Guys, I am such a Kody Keplinger fangirl. I loved The DUFF and I loved Shut Out, and here she is with A Midsummer’s Nightmare, and I think I love it the most! Which is really saying something.
What I love most about A Midsummer’s Nightmare is how honest Kody Keplinger is. She doesn’t shy away from drinking or sex or anything else teenagers do, because it’s so real. I mean, I’m not saying I approved with Whitley’s choices, because damn, she made some terrible decisions. But I had friends just like her in high school (even eighth grade) and that’s why I love Kody Keplinger so much.
Also because A Midsummer’s Nightmare was steamy and swoony and I loved Nathan so much. I feel like after watching Clueless so many times, I’m totally jaded to the stepbrother dilemma, but I can see some people having an issue with that.
Whitley was definitely my favourite of all of Kody’s protagonists. She was messed up and she knew it and at some point, she started to take responsibility for that. She was angry and frustrated, but even still – she grew up. I loved her character growth, and I definitely felt her pain. Families are not easy.
Basically – I love Kody Keplinger and I love A Midsummer’s Nightmare. It was brutal and honest, with a heavy dose of swoon, and I seriously want to re-read A Midsummer’s Nightmare all over again very soon....more
I bawled in some parts of Something Like Normal by Trish Doller. I mean, Something Like Normal is heartbreaking and inspiring and hopeful but heartbreaking and I just have trouble putting into words all the emotions I felt while reading it.
Because on one hand, I was like YAY TRAVIS AND HARPER and then on the other hand I was like, wow Travis really has some issues he really needs to focus on himself, and I was also like GO TRAVIS STAND UP TO YO DADDY and just so many different things. That’s how awesome Something Like Normal was – I felt EVERYTHING.
And how refreshing is it to have a male protagonist and also a romance that’s heavily featured? I thought Trish Doller’s male protagonist storytelling abilities were very realistic, at least as far as I can tell.
Ugh, and the ending of Something Like Normal was just PERFECT. What a brilliant, moving, emotional contemp. Something Like Normal by Trish Doller is relevant and beautiful and you just need to pick it up. Like now....more
It’s very hard for me to express my awe and appreciation for Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard. I studied abroad in London, I’ve been to Scotland and France, but I’ve only ever dreamed of backpacking like Bria did in Wanderlove. But after reading Wanderlove, and Kirsten Hubbard’s acknowledgements and bio – I’m going to make it a reality.
And in terms of Wanderlove itself – it really is fantastic, amazing, adventurous, moving, motivating, and so many other awesome adjectives.
Bria Sandoval is the teen we all know and relate to – messed up over that boy in high school, let down by her friends and family, unsure of where her future lies…but rather than just mope, she decides to go to Guatemala. And it ends up totally different than she was planning on, but it changed her life. And that’s how travel should be.
Even without reading her biography, Kirsten Hubbard’s passion for travel and adventure really comes through on every page. And even if you’ve never really had the desire to go somewhere new, I think Wanderlove is sure to inspire you because there’s so much of Kirsten Hubbard’s intimate connection with the countries she’s describing. I was just kind of in awe when I finished reading Wanderlove.
And there is certainly no instalove in Wanderlove. The relationship between Bria and Rowan is slow-going, but amazing and deep and they have such a connection. And Starling. Can I please read a whole book dedicated to Starling, Kirsten Hubbard? Starling had so much depth and character.
How have I not mentioned the drawings? Kirsten Hubbard actually included sketches she drew of the stuff that Bria was drawing and it added such an awesome element to Wanderlove. I would totally frame the sketches too – especially the one of Rowan! Loved this aspect of Wanderlove so much.
Overall, I just truly, utterly, 100% loved Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard. The story was inspiring and passionate, the drawings added so much the story, and best of all, it is so evident that Kirsten Hubbard truly loved what she was writing. Now, pease excuse me while I grab my passport and a backpack....more
I loved Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman. It was a really entertaining contemporary that also raised a lot of important issues, like race, feeling out place, and standing up for what you believe in.
I’m a sucker for secret identity advice columnists, so I really enjoyed all of the Miss Fortune Cookie blog posts inserted throughout Miss Fortune Cookie. I thought they were a lot of fun, plus they gave me a lot of insight into Erin’s personality and I was able to connect with her on a better level.
