Stitching Snow is a unique and futuristic retelling of the widely popular German fairy tale, "Snow White". Although loosely based, there are still manStitching Snow is a unique and futuristic retelling of the widely popular German fairy tale, "Snow White". Although loosely based, there are still many key identifying features that recall the beloved classic. Essie has been living alone in the barren tundra of Thanda for the past several years. She keeps to herself and spends her days tinkering, coding and repairing the 7 loyal drones that help run the local mines. Her solitude is disrupted when a boy her age crash-lands near her home. Begrudgingly she agrees to help Dane repair his ship and gets caught up in a war that she had risked her life so many years ago to escape.
Fairytale retellings are my jam and this was no exception. Essie is a truly fantastic and complex heroine. She is badass, brave and smart, but also very cautious. I was truly impressed with how she handles life on Thanda—especially since it is a planet populated mostly by brute men. (What sixteen year old girl willing participates in cage fights for cash and street cred? lol)
I also really like how intricately detailed all the planets are and how each has a unique climate, population and their own set of problems. Despite all the added elements, I didn’t find it confusing in the least trying to keep track of when, where and what everything was happening.
Another thing I want to mention is the simple yet beautiful cover. Snow White’s poisonous apple with the almost machinery-like designs are perfect representations of the story in my opinion.
This reminded me of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer just because of how the universes are set up and because of the sci-fi elements added to the retellings. I really like both and if you're already a fan of TLC, then I think you'll enjoy this one as well. However, that being said, don’t lump these two together because Stitching Snow deserves its own recognition. (I might prefer Essie over Cinder though if I’m being completely honest…) I’m not sure if Spinning Starlight is the next book in the series (or if this is even a series at all?), but I’m for sure excited to read that one as well!...more
Dani Young has just graduated college and is ready to start her screenwriting/directing career in Los Angeles. Her very first day in the City of Angels doesn't go as planned, but she reunites with her childhood best friend, Elise, who snags Dani a job on the set of Vamp Camp--a popular teen show where Elise's boyfriend (Tate Lawrence) just happens to be the star. Burned from a past relationship, Elise asks Dani to seduce Tate because she wants to be sure that he's a loyal boyfriend even when she's not around. Dani sees no harm in helping a friend out seeing as she has no intention of ever falling for a shallow and egotistical celebrity. However, Tate surprises her and she has no idea how to derail their growing friendship.
This is written as a flashback--the main character, Dani, is getting her hair and makeup done and begins telling the story of how disastrous her first few months in LA turned out. We don't find out what she's getting ready for or who exactly she's talking to until the very end when everything is wrapped up. I thought this was a unique spin that added depth to the story.
Overall though, I wasn't impressed. I felt like the dialogue was unrealistic and I didn't particularly like any of the characters except maybe Tate (who was a sweet, animal lover) and Dani's roommate, Brit (who was the most eccentric of the bunch and who was Dani’s only true friend in my opinion). Dani was a bit too snobbish for my taste and Elise was self-absorbed and annoyed me to no end. I thought that the drama between her and Dani ended a little too perfectly and conveniently to be believable. I also didn’t think that Dani and Tate had the best chemistry, but I did enjoy watching their friendship grow.
Even though this wasn’t one of my favorites, it is a quick, fun read and I think it might still be worth picking up if you like lighthearted new adult romances.
* Thank you to the author and publisher for an eARC in return for my honest review *...more
After getting herself into quite a bit of trouble, Sloane’s parents decide she needs a change of scenery and to distance herself from the bad influences in her life--i.e. all of her New York City friends. The plan they come up with involves Sloane and her mom moving to Texas for the year while her brother and father stay behind in the Big Apple. To say she’s less than thrilled is an understatement, but she’s prepared to be on her best behavior if it means getting herself home early. The problem is that the troublemaker next door won’t seem to leave her alone. She promised her mom she’d stay away, but there’s just something about Tru that makes her almost forget how much she hates Texas.
This was a quick, cute read. I really liked both Sloane and Tru. Sloane is outspoken and witty. She seems to be the black sheep of the family--the others don't completely understand her artistic side. I thought it was super cool that she had a secret online comic strip and was sort of jealous at the same time because I've always wanted that kind of artistic ability.
Tru also has his fair share of family drama--more so than Sloane is some ways. But despite all that, he is very charming and was just a very likable goofball. I can definitely see why it was so hard for Sloane to resist him, and am glad that she didn't let other peoples prejudices about him decide their friendship.
I did think that the conflict in the plot was a little juvenile and unrealistic (I know this probably sounds vague until you actually read what happens, but obviously I'm not going to spoil it). I just honestly doubt something like this would happen in real life without someone taking notice early on. But overall I did enjoy the book and am glad it is part of a series; I'm excited to see what happens next with these two because they were both such great characters!
4.5 stars * Thank you to the author and publisher for an eARC in return for my honest review *...more
“Perfect Paige” has her life all planned out; graduate high school as one of the top 5 in her class, attend Stanford University, and go on to medical school so she can take over the family practice. However, after getting a D on her latest calculus test she has to figure out how to pass this ridiculous class or risk the chance of her plans—and her parents’ expectations—going up in flames. Enter Ben Franklin: the sweet, smart boy from the wrong side of town. He agrees to tutor Paige if only she helps turn him into the kind of guy her best friend, and most popular girl in school, will consider dating. Paige hesitates, but can’t argue that this is the perfect plan…until she realizes that she wishes Ben was working this hard for her attention instead of Zoey’s.
First of all, how freakin’ adorable is that cover? I mean seriously so cute. Just like this story. I thought it was going to be the typical cliche love triangle, but it turned out to be so much more--honestly the perfect contemporary romance. Ben has had a crush on Zoey for as long as he can remember. Unfortunately for him--and every other guy at their high school--he just isn't someone she'd ever notice on her own which is why he enlists Paige's help. As expected the two fall for each other the more time they spend together because they just make so much more sense.
The twist though came with Zoey. She turned out to be a lot less like your typical self-absorbed queen bee than I had initially expected. Her and Paige could not have been more different; Zoey is completely laid back while Paige is anything but. Yet their differences work well together and Zoey is actually an amazing friend to Paige. Paige is a bit too nice—she can’t seem to say no to anyone—but she grows so, so much throughout the story. Ben is ridiculously hardworking and so incredibly sweet. He pushes Paige to finally be honest about all the pressure she's been feeling towards her future and gives her the strength to come clean to her parents--especially her dad. He helps her discover that perfection is overrated and that nothing but her happiness is important at the end of the day. I usually have a favorite character but I genuinely liked all of them which made this that much more of an enjoyable read.
