Short and Simple Review When this book first came out, I kind of ignored the hype, but nowThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Short and Simple Review When this book first came out, I kind of ignored the hype, but now that I've gotten a chance to read it, I'm glad that I picked it up. This is not an easy story, it discusses a lot of difficult subjects, but it discusses subjects that aren't always discussed. Namely, this book focuses on a missing girl, but it's more than a story about a missing girl, and the girl is not just "another runaway". Sadie's story is intertwined with a podcast that is trying to find out what happened to Sadie. This was such an interesting narrative style and it worked perfectly for the book. The ending is very open-ended, but that also worked with this particular story. We don't always get answers and don't always find out what happened. Overall, this was a great book and fantastically written....more
Short and Simple Review This was a cute little book and I read it fairly quickly. It's aThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Short and Simple Review This was a cute little book and I read it fairly quickly. It's a riches to rags tell (rather than rags to riches) and it features a happy orphan. The plotline is done really quickly, but the major aspect of this book is the characters. I loved the characters. June Sparrow, while rich, is not unbearable. She's trying to get used to living in a completely new environment. I liked seeing her interact with all the people of Red Back and there's Indigo Bunting, of course, her pet pig. The book is really predictable. There's a little plot involving a list June finds of her mother's, and I knew early on what the list was referring to (but I'm an adult so...). The book reminded me a little of a Hallmark movie. You know the ones. Character comes from the big city and finds family in a small town. While predictable, I don't think it's a bad thing. It made for an enjoyable read and I think it's a great middle-grade book....more
Short and Simple Review I picked this book up at a whim, and I am glad that I did. This isThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Short and Simple Review I picked this book up at a whim, and I am glad that I did. This is a wonderfully written book. I could really understand Cove's character, and she just felt authentically her age. I was worried by the synopsis that this was going to be a sad book, a bit bittersweet, but this book turned out to be more sweet than bitter. Cove is sad and lonely without her best friend, but she gains new friends in surprising places, and I loved seeing these relationships grow. Overall, this is a great book....more
Short and Simple Review I picked this book up preciously because it's exactly the kind ofThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Short and Simple Review I picked this book up preciously because it's exactly the kind of book I would have picked up when I was in middle school. The book reminded me a bit of A Dog's Life: The Autobiography of a Stray, but this is from the POV of a wolf. This is a fairly quick read, the language is short and to the point. It really read the closest it could to the consciousness of a wolf. At times I had to translate what the wolf was referring to (for instance: black river means road). The book was also full of wonderful illustrations. The story of Swift (which is based on a real wolf, by the way) is not the easiest or the happiest story, but I still found myself wanting to read more of it and to see how his story would turn out. Overall, I thought this was a great book....more
Short and Simple Review I listened to this book fully on audiobook and, while I missed outThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Short and Simple Review I listened to this book fully on audiobook and, while I missed out on the wonderful illustrations, I absolutely loved this book. The audiobook was wonderfully narrated and through the narration, I could clearly tell how wonderfully written the book is. It gave a voice to Ivan. I loved hearing about his love for painting, and I loved hearing his story, even though it was heart-wrenching at times. This is not the happiest of stories, but I loved all the animals at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade (and Julie), and I felt such a connection to them. This is the first book I've read by Katherine Applegate alone (I've previously read Eve & Adam, which she wrote with her husband, Michael Grant). I own Crenshaw and Wishtree and they have definitely moved up on my TBR list. Overall, this was a fantastic book, and I recommend it to all ages. ...more
Short and Simple Review This book features a teenage girl, Wren, beingThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Actual Rating: 3.5
