There are so many things to love about Always Second Best. This is a multifaceted story if ever there was one. It broke my heart, halfway attempted toThere are so many things to love about Always Second Best. This is a multifaceted story if ever there was one. It broke my heart, halfway attempted to put it back together, and then broke it all over again.
Always Second Best has Romeo & Juliet vibes for the modern YA audience, with a very different ending. It's a novel of love and of loss that shows us it's okay--even important--to question the things we feel so certain that we want. And same with relationships. Familial, romantic, platonic... Sometimes relationships seem solid in their standing, whichever that standing may be. Love. Hate. Distrust. But by the end, nothing's exactly where it began. Forgiveness and perspective and knowledge are powerful things.
This is a book about discovering that no family is perfect and sometimes what may seem unforgivable is, actually, possible to let go of. Or at least to try.
Nick and Emilia. Nick and Em. I already loved them from A Summer Like No Other--which, you don't have to read to enjoy this book, but you should read it anyway.
"You're scared. But you don't need to be. Use this fear to show them who you are."
Nick is a hell of a guy. I loved him in the prequel and I love him even more now. Even when things between Em and he are rocky, he remains a rock in the way that he's there for her. This is a second chance romance you'll be rooting from from page one. (Or, if you've read the prequel, from before the book even begins.)
And Em. Man, life throws Em everything it can in this story and she stays on her feet. She's strong and determined and is given to gentle infusions of humor that make even the hardest scenes a little easier to bear.
The plot twists and winds through unexpected loops, one after another after another. Grief piles on top of grief. This book will slay you at times, but it will also put you as close to back together as it can. Which won't be all the way. Because Always Second Best is the kind of book that will stick with you, deep in your chest, for a long time after reading. ...more
If you love reality tv competitions, you will love this book. If you love authentically swoon-worthy heroes with big hearts and English accents, you wIf you love reality tv competitions, you will love this book. If you love authentically swoon-worthy heroes with big hearts and English accents, you will love this book. If you love fucking awesome, smart-mouthed heroines, you will love this book.
If you want to read one of the sexiest shower scenes EVER, you will love this book.
The story is fun and pulled me in from the start. I literally read it in one day. It's been a while since I've rooted for a couple the way I did for Julie and Gavin. They're complex characters with a sexual attraction that's off the charts, and their slow build into falling in love was completely believable. ...more
Okay, yep. Sign me right on up for any book Nowodazkij writes in the future. I'm not usually a novella reader, but I couldn't pass up the awesome oppoOkay, yep. Sign me right on up for any book Nowodazkij writes in the future. I'm not usually a novella reader, but I couldn't pass up the awesome opportunity to read this one--because I already knew the kind of quality I could expect from Elodie--and she didn't disappoint.
This novella is packed full of drama and love and sweetness and secrets. I couldn't put it down. I loved the chemistry between Nick and Emilia. I loved the way their story unfolded. I loved every twist and turn and I felt like, at times, I was living in the pages with them--rooting so hard for them to be (and stay!) together. Nick is just so...THERE for Em. And with all the things going on with their families, I loved the way they each became the other's oasis of sorts, at least for the summer.
AND I love that this wasn't Em & Nick's last story! I'm super looking forward to the follow-up novel and will be reading it as soon as I can get my greedy little hands on it. ...more
DAYS LIKE THIS starts with a beautiful memory that twists into something poignant enough to take your breath away. The rest of the novel follows suitDAYS LIKE THIS starts with a beautiful memory that twists into something poignant enough to take your breath away. The rest of the novel follows suit the entire read. Pretty prose and characters who long for things they don't want to will, in turn, make you long for them to find happiness with every flip of every page. I was totally invested in Cassie and Graham's love story, before they'd even set eyes on each other.
Graham. God, Graham. You can just feel the loss spiraling out of him and the way he hungers for the past, no matter how hard he's tried to move forward. And when you put him and Cassie in the same room... They just get each other. And you know they should be together, even if their situations are complicated and messy in the most heartbreaking of ways. There are moments of such sweetness and ones of holy hell hotness. It was a perfect balance of times where your emotions are tugged to the point of almost breaking followed by sexual tension that revs your entire system.
Molly and June, secondary characters who I love as much as I love the main ones. (Hint, hint to Ellison--write their stories. I'll be the first in line for them!) Strong female characters, for the absolute win.
A moving and also completely gripping tension paved the way to a surprising climax that was impossible to put down. Needless to say, I stayed up way too late to finish the story. And even if I was a zombie the next day, I have zero regrets. I was smiling so hard by the end, and I realize now that my happiness at the close was made even stronger by the depth of the journey it took to get there.
I started reading One Two Three while I was sick and I'm pretty sure it actually slowed down my recovery, ha! Because I couldn't put it down to fall aI started reading One Two Three while I was sick and I'm pretty sure it actually slowed down my recovery, ha! Because I couldn't put it down to fall asleep. It just sucks you in that way.
I danced for many many years and slipping into Natalya's head was both easy and oh, so painful. And not just for the longing to dance aspects. The loss of her father and the almost worse loss of her mother, though her mother's still around (ish). My heart hurt so much for Natalya in so many ways.
But she's a strong girl and she stays focused on what she wants--until it's too much in itself. But we all have that breaking point, don't we? Sometimes we have to fully crack so we can get our pieces all back together.
And then there's Tonio. Sigh. Sweet, cocky, playful Tonio who I rooted for pretty much from the first scene he entered. He was the perfect ray of light to shine through the drama of Nata's world, and I loved watching her begin to realize it. <3...more