The ending left room for a sequel and I really hope that is the case because I am definitely going to be reading anything else written by Highley if she continues writing such great characters and I'm definitely interested in seeing how Zoey's story continues!...more
After getting kicked out of her fourth boarding school, Summer Barnes moves to Paris to finish off her second senior year of high school. She has until the age of 22 to graduate from a four-year university or she risks losing a hefty inheritance—which seems easier said than done at this point. She’s felt lost and alone since the sudden death of her father five years earlier and believes that all her problems will go away if she just meets the right guy. Lucky for her, she catches the eye of two; one challenges her and helps her rediscover life’s beauty, while the other leads her down a path of self-destruction. When her damaging behavior manages to alienate everyone, she has to decide if she wants to continue down this road or if her life is worth living and fighting for.
As the title sort of suggests this deals with some dark topics including addiction, depression, and suicide. It is not an easy read so be aware of that if these are things you are not comfortable with or find triggering. As someone who also battled depression at the age of 18, I completely identified with Summer. It was easy to be sympathetic towards her despite how frustrating she was at times because I know what it feels like to be in her shoes. She may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I thought she was very real and appreciated her straight forward voice.
Moony was a great character as well. I can't even image how he has such an optimistic take on life after everything he's been through. I think he and Summer meet just when she needs him most. Kurt on the other had is the complete opposite and encourages her down an even more dangerous path than she is already on. They definitely did not have your average love triangle; it was more of a light vs. dark tug of war that was a lot different than I had expected from how it's written on the cover.
I figured out the twist pretty early on but it was still interesting to see that aspect of the plot unravel. I don’t want to say much because I don’t want to give it away, but I thought it was an intriguing take on inner demons and the mental battle that is depression. Overall, I think this is a great read and I wish there were some others out there like it because depression and mental illness is still something that is not talked about enough. ...more
Everything, Everything tells the story of Madeleine, an eighteen year old with SCID (severe combined immune deficiency). She is allergic to the outside world and, therefore, has not stepped through her front door in seventeen years. Her house has been turned into a safe, sealed environment that allows her to continue her studies online and live as normal a life as possible. Her only friends have been her overprotective mother and her kindhearted nurse until the new neighbors move in next door. She’s always been fine with her sheltered, monotonous life, but the second her eyes meet Olly's, everything changes.
Maddy is a great character. She has a really likable and noteworthy voice. I expected her to be a bit immature because of her upbringing (she has been sheltered from virtually everything her entire life), but she really wasn’t and I quite admired her—I know for a fact that if I was in her position I would not have been as strong, optimistic and accepting. Olly was a nice, quirky addition. Their friendship started off a bit unconventional. They had to come up with interesting ways to get to know each other at first since she isn’t allowed to leave the house and isn’t allowed visitors. As their relationship grows, it is obvious how much he cares for her by how much he is willing to sacrifice.
I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but there is a pretty major plot bomb towards the end. I had my suspicions, but was still genuinely surprised when everything unfolded.
By far my favorite thing about this was the little extras that are sprinkled throughout the book. There are emails, journal entries, IMs, drawings, web pages, and diagrams. For some reason I always like it when stuff like this is included, I feel like it adds a little bit of fun to the book, especially to one that has some serious and emotional subject matter like this one.
This is a fantastic debut! Fans of The Fault in our Stars will definitely appreciate this (not that the two books are very similar). Can’t wait to see what else Nicola Yoon has in store for us!...more
Sixteen year-old Flo’s life is anything but ordinary--she is just one of many performers in a travelingFor more reviews go to: best-of-ya.blogspot.com
Sixteen year-old Flo’s life is anything but ordinary--she is just one of many performers in a traveling circus. On the outside, this seems like any normal animal circus, but the secret lies in the fact that there aren’t any actual animals in tow. Instead, the humans shape-shift into their animal forms when it is time to perform. Shifters are unknown to the human world, so when a human spots Flo practicing her routine, panic seizes the circus and anxiety causes Flo to accidentally shift from horse to human in front of an unsuspecting audience. Her mistake unleashes the fury of the hunters (a government run group titled EOS whose purpose is to eradicate the shifters and make sure the humans never find out about them). Luckily Flo and a few others are able to flee in time. Together they embark on a journey that reveals secrets they never thought possible and causes them to question everything they’ve been taught and, worst of all, who they can trust.
I thought the entire book was very well written and well-thought out. I really liked the premise of this and the fact that the characters shape-shifted into many different types of animals because the only other books I’ve read about shape-shifters seem to focus solely on werewolves. The beginning is pretty slow, but then everything picks up and doesn’t really slow down until the very last page (it was a bit rushed in my opinion). For anyone that likes a lot of action, this is the book for you. As soon as things go wrong during Flo’s performance the fighting and killing is almost constant (some of it is kind of graphic so be aware of that if it is something you are not comfortable with). There was a lot of death which I thought was kind of excessive, but at the same time believable since it was trained hunters against a bunch of scared kids--in their animal form or not, they still weren’t warriors. The only thing I would have liked to see was a greater emphasis on the circus itself because that was something I was pretty excited about.
Flo isn’t my favorite character, but she does a lot of growing throughout the story which I admired. She starts off terrified of just performing her short act in front of complete strangers, but by the end she is completely willing to put her life on the line for all of her friends. This is stemmed from the fact that she feels responsible that everyone is running for their lives and wants to help make it as right as possible, but I don’t think everyone would step up to the plate that way. She refuses to run when offered the chance mutiple times and fights until the very end.
I’m not sure if this will have a sequel or not (the ending seems to be open for one), but I will most likely pick it up because I am intrigued by this shifter world and how Flo and Jett’s story continues. ...more
Candy Seaborne is pretty sure her father is a spy—or maybe even an assassin. Either way, he’s a total badass and she wants to follow in his footsteps. But for now she’s a senior who’s trying to reestablish her place in the high school hierarchy. She is instantly drawn to Jonah Bryson who seems to be full of contradictions. He’s a jock, but not your typical player. He’s popular, but kind of antisocial. And despite the fact that they just met, he seems to understand her better than anyone.
This is told over two full-length books; Like Candy and Sweet Liar. The beginning was kind of slow as we are introduced to the characters and it mainly focuses on Candy’s growing relationship with Jonah. I love it when the author actually takes the time to build the romantic relationships in their book; it is always enjoyable and much more believable seeing a relationship bloom slowly rather than having the characters get together after just 5 pages or whatever.
It wasn’t until almost the very end that the action picked up and the interesting stuff started to happen (which was a little frustrating because I had no clue where the plot was going most of the time since there wasn’t much happening in the first 3/4 of the book). I still have no idea what Candy’s father does for a living or what he did to piss off his superiors, but it is something that is spilling into his personal life quickly—and, shockingly, into Candy’s as well. I won’t say how, but I will say that it was a well-developed plot twist that I did not see coming! The story also ends in a pretty massive cliff-hanger that leaves you wishing this was not split into two books because you need to know exactly what happens after the last word.
