Wednesday, 30 May 2012

If I Could Be Like JT

Author: Barbara Ehrentreu
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Age Group: 14  +
Title: If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor

Blurb: Carolyn Samuels, is your average everyday teenage girl, and that is her problem. The last thing Carolyn wants is to be average and unnoticed on the first day of school but what can she do about it. She wears size 14 clothes that are baggy and out of style. The boy she's pinning after doesn't even see her and worst of all, she has to face the perfect Jennifer Taylor at school everyday. 

As if  that isn't enough the boy she wants belongs to Jennifer Taylor and to top that off her Math teacher puts Jennifer and her together to work on a project where they have to be in close contact! Will Carolyn survive? Or will she be unable to Breath!

My Views: If you have ever been to Middle or Primary school High School, Secondary School or whatever you call it in your country you know that there is always a Jennifer Taylor, in every year and every class, there is always that girl who is popular and seems to be perfect. No matter how much you hate her, the truth is you want to be like her! For me I've been like Carolyn more times than I can count.

In Primary school, in Secondary school and in College! I was like Carolyn and the names the popular girls threw at me were so much worst. Now I am at University (yes there is a difference here in Barbados) and even though they are more than enough "Jennifers" I am no longer obsessed with becoming like them. I guess you could say I've grown up and realised what Carolyn did in this book.

This book touches on most of, if not all the problems we face while in school. There is peer pressure, body image, self-esteem and the list goes on. Truthfully this book was the most moving and real thing that I have read for the month and I give the author kudos for such an excellent piece of work.

My Recommendation: Girls, If you are at school and you are struggling, you need to read this story, I do not know if it will help you, but what I do know is that it will show you that you are not alone. It will show you as my mother always says ; "all that glitters is not gold". 

You can take this story for the truth, and know that no matter how beautiful, how skinny how popular or classy the girl you want to be is, She's got problems honey and sometimes they make yours look like dust in the wind. This book will show you that no matter what you think, we are all human and we all have flaws some of us, are just really good at hiding them.

My Personal Message to girls like Carolyn and Jennifer: Love yourself, and I know that sounds silly and simple but it's so hard for some people, but until you get the courage to do that the problems you face will always overpower you.

My Rating: For the book itself  5/5: 
My Rating for the message it Carries 10/10:

Ms. Ehrentreu, has agreed to do an interview for you guys, pay attention because she has some important things say and you need to hear them!

Author Interview

Barbara Ehrentreu

Bajan Rosa: What are the things you love most about writing?

Barbara:  What I like most about writing is when I have an idea and it forms into a sentence. Then I either write it down or type it and suddenly I'm writing paragraphs. I look up and I've written over 2000 words. This is the first part of writing and that is what I love!!!

Bajan Rosa: How did you come up with the Idea for today's featured book?

Barbara: I was applying to be in Paula Danziger's children's writing workshop at Manhattanville College for Writer's Week and I needed 3 chapters to get into the class. So my daughter was having problems with bulimia at the time, and she had always had issues about her body. So I used her dissatisfaction with her body for the main character and I used my daughter's problems with an eating disorder for the secondary character. I took it to the workshop and Paul basically cut it to shreds. However, she gave me real sentences to use and said that I might have something good. So I continued writing it and it took me 3 years to finish it and revise it.

Bajan Rosa: There are a lot of strong themes going on here, can you tell us about them?

Barbara: The first one is bullying. Jennifer Taylor bullies Carolyn because of her breathing problem and the way she dresses. Jennifer is the typical mean girl at the beginning of the book.

The second is body image. Carolyn Samuels, the main character, thinks her body is "too heavy for fashion". She has a very poor image of herself at the beginning of the book and doesn't feel any boy or any popular person would want to be with her. Her constant worry causes her to hyperventilate at times of stress.

Hyperventilation is when someone is breathing too fast and gets too much oxygen. So they begin to pant and it can cause someone to get dizzy and actually faint. Carolyn does that in the beginning of the book.

Friendship is another important theme here. Carolyn is friendly with two girls who are not in the popular crowd. She longs to be popular and when Jennifer pays attention to her when they are paired for a project, Carolyn starts to believe she might be popular. Yet she worries that her friendship, with Jennifer, which may or may not develop, is going to make her old friends angry. The whole idea of friendship and how to be a good friend is explored throughout the book.