Short and Simple Review This book features a teenage girl, Wren, being forced by her parents to attend a Utah wilderness camp after she gets into the wrong crowd. The book immediately starts with Wren being taken in the very early morning with no clue what is happening. There's a lot of denial on her part, and anger. Throughout a large part of the beginning, Wren yells at everyone and whines for help, not that I blame her. She has no idea how to survive in the Utah wilderness and she does have good reason to be upset. It was great, though, to see throughout this book how much she grows and changes. This book mostly takes place inside Wren's head, as sometimes not a whole lot happens in the wilderness, but it was interesting seeing the pieces fall into place as she slowly tells us what made her parents send her to the camp. One really great thing about this book as well is that there is no romance! This is a YA book where a teenage girl becomes self-reliant and changes without any love interest trying to "help" her. Overall this was a pretty decent read and great on audio....more
Short and Simple Review I picked this book up because it lookedThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars
Short and Simple Review I picked this book up because it looked like a heartfelt MG book featuring the love of dogs. This book wasn't quite what I expected. I thought the dog would be more prominent. There was a bit where Charlie decided that the stray wondering around would become hers, but this was over really quickly so it wasn't as much of a dog book as I expected. That being said, this was still a wonderful book. It talks about some difficult things, such as family issues, but it is discussed in a voice that fits the age of the MC. I really liked Charlie and it made my heart hurt at times because she wanted a family and was prone to being angry. Overall this was a quick read and this would certainly be an MG book that I would recommend....more
MY THOUGHTS The premise of this book just immediately caught myThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Actual Rating: 2.5
MY THOUGHTS The premise of this book just immediately caught my attention. I'm a sucker for books about books and this is a book featuring a teen author, except she's not the real writer. It sounded really intriguing, but, unfortunately, not a lot of interesting things happened in this book
At seventeen, Thistle Tate is the bestselling author of the YA series Lemonade Skies. Except, she's not the real author. Only her father and her neighbor/best friend, Liam, know the truth. With the last book set to come out, Thistle feels like she will soon be free of Lemonade Skies. When she strikes a friendship with Oliver, the brother of a superfan, she feels guilty, because he thinks she's a talented author. At the same time, her relationship with Liam is growing to be more.
It's probably not too surprising that I like reading books and books. I obviously love to read. I'm a book blogger, I'm a writer, and I'm just now starting a career in book publishing. All of that was shown in this book. The concept of a teen author not being the real author drew me to this book in the first place. I think I expected more mystery or more drama, but there wasn't really any of that. There was drama closer to the end, but most of the book didn't really have anything to keep my interest. There was so much focus on the love triangle (more on that later) and I just didn't feel inclined to keep picking up the book just for that.
I did like that there was a little focus on family. Thistle has pretty much been raised by her dad and we see some of their relationship, but it has become a little strained thanks to the bestselling author thing. Her dad never talks about her mom, who died when Thistle was little, so Thistle knew nothing about her mom. I liked seeing Thistle try to connect with her mother, but I wasn't sure why it took seventeen years for them to talk about Thistle's mom. I understand why the dad didn't want to talk about it, but it shouldn't have taken that long. Also, the basis of Thistle becoming an author didn't make sense. By the way, we learn really early on in the book who the actual author is: Thistle's father. This is not a spoiler. I understand why Thistle agreed, as they were struggling with money and she wanted to help her dad, but I don't know why her dad thought Thistle's name would get them the money. Maybe having a teenage author would be more of a marketing strategy for the publisher and it helps the book stand out, but it later said that the book would have been acquired even if Thistle weren't the author. Thistle's father didn't know that, he had undergone multiple rejections, but I kind of wondered how his thought process went there.
Okay, now for the romance. Maybe I should have read the synopsis more carefully, but I read the first paragraph and decided I wanted to read this book. If I read further, I would have seen "love triangle". I'm not a fan of love triangles. They're really hard to do well, especially in contemporary. It didn't feel believable in this book and I think it's mostly because this is supposed to be realistic. Every time Thistle was with the other guy and lying, I wanted to ask her "What are you doing???" I actually said "What the hell?!" out loud when she kissed one of the guys shortly after kissing the other. Part of it was also because I didn't feel the romance in either relationship, so whenever it went to kissing, it was a complete shocker. Since this took up most of the middle plot of the book, it really affected my enjoyment of the book.
