I have no idea why I waited so long to pick up my e-ARC of The Boy Recession by Flynn Meaney, but I do know that I am definitely going to purchase a finished copy ASAP. I absolutely loved The Boy Recession – it was such a hilarious read that I can’t recommend enough.
First of all, I loved all of the characters. Some of them were super realistic, you know, that-guy-sat-behind-me-in-English-class kind of realistic, and others were kind of the cliché bad girl or whatever, but in general, I loved them all because they all really stood out to me. There were no characters that Flynn Meaney really left hanging in the background – each of the characters played a part in The Boy Recession.
Also, no insta-love in The Boy Recession. It takes Hunter and Kelly an extraordinary amount of time to get together and I loved the way they started to build of their friendship and eventually worked up to a romance and even then they kind of took it slow. It really worked for me and I was rooting for them all the way.
Okay, I’m not going to lie. Hunter was totally the typical teenage boy and he was kind of a slob but he was also really nice and kind of swoony and he sang and played music and World of Warcraft and he was totally the kind of guy I dated in high school and I just loved him.
Flynn Meaney’s writing had me laughing so hard I could have cried. I picked up The Boy Recession planning to read for just a few minutes but the writing style had me hooked from the get-go and there was no way I was putting The Boy Recession down until I finished.
The way time passed in The Boy Recession was really interesting to me. I went back and forth on being really confused at the start of each chapter, wondering how far time shifted ahead (The Boy Recession takes place over the course of a full school year), but I also thought Flynn Meaney did the time passage in a really clever way. She didn’t make a big to-do about it, it just kind of happened and I liked that.
The Boy Recession by Flynn Meaney is an absolutely hilarious contemp that I know I will be rereading every single time I need a pick-me-up. The Boy Recession is one of those books that is so relatable to your high school experience in nearly every way, yet it was still refreshing and just the perfect pick-me-up to knock you out of any funk.(less)
All of my blogger friends have been buzzing about Easy by Tammara Webber for some time – literally straight up raving about it. It took me a while to be up to reading Easy because I am a little wary about books with the relationship as the main plot.
But Easy seriously surprised and impressed me. For one thing, the sexytimes are abundant and they are definitely sexy.
Also, there is rape. Attempted rape and rape and it is such an important topic and I loved the manner in which Tammara Webber handled it in Easy. I want to hand Easy to every one I know and just be like “educate yourself but also enjoy this awesome book.”
I loved Jacqueline and Lucas. I totally saw that one twist coming, but I think it was supposed to be more of a twist for Jacqueline and boy, was it ever. But Jacqueline was an amazing protagonist and so relatable to college girls everywhere. She grows so much throughout the course of Easy and she learns about herself and what she wants from life and how to get what she wants. She’s admirable and gutsy and real.
And Lucas. THE SWOON, Y’ALL, THE SWOON. He is an AMAZING love interest and he has definitely made his way up into my top ten list (although I have not yet decided who he knocked off). He had character and baggage and brains and goals and I just love him.
The moral of the story is – if you were like me and you put off reading Easy by Tammara Webber, please make your way to the store (or e-store of your choosing or library or whatever) and get a copy. I absolutely loved reading Easy by Tammara Webber and I could not put it down. The characters are tangible, the sexytimes are so well done, the story is engaging and entertaining, and the subject matter is unbelievably important.(less)
Adorkable by Sarra Manning isn’t available in the US. But Adorkable is available on Kindle, hint hint. Yes, I am telling you to go buy Adorkable before I even tell you my thoughts because that’s how good it is.
I bought Adorkable for my kindle cause I thought it looked fun and I started reading it at work earlier today and I COULD NOT STOP. I got home, had a phone meeting, and then proceeded to spend all afternoon reading the rest of Adorkable.
First of all, Sarra Manning knows teens. Adorkable was hilarious and fun and so freaking relatable. Sure, I don’t live in London anymore (wahhh) and I’ve never experienced the British school system, but I totally know what it’s like to not fit in all the time and to be obsessed with Twitter and run a blog and make out with people that I shouldn’t be making out with.
And legit, I loved Adorkable so much I’m going to include a few quotes to show what I mean about how relatable Adorkable is. And I never include quotes.
“No! I hate hospitals! I think I can feel my toes. Would I be able to feel my toes if it was broken? Shall I ask Twitter?” – Adorkable, 24% in Kindle version
“So, do you think my foxtrotting days are over?” she asked Dad. “And do you mind if I live-tweet my medical examination?” – Adorkable, 24% in Kindle version
Jeane is such a bitter protagonist and her humour was so biting, I loved every second of it. Sure she totally got on my nerves at some point because she was so freaking self-destructive, but I understood her and I loved her for her faults. Just like I understood Michael and loved him for his faults. There was lots of sexual tension and lots of sexy times and it was awesome. Adorkable, hands down, had one of my favourite couples of 2012 thus far.
