Posts Categorized: Young Adult

Seven Days of You Review

April 24, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★

Seven Days of You ReviewSeven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse
on March 7th 2017
Pages: 336
Source: Library
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two-stars
Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.
Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

What is up with me not liking any of these contemporary books here lately? I’m not really sure what my deal is. But I had issues with Seven Days of You. It makes me so sad because I desperately wanted to like this one. I’ve ultimately realized that I’m never fully going to get behind romances that happen in a short amount of time. With this book, they HAD met before, but I still didn’t totally believe in the couple or either of the characters. It had a lot of potential because there aren’t enough books that are set in Tokyo, but it still fell short for me in the end. It was highly predictable, and not enough was done with the setting to truly make it unique. This is yet another recent release that simply wasn’t for me for a number of reasons.

I had a hard time relating to Sophia as a whole. Maybe I’m getting too old for this. But honestly, I’ve only been out of high school for three years now. Sophia didn’t sound like ANY high schooler that I’ve ever encountered. Yes, I did appreciate some of her pop culture references to My So Called Life and other shows that I loved, but that’s pretty much it for being able to understand this character. She was incredibly whiny and selfish throughout the book. And for the life of me, I couldn’t understand her crush on David. In my opinion, it would have worked out a lot better for the book if he was her platonic male friend. Instead he was this complete asshole with literally zero redeeming qualities. On the plus side, his girlfriend was a sweetheart, though I thought it was horrible how Sophia treated her. Putting it simply, she wasn’t a good person. I try to watch myself on judging characters based on likability, but on this case it was extremely difficult not to.

So the love interest here is a guy named Jamie. Jamie was an alright love interest as a whole. I thought that he was a decent enough guy. However, he was seriously way too decent to have to put up with the way Sophia treated him. I don’t blame him for getting mad/jealous of her crush on David back when they were still friends. He’s a nice guy, but that’s truthfully all that I remember about him. So what I’m basically saying is that he’s a combination of your typical YA love interest and nothing about him truly stands out. I know that might sound harsh, but I can be picky about my book boyfriends and Jamie just wasn’t a memorable one for me.

I’m not even going to waste more time talking about the romance when it should already be rather clear that I had issues with it. Instead, I want to talk about her friend Mika. As mentioned, David was a jerk and her best friend Mika wasn’t much better. She was also extremely selfish and I felt like her storyline was entirely predictable. She reminded me exactly of Rayanne Graff from My So Called Life. I felt like her storyline could have fleshed out a little better because it didn’t feel completely developed to me. I was excited that it was set in Tokyo but I felt like the setting and the culture could have been a much bigger storyline than it was. I get that a teenager probably isn’t going to care that much about her surroundings, but it still would have been nice to get more details about it anyway. It also bothered me that she had no Japanese friends and hardly interacted with anyone from Japan at all.

Seven Days of You ultimately didn’t work for me at all. I hate that these recent contemporaries haven’t been working for me lately, but I just guess that’s how it turns out sometimes. On the positive side, it was a very quick read for me. I managed to read it in just a few hours. I was also pretty hooked into it once I started reading, which definitely says something. It wasn’t an awful book, but it didn’t stay with me either. It’s a forgettable book for the most part. I’ve seen comparisons to Anna and the French Kiss, but this book doesn’t even come close to that one in my opinion. Who knows, maybe this one is just the book you’re looking for!

two-stars

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ARC Review: Fireworks

April 11, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★

ARC Review: FireworksFireworks by Katie Cotugno
Published by HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray on April 18th 2017
Pages: 336
Source: Edelweiss
Also by this author: 99 Days
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two-stars

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

From Katie Cotugno, bestselling author of 99 Days, comes Fireworks—about a girl who is competing with her best friend to become the new pop star of the moment—and all the drama and romance that comes with it—set in Orlando during the late-'90s boy-and-girl-band craze.
It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along.
But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.
It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.
Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

This was yet another book that I really wanted to like. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about this author, but I feel like I’m missing something. I strongly disliked 99 Days and I couldn’t even make it through How to Love. Sadly, none of her books have been for me. I thought this one would definitely be my cup of tea since it takes place in the 90’s and also involves boy and girl bands. I’m sure many contemporary fans will like this one, but not me. Fireworks had a lot of potential that it sadly didn’t live up to. The writer is good, but the plot and characters didn’t work at all. I doubt I’ll be reading any other books from this author in the future.