I didn’t particularly love Candy at the start, but she definitely grew on me as the story progressed. I feel like as Jonah got to know her better, so did I. She is manipulative and thrives off of revenge, but is also really sweet and kind of a homebody; she would rather spend her nights at home cooking dinner for her father instead of being out all night with her friends. Jonah was also really sweet and caring. He does some of the nicest things for Candy, but at the same time is very secretive which made it hard to really get to know him; I’m hoping we get to learn more about who he really is in book two.
I would probably have given this a full 5 stars had it not been for the lull in the plot at times. I appreciate that the time was taken to really develop the characters and their relationships with each other, but it would have also been nice if a bit more action was thrown in earlier. But other than that, I really did enjoy this and will definitely be picking up Sweet Liar and any other books written by Doxer in the future....more
Alexandra Gastone is not who she claims to be. At the age of 7, Milena Rokva was dropped off at theFor more reviews go to: www.best-of-ya.blogspot.com
Alexandra Gastone is not who she claims to be. At the age of 7, Milena Rokva was dropped off at the secret headquarters of Perun, a clandestine organization of her homeland, Olissa. There she trained to be a spy and learns everything she needs to know in order to become Alexandra and to infiltrate the life of Albert Gastone, a prominent CIA analyst—the real Alexandra and her parents are killed in a car crash in order for Milena to take her place. The original plan is to have Alexandra finish high school, attend Princeton, and eventually join the CIA in order to help the Olissan government, but when an opportunity presents itself, Perun activates Alexandra earlier than she is ready.
I actually loved this more than I was expecting to. The plot has the perfect amount of action, romance, and suspense. The whole storyline is very well-planned and complex; Perun, the politics and unrest between the two countries, and the other spy agents were all completely believable. The beginning is a bit slow because we are introduced to the characters and their backgrounds, but once the spy stuff actually kicked in, I couldn’t put it down. There were quite a few surprises and plot twists along the way that I honestly never saw coming; the author really throws curveballs that keep you fully immersed in the story. It ends in a cliffhanger and I am hoping there is a sequel because I NEED to know what happens next.
The characters are also really likable and real. Lex is strong and brave but I also felt that she was a bit lost—imagine being abandoned by your father and forced to become a spy before even starting middle school. I admired her resistance of Perun in the beginning, but I can also see why she gave in to the organization and believed in it as much as she did. She uncovers some secrets that really make her question her loyalty and everything she’s been made to believe about her mission; it all kind of tears her up inside and it was interesting to see what she ultimately decides to do. I just thought she was an overall well-rounded character and found it a little funny how bad at being a spy she was sometimes.
Albert, her grandfather, is the nicest and sweetest person ever. There was a point in the story where I was sure he would turn into the villain, but I’m glad this was not the case. As for Grant, he seemed nice enough, but there was something about him that I didn’t particularly like? He was a little too needy for my tastes, but for good reason I guess since she does lie to him quite a bit.
This is a fantastic debut novel and, as I mentioned before, I hope there is a sequel to this story or at least another book by T.A. MacLagan in the near future because I will be picking up whatever she publishes next!...more
The start of Lizzie White’s last year of high school brings about some unexpected surprises. The biFor more reviews go to: www.best-of-ya.blogspot.com
The start of Lizzie White’s last year of high school brings about some unexpected surprises. The biggest being her very hot--but very off-limits--new English teacher. Every girl in school has their eyes on Brandon Thomas, who is unlike any of the other teachers; he is young, sexy, and in a totally cool band. Lizzie decides that the situation is futile so she sets her feelings aside and focuses on her budding romance with a fellow student, Gabe. However, things get a bit complicated when Brandon’s twin brother, Jason, shows up. Jason has no quarrels when it comes to getting involved with one of Brandon’s students so that’s exactly what he does.
I found a lot of faults within this. My biggest issue is that the book is probably 90% dialogue. No time was really focused on describing things, instead everything is straight up told to us which takes away from the reading experience in my opinion. The whole thing--plot, characters, drama, conflicts--just did not seem believable in the slightest. Lizzie speaks to Gabe (her classmate) on the very first day of school for the very first time and by that afternoon they have already decided that they want to be boyfriend/girlfriend. As for her romance with Brandon, they have a total of like 2 moments where they connect and seem to like each other. But again, two whole conversations does not make an amazing romance or relationship. Another issue I had was that Jason is portrayed as the player, but by the end he isn’t actually any of these things and is really just “misunderstood”. The problem with this is that it all happened out of the blue and without any character development whatsoever.
I also didn’t particularly like Lizzie. She complains all the time about what a terrible friend Taylor is (and she’s right, don’t get me wrong), but at the same time she never says anything and continues to let Taylor mistreat her. I can’t stand when anyone--whether they be real or fictional--constantly plays the victim.
I really wish I had liked this because the premise is something I usually enjoy, but there were just way more problems than redeeming qualities. This is a really short read which is a plus (and probably what got me all the way to the end) and the cover is super cute, but other than that this just wasn't for me. ...more
Trisha and her friends have a Halloween tradition wherein, at the strike of midnight, they hold comFor more reviews go to: www.best-of-ya.blogspot.com
Trisha and her friends have a Halloween tradition wherein, at the strike of midnight, they hold compact mirrors up to the flame of a candle in the hopes of seeing the faces of their future husbands. Year after year, the only face staring back at them is their own. This year something incredulous happens; the face Trisha sees in the mirror is identical to her own, but it does not belong to herself. She sees Chessie, her twin sister who passed away when the girls were just 5 years old. In nightly meetings that only she can see and hear, Chessie claims to be back on a mission that involves Trisha. Trisha is pretty sure she’s gone crazy, but chooses to follow the instructions her sister has outlined for her in the hopes that it will help Chessie finally move on and gain the peace she deserves.
The official synopsis for this book is very misleading and alludes to a much more sinister plot (especially in the last paragraph) than is actually present. I thought this was going to be a lot spookier and more supernatural, but all that really happens between Trisha and her long-deceased sister is that they get together and talk about Chessie’s plan every other night or so. (Unfortunately, she isn’t even a cool ghost with powers because she can’t manipulate anyone or anything) Chessie supposedly has a way to get Trisha and her ex-best friend to patch things up, but in order for this to happen, Trisha apparently needs to start dating a classmate of her choice. The whole plan was really random and didn’t make much sense--it didn’t add up with the ending in my opinion. I just felt that the whole central plot was off and lacked believability.