Oh, and the POV changes with each chapter – usually they annoy me, but I loved getting both sides of the relationship in Adorkable. Both Jeane and Michael are complex people with crazy, a bit messed up lives and it was interesting to see how both of them reacted to stuff throughout Adorkable.
And I loved the plot! It was super refreshing to have a protagonist going after a dream and doing things – things I could almost kind of relate to like blogging and tweeting – and I thought that aspect of it was awesome.
Basically, in case you couldn’t tell, I loved Adorkable by Sarra Manning. This is the first book I’ve read by her and it certainly will not be the last.(less)
I loved the concept of Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus from the get-go. I'm always up for a strong protagonist and the idea of a teen helping other teens get over their break-ups was too awesome to resist.
And in many ways, Over You totally lived up to my expectations. Max was kind of a badass with an awesome backstory. I loved the way we learned bits and pieces of her story and why she started her business throughout the entirety of Over You. It helped me to understand her character more and more as the story went on. And her two best friends/employees (Zach and Phoebe) were awesome in their own unique way.
I loved Ben, too. Max and Ben certainly made an interesting pair and I loved all their run-ins throughout Over You.
But there was some drama later on in Over You that kind of left me feeling unsettled and iffy. I understand that Max needed her big moment to officially move on from her past, but I just didn't like the way it played out, I suppose.
Overall I liked Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, but there were parts of it that I had issues with. But if you're looking for a fun contemporary, don't miss Over You. And I will be reading more books from this duo in the future!(less)
Surviving High School by M. Doty was an interesting read for me and I definitely enjoyed it. I was concerned at first because the back of the book says it’s based on a mobile game and I wasn’t really sure what depth Surviving High School would bring. I just don’t have a lot of confidence that a game for phones can truly bring across the emotional aspects of losing your sister.
And Surviving High School, while not the sort of typically fluffy and hilarious book that I’ve come to expect from YA contemps involving freshman year, definitely did the grief in a lighter sort of tone. Rather than focusing on how Emily really felt about the loss of her sister (although there were certainly moments where she was clearly grieving), a lot of it was Emily trying to discover what really happened the night her sister died and also showing everyone that she’s not her sister. If any of that makes sense.
But Surviving High School certainly packed an emotional punch. I loved the way Emily’s relationship with her father was done – the strains in their bond was so clear and so upsetting and I really felt for Emily every time her dad acted like he was just her Coach, even at home. For me their relationship was the biggest part of Surviving High School and I really liked how it was handled throughout the story.
And, of course, there’s the romance. The romance in Surviving High School was very sweet and I was really rooting for Emily to stick it to her parents and go out with Ben. I didn’t see a huge connection developing between them at first, it kind of just happened, but even still, I really liked them together.
Overall, Surviving High School by M. Doty is certainly an enjoyable contemp that made laugh but still had a lot of depth to it. There’s a lot of little life lessons in Surviving High School, but I thought the focus on family was done perfectly. I recommend Surviving High School to fans of contemps looking for an engrossing but quick read., and I’ll certainly be reading the second book in this series, based on Emily’s best friend.(less)
Well, I typed up this very long review of 34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues and then I closed Microsoft Word, whoops. Devastated and what not. Which is kind of how I felt while reading 34 Pieces of You, ironically.
Because 34 Pieces of You is a brilliantly done book. The story is heartbreaking and touching in every possible way and the writing style itself is freaking beautiful and the way Carmen Rodrigues organized it is so creative and purposeful. Everything about 34 Pieces of You spoke to me.
There’s so many issues in 34 Pieces of You. Carmen Rodrigues touches on drugs, alcohol, sex, overdoses, suicide, self-mutilation, sexuality, rape – a lot of real life issues that affect teens in a direct way. But she doesn’t smash these issues in the face and tell you to look at them. The issues, rather than the focus of 34 Pieces of You, are just another part of the story that’s being told.
I loved the way Carmen Rodrigues told 34 Pieces of You from three different perspectives with huge time jumps all over the place as well as the notes Ellie left behind. You would think that would get confusing, but I had absolutely no problem following along with 34 Pieces of You and each POV change and time jump made the story even more beautiful.
34 Pieces of You had me in legit sobs. For the last quarter of the book I had to keep taking breaks because I couldn’t see the words through my tears. When I closed 34 Pieces of You, I immediately ran through the house crying to get on Goodreads and Twitter to tell everyone how beautiful and heartbreaking and sob-worthy 34 Pieces of You truly is.
And, for those of you who like kissing, there is a bit of a romance thing going on in 34 Pieces of You. And it was an awesome romance because it was so organic and slow-building and wasn’t super rushed. I thought Carmen Rodrigues did a fantastic job with that.