If you’re a fan of realistic contemporary stories, you’ll probably have some issues right off the bat with this one. The story revolves around Dana going to this audition to support her best friend Olivia. Somehow though, Dana gets roped into auditioning. She’s NEVER had any type of vocal lessons or any musical theater experience in her life, yet we’re supposed to believe that the man in charge picks her over all the more experienced girls? Nope, I don’t buy that this would happen to her just because she’s pretty.

It also takes place in the 90’s, which I originally thought was awesome. Truthfully, I found myself forgetting the time period most of the time. It didn’t seem like it took place back then besides a few TLC and Spice Girl references. The love interest of the story happens to be in a boy band, yet there’s no references to any other boy bands that were around in that time period. Maybe she was just trying to be creative, but I felt like that would have made the book just a little better. I hope that more people write stories that take place in the 90’s in the future, but only if they actually make it seem like it’s that decade.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance. I liked how sex positive it was all around. I just didn’t think Alex was a great character. He didn’t have much development, his whole purpose was basically to continually tell Dana how wonderful and perfect she is. Aside from that, we truly don’t know much else about him besides the fact that he comes from a decent family and has money. Did anyone else think it was creepy as hell how he would just randomly pop up literally everywhere that Dana would go by herself? For example, she goes down to the pool in the middle of the night, and he just randomly pops out of nowhere. It was a little weird in my opinion.

I think it’s misleading that people consider this to be a friendship novel. Going into this, I was expecting a really positive and strong female friendship but that’s not what I got. Without saying too much, the friendship is not what I was expecting it to be. Olivia is an unlikable character. I did sympathize with the fact that she had an eating disorder. Maybe it’s because one of my best friends struggles with an eating disorder, but I felt like it wasn’t treated with respect. It felt more like a plot device than something that was truly explored and developed. It bothered me that not only Dana but especially the adults didn’t take her eating disorder more seriously. This is an issue that so many teens deal with, and I felt like it could have been more carefully written as a whole.

Even though this book just released, it already seems as if I’m in the minority with my opinion. I don’t think that this author is bad by any means, but it seems like her style and plots just don’t match up with the books that I enjoy reading. If you’re able to get past all of the cliches and unrealistic things, you might like this book. Don’t get me wrong, this book wasn’t absolutely terrible. I didn’t have to force myself to read it, I was pretty sucked into it. I just wasn’t able to get past all of the other key elements of the story.

two-stars

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We Are Okay Review

April 5, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★

We Are Okay ReviewWe Are Okay by Nina LaCour
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on February 14th 2017
Pages: 234
Source: Library
Also by this author: Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, You Know Me Well
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two-stars
You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…
Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

Not going to lie to you guys, I desperately wanted to like We Are Okay. I liked Nina’s book Everything Leads to You. Though I wasn’t a fan of her recent book You Know Me Well with David Levithan, I thought I’d try this one anyway. Sadly, this didn’t work for me to say the least. I don’t know, I was just ridiculously bored. It was a short book, and I felt like nothing really happened. There was barely any character development, which made me sad. Nina LaCour is a great author, and her sentences are extremely pretty. I just wasn’t able to connect with this story on any level. I’m sure there are plenty of readers who will like it, I’m not one of them.

Marin is an okay character. I totally feel for her as she struggles with grief over the loss of her grandpa. Her mom died when she was little and her dad was never in the picture, so her grandpa was her family. So yeah, I sympathized with her. Look, this might sound insensitive, but I didn’t really understand why she felt so betrayed by her grandpa. It felt like she was being a little selfish about what her grandpa went through. Like Cait said, maybe I just missed something, but it seemed like a weird thing to be so upset about. I also didn’t get why it was so hard to be in the town again. Like what did EVERYONE in the town do to you? Maybe it was the memories that she associated it with, but I still didn’t fully understand that. I was confused by the whole thing.

