Friday, 25 October 2013

Rolling Dice by Beth Reekles

About the book
Rolling Dice is the second young adult book by Beth Reekles. The book was published by Random House on 29th August and it is 464 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Plot Synopsis
Now that she’s moved to Florida, Madison Clarke no longer needs to be known as Fatty Maddy. She’s got a new life, new look and is hoping that will come with new friends too. Madison is sick of being the outcast loner and a new school means a second chance. Her luck seems to be in when the popular girls take her under their wing and the most popular guy in school instantly takes an interest in her. But, the first guy in town she met was Dwight, a funny and cute boy who seems to get Madison. Problem is, he’s one of the nerds in school and her new friends are not impressed with Madison even talking to him. Will she stay with the popular Bryce or will she follow her heart and take a chance on Dwight?

What I thought
I had mixed feelings about Beth Reekles first book, The Kissing Booth but I was still looking forward to giving her second book a try.

Protagonist Madison has just moved from Maine to Florida and couldn’t be more excited about starting a new life for herself. Back at her old school, she was the outcast – not as slim and pretty as any of the other girls. Now, Madison has reinvented herself, complete with nose piercing and funky hair ready to start again. I honestly loved Madison from the very beginning. It sounded as though she’d had a really rough time of it at her old school and just needed to find somewhere to fit in and make friends. She’d decided that the new Madison would take risks and do daring things because she didn’t want to hide away any more. Pretty much, Madison just wanted to be liked and while this could have come across as whiney, it didn’t. She was very real about what she wanted and yes, she did worry at times about things she was doing but I liked her more for that.

Early on, Madison meets Dwight, who quite obviously is into her. However, at a beach party he invites her to, she meets Bryce who is one of the most popular guys in school – not that Madison knows that. She’s quite torn between her feelings for both but once school starts and she realises who Bryce is, she takes a chance on him. Unlike a lot of the ‘popular’ guys in books, Bryce was actually pretty damn nice. He did really sweet things for Madison, complimented her and was generally, a nice boyfriend. I could understand Madison’s torn feelings though because Dwight was also wonderful and super sweet. The only real difference between the two was their social standing in school.

Plot wise, Rolling Dice is pretty romance centred. Madison is just finding her place at school and quite a lot of the book follows her relationship with Bryce. I actually really enjoyed the time spent with these two characters though because they were so cute together and the getting to know each other bits were fun to read. Reekles also spends time on Madison’s feelings for Dwight though and shows how their friendship progresses with the chance of it being something more. It was great to see Madison sticking to her guns about being friends with Dwight. Okay, her friends were less than impressed but for the most part, she didn’t overly care what they thought. Many girls in young adult books care too much about their friends’ opinions so it was a breath of fresh air for someone to stand up for themselves a bit more.

Although a lot of time is spent between Madison and the boys, there is also more going on. Even though Madison’s friends at school were bitches for the most part, some of them were quite nice and it was fun to see them hanging out and doing things that teenagers do. They go shopping, parties and gossip about boys. None of these things were overdone though but they were a nice touch to the plot. Also, the plot is solely focused on Madison’s friends and boyfriend. The whole book is really about Madison finding who she is and being comfortable with that, regardless of peer pressure or what other people think about her.

As a second book, Rolling Dice addressed many of the problems I had with Reekles’ first book. As a British author, Reekles seemed to have a hard time distinguishing her voice in the first book and it came out as half American and half British. Thankfully, Rolling Dice reads as an American book without any little Britishisms sneaking through. The plot was also a lot stronger, with it having somewhere to go rather than a straight forward romance story. For those reasons, I liked Rolling Dice so much more than The Kissing Booth!

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