There was not much of a romance aspect either; Trisha lacked chemistry with both of her romantic interests which was disappointing. She has a huge crush on a fellow student, Kirk Maxwell, but the boy she chooses to help her fulfill Chessie’s task is someone completely different and someone she hardly even knows. As expected their relationship went nowhere. Kirk kind of just shows up at random times and “saves” her from situations. He seemed to be into her, but they don’t ever really share any special moments.
My favorite aspects of this were the overall message of friendship, honesty, and the familial bond and the fact that it is barely over 100 pages long. Other than that, I feel like this was a cool concept, but was just trying too hard to be something it unfortunately wasn’t. ...more
Anya Anderson has been on her own and homeless since she was just 15 years old. She has been tryingFor more reviews go to: www.best-of-ya.blogspot.com
Anya Anderson has been on her own and homeless since she was just 15 years old. She has been trying to figure out a way to make enough money so that she can get off the streets and can get her friend Jude the help he needs. She somehow convinces an online music blog to hire her as a freelance writer, and so for the next two weeks it is her job to shadow Will Fray—the bonafide “shy guy” of the hottest boyband around, Seconds to Juliet—and try to dig up as much dirt about him and the band as possible. What she doesn't expect is that Will is actually Matt, his twin brother, who has been reluctantly filling in for him while he is in rehab. (Although this is the fourth book in the Backstage Pass series, they are all written by different authors and do not need to be read in order).
Anya is a 17 year old girl who has worries and problems no one her age should have to face. Her time on the streets has made her guarded, anxious, and she has a difficult time trusting people, yet none of this has made her angry or bitter. She is primarily trying to make this job work for the sake of her friend Jude—who helped her and kept her safe when she first arrived on the streets—which made me like her that much more (it’s never explicitly said, but I am assuming she’s trying to save enough so she can help him go to rehab).
Matt is really sweet and self-less. He fills in for his twin while he is away in rehab because he wants to see him get better and also because he does not want either Will or his mom to face a 20 million dollar lawsuit. Stepping into the shoes of a world famous boy band member can not be easy for someone who has no experience or desire to be in one.
This is the second Backstage Pass book I have read (the first being Daisy and the Front Man). I genuinely enjoyed it; it is well-written and easy to get into. This is told in alternating view points which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it worked for me because Anya and Matt both have strong voices and it was easy to distinguish between them. I also thought that the conflicts and drama throughout the book were well-thought-out and believable which was something that I did not like about the third book. Anya and Matt have great chemistry from the beginning and I loved seeing their relationship progress. The ending is seriously so cute; my favorite part by far!...more
Three lifelong friends have decided to do the famous Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage before they begiFor more reviews go to: www.best-of-ya.blogspot.com
Three lifelong friends have decided to do the famous Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage before they begin college in the fall. They have been preparing for a year and are finally heading out on this once in a lifetime experience. Tessa, entranced by her grandparents love story, is also looking for a fairy tale ending of her own. Piper—dealing with her estranged mother constantly popping in and out of her life—and Dani—struggling with the fact that her mother and her fiancé are pregnant with twins—just want a summer to remember. Despite the fact that the girls have since moved across the country from each other, their friendship and bond has remained constant and is only strengthened by this journey.
I had never heard of this pilgrimage but I am now really interested in doing it myself. Although this is fictional, it still seems like a great experience and like an amazing thing to do before college. I feel like this is not something that most 17 year olds would want to do since it is by no means a vacation—they walk hundreds of kilometers a day, sleep in overcrowded hostels, and even have to endure a rain storm. The walk really allows them to get to know themselves and each other. They each discover who they are and become comfortable in their own skin. They realize that what seemed important or overwhelming at the beginning of the walk really isn’t that big of a deal. Although there were a few major bumps in the road, I was pretty proud and impressed that they were able to fight through and finish.
This is a great read and I think that it would appeal to a large audience. It is told in alternating view points which I know is an issue for a lot of people. I usually don’t mind, but this time it was a little hard for me to keep track of who’s turn it was because it was all in the first-person perspective. But it does allow you to really get to know each girl individually and experience their emotions and feelings throughout the Camino. Tessa was a bit annoying at first because she is used to the finer things in life and has a hard time slumming it on the Camino, but she eventually steps out of her comfort zone. Dani was extremely sweet and really shy at first—out of all the girls I think she is the one that comes into her skin the most and you can really see her gain confidence day by day. Piper comes to terms with her relationship with her mother and even falls for someone with the same illness. What I really liked about the three is their relationship and how open and honest they are with each other; they seemed more like sisters. ...more
When Kat accidentally transports herself into one of her old fairytale books as Cinderella’s ugly step-sister, she finds herself in quite the predicament. The only way to get home is ensure that the story ends as it should—with a happily ever after. Unfortunately for her, the rest of the characters don’t seem to be playing along; she has no idea where the fairy godmother is hiding, the handsome prince seems to hate all the attention that comes with his status, her beautiful sister is dead set on becoming queen, and if all of that weren’t enough, Cinderella has her eyes set on someone else. How is Kat supposed to make sure the story runs smoothly and still learn how to navigate the social season as a highborn lady?
I am not a huge fan of retellings because I feel like they all end up being the same so I almost didn’t bother reading this. And omg, how horrible would that have been? Because I honestly loved everything about this! I think that just the small change of making this from the ugly stepsisters perspective added so much to the story. But that isn’t even the best part. The characters were so well-written and amazing. I loved every single one of them—even the actual evil, stepsister.
Kat predictably started off as shy and clumsy but quickly turned into the brave heroine. It was great seeing her grow and become assertive and bold. She challenges various issues in the fairy tale world including child labor and sexism. I thought it was funny how everyone is either impressed or scandalized by her behavior and was happy that she felt the need to do something about these injustices despite knowing she wouldn’t be in Athelia long. Prince Edward is very down-to-earth and passionate about his position, despite the fact that he doesn’t like all the attention that comes along with being the crown prince. He was so cute and sweet and understanding—I just loved him.
Another thing I really liked was the distinction between Kat’s voice and that of all the other fairy tale characters. They really sounded like they came straight out of a fairy tale while she had a modern vocabulary—it was very comical at times. Eventually she kind of starts to sound like them, but there was always that modern slang that confused the hell out of everyone else.
This is by far one of my favorites and I hope Aya continues to write such amazing and strong female characters! The only thing I would change about this is the cover. The current one does not do this justice and I think this is definitely deserving of a prettier and more magical one. ...more
Naila is the daughter of Pakistani immigrants. She has spent the last seventeen years living a normal American life. Despite their traditions and beliefs, her parents have always allowed her to dress how she pleases, study what she wants, and even go to the college of her choice. The only thing they forbid her to do is chose who she will marry. When they catch her at prom with her boyfriend they are enraged and very disappointed because Saif, although also Pakistani-America, does not come from a “respectable” family. Naila’s parents feel that they have failed her and that the only thing to do now is to spend a month in their homeland so Naila can understand where she comes from and why this is so important to them.