The ending did add the drama I expected, and that was also when we got to know more of Thistle's mother, but it didn't feel focused and the ending wrapped up too nicely. (view spoiler)[To be perfectly honest, I don't think the book community would completely forgive her, even if she apologizes and explains why she lied. The book community can really hold a grudge. I've never seen a story like this, but whenever a story of an "author behaving badly" comes out, there is a lot of backlash. (hide spoiler)]
IN CONCLUSION Overall, this book wasn't what I expected. There are things I liked and things I didn't like, but it overall couldn't keep my interest. I've read other reviews that say that this book might have more appeal to actual teenagers, so maybe others will find it interesting. It also might be more interesting to folks who aren't already aware of what goes on behind the scenes in the book world. Even though this book did not completely wow me, I do have another book from the author on my TBR and I still would like to read it....more
MY THOUGHTS I picked this book up on a whim. It was a free read on This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars
MY THOUGHTS I picked this book up on a whim. It was a free read on Riveted and since I had yet to read a book by Deb Caletti, I decided to give it a read.
Honey, Baby, Sweetheart is about a teenage girl, Ruby McQueen's, summer. There are two main storylines. First, while walking home from work she passes the new Becker house and one day meets Travis Becker. This sets off a fast and spiraling relationship. She rides on his motorcycle, walks along train tracks, skips out on work, and jumps out the way of a car at the last second. Being with Travis is dangerous and Ruby knows this, but she wants to be around him. Until Travis asks her to do something that she regrets and hurts someone she cares for. The second storyline is after this event, when Ruby's mother drags Ruby to the Casserole Queens book club, a book club of old ladies (and Harold). When they find out that the book they are reading is connected to one of the Queen's lost loves, the book club turns into a kidnapping (from a senior home) and a road trip.
The writing in this book was wonderful. Every small detail was described and every character gets careful attention. I really loved the narration in this sense and it really made me feel like I was within the setting. The observations from Ruby as she tells us these small details did not feel at all like an interruption or unnecessary, they felt natural. They made me feel like I was really seeing these places through her eyes and hearing her tell me the story. That said, her narration did bother at some points when she would step aside and hint that there were darker things to come, they had no idea what was about to happen, etc. I'm not really a fan of narration that vaguely hints at what is to come in an unhelpful manner. I don't mind past tense, but there is no reason for these vague hints as they don't really do anything for the story.
As I mention in my run-down of the plot, there are two main storylines: The Travis Plot and the Book Club Plot. Unlike other books with multiple storylines, these did not weave very well with each other. The Travis Plot ended and then the Book Club Plot began, but we were still reading the same book. The Travis Plot focuses on Ruby as she starts up a relationship with a rich, bad boy. This did explore unhealthy relationships a little, along with first love, but it was very quick. We did not see very many in the moment interactions with Ruby and Travis, but we are told enough to know that he does not have respect for the rules and that he has no regards for Ruby's safety. This was fine because it showed that a "bad boy" isn't always who you want and you should not change yourself for that, but once we get into the Book Club Plot, Travis is barely mentioned. I will mention that the Travis Plot also had a lot of scenes involving Ruby's dad, who left her mother, but still comes home every once and a while and that her mother always remains hopeful that Ruby's dad will stay this time. There were moments in this that made me sad/upset for their family, but there was such a realness to how their family interactions were described. I do like how the family struggles and the Travis Plot went together. They were described similarly at points.
