I was so wonderfully surprised by One Night That Changes Everything, having gone into it with the expectation that it would just be another average contemporary young adult novel. I should have known better, because for one thing, it’s Lauren Barnholdt (I’m totally trusting her from now on), and for another, this is one of those awesome books that takes place all in one night (think Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist), so how can you go wrong, really?
The writing is so breezy and easy to get into, and it’s often unexpectedly clever and funny. I read the majority of One Night late at night while the rest of my household was asleep (I’m resisting the urge to make a bad “one night” joke), and I was constantly having to stifle my giggles, because this novel just makes you feel good. You can’t help but chuckle sometimes.
Eliza’s voice is so realistic and so fun to read, and she does this thing where she’ll think something during her inner monologue and then immediately say the exact same thing to the people she’s with, which had me laughing out loud several times. At certain points I was frustrated that she wasn’t trying to stand up the 318’s and was just doing whatever they told her to, but I could mostly understand her thought processes and it ended up working with the flow of the plot and her own personal growth. Her friends Marissa and Clarice are also hilarious, and they added so much to the night’s adventures.
And of course I have to mention the boy. Duh. :P Cooper manages to be the perfect combination of jerk and awkwardly adorable dork, and I thoroughly enjoyed his interactions with Eliza. He’s the bad boy we love to hate but secretly really love, and right from the beginning somehow you’re rooting for him and hoping that he’s not actually as awful as he seems.
With genuine, quirky characters and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, One Night That Changes Everything is a fun, heartwarming read that I can’t recommend enough. Lauren Barnholdt has definitely secured her place on my list of authors to keep an eye on.(less)
I wrote this many many months ago, right after I first finished Where She Went, and I’ve never posted it for a couple of reasons. First, I’d always planned to write a review for If I Stay, and I thought it made more sense to post that one first. And second, I thought this needed some editing because it has always felt less like a review and more like a ridiculously incoherent outpouring of feelings from an emotionally unstable person.
But I’ve decided that it’s silly to wait any longer (today is the one year anniversary of its release!), and I want to share how I truly feel about this FREAKING AMAZING story. It’s become one of my favorite books and every time I open it to reread part of it I just start having ALL THE FEELINGS.
So here, in all its unedited, emotionally unstable glory, is my review for Where She Went:
I’ll be honest, I very seriously considered not writing a review for Where She Went. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely fell in love with the book, it had nothing to do with that. In fact, it’s because I loved it so much that I almost didn’t review it. I know this may seem counterintuitive: if I liked it that much, why wouldn’t I want to tell everyone about it? But Where She Went was such an intense read for me, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do the book, and my feelings for it, any justice at all. I wasn’t sure I even wanted to try.
But I decided I couldn’t not tell the world how much I love it, so here I am, trying to put my feelings into words and form coherent sentences from the jumble of emotions this book left me with.
I’ll be the first to admit that I get way too (“too” being a subjective term) emotionally invested in the lives of fictional characters, and Where She Went is a prime example. This book absolutely wrecked me. And I loved every agonizing second of it.
It was devastating to see what had become of Mia and Adam since If I Stay, and reading from Adam’s point of view absolutely broke my heart. Gayle Forman is such a beautiful, lyrical writer, and she has the ability to make you get completely sucked into the story and feel every little thing that the characters feel. The setting, too, was a living, breathing place, and their night in New York City came alive from the pages.
There are so many things I could talk about, but I don’t want to give anything away. Part of the wonderful torture of reading this book is really having no idea where it’s going to end and what’s going to become of your beloved characters. My heart ached for them the entire time and my insides were tied up in knots. The more I read, the higher the pile of tissues grew beside me.
It is extremely rare that I like a sequel better than the first book, but Where She Went has done it. As amazing as If I Stay was, Where She Went has captured my heart just a little bit more. It’s been a long time since I read a book that affected me on such an intense emotional level. I couldn’t even bring myself to start another book for several days after finishing Where She Went because I wasn’t ready to leave the story and just wanted to bask in it for as long as possible.
