It’s no secret that I ADORE Jennifer Echols. And whenever I’m asked which book is my favorite, I say The Boys Next Door pretty much automatically, because it is. But overall, between her romantic comedies and her romantic dramas, my heart melts a little more for her dramas. SO. What does this have to do with Such a Rush, you wonder?
To me, Such a Rush felt like the perfect combination of The Boys Next Door and her romantic dramas. Some of my favorite elements of The Boys Next Door are there: a girl getting caught up in the drama between two brothers, fake relationships, real fights, and more secrets than anyone knows what to do with… But it has that mature, intense feel of her dramas, both in terms of actual content (we all know Jennifer can write a steamy love scene like nobody’s business), and in terms of motivations and consequences. This isn’t just fun, high school fluff, this is real life, and the tension (sexual and otherwise :P) that Jennifer builds is fantastic.
And through it all is that signature style of sass and humor that she does so well and that I am so in love with. One of my favorite lines, and I’m not even sure why it stuck with me so much, is after a helicopter unexpectedly lands at the airport and a group gets out and heads toward Leah and the other people working at the airport:
“The lieutenant leading the group was a tall blond. I couldn’t tell for sure since he was wearing mirrored shades, but I thought he was boyishly handsome, like Alec. He came straight for me because, dressed in a bikini top, I was obviously in charge of this airport.”
HA! The whole book is full of that snarky kind of humor. I love it.
And if you’ve ever harbored any kind of secret desire to become a pilot, Such a Rush will completely hit the spot and make you look up the nearest flight school. Both the emotional and the practical details of flying a plane were incredible; I felt like I was right there with Leah every step of the way. Oh, and going to prom in a limo? Officially not cool enough. (No offense to any limo-goers out there.)
I absolutely LOVE Such a Rush. Jennifer Echols has totally outdone herself and this is possibly my new favorite from her. I’m so excited for her next book (as always) but at the same time I just want to bask in the awesomeness of this one. Such a Rush has characters that will wrap you around their little fingers and make you care SO MUCH about them, drama that will make you laugh, cheer, and growl in frustration, sexy times that will make you sigh and swoon, and a last line that will put a smile on your face and (if you’re as emotional as I am) a tear in your eye.
You MUST read this book. This is contemporary at its finest, folks, right here. <3...more
There are absolutely no words for how much I LOVE this book. This is probably going to be less of a review aOriginally 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. ~~~~~...more
Initial reaction: Excellent and frustrating and utterly addictive.
Rating is probably more like 4.5/5 stars. Review originally posted on my blog, From AInitial reaction: Excellent and frustrating and utterly addictive.
Rating is probably more like 4.5/5 stars. Review originally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
Fracture took me completely by surprise and I ended up loving it way more than I thought I would. At times it was almost physically painful to read and I actually had to put it down so that I could yell at fictional characters and wouldn’t throw the book across the room (and since I was reading on St Clair (my ereader) that would have been very bad). This reaction is a tribute to the fact that a) I clearly get too invested in fiction and need to get a life, and b) the storytelling was absolutely incredible.
Megan Miranda has this amazing ability to pull you completely into the story and make you feel everything the characters are feeling. Even though the majority of readers will not have experienced anything like what Delaney goes through, you can’t help but relate to her and understand her actions and motivations. She is an incredibly likeable and sympathetic character, and my heart ached for her throughout the story.
Delaney’s accident and miraculous recovery have very serious repercussions, both for her and for the people around her. Although Delaney survived her accident in the most basic sense of the word, things can’t just go back to normal, and the cracks that develop in her relationships with her family and friends (particularly her best friend, Decker) feel both heartbreaking and incredibly realistic. Even leaving aside the supernatural aspect of Delaney being able to sense death (which is a very cool and subtle addition), the exploration of the real-life consequences of what happened is the main strength of the story for me, and I thought it was handled just beautifully.
Fracture is an intense and stunning read, and I absolutely loved it. It stayed with me long after I finished reading and I’m eagerly looking forward to more from Megan Miranda. Don’t miss this one!...more
Okay, here’s where I feel like an idiot, because even though I’d seen everyone raving about this book, I hadOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
Okay, here’s where I feel like an idiot, because even though I’d seen everyone raving about this book, I had Wanderlove in my possession for SIX MONTHS before I read it. Six. Months. And now that I’ve read it, I can see that this is totally unforgiveable, because you guys, this book is AMAZING. Amaaaaaaaazing.