34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues is dark, but beautiful story. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to read a book that will make them feel. 34 Pieces of You is a brilliantly written book with such depth and importance and I can’t wait to read more from Carmen Rodrigues.(less)
I loved Winter White by Jen Calonita! There’s something about this series that is so addicting and engaging and even though it seems like it might be shallow, there’s a lot of issues that are really relatable to teenagers today, except they’re presented in a fun and entertaining way.
There are lot of deep family issues in Winter White. No one is happy and there’s a lot of tension and depression on all parts of the family and it was interesting to see that dynamic explored. I think a lot of teens sometimes feel like they don’t belong in their family, so even though maybe not all of their dad’s are running for office, but it was still relatable in the over all theme.
The storyline in Winter White was just as engaging as the storyline in Belles. I loved the debutante storyline and I had a lot of fun reading about the tasks that were assigned to the debutantes. I was just completely sucked in from the beginning.
I think sometimes longer contemporaries can drag a little, but the pages of Winter White just flew right by me.
There’s a lot of relationship drama in Winter White. Some of it really made me want to shake the book in frustration, haha! But, you know, it happens and I was pleased with the ending of Winter White.
If you read Belles and enjoyed it, definitely pick up Winter White by Jen Calonita. And if you haven’t read the series, I seriously recommend picking up Belles! This is such a fun and engaging series and I can’t wait to read more!(less)
Okay, so I have to admit – while Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley was a fun book, it also kind of drove me nuts. Corrinne was one of the most obnoxious characters I’ve ever read – and she was supposed to be. But Kitsy, one of the characters in Where I Belong, was adorable and admirable and so much fun, so I definitely had to pick up A Long Way from You because it’s her story.
Oh man, and I loved Kitsy’s story. Sure, Corrinne is just as annoying as ever, but Kitsy is adorably naïve and I just loved learning more about her life. She does not come from an easy background, that’s for sure. With a mother like that, whew. I just can’t even. I just loved seeing New York as Kitsy did and seeing her experience all these new opportunities. I thought Gwendolyn Heasley did a great job of getting Kitsy’s ohmygod feelings across.
The story in A Long Way from You was motivating and moving and fun. Kitsy is such an underdog, so the fact that she had this awesome summer art course in New York to get her experience and the fact that she was following her dreams even though there were so many things holding her back in Texas was really inspirational. And Kitsy goes through a lot in A Long Way from You, and I thought it was a really realistic and relatable portrayal about how hard it is to make the right decision.
I definitely enjoyed A Long Way from You way more than Where I Belong and I can’t wait to read more from Gwendolyn Heasley. A Long Way from You is the perfect book to read when you’re in want of a good contemp about a girl who has goals and dreams.(less)
I flew through One Moment by Kristina McBride. I read it while waiting for my flight to begin boarding and I was trying so hard not to cry in the middle of LaGuardia airport.
Because One Moment is a legit contemporary that deals with hard truths and bitter losses. I mean, not only does the protagonist, Maggie, have to deal with the death of her boyfriend, she also has deal with the terrible secrets being revealed after his death. It’s so hard for me to imagine that – having to deal with losing someone you love AND having to deal with the fact that they might not have been who you thought they were.
I really, truly felt for Maggie and I thought she was written beautifully. Her situation is unique in One Moment and I loved trying to figure out what happened the night Joey died along with her, as well as all the things that happened before that night. There are definitely some predictable secrets, but it was on purpose – they were dropped in such a way that when Maggie figures them out, she can’t believe she didn’t realize it.
The way Kristina McBride paced One Moment was perfect – I was sucked in immediately and just flew through the story, devouring all the bits and pieces I learned, as well as the shocking truths that were revealed, and the way the characters dealt with each reveal.
And the bittersweet romance that develops throughout One Moment broke me. I was rooting SO HARD for it, but at the same time I was like ahhh noo it’s too soon, if that makes sense.
Basically, I highly recommend One Moment by Kristina McBride to anyone looking for a quick but emotional read. One Moment is a well-paced and engrossing story that deals with heartbreaking loss and the hard truths that are hard to face.(less)
I really enjoyed reading The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab. I haven’t read All Unquiet Things, but after reading The Opposite of Hallelujah, I’m definitely going to pick it up.
The Opposite of Hallelujah is a slow moving, but emotional and enjoyable contemporary. I wouldn’t recommend it to people who need constant action because it is definitely on the slower side, but that really worked me. I enjoyed getting to know each character – I didn’t really like anyone at the beginning of The Opposite of Hallelujah but as the story progressed and I learned about each character, they really grew on me. Even the parents, who I just wanted to shake for being so controlling.
I loved Pawel. Just loved him. He was such a nice guy. Adorable and geeky – not quite swoony, but just adorable. And Caro was an interesting protagonist – not always likeable, but always understandable, I thought. And Hannah. What a can of worms. I don’t even know where to begin with her. Anna Jarzab certainly put together a dynamic and interesting set of characters in The Opposite of Hallelujah.
