Book Tours: Twelve Steps by Veronica Bartles {Review + GIVEAWAY!}

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Title: Twelve Steps
Author: Veronica Bartles
Publishing Date: 03/25/14
Rating: 4/5 stars
Book Summary:
Sixteen-year-old Andi is tired of being a second-class sibling to perfect sister Laina. There in Laina's shadow, Andi's only noticeable feature is her pretty awesome hair. And even that is eclipsed by Laina's perfect everything else.
When Andi’s crush asks her to fix him up with Laina, Andi decides enough is enough and devises a twelve-step program to wrangle the spotlight away from Laina. After all, great hair must count for something.
Step 1: Admit she’s powerless to change her perfect sister, and accept that her life really, really sucks. OK, maybe that's two steps in one.
Step 4: Make a list of her good qualities besides great hair. There have got to be at least three good qualities, right?
Step 7: Demand attention for more than just her shortcomings, and break out of her shell. Easier said that done, but worth the effort in the long-run. 
When a stolen kiss from her crush ends in disaster, Andi finds that her prince isn’t as charming as she'd hoped, and realizes she may need a new program--perhaps with less steps!
As cracks in Laina’s flawless façade begin to show, the sisters work together to find a spotlight big enough for both to shine.
MY REVIEW:

Twelve Steps is a book about two sisters who go to the same highschool, and both think one is better than the other. Andi and Laina have a tight sibling relationship and are very close, but both have their own problems and insecurities. Andi is in love with Laina's best friend Jared, but Jared has been in love with Laina ever since. Laina, on the other hand, has her own troubled past which she keeps bottled up in her diaries. This is a story of how these two sisters find themselves and break out of their own shells.

Twelve Steps is something that I was immediately drawn to right after reading the first few pages. I love reading stories about sisters, it's a kind of trope that I haven't been exposed to more. I think this book would've been very problematic if not handled as light and cutesy as it was. This one's premise is basically "We're both popular but we think the other one is better than the other" Not that I am undermining other people's problems, but that kind of premise would've lacked depth and emotional value if not treated correctly. It is not so relatable or rewarding to read, and would not have worked as well. Reading contemporary has always been difficult to me as I'm usually presented with books that contain the same premises and characters and love interests that it has gotten way too tiring. Twelve Steps was an enjoyable book that definitely exceeded my expectations.  I read it expecting to read something with fluff, but got out with something more.

What I loved the most about this book is Andi. Andi was a compelling protagonist who spoke her mind and did whatever the hell she wanted no matter what. It was very easy to relate to this girl, as I myself am the second child in my family, and do strive to be better than my older sister. I found Andi to be a strong and independent character, and though she came off to me as manipulative with her schemes, bottomline is she had a good heart who put her sister first before anything else. This was proven throughout the book when every time she felt second-best or hurt, she was always more concerned about her sister's welfare rather than her own. She also came off as very feminist to me, and I found myself cheering "you go girl!" every time she delivered a piece of dialogue that made me root for her. Her snarkiness and witty humour all came hand in hand.
"First of all, you need to drop the competitive attitude. Dating isn't a contest. And no girl in her right mind actually wants to have guys fighting over her like she's some kind of prize. Laina's a person with feelings, not a trophy for the winner. And you're going to lose her entirely if you don't stop treating her like the toy at the bottom of your cereal box. She doesn't belong to you."
"I don't know what hurts worse: the fact that Jared is such a male chauvinist pig that he can't see why turning my sister into the prize to be won in a stupid pissing contest with Shane Crawford is a bad thing, or the fact that he's never even thought about fighting for me."
Laina was an okay character that I felt was underdeveloped. She didn't seem to progress from Point A at the beginning to Point B at the end. I felt no substantial character development. I was hoping that she would be the one to finally confess about what had happened to her (no spoilers!) but it was Andi had gone to tell the truth. But overall, I thought Laina was a great sister. What I didn't like about this book the most though are the male characters. Shane and Jared... Jesus, where do I even begin? I think I have had enough of scumbag misogynists, but they keep popping up everywhere! Again, there is no problem with creating problematic characters, but I hate it when they stay that way and don't develop. Shane was a crappy character, and yes he doesn't get the girl in the end, but with all chances to change, he never makes an effort and just keeps screwing things up. I was glad to see him go in the end. Jared, Oh God... I can vouch for Andi about how annoying this guy is. He is in love with Laina, but he leads Andi on and even kisses her and thinks it's okay. I don't like how the ending makes it seem like he's such a great guy who defends Laina - you spent the entire year thinking Laina was okay about what had happened just because it didn't technically happen so you automatically assume it was okay? I don't like how in the end he kind of gets Laina (it is implied...?) when he clearly doesn't deserve her or Andi. If Laina had known how poorly Jared treated Andi, I'm sure she'd leave him on the curb to die.

The only formidable guy character in this whole book is Dave, who treats Andi like a real person and doesn't use her at his disposal. But I wasn't too sure about the ending as I kind of saw Andi as someone independent and wished she hadn't ended up with any of them. I couldn't see the chemistry between her and Dave, so that contributes to that too.

Overall, Twelve Steps was a cute and fascinating read which I recommend to anyone who's in for something light and funny. It was really enjoyable and had some underlying themes, which were best to be just subtle given the tone of the book. It was well-written and had great plot pacing as well. Twelve Steps is definitely a great book of sibling rivalry and finding your place in this world.



About the Author
As the second of eight children and the mother of four, Veronica Bartles is no stranger to the ups and downs of sibling relationships. (She was sandwiched between the gorgeous-and-insanely-popular older sister and the too-adorable-for-words younger sister.) She uses this insight to write stories about siblings who mostly love each other, even while they’re driving one another crazy.   When she isn’t writing or getting lost in the pages of her newest favorite book, Veronica enjoys knitting fabulous bags and jewelry out of recycled plastic bags and old VHS tapes, sky diving (though she hasn’t actually tried that yet), and inventing the world’s most delectable cookie recipes.  TWELVE STEPS is Veronica Bartles's first novel.

Author Links:

***GIVEAWAY***

OK SO FINALLY, the GIVEAWAY!!!


Here are the giveaway details for this tour:

1 ebook of Twelve Steps & $10 Amazon gift card (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Blog Tour Organized by:

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3 comments

  1. This one sounds good, and I really like the cover. I'm definitely intrigued :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. It looks really good! I definitely wanna read it!! Great tour :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have one sibling, a younger sister, and so this book helped give me perspective on what my younger sister felt like while we were growing up. She always complained I was our parents' favorite, but I don't think I was - we were both equal in their eyes. While I think they were too hard on me and super easy on her, she disagrees with that, lol.

    Jared was terrible, I agree! It was strange because I thought I'd be rooting for him when I had read the synopsis, but nothing could be further from the truth. Especially when he kissed her! Ugh! lol!

    Thanks so much for stopping by my review! :)
    Jennifer @ Donnie Darko Girl

    ReplyDelete

Hi guys! Thank you for stopping by our blog. We really appreciate it if you've taken the time to leave a comment. Though it will take some time, we will do our best to reply to each one of you. :)

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