Another disappointment was the romance. I guess you could say the love interest was her best friend Mabel, but not really since nothing happens between them in the present. It all happened back before Marin’s grandpa died and she shut Mabel out completely. So she comes to Marin’s dorm over Christmas break because she hasn’t talked to her since she left and doesn’t know the full story. I guess she’s a good friend to Marin for the most part but I just didn’t care enough about it. I was really bothered by the fact that they’d been together in the past, but it was barely mentioned at all by the girls in the present. It would be okay if it was just a one time thing, but they seemed to really love each other, or at least Marin loved her. I’m fine with Mabel being bisexual and having a boyfriend now. I wasn’t alright with how she actually said that she wouldn’t have been with her boyfriend in Marin would have just texted her back. Realistically, it seems like it would have been difficult for them to be in a long distance relationship, she might have fallen for him even if they were still together. It just bugged me that she claimed to understand why Marin shut her out, but still basically blamed her for leading her to Jacob. I wasn’t a fan of how Mabel was pushing her at the end of the book to find a girlfriend. It felt like she was only doing that to ease her own guilt since she knows that Marin still has strong feelings for her. Mabel had very little character development as well.

I’ve seen pretty much all positive reviews about this book. For whatever reason, it didn’t click for me. I didn’t have a strong emotional connection to the characters or the plot at all. I think it could have been a bit longer and faster paced. I found myself very bored and just ready for it to end, which is never a good sign for me. Maybe I’ll eventually end up giving this author another chance, but this didn’t end up leaving a good impression on me personally. I see where people are coming from with all the nice things being said, but I simply don’t feel the same. If you like emotional contemporary reads, maybe this will be your cup of tea. I usually like emotional books, but I wasn’t able to connect with the characters or the romance.

two-stars

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ARC Review: Geekerella

April 4, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

ARC Review: GeekerellaGeekerella: A Fangirl Fairy Tale by Ashley Poston
Published by Quirk Books on April 4th 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: We Own the Night
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four-stars

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale.
Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad's old costume), Elle's determined to win unless her stepsisters get there first.
Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons before he was famous. Now they re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he's ever wanted, but the Starfieldfandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.
Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom."

Wow, this was a great book! I didn’t really like this author’s book We Own the Night, but decided to give this a shot because of the summary. I’m also a sucker for sweet contemporary reads and anything about geek culture. This wasn’t my absolute favorite, but it was still a book that I really enjoyed. It was also extremely fast paced. I was able to read it in just a few sittings. I look forward to reading whatever Ashley Poston decides to write next. I’m glad that I was given the opportunity to pick this one up. You should read it if you’re a fan of fairytale retellings, geeky things, and just cute and light contemporary stories.

Elle was a strong character all in all. She was sassy and I just adored so much about her personality. I definitely related to her geeky side. I also understand her taking refuge in the internet instead of in the outside world. She was just an entirely relatable character. However, I desperately wanted her to stand up for herself. I get that the author was staying close to the original Cinderella story in this respect, but it was still frustrating, especially towards the end. I didn’t understand why she continually allowed her stepmother to treat her like trash when she had basically no reason to live with her. Maybe I’m making too much out of this, but it bothered me quite a bit.

Darian was a decent character. He might have been a big star who just landed a huge role, but he certainly didn’t always act like it. Though he comes off as a jerk to Elle, we learn that there’s a lot more to him. He actually turns out to be a complicated character. Becoming famous has caused him to lose all of his friends and he doesn’t know who to trust. His dad is also his manager, and isn’t much of a dad to him since he’s too concerned with his career. His problems might not be as rough as Elle’s, but he’s still got them for sure. Anyway, I thought he was sweet and swoony. He was a total geek fanboy before he became famous. He’s just as obsessed with Starfield as Elle is, and it was his dream role to play Carmindor. I thought that he was a great book boyfriend. He wasn’t perfect, but I still liked him a lot!

Darian and Elle made a sweet couple. Some people might be bothered that the majority of their interactions take place through text messages. They don’t meet each at the convention until the end of the book. When they do meet, they don’t know they’ve been talking and they don’t get along right away. That being said, I still found the relationship that they built over text to be adorable. It felt very real and sweet, there’s really no better words to describe it. We don’t get a lot of kissing scenes obviously, but I still thought the relationship was well written for the most part. It might not work for some people, but I thought it was great!