Religion is a huge aspect of The Opposite of Hallelujah which made me nervous, but it was so well done. It wasn’t preachy, but it was a huge – massive – part of the story and there was a lot of discussion about finding faith/doubting faith/does God even exist, etc. And I actually really liked it – it was nice to read about characters who were so relatably unsure and confused about everything.
The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab is a beautiful and moving contemporary with a lot of important themes. Again, if you’re not a fan of slower stories, I would pass over this one, but I do highly recommend it for fans of contemporaries that will make you think and enterain you at the same time.(less)
Oh my gosh, you guys, I cannot properly express my love for Decked with Holly by Marni Bates. I absolutely loved Awkward – I was cracking up like crazy throughout the whole book, but I thought Decked with Holly surpassed it.
I made the mistake of starting Decked with Holly late at night while my boyfriend was trying to go to sleep and I swear he almost shoved me off the bed, I was laughing so hard throughout the entire book. I absolutely loved the concept of Decked with Holly. I’m such a sucker for YAs involving famous people because they’re so much fun and I feel like Marni Bates really set the bar.
I LOVED Holly. And Nick’s nickname for her – “Holly Disaster” was so spot on. She was such a hilarious and real character with all sorts of insecurities but they were so relatable. I really liked Nick, even though he was a total jerk in the beginning, I was able to get where he was coming from.
The situations and interactions in Decked with Holly are phenomenal. I was absolutely in stitches in the scene where they first met. Like crying laughing. I just can’t even.
Y’all, Marni Bates is a hilarious and brilliant author. She had me laughing with Awkward and laughing so hard I was crying with Decked with Holly. I cannot wait to get my hands on more books from her – and if you haven’t read this series before, you really need to get started!(less)
I am a huge fan of the creepy, mysterious stories, and The Little Woods by McCormick Templeman had that in SPADES, you guys.
I literally could not figure out who dun it in The Little Woods. There were so many little hints about every single person, so I was suspicious of EVERYONE. I was like “So it was so and so! No, it was totally so and so!” and I just loved not being able to figure it out because when I found out, I was just kind of awestruck. A HUGE holy shit kind of moment.
And the creepy factor was so there. I was reading The Little Woods at like 12am and my boyfriend was asleep and I had to go to work at 7am, but I was still huddled under the covers with the lights on full blast because I was definitely creeped out by The Little Woods.
I’m a bit so-so on the romance in The Little Woods, mainly because it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, hah – even though I can understand why it ended the way it did. There were several creepy relationships that threw me for a loop, but there was definitely some swoon and kissing involved in the non-creepy relationships, for those who are wondering!
Overall, I enjoyed The Little Woods by McCormick Templeman and I will definitely be reading McCormick Templeman’s future works. I thought The Little Woods was a well-crafted and creepy mystery that had me guessing the entire time.(less)
Guys, I loved The Space Between Us by Jessica Martinez. I thought her debut, Virtuosity, was amazing, so I was super stoked for The Space Between Us – and I wasn’t let down.
Virtuosity dealt with some very interesting issues in a super non-preachy, relatable way and The Space Between Us did the same thing with teen pregnancy and religion and what not.
I seriously applaud Jessica Martinez for how she portrayed religion in The Space Between Us. It can be tricky because it’s always interpreted the wrong way by someone, but religion in The Space Between Us was more a part of the characters, their upbringing, their lives – and that does play a huge role, but we also see them as they struggled with what that meant for them now. It was never pushy one way or another.
And I loved the characters in The Space Between Us. Amelia and Charly are so different and they totally don’t get along at times but I loved them both. They both go through some serious (and necessary) character growth throughout The Space Between Us and I really enjoyed reading along as they figured out, in their own way, how to deal with this crazy situation. Because both Amelia and Charly are super selfish at first, but it’s so easy to see both sides.
I thought the setting was awesome. I really related to Amelia and Charly because I have never seen snow so it was so fun to see them go to Canada for the first time and see all the snow and freeze to death, etc. Jessica Martinez really made the setting pop for me, as well as all the characters that came with it, like Ezra and their aunt.
And, of course, there is romance in The Space Between Us. I loved Ezra and Amelia together. That is all.
Also, major bonus points because Tallahassee is mentioned like a billion times and I felt really cool (because I live there, hah).
I definitely recommend The Space Between Us by Jessica Martinez. Despite the length, I was totally sucked in and managed to read it in about two and a half hours. The Space Between Us managed to portray current issues today, but also tell an entertaining story that kept me engaged.(less)
Wanted by Heidi Ayarbe was nothing like I thought it would be and everything that I wanted it to be. Wanted had interesting characters, a quick paced storyline, and was much deeper than I expected.
The initial summary of Wanted led me to believe it would be a little bit like Robin Hood. I definitely didn’t expect Wanted to be a portrayal of current issues facing all of us today – immigration, racism, poverty, etc. – in a high school setting.
