Not the BEST ending, but it was okay. I didn't get enough closure with the aunt and I also didn't really get enough closure with Jonathan either. ButNot the BEST ending, but it was okay. I didn't get enough closure with the aunt and I also didn't really get enough closure with Jonathan either. But overall, I like the ending!...more
The Arrival of Someday follows 18-year-old Amelia, who was born with a rare liver disorder. She's known about it her whole l-The • Find my reviews here: Literary Meanderings
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The Arrival of Someday follows 18-year-old Amelia, who was born with a rare liver disorder. She's known about it her whole life, but as the book opens up, Amelia finds out that her disorder has caught up with her and she needs a liver transplant a lot sooner than anyone ever thought she might.
Amelia is the quintessential roller-derby girl. She is edgy, tough, quirky, and outspoken. Throughout the book we see Amelia struggle with letting go of this image and accepting the image of being the “dying girl”... and in the process, push everyone in her life away. Her best friend plays a huge part in the book. She plans rallies and organ donor drives trying to raise awareness and support her friend. Amelia is torn over it and the type of attention it brings upon her. The friendship becomes tense as the book goes on, as do Amelia's relationships with her parents and brother. This pushes Amelia to seek out distractions from the reality of her situation.
This brings me to the romance in the book. It honestly wasn't a focal point, but it did play an important part in the story. Amelia's brother is away at college and enlists his best friend (Will) to check up on his sister's well-being. Amelia has always had a little crush on Will, so he becomes a nice distraction from reality for Amelia, but with nothing but a few kisses and some time spent together, a distraction is all it really ends up being. Amelia is eventually forced to face her reality and the possibility that she may never get a new liver.
I felt almost every emotion possible while reading this book. I was sad for Amelia, but annoyed with her for treating her friends so badly. At the same time, it was easy to sympathize with her due to her situation. I was amused with the interaction between Amelia and her brother via Words With Friends games. It was LOL worthy. :) The book brought me from every high to every low, and it was a rollercoaster. I think the author did such a great job of capturing the reader and pulling them deep into the story. I felt very attached to the characters and was very touched by the story. It highlighted so much how someone's death (or the possibility of it) can not only effect them, but everyone around them. Especially when it is someone SO young.
All in all, I definitely recommend this book. It really is an emotional one, though, so be prepared! The character building and growth is amazingly done, and the story plays out perfectly. I was hooked from beginning to end!
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Book source: From the publisher for review Publisher: HarperTeen
Chicken Girl is the story of Poppy—a teen working at a summer job dressed as the chicken mascot for a local restaurant. Poppy-Chicken ♥ Find my reviews here: Literary Meanderings
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Chicken Girl is the story of Poppy—a teen working at a summer job dressed as the chicken mascot for a local restaurant. Poppy used to be confident and love her body. She even participated in roller derby and was really good at it, but that was until a photo of her dressed as Rosie the Riveter made it's way onto an online forum called “I see fat people” and was edited and mocked. Now she is more withdrawn, spends more time alone, and tries to hide herself inside her chicken suit. This is until a strange group of people come into her life, starting with 6-year-old Miracle.
Miracle is where the mismatched cast of characters comes in. Miracle is six years old, yet she hangs out with teens and adults alike. Her mother is a prostitute and they live in a very tiny, very crappy home. Miracle spends her days hanging out under a bridge with the homeless and troubled people of the city. Poppy is basically led to this ragtag group via Miracle. We also have Lewis, a female-to-male transgender teen who is saving up for bottom surgery while he also takes care of a dying relative all on his own. Then there is Buck... oh gosh, he is such a dickhead. The guy is supposed to be charming at first, but I found him irritating from the get-go, and he only gets worse as the story goes on. He's mean, gets drunk and then makes fun of his friends and puts them down at every turn, Poppy included. And she is supposed to be his girlfriend. This book lost a star for that. While Buck did do some redemptive things, he was still a shitty person overall, in my opinion. The book involves a twist when it comes to Buck, and it did knock me for a loop and add an interesting element to the story. Still didn't like the guy though. Other interesting characters include an ex-gang member with a racist past, a drag queen with a mental illness (I don't think the author said what it was, unless I missed it), and Poppy's cranky Chinese boss at the chicken joint.
Poppy also has a twin brother named Cam. He's newly out of the closet and is quite flamboyant. This is a struggle for Poppy as she believes he is only trying to fit into a sort of gay stereotype. The two teens are very close and it shows with their banter as well as their concern for each other and what they each deal with throughout the story's progression. Their bantering wordplay with each other brings a much needed lightness and vein of humor to an otherwise quite serious story.
This book covers quite an array of relevant topics. Feminism, at it's core, as well as sexual assault, queer issues, racism, the homeless population, being a plus sized person and being comfortable with that, the cons of drinking or taking drugs, as well as family issues and the possibility of CPS taking a child out of the home.
