Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: How To Build A House by Dana Reinhardt

Rating (Out of 5): 3
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books (Random House)
Goodreads Synopsis:

HARPER’S DAD IS getting a divorce from her beloved stepmother, Jane. Even worse, Harper has lost her stepsister, Tess; the divorce divides them. Harper decides to escape by joining a volunteer program to build a house for a family in Tennessee who lost their home in a tornado. Not that she knows a thing about construction.

Soon she’s living in a funky motel and working long days in blazing heat with a group of kids from all over the country. At the site, she works alongside Teddy, the son of the family for whom they are building the house. Their partnership turns into a summer romance, complete with power tools. Learning to trust and love Teddy isn’t easy for Harper, but it’s the first step toward finding her way back home.

This was pretty good. It wasn't amazing, but it wasn't bad.
It's about Harper, who doesn't want to be at home, and so decides to go build a house in this volunteer program after a tornado hits the town in Tennessee. She makes several friends and deals with the things she's running from back home. Like that her father and step-mother, who she sees as a mother, have just gotten a divorce, and so she's been separated from her step-sister and best friend, and her little brother.
I liked how the book was put together. It goes back and forth from HERE, where she is now while building a house for the summer, and HOME, which is flashbacks of what her home life was like and how it was before she left for the summer. It transitions easily from and to both of them, and it's in Harper's point of view, so we get her looking back at things and thinking about them now.
I liked Harper. She's wounded, obviously upset about things. She misses her sister, is upset about the divorce, is mad at them all, a little bit. And she's confused and upset about love. Because she had a thing with a friend of hers, who does something with someone else that upsets her. And the way he goes about it is all wrong, and very jerk-y.
She ends up getting close to Teddy, a sweet boy who's house she's fixing. He's a little older, and he's fun, and just what she needs, really. (Also, there's some sex between them. Just to let you know.) And she gets close to her roommate, who has a boyfriend back home. And two other of their friends hook up. I like all of them.
One thing that bothered me, though, was that none of their relationships were going to go any farther than the summer. Because they don't live all that close, at all. It was doomed from the beginning. (And, yes, this is most definitely my personal feelings getting in the way.) But their friends know that it isn't going to go any farther, and she doubts anythings going to come out of it in the beginning, but then she's upset about it at the end. (I was too, though.) I just... didn't like how nothing could come of it.
She ends up talking with her sister, but I'm not going to spoil all of that. But their family problems didn't seem to get all that resolved. I felt like she should have talked with her father some more, and that maybe her father should have done some thing to make things better, since it didn't seem like he had. But, again, I think my feelings are getting in the way of this. Because it's just all so unfair, uncool, but I know realistically that things don't always work out. And probably won't work out how Harper (and I) would like them too.
Oh, also. There wasn't a lot of building an actual house. I get what it means to her and all, but I still felt like there should have been more time spent at the house. (Not that I would have known any of what it was talking about, but still.) A lot of it was spent with Harper thinking about her past, and with her and her friends at the hotel, doing stuff and trying to find stuff to do. Not that's bad, though, because I did enjoy those scenes.
But, aside from all the things that bothered me, personally, it was still a pretty good book. Some of the relationship bits seemed like a waste of time, I guess. (But, geez, sorry. I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm being very biased or something.) It was very good, actually. So, yea.

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