Wanderlove is escapist fiction in the absolute best sense of the word. Kirsten Hubbard transports the reader so completely into backpacker Central America, it’s incredible. I’ve been lucky enough to both live and travel in the Caribbean and Central America at various times in my life, and everything is portrayed perfectly. The mentality and atmosphere of the Caribbean, the heat and discomfort of traveling by bus, the children playing soccer, the food, the gorgeous beaches, the little critters in the hostel, the cold outdoor showers… I got so nostalgic while reading, I looked up plane tickets almost immediately after I finished (once I was done grinning like a fool, that is). Kirsten Hubbard is an avid backpacker herself, and it definitely comes across in her realistic and affectionate portrayal of Guatemala and Belize.
Bria is such a unique and fun character in the world of YA contemps and I absolutely loved her voice. Wanderlove is both a physical journey through Central America as well as an emotional one, and I love how Bria developed as a character throughout the story. Both she and Rowan have a lot they need to work through, and watching them do this as they traverse mountains and beaches and villages is a special joy.
And speaking of Rowan, I want to apologize in advance for this next paragraph, but I just need to take a minute to be a total girl. Holy. Crap. This boy is so damn attractive. Quickened pulse? Check. I don’t know what it is exactly, but something about him just works for me. He has that dangerous edge to him because of his shady past, but he’s working hard to move past that which is so endearing to me. He’s also incredibly smart and well-traveled, reads all the time, and he’s a dive instructor. This is like my perfect guy, people. I’m still fanning myself. Kirsten, if you come across a boy like Rowan in your future travels, feel free to send him my way. ;)
And the romance! This is slow burn romance at its best. Totally swoonworthy. This is the kind of love story where you can feel their connection from the start, and even though you’re kind of dying for them to just make out already, you don’t actually want it to happen because you know that the slow-building tension and the little moments along the way (late night conversations while sharing a hammock are my favorite) are just going to make it so much better when it finally does happen. And hoo boy, Kirsten makes it happen. I’m still swooning.
If you can’t tell already, I am freaking IN LOVE with this book. I decided to start reading it around 1 am one night before I went to sleep (yeah, I’m a night owl), and I seriously didn’t sleep all night because I just couldn’t put it down. Eight in the morning rolled around and I could be found lying there clutching the book to my chest and grinning and sighing with happiness. I was pretty nonfunctional the next day, I can tell you that. But it was so worth it.
Whether or not you’re interested in traveling yourself, I guarantee you will enjoy Bria’s journey, bugs and all. And Wanderlove has gorgeous illustrations that are not only completely relevant to the story, but are drawn by the author herself! So. Cool. This book has a permanent place on my favorites shelf and I seriously can’t recommend it enough. Thank you so much, Kirsten Hubbard, for such a fantastic and heartwarming story!
And just as a final comment (I’m stopping soon, I promise! :P), <>Wanderlove happens to come out on my birthday, and I am so happy to be sharing March 13th with this beautiful beautiful book. And in the tradition of hobbits (because hobbits are awesome!), I want to give YOU a gift on my birthday! Well, one of you. I’d love to actually buy everyone a copy, but alas, my pockets are not that deep.
Oh my goodness, I looooooooooved this book. It is an absolutely amazing debut and definitely stands out amonOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
Oh my goodness, I looooooooooved this book. It is an absolutely amazing debut and definitely stands out among YA contemporaries. To be honest, I was expecting a pretty standard story, but Huntley Fitzpatrick blew me away and I got so much more than that. I read it as part of an ARC tour and almost didn't sign up for it, but I'm soooooo glad I did. I barely put the book down once I started, and after I finished I kept wishing that I was still reading it.
The Garretts are, hands-down, my favorite part of the story. They are such a wonderful family and I fell completely in love with them almost instantly. (Especially the darling four-year-old George. Can I please please have a George in my life??). I adore stories about big, loving families (the Weasleys, anyone?), and this is no exception. From the minute Sam entered their world I was grinning like a fool pretty much the whole time. I want to have a large family myself (although I think I’m planning to stop at six kids, haha), and this book totally reaffirmed that desire. The craziness and love is just portrayed so perfectly. I also really love the contrast with Sam’s own family; how she escapes into the world of the Garretts and finds a whole new life for herself. I loved watching her grow as a result of her interactions with a family so different than her own.