Overall, this book really highlights personal growth. Poppy and those closest to her are all coming to terms with their respective struggles and learning how to become better, how to overcome and still be on top. It's a story of acceptance and standing up for yourself; about making a place for yourself in the world and embracing your quirks and differences. I loved the characters (aside from Buck, ew) and I think they all made so much progress throughout such a short book (at 240 pages). I definitely recommend it! Do keep in mind that it does contain some more adult themes such as sex work, sexual assault, and drug use.
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Book source: Personal collection Publisher: Penguin Teen
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THIS BOOK WAS SO FUNNY! I DIED. I never thought a book about a heavy topic could be SO FREAKING HILARIOUS. Yes, yes yes!!!!! Love love love. ALL THE STHIS BOOK WAS SO FUNNY! I DIED. I never thought a book about a heavy topic could be SO FREAKING HILARIOUS. Yes, yes yes!!!!! Love love love. ALL THE STARS! :D...more
This is going to be nearly impossible for me to review without spoiling, but I am going to try my best!
One year ago, Brooke's family fell apart. Her brother, Jason, confessed to the murder of his best friend Cal. Brooke's mom is in denial, her dad is angry and isolated, and her sister has gone silent and barely takes care of herself. Brooke feels as if she is the only one trying to hold the family together, but... She's hurting too. She's angry too. The only things in her life keeping her sane are her best friend Maggie (who doesn't know the truth of why Jason isn't around) and working at the ice-skating rink where she used to once dream of skating pro. That dream no longer exists now that Jason is in prison.
And dreams no longer fit into the nightmare we lived in.
Things begin to take a turn when, one rainy evening, Brooke sees Heath walking home in the pouring rain. Heath is Cal's younger brother. Brooke doesn't know why she does it, but she offers him a ride. He takes it, albeit with hostility in his eyes.
Eventually, the two begin a tentative, secret, friendship. They both seem to fill a void the other has in their heart, just a little bit.
Brooke is a wonderful character. She is strong, but flawed. She is trying the most, out of her entire family, to get things back to normal as much as she can. At the same time, she is lying to her new best friend, Maggie, about the truth of why Jason isn't around. She fears that Maggie won't speak to her anymore once she finds out, just like the rest of the town, who has shunned their entire family in the wake of Jason's confession. Brooke does the best she can when facing hostility from people at work or out in public, but it is daunting. She is an inspirational character.
When visiting Jason in prison, Brooke finds out that someone else was present the night Jason murdered Cal. Brooke thinks Jason is protecting someone, so the does some digging and unveils a pretty big secret. The secret itself was a bit predictable—one half of it anyway, because it really is two secrets—and this is one of the reasons I couldn't give the book a higher rating. The reasoning behind the murder was such a trope, but still, the author did do a nice job of trying to point us in other directions. I was iffy, but ultimately guessed it. It was a tad bit disappointing. The SECOND secret was mind-blowing. It doesn't have to do with the actual murder, but someone witnessing it. It shocked the heck out of me and I bet it'll shock you too. Never saw that coming.
The romance is actually really good! No instalove. No my-new-boyfriend/girlfriend-heals-all-my-pain romance. Brooke and Heath have to sludge through their blooming friendship and romance. They struggle. Heath is angry—rightfully so—and has to learn that Brooke is not her brother. Brooke has to grasp the fact that Heath is going to hate her brother no matter what. When the two finally meander through their feelings enough, their romance builds into something beautiful and inspiring. Heath encourages Brooke to go for her dream of ice-skating professionally, and helps her with the moves she needs to send in her audition film.
One other small issue I had with this book is that none of these characters, in the aftermath of a MURDER, mind you, are seeing therapists! WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? I honestly didn't even catch this until I sat down to write this review. NO ONE was seeing a therapist or counselor. No freaking wonder they were all walking around either angry, unshowered, or in denial. I am quite annoyed at this, to be honest. Enough so that I have to knock off another half-star for it. Sad, because I really like this book. It's just that the family is in SHAMBLES, you know? Healing can't always come from within, sometimes you need help. And trust me, Brooke's family needed the help. So bad.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. It packs A LOT of emotional punch. It has angst, but deeper angst than what you'd expect. It breaks your heart and then puts it back together again. The characters are very well fleshed out, even the supporting characters such as Maggie (loved her so much!). There is a little of everything in this book—murder, romance, mystery, family drama, bullying, and more. I didn't like the lack of counseling or the fact that there was some predictability to the plot, but there were also a lot of surprises and one really big twist. I can confidently recommend this one!
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Book source: Publisher via edelweiss Publisher: Inkyard Press (formerly Harlequin Teen)
I noticed a lot of people saying this was really graphic with sex and violence, but I disagree. It's mild. I loved the voice of Joe and I think the auI noticed a lot of people saying this was really graphic with sex and violence, but I disagree. It's mild. I loved the voice of Joe and I think the author portrayed the mind of a sociopath pretty well. I did, however, have some issues with Beck as a character.