I loved all the characters in Miss Fortune Cookie. Erin felt so out of place in her community due to a comment her best friend made in the eighth grade and I totally get that. This kind of thing happens all the time and I thought Lauren Bjorkman handled the issues very well.
I loved the choices all of the characters had to make, especially regarding college. It’s a tough thing, trying to decide between an awesome school or being with your best friend or boyfriend and you don’t always know the right answer, and that was a huge part of Miss Fortune Cookie.
Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman was a great contemporary that focused a lot on friendship and what it’s like to be an unsure teenager. I thought Miss Fortune Cookie was a very entertaining story that was also super relatable and I can’t wait to read more from Lauren Bjorkman!...more
Live Through This by Mindi Scott is an unbelievably stunning, heartbreaking story. I am amazed by Mindi Scott’s storytelling capabilities – I can’t even imagine writing a story like this and still being able to include the beautiful, fun, light moments in such a perfect way.
Because Live Through This is an important and upsetting book. Sexual abuse is something that happens entirely too often, and the way Mindi Scott tells Coley’s story is just…perfect. We have moments where we’re giddy with Coley over the dorky and cute Reese, or we’re laughing with Coley and her best friend Noah (who I love to death, FYI), but there’s also this heavy feeling while reading Live Through This that we realize Coley must feel all the time because of what’s happening to her.
I was so tense while reading Live Through This – I loved the way Mindi Scott kept the identity of Coley’s abuser under wraps for a bit. I was tense and nervous and accusatory and my heart just broke when everything was revealed.
It’s really hard for me to write a full review of Live Through This. Mindi Scott delivers a heart wrenching book that made me laugh and cry and want to curl up under the bed and hide from everyone. Live Through This is a beautiful contemporary that portrays an issue that ought to be brought to light more often....more
There were aspects of Purity by Jackson Pearce that I really enjoyed and others that ended up feeling a bit meh to me. I felt like Purity ended on a good note, but there were parts in the middle that felt a bit forced.
For one thing, the main character in Purity – Shelby, was SUPER dedicated to keeping these promises to her mom. But it was so clear that her mother would have never meant for any of these things to happen and Shelby was taking the whole thing to an unnecessary (and sometimes dangerous) extreme.
Also, I was completely unable to justify Shelby’s reasoning at all for trying so hard to find a guy to just get her virginity over with. I am not a prude by any means, but damn girl needed some self respect.
That being said, I did appreciate Jackson Pearce’s approach to the issues presented in Purity. Religion and sex and family are all very important discussions that need to happen in any teen’s life and I thought Jackson Pearce’s approach was very non-preachy, which was refreshing.
I really did enjoy the majority of Purity. Despite those red flags, I liked the family dynamic between Shelby and her father and seeing them try to figure out how to communicate. I thought that was extremely realistic and a bit moving in the end.
While I did have some issues with Purity by Jackson Pearce, I thought it was an enjoyable read focusing on issues that need to be discussed in a refreshing way. Give Purity a looksie if you think it’s up your alley!...more
I’m not usually one for stories that focus only on romance, so I was a little worried when I picked up Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry.
But luckily there’s a lot of stories on Pushing the Limits that really take precedence over the romance for the most part of the book. Both of the characters had very important, life-changing events going on in their lives and I loved the way they banded together to mutually help each other out.
Individually, I loved both Noah and Echo. Echo was weak-willed and lacked self-confidence at the beginning of Pushing the Limits, and I just wanted to yank off her sleeves and tell her to freaking embrace herself or life would suck forever. But she’s in high school, and she’s fictional, so I couldn’t really do that. But even though she was weak-willed and lacking in self confidence, I felt for her and was rooting for her to find out what really happened that night with her mother and I was rooting for her to grow balls and tell off the shittiest “friend” I’ve ever seen in a book. You’ll know who I mean when you read Pushing the Limits – so much hate for that character.
And Noah – the situation with his brothers was heartbreaking to me. I’m a big supporter of family in books, so I was really rooting for him all the way. I also loved the relationship between him and the other foster teens he lived with, Isaiah and Beth. It was clear that they really knew and trusted each other, and supported each other.
But the romance between Noah and Echo is where Pushing the Limits lost me. I just didn’t really get into that part of Pushing the Limits. I can see Echo and Noah working and they were cute together, but I kind of felt like it happened too quickly, their feelings for each other and their dependance on each other progressed too quickly (please note Pushing the Limits is almost a 400 page book). It also felt to me like Noah cleaned up his act too quickly. It didn’t feel natural – or maybe it just didn’t feel healthy, I guess? I mean, Echo is going through this pretty traumatic event in her life.