The fact that Michal was a bookie was interesting and original and very fun to read about. But Wanted, and Michal, was so much more than just a high school bookie. Michal was loyal and courageous and smart in some ways. I didn’t really swoon over Josh – he was an interesting character, but I was much more intrigued by Michal’s childhood friend Moch.
I had to reread the ending of Wanted like five times, and I’m still trying to decide what happened. I mean, I guess I know, I’m just not sure if I wanted it to be what I think it is. It’s just an almost open-ended ending, which I always have mixed feelings about.
Wanted by Heidi Ayarbe is a very interesting and original contemporary with a fantastic portrayal of the racism in schools (and almost everywhere else) today. I loved the way Heidi Ayarbe told Michal’s story and I definitely recommend Wanted to anyone looking for a book that really stands out.(less)
Survive by Alex Morel was INTENSE, you guys. I mean, if you read the summary, you know it’s going to be intense, but Survive was just so more than I expected. For one thing, I guess I didn’t finish reading the summary – and after reading Survive, I’m kind of glad I didn’t, because man, it’s spoilery!
Anyway, I thought Survive was very fast-paced and engaging, which I loved. If the story hadn’t been so quick, I don’t know that I would have gotten into it as much. I can only handle quests for survival for so long, you know?
As for the protagonist, Jane – she bothered me a little. I understand that some people are just depressed, they’re just determined to die, but I didn’t really connect with that part of Jane. From what I understood, she just wanted to die because her father had committed suicide, and her grandmother, and back and back, so she felt like it was her duty. Which, as an uninformed (in regards to suicide/depression) reader, was kind of a shitty reason.
But once the plane crashed and the survival part of Survive started, I warmed to Jane a lot, and I really liked the way she engaged with the guy, Paul.
And that ending – HEARTWRENCHING.
Overall, I enjoyed Survive by Alex Morel. While it’s definitely a lot more intense than I expected, I think that’s a good thing. I recommend checking Survive out if you’re looking for a quick-paced and heart-wrenching yet surprisingly hopeful contemporary.(less)
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield was a beautifully written debut and haunting in its subject matter.
I’m such a huge fan of murder mysteries and beautifully written prose, so I was kind of a sucker for Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone from the get-go. I just fell in love with Kat Rosenfield’s storytelling – the way the past (usually involving the history of the town or Becca and James’ relationship) was mixed in with the future to help connect certain events.
And the ending and the killer and how the mystery was solved and the lives ruined. I don’t know, it was just so…much. I had my suspicions about little parts of the whole thing, but the way Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone came together – I never saw it all coming.
I loved the alternating points of view – Becca’s and Amelia’s. They were both connected through their immense desire for things they weren’t given. They both had dreams, like Becca and her dream of going far away and Amelia’s acting career. I just thought it really helped connect the two in a way that made sense, even though they never knew each other.
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield is a book I had to read in small doses. The writing is beautiful and overwhelming at points. If you’re looking for a haunting contemporary with beautiful writing, be sure not to miss Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone.(less)
I’m not going to lie, I kind of loved 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody.
It was a little predictable, yes. But even more than that, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father was cute, fun, giggle-inspiring, and surprisingly moving – I even teared up a couple of times.
Lexi was totally a spoiled brat. She was and she knows it. But I rooted for her the whole time. Her childhood sucked. Anytime she’d talk about how she was raised, that’s when I started to tear up. I can’t imagine not having my dad around – to have him alive and there, but never there? If that makes sense. So even though Lexi was spoiled, I still loved her character and enjoyed watching her grow – which she did, by leaps and bounds.
I loved the romance in 52 Reasons to Hate My Father. There was lots of bickering between Lexi and Luke, and I loved the changes he brought in her, and her in him. They balanced each other out perfectly.
There were some additional elements in 52 Reasons to Hate My Father that really helped to add to the story – the speech to text transcripts of the reports Lexi would leave for Luke every few weeks. It helped to develop the relationship between Lexi and Luke, but also documented the gradual change in Lexi’s attitude. And also, they were just kind of a fun idea.
Also, a little twist gets thrown at the end that wraps everything up and seriously, just one of the most perfect endings ever.
I definitely recommend 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody to lovers of cute contemporaries with a darker side. 52 Reasons to Hate My Father has a fun story to tell with a helping of cute romance and a side of sadness.(less)
I am slowly working my way through all of Jennifer Echols’ books and I have to say, Such a Rush is my favourite so far.
I loved the originality of the storyline in Such a Rush. I’ve never, ever read about pilots – in YA or otherwise – and it was so refreshing to have a protagonist who had such a clear goal in life and was doing what she had to in order to accomplish that goal. I thought Jennifer Echols did an amazing job sharing Leah’s passion for flying with us in a way that I could easily relate to, even though I’ve never had dreams of being a pilot.