Geekerella was a refreshing and unique modern take on the classic tale. I thought that the fangirl angle was so relevant. Elle was a fabulous main character. The supporting characters were memorable as well, specifically her fairy godmother Sage. She was so hilarious and charming all around. Do you guys think I’ve used the word sweet enough in my review? That’s truly the best word I can think of to describe this book. It’s not perfect, but it’s still really great. I think readers are going to find it to be a compelling and charming read! I hope that you guys give it a chance.

four-stars

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Gemina Review

April 3, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★

Gemina ReviewGemina (The Illuminae Files, #2) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff, Marie Lu
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 18th 2016
Pages: 608
Source: Library
Also by this author: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1), Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)
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four-stars
Listening time 12 hours 34 minutes
The highly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller that critics are calling “out-of-this-world awesome.”
Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.
The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.
Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.
When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.
But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.
Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

Gemina was a decent book, but not nearly as great as the first book. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t even realize that this wasn’t directly following the characters from the first book until I started it. Illuminae was such a whirlwind of a novel and so different from what I typically read. Stepping out of my comfort zone to read it a year ago was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made reading wise. So obviously, I couldn’t wait to read this one as well. I thought that this also had a unique plot and definitely kept you in suspense the whole time. However, some of the plot twists just gave me whiplash. Sometimes I wasn’t sure what to make of the direction that the book was going in. If you like that kind of unpredictable novel though, you’ll likely go for this book. I’m happy that I finally got the chance to read it months after it was released!

Hanna is our main character in Gemina. Her character really comes out through her beautiful drawings and her IM’s. We also see more and more of her badass ways as the book progresses. Seriously though, this girl is the shit. I loved how witty and smart she was. She might have been a bit spoiled, but she still had such a strong and wonderful personality. These authors are seriously the best at creating imperfect but hardcore teenage girls who aren’t afraid to kick some ass when the situation calls for it. I instantly loved this girl and am jealous that I can’t be her.

Nik is our other main character in this one. Oh man, he’s another character that I basically instantly love. I’m not always a fan of the bad boy types, and that’s definitely who he is. He comes from a family of gang members and has been to jail himself. Oh, he’s also Hanna’s drug dealer. But there’s more to him than what meets the eye. So what won me over was really his heart and wit. He and Hanna have the absolute best banter. He might not be the perfect guy, but he’s still a genuine and straightforward one. He’s a pretty great guy underneath it all. He made me laugh out loud so many times. I wanted more and more of him!

The romance isn’t really a huge factor in this one. Hanna has a boyfriend at the beginning, which is something that I usually hate seeing. It actually worked here because of reasons that I won’t say in case you haven’t read it yet. Anyway, the authors made it work in an impressive and convincing way and I’ll leave it at that. Nik and Hanna made a cute couple. I’m always a fan of hate to love and they had this to a degree. They didn’t have many cute scenes since they were busy trying to save themselves, but I still happy with what we did see. Like I mentioned earlier, I adored all of the banter that they shared from the beginning of the novel. Seeing their relationship grow was pretty awesome.

So one of the best and most notable things about this story is the unique format. I’m sure I mentioned this repeatedly in my review of Illuminae, but the format of this book was extremely unique. This book is LONG, it’s over 600 pages. It moves super fast due to all the IM’s, surveillance footage summaries, and drawings. This is a book that you can devour very quickly, and I loved that about it. The format is something that is probably discussed a lot, but I feel as if it’s well deserved.

This wasn’t nearly as good as Illuminae in my opinion. Gemina had A LOT happening in it, and sometimes I wasn’t really sure what was going on. I think that I sometimes got that feeling with Illuminae, but the plot twists seemed even more frequent in this one. I can see why people loved this. It was beautiful and well written. I think that as a whole, I was more impressed and swept away by the previous book. That being said, I still can’t wait to see where this story is going to go next. I’m hoping that the next book will join all four main characters from both books together. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

four-stars

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ARC Review: The Hidden Memory of Objects

March 30, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

ARC Review: The Hidden Memory of ObjectsThe Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato
Published by Balzer + Bray on March 21st 2017
Pages: 336
Source: Edelweiss
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three-stars