Her parents use their time in Pakistan to scout for an honorable boy for her to marry. It’s obvious from the beginning what her parents are trying to do and I think deep down Naila knew but she didn’t want to even imagine that option. Everyone tells her that her fate has been sealed, that her destiny has been written in the stars, and that fighting will only make things worse for her. But she refuses to give up on the life her parents are stealing from her. She fights, runs away, and downright refuses but instead of listening to her, they drug her so she complies. I admire her resilience and bravery. She fought and continued to fight despite knowing that doing so could get her killed. I also admired the fact that she didn’t let this break her. She resigned herself to her new life, yes, but she did so on her own terms once she realized that this was a better option than being empty inside for the rest of her life.
At first I was a little apprehensive about the writing style because it was so simple, but I think that is what made it possible for Naila’s emotions to be so well understood and felt. The reader is able to focus on what is happening without being distracted trying to figure out what the author means.
This was a little hard to read because of the subject matter. It is heartbreaking to know that there are so many young girls (even in 2015) that are forced to endure what Naila goes through, some with fates ten times worse than hers. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to feel that helpless and hopeless. I have never really understood arranged marriages as I do not come from a culture that practices them, but reading this showed me that an arranged marriage is most definitely not the same thing as a forced marriage. This is a fantastic book that brings awareness to this issue. Definitely read the Author’s Note at the end of the book and Saeed’s guest post over at YA Highway for an even better understanding of the different types of arranged marriages. ...more
Eva has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. So when she hands in her last writinFor more reviews go to: www.best-of-ya.blogspot.com
Eva has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. So when she hands in her last writing assignment of her high school career and her writing teacher tells her she should focus on writing “what she knows”, she is a little distressed and realizes she doesn’t actually know all that much. She decides to take advantage of her last summer before college to gain new experiences and finally live a life worth writing about. That’s how she ends up as a camp counselor even though she is wholly unqualified, how she finds herself falling for the last person she ever thought possible, and how she almost loses her two best friends.
Eva is a judge-y, know-it-all who has this irritating need to be different than everyone around her. But despite all of this, I found myself liking her. She knows how problematic she is (because she is told by pretty much everyone she talks to) and she genuinely seems like she wants to change her negative attitude. She realizes that she hasn’t lived any life changing moments thus far because she hasn't really let herself; she’s been more preoccupied trying to be different and unique that she has shunned people and passed up opportunities. She kind of reminds me of my high school self in this regard, unfortunately.
Her sister, Courtney, is also a great character. She is 21 and, although she is more confident and in control than Eva, she is also a little lost and trying to find herself. She is going to community college and doesn’t sound like she fully knows what she wants to do with her life—except maybe travel. I really liked her and Eva’s relationship. She is always there whenever Eva needs her and is actually great at giving her advice and making her realize when she’s being difficult or ridiculous.
The plot isn’t particularly exciting or action-packed, but it is real. The book takes place the summer after Eva’s senior year and is spent just like any new graduate probably would; with a summer job, spending as much time with friends as possible, and coming to terms with the fact that going to college means leaving the only home you’ve ever known. What I also really liked about this is that Eva doesn’t go through a magical transformation and doesn’t turn into a completely different person by the end of the story. She learns a lot about herself during those few weeks but she herself recognizes that this is just the beginning and that she has a long way to go. And I think that’s perfect....more
Seconds to Juliet is the hottest boyband around and, after winning a concert, Daisy Morris just so happened to snag their front man, Trevin Jacobs, to be her Homecoming date. Too bad he stood her up. Now, almost a year later, she is given the perfect opportunity for revenge: she is spending the summer with her father who happens to be on tour with the band as their bodyguard. She plans on humiliating Trevin just like he humiliated her. As for Trevin, when he meets the gorgeous redhead, he has no idea who she is. But he is intrigued by her icy personality and so when one of his bandmates proposes a bet—one that involves him getting Daisy to fall in love with him by the end of summer—he can’t resist. (Although this is the third book in the Backstage Pass series, they are all written by different authors and do not need to be read in order).
I was excited to read this because this type of story is right up my alley, but unfortunately I did not enjoy the writing style and could not fully immerse myself into it—there was just too much telling and not enough showing. I felt like there was a lot of unnecessary dialogue and the plot was too predictable and cliché (and this is coming from someone who loves clichés).
The characters also missed the mark for me. I didn’t find myself liking either Daisy or Trevin. I think the reason is that by the end, I still didn’t feel like I knew them. Yeah, Daisy has trust issues because of her parents divorce and is still mourning her grandfather, and yes, Trevin is dealing with the fact that he seems to be a disappointment to his father even though he is hugely successful. But these are all things that are told to us, almost just so we will feel sympathetic towards them. Both were just a bit too dramatic for my taste and didn’t feel natural or believable to me.
I did like how Daisy’s relationship with her father progresses throughout the story (but I wish more time could have been spent on this part of the plot). He has been a huge disappointment in her life ever since her parents’ divorce which she has always blamed on him. Throughout the summer she learns some things that change her perspective and it was nice seeing them forming a better, stronger relationship.
Although this wasn’t my cup of tea, I know that my 13 year old self would have enjoyed it. I think this could have been great if it was longer and the proper time had been spent on the development of the characters and plot. Maybe there was just too much trying to happen in a short amount of time? I will definitely be picking up the first 2 books in the series as well just to see how they differ and how the stories fit together....more
Claire and Aidan have been avoiding this moment for months, but the time has finally come. They only have 12 hours left before both leave for college and have yet to decide what to do—stay together or break up. They believe that revisiting the places that brought them together will help make the decision easier. Morning comes all too quickly and they must decide if this is a temporary goodbye or if it’s goodbye forever.
This was such a cute and romantic read which is common of Jennifer E. Smith’s books. I think this is a great end of summer book especially for those also about to leave for college. The entire story takes place within just 12 hours but so much occurs that it does not feel like such a short amount of time. I really love one night or one day stories when they are done right. Everything that happens is important to the story and I didn’t feel like there was a lot of filler which was great. Nothing particularly exciting happens, but that’s okay because this is a story about rediscovering--and possibly letting go of--young love.
Claire and Aidan are a great couple who have an envious relationship. They are complete opposites but I think that’s why they work so well--Claire is the level-headed bookworm while Aidan is the risk taking jock. You would think these would be qualities that would not attract each other or work well together, but they seem to bring these things out in each other. I felt that they balanced each other out very well and that they were needed influences on each other; Claire is more outgoing and spontaneous with Aidan by her side and Aidan is grounded with Claire.