ANYWAY. So yeah. I loved the individual stories in Pushing the Limits, but the romance aspect just didn’t work for me. But if you’re a fan of contemporary romances, I do suggest checking out Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. Just because the romance didn’t work for me, it might work for you, and the individual stories are certainly very engrossing. It also appears I’m in the minority about the romance, so don’t let my opinion deter you – I’d love to know what you guys think!...more
I connected with Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham on a scary level. Well, not all that scary, but basically me and my friends were obsessed with a boy band when we were younger (Dream Street, and I won’t say I’m not still obsessed) and I never got to see them perform – which is a whole other story in itself.
Anyway, so I loved the whole concept of Reunited and I was able to connect with all of the characters off the bat because our mutual boy band love.
And some crazy, hilarious, disastery stuff happens in Reunited. I was cringing and laughing and totally feeling for all of the characters.
Oh, and the characters in Reunited. I loved Alice – she was definitely my favourite – and Summer was pretty cool too. I have to say, Tiernan definitely got on my nerves, but she was probably supposed to, huh? But they all grew leaps and bounds throughout the course of Reunited, which I was really glad for.
If you’re a fan of contemps and road trips and laughing, definitely don’t miss out on Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham. You may cringe once or twice or fifteen times, but Reunited is definitely a lot of fun and worth the trip!...more
I really enjoyed Kiss the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole. I’ve read a bit of Kerouac, and while I certainly won’t be running off to emulate his adventures, I do love books featuring road trips and oodles of self discovery, which basically describes Kiss the Morning Star to a T.
I loved learning about Anna and Kat as they learned about themselves and each other. The issues of sexuality and friendship and death and grief and religion are explored in Kiss the Morning Star, and each issue has a very meaningful part of the Anna and Kat’s lives. Elissa Janine Hoole doesn’t back down.
While there are a few slow moments in Kiss the Morning Star, overall I thought it was fairly fast paced and easy to get engrossed in Anna’s adventure. It’s so easy to relate to her and Kat – feeling lost and unsure, especially in that point between high school and the rest of your life.
Kiss the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole is a moving adventure filled with self-discovery and issues many teens grapple with on a daily basis. If you like road trips, contemps, and moving stories, definitely check out this wonderful debut....more
If I Lie by Corrine Jackson is a brilliant and stunning debut. I love those contemps that really bring out the emotion and the tears and If I Lie definitely accomplished that.
There was a lot of depth to If I Lie, a lot of complex, real, and relevant issues facing us today. The bullying in If I Lie was absolutely shocking and heartbreaking and really made me think about the issues at hand.
And man, the mean girls are MEAN in If I Lie.
I loved Quinn, the protagonist of If I Lie. I loved the way she stuck to her decisions no matter what. Quinn was ballsy and brave and she got dealt a shitty card, but she didn’t back down. And all the family drama on top of all the stuff Quinn was dealing with – I loved it! There is nothing I love more than reading about screwed up families and If I Lie was another brilliant, screwed up family to add to my favourites list.
The twist, so to speak, in If I Lie was fairly predictable, but at the same time, I didn’t even think the twist was the focus of If I Lie. I loved reading about how Quinn handled her bullying and how she dealt with her feelings and all the things going on with her family.
Basically, you need to pick up If I Lie by Corrine Jackson. If I Lie is a fantastic debut that highlights very relevant issues today. The characters are all very well done – even the antagonists felt very dimensional to me, no oen fell flat. If you’re looking for a great contemp, I definitely recommend If I Lie by Corrine Jackson....more
It’s no secret how much I’ve been looking forward to reading Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn – and once I got it, I admit, I held off reading Tokyo Heist for a bit because what if it didn’t hold up to my expectations? I would be devastated! (Please tell me I’m not the only one who does crazy things like this.)
Thankfully, Tokyo Heist totally lived up to my expectations. I was immediately sucked in by Violet and her love of manga and art and the cute boy and the MYSTERY. I was a little worried for about 20 pages because I was like DO THEY EVEN GO TO TOKYO I NEED TO KNOW but duh, they do. Silly impatient me.