Filled with angst and hope and pain and beauty and longing, this book makes you hurt in the best way possible. Your heart will be shattered and put back together so many times you won’t know what to do with yourself. When a book can make you feel for the characters that much, you know the author is doing something right. Gayle Forman has forever secured a place on my favorite authors list, and I’m ready to buy anything she writes.
On a parting (and less dramatic) note, I really really wish Adam’s band, The Shooting Stars, was real. Every other chapter begins with song lyrics from one of their songs, and I would just love to be able to listen to them. One of my favorites:
I’ll be your mess, you be mine That was the deal that we had signed I bought a hazmat suit to clean up the waste Gas masks, gloves, to keep us safe But now I’m alone in an empty room Staring down immaculate doom “Messy”
There are absolutely no words for how much I LOVE this book. This is probably going to be less of a review a...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
There are absolutely no words for how much I LOVE this book. This is probably going to be less of a review and more of just a gushing love letter to Graffiti Moon and Cath Crowley. I fell in love when I first read it back in August last year and then I fell in love all over again when I reread it just a few weeks ago. Everyone needs to go preorder it RIGHT NOW, because this book is amaaaaaazing.
Graffiti Moon is one of those rare books where every element seems to come together and blend pretty much perfectly. The plot, the execution, the dialogue, the characters, the writing…they’re all flawless and create this perfect little package, this wonderful gem of a book.
I knew I wanted to read Graffiti Moon the moment I read the synopsis. A group of teenagers, giddy and celebrating the end of high school, going on an all-night adventure to search for a mysterious graffiti artist? And then add in the fact that the two main characters have an awkward past together? Oh yes please, sign me up. And what a group of friends! These kids are AWESOME, you guys. Funny and clever and witty and they have the BEST conversations. There are some truly hilarious moments where I couldn't help but laugh out loud. Seriously, I wish I had conversations like this with my friends. The dialogue and banter between Ed and Lucy in particular is enough to make me grin, but all the other side characters are just as awesome. Even Lucy’s parents are fantastic. This book just crackles with chemistry and the magic of this kind of night when anything can happen.
And the writing. Oh my goodness, the writing. I could go on and on about how beautifully this book is written. It took me longer than usual to read Graffiti Moon because I kept stopping and reading certain segments over and over again. My second time reading it I decided to highlight all my favorite passages, and then I stopped because I realized I was highlighting almost the entire book. The writing is just gorgeous and flowing and perfect. Cath Crowley paints beautiful pictures with her words and the entire night comes alive for the reader. This is particularly magical because of all the art happening in this book – Shadow’s painting and Lucy’s glassblowing and Poet’s words. She makes me want to put on a smock and create something.
The story is told through alternating points of view, going back and forth between Lucy and Ed, with occasional short chapters of Poet’s poems. I loved this format, and I think it worked really well for the book. It was so fun being able to get inside both Ed’s and Lucy’s heads. At times the chapters would overlap a little, and even though this sometimes felt unnecessarily repetitive, at other times it was really interesting to see the same scene from both sides. Both characters are so incredibly real – they make mistakes and say stupid things and life isn’t a fairy tale, and that’s part of why this book is so delightful.
Graffiti Moon is a stunning novel, one that I will be rereading over and over and over again. With fabulously clever dialogue, gorgeous descriptive writing, and an all-night adventure you won’t ever want to leave, this is officially one of my favorite books of all time.
Some favorite quotes: (I don’t usually do this for books but I just couldn’t help it. Also this is not NEARLY all of them. I had a hard enough time limiting myself to these.)
