We Were Liars is one of the BEST books I’ve read in a LONG time. I’m not the type of person to proclaim every book to be amazing and the best and on a...moreWe Were Liars is one of the BEST books I’ve read in a LONG time. I’m not the type of person to proclaim every book to be amazing and the best and on and on because I try to reserve that for the books that REALLY mean a lot to me. I want you to believe me when I say THIS IS A BOOK YOU NEED TO READ. Everyone. I don’t care what you read. So please hear me when I say this: this book is beyond amazing, it blew me away and it is one of the BEST BOOKS I’ve read in a long time. This book deserves more than 5 stars -- it deserves fireworks and confetti and lots of recognition. I haven’t had a book really wreck me like this one did but I sobbed and I screamed and this is why I love reading…BOOKS LIKE THIS. A truly remarkable story from start to finish. Especially the finish. It’s just brilliant and my words are just paltry little things that can’t do it any justice.
It's rare that I read a book THIS early but I will carry the torch for this book right up until it is released and beyond.
Why You Should Be Saving The Date for Landline by Rainbow Rowell:
1. Rainbow Rowell continues her trend of being able to write poignantly and candidly about all sorts of love: Every book of hers I’ve read (all but Attachments) just perfectly captures some intricacy of love in different stages/forms and all the beautiful messiness that comes with it. I loved that, while this was partly a story about a love going wrong, it’s also a story about falling back in love and remembering the first time you fell in love with that person as well…especially in the face of maybe losing it all. She makes love just come alive and feel true.
2. GOD HER WRITING: I just love how Rainbow Rowell writes and Landline is no exception. I love her dialogue. The insertion of some humor. How it makes me feel. And these beautiful sentences that just make you stop in your tracks. I even read a passage to my husband and I NEVERRRR read him things from what I’m reading.
3. Lots of thinking re: my own marriage and really any relationship that’s important: It’s easy to be complacent and take people for granted. To not try harder to keep your love ignited and fall into bad habits. I’m early on in my marriage and things are wonderful but this was such a raw and honest portrayal of how one day you could wake up and be in a place you don’t want to be in your marriage because little by little you let it slip away.
4. She just keeps proving she can write anything: This is her 2nd adult book and 4th book total and everything of hers I read is so wonderfully different and I never know what to expect with her but each time I fall in love in my own way with the book and the characters. They are the books that linger for me and keep me up at night.
5. She makes this THING work: There’s an element to this book, how Georgie communicates with him in the past, that COULD be super corny and she just makes it WORK. So well. Never felt corny.
Who Should Save The Date: Rainbow Rowell fans, people who also read adult fiction, people who like love stories that are a bit messy but beautiful
A Sneak Peek: “You don’t know when you are twenty-three. You don’t know what it really means to crawl into someone else’s life and stay there. You can’t see all the ways you’re going to get tangled, how you’re going to bond skin to skin. How the idea of separating will feel in five years, in ten — in fifteen. When Georgie thought about divorce now, she imagined lying side by side with Neal on two operating tables while a team of doctors tried to unthread their vascular systems” (this is taken from the advanced copy and could be subject to change)(less)
I would say more like 4.5. I'm really stingy with the full 5 but 4.5 is just very, very close!!
From my "Final Thoughts" portion of my review:
Open Ro...moreI would say more like 4.5. I'm really stingy with the full 5 but 4.5 is just very, very close!!
From my "Final Thoughts" portion of my review:
Open Road Summer is one of two books I am hereby declaring as THE books you must have in your beach bag this summer if you love contemporary YA (the other is Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson). It’s fun romp across country in a tour bus with two best friends and one absolutely heart palpation inducing Matt Finch that is funny, romantic, happymaking and explores how we let people in & learn to trust when we’ve carefully constructed walls against that. But seriously if you are looking for a fun, feel good read about friendship, has a main character who is real & flawed and an absolutely adorable romance…this is it! I promise! All the hype is warranted.
1. This book is set in college: Since I was IN COLLEGE (I graduated in 2008) I often whined about there not being enough books set in this oh so HUGE step in my life and NOT UNDERSTANDING WHY. You learn so much about yourself and there is so many potential subjects to tackle in college — I mean KIDS are going off into adulthood — bound to be fun things or very life changing things that forge your way to adulthood. Thank you, Rainbow Rowell!