Okay, let’s start with Violet. I know absolutely nothing about Manga, and my knowledge of Japanese culture extends to reading the blog of a girl I know who studied abroad in Japan for a year. So I don’t know a lot, basically. But Violet is so into manga and Japanese culture and I kind of loved living vicariously through her as she explored Japan for the first time.
Also, I absolutely loved the way Violet incorporated her real life mystery into the manga she was actually creating as the story went on – Kimono Girl sounds kind of awesome and I would definitely read the manga if it were a real thing!
And, Violet is ballsy. As much as I love to read about mystery, I don’t know that I would have the guts to snoop around Seattle and Tokyo when Japanese gangsters are involved, you know?
Another thing I loved about Tokyo Heist is that it wasn’t entirely focused on romance. Oh, there’s romance alright – and it’s MY FAVOURITE KIND – but Violet is way more focused, for the most part, on who stole the bajillion dollar Van Gogh painting and what not, which kind of rocked. It bugs me when books are focused solely on romance, and Tokyo Heist definitely balanced everything very well. Plus, Reika, Violet’s friend, played a huge role in the story and I am all about the friendship.
THE CULTURE. I loved the way Diana Renn integrated various Japanese words into Violet’s vocabulary how, as Violet was introduced to important customs in Japan so were we – but not in an overly “I’m teaching you this is how it’s done” kind of way, you know?
Plus, the setting was AWESOME. I loved how Diana Renn beautifully described all these different areas of Japan and now I’m officially traveling there. Basically.
And I loved how the art thievery/mystery was set up. All sorts of important details are included throughout Tokyo Heist, and I was able to put them together myself, which I loved – it makes me feel SMART.
Okay, I have fangirl-ed like crazy over Tokyo Heist and over Diana Renn, and in case you couldn’t catch my drift – you should go pick Tokyo Heist when it comes out. Tokyo Heist is a fun and thrilling book featuring art thievery, cute boys, foreign settings, and mystery galore....more
Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig was nothing like I was expecting. I’m not really sure what I was expecting – all I knew was modern day Robin Hood steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Plus, I love a good heist book.
I liked Willa, the protagonist of Pretty Crooked, a lot. She was totally normal and relatable – new girl just wants to fit in with the rich kids, but then she realizes how terrible they are. Only she takes it a step further and tries to do something about it. Which I loved. Willa was balsy and brave and she stood up for her friends. We need more protagonists like her.
As for the other characters – I had no real interest in Aidan at all, unfortunately. Their relationship was just too chemistry/electric/spark based for me without them really getting to know each other at first. I did like the other boy, Tre, and I’m totally rooting for a love triangle in the sequel to Pretty Crooked, surprisingly!
The ending itself really confused me. Throughout all of Pretty Crooked there was this second storyline that I was never able to figure out and then Pretty Crooked ended on this kind of massive cliffhanger in regards to the second storyline and I just wanted it all resolved with a big bow on top. So there being a sequel kind of bugs me, even though I would totally read a sequel happily. Does that make sense?
Basically – Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig was a fun heist book with an awesome protagonist. The romance aspect and the cliffhanger ending didn’t really do it for me, but I do recommend checking out Pretty Crooked if it sounds like your thing!...more
Okay, The Lies that Bind by Lisa and Laura Roecker was freaking crazy. Seriously, what an intense book! There are so many twists and things I didn’t see coming and whew.
I had trouble remembering some details from The Liar Society, but it didn’t even detract from the reading experience of The Lies that Bind – although I do want to go back and skim it so I can answer some questions I had.
I loved the storyline of The Lies that Bind. It’s obvious why Kate can’t help but being sucked back into all this society crap and I was with her all the way because you really do have to emphasize with her in The Lies that Bind, even though she keeps putting herself in really shitty situations. I mean, honestly.
But she’s really an admirable, loyal character and I love her hair so much. And Seth and Liam’s awesomeness continue in The Lies that Bind, although both are awesome in two very different ways. Even though Liam drove me nuts.
I don’t think I predicted anything in The Lies that Bind. I mean, I had a fleeting moment where I predicted it, but fully shoved it away because there was no way that could be true, and oh man. So many twists in The Lies that Bind.
Guys, I loved this newest installment in The Liar Society series. The Lies that Bind by Lisa and Laura Roecker was enganging and intense and when I put it down, I just had to take a deep breath and go “wow” – if you haven’t read this series, you need to start it!...more
Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin WAS. SO. MUCH. FUN. Guys, I swear, Meredith Zeitlin took myself and every 14 year old girl I knew and put us in Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters. Minus the growing up in NYC part because I was not cool enough for that.