‘The night didn't go so well because I broke his nose, which was an accident that happened when I hit him in the face because he touched my arse.’ ~~~~~
‘“I know about graffiti,” I say, and the words come out as if I’m an old lady saying she likes the hip-hop.’ ~~~~~
‘Mum says when wanting collides with getting, that’s the moment of truth. I want to collide. I want to run right into Shadow and let the force spill our thoughts so we can pick each other up and pass each other back like piles of shiny stones.’ ~~~~~
‘He was leaning back in his chair and staring at me. And every time he stared I felt like I’d touched my tongue to the tip of a battery. I was nothing but tingle. After a while the tingle turned to electricity, and when he asked me out my whole body amped to a level where technically I should have been dead. I was pretty sure we had nothing in common, but a girl doesn’t think straight when she’s that close to electrocution.’ ~~~~~
‘I liked that he had hair that was growing without a plan.’ ~~~~~
‘For that week after Ed asked me out and before we went on the date, I felt like the world was heated glass and I was glad to be trapped.’ ~~~~~
‘“I know that” I say, trying to act like I’m not embarrassed for thinking love and sex are the same thing. I know they’re not, but I want them to be close enough to at least brush each other as they pass. ~~~~~(less)
Simply put, this a really beautiful verse novel about two teens who each end up at the beach to escape their lives for a day and wind up spending that...moreSimply put, this a really beautiful verse novel about two teens who each end up at the beach to escape their lives for a day and wind up spending that day together. I don’t usually seek out novels written in verse, generally finding myself drawn more to prose, but I’m really glad I gave this one a chance. It is so wonderfully written, and once I got into it I completely forgot that I was even reading verse. Admittedly there were some sections that felt more like sentences broken into different lines rather than poetry, but I think that can be a style of verse in itself.
I loved how the reasons for both Amber and Cade wanting to escape from their real lives slowly unfolded over the course of the novel. We were given little hints and pieces of information along the way, and everything was just revealed very gradually and naturally.
Conversely, the relationship between Amber and Cade develops very quickly (the book only spans about 24 hours, after all), and although I did believe their connection, I like my romances to happen more slowly. I realized toward the end of the novel that I was looking at them more as friends then as people falling in love. I just don’t believe that love can happen that fast.
The other thing that I had an issue with was Amber’s reason for being at the beach in the first place. Without giving anything away, I felt like her whole situation was kind of unrealistic and supremely selfish on the part of the people doing it to her. Every time they referenced it I would get frustrated and felt myself taken out of the novel and the beautiful writing.
Other than those minor things, I really enjoyed The Day Before. It is definitely a great way to be exposed to the verse style of writing and I can’t wait to read more from Lisa Schroeder.
Who doesn’t dream of meeting the perfect guy in an airport? Anybody could end up sitting next to you...moreRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z.
Who doesn’t dream of meeting the perfect guy in an airport? Anybody could end up sitting next to you on a plane, so why not the guy of your dreams? To everyone who has ever had a thought similar to this, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight will be total wish fulfillment. It was for me, and I loved every single second of it. I read the entire book in one sitting with a smile on my face the whole time and a happy sigh at the end of it. I LOVED it.
Now, normally I am not a fan of love at first sight stories. I usually like my romance to happen slowly, growing out of friendship with lots of tension and gradually building up to that final payoff. But somehow I was totally on board with everything in Statistical Probability. Despite the title, and the fact that the story takes place over only 24 hours, this does not feel like one of those insta-love YA romances. It’s not cheesy or hokey, and it feels totally realistic and believable. Which takes great skill, in my opinion. Way to go, Jennifer.
I adored Hadley, fell in love with Oliver, and even grew to like Hadley’s parents and her dad’s new wife. Hadley and Oliver are both dealing with their own issues, making Statistical Probability more than just a love story, and their romance doesn’t overshadow the other things going on in each of their lives. Every facet of the novel was well-balanced and it all meshed together incredibly well.
Aaaaaaand let’s talk just a little bit more about Oliver, shall we? SWOON. Oliver is… well, he’s absolutely wonderful. (He wasn't listed as one of my favorite book boyfriends from 2011 for nothing!) He’s incredibly clever and sweet, and he has a wicked sense of humor. He’s adorable and funny and charming, he’s BRITISH (so many automatic points right there), and he and Hadley have fantastic chemistry together. Airport gods, can I meet an Oliver the next time I travel? PLEASE? Great, thanks.
I absolutely adored this book, and if you’re a fan of contemporary stories you definitely won’t want to miss it. My one complaint would be that it’s too short, but in some ways that just makes it feel like a perfect little bite-sized treat. :)(less)