And the romance! Oh my. The romance in this story is so achingly sweet. Sam and Jase are ADORABLE. I felt like they had such a mature relationship, which was a really refreshing change from the silly drama that seems to be present in so many other high school romance stories. I was pleasantly surprised by how they handled certain situations, and many times I could be found clutching the book to my chest in happiness. And although the focus of the book is on Jase and Sam, I would be remiss not to also mention Nan, Sam’s best friend, and her brother Tim, both of whom I loved – the story would not be complete without them.
I knew from the blurb that there was going to be some kind of Bad Event, and once I got a little more than halfway through the book I started anxiously anticipating. I had several predictions about what might happen (and was very nervous for the safety and happiness of all my beloved characters), but I absolutely didn’t see it coming. It’s a shocking and heart wrenching twist, and it makes the story that much more compelling. My heart ached for Sam, but at the same time it allowed for some really wonderful moments between her and various other characters, as well as for her own personal development. There were just a couple of things that I wish had been resolved a little more before the book ended, but they were fairly minor.
My Life Next Door is a beautifully written story that captures a summer romance perfectly. Your emotions will be all over the place and you will love it. This is one of my new favorite contemporaries and I am so so excited to read more from Huntley Fitzpatrick. If you’re a fan of authors like Sarah Dessen, Elizabeth Scott, or Sarah Ockler, you WILL NOT want to miss this book.
And just as a final note, I read this in February, but it happened to be a rare 80 degree day and I just went outside and sat in the grass and ate a popsicle and enjoyed the sun and read nonstop and it was SO PERFECT. I’m so glad this is coming out in June, because it is JUST the thing for an amazing summer read. You can feel the heat coming off the pages. Take it poolside with you, you won’t be sorry....more
I’m not really sure exactly how to review this one. I actually went back and forth about whether I should evOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
I’m not really sure exactly how to review this one. I actually went back and forth about whether I should even write a review or not, but I decided to at least put some thoughts down.
It’s not that this was a bad book, by any means. It’s just that it wasn’t really for me, mainly because the story has much more of a Christian slant than I had realized. There were hints in the title and the blurb, but since I hadn’t seen it marketed as Christian fiction anywhere I just didn’t realize how large a role it would play. I generally tend to stay away from faith-based books, simply because they're not really my thing.
However, now that that’s said, the story itself is well-written and I did enjoy reading it. I love road trip books, and it was fun watching them explore Route 66, especially with Matt’s unexpected detours. The locations are wonderfully described and it definitely intensified my ever-present wanderlust. I felt like the growth of the characters throughout the novel was also done really well. Thou Shalt Not Road Trip has a very unique and colorful cast, and I was intrigued by their personal journeys even if I didn’t really personally identify with any of them.
If you enjoy books that have more of a religious slant to them, I’d definitely recommend Thou Shalt Not Road Trip. Overall it was just an okay read for me, but I don’t think I’m necessarily the intended audience for this kind of story to begin with....more
Review will be posted on my blog closer to the release date.
This is such a fun, cute story. The writing is clever and engaging, and I pretty much readReview will be posted on my blog closer to the release date.
This is such a fun, cute story. The writing is clever and engaging, and I pretty much read the entire book in one sitting. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The blurb mentions that the boys are in a band, but it’s actually a much bigger part of the story than I realized, and I LOVED that. I’m a huge live music fan, so it was really fun to see the inner workings of a band trying to write songs and figure out harmonies and get everything sounding just right. You definitely don’t need to be a music lover to enjoy it though; there are no technical terms or anything confusing to the music aspect of the novel. The story is very much focused on Char and her growth, and the band is a conduit for showing that.
And oh, Char. She gets tangled up with so many boys, I honestly don’t know how she handled it. Sometimes you just need a female friend, you know?
Although I did love this book, one of the small issues I had with it is that the romance actually seemed to take a backseat to the rest of the story, and it wasn’t as prominent as I expected (maybe I should have known better, given that the book is called Being FRIENDS with Boys). And the title is actually hugely appropriate. Char is dealing with friendships with several different guys, and a few of them have the possibility of turning into something more, but it feels like the book is mostly about Char dealing with a lot of drama rather than slowly falling in love.
The love story didn’t actually happen until the end of the book, and I really would have liked more development throughout the novel and a slightly less sudden ending. That said, I did have a huge smile on my face when I finished the book, so it’s not like I wasn’t happy or anything. I just would have liked more. (Put simply, basically what all this means is that I wanted more kissing! Haha.)