Imagine Us Happy is the story of a toxic/mentally abusive relationship between two teens with depression. Stella and Kevin are-Imagine • Find my reviews here: Literary Meanderings
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Imagine Us Happy is the story of a toxic/mentally abusive relationship between two teens with depression. Stella and Kevin are both living with depression and both dealing with it in different ways. Stella isolates herself as much as possible, while Kevin (view spoiler)[copes with self-harm (hide spoiler)]. When the two come together, sparks fly. The two begin a relationship and in no time at all, things begin to go south. Kevin becomes extremely possessive and mentally/emotionally abusive. He doesn't hurt Stella physically, but abuse comes in multiple forms. Pretty soon, Stella is pulling away from the only two friends she has and is using Kevin as a crutch for her depression. Kevin does the same, but uses manipulation tactics to keep Stella "in line". All they do is fight with escalating intensity, leaving Stella feeling as if she is doomed to be just like her constantly-fighting parents.
• The story jumps from future, past, future, past, present, etc. It is ALL OVER THE PLACE. I don't mind a time jump, but this was a little tough to follow unless you really paid attention, which would be fine...except the story wasn't all that gripping, you know? So, I was constantly losing track of whether I was in the past or the future.
• There just wasn't enough emphasis on the mental illness aspect of the story. We know the two teens are depressed and how they each cope, but we also know that neither way is healthy. Stella sees a therapist for awhile, but she stops when things get serious with Kevin. She uses her boyfriend and relationship with him as therapy. Granted, her therapist did warn her against this, but she didn't listen. She's a teen, I get it. Still, in the end, I didn't see any growth from her as a character. She was the same girl by the end of the book and that was disappointing. It was less about either of their mental illnesses than about the toxicity of the relationship itself. I think the author really missed the mark.
• The book was just slow, to be honest. I had that niggling urge to skim.
• The format. While I wasn't a fan of the past a future layout, I did like that the book starts with the ending. It served to keep the reader on their toes and waiting for the fall. It worked.
• It did cover some tough topics, such as mental illness, self-harm, and abusive relationships. I can always appreciate this.
• I enjoyed some of the side characters! Lin, one of Stella's friends, was amazing. Loved her. I also enjoyed Jeremy and his girlfriend. Jeremy is a boy Stella is working with on a school project—and also a huge source of jealousy for Kevin—and Jennie is his girlfriend. They are the perfect juxtaposition to the relationship between Stella and Kevin. I think the contrast was needed and a nice move on the author's part.
Overall, I think the book could've been better organized. It was barely likable, but I gave it the ol' college try. I think the intentions were great, but the execution didn't hit the mark. If you can look past the misplaced focus on the romance-gone-wrong, perhaps you may like this one. For me it fell a bit short.
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Book source: From the publisher for review Publisher: Harlequin Teen
I was wowed by this book. I went into it without any expectations, really, because I haven't read Amy's other book • Find my reviews here: Literary Meanderings
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I was wowed by this book. I went into it without any expectations, really, because I haven't read Amy's other book (her debut from 2017). I was hooked immediately upon starting this one. This book is told from two perspectives; Jess and Lucas. Both of these teens lost a brother in a mass shooting a year prior. Both of them are coping in different ways; both were effected in different ways. Jess' mother is gravely depressed and barely leaves her bed—effectively neglecting and isolating the only child she has left. This leaves Jess feeling as if she must pick up the slack as far as caring for the home as well as her mother. She is desperate for a job. She is also missing her best friend, who is away at a different school with therapeutic benefits for her PTSD from the shooting. And Lucas? He boxes to deal with the stress and cope with his loss. Though, this is only when he can dodge his mom, who has turned into a helicopter mom post-shooting. Lucas also sees a therapist and takes meds.
The two come together when Jess gets a job at the hardware store Lucas works at. Working alongside Lucas is tough at first, but the two tentatively become friends and then much much more.
Now, before you jump to conclusions, DON'T WORRY! There is no instalove and this book does not promote throwing yourself into a relationship to get over your loss. No; this book promotes so much more than that. Lucas is very open about being in therapy and taking medication for anxiety. He also sheds some tears in the book, which is nice to see. Stigmas be damned! I love the positivity toward therapies of many kinds—talking to someone, medication, physical exercise, etc.—that were present in this story. This book also covers the topic of suicide and it is done well and respectfully.
We live our lives like survivors, weaker in some places, but stronger in others. Scarred, but healing.
The romance is truly just a bonus in this book. It has a realistic build-up and the chemistry between Lucas and Jess was fantastic. They made me laugh with their banter and cry with their emotional healing, both together and apart.
Another thing I feel is important about this book is that the shooting, as well as the shooter himself, wasn't a highlight of this book; it wasn't sensationalized in any way. It was something that happened, but the book was about the way people cope with grief and how they move on afterward, not the terror of the actual shooting.
Life is either about moving forward or looking back. We're moving forward again, but we'll never forget what's back there behind us.
Overall, this was one of my top ten books of 2018! I loved every moment of reading it. The character arcs were great and the way everything from therapy to mental illness was portrayed was just perfect. The romance enhanced the story, but didn't serve as a stand-in for true grief counseling and management. This book left me in tears, but it also gave me comedic relief and had me laughing out loud. I cannot recommend this one enough!
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Book source: From the publisher for review Publisher: HarperTeen