Not that any 14 year old girls were really cool, HAH. Because that transition from terrible middle school to awkward first year of high school is kind of awful and Meredith Zeitlin captured that SO WELL in Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters.
Kelsey and all of her friends – Cass, Em, and JoJo – each had to deal with their own heap of badness and awkwardness and I swear, it was all so realistic. Dealing with friend drama and issues of sexuality and unrequited crushes and crazy families…it all goes down when you’re 14. Especially having the crush on the cute guy who is really a jerk. I loved all the characters, even when I was totally with Kelsey in wanting to shove a certain someone out of a moving bus.
And Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters was HILARIOUS. I was giggling so loud that I got dirty looks from the boyfriend who was trying to watch a movie.
To sum it up – Meredith Zeitlin knows what she’s doing. Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters was the perfect light and fun, yet scarily realistic book that is certain to bring you back to freshman year. Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters is definitely a mood lifter and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good giggle and a great contemp....more
!!!! was basically my reaction when I found out Melissa Jensen had a new book coming out, that book being The Fine Art of Truth or Dare. See, I loved her first book, Falling in Love with English Boys.
And The Fine Art of Truth or Dare was everything I wanted to be!
Let me just get one thing out in the open real quick – Ella sometimes came off as crazy. As in she had conversations with a dead artist’s art crazy. It was weird. But hilarious.
And it worked, strangely enough. At first I was like “oh my godddd she needs a straight jacket” but then I started to get to know Ella. And the-talking-to-Edward-willing-thing fit her character and I thought it actually ended up being a really clever way for her to air her inner thoughts without being all inner monologue-y.
Oh, yeah, and Alex. Let’s not forget Alex. He frustrated me. But I loved his sense of humor and how teenage boy-ish he was. Because he absolutely wasn’t the perfect guy that we sometimes see in YA – he was the guy who sat behind me in math class. Or, you know, figuratively speaking.
OH AND HER FRIENDS. Guys, normally the friends in books are kind of wishy washy, but I loved Sadie and Frankie. I got to know them and their story without them being an overpowering element in The Fine Art of Truth or Dare – and at the same time, I would totally read a book about either of them.
I loved Ella’s struggles. Lying to her best friend about boys, fighting with friends, major self esteem issues – she was real. And her issues were real. And the story was real. Isn’t that kind of what the perfect contemp is? Realness?
I loved The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen. It was such an incredibly relatable story with humorous and real characters. If you’re a fan of witty contemporaries with characters you could have sworn were in math class with you last year, check out The Fine Art of Truth or Dare....more
I had to really reflect about how I felt after reading Various Positions by Martha Schabas.
For one thing, I read a few reviews of Various Positions early on that said it was too mature, the characters weren't realistically 14 year olds, etc. And I think that sort of molded my expectations - but after reading Various Positions, I wouldn't say that.
Yes, there are mature things discussed in Various Positions - but nothing that was strange to me when I was 14. I thought the narrator's voice was a bit mature for a 14 year olds at some points, but as far as her friends and their thoughts/conversations went...I don't know, maybe I was just a jaded 14 year old. Well, except for the weird obsession with a certain type of pornography that happened for a bit of the book - that was beyond me.
At some points while reading Various Positions, I wanted to close my eyes closer and closer to the end because I could just feel the disaster coming on. But I really liked Georgia as a protagonist. Like I said, at some points she did seem a bit too mature, but at others she was just so naive and the way she was written really reflected that.
And I did think the writing was excellent - it was fluid and image inspiring.
The story dragged, especially in the beginning, but once I got closer to the end, I sped up to find out what disaster would happen and what would be the aftermath.
I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome of Various Positions by Martha Schabas - it was exactly what I was hoping for, I think.
If you like contemporaries, ballets, and stories with a bit of controversy, you should check out Various Positions by Martha Schabas. Even though it dragged a bit for me, I was pleased with the ending and the writing style....more
he List by Siobhan Vivian is one of those books that made me so freaking angry while I was reading it, and yet I couldn’t make myself put it down.
I hated 90% of the characters in The List. They were all so messed up and obnoxious and self-centered and bratty and downright cruel – and yet, unfortunately realistic. So I guess it’s good that I couldn’t stand them. Although I think someone should push Andrew off of a cliff.
