery - that his mom puts him in during his swap with the stand-in. LoL I totally thought of Justin Bieber when she made him wear that outfit - Not something that happens often for this 26 year old rock girl hahaha ^_^

Did you listen to music while writing? I love listening to author's playlists for novels - it's like it opens a whole new chapter for the novels through different eyes. I wonder who, in your mind, Hunter is similar to with regards to musicians - especially when he's sitting there writing music with the old strat that Vere buys him. Did you actually think of lyrics in your mind for possible songs that he might be writing - new love ballads like he tells Martin about in the email? Who you think of when you imagine their band together, up on stage performing?

 I did try to write some songs and I almost put one in the book (somewhere on my computer is the love ballad, actually) but it's so hard to do that because everyone reads the lyrics differently and then there's no music to match it -- so it seemed stronger with everyone able to imagine their own. I showed it to a few teens and half would LOVE It, the other half BARFED and dry heaved forever, etc. Music is so subjective so I finally left it out because I didn't want to alienate anyone. While I was writing the Strat stuff though…Jason Reeves was in my head a lot. 'I Just Want to Write You in a Song', and esp. 'Girl You are like Summer Rain…' that one is SIGH… and 'I don't want to be 'just friends'… do you know those?
Hunter came about not really because of a band, but more because of that show on MTV called 'Made'. Have you seen it? It's where they took a normal teen and made them into a rapper, or a cheerleader (from dork land) or a beauty queen out of the library…shy girl becomes a slam poet... all sort of opposite transformations. That plus my kids were 24/7 watching Disney channel stuff like Zach and Cody and iCarly (most awesome show). I kept wondering if a kid could be UNMADE. Like if they could get OUT of the life they'd started as kid actors that had them caught in a BIG career yet they'd never known anything else. (This was also when cute Lindsi Lohan [from the Parent Trap cute--not in jail cute] was falling apart on TV every single day.Poor kid.)

I'm not going to lie, though… I think the guys from One Direction are SO cute and The Wanted…, yes even Justin Beiber is adorable and we've all watched him grow up on stage. Every single generation has had a boy band, and after these guys, there will be another set of boy bands coming through. But yeah, what if one kid on One Direction goes home sad every night? He likes that he's making money, but maybe deep down he's a jazz guitarist or something… and so the longer he's in the band the less he's able to find himself and so eventually that would make anyone get depressed. I think if we aren't living in our essence…as our true selves were meant to be. What we crave to be if only we had the time, money, talent…

If we are hiding or scared to try to be what we KNOW we are and we follow the path our parents/society tells us to follow, then eventually our soul/spirit begins to slowly die.

HA - you're totally right there with regards to some people loving vs hating music without lyrics. It's amazing to pick up the booklet for a CD (well, some kids today I guess can't do that but I still have my HUGE binder full of CDs & their books HA) and actually just READ the lyrics to some of your favorite songs. The lyrics you read often don't match the feelings you have when you're actually listening to the song. I've read in other novels the songs that the characters are singing and absolutely swoon - then I'll hear the version of the song that the author will sometimes post on their website/blog (sometimes fan made music, sometimes otherwise made) and I'll think to myself - "huh... I saw that going in a totally different direction." It's amazing (& sometimes annoying especially in conversations that turn into debates HA) how we all interpret things completely different. A favorite book by 1 person will be another person's least favorite. Completely the same for music. I guess that's why I love that the world of books (& music for that matter) is so never ending. It makes me happy to know that I can always find my very own niche & there's a whole world of readers out there that agree. It's one of the few things that people can always find in common no matter what country, what state, what region you live in.

Ooh I totally see your thought process with regards to Made vs Unmade. Sometimes when you see such young stars on tv today (there's so many more now than there were when I was young it seems like), you think "are they going to get to experience Anything in life? Any of the fun simple moments?" I'm sure they're all feeling just like Hunter - thinking about that, you did such a great job capturing that emotion. I'm sure there's so many of them out there that feel exactly like Hunter - or lack of feeling I should say too. Just being told where to go, what to wear, what to say, who to speak to, who NOT to speak to, etc. has to be exhausting. I can see where everyone would lose their own, deep down, personal originality when forced to live that way each and every day. :( All the rumors that fly around have got to be exhausting - I would want to completely shut myself out of the world - well, they probably all do because it's the only way they can breathe.

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