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Megan Brown’s brother, Tyler, is dead, but the cops are killing him all over again. They say he died of a drug overdose, potentially suicide—something Megan cannot accept. Determined to figure out what happened in the months before Tyler’s death, Megan turns to the things he left behind. After all, she understands the stories objects can tell—at fifteen, she is a gifted collage artist with a flair for creating found-object pieces. However, she now realizes that her artistic talent has developed into something more: she can see memories attached to some of Tyler’s belongings—and those memories reveal a brother she never knew.
Enlisting the help of an artifact detective who shares her ability and specializes in murderabilia—objects tainted by violence or the deaths of their owners—Megan finds herself drawn into a world of painful personal and national memories. Along with a trusted classmate and her brother's charming friend, she chases down the troubling truth about Tyler across Washington, DC, while reclaiming her own stifled identity with a vengeance.

The cover of The Hidden Memory of Objects is what initially drew me into this book. I wasn’t really sure how I was going to feel about the actual plot going into this though. I’ve tried to steer clear of books about death here lately since I’ve read so many, but I decided to try this one out anyway. Thought it wasn’t completely memorable for me, I’m still glad that I read this. I think readers who like contemporaries combined with a bit of history/mystery/paranormal. If it sounds like your cup of tea, then you should give this a try!

Megan is a decent protagonist. Honestly, there’s not a ton of things about her that really stand out to me. But I did appreciate how brave and bold she was throughout the entire novel. She never backed down from what she believed in, and that’s something that I always like to see. I’ll likely explain this more later on in the review, but I felt like her ability didn’t work at times. It was an interesting and unique thing for the character to have, but it didn’t totally make sense to me as a reader.

The romance isn’t a huge part of the plot, so I’m not going to touch on it all that much. I will say that the love interest is her brother Tyler’s friend that she didn’t know about until Tyler died. Nathan was a charming and sweet guy. I really enjoyed learning more and more about him as the book progressed. I won’t lie, I wanted more romance in the story, but I get that there were obviously more pressing matters. Another character that I wanted to talk about is her friend Eric. Oh man, Eric is absolutely hilarious. When he first learns about the power that Megan has when she touches certain objects, he’s obsessed with discovering her origin story. He might be a bit of a geek, but you can’t help but love him and his story so much.

As mentioned earlier, it’s the elements that go beyond contemporary that lost me somewhat. I can appreciate a good mystery, but the history and paranormal side wasn’t all that strong to me. Specifically, the paranormal element of Megan having the ability to touch objects and instantly be able to see a certain scene that took place. Like she was able to see the assassination of Lincoln and some specific details about that night. It was a unique plot that I’ve never seen done this specific way, but it still didn’t fully make sense to me. I’m a contemporary reader generally, and I like it when things are realistic to at least an extent, so some of this stuff just didn’t belong in my opinion.

If you don’t mind a combination of genres that might not seem to really go together, then you might like this one. I felt like the first half of the novel was very slow paced. In about the middle though, it did pick up speed and I was hardly able to put it down. Though I highly doubt this book will stay with me all that long after reading it, I don’t exactly regret reading it. It had some solid parts to say the least. The characters were all well developed and strong. The romance may haven’t been such an essential part of the plot, it was still sweet. I’m looking forward to the next book that this author writes!

three-stars

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ARC Review: Things I Should Have Known

March 29, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★½

ARC Review: Things I Should Have KnownThings I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on March 28th 2017
Source: Netgalley
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three-half-stars

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

From the author of Epic Fail comes the story of Chloe Mitchell, a Los Angeles girl on a quest to find love for her autistic sister, Ivy. Ethan, from Ivy’s class, seems like the perfect match. It’s unfortunate that his older brother, David, is one of Chloe’s least favorite people, but Chloe can deal, especially when she realizes that David is just as devoted to Ethan as she is to Ivy.
Uncommonly honest and refreshingly funny, this is a story about sisterhood, autism, and first love. Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan, who form a quirky and lovable circle, will steal readers’ hearts and remind us all that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal.  