2. This book is everything I thought the “New Adult” subset of books would be but haven’t really found. Fangirl is considered YA but these were the kinds of things I imagined would be tackled in New Adult — college, how it seems like everything is changing around you, meeting all sorts of new people, figuring out who you are and reconciling that with the person you WERE, venturing into adult relationships, learning to be more independent, etc. Obviously I think NA should tackle many other subjects because our experiences post high school are vast but, what I mean to say is that, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell just seems to FIT the idea of what I thought “New Adult” would be without TRYING to be anything. It didn’t scream “HEY I’M NEW ADULT. I’M JUST MAKING THE AGE OLDER & MAKING IT SUPER SEXY.” Rather it was a real story about someone moving on from high school and having their first taste of adulthood in college. It just naturally satiated those of us looking for post high school stories that deal with issues so many of us can relate to.
3. EMERGENCY KANYE DANCE PARTY: I can’t tell you anything more but it was one of my favorite scenes in this whole book.
4. It was such a complete package for me: I couldn’t put this down. It just seemed to have everything — flawed but awesomely real characters, a story that moved along nicely, a heartwarming story, it made me laugh and just drew me in so completely with a tale of that first taste of adulthood that was such an important time of my own life that shaped me and helped me grow.
Who Should Save The Date: Fans of contemporary YA with really well fleshed out characters, people looking for a story set in college, people who are into the whole fandom/fanfiction thing (totally not a requirement because I’ve never read an ounce of fan fiction in my life and I still wholeheartedly connected and loved this), stories about sisters/twins, fans of Rainbow Rowell’s previous work
Ladies and gentleman, we have yet another David Levithan novel that I am absolutely and totally smitten with. This may just be my favorite yet. I’m te...moreLadies and gentleman, we have yet another David Levithan novel that I am absolutely and totally smitten with. This may just be my favorite yet. I’m telling you, I dogearred the hell out of Two Boys Kissing (don’t cringe..you already knew I committed this book crime) and read it in a single day! Incredibly thought-provoking, beautiful and so many passages that make me remember how words can just make my heart flutter. David Levithan is one of those special voices and this book is a shining example of that.
I’m not going to lie, as soon as I started reading I was not thrilled about the Greek Chorus narration but it quickly won me over and honestly I think MADE the novel. Their collective voice broke my heart but was also so, so hopeful. As much as I loved the boys, these men are the ones that will linger in my heart for a long, long time. I was tearful at times and completely mesmerized by them and their take on what was unfolding in the boys lives and also reflecting on THEIR lives and delighting in the PROGRESS that their own struggles and fight helped pave the way for. As much as it was the wise and thoughtful insight of the gay men of the past who died from AIDS reflecting on all this, it also made me think SO much of all the voices of the past that fought for us to have something or to make progress or give us rights in general. It made me weep for those people and what they went through and gave up for the sake of progress.
The main event of the novel is these two boys who are going to be publicly kissing in front of their high school to beat the world record for the longest kiss. Woven in are stories of various other boys who are gay and at various stages of coming out or in their relationships. There’s also another couple who are both out and dating, two guys who meet at a dance and are in the very beginnings of getting to know each other and a boy who isn’t out yet to anyone except the guys he meets in chatrooms.
There were many things these boys dealt with — being ok in their skin, approval from their family, first loves, coming out to their family and more — and it was easy to get caught up in all the story lines and be rooting for them. I was brought to tears, was reminded of first love, how hard it is to fight for love sometimes and accepting yourself first before you worry about others accepting you. Their stories felt authentic and embodied what it is to be a teen — gay or straight.
I love books that make me think, just want to squeeze all of humanity in for a hug and remind me why books are so, so powerful. David Levithan, you are a hell of a man, a very gifted writer, a wonderful advocate for gay teens and someone who has helped pave the way for more progress even in your own space in publishing by giving voice to LGBT teens who needed to see themselves in YA. Looking at this cover reminds me of how far we’ve come.(less)
Everything about this book was flawless for me. I literally can’t think of one thing about it that could have been better. Trish Doller wrote a story...moreEverything about this book was flawless for me. I literally can’t think of one thing about it that could have been better. Trish Doller wrote a story that made my heart explode into pieces so small they shouldn’t have been able to been able to be put back together — but somehow she managed to put them back together with a moving story of family, second chances, love and facing your future despite your past. If you like amazing character development that feels incredibly real and makes you feel emotions so fiercely, pick this book up. The plot was immediately interesting to me and the characters just took it and ran and I didn’t want to pull myself out of the story because I was so immersed in it. Such a COMPLETE story that reminds me of why I love reading!