And apart from the lack of romance, I really did enjoy Char’s interactions with all the boys in her life. She has a unique and complicated relationship with each one, and it was so fun watching her navigate the waters of male-female friendships. I love stories that focus on those kinds of relationships, and though at times certain characters were incredibly frustrating and almost made me want to throw the book across the room, I found myself both groaning and laughing out loud as Char went through everything. There’s a lot of high school frustration and drama and angst, but once Char gets through all of that there’s a very sweet, smile-inducing ending.
If you’re looking for a fun contemporary story about a rocker girl and her many complications with the boys in her life, I’d definitely recommend checking out Being Friends with Boys....more
Wow. So this book was a lot darker and more intense than I was expecting. It is not your normal fluffy YA noOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
Wow. So this book was a lot darker and more intense than I was expecting. It is not your normal fluffy YA novel, but a tense action thriller with high stakes and real consequences.
The action and thriller side of the novel is done really well. The mystery of Wally’s mother’s identity, the clues we’re slowly given, how everything falls into place… it all kept me reading late into the night. And the climax is full of nonstop action and unexpected twists that had me both cringing in horror and laughing in delight.
This is the second book I’ve read recently by a screenwriter (Jennifer Bosworth’s Struck was the other one), and oh man, do they know how to bring the excitement! The writing is engaging and each scene feels like it could come straight off the pages and right onto a movie screen.
The one thing I had an issue with in terms of the plot of the novel was how easily Wally discovers everything. She makes connections and draws conclusions based on very little evidence and she’s never wrong. She guesses things and figures things out that even trained detectives would have trouble with, much less one sixteen-year-old with very few resources. I don’t think there were any setbacks in her investigation at all. Every single lead she followed turned into a wealth of information, her timing was always perfect, and the whole thing felt unrealistic. I just wish it was done in a way that was more believable.
Other than this, I did enjoy Dark Eyes as an action novel. It’s the emotional side of the novel that I felt was lacking a bit. I never really understood Wally’s motivation for running away from home, since she obviously cares for her adoptive mother, Claire, and feels guilty about leaving her. She has led a privileged and pampered life, and comes across as rather selfish. Wally is also just a very hardened character and keeps everyone at arm’s length, which makes it hard to really connect with her. She talks about her friends as her family and the people she truly belongs with (the whole reason she ended up leaving home), but I would have liked more development of her relationship with them. I personally never really saw the connection they all had, so while I became intrigued by Wally and her quest to find her mother, I couldn’t really bring myself to care that much about the crew.
Despite my issues with the book, I enjoyed Dark Eyes. I especially loved the Russian aspect to the novel, since I lived in Russia when I was a kid. It made me feel a little nostalgic. :) Overall, Dark Eyes is a dark, gritty story that will keep you turning the pages until the thrilling conclusion....more
Oh my goodness, I have SO MANY FEELINGS for this book. Reading it was such a whirlwind of emotion; these chaOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
Oh my goodness, I have SO MANY FEELINGS for this book. Reading it was such a whirlwind of emotion; these characters just completely caught me up in their lives. Colby especially. It is really really rare that I connect so much with a male narrator, but oh man, I fell for Colby. I just love him. I want to squeeze him. I think I’m going to name my car after him.
And Bev. I’m not exactly sure how I feel about Bev. I spent a lot of the book kind of hating her, because she totally betrayed Colby and she’s really withdrawn throughout most of the book. She did grow on me enough by the end so that I didn’t want to chuck the book at the wall every time she appeared on the page, but MAN, she frustrated me. I don’t think that she herself is a bitch, she just did a very bitchy thing that I honestly still don’t really understand and I’m definitely not ready to forgive her for. BUT, even though I am still outraged on Colby’s behalf, I do completely understand his feelings and reactions to her.
This was a rare kind of book where I wasn’t necessarily rooting for the romance (although heck yes I wanted them to work things out!), but I was totally rooting for Colby. And if you know me then you know that I am ALL about the romance. So this is amazing. Nina LaCour is amazing. The fact that she’s made me love and understand this boy so much? I’m in awe.
