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20 June 2006 @ 07:03 am
Robyn Schneider's BETTER THAN YESTERDAY (4 stars)  

“What if we can’t stop? What if we’ve been studying so long we’ve become like machines? And that’s why we have summer session. It’s like sleep mode, because if we shut down, for even one summer, we’d come back to school lazy and slow?”


That’s how Charley, Skyler, Blake, and Marissa feel about all things academic and Hilliard Preparatory School. In BETTER THAN YESTERDAY (due for release January 2007), Robyn Schneider takes us into the world of the Helliard Hell Raisers, reunited two years later as juniors at boarding school. With witty chapter titles parodying well-known books and famed literary quotes, this dual first-person narrative told through the eyes of Charley and Skyler is half boarding school, half road trip and well worth the cost of admission. Don’t let the pink on the cover fool you, this is Charley’s story all the way.


For Charley, showing up to boarding school means knowing your dad’s picture is waiting to mock you from the hallway wall. It means packing your SAT prep book because your parents will only let you bring your beloved guitar if you promise to perfect your subpar 730 in math. And it means being shocked to see Blake Dorsey, your roommate from freshman year, strut into your room and plop onto the bed.


For Skyler, Hilliard means unrequested glory. No matter how hard she doesn’t try, everything ends up Prada and polynomials for her. As the front-runner for Valedictorian who’s just been nominated Senior Honoree, she’d love nothing more than to smoke cloves behind the boathouse with her closest of friends. Anything to get rid of the lingering rumors and reputation that won’t let her forget her freshmen year mistake with Kyle Dorsey, Blake’s brother.


But when Blake surprises everyone by showing up at school, the Helliard Hell Raisers reunite for a life-changing summer. Charley’s starting to dig on Skyler, Skyler might be digging him back, and Marissa’s beginning to come out of her shell. Mr. McCabe hands out their new creative writing assignment and tells them to “Be the master of their fate.” That would feel like the Grammys for Charley, if he could only stand up to his parents. Secretly, he envies the way Blake is in charge of his own universe, the master of his fate, and the captain of his soul, because Charley wants so badly to tear up the road map his parents have drawn out for him.


Things probably would’ve ended up just like yesterday if Blake hadn’t run away to New York City and left the three of them with the choice that would ruin their futures if they get caught. It’s their loyalty to Blake that takes them from the halls of Hilliard to the buzz of the Big Apple, where they’ll find the strength to confront those people closest to them, the courage to choose their own identities, and the kind of love that will change their futures in ways that only friendship can. With turns of phrase that'll wow and woo you and characters you might not ever forget, BETTER THAN YESTERDAY is a gem of a first novel and a strong start to a promising writing career.

If this book review was helpful, please vote for it at Amazon.
queen_of_ocd on June 20th, 2006 02:38 pm (UTC)
I can't wait to read it!
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on June 25th, 2006 11:13 am (UTC)
You'll enjoy it.
dancewriteredenzdream on June 20th, 2006 03:51 pm (UTC)
Dude. You keep forgetting the JS thumbs up or down thingie...some of need that cause your synopsis, where telling, isn't definate.
(Deleted comment)
dancewriteredenzdream on June 20th, 2006 04:02 pm (UTC)
Did I have a blonde moment???? I'll have to go back and check to see if you had a rating. Crud. Time to do my roots!
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on June 20th, 2006 04:00 pm (UTC)
The 4.5 stars wasn't enough for you? What's a guy gotta do around here? :)
(Anonymous) on June 20th, 2006 04:03 pm (UTC)
OOOoops. Yup. I see 'em now.See, i get right to the test -- the good stuff -- forget headlines!
stomp_stompclap on June 30th, 2006 07:19 pm (UTC)
Wow, I didn't realize how hard it was to write a book review. I really should've copied and pasted yours, because it's a much better review than I could've done (with due credit, of course).
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on July 3rd, 2006 06:09 am (UTC)
Aw, yours is just fine. Such things don't deserve such frettings.