If there were ever a book that I’d make a sweeping recommendation for, no matter if you read YA or if...more From the "Final Thoughts" portion of my review:
If there were ever a book that I’d make a sweeping recommendation for, no matter if you read YA or if you aren’t into historical fiction, this is it. Despite the slow start due to an abundance of aviation type descriptions and the settling into the way the story is told, this book was knock-you-off-your feet incredible! The unraveling of this story and the deliverance of astonishing twists and revelations, accompanied by the most moving story of friendship I’ve encountered in a while, ensured this book has wound up on my very small ALL TIME FAVORITES list. I’m most stingy with this kind of recommendation and Code Name Verity certainly is deserving.
Second Chance Summer is one of the best books I’ve read. Period. It’s hard for me to keep my emotions ou...more From the Final Thoughts portion of my review:
Second Chance Summer is one of the best books I’ve read. Period. It’s hard for me to keep my emotions out of my recommendation but I promise you that you will become absolutely absorbed in Taylor’s story. I PROMISE you this story is not all sad, despite my very emotional letter above. It’s a beautiful and moving story, set at at a summer lake house, that’s about love, friendship, family and second chances — not just about a girl whose dad is sick. Matson simplifies nothing. It’s equal bits sweet, funny and heartbreaking but this story just felt so COMPLETE. It’s perfect and balanced and JUST READ IT PLEASE. Morgan Matson solidified herself as an auto-buy author for me and she is the cream of the crop when it comes to well written, relatable contemporary YA books with lovely romances and complex, moving stories.
Read my full letter to Morgan Matson in lieu of a review here!(less)
This book inspired my "WTF! Why is this book not more popular" shelf on here!
This was absolutely one o...moreFrom the "Final Thoughts" portion of my review:
This book inspired my "WTF! Why is this book not more popular" shelf on here!
This was absolutely one of the most fun romps I’ve had in contemporary YA since I first read Sloppy Firsts. I fell in love with Audrey and all the rest of the characters (minus Sharon – ew!). It was LOL-inducing and I just couldn’t stop reading to find out what more crazy shenanigans Audrey was going to have to endure with her newfound fame. If you are looking for a TRULY fun and happy read with a hilarious plot and some swoony moments, then I’d definitely pick this up. I know many of you are Jessica Darling fans so I’d highly recommend this one as I think Audrey and Jessica are each other’s spirit animals. LOVED LOVED LOVED. It was definitely what I needed after reading so many heavy issue books lately.
As per usual, David Levithan’s writing is beautiful and gets straight to the heart. He’s really outdone...moreFrom the "Final Thoughts" portion of my review:
As per usual, David Levithan’s writing is beautiful and gets straight to the heart. He’s really outdone himself this time though making this my favorite David Levithan book thus far! This book is imaginative, will dazzle you with its beauty, make you fall in love with A and make you just want to promptly start it all over again. Every Day defies genre and age — I will recommend this to EVERYONE I know — regardless of what they typically read. This book is both beautiful and page-turning!
It's 3am and I don't know HOW the eff I'm supposed to fall asleep after that?? OMG. SO freaking good. Not often I enjoy a s...moreThoughts after reading it:
It's 3am and I don't know HOW the eff I'm supposed to fall asleep after that?? OMG. SO freaking good. Not often I enjoy a second book more than a first.
ALSO. I didn't think it was possible to love Roar anymore. But I do.
From my "Final Thoughts" portion of the review:
I’m going to pretty much officially say I liked Through The Ever Night MORE which I rarely ever say about a book 2. Prepare to get your workout in turning those pages furiously because this was one of those books that are the epitome of words like “exhilarating” or ” riveting” (and ummm HEARTBREAKING at moments). But Veronica Rossi balances all of that action with truly incredibly characters who you just really fall in love with even more, some really tender moments and making your heart pitter patter with Perry & Aria’s romance. It’s just one of those addictive books that make me shut out Real Life in favor for an imaginative, dangerous journey with characters I wish were real. I love the worldbuilding, I love the characters, I love it all. This series is a favorite that I’ll keep on recommending for lovers of dystopian worlds with fantastical elements.
Taken from my "Final Thoughts" portion of my review:
Golden by Jessi Kirby was a stirring and beautiful story with depth and emotion and I LO...more4.5 stars!
Taken from my "Final Thoughts" portion of my review:
Golden by Jessi Kirby was a stirring and beautiful story with depth and emotion and I LOVED IT. I have this desire to reread it already. It was refreshing and one of those books that just is all consuming in the best possible way. I couldn’t stop reading as Parker read the journal of a girl who was the center of a tragic accident and finds her life become intertwined with this mystery — all while watching Parker’s growth. It’s my favorite novel thus far from Jessi Kirby and solidifies her as a go-to author in the contemporary YA genre. Don’t miss this one, friends!