There’s so much more I could say about the amazing music, the road trip, the people that they meet along the way, Colby’s art and Bev’s sculptures… but I’ll let you discover all of that for yourself. Hopefully all my Colby-gushing is enough to intrigue you. :)
This book is painful and beautiful and raw and I LOVED it. It made my chest tighten and my heart hurt, it made me laugh and get teary-eyed and grin uncontrollably. Books like this are why I love contemporary. <3...more
The International Kissing Club is a lot like what it sounds: light, frothy fun. Four girls make a pact to eaOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
The International Kissing Club is a lot like what it sounds: light, frothy fun. Four girls make a pact to each try to kiss as many boys as they can during their study abroad semesters… and what do you expect? The result is a lot of kissing, a little heartbreak, and some good old-fashioned high school drama and angst. All in all, a pretty enjoyable read, though I would have appreciated a little more substance.
The chapters alternate point-of-view between Piper, Cassidy, Izzy, and Mei, which is a little confusing to follow at first, while they’re all four still in Texas. I kept getting their stories mixed up (which was the one with the single mom? Whose dad is the football coach?), but once they split up and each started their adventure it became a lot easier to keep track of things.
I really enjoyed each girl’s unique story and the personal growth and realizations they went through because of it, but I wish a little more time could have been spent with each one. There are four different stories to tell in this one novel, which is a LOT, and even at 400 pages, I felt like a lot of story progression and development was left out. We would meet up with a character only to find that a month had passed since we last spoke with her (for lack of better phrasing), and there was a lot of telling instead of showing. I also found it hard to believe that none of the girls made friends with anyone other than their respective guys. I’ve studied abroad, and it’s pretty difficult to not meet ANYBODY.
Partly because of this, I felt like all the relationships moved very fast. I kept thinking “Stop kissing so quickly! You just met!” And while many times this was because the characters had, in fact, just met (or practically just met), it was also because we had often missed a whole chunk of their relationship, which would have been the chunk with all those little moments leading up to the kissing. For this reason, Izzy’s was my favorite storyline, by far. Even though she was the one stuck in Texas I was always excited when we got another ‘Izzy’ chapter, and her romance was the one I could most relate to: slow-building, sweet, and unexpected (to her, at least).
Ivy Adams is actually the pseudonym for a trio of writers, and I have to give them credit for making the story flow as well as it did. It could have easily felt disjointed, given the three authors and the four different narrators, but I didn’t even know Ivy Adams wasn’t one person until I read it at the back of the book when I was finished.
Though at times it can be a bit cheesy and juvenile (but you already knew that from the title, right? :P), The International Kissing Club was nevertheless a cute, fun read. It wouldn’t be my go-to book for an in-depth love story, but if you adore stories about international adventures and you’re in the mood for a light contemporary, this might be just the book for you....more
This book is so HUGELY entertaining and I absolutely loved it! Despite the potentially heavy subject matterOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
This book is so HUGELY entertaining and I absolutely loved it! Despite the potentially heavy subject matter of needing to undergo a fake kidnapping in order for the FBI to protect you from dangerous terrorists, it’s a really light, fun read, and I had a huge smile on my face the entire time.
Digit is absolutely adorable and so hilarious, both in her inner monologues and her interactions (particularly with John, the hot FBI agent assigned to protect her) and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud so many times. From her obsession with bumper stickers to her shyness about her crazy math skills, she is such an enjoyable character. And she and John have fantastic chemistry together. I loved watching the development of their relationship and it was so sweet when they eventually got together.
I also really loved Digit’s evolution throughout the book and her gradual acceptance of “Digit” as an important part of herself. Watching her grow in confidence (and particularly John’s role in that growth) was incredibly satisfying and added a subtle layer to what would otherwise be a fairly fluffy contemporary novel.
My one complaint is that this book is so short! I wanted to spend so much more time with Digit. Although I’ve seen rumours that a sequel is in the works, which makes me very happy. :) Be sure to check out A Girl Named Digit when it releases in June; it is pure fun and entertainment and you definitely don’t want to miss it....more
I love tearjerkers, and I wanted to love this book, but for some reason I just wasn't connecting. We're thrown so quickPosted on my blog, From A to Z.
I love tearjerkers, and I wanted to love this book, but for some reason I just wasn't connecting. We're thrown so quickly into Austin's quest to make everyone else's life better, and I felt like I didn't really get to know him at all. Everything just felt very rushed, and I wasn't invested enough to actually be upset when the story reached the inevitable conclusion. I cry at everything (seriously, everything), but I didn’t feel the urge even once.