What I particularly liked about this book is that both Claire and Aidan (no matter how much they love each other) choose their dream schools over schools that would allow them to be closer to each other. I thought this was a very admirable decision. To me it seems like most other books with this exact premise always have couples where one of the individuals decides to follow the other to college--as if that person's dreams are more important than their own. I never understood this so I’m glad it was a focal point of Aidan and Claire’s story.
Lastly, I just have to say that I LOVE all of Jennifer E. Smith’s book covers. I think it’s super cute that they all have a similar theme despite the fact that they are not directly connected to each other through a series, etc. This makes them very recognizable and uniquely hers. ...more
Her mother wanted a baby to please her father, her father wanted a weapon that could destroy the world. Using the IVF lab at the hospital where he worked, he tinkered with embryos and their genes. Most died long before being implanted, but then on try number two Sarina was born. Her breath is literal poison and she in the only person in the world—besides her mother and father who were injected with the antidote—that can carry HF186-2A without dying. She was discovered at only six weeks old when her father decided to use his new weapon to infect tourists on a cruise ship docked in Key West. Somehow government officials traced the budding pandemic to her family and she has been locked up in a lab being tested and prodded ever since—until someone helps her escape.
I honestly wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did. In my opinion this is sort of similar to Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi; both protagonists are locked in a lab being tested and detained because of “powers” they can’t control and each vow to destroy the people that have kept them captive their entire lives—no matter the consequences. However, I may actually like Sarina, Sweetheart better because I found Sarina to be a much more enjoyable character than Juliette. Sarina is ridiculously smart which isn’t surprising since she has spent 23 years basically doing nothing but reading and watching anything she can get her hands on. She knows so much I feel like I learned a thing or two from just reading the book. She is also extremely resourceful (she came up with and created some pretty impressive things while on the run), tenacious, and a bit socially awkward.
The overall plot was interesting and kept my attention throughout. The amount of action is just right and, more importantly, it is believable. She doesn’t automatically turn into a ninja when the time calls for it which I appreciated. There are also some graphic gory scenes (particularly chapter 8) so be aware of that if blood is something that freaks you out; it made me cringe a little, not gonna lie.
I didn’t like the romance aspect but I guess it wasn’t the main focus of the story so it didn’t need to be particularly amazing. She has 2 love interests throughout the book—one of which she claims to be in love with after about 3 days—but any time we spend with them is brief. She constantly refers to herself as an animal that can’t be controlled whenever she's around them…it was just kind of unrealistic to me. I know she’s been sheltered her whole life and these are the first guys around her age that she’s known, but I feel like that should make her hesitant to throw herself at them. But I don’t know maybe that’s just naive of me to say? I also didn’t particularly love the cover. I think this book deserves a much more badass, attention-grabbing cover so I hope it gets updated in the future.
Overall, I really enjoyed Carney’s writing. She doesn’t overpower with details, but the way she describes things really brings them to life. I will definitely be picking up her next release!...more
Imagine being told, after 16 years of total ignorance, that your father is the man currently running for the United States presidency. That is exactly what happens to Kate Quinn after her mother tragically passes away in a car crash. She is thrust into the public eye when she joins Senator Cooper—and the rest of her newly discovered family—for the summer as they get to know each other and campaign around the United States. Along the way, she befriends the presidents son. He understands exactly what she is currently going through and so he becomes one of the few people she can confide in. But when both your fathers are running for the most powerful position in the world, things can get a little tricky.
This was cute, yet emotional; it really focuses on love and family and what those two things really mean. Kate struggles to get to know her father because he is somewhat distant and is constantly off trying to rack up votes. As she learns more about him and tries to understand his conflicting views, their relationship becomes strained. It takes a lot of tears and talks for them to find common ground.
Meg, Kate’s stepmother, is strong, supportive, and kind. I respect her so much for the way she handles taking in, and loving, her husbands daughter. I’ve known people in the same situation as Kate who are not always as welcomed. (I’m glad that this is not the case because it is heartbreaking to see these children get the backlash for something they have no control over.) The twins are adorable—Gabe in particular. He is the complete opposite of his sister Gracie—timid & reserved—yet he warms up to Kate a lot quicker.
There are slow parts that I found myself trying to rush through because they were frequent and all pretty much the same. A majority of the chapters seem to be of Kate stuck at home worrying about the campaign and about how she isn’t the perfect daughter. And while she travels around the country with the senator and the rest of the family to promote the campaign, we only get glimpses into these events before she is whisked back home again. I wish there had been more scenes with Andy; their first “date” was adorable and more of that would have been welcome. I feel like some of these filler chapters could have been left out altogether or substituted for some that brought more to the overall story. ...more
Like most high school students, Lexi Shaw is pretending to be someone she’s not. In order to fit in with the popular crowd at school—and ultimately make Ben Dorsey fall in love with her—she needs to look and act the part. This means hiding the fact that her mom is hardly ever around because she is too busy off drinking with one of her boyfriends. And making sure no one finds out what she does with Oakfield High’s resident bad boy in her room at 1 A.M. Oh, and keeping her relationship with her best friend a sort of secret because her popular friends think he’s weird.
Although this seems like it is going to be about the Lexi-Tyler-Ben love triangle, it is really about Lexi’s self-growth. For two years she has tried to be the perfect everything just so she can impress a boy she doesn’t truly know—ultimately losing herself along the way. She has been fixated on her idea of Ben instead of who he really is; she even pushes away two of the only real friends she has because she can not bear to disappoint him. When everything blows up in her face—and someone from her past resurfaces complicating things further—she snaps out of it and allows herself to be, well, herself. Mostly because she doesn’t really have a choice, but also because she finally sees that what you wish for might not always be what you actually want.
Nolan is probably my favorite of all the characters. He does not care an ounce what people think of him and actually takes pleasure in making them squirm when he gets the chance. (Still not sure what everyone’s problem with him is either…) I just really liked his friendship with Lexi because he shows how much he cares in a quiet kind of way. He is her rock and she knows she never has to hide who she is from him and that he’ll always be there for her no matter what. I wish we had gotten to know Tyler more because he is so sweet (albeit a little hotheaded) and could have been a great character. I wanted more Lexi and Tyler scenes that really took the time to develop their romantic relationship.
As for Lexi, she is a bit lost, has low self-esteem and believes that she is not good enough for anyone. She doesn’t have the greatest support system or role models at home—Nolan’s parents practically raised her and her mom doesn’t even bother to attend her high school graduation. I can see why she would want to pretend to be someone else and I applaud her for standing up to her mother.