The List took place during Homecoming week in high school, told from the perspective of eight different girls. Surprisingly this didn’t confuse me. I thought the point of view change flowed nicely and allowed the reader to get the perspective from each girl and their various lives. And every girl in The List all did have surprisingly complicated lives. I thought maybe one or two of the girls would fall flat but Siobhan Vivian managed to give them all a life of their own.
I still hate them though.
The List by Siobhan Vivian is one of those books that’s hard to take. The fact that teenagers can be so cruel to each other and to themselves is a bitter pill to swallow, but Siobhan Vivian doesn’t shy away from it.
Some of the girls in The List, however, didn’t really get a wrapped-up ending. Sure, I know everything doesn’t end with a pretty bow – especially not in a brutally honest book like The List, but I kind of felt like some of the girl’s stories were unfinished.
In the end, The List by Siobhan Vivian is a contemporary worth your time. It’s painful to get through, and I can guarantee you’ll want to throw something at each and every character at some point, but The List bitterly realistic and honest about what it means to be a high school girl....more
7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker is THE PERFECT fun and cute pick-me-up book.
I was having a such a terrible day and I picked up 7 Clues to Winning You and I was giggling with minutes. The storyline is hilarious, and surprisingly moving at some points (I might have welled up once or twice) and the romance is so freaking adorable.
What I loved most about Blythe, the protagonist in 7 Clues to Winning You, is – yes, she’s a rich girl at a rich school. But she’s not the stereotypical rich girl who has to slum it kind of character – she volunteers at nursing homes and drives an old car and she’s not bothered that she’s “slumming it” or whatever. She’s real and she has legit reasons for not liking her new school and she’s ballsy and she cries a lot, but I felt for her every time, you know?
And LUKE. I loved Luke so freaking much. He was dorky and charming and so giving and there was this one scene with him where I just totally melted. Well, more than one, really.
Let me just say – go pick up 7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker as soon it hits the shelves later this month. 7 Clues to Winning You is certain to brighten your day and have you giggling within pages. The characters are real and the romance is adorable and I’ve definitely pre-ordered a finished copy for my favourites shelf....more
I have no idea why I put off reading The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellisen for so long. Because once I started it, I thought The Butterfly Clues was truly and wonderfully beautiful.
It’s so rare to find a protagonist who isn’t just weird-yet-still-endearing, but actually, truly, probably..I don’t want to say crazy, but maybe just that their world doesn’t make sense to us. We rarely read a book from the point of view of someone who thinks so differently. And The Butterfly Clues was just that – I couldn’t necessarily understand Lo’s sense of purpose in the collection of objects, but I was able to emphasize with her overall.
And the loss of her brother and her family’s way of dealing with the grief – it broke me. Lo’s treatment of her brother’s room and her dad’s reactions…I just thought The Butterfly Clues was such an interesting look at the grieving process and so heartbreaking.
Other than Lo, one of the main reasons The Butterfly Clues appealed to me is because I am such a huge fan of the mystery-solving-sleuthing teens. I love a good teen mystery – I must have read a billion and twelve Nancy Drew as a teenager book. And The Butterfly Clues? Has a damn good mystery, if I do say so myself. I did not solve it AT ALL (except for one teeny tiny thing I guessed at) and rather than feeling stupid, I was sucked in – I had to know who killed Sapphire, I had to know how Lo figured it out, etc.
The writing, also, was beautiful. Kate Ellisen’s writing really allowed us to get inside Lo’s head and even though I don’t have the same urges as her, the way she was written made her so real.
Overall, I loved The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellisen. I thought it was a beautifully written story with an intriguing mystery and I loved trying to solve it with Lo....more
New Girl by Paige Harbison is seriously intense. When I think boarding schools, I usually think light, gossipy, fun. New Girl certainly had its gossipy moments, but for the most part, there were so many intense character that it was actually pretty heavy.
AND CREEPY. There was one character (you’ll know her when you see her) who seriously freaked me out – she was crazy. I would never, ever room with her. And Becca, the maybe-dead-not-sure protagonist is pretty psychotic too, but in an almost endearing way? I know that sounds weird, because I really couldn’t stand her for a majority of New Girl, but at the same time I felt really bad for her.