Being popular and cliques are also addressed.
Secrets and the idea of should you or shouldn't you keep a secret even if you feel someone else knowing this secret might be helpful to the person who told it to you? Carolyn starts needing to keep secrets from her parents and her best friends and pretty soon she becomes involved in a series of lies that get more and more complicated to keep these secrets. 

Bajan Rosa: Is your book meant to impact young girls, and if so what affect do you think the message in the book will have on them.

Yes, definitely this should impact young girls. I have seen its effect on some of them and it has created a very interesting discussion about the themes just discussed here. They have told me that they love the book and they enjoy the story. I would hope that it will help anyone who has run into this problem or may have any of the problems addressed here such as low self-esteem and body image and/or an eating disorder. I have sent a copy to the National Eating Disorders Association and they have it in their library. Very few books are written in the point of view of someone who has to keep a secret about someone else's eating disorder. 

Bajan Rosa: Finally is there anything you would like to say to girls struggling with these problems?

When I was Carolyn's age I felt the same way about my own body. My daughter still has terrible feelings about her own body. What I would say to any girl who is dealing with any of these problems, is to tell someone about it. You don't have to tell your parents, but you can talk to a good friend or a guidance counselor and they will help you to find help. Definitely, if you or anyone you know is struggling with an eating disorder I would suggest you try to find someone you trust and tell them about it. Keeping it a secret is only endangering your own or your friend's health. On the other hand, if someone tells you about their own eating disorder, try to steer them to someone who will help them.

There you have it!

 Author Bio
Barbara Ehrentreu is the The Author of If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor a school teacher and a serious writer.  You can follow her on her blog, Or on twitter here, On here, and to get your hands on her book you can either go to the top bar of this page and check out featured books, or, you can go here.

Readers if you or anyone you know would like a free copy of this book, today is your lucky day the author is offering one free copy to the winner of the raffle below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sage said...

I think my daughter would love this book. Like most preteen girls, she is dealing with bullying and body image stuff. Thanks for the review!

lionmother said...

First of all, Rosa, I can't thank you enough for your wonderful review and the chance to speak to your readers. I am so glad the book resonated with you.

Sage, I hope you do win a copy of the book for your daughter. However, it is on sale at Amazon until the end of May!

Stepping Out of the Page said...

Oh wow, this sounds absolutely fantastic! Such a wonderful review and I'm glad that you liked it so much. It's a shame I can't read eBooks!

New to your blog,
Steph @ Stepping Out of the Page

Blogs by Bree said...

This was a great review. It was so great that I actually want to buy a copy. I love the concept. I love the cover. I will definately buy this book!

Queen B

lionmother said...

Steph, so glad you want to read my book. You can read it in paperback too! It is on sale through tomorrow on Amazon. Or you might win the free ebook. I am sending it out as a pdf.

lionmother said...

Queen B, so happy you love this! I love to hear words like yours or read them.:) Thank you.

Anonymous said...

:) thanks everyone I just really love the book!

Marian L said...

I bought this book for my niece

The Book Babe said...

Oops, sorry. :(
I didn't notice that it was an ebook. Darn it. :(
Speed reading is a curse.

Anonymous said...

its in pdf if that counts for anything

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, Barbara & Rosa,

Sounds like a wonderful book.

One issue that doesn't get much attention is the fact that many teens have body image problems that have nothing to do with reality. I was basically normal weight (maybe a little chubby) but thought I was horribly fat. I struggled with anorexia for almost ten years.

Just telling a girl "You're not fat" doesn't always help, either.

It's a tough problem. But this book may help some girls understand how common these feelings are.

Anonymous said...

Soo true a lot of younger girls think that they are alone. I thought so at one point but this book corresponds with the feelings girls have about themselves they'll have to acknowledge the fact that they are not alone. Really this message needs to be more out there. This body image thing has taken up too much space in the mind of young girls and frankly I think they have so many other things to get worried about this should't be one of them.

Thank you Lisabet for the wonderful comment

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Twitter Bird Gadget