Just One Year was flawless for me — everything I could have hoped for and more. Had all the amazing char...moreFrom my "Final Thoughts" portion of my review:
Just One Year was flawless for me — everything I could have hoped for and more. Had all the amazing characteristics of a Gayle Forman novel — superb writing, thought provoking, depth in story & character development, heart and soul — and I loved Willem’s physical journey as well as his journey to find happiness, love (read: not just romance) and ultimately himself. If you are looking for a novel that truly doesn’t hinge itself on a romance, even though we know Allyson & Willem’s one day together was special & life altering, this will be so satisfying for you as it was for me. I don’t reread often but Just One Day and Just One Year are going to be stories I need to revisit again and again. I feel like I can never show enough gratitude to Gayle Forman for Just One Day and Just One Year — a most perfect duology that truly did impact me enough to actually change things about my life.
Warning: LONG fan-girly, gushing OMG review ahead.....every now and again they happen for me. I try to save that for my reading journal but I just can...moreWarning: LONG fan-girly, gushing OMG review ahead.....every now and again they happen for me. I try to save that for my reading journal but I just can't with certain books.
Let's just put this out there right now - I was hella excited about Lola and the Boy Next Door but I was a bit scared to actually read it because I loved Anna and the French Kiss something fierce. I kept thinking that, while there is a good chance I'll really enjoy Lola, I'm never going to feel the same way about it that I did with Anna. It would be like the replacement goldfish that your parents try to convince you is just as great as the one you had to flush down the toilet. It's not the goldfish's fault...but it's just not the same as the one you really loved.
The verdict? I'm going to boldly say that I loved Lola from my head down to my toes....I actually think I liked it even better than Anna. I can't believe I'm saying it but it's true. Stephanie Perkins brought the awesomeness and somehow created a story that could top Anna and the French Kiss for me -- the amazing characters, the romance, a compelling storyline, the great setting. It's all there. While the romantic city of Paris really propelled the story of Anna and St. Clair for me in ATFK, Lola truly is the shining star in Perkin's second novel.
Lola is just one of those unforgettable characters. I instantly connected with her -- she's different and I can appreciate that as someone who has always used clothing as a way to set myself apart...especially in high school. It was something I could control amidst the chaos that was my life. I can't say my wardrobe was even a fraction like hers but I still understand her mentality. I can truly say I felt like I was reading the character of Lola as a little sister. I was protective of her, I wanted to hug it out with her during both crappy moments and awesome moments and I just wanted to tell her what an amazing girl she was.
Ok...I'll address the big fat elephant on the blog. The Boy! I know...you want to know if the boy is as wonderful and amazing and swoonworthy as St. Clair. Yes, ladies. Eat your heart out. For those of you who loathed St. Clair (yes there are people out there that do -- one of my fave ppl of all time and I had a friendly banter about St. Clair at BEA when she revealed this to me), you will be so thrilled about the new crush that Perkins has handed to you on a silver platter. There are seriously not enough "nice guys" in YA lit...but Cricket is leading the army against all those douchenuggets that seem to be in the "in" thing. I want to see more guys that are super nice, but not pushovers, and actually have a personality. He was sweet and sensitive and honestly the type of guy I love and I truly felt as though he complemented Lola so well. The thing I loved most about him (aside from his adoration of Lola) was how he was SUCH a real teen boy to me. Sometimes I find that most of the guys I read are always written so much more eloquently and more mature than teen boys actually are. They always seem to take on these hot, underwear model characteristics and always are suave and dashing. But Cricket was just so real. He's got quirky hobbies and interests and, hell, he's got his awkward, stupid boy moments. So refreshing. I love me some Cricket.
All of the secondary characters really felt so lively and real to me -- Lola's parents were incredibly supportive and definitely NOT absent. I really liked Max in the beginning and even though my love for him fizzled...he still felt very real. I LOVED how Perkins incorporated Anna and St. Clair into the novel without making them centerstage. PERFECT roles for them and I was ecstatic to see what had become of them.