I liked the Book Club Plot the best out of the two storylines. After getting in trouble with Travis, Ruby's mom makes her join the Casserole Queens Book Club with her. I just liked the interactions between the Casserole Queens. The Casserole Queens find out that one of their newest members (who has just suffered a stroke) may have been romantically involved with a famous author they are reading a memoir from. They want to reunite them on a road trip and since I love road trips in books, I loved the inclusion of this, as well as the bookish moments. There are some oddly humorous moments in this part, but it is a bit bittersweet. There is a lot of healing with this part, with Ruby kind of dealing with what happened with Travis (not much though because he is barely mentioned), but also Ruby's mother healing from what happened with Ruby's father, and Ruby and her mother getting back on soild ground together. Of course, love is involved in this part to, but it was a sweeter love than what Ruby had with Travis and I liked how these two types of love were shown, with very different age groups. I also liked that there was not a major romantic focus for Ruby because it felt more realistic.
IN CONCLUSION Overall, I did like this book. While the storylines felt a bit separate for me and some parts went by too quickly, I loved the writing in this book. I will likely be reading more from Deb Caletti in the future....more
Short and Simple Review I listened to this on audio. The book worked fine on audio but myThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Short and Simple Review I listened to this on audio. The book worked fine on audio but my main feeling after finishing it was that it's an okay book. It did deal with some serious subjects. The main character's sister has a traumatic brain injury, her dad left, and now a hurricane is heading her way. She's separated from her mother and sister and now has to survive with Finn, the boy who stood her up at a dance. I liked seeing (hearing?) the interactions between them and, again, it gets into some serious topics, but...I wish this book didn't go into romance. Maybe that's just me tired of romance being placed in so many books, but I just want more books to show that it's normal for a teenager to not be in a romantic relationship. I wanted to focus to stay on surviving the hurricane because that what the focus should be on? Although, it did have a strong focus on family even though the MC was not with her family most of the book. Overall, I did like this book....more
Actual Rating: 2.5 MY THOUGHTS I picked this book on a whim. It was available to read and IThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Actual Rating: 2.5 MY THOUGHTS I picked this book on a whim. It was available to read and I had liked Cotugo's How to Love, so I decided to go ahead and read this one. Unfortunately, this one wasn't for me.
Dana and Olivia have been best friends forever. When Olivia wants to go to Orlando to try out for a girl band, Dana tags along for support. But while waiting for Olivia's audition, Dana is called out to audition. She gives a BS performance--after all, Olivia is the performer, not Dana--but then Dana gets the call that she made the group. Olivia made it all well and while it sounds like it will all be fun and games, hanging out with her best friend, Olivia starts to distance herself from Dana. Dana cannot sing as well as the other girls and Olivia makes it known that Olivia should be the star and Dana is "stealing" from here. Also, Dana keeps bumping into Alex, one of the members of a boy band living in the same complex. The problem: Olivia has a crush on Alex. And, to make matters worse, it turns out there may only be room for one girl in the band.
This book is not bad, it's just not the type of book I would normally read. I didn't read the synopsis before picking this book up. If I did I might've decided to pass on it because it just says drama drama drama. I'm also not the biggest fan of books about becoming a celebrity. It could be interesting, but it usually goes in the drama direction. I like books featuring female friendships, but this book was mainly focused on a female friendship being torn about by drama. Drama just stresses me out and I definitely don't need any more stress.
This book takes place in the late '90s and that was one of the things that I thought was done well in this book. A lot of YA books I read that take place in recent decades go overboard on the pop culture references which ends up becoming less believable. Despite the music scene in this book, it wasn't overly peppered with pop culture references which made it easier to get into the setting. While the setting felt real, the plot itself was not very realistic and there wasn't really much to it. Its main plot is Dana, Olivia, and the other girls training for the pop star lifestyle. The scenes just went so quickly and there wasn't really much interest in their lifestyle because a lot of it was hardcore voice lessons, dancing, interviews, etc.
There was a lot of focus on Dana as she was trying to deal with this lifestyle and being called a "product". I do think there were interesting themes here that the book was trying to show. Dana always felt like Olivia was the one for the spotlight and that she would never escape her small town. When Dana had difficulty keeping up with the group, she was ostracized by the others (including Olivia), but Dana kept practicing on her own. I liked her perseverance. We're lead to believe that she has the talent and that she could do things if she sets her mind to it, but this fell flat at points. I want to believe this, but she literally got in for singing "Happy Birthday". She's told that they "saw something in her", but what did they see? Someone giving a BS performance? I honestly don't believe that someone would take in someone with absolutely no training and really did not give a crap because these folks care about money and they have to pay loads of money to train Dana without knowing it will pay off.