Things I Should Have Known is a fast paced and refreshing story. I’ve never read anything by this author before, but I’m definitely going to look into her other stories now. I was looking for a heartfelt and not overly heavy contemporary read, and that’s exactly what I received here. The plot is a rather unique one, and we need more YA novels that deal with teens caring for their sibling who is autistic. The romance was also realistic, sweet, and charming. I recommend reading this if you want to read something relevant and important, with some swoon thrown in for good measure. I’m happy that I read this!

Chloe is a fierce and great character. She’s not perfect but what teenager is? I really respected her for being able to step up and take care of her sister when her mom isn’t so great at doing it. She’s a seventeen year old girl who has responsibilities that most teens never have to worry about. I wasn’t always a fan of how she didn’t stand up for her sister more when her friends/boyfriend would make rather offensive offhand comments about her. She didn’t want them to think that she was overreacting, which is something that I do understand. She made mistakes, but she was still a solid character as a whole.

The main thing that you need to know about David is that he’s a feminist. Some people may not love him right off the bat (or maybe at all) but I still liked him in the end. He’s a grumpy jerk for basically no reason at all. He doesn’t have some tragic backstory or anything. I ended up liking him so much because as the book progresses, we learn how sensitive and sweet he really is. The fact that he cries is awesome to me. We don’t get the chance to see that side of most love interests in YA books so I thought this was specifically refreshing. He was so sweet to his brother Ethan (who is also autistic) and I loved his relationship with him as well. So just keep in mind that while he has a grumpy exterior in the beginning, he’s a true softy underneath and I truly enjoyed seeing this.

So let’s talk about Chloe’s sister Ivy. As mentioned, she’s autistic and Chloe takes care of her for the most part since her mom is too concerned with her husband to primarily care for her. Anyway, I thought that Ivy was so sweet and brave. I thought that her autism was written in an honest and well researched fashion. The relationship between Chloe and Ivy is pretty much the entire purpose of the book. I felt like it was definitely well written and realistic. I loved the bond that they shared.

If you’re not a fan of hate to love romances, you’ll probably not like this one. There’s A LOT of hate going on. And it’s not like they used to be friends but now they hate each other. Nope, they’ve just always hated each other for whatever reason. There’s also the fact that Chloe has a boyfriend, which I didn’t love. I did appreciate how the relationship between them slowly and realistically progressed. The romance wasn’t my favorite, but it still had a little swoon.

Although it wasn’t exactly perfect, this was still a nice novel. Chloe was a funny, sarcastic, and kind teenager. I know a lot of people who aren’t a fan of some of the themes/tropes like hate to love, mean girls, and a love triangle, so you should probably stay clear if that’s you. If you’re able to overlook this, you get a clever and fairly unique story. I enjoyed this one for the most part. I felt like the author did a decent job at writing realistic teenagers. I’m glad that I had the chance to read this one.

three-half-stars

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Fixing Delilah Review

March 20, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★

Fixing Delilah ReviewFixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
on December 1st 2010
Pages: 308
Source: Library
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
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four-stars
Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart.
She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.
Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?
Rich with emotion, Sarah Ockler delivers a powerful story of family, love, and self-discovery.

This is the second book that I’ve read by Sarah Ockler, and I’ve heard nothing but positive things about all of her novels. I have to admit that so far, I haven’t totally loved her books as much as everyone else has, but I do like her so far. Fixing Delilah wasn’t my favorite book by a long, but I still really enjoyed reading it. I thought that it was fast paced and fascinating from the first page. I was completely immersed in the world that Ockler has created here. The characters were all so well rounded, complex, and imperfect. I will admit that Delilah probably wasn’t my favorite, but I loved that she had her flaws and had a lot of character growth as the book progressed. I feel like one of the last people to read this book, I’m still happy that I finally got around to picking it up. Eventually, I’m sure that I’ll manage to read all of Ockler’s books.

As mentioned, Delilah has her flaws, but what teenager doesn’t? I believe that her flaws and imperfections make her all the more complicated, intriguing, and relatable. A lot of what Delilah goes through throughout the novel are many things that myself and other teenage girls also went through, so it’s reassuring and comforting to see this happen here. At the beginning of the novel, Delilah definitely has an attitude problem. Some of her actions did frustrate me at times, but I was also able to understand where she was coming from. She was a lost girl, and she gradually found herself more as the novel went on. Delilah was a beautiful character. I think that a lot of people will really be able to identify with her.