Leah was a total jerk throughout much of Such a Rush, but it was easy for me to understand her motivations and forgive her for treating the people around her the way she did. I loved the supporting characters, Grayson, Alec, and Molly – and even Leah’s mother, who was absolutely horrible, was so well developed. If you’re looking for a story full of characters that are all screwed up in their own way, and so real because of it, definitely pick up Such a Rush.
And the romance, of course, played a huge role in Such a Rush. The dynamic between Leah and the two boys was so messed up and I just wanted them all to sit down together and have a conversation about it, but I loved it at the same time. Even though I totally wanted to punch Grayson at first, he redeemed himself beautifully and I loved the amount of character growth that occurred from the beginning to the end of Such a Rush.
Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols is an intense and beautiful story full of trainwreck characters and emotional moments. I loved Such a Rush to bits and I already know it will be a story I return to over and over again.(less)
Fall From Grace by Charles Benoit was totally different than what I expected it to be, but in a really good way. I always love reading books with male protagonists, but Fall From Grace was the first time I really connected with a male protagonist.
I loved Sawyer to bits. He was such a typical guy in certain ways – especially all the comments about his hot girlfriend, Zoe, but he was also really struggling with his own identity and who his parents and Zoe demanded he be. I could definitely identity with his internal struggles and I think a lot of readers will. I also really liked Grace. She was bat-shit-crazy in a lot of ways, but there was something about her that really struck a chord with me. She wasn’t afraid or ashamed of what she wanted, which was so different from Sawyer.
I loved how quick-paced Fall From Grace was. The story moved along at a quick pace that really helped to hold my attention. Even the moments where it was just Sawyer and Grace getting to know each other, which might have been a bit boring for some readers in another book, were very entertaining to read. By the time I finished Fall From Grace, it felt as though I had just sat down to read it only half an hour before.
The ending was completely unexpected, but at the same time, I almost felt like I wasn’t surprised by how Fall From Grace ended. It was easy to suspend my disbelief at Grace’s crazy plans and just go with the flow because of how well Fall From Grace was told. I thought Charles Benoit‘s Fall From Grace is a very honest portrayal of a teenage boy and the various pressures we all faced at that age. Be sure to check out Fall From Grace if you’re a fan of great contemporaries! (less)
I loved Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker. The story was unbelievably touching and I loved the uniqueness of the setting.
For a YA book about cheating, I loved the way Unbreak My Heart was told. We knew from the beginning, or rather we learned in bits and pieces, what exactly happened, and so were able to understand the main character, Clementine, much better than we would have if we were just thrown into the middle of all the drama. There were a few journal entries scattered throughout Unbreak My Heart that I thought also added to the story.
The family dynamics in Unbreak My Heart were awesome. I love to read about different families and I thought it was so cool how Clementine, her sister, and her parents interacted each other, especially on the small boat. It was great to see Clementine start to open up to her family and have fun again. And her sister, gah. I just loved how her sister always looked up to Clem and wanted to hang out with her.
The setting in Unbreak My Heart was one of the coolest I’ve read about in a while. I love the idea of taking off on a boat up the coast for a summer. They stopped at all these cool towns and met a lot of really unique people, like James! I loved James so much – and his story really fit with Clementine’s.
I wasn’t totally satisfied with the ending of Unbreak My Heart. I mean, I totally appreciate Melissa Walker for not completely wrapping everything up with a tidy ribbon, but Unbreak My Heart was one of those books where I wanted more. I wanted everything spelled out for me and perfect, you know? So it’s not a BAD ending or anything, I was just left wanting to know more.
Guys, despite my ending woes, Unbreak My Heart is moving and relatable and fun. I loved Melissa Walker‘s Small Town Sinner, and after Unbreak My Heart, I can’t wait to see what she cooks up next!(less)
Between You & Me by Marisa Calin is a kind of a ballsy book. There were a lot of risks taken with Between You & Me – and a lot of subjects discussed – that are usually overlooked in young adult literature and I really admire Marisa Calin for that.
The screenplay format of Between You & Me was definitely a change from the typical novel and felt very refreshing to me. It was a risky move, but I thought the screenplay format worked very well with the story of Between You & Me.
The storyline in Between You & Me touched on a lot of different issues, including sexuality, coming to terms with it, feelings for teachers, and just the ups and downs of relationships and unrequited love altogether. I loved how Marisa Calin touched on female sexuality in a way that we so rarely see in young adult literature and the genderless YOU just helps to push it further.
Phyre was an interesting protagonist and I loved seeing her process of coming to terms with herself (and the screenplay format really helped to visualize that). It’s not easy figuring out who you are, especially when you’re conflicted with feelings you never thought you’d feel. The fact that Phyre’s feelings were towards a teacher never really bothered me – the story really felt more about the struggle with her feelings than anything, at least to me.