As for the romance, I had difficulty with the romance. Dana meets Alex by chance and then shortly after realizes that Alex is Olivia's crush. She keeps saying to herself that she has to stop talking to Alex because of Olvia, but she's not true to that. She even tells Alex that she can't be with him because a friend likes him. Alex thinks that is ridiculous and continues to pursue her after she says no. Yeah, I realize that Alex wants to choose who he likes and yeah, Dana does like Alex, but I did not like how he kept forcing a relationship after Dana kept telling him that she couldn't. It did not seem respectful to me. As I said, I don't like drama and the whole romance thing just seemed to add drama, some of which was entirely avoidable. I also just had difficulty understanding why Dana could not step back from Alex and I just really wanted her and Olivia to actually talk to each other about things!
IN CONCLUSION Overall, this was a meh book for me. I actually think some of these ideas could have been interesting, but the plot just did not feel there at times and there was too much drama. The ending itself also was unsatisfactory and did not make sense (view spoiler)[Dana is going to school at the end but throughout the whole book, she talks about how broke she is. It wasn't really explained how she was able to leave home and go to school. (hide spoiler)]. I may read more from Katie Cotugno in the future but I may be pickier about which books I read by her....more
Short and Simple Review I don't have a rating for this book because this is just one ofThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Short and Simple Review I don't have a rating for this book because this is just one of those books where I don't think I could translate my feelings for it into a rating. To be honest, I have no idea how to feel about this book. When I first heard about it, it sounded like a typical read--a boy trying to get out of the friend zone--but it turned out to be more than that. The characters felt so real and I found myself loving their interactions. The ending is a big surprise, it really does come out of nowhere, and while it feels out of place, I understand why the book ended the way it did and why so much of the book was focused on showing us the wonderful characters. I did listen to this on audiobook so I feel like I likely missed out on some of the verse elements. Based on the sound, it seems like the poetry got much more stylized in the end and I feel like I missed some of that impact. But, it was still great on audio....more
Short and Simple Review After reading The Poet X, I immediately added this book to myThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Short and Simple Review After reading The Poet X, I immediately added this book to my to-read list. It is clear that Acevedo is a wonderful writer and even in the prose of this book the poetic language is there. Emoni's voice is strong in this book and her passion for cooking shined in the pages. I really liked that this book showed Emoni as a mother, but that was not the focus of the book. So many YA books like to focus on the teen mother aspect, but being a mother is just a part of Emoni. This book shows her as a person who has goals and works hard to achieve them even with many other things in life trying to work against her. I will admit that I don't love this book as much as The Poet X, but I still think this is a fantastic book and I highly recommend it. I will definitely be reading more from Acevedo in the future. ...more
Short and Simple Review I read the majority of this book on audio (I read the last fewThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Short and Simple Review I read the majority of this book on audio (I read the last few chapters in paperback). The audio was fine, although I wish I knew this was a story about grief before downloading it. I chose it a bit randomly from my to-read list. Nonetheless, I did like the book. The MC, Torrey (which I thought was spelled Tori throughout my audio listening), was a bit annoying. She is consumed by the idea of popularity throughout the whole book. I generally don't like characters who think being popular in high school is everything. Torrey believes that she needs to be with the popular group (that everyone wants to be popular, which is completely untrue). She gets in easily because of her high-end clothing, but she can't talk to a certain boy at school because the populars call him a freak. It bothered me how long Torrey tried to keep up with being popular, she never actually learns that she doesn't need to be popular until the very very end of the book, and even then, it did not feel like she actually learned. Luis, the boy at school, was a fantastic character. Luis helps Torrey cope with her sister's death. There is an inclusion of Day of the Dead in this book and I really like how it was included. The ending was a bit lackluster. It did feel like Torrey was coming to a better understanding of how to live without her sister, and understanding