I don't want to give away ANYTHING about this book but I honestly loved the whole story, the romance, the tension that was present in different threads of the story, and the ending! I felt myself charmed by San Fransisco and swept up in Lola's life. Anna's story was somewhat dreamy and escapist for me but Lola's story felt so realistic to me and I really appreciated that. Lola persevered through a lot in the story and I really believed in her progress and the path that Perkins lead her on. Lola was not overwrought with emotion and drama but perfectly captures the complicated nature of love and relationships with family and friends. It also shows the joys that come with the pain, awkward moments and general confusion of being a teen. I love that about this book -- it captures the teen voice in a genuine way with out being too "OMG this is a teen book" that actually doesn't accomplish the teen voice...like when your mom or dad tries to act really hip and up on the lingo.
I typically don't make bold statements like this but I'm going to because I feel so strongly after reading Lola: Stephanie Perkins is on auto-buy for me now. If she writes it, I'm going to beat down doors to get it. If I were my 13 year old self, I'd be bedazzling shirts proclaiming the awesomeness that is Stephanie Perkins and making a shrine in my room dedicated to her. Um yeah, I totally did that for certain boy bands back in the 90's.
Stephanie Perkins, after two novels, has become my go-to for wonderfully written contemporary YA with swoonworthy romances and unforgettable characters. She infuses so many quirky elements into her books and the little details are so wonderful. Lola is certainly no exception -- from an awesome reference to one of my favorite bands (Phoenix!) to having an incredibly cute dog named Heavens to Betsy..I just found myself smiling at the smallest details and it added SO MUCH to my overall enjoyment of the story. Perkins rights the perfect contemporary novel for me. It isn't so distorted of a reality that it too far-fetched for me but it has just enough drama that keeps you reading....because, let's be honest, if realistic novels were TOO realistic we'd be bored and feel like we were reading about our own lives. She writes things I felt as a teen and still feel now at 25. And oh my gosh, PLEASE PLEASE read the acknowledgments at the end of the book to her husband. SO CUTE. I had to read it out loud to my boyfriend because I just was so moved by it...and then I proceeded to gush about it on Twitter. (less)
The story gracefully moves between the present and haunting memories from their childhood. The bulk of the memories take place in the span of the summ...moreThe story gracefully moves between the present and haunting memories from their childhood. The bulk of the memories take place in the span of the summer of 1947 when Milly and Twiss are teenagers and becomes the turning point to paving the path that leads to where they are now as spinsters. Immediately I was invested in the lives of Milly and Twiss and had such a desire to know how they ended up so alone when it seemed like they had a lot going for them. I think that was the most heart-wrenching part-- knowing how they ended up and needing to find out why. The details of the events that summer were revealed ever so carefully and evenhandedly that it kept you reeling until you are given the answers to what had happened. And let me tell you-- it was shocking, heartbreaking and beautiful -- simultaneously. I had goosebumps as we finally learned what happened in the most pivotal moment that summer.
Milly and Twiss are two of the most quirky and unforgettable characters that I've encountered in a while. They were developed so finely and with great precision and I just fell completely in love with them. I found a lot of the other characters to be interesting as well. Cousin Bett was that character that you just wanted to slap silly yet I kept wondering what her story was. The characters personalities were so perfectly melded together with the plot that I just kept thinking of how perfect of a book this was. Milly and Tilly are definitely the shining stars but what I loved is that they aren't always brave, or always right or strong...they were so real and were perfect in their own ways.
For the most part I can honestly say this book was flawless for me, but I must confess, there were a few parts where it took me a little bit to figure out if we were back in the past or in the present although I was able to deduce after a page or so. The parts in the present, in the heads of the older Milly and Twiss, were a little slower moving for me but it definitely balanced out the story well.
My Final Thought: I would recommend this to anybody looking for the perfect combination of unforgettable characters, a carefully crafted and revealed plot with a layer of surprises and undeniably beautiful prose that you find yourself savoring with each page. Seriously, this book charmed the socks off of me, broke my heart and had me mentally shelving this book under "books that remind me why I love the written word." It wasn't overwrought in emotion or drama nor was it the type of book that was trying too hard to BE something profound. It felt real and was definitely a breath of fresh air for me. (less)
Where She Went was just as heart-wrenching and emotional as If I Stay but I found that it went even deeper and really captured different aspects of th...moreWhere She Went was just as heart-wrenching and emotional as If I Stay but I found that it went even deeper and really captured different aspects of the grieving process so genuinely. Forman's writing proves to be just as powerful and she really did an excellent job capturing Adam's perspective and still providing us with sufficient insight into Mia. I was thoroughly unable to put this one down, as I was with If I Stay, and I was quite pleased with the direction that Forman took with their story. If you haven't read If I Stay, please do....between it and Where She Went you'll be wholly invested in their story and it will make you appreciate those special people in your life. Pick this up in April when it comes out!