I liked the main-main protagonist – I just realized I have no idea what her name is…we don’t find it out until the very end which is super interesting, I had to go back and look it up – and her determination to stick it out and show all the Manderly Academy bitches she’s not scared.
The story in New Girl itself was engaging enough, although I never really gave in to the doubt that was planted in our head by various characters and story lines. I felt like knew what happened from the beginning, which was okay because it didn’t detract from the story, at least not to me.
New Girl by Paige Harbison is perfect for those who are obsessed with boarding schools and slightly psychotic characters. It was a kind of intense read at times, but enjoyable....more
I cannot talk enough about how much I loved Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill (and I don’t think I have stopped talking about it since I first read it)! Seriously, this book is me…but in book form. Very rarely have I ever felt like an author sat down and was like, “Hmm, let me think of the perfect book to write for Tara.” But I totally felt that way with Meant to Be.
First of all, the setting. I lived in London for half a year last spring and there was so much of Meant to Be that was so familiar to me. Some of Julia’s experiences in London were exactly like my first experiences – I went to the same places and ate at many of the same restaurants and it was like I was reliving my time abroad all over again.
And Julia, the protagonist, is totally a straight-laced, uptight, always on time and always following the rules kind of girl. In many ways I found myself relating to her totally (but in other ways I just wanted to shake her and tell her to go have fun). I think she’s going to be one of those characters that people either really like or really dislike, and I definitely feel the former.
And the swoon! The swoon! I loved Jason, even though he was a total butthead at the beginning of Meant to Be. He kind of ended up as a total butthead in an adorable kind of way.
Yes, there was plot too, besides the traveling abroad and romance thing. Which I found to be super entertaining, even though there were a lot of bits I predicted, I still enjoyed the ride. Oh, and there were some bits I totally didn’t predict and it made me MAD for Julia even though Julia didn’t really react the way I would have. But in any case. The plot of Meant to Be is a lot of fun.
Basically – go pick Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill. It’s hilarious with a side of deep and emotional, not to mention the swoony romance and the awesome experience of traveling abroad for the first time. Lauren Morrill’s writing style is one that I loved and she’s definitely already landed herself on my auto-buy list.
I can't wait to get my finished copy of Meant to Be in my hands and reread it all over again.
I’m a huge Sarah Ockler fangirl, and while Bittersweet wasn’t as heartwrenching as her previous books, it was adorable and moving and a lot of fun.
As someone who has never seen snow before, reading a book about ice skating and winter and snow and all of that fun wintery stuff was so awesome. I wanted to be in Watonka with Hudson and Bug and drinking hot chocolate and eating the weirdest yet most delicious sounding cupcakes ever.
As for the characters in Bittersweet, I loved Hudson, but she did drive me crazy at some points. She would not make up her mind! Of course, you know, not that I’m able to make up my mind ever, but I did want to shake her and give her a little push in the right directions. But I loved her character growth throughout Bittersweet. I thought it was very well done and I was very happy with her decisions at the end.
And the boy thing. There were a lot of awesome boys in Bittersweet, from the hockey team to Josh and Will, but my favourite was Bug. He was the cutest, most awesome little brother ever. He had the greatest quirks and I just wanted to make him my little brother. He rocked. The secondary characters in Bittersweet were all pretty amazing and three dimensional, but he was absolutely my favourite.
And I have to make a quick mention of the chapter headings – they are CUPCAKE RECIPES. I seriously need to try to make every single one.
Overall, I loved Bittersweet so much. There’s romance and cupcakes and ice skating and it told a really great and moving story about family struggling in their own ways. If you love contemporaries, I definitely recommend Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler....more
I am a sucker for any book that contains international travel. I studied abroad in London for the first half of 2011 and ever since then, I am full of wanderlust and I gobble up movies and books about going abroad. The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams was right up my alley.
I loved reading about Piper, Cassidy, and Mei’s time abroad in their various places, and even Izzy, being stuck in Texas, was adorable. Mei’s story particularly was probably the most interesting to me – I really admired her for taking the risk of going to China to learn more about her birth parents and her own culture.
And Cassidy’s story in Australia – I felt like she really grew a lot from the experience, perhaps the most of any of the girls.
I loved reading about Piper in Paris – the descriptions of Paris really made me nostalgic and I just wanted to jump into the page. Unfortunately I couldn’t stand Piper or the guy she meets. I felt sorry for in the beginning, but once we got to know her, I just…blah. But the other characters – Cassidy, Mei, and Izzy – were much more relatable and likable.