I think this cover is perfect. The girl in the picture just looks so FREE which perfectly sums up Lexi at the end of the book. (It is the same image used for Heather Topham Wood's Falling for Autumn, but honestly I much prefer the way this one was designed)....more
Fiona/Fi are the exact same person living completely different lives because of a decision made when she was just five years old on that fateful trip to the zoo; whether to get a bag of popcorn or visit the panda exhibit. One lead to a tragic accident that, twelve years later, she is still trying to come to terms with. The other left her with little more than a stuffed panda and some great memories. But despite being on separate paths, their two lives are connected and intersect in odd and amazing ways.
Sometimes when making decisions I wonder what could have happened if I had taken the other option; choosing one class over another, leaving earlier to not miss the bus, etc. Sometimes even just one second of delay can end up saving someones life… I thought this was a great concept and an interesting book to read. I’m a believer in fate and this definitely has a lot of it interwoven in the plot.
Despite the two girls being in alternate universes, there are some similarities and coincidences that prove that even though their two lives could not be more different, they are still meant to end up where they do and to meet the important people in their lives that influence them. McStay does a great job of connecting all the characters and their stories in both versions of Fiona’s life. A lot of relationships stay constant between both, but others are completely different from one version to the other, yet they work very naturally and are easy to believe and follow along with.
Initially you think that Fi’s life—the version where she is not badly burned and scarred—is the perfect one, but she isn’t happy either and suffers quite a bit as well. She becomes lost after losing both of the things she loves the most and spends a whole year trying to get out of this funk and get her life back on track. Fiona—who has had to deal with angry scars covering the entire right side of her face basically her entire life—is actually the one I found more inspiring. She is very self-conscious, as I image anyone would be in her situation, and unfortunately she lets this stop her from doing what she truly loves. Eventually she realizes that everything happens for a reason and what you do with your situation is what ultimately defines who you are, so why worry about something you have no control over?...more
Meg and Cody have been inseparable since kindergarten, so when Cody gets Meg’s suicide email she has no idea what to think. They were supposed to knowMeg and Cody have been inseparable since kindergarten, so when Cody gets Meg’s suicide email she has no idea what to think. They were supposed to know everything about each other, so why did Cody have absolutely no idea Meg was in this much pain? When she is asked to pack up Meg’s things at her college apartment, she stumbles upon an encrypted file Meg failed to delete off her laptop. Once Cody is able to open the file, she becomes obsessed with figuring out what all the documents inside mean and what role, if any, they had in Meg’s suicide.
This deals with some pretty heavy topics—depression and suicide—but ultimately this is a story about forgiveness. Cody is angry and lost after Meg’s suicide. She feels responsible and guilty because she wasn’t there for Meg during her lowest, but she also feels betrayed and doesn’t know how to forgive Meg for leaving her. She becomes obsessed with finding someone to blame because she does not believe that her beautiful, amazing, full-of-life best friend could have consciously chosen to end her own life. She discovers a lot about Meg she didn’t previously know and understands that in order to move on from this she must not only forgive Meg, but she has to forgive herself as well.
Cody and Ben fell flat for me as characters and so did their romance. There are brief moments where they connect and bond and whatever, but they spend more time apart and not talking/fighting then falling in love (at least in my opinion). I just didn’t feel the chemistry that is so common in all of Forman’s other books with these two. But falling in love really isn’t the focal point of this story so I guess that’s why the romance didn’t have to be as well developed.
I will read anything Gayle Forman writes because I absolutely loved If I Stay/Where She Went and Just One Day/Just One Year. All of her books are different but what stays constant is how emotionally gripping they are. I think I might have started this with my expectations set a bit too high because, although I liked the book I didn’t think it was amazing. I didn’t connect as much with these characters and this story as I have with all her other books. ...more
Annie Lucas’ father has just been offered an amazing opportunity as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals which is how she ends up in MissAnnie Lucas’ father has just been offered an amazing opportunity as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals which is how she ends up in Missouri at an all girls private school. There she focuses on track: winning meets, breaking records, and getting noticed by college scouts. Jason Brody, the new Royals’ rookie pitcher, somewhat blindsides her when she realizes that she has actual feelings for him. But he has a sketchy past, a playboy image, and is obviously off limits—because he’s a major league baseball player and all. As their friendship turns into something more, the two of them try to find a way to make things work despite all that keeps getting in their way.
I honestly finished this in about two days. I loved so many things about this book: the plot, the characters, the writing. Just everything! The relationship that Annie has with her father is something I’ve always craved with my own. They are just so sweet, caring and protective of each other. Annie’s relationship with Brody is also well written. Their relationship slowly progressives from a very close friendship which I liked. It was a gradual shift and there were a lot of scenes where they take the time to actually get to know each other; they share secrets and pretty much talk about anything and everything. I hate when romance is one of the biggest aspects of the plot yet it is rushed and ends up being lackluster. Luckily this was not the case because their love seems very genuine.
I loved Annie and Brody together, but individually they are also great characters. Annie is driven and sassy. I felt that she was pretty mature despite that being one of her biggest insecurities. And despite his sordid past, Brody is hardworking, patient, and loving. He has completely changed his life around in such a short amount of time which is admirable. I felt sorry for him at times because of how young and alone he seems; he just wants someone to acknowledge that he isn’t a terrible person and be accepted by his teammates.
There is a bit of sexual content, so be aware if that is something you are not comfortable with. (I would definitely categorize this as more NA than YA.) I found it particularly refreshing because it was not super graphic, but it added to their relationship and made it that much more real. Those scenes honestly made me love Brody that much more. ...more
With Eldest gone, it is up to Elder to lead the the people of Godspeed as they (hopefully) continue their journey to Centauri-Earth. But without Phydus this proves extremely difficult. With everyone finally thinking for themselves, chaos ensues and Elder has to find a way to not only get people back to work to ensure everyone has enough to eat, but he also has to deal with a death count that is swiftly rising and figure out how to stop a mutiny. And if all of that wasn’t difficult enough for a sixteen-year-old to handle, he discovers a startling secret about the engine that has been kept since the Plague. His only hope at fixing this new problem comes in the form of a video message left for Amy by Orion. Orion hints at an even scarier secret and a decision that must be made about it, one he feels only Amy can make. Using clues left by Orion himself, Amy and Elder try to figure out what to do before everyone on board tears the ship apart.
A Million Suns is the second book in the Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis. Since this is a sequel, I won’t go into too much detail because I definitely don’t want to ruin this for anybody. This book was action packed from the beginning and, once again, I could not put it down! I didn’t think there would be too much information we didn’t already know about Godspeed since A LOT was revealed in the first book, but I could not have been more wrong. The secrets that have been kept on that ship for centuries is astonishing. But it’s easy to see how no one ever found out the truth since 90% of the ship was drugged out of their minds for just as long. I love being shocked and this book definitely did that over and over again.