Patrick is seriously my dude. I thought that he was so charming, witty, hilarious, and amazing. He was beyond swoony in literally every single scene that he was in. This dude had very few flaws to him. I loved that he and Delilah shared a history, they were both close were younger and spent their summers together until Delilah was eight. Anyway, he grew into a cute and confident older guy, who is next to impossible to ignore. He’s completely my type: artsy, musician, swoony, he’s basically got it all. I thought he was just such a lovely and fascinating guy. Though I like to think that he’s perfect, he has his flaws as well. At the end of the day though, he’s simply crazy about Delilah and you have to love and respect him for that.

Like I said, the romance between Patrick and Delilah is even more adorable due to the fact that they were friends when they were younger and spent the summers together. Though they spent eight years apart, they’ve come together yet again like no time has passed at all. I found them to be such a great and strong couple. They weren’t perfect, but they were still pretty strong as a whole. I thought that they just somehow worked together. They were able to balance each other out in such a real and relatable way. I wasn’t a fan of all of the drama that went down at the end of the book. I get that there has to be some angst for the couple towards the end, but it still seemed as if this one was out of control and went on about twenty or thirty pages too long.

All in all, I thought that this was a beautiful and well written novel. Was it my favorite? No, it wasn’t. But it still had some beautiful and complicated characters that made me feel such a strong variety of emotions. Although I didn’t have a fabulous experience with Ockler’s book Twenty Boy Summer, I’ve found this one to be pretty great, and plan on reading more from her extremely soon. There was quite a bit of angst in this one, but also a lot of parts that really surprised me and kept me engrossed in the story. I’m so happy that I was able to finally read this one!

four-stars

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Before I Fall Review

March 16, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★½

Before I Fall ReviewBefore I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Published by HarperCollins on October 25th 2010
Pages: 470
Source: Library
Also by this author: Replica (Replica, #1)
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
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three-half-stars
With this stunning debut novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver emerged as one of today's foremost authors of young adult fiction. Like Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why and Gayle Forman's If I Stay, Before I Fall raises thought-provoking questions about love, death, and how one person's life can affect so many others.
For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—"Cupid Day"—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.
However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.
Named to numerous state reading lists, this novel was also recognized as a Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, The Daily Beast, NPR, and Publishers Weekly. It has been optioned for film by Fox 2000 Pictures.
Supports the Common Core State Standards.

Wow, so I’m honestly not entirely sure how I feel about this book. I took such a long time to read it because I wasn’t really sure if this would be my kind of book. I wasn’t sure what to make of the whole mean girl thing or the concept overall. I ended up picking it up because of the recent movie adaptation. The trailer seemed interesting enough so I wanted to give the book a shot before I saw it in theaters. Anyway, this was definitely a unique book. I’ve seen so many people who absolutely adored the book and felt like it was the best thing ever. I didn’t have the same reaction, though I didn’t exactly dislike it either. I think that Oliver has crafted a beautifully written novel, but it still just wasn’t entirely my type of story. So this book has been out for seven years now and so I’m going to have some serious spoilers. I’m sorry if you haven’t read it, but you can just skip this completely if you don’t want to know major details about the ending.

At the beginning of the book, Sam is a total mean girl. She wasn’t always this way, she used to get made fun of herself, but that all changed when one of the most popular girls wanted to be her friend and her popularity automatically rose. So yeah, she’s extremely difficult to relate to and sympathize with for the first couple hundred pages. As she mentions, no one deserves to die, but I still wasn’t a fan to say the least. Thankfully, she became easier to identify with as the book progressed. By the end, you can’t help but love Sam and hope that she’s able to find a way out of reliving her death and figure out how to save herself. I loved that she was able to see her flaws and be able to change that around for the better. She had some of the best character development that I’ve ever come across. However, I wasn’t sure what to make of her complete attitude change towards the end of the book. Like on day six, she was determined to find a way to save herself and Juliet but then on the last day of her life, she had somehow accepted it all. Maybe I missed something, but I wasn’t sure what to make of that.