In addition, every single situation he was trying to "fix" was completely clichéd. The gay friend, the rape victim, the mom who stopped living after her son’s death, the friend in an abusive relationship, the estranged mother and daughter… I know listing them out like this makes it feel very dry, but that’s pretty much how it felt in the story to me. Don’t get me wrong, I think these are all extremely serious and important issues to deal with and address, I just didn’t feel like Never Eighteen really addressed them effectively. It was trying to do much. And it seemed presumptuous for Austin to even be interfering in these people's lives in the first place.
I also had trouble understanding why he and Kaylee supposedly loved each other. I saw no evidence (other than the fact that she was willing to drive him around for two whole days while he made her wait in the car and gave her no explanation as to what he was doing). And then when they finally do admit their feelings to each other (view spoiler)[they're laying on a football field and end up having sex right then and there. Dude, I get that you're dying and time's limited, but a football field? Really? You couldn't even wait to get inside somewhere? It felt so rushed. (hide spoiler)]
I really do hate writing such a negative review, but this book just completely missed the mark for me. I know a lot of people who loved it, but I wouldn’t personally recommend it....more
I absolutely adored Hannah Harrington’s debut novel, Saving June, and I was so excited to read Speechless. AOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
I absolutely adored Hannah Harrington’s debut novel, Saving June, and I was so excited to read Speechless. And while I don’t think that Speechless had quite as much magic for me as Saving June did, I still loved it and can highly recommend it.
At times, Speechless was incredibly difficult for me to read. The incident at the beginning that sets everything in motion was real and painful and I actually had to put the book down for a while and walk away. Which, even though it made me vaguely nauseous, is a great thing, because I love it when a book can affect me on that level.
On a related note, I really disliked Chelsea at the beginning and honestly doubted whether or not I would ever be able connect with her and root for her. This is usually a deal-breaker for me, because if I can’t connect to the main character it’s not likely that I’ll be able to enjoy their story. But Chelsea’s development throughout the novel was really well done, and Hannah Harrington did a great job at making it feel gradual and realistic. The Chelsea at the end of the book is still recognizable as the girl from the start; she still has flaws and issues to work out, but she does a lot of growing in between. I do have to admit though, overall I definitely liked her better when she wasn’t speaking.
However, I did love all the supporting characters in a way that I never really loved Chelsea, and they really made the novel for me. They’re all incredibly well-developed, and they managed to worm their way into my heart even with the minimal amount of page time they got.
Overall, Speechless is an engrossing and wonderfully written novel about one girl’s path to realizing what is really important in life. It will make you cringe, it will make you laugh, and it will make you think. I devoured it all in one sitting and I can’t wait for Hannah Harrington’s next book!...more
I was immediately interested in reading The Boy Recession when I heard about it, mainly because my college hOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
I was immediately interested in reading The Boy Recession when I heard about it, mainly because my college had a similar male-female ratio (Okay, maybe not quite the same, but it sure felt like it sometimes!), and it sounded like a fun story that I could totally relate to. Having read it, I can say that I wasn’t really blown away, but it was sweet, cute story that I enjoyed reading.
My favorite thing about it was definitely the humor; there were several moments that had me smiling and giggling out loud. I loved the chapter headings in particular, taken from the school’s online newspaper. Some of my favorites:
“Popularity of Plaid Shorts Plummets as Preppies Flee Julius” “Senior Girls Lobby to Take Over, Convert to Lounge Boys’ Bathroom in South Hallway” “Cougars Among Us: Julius Juniors and Their Freshman Boy Toys”
The characters felt like SUCH typical teenagers: the boys weren’t drop-dead gorgeous and mysterious, they were juvenile and dumb and often pretty gross. Which isn’t what you always want to read about, of course, but it totally fit with this story. The stakes weren’t end-of-the-world high, everything was pretty chill, and everyone was just generally concerned with normal high school stuff, mainly whatever gossip was new in the dating scene. And there is a sweet, heartwarming happy ending that will for sure put a smile on your face.
A whole year passes in the book, and we generally just get flashes of scenes and hear about other things that happened in between chapters. This was a little jarring at first, but once I got used to it I enjoyed it. It made the book feel like a lot like a year of high school – when you look back you don’t remember every single day, but you remember the year in terms of the important events, those bigger moments when things changed – and I feel like that was really captured well with The Boy Recession.
This isn’t necessarily the kind of book that you can’t put down, that you’re dying to read every chance you get, but it’s a nice, easy read, and I’d recommend it for anyone looking to just chill out and head back to high school for a couple of hours....more