Friday, June 9, 2017

Weird and Wonderful by Cece Barlow



Weird and Wonderful
by Cece Barlow


Weird and Wonderful
by Cece Barlow
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: February 13th 2017





from Goodreads:

Gin Autry must finish the last semester of high school in eclectic Austin with her hippie grandmother while Gin’s brother waits for heart surgery in Houston.

Instability reigns, but Gin uses the principles of feng shui to find balance and send positive energy to her brother. She also secretly hopes her voice-over actress dream will advance and true love will show up.

Instead, she falls for the wrong guy and clings to the wrong dream. Nothing in Gin’s life is balanced, but when death threatens her brother, she discovers true balance is about listening, compromise, and the guy in the friend zone.  


Buy Link: Amazon





Weird and Wonderful is about a girl whose life has turned upside down because of her brother's illness. Here is the scene where she finds her anime mascots:

I zipped up my jacket against the January chill. The sun had gone down, and temperatures had plummeted. Typical Texas winter. I carried the last stack of folded boxes. Outside, the sky was lit gray from the city lights, and I couldn't see any stars. No matter. This was all for Nate.
The recycle bins were behind the house in the alleyway lit by Granny's bright patio light. When I opened a bin, a loud chattering noise from a nearby dumpster sent me jumping into the air. The bin's top fell and crunched my fingers. Ow!
The sound repeated, followed by plaintive barking, and then cries. Some kind of animal screamed in terror. I climbed into the dumpster and began shifting trash looking for the crying critter.
Ah, a cage, a thrown away pet, probably a hamster. Poor thing. Stupid human. The corner of the large cage jutted upward, and with serious shoving, I jerked it free. On the bottom of the cage was a jumbo-sized Cool Whip container with holes poked in it. Barks and rattling sounds came from inside it. I climbed out of the dumpster, dragging the cage after me.
The spewing cries grew louder and reminded me of cicadas crossed with a yelping Chihuahua. I wrestled the Cool Whip container out of the cage and opened it. Two furry heads popped up. The animals had bulbous black eyes, and white faces with gray stripes from ears to snout. Not hamsters, I'd never seen anything like them.


This Young Adult novel is about a girl chasing her dreams despite life throwing her curveballs. Along the way she has to figure out family dynamics and her first foray into more adult relationships, friendships that may have the potential to become more.

While this is a clean book, well suited to teenagers,  I found the initial pace a bit slow. It wasn't until the last portion of the book that it picked up and made me turn pages faster.  While we are curious about Gin and her dream, it is her youngest brother's medical condition that is the heart of Gin's and our concern.  It is also central to how each of the other relationships works out.   There are situations described that will make the reader ask herself, "How would I deal with this?"

Dealing with everyones' mistakes is a central and solid component of this book and its lessons.
The sugar gliders added a much needed  lightness  to the plot.






Weird and Wonderful's Gin Autry dreams of being an anime voice-over star and loves Japanese anime. In case you want to check out her anime universe, here is a list of her favorite shows.
Gin's Favorite Crunchyroll Shows:

  1. Mushishi by Yuki Urushibara
  2. Say, I Love You written and
  3. illustrated by Kanae Hazuki.
  4. WataMote-No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys Fault I'm not Popular by Nico Tanigawa.
  5. Hinako Note by Mitsuki
  6. Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid by Coolkyoushinja





In Weird and Wonderful, food is part of the fabric of life. Here are some links to the foods that appear in the book.

  1. Sushi rolls, http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sushi-rolls-recipe-2040225.
  2. Mac and Cheese, http://www.austinwomanmagazine.com/articles/recipe-revealed.
  3. Wagyu Beef, https://www.zagat.com/b/12-amazing-steaks-you-need-to-try-in-austin.
  4. Goode Company Barbeque Pecan Pie, Houston, TX http://thegoodetexanlife.com/a-brief-history-of-pecan-pie/.
  5. Spaghetti and Meatballs, http://food.blog.austin360.com/2016/05/24/steal-this-recipe-andiamo-meatballs/

Cece Barlow writes books for young adults and the young at heart. She's a a dash of fun, mixed in with some smart cookie and a splash of capable. She started her first fan fiction group in junior high and never stopped writing. Today, she writes about girls with lofty dreams and about the absolute craziness of falling in love.

When Cece's not writing, she curls up with a book, heads to a popcorn blockbuster, or kicks back to watch shooting stars. If she sees the moon in the daytime, she thinks she's lucky.

Cece lives in College Station, Texas with her college sweetheart Tim and two cats - one evil and one good.

Author Links:



Why I Write about Ordinary Girls

I write fun and heartfelt stories, but I also have a mission. I tell stories about girls whose lives are continual shuffled to the side in today's literature. I love blue collar teens. These girls do not work at trendy cupcake shops or as mystery-solving detectives. They have jobs, that require elbow grease, humiliation, and perseverance. They work construction, fast food, grocery stores, and bowling alleys. Their lives are not focused on high school. They often have tough times at home, usually a function of failing health (mental and physical), drug addiction, and poverty.

The socio-economically privileged girl doesn't interest me. My girl is ordinary, and she plans to fix her own problems. She is trying to figure everything out (love and life) just like everyone else. She hungers for an education, but knows a mountain of debt is coming her way. She's making serious missteps in life because she is innocent and inexperienced, but my girl is also finding the grace of reinvention. Her life is valuable and worthy. I hope that you join me in my celebration of the ordinary girl. I hope you celebrate the everyday life. 


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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for participating in my blog tour! I really appeciate your thoughts about Weird and Wonderful! Lovely blog. Cece

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