I loved YOU. I just did. I thought YOU was a fantastic character, even though we know next to nothing about YOU’s identity on paper. But we got such a strong sense of who YOU actually is and I thought YOU was brilliant.
Overall I thought Between You & Me by Marisa Calin was a beautifully written contemporary that touched on important issues. I applaud Marisa Calin for the way she decided to write her story and for the way she addressed female sexuality. If you’re a fan of contemporary and you want to try something a little different, I definitely recommend Between You & Me by Marisa Calin.(less)
Guys, the protagonist of Rebel McKenzie by Candice Ransom wants to be a freaking paleontologist – isn’t that all you need to know? No? Okay, fine. Let’s discuss Rebel McKenzie by Candice Ransom because I have lots of things to say.
Rebel McKenzie had me in absolute stitches. I was literally cracking up on almost every single page due to the crazy, wackiness of Rebel and the people AND the animals in her life. Yes, even the animals. Doublewide the cat made me laugh so hard I cried. But seriously, Rebel is surrounded by a ton of amazing characters with quirks and personalities and each with their own individual story that Rebel shares in her own unique way. And, you know – the cat’s name is DOUBLEWIDE.
And Rebel was SUCH a 12 year old girl. I loved her mannerisms and attitudes – and the family dynamics throughout Rebel McKenzie. I don’t have an older sister, and I definitely don’t have an older sister who is fourteen years older than me with her own son, but I thought the way their relationship was portrayed was brilliantly done.
I loved the storyline of Rebel McKenzie. I’m not usually a big fan of beauty pageants in books because they seem to be either so focused on the beauty pageant itself or the rebel (hah) girl who is forced into the beauty pageant for whatever reason…but the way Candice Ransom worked the pageant into the story – it didn’t overpower anything, and it worked very well.
I definitely recommend Rebel McKenzie by Candice Ransom for fans of middle grade looking for a fun time and a lot of heart.(less)
I loved Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally. Her first book, Catching Jordan, was awesome and smart and inspiring and so freaking good.
But Stealing Parker brought out all sorts of emotions in me. I was feeling super conflicted at first and a little bit sinful and then I was sobbing and angry and sobbing and…I just can’t even describe the wide range of emotions I felt while reading Stealing Parker. I thought Catching Jordan was cute and fun and inspiring, Stealing Parker completely bowled me over.
There are a LOT of issues brought up in Stealing Parker – religion, sexuality, sex, relationships with older guys, family, drugs, etc. But it wasn’t like Miranda Kenneally was thrusting it all at you at once. Stealing Parker, despite being also a bit adorable and fun, is a really deep book that I felt a real emotional connection with. I felt for Parker like crazy and I emphasized with all of the tough situations she faced throughout Stealing Parker. Liking the older, unattainable guy and having a lot of people turn out to be different than you thought they were…it’s tough, and in a way, I felt like I was going through it all over again with Parker.
Once again, Miranda Kenneally through me for a loop with the relationships in Stealing Parker. I was super conflicted with who I wanted Parker to be with at first, because there’s this other guy in Stealing Parker…and lots of moral issues come into play and basically, Miranda Kenneally is a master of the slow build. I love how the relationships she writes usually begin based on friendship.
I don’t know what else to say, guys. I absolutely loved Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally. Stealing Parker had me absolutely captured in its spell – I refused to put it down until the very last page. I was sobbing and giggling and fanning myself from the swoon. If you’re a fan of amazing books and young adult contemporary, I highly recommend Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally.(less)
Twister is one of my favourite movies ever. I used to play a game I made up called “Storm Chasers” on the playground as a kid. So when The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin opened up with a quote from Twister, I already knew I was going to love this book.
And The Waiting Sky did not let me down – I loved everything about it. Lara Zielin combines storm chasing with real issues like alcoholic mothers and everything is a metaphor for the other and I just loved the way she tied everything together so beautifully.
The Waiting Sky’s storytelling absolutely masterful in the way that Lara Zielin was able to tie it all together so when you were reading on event, you could easily see it back to something to do with Jane’s mother. Every thread of the story connected to another and it flowed so beautifully.
And the storm chasing itself was awesome! I loved the rivalry and the betting and all the characters on the Tornado Brothers team. I loved the idea of a group of college and PhD students going around chasing storms in the summertime to test their inventions and…the whole concept of The Waiting Sky was awesome.
Plus, you know, the romance. It was just a sweet side story between Jane and Max that I really liked.
The whole issue with Jane’s mother in The Waiting Sky was heartbreaking and realistic. It was so evident how much Jane was struggling with it all and everyone kept trying to help her and it just broke my heart.
I loved the ending of The Waiting Sky. It was exactly what I was hoping for – and I’m not going to lie, I would totally read a sequel to The Waiting Sky.
Essentially, if you’re a fan of contemps with masterful storytelling, not to mention lots of awesome and a heavy dose of realistic situations, do not miss The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin.(less)
After Saving June, Hannah Harrington made her way on my “auto-buy” list of authors. After just one book! So yes, I was super excited to get my hands on Speechless.
