Audiobook Review: I decided to read 99 Days via audio despite having the eARC mostly because of how much easier itReview originally posted on YA Love
Audiobook Review: I decided to read 99 Days via audio despite having the eARC mostly because of how much easier it is for me to listen to audiobooks at this stage in my life. I’m trying to keep up with blog tour reading requests and my own personal reading desires, so sometimes I’ll take the easiest route and experience a book via audio. Also, I’ve recently been contacted by Scribd to give their platform a free one month trial and figured, why not? Katie Cotugno’s book was right there and I’ve been wanting to read it. The stars aligned and I made it happen.
At first I wasn’t quite sure about Allyson Ryan as the narrator. She doesn’t really sound like a teenager to me and sometimes her voice went a little flat, but somehow that worked for Molly’s character. Molly is sometimes a tough character to like so it worked for me that I didn’t always like Ryan’s voice. A number of people have abandoned this book because of the content and characters, so I think those readers should give the audio a try. It’s not my favorite audiobook because of the narrator, but I enjoyed the story itself.
Book Review: Like I said, 99 Days has been receiving a lot of criticism, mostly because the story features characters who cheat on one another. Honestly, I don’t think those reviewers are being fair. I 100% understand being against cheating, but I think we have to recognize and remember that even though it’s ugly and messy, it happens more often than we’d like it to. For that reason, I think Katie Cotugno deserves more credit for writing this book. She could have written another story about a guy or a girl getting cheated on, but instead she wrote it from the point of view of the person being unfaithful. This is a young adult novel and young adults are going to connect with Molly, Patrick, and Gabe for one reason or another. Every reader deserves to find her or himself in a book even if that book contains subject matter that some readers don’t like.
Do the characters in this novel make poor choices? Yes. Do they make poor choices over and over again? Yes. For me, this heightened the story and made those characters stand out on the page. I like flawed characters; they’re interesting and engaging. So many times I cringed over Molly’s decisions, but I also recognized that she’s just finished college and is at an age when she’s going to make mistakes. I think one of the best parts about her story is that she learned from those mistakes. Her entire summer was about figuring out who she is and how and who to love. She needed to figure out how to make friends and how to trust her mother again. She needed to figure out what she wants out of college. Molly figured out much of those problems, but it wasn’t a neat and tidy process that resulted in a gift with a big fat bow. She stumbled, she lost friends, and she learned some important lessons about life and relationships.
Personally, I couldn’t stand Patrick for most of the book and could not understand Molly’s attraction to him. Gabe has a little more going for him, but even he didn’t always seem right for Molly. Molly struck me as an insecure teen trying to find her way and in need of positive attention. I know teens like Molly and I know they’ll appreciate what Katie Cotugno wrote.
I do, however, like Molly’s close friend Imogen. She’s the type of friend I think most people desire because she’s loyal and honest. She stands by Molly and sticks up for her as Molly endures endless slut-shaming, but she also calls Molly out when she thinks she’s making a huge mistake. People need friends like that in their lives because they keep us balanced. I’m glad Cotugno wrote Imogen’s character the way she did.
Another element to the story I enjoyed is the summer atmosphere. I can’t wait for summer and warm weather and reading on my deck, so listening to 99 Days while I drove to work in the morning literally brightened my day. It felt like summer while I read this even though the temps weren’t quite summer-ish....more
I love it when I find the right book for the right moment. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han was thatReview originally posted at YA Love
I love it when I find the right book for the right moment. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han was that book. I’m not sure what it is right now, but lately I’ve only been interested in reading contemps that are on the lighter side. Lara Jean’s story couldn’t have fit any better.
I’ve never read any of Jenny Han’s books, but after reading this I’ll be sure to get my hands on the rest of her books. I really enjoyed Lara Jean’s story because her voice is very much that of a junior in high school. She’s a little on the innocent side of the spectrum, which I found to be a breath of a fresh air. That innocence fits her character perfectly because she’s basically been raised by her older sister since her mother died. Lara Jean is very much a middle child who works hard to be responsible like her father and older sister want her to be and her younger sister needs her to be. She also spends a great deal of time thinking about Margot (her older sister), focusing on two of the guys in her life Josh and Peter, and taking care of her little sister Kitty and her dad.
Lara Jean’s focus on everyone else added well to the conflicts of the story, but it also drew away from her character. By the end of the story I knew I really liked the book and want to read the second one, but I don’t feel like I know Lara Jean as well as I think I should. I know that she is devoted to her family. I know that she’s a romantic at heart. I also know that she wants to take risks. But I don’t know as much about her personal interests and passions besides her family and close friends. I really hope to learn more about her in the second book which is currently titled P.S. I Still Love You.
While I wanted to know Lara Jean a little better, I did love the cast of characters in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Kitty is absolutely adorable and a great addition to the story. She’s one of the reasons why Lara Jean’s family works so hard to keep their Korean traditions alive despite the fact that their father isn’t Korean and that their mother has passed away. I liked both Peter and Josh, but I think I enjoyed Peter’s character just a little bit more. He along with Kitty added a nice amount of humor to the story.