I really liked Amy in the first book, but in this one she got on my last nerve. She is super selfish and bossy and gets mad at Elder if he doesn’t do what she wants. He tries to make decisions that will make everyone on board happy and will help them survive because that is his job and what he has been preparing for his whole life. It’s hard for her to understand these decisions sometimes because she grew up in a completely different environment with different people and a different type of government. Because of this, she feels that his decisions aren’t right for the people of Godspeed even though he knows them better than anyone. Granted he is young and impulsive and may not always know exactly what to do, but she should have trusted and believed in him like she constantly says she does. I think he does the right thing at the end even if Amy thinks he is crazy for letting it happen....more
An unlikely friendship blossoms between Sam Tracy and Riley Berenger when Riley accidentally slips off the side of a mountain and Sam goes after her. The duo spend the night in a rainstorm, wrapped in each others arms to fend off the cold. Sure they are close to death, the two share their deepest, darkest secrets and, once rescued, Riley vows to help Sam win over the love of his life. Sam wants little to do with Riley and her persistent attention; he prefers to spend his time with his friends from the Rez and away from the rich suburban princess and her obnoxious older brother, Ryan. However, Riley has no intention of backing off until she has repaid Sam for saving her life.
This was a cute follow up to Hooked--the first book in the series and the story of how Riley's older brother Ryan fell in love with a girl named Fred. I really enjoyed Hooked and therefore was excited about this one as well. However, I read it such a long time ago that I couldn't remember either Riley or Sam's part in the first story. It was great getting to know them again while also having the characters from the first book make an appearance.
I thought the dynamic between Riley and Sam was pretty funny. Sam is so surly and standoffish, yet it does not seem to faze Riley (who he refers to as Pink Girl a few times) one bit. She literally follows him home one day after school so she can check out his wardrobe and make sure he has the appropriate attire to attract the girl of his dreams. Despite all his protests, he can’t seem to tell her no and goes along with all her crazy schemes. They could not be more different but it works completely. Both were pretty oblivious about their feelings toward one another and it was a little frustrating how long it took them to finally admit that they actually liked one another.
My favorite part about this series though is the diversity of the characters. Both Fred (from Hooked) and Sam are Native Americans who live on the nearby reservation. We actually get an in-depth look into what life on the Rez is like and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever read another YA book with characters that have this type of background. Representation is so important and I’m glad to see YA books that don’t shy away from that.
Sick of dealing with an abusive father, Kelle decides it’s time to leave home and heads for the BigFOR MORE REVIEWS GO TO: www.best-of-ya.blogpsot.com
Sick of dealing with an abusive father, Kelle decides it’s time to leave home and heads for the Big Apple. She has dreams of becoming a model and New York City is just the place to make them come true. She is sure she will find fame, fortune, and people who treat her right, but what she gets is definitely not what she expected. Young, beautiful, and naive, she is taken advantage of by the men she encounters, gets herself mixed up in the most famous murder trial of the 70s, and still manages to make a name for herself in the modeling and acting industry. This is the true story of a 16 year-old girl who, with nothing to her name, fights for what she wants and overcomes adversary.
I actually wasn’t planning on reviewing this since I almost felt like I was going to be reviewing her life, but I liked it so much that I needed to share! I normally shy away from anything that has to do with actual, real people, but this doesn’t even feel like a memoir most of the time--or at all really. I seriously wish my life had been this exciting at 16. She had more adventure in that year and a half then I’ll probably ever see in my entire life! But I wouldn’t have wanted to be in her shoes because she did not have an easy childhood. Throughout the book, she replays memories of her violent and verbally abusive father. I’m glad she had the courage to leave home when she did and that she gave her brother the courage to do the same. Unfortunately though, abuse is all she knows and, because she is extremely naive and new to the big city life, she gets sexually abused and pushed around.
Luckily she meets and befriends people that show her what love really is. She encounters a lot of kind people her first week in the city, but two make a lasting impression. There is Rayna, also an aspiring model, who becomes Kelle’s best friend. Together they experience being broke and homeless and support each other through their various struggles. And there is Buddy who becomes almost like a father figure to her and is the first person to tell Kelle that he is proud of her. Despite what he is convicted of later in the book, I thought he was an alright guy. He is one of the few men she meets that doesn’t try to sleep with her and he constantly helps the two girls throughout the book.
I think this is a great book for anyone, even those who, like me, do not normally go for this type of read; the writing is simple and the story is interesting....more
FYI: Slight spoilers in last paragraph. Continue at own risk.
My Thoughts: After her father is killed in an accident, Lexi finds out that not only is she broke and homeless, but she can’t continue her last year of high school without a guardian. Lexi hasn’t seen her mother since she ran out on her at the age of eight. Almost a decade later, she still hates the woman who left her, but without any other options, Lexi sets out to find her. Her mother is supposed to be somewhere in Florida traveling with a circus. Unfortunately, she hasn’t worked there for over six months and nobody knows where she’s run off to this time. With no where else to go and with no money for food, Lexi joins Circus Europa.
The circus actually fascinates me for some reason. I haven’t been to one in YEARS which is why I love reading books that revolve around them. And there aren’t that many which makes them extra special. That Time I Joined the Circus is adorable. This is a cute, entertaining read, but it also has depth. It has love and self-discovery, but it also deals with some heavier topics like death, loss, and betrayal.
Lexi is a lot like I was during my senior year. She is kind of in a slump and spends all her time at home listening to music or reading. She only has two close friends who are dating which makes it that much harder to make plans since she is the constant third wheel. As horrible as the situation is, I feel like it was the best thing that could have happened to her. Being evicted and penniless forces her to go out and do something. Those four months she spends at the circus completely change her and she comes out so much stronger and confident because of them.
The story is not completely chronological, it bounces around quite a bit from the present to the past and then back. But it wasn’t at all confusing because the date is clearly printed at the beginning of each chapter. I did have a problem with this constant jumping back and forth thing though. I felt like the relationship development lacked a little because of the constant shift. One moment the ring leaders daughter, Lina, is giving Lexi the evil-eye, then we get a ‘flashback’ of Lexi’s life in NY, and then we’re back at the circus and all of a sudden Lexi & Lina are going shopping together and becoming roommates. We never get to see this shift in their friendship, it just kind of happens. This constant back and forth also made the romances in the book problematic for me. I never connected with any of the guys because we never really get to fully know them. First she’s making out with Jamie, then she’s falling in love with Nick, and then Eli pops up and she likes him again. It was just kind of all over the place. I would have liked to see more of Nick because I felt he was the most interesting and the one she truly cared about. I never got the feeling that she actually had any romantic feelings for Eli, it just felt like she went back to him because...well, why not?
Other than the last paragraph, this is a really great debut and I can’t wait to see what else J. J. Howard has in store for us!...more