The main issue that I had with the novel was the mean girls. Yes, Sam does change in the middle of the story, but her friends sure as hell don’t. I get that Sam didn’t want Lindsay, Elody, and Ally to die in the car accident, but I still don’t understand why she would still be friends with them after all the shit she learned. She discovered that Lindsay hated Juliet now, but she actually used to be best friends with her in elementary school. Then Lindsay peed in her sleeping bag on a Girl Scout trip and blamed it on Juliet, leading everyone to call her a horrible name for years. Juliet has a difficult home life and all the terrible bullying obviously doesn’t help matters, which leads her to attempt suicide. After learning all this, how can Sam even look at Lindsay the same way? Even when Sam confronted her about it, she didn’t seem to show that much remorse, not enough to change anything about herself anyway. Who knows, maybe Sam’s death will make these girls better people.

All in all, this wasn’t a terrible book, but it wasn’t my favorite either. I think maybe my expectations were too high going in since everyone loved it so much. The book was also rather thick considering the fact that it only had seven chapters total. I did really enjoy that even though she relived the same day over and over, it wasn’t repetitive. There was always something new going on and different dialogue happening. I thought this was a nice touch that made it even more enjoyable to read. I thought that Kent was absolutely precious. I wanted more and more from him, and wished that her boyfriend (I honestly already forgot his name) didn’t exist at all. I thought the ending was obviously depressing, but also surprising and refreshing. Regardless of some of my mixed feelings, I can’t deny the fact that this book totally makes you think.

three-half-stars

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ARC Review: Off the Ice

March 6, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

ARC Review: Off the IceOff the Ice (Juniper Falls, #1) by Julie Cross
Published by Entangled: Teen on February 28th 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: Whatever Life Throws at You, Third Degree, You Before Anyone Else
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

All is fair in love and hockey…
Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out. Again.
Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.
It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.
For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.

I’ve been a fan of Julie Cross since I read Whatever Life Throws at You over a year ago. This is my fourth book that I’ve read of hers so far, and I do plan on reading more from her in the future. However, this one was far from being my favorite. I was hoping since it’s about sports, that would make it automatically amazing, but it unfortunately didn’t for me. It wasn’t a bad book by any means, but it didn’t completely capture my attention because of the somewhat slow pacing and all of the drama. Hopefully some of the other books in this series will be more of my thing.

So Tate is one of our main characters. He is a junior hockey player who is the backup goalie, but winds up starting when the starting goalie quits the team. He’s dealing with A LOT of personal stuff in his life outside of the ice. I felt like his voice was pretty strong for the most part. I wasn’t a major fan of it at times, partially because I didn’t really relate to him and also because I found it somewhat boring. Tate was a character who I did sympathize with, but felt like some of the subject matter was a little too overwhelming at times. It felt like Cross was maybe trying to do too much, and it didn’t totally pay off for me. He wasn’t bad, but not my favorite and didn’t leave a huge impression on me as a whole.

Our other main character is Claire, who I liked but also didn’t love. She was yet another character who didn’t leave a lasting impression on me as a whole. It makes me sad to admit it, but I also found her to be boring at times. I liked that she was into singing and musicals, since that’s something that I also really enjoy. I wanted to see a lot more of that! Like Tate, I realize that she had quite a bit going on in her personal life, but I wanted to see more of her history in musicals and just her singing career as a whole. It might have captured my attention a bit more if the focus was less on her working at the restaurant and more on the signing part.

Claire and Tate were a rather solid couple all around. They weren’t as great as the awesome couple from Whatever Life Throws at You, but they were alright for the most part. I liked that Tate had a crush on Claire for such a long time now, and it was lovely to see that develop into something more this time around. It was a sweet relationship, though some of the petty drama that went down between them was a little off-putting at times. I also enjoyed that it was steamy. One of the things about Julie Cross’s books is that she never shies away from writing sex in YA, which I think is something realistic and nice to include.

Off the Ice was a nice start to Julie Cross’s brand new series. I was hoping that I’d love the hockey part of it, but sadly felt like it drug on at times. I do like that she included details, but found myself getting bored at some of it. I did really like the characters and enjoyed that the story went in different directions and wasn’t your typical stereotypical YA romance. However, the pacing wasn’t my favorite and I wish it would have sped up at times. I’m hoping that this series improves, and I do plan on reading the next book.

three-stars

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