Monday, December 19, 2011

Review: Best Foot Forward (Companion Novel to Rules of the Road) by Joan Bauer

Rating (Out of 5 Stars): ~3
Publisher: Penguin (Speak)

Goodreads Synopsis:

In this sequel to the beloved Rules of the Road, Jenna Boller is dripping with newfound maturity after her life-altering summer on the road. She has a job she loves at Gladstone Shoes, a best friend who makes her laugh, and a dysfunctional family she's learning how to handle. Jenna feels ready for anything--until Tanner Cobb, a guy with a past, a police record, and dangerously good looks, walks into her life. Suddenly Jenna's surrounded by crises, including a shoe empire on the verge of crumbling. Tanner's street smarts seem to be what Jenna needs, but can she trust him enough when the going gets tough?

I've read several of Joan Bauer's books and enjoyed them. And I read Rules of the Road a while ago, but just recently found out that it had a sequel when I looked at the book. I was a little surprised, mostly because most of her books are one-shots, but also because I hadn't known there was one (since I usually know if there is).
Anyway, I finished this book relatively quickly, as I was expecting to.
It's about Jenna, who's now working for Mrs. Gladstone at the shoe store on her own town. The summer is ending and she'll be starting her junior year of high school soon. (Oh, if you haven't read the first one, it was about Jenna driving Mrs. Gladstone, a bossy old woman who owns a shoe company, on a little road trip to where a stock holders meeting is going to be held. Some other things happen, but mostly Mrs. Gladstone's son is taking over the business and not doing a good, moral job of it. Also, this will probably contain spoilers if you haven't read either of the books.) So she's going to be going on part-time, and Mrs. Gladstone's son is still doing business badly, even worse than before, really, when some, illegal, things behind the scenes get some spotlight. Plus, they're looking for some new employees but not finding any. They have hired, though, a boy, Tanner, who stole from them and is making it up by working for them. Jenna really know what she's doing, and she's Mrs. Gladstone's assistant, pretty much, so she makes phone calls and all that. She's also going to Al-Anon meetings because of her dad, which is helping, and helping Tanner, and his family, get past what happened to them. And there's some romance, but not much, and not really what I was expecting.
This book, like most of hers, wasn't amazing, but I still liked it. I'm not really sure what I like about her books. They're not really my style, normally. I tend to go for the romance's. Bauer tends to focus more on real life things, like business or politics or religion, with intent focus on some kind of business, like shoes or newspapers or restaurants. And the romance is very little, in all of them (that I've read so far). There's usually some, a little bit of it. And in this book, it was very small, and not with who the back said it would be. Of course I would like more romance, as I love reading kissing scenes, but I still like her books. And, since they're so small, I read them in about a day. They're fast, easy reads, that I usually go for if I'm looking for something fast and easy. And her style of writing, while very easy and simple, still has moments of pretty and cute, in that she describes little things of small notice.
 I just like it, I guess.
She can create really good characters, too. I liked Jenna, Mrs. Gladstone is an awesome old lady, Tanner was good and his little brother is adorable, and Murray is also pretty awesome. Charlie seemed cool, and he seemed like he could be good for Jenna, but we didn't get much of him. We also didn't get a lot of her family, more than Charlie, but still. They seemed alright from what I did see, though. And Mrs. Gladstone's son is a jerk, and was described pretty well, and I totally hate him for what he did to the company and Mrs. Gladstone. He really does not deserve her.
Also, not that this wasn't believable, because Jenna was written out very well, but I just realized that she wasn't even a junior and she took a road trip with her boss, and is now practically her assistant. That seems really young. I realize that some people are ready, and Jenna has had to grow up early with her family and all, but I couldn't imagine doing all that as that age. That's a little impressive.

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