Overall, I thought The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams was cute and a fun adventure. I recommend it to anyone as obsessed with international travel as I am, and fans of contemporaries....more
One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt is an absolutely astonishing and emotional middle grade. If you’re going to read this one, and trust me – you should – definitely have the tissues on hand.
I loved Carley – she definitely made it to my top protagonists lists. She’s been through so much and her attitude definitely shows this. She’s messed up and angry and hurt and confused, and I thought Lynda Mullaly Hunt really showed that in her story telling.
I loved the Murphys. Every single one. The three awesome and totally different sons, Mr. Murphy, and of course, Mrs. Murphy. She made me cry with her awesomeness.
There was so much about One for the Murphys that was realistic and relatable, even if you’ve never experienced the foster care system. Middle school was terrible for everyone in general and I thought that was really reflected in Carley’s experiences, especially with her developing friendship with Toni, and the bullying of Rainer.
One for the Murphys was a very, very touching debut and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a moving contemporary. Also, One for the Murphys would be great for reluctant readers – I thought it was a quick-paced and engaging....more
Rebecca Serle‘s debut When You Were Mine is a sure sign of awesomeness to come from the author. I went through a huge range of emotions while reading When You Were Mine, and even when I was so enraged I almost chucked it at the wall (more on that later), I was still thinking, “Man, this is a damn good book.”
After reading When You Were Mine, I will never look at Romeo and Juliet the same way again. Just like after seeing Wicked in the West End, I’ll never look at the Wizard of Oz the same way. Rebecca Serle did such a freaking fantastic job of taking Romeo and Juliet into modern times and putting a spin on it – and telling it from Rosaline’s point of view.
I loved Rosaline as a protagonist, and her two best friends Charlie and Olivia. Sure, Charlie and Olivia were pretty shallow at certain points, but in the end they were loyal and loving and really came through for Rosaline. Rosaline was so hopeful and happy about Rob and then just crushed and seriously – so many sobs throughout.
Juliet was SUCH A BITCH. I cannot explain to you guys how much I wanted to chuck my book across the room anytime she was mentioned. A conniving, backstabbing, boyfriend stealing bitch. Of course, Rob isn’t blameless and man, I hated him too – even though I fell for him hard in the beginning. I knew what was coming but I couldn’t believe how fast he fell for her. Such an asshole but I just. I can’t. Because it’s Romeo and Juliet, you know? I have so many conflicting feelings.
Can you guys see how many feelings I felt while reading When You Were Mine? I was swoony and happy and then irritated and then enraged and then indignant and swoony again and then crushed and GAH. When You Were Mine is such a roller coaster.
Guys, When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle is an unbelievably fantastic debut. Rebecca Serle was able to tell such a powerful story that made me feel SO MANY different things and I loved that. Even though I hated it, haha! Seriously, check out When You Were Mine for a powerful contemporary that’s certain to stir up emotion....more
I loved Denise Jaden’s first book, Losing Faith, but Denise Jaden has grown so much as a writer with Never Enough. Never Enough was so well written and so heartbreaking in a brilliant way.
First of all – the family dynamic. The family in Never Enough was so screwed up and broken, but I could tell they all loved each other and just didn’t know how to come together as a family to deal with Claire’s eating disorder. Like with Losing Faith, Denise Jaden was really able to spotlight how differently people handle tough situations.
And Denise Jaden did such an amazing job portraying Claire’s eating disorder. Claire didn’t come off as some spoiled teenager trying to lose a few pounds – she was very clearly battling with some sort of mental illness, which I really appreciated because that’s what it is. And the way the family reacted to it was so accurate. I loved Loann’s little barbs and pokes before she realized how serious it was because that is such a sister thing to do.
I loved how Never Enough was about Claire and her eating disorder, but it also wasn’t. Loann had her own life and her own friends and I love the focus on her and Marcus. I thought their side story was very well done and a crucial part to Never Enough. Loann came off as a little selfish at some points, but it never really bothered me – she just seemed like a typical teenage girl who never really got enough attention and struggled with being in her sister’s shadow.
I read all 400 pages of Never Enough by Denise Jaden through the cracked screen of my iPad (which felt oddly appropriate). Never Enough is a compelling and heartbreaking story that had me sobbing by the end. ...more