Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review - Cardboard Characters by Julie Seifert

Cardboard Characters
By Julie Seifert
Ebook, 247 pages
Published March 1st 2012 - Self-Published
Obtained: From the author for review
Where you can buy it: Kindle  |  Nook
Author Info: Goodreads  |  Blog  |  Twitter
Categories: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult, LOL, 4-Cupcakes

Set under the boiling sun of Tampa, Florida, the young adult novel, Cardboard Characters, tells the story of sixteen-year-old Leah Bergan, a girl who knows that you can't build a boat out of cardboard.  And you should trust her on that. She and her best friend, Eddie, have been trying for months. And not just cardboard: plastic, paper, and the hood of a junkyard car. They're running out of ideas and time.

Time gets even tighter when Leah is accidentally cast as the lead in her high school's play. Suddenly Leah is stuck in the spotlight - and stuck going to four hour rehearsals. Instead of being surrounded by the ocean, she's now surrounded by a bunch of wacky drama kids, who like to stare deeply into the distance and make up stories about doors.

Leah just wants to survive the play without humiliating herself, but the student director, Minerva Watson, has others plans. To Leah, it seems like Minerva only has two goals in life: 1) Turn Leah into an actress, whether she likes it or not and 2) Keep the drama club from getting shut down by the student government. But when one of Minerva's schemes involves Leah's friend, Eddie, Leah is forced to choose between protecting him and lying to everyone, including her long-lost love Nathan, or telling the truth and losing everything. Then, of course, things go horribly wrong, and Leah ends up stuck twenty miles outside a town called Christmas, next to a gift store selling alligator meat. But with the help of her crazy cast-mates, Leah might just make it home, take the stage, and even finish her boat, learning a little bit about life, love, and character development along the way.

My Thoughts: I typically don't read very many YA Contemporary Romances, so when approached to review this title, I figured I'd go for it, maybe get myself back into the genre that I used to read exclusively. Leah Bergan is a breath of fresh air. She's quirky, and spunky, and engages in silly games of "pretend war" with her best-guy-friend, Eddie. Leah is okay with the fact that she's not popular, because she likes who she is; even if she has moments of insecurity, wondering if her actions have gone too far. Overall she is a very loyal character to her friends.

Leah is part of the drama club, and when time comes for auditions, she decides to botch it, so that there's no hope of being cast, and so she can join her best friend, Olivia, on set design. Of course that would be too easy, and the show directors, Mr. Treeny and Minerva Watson, decide she's perfect...for the lead!

A lot of the story centers around Leah going from knowing who she is, to suddenly questioning everything in her life. She's always worried about what her confident, successful mother is thinking of her - and assuming she wishes she'd had a normal daughter, and not gotten stuck with Leah; she knows that Eddie - whom everyone in school thinks is gay - is secretly in love with her; and then there's Nathan aka Treasurer Boy. Leah and Nathan had a class together last year, but Nathan had a girlfriend, one that Leah knew was pretty, and confident, and didn't do anything silly or ridiculous like Leah does. Therefore when Nathan starts popping up at rehearsals since the student government is monitoring the drama club, she's surprised to find herself getting closer to him.

We all can recall that year of high school where it seemed that everything went wrong, only to somehow right itself in the end. When a scholarship is given to Eddie to use as he wants (aka give it to the drama club to save their production of "Afterland") because he brings "diversity" to the school, things start to go downhill and fast. Leah suddenly finds herself torn between her loyal buddy, Eddie, who's suddenly hanging with the wrong crowd; and Nathan, who deserves the truth but Leah finds herself lying to, to protect Eddie. Everything reaches a pivotal moment where Leah thinks she's lost everything and everyone; including herself.

I really loved Leah's character. She's so easy to relate to, that when she suddenly finds herself unsure of everyone in her life, and everything around her, I found myself rooting for her! She doesn't give herself enough credit, and when she runs away and finds herself in a tiny town, back on stage at the local theater near where her car broke down, Leah finally realizes that the thing holding her back the most, has been herself.

Seifert's writing style is a fresh spin on the YA world. Reading Leah's story was like reading a note or a journal entry that she'd written and let me have a peek at. It's witty and engaging, and keeps you rooted to your seat, wanting to keep reading no matter what else demands your attention! With a happily-ever-after ending, and character's you truly grow to love, I'm glad to have read this book and will definitely recommend to any lovers of Young Adult novels.

My Rating: Simply Delectable!!!


  1. Great review! I read this one yesterday. It definitely reminded me of how some of my friends were in high school :)

  2. Great review! I would buy it as soon as I have the money. This is a great book. :)

  3. I really need to read this one! I'm not usually big on YA romance either but this sounds like fun. Thanks for your review!

  4. Great review! This books sounds like a refreshing read.

  5. Fabulous review! This is a new one for me but it sounds really refreshing, which I desperately need right now! Sounds really promising.

  6. Nice review. This sounds really good!


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