that her sister's death was not her fault, but the trial did feel right. (view spoiler)[Throughout the book Torrey is wanting to talk at the trial for the man that hit her sister. This is meant to show how much the victim meant to the family. Torrey instead has her mom speak, which I understood. Torrey's mother was having difficulty talking about it and she needed to understand how to move on with life as well. But, the mother's speech could have been about anybody. It did not feel personal, so the moment was lackluster. I expected Torrey to bring out the items from her sister's messenger bag and talk about what each item meant, but instead, the book ended with a speech that did not have any meaning. (hide spoiler)] Overall, I did like this book, even though I struggled with Torrey's character....more
Short and Simple Review This was one of those bittersweet books that makes you laugh butThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Short and Simple Review This was one of those bittersweet books that makes you laugh but also makes your heart break. This book switches between Delia and Josie. Each POV has a clear voice specific to each girl and oftentimes their own stories, but the girls are best friends and the repertoire together was just fantastic. I don't think there are enough books featuring female friendships in YA and this book definitely gave me female friendship in such an authentic way. While there are other things happening in this book, such as Delia trying to find her dad and Josie's relationship with Lawson, at its heart this book is about a strong friendship. This isn't the first book I've read by Zentner, but I now definitely plan on reading his debut book and any other books he publishes in the future....more
Short and Simple Review I was really looking forward to this bookThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars
Short and Simple Review I was really looking forward to this book and after reading it I can say that I did like it. There are parts that I am torn about, but this is a great read. I liked that it showed an experience that is not shown in YA very often and Frank's voice was very strong in the book. The writing reminded me of John Green with its use of metaphors. I expected a feel-good book, but this book discusses a lot of more complicated and difficult topics. This surprised me What I had issues with was mainly the romance. The fake dating aspect of this book was over very quickly, which was disappointing. (view spoiler)[And there is cheating. Yes, I fully expected from the beginning for Frank and Joy to get together, but I am not here for cheating. Their relationship also happened too quickly for me to really believe it, but that might have been purposeful since they do break up in the end. (hide spoiler)] Overall, I did like this book, even though I had some issues. I liked some of the things it discussed and the representation. I will read the next book....more
Short and Simple Review When I first saw this book, it did not pique my interest. I'm notThis and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Short and Simple Review When I first saw this book, it did not pique my interest. I'm not sure why, I think I was wary about reading a book in verse talking about poetry. I don't normally read poetry or books in verse. Then I started seeing raving reviews and it got multiple awards, including the Printz award (which I am currently making my way through). So, I decided to pick this book up and I am glad I did.
This was such a beautiful book. Even in verse, I could clearly hear this story and even more so feel what Xiomara was thinking and feeling. It made me really understand what she as going through and the questions she was asking. Even more so it made me understand how suffocated she felt in her own home. This was such a powerful book and I found that I couldn't put it down. I will definitely read more from Elizabeth Acevedo in the future. I already have With the Fire on High on my to-read list....more
Short and Simple Review I have a bit of a soft spot for road trip books,This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd
Actual Rating: 3.5
Short and Simple Review I have a bit of a soft spot for road trip books, especially those involving hate-to-love relationships. So I of course wanted to read this book. This was exactly the feel-good book I expected. Don't get me wrong, it does go into more serious topics--like trying to go against what your parents want for you--but throughout most of the book it just made me smile and you know that somehow things will go right. This did make it predictable at points, but I loved the hijinks along the way, the conversations between Chole and Ei, and I especially loved Geezer (because what's a road trip book without a pupper along for the ride?). Overall it was an enjoyable read. I have been reading depressing books lately so this got me out of that funk. I'm glad I picked it up and I will certainly see what else Kristina Forest writes in the future....more