I do have to admit that I’m not wholly satisfied with the ending, and I know I’m supposed to feel that way. Sure, it fits with the story, but it left so much unanswered! Some pieces of the conflict are resolved at least. I’m really happy there’s a sequel, but I really wish I didn’t have to wait until 2015 for it!
I’m not sure how many of my students will be able to read my copy of Jenny Han’s latest before the school year ends, but I know it will be a big hit next school year....more
This was kind of disappointing. I hoped for more than just letters from Zoe, although the ending saved the rating. I did enjoy the audio narrator thouThis was kind of disappointing. I hoped for more than just letters from Zoe, although the ending saved the rating. I did enjoy the audio narrator though....more
I read a review that compared Thin Space to Through to You by Emily Hainsworth, which I didn’t really like, sFlash Review originally posted on YA Love
I read a review that compared Thin Space to Through to You by Emily Hainsworth, which I didn’t really like, so I was hesitant to read this. I ended up really liking Jody Casella’s debut novel. The comparisonn to Through to You is a good one since both books deal with grief and loss, but the execution and story is so much better in Thin Space. I was completely absorbed in Marsh’s story. For a large part of the book I wondered if a Thin Space was some kind of coping mechanism or if it would turn out to be an actual place. I’ll let you find out when you read it! There’s a great twist in the story and wonderful character development. I understood Marsh and his profound grief. This is an excellent book that I know my students will love. Better yet, it released in paperback so it’s easy on the wallet!...more
I really like the premise for this, but the writing is often awkward and the alternating points of view aren't always smooth. And I have no idea why iI really like the premise for this, but the writing is often awkward and the alternating points of view aren't always smooth. And I have no idea why it needs to be so long. Despite this not living up to the hype for me, I know it will be a huge hit with my students....more
This is a cute story, but it drags a little and felt about 50 or so pages too long. I'm not sure I needed everything they ate and saw to be describedThis is a cute story, but it drags a little and felt about 50 or so pages too long. I'm not sure I needed everything they ate and saw to be described (I'm slightly exaggerating when I use the word "everything")....more
I loved listening to Sean's story. After finishing this audiobook, I've decided that Sean is my favorite character out of the trio. This is such a funI loved listening to Sean's story. After finishing this audiobook, I've decided that Sean is my favorite character out of the trio. This is such a fun series of books....more
Shawn Goodman’s sophomore release, Kindness for Weakness, made me feel an array of emotions: hope, grief, dismay, aReview originally posted at YA Love
Shawn Goodman’s sophomore release, Kindness for Weakness, made me feel an array of emotions: hope, grief, dismay, and more. I absolutely loved Something Like Hope, so when I featured Kindness for Weakness on Waiting on Wednesday, Shawn offered to send me an ARC of it. I had requested a copy via NetGalley, and hadn’t received a response yet, so I accepted his kind offer. Regardless of how I received a copy of this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to offer it to my students.
What I like most about Shawn Goodman’s writing is how honest and real it is. He works with troubled kids as a school psychologist and it’s evident in his writing. He really understands what teens are going through and how much they suffer. He understands what a bad home life can do to a teen. He knows how difficult it is for troubled teens to trust themselves and others. The characters in Something Like Hope and Kindness for Weakness display this deep understanding.
James is a character I cheered for while reading. He’s really trying to find his way and learn what it means to be a man, to stand up himself, and how to trust himself and those around him. His mom is basically absent, her boyfriend Ron is abusive, and his brother isn’t the best role model. Thankfully James has an encouraging English teacher, but he’s really the only supportive person James has at the beginning of the story. He has so much potential if only he believed himself and had support outside of school. James’s character made me think of students I have at school. He’s a good kid that’s stuck in a bad situation and ultimately makes poor choices because of this. The reader, fortunately, can see his potential and goodness even if James can’t.
I had a difficult time reading this because of the guards at Morton (the juvenile detention facility). They are brutal and horrible. There are some shining characters there like Samson and Mr. Eboue who really make a difference for James and some of the other characters. I hope the brutality at Morton is an exception and not the rule, but part of me thinks that’s not the case. I have had students like James and like the other characters in Kindness for Weakness. They may make bad decisions, but I know they need guidance and someone to believe in them. I don’t work in a detention facility so I can’t understand what that’s like, but the teacher in me hopes they can and are better than Morton. The setting Shawn Goodman created in Kindness for Weakness really plays a pivotal role in the book.
I will admit that I had a difficult time keeping all of the characters straight and probably could have done without a couple of them. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The last few chapters had me racing to finish, but also cringing at the brutality. The ending, however, shocked me. I’m not sure what to think, and even though I was upset, the ending works. I’m even tempted to read The Sea Wolf by Jack London which plays a strong part in James’s development and the development of the story.
Kindness for Weakness definitely has a place in classrooms and libraries. I highly recommend reading it and handing it to a teen reader....more