Tangled - Carolyn Mackler I still remember the day I spontaneously bought my first Carolyn Mackler: I browsed through the musty shelves of a second-hand shop on Charing Cross Road, London, somewhat disappointed that most of what they had to offer were Penguin Classics (I had read a lot of those in an earlier reading phase of my life), coffee-table-sized volumes about gardening stuff and sticky, fly-poop-infested psycho-thrillers. In pre-internet times a trip to an English second-hand-shop used to be like Christmas Eve, because imported books in Germany belonged to the category of things I could only afford in small doses. And now, I was standing here again, at a former location of my dreams, on the verge of leaving empty-handed. On my way to the outside-bound staircase something white and pink grabbed the last ray of my waning interest: A slim and well-worn copy of Vegan, Virgin, Valentine, the only young adult novel that didn't seem to be as old as me. I dragged it half-heartedly to the counter, mainly for the sake of buying a used book - reminiscent of the times when I was twenty, a university student on summer break and touring England with my heavy backpack and a tight budget. I never expected to fall in love with that book and its heroine. After that I read and adored Guyaholic and after that I got disappointed: The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things and Love and Other Four-Letter Words didn't make the cut for me. They were well written, they touched serious issues, but they didn't stir anything in me inspite of ... well yes, inspite of being real Macklers. Thus, when "Tangled" was announced I decided to buy it, but also to wait for the paperback edition. My expectations were not particularly high anymore and a lot of luke-warm and confused reviews had turned up pre-publication.

You might have noticed: I haven't said anything about "Tangled" yet. It is kind of difficult for me, because I really, really liked it, much better then the butt- and the four-letter book, but I don't as feel mushy-gushy as I felt after putting the Valentine cousins' stories aside. Let's say, I think I regained my believe in Carolyn Mackler's abilities and I would recommend giving "Tangled" a try without hesitation.
Opposed to some irritated reviewers I think the four narrations - covering four months in succession - do fit nicely together. There are no repetitions and the important things do get tied up. There are some thin, lose ends, but I really didn't mind leaving one strand of the braid for the next one in view. Honestly, there were no puzzled "What?"-moments for me. At the end of each "report" I found myself rooting for the narrator, even for the supposed player Dakota, whom I despised in Jena's part and didn't particularly care for during the first chapters of his own. I admire the way Mrs. Mackler is able to pull that off, since I am the sort of reader who can hold a grudge against a character for several of volumes of a multiple-installments-series. Somehow she managed to sneak past my wall of inner grumbling and made me relent. Congratulations! Still, when I had to chose, I guess, I'd say liked Owen's story best. I have a thing for shy, geeky, underestimated guys and I welcome a whiff of realistic but sweet teen-romance anytime. What about you, Nomes?