And Hannah Harrington did not let me down with Speechless! Both Saving June and Speechless dealt with tough issues, but Speechless is one of those books that is so relevant to right now. Speechless is one of those books that’s an enjoyable and entertaining book, but at the same time it still makes you really think about the issue at hand.
I loved the characters in Speechless. I really understood Chelsea, the protagonist, because I too loved to be up in everybody’s business in high school. I didn’t spread anything around – and we didn’t really have cliques at my high school (it was too small, I think?) but I totally liked to hear all the gossip. So yes, I totally felt for her and I thought she was brave when it really counted.
And Sam! I love Sam. He was such a quirky, interesting character and the perfect love interest. Their relationship, although they were perfect for each other, didn’t compete with Jake and Harper from Saving June – who was my favourite couple of any book I read in 2011. But I really liked the romantic aspect of Speechlessnonetheless – I just loved Sam so much.
Speechless was so well-written. There were so many beautiful one liners and pages that I marked the corners on so I can go back and write down all my favourite quotes. And I’m not usually a big quote saver (although I want to be), but Hannah Harrington really delivered with the writing.
If you were a fan of Saving June, don’t miss Hannah Harrington’s new book, Speechless. And go pick them both up if you haven’t read Saving June! Speechless is relevant and beautifully written, with relatable characters and a perfect romance.(less)
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley was one of those books where I was just being plain stupid before reading it. Because SO many people were reading it and loving it and I had a moment of rebellion and decided not to read Graffiti Moon.
Boy, was I an idiot. I am so sorry that I put off reading Graffiti Moon because I was just in shock at how much I loved it. And I’m such a contemp fan. Someone, please make me feel better and tell me you’ve felt rebellious too!
Anyway, The writing in Graffiti Moon was phenomenal. I really liked switching between Lucy and Ed’s point of view and how it overlapped with one another, rather than just giving one side to the story. I thought the poetry in Poet’s chapters was very well written, but didn’t interest me as much as Lucy and Ed’s stories.
And guys – the way Ed and Lucy interact, and their history, is hysterical and so freaking real. Cath Crowley got it. I loved the building romance in Graffiti Moon. It’s not a Bam! They meet and they’re into each other kind of book. It’s gradual – well, as gradual as over the course of one night can be, but I swear it feels much longer than that.
The descriptions of all the art in Graffiti Moon made me want to go find all my stuff from high school and start drawing and painting again. Also Lucy does GLASSBLOWING guys if I ever took up an artistic profession, it would be glassblowing because it is so so so amazing and if I had known she did it, I would have read Graffiti Moon immediately.
I’m not sure how well written this review really is, but it doesn’t matter, because Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley does all the explaining itself. Just pick it up. You’ll see.(less)
If you’re a fan of fun, romantic contemporaries with a huge focus on music (and who isn’t?), definitely do not miss Being Friends With Boys by Terra Elan McVoy.
I loved Charlotte, the protagonist. She was snarky and hilarious and talented. And while I was COMPLETELY overwhelmed by how many boy friends she had and I had very little idea who to root for, my heart was always with Trip. Even when he was totally being an ass.
So yes, despite being completely overwhelmed by all the possible love interests at first, I loved all of the guy characters in Being Friends with Boys. I loved how unique they all were – so different from each other in personality and look and manners. None of them fell flat for me.
The storyline in Being Friends with Boys was cute and fun and also inspirational! I loved seeing Charlotte become braver and more confident in her own musical abilities.
Terra Elan McVoy does it again with Being Friends with Boys. I’ve read some of her previous works, and I think Being Friends with Boys is by far my favourite. Recommended to fans of contemporary books with heavy doses of musical and romantic awesomeness. (less)
I want to marry My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. It was one of those books where I wanted to raise it above my head and shout “Hey, this is me! In book form!”
Because My Life Next Door totally is. I mean, I don’t mean that the story necessarily relates to me if you gave it to me in outline form, but the overall feel and writing style and setting and characters and lots of family dynamics and all the little things adding up – my perfect kind of book.
IN ANY CASE. The writing style of My Life Next Door was beautiful and lyrical – I wanted to read it slowly, so I could really, really read it.
And the BUILD UP. There was so much build up in My Life Next Door. Just from reading the summary, you KNOW something happens. But the romance and the family is so beautiful and you’re just reading this perfect summer love but at the same time you’re like OH MY GOD WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN AND WHEN. I was so tense throughout most of My Life Next Door.
The characters in My Life Next Door were so well done. I loved Samantha, and even her mom, and all of the Garretts of course, because they were all REAL. They all had personality and a story.
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick is not a debut you want to miss. It truly has it all – the perfect combination of summer, love, family, and the tragedy that’s always lurking right around the corner.(less)