Posts Categorized: Young Adult

Carry On Review

May 21, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

Carry On ReviewCarry On by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on May 9th 2017
Pages: 528
Source: Library
Also by this author: Fangirl, Attachments
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
A #1 New York Times-bestseller
Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen.
That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right.
Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.
Carry On - The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story - but far, far more monsters.

So I am honestly ashamed to admit that it took me nearly two years to read Carry On. I’m a big fan of Rainbow Rowell. Both Eleanor and Park and Fangirl left a huge impact on me as a reader. I was fascinated to read more about Simon and Baz, who were first introduced in Fangirl. However, I guess part of me was also afraid that this would be too much like Harry Potter and not all that original. Luckily, I was wrong and I shouldn’t have doubted Rainbow for even a second. She has this unique and beautiful ability where she creates such memorable characters. From page one, you become engrossed in Simon and Baz’s story. Even if it took me forever to get around to it, I’m happy that I finally picked this one up. I suspect that you guys have already read this one, but if not, you should definitely check it out!

Simon is one of our main characters. He’s like the Harry Potter character, so to speak. He’s supposedly the chosen one who is meant to be more the most powerful person of all. I thought that Simon was a great character. He’s a fabulous friend, loyal, smart, witty, and kind. What more could you possibly want out of a main character? Of course I liked him when he was first introduced to us in Fangirl, but I fell even more in love with him here once we learned even more about him. He was a character who knew what he wanted. He wasn’t cocky exactly, but he still had an awareness about how everyone else viewed him.

I wanted to hug Baz over and over throughout the novel. I thought he was also intriguing when we were first introduced to him, but it was really nice to get directly inside his head in this one. We learned more about where he came from and his history. I thought that him being a vampire was written in a very clever way, in a sense. It didn’t directly follow the format of Twilight on any other vampire novel, it mostly was able to do its own things. I wanted to hug Baz due to his feelings for Simon. He’s aware pretty early on in the novel that he’s in love with Simon, but he just smashes it down and conceals it because he’s not sure what else to do. The whole hating Simon thing is just a front for him, which I thought was equally beautiful and tragic. I wanted so badly for him to be open with others about the fact that he’s gay.

The romance between Baz and Simon was really cute. But it was definitely a slow burn and a hate to love. They can’t stand each other for basically over half the book. They go back and forth on virtually every subject that you can think of. And Simon suspects that Baz is plotting to kill him for a good portion of the novel as well. So yeah, zero romance happens until very very deep into the novel. I will admit that once it does, it’s really swoony. In other words, the anticipation and build up was well written by Rainbow Rowell. There aren’t a ton of kisses between the two of them, but they are all extremely sweet and wonderful in their own special way.

For a book that was over 500 pages long, it goes by rather quickly. The beginning drags a bit, but once the book gets started, it’s hard to put it down. The narration was difficult to follow at times. I thought that all of the various points of view weren’t necessary. We got the perspective of basically everyone, even supporting characters. In my opinion, simply Baz and Simon’s voices would have gotten the message and point of the book across in a fabulous way. It wasn’t a book without flaws, but it was still an enjoyable read for the most part. Thank you Rainbow Rowell for sharing Simon and Baz with the world. I regret not reading it sooner, but I’m still happy that I got around to reading it now anyway.

four-stars

Divider

ARC Review: It Started With Goodbye

May 15, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

ARC Review: It Started With GoodbyeIt Started With Goodbye by Christina June
Published by Blink/HarperCollins on May 9th 2017
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley
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.

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

I was automatically drawn to this by the impressive and beautiful cover. In the end, it turned out to be a cute and well written debut. It definitely captured my interest for the most part, but I was expecting more from the romance. I thought that the character development for all the other characters was important, but I missed a solid romance. Ultimately, it was a good enough book, though it just missed the mark from being a really great one in my book. For me, it belongs in the category of contemporary books that I’ve read this year that have only been okay and weren’t extremely memorable for me. I think that many readers will likely enjoy it due to its similarities to Cinderella, and the characters in general. As a whole though, I can’t say that it was entirely the book for me on a personal level.

Tatum was a good main character. I can’t say that she’s my favorite or anything, she wasn’t totally memorable to me all around. I did like the fact that she was into graphic design. I thought that was at least one unique side to her personality that made her standout. Other than that though, I wasn’t super impressed. She did fit well into the Cinderella role. Meaning that was kind, smart, hard worker, and loyal. She was a decent character, and that’s honestly as much as I feel the need to say about her.

As for the love interest, I feel like he was a little weak. I won’t reveal his actual name since it isn’t discovered until near the end of the book. While the style of the relationship itself was done in a unique and fairly special way, it still wasn’t enough for me. For me to be totally on board with a relationship, I need to get to know both people involved. In this case, I felt like I didn’t know this guy at all. In a way, the relationship part was similar to Geekerella. The main difference being that we were actually inside the head of that love interest, so we knew him on a deeper level. I think I might have liked this specific character a little bit better if we received his POV.

Like I already said, the relationship was different, and it didn’t work for me. For a relationship that is built mostly through letters, I need to feel like the love interests personality really comes through. A perfect example of this is Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. We only get a few scenes of Blue in person, but we learn so much about his personality through the letters and you can’t help but fall in love with him. For whatever reason, the love interest in this one didn’t have a similar impact on me. I thought that the romance was a very weak aspect of the plot. It didn’t feel realistic to me, and I didn’t find the love interest to be all that swoony.

It Starts with Goodbye was a book that I wanted to absolutely fall in love with. I’m always a fan of modern day Cinderella retellings, especially when the changes made are pretty creative ones. Though I am saying plenty of negative things, I have to admit that there were still plenty of things that I did like about the book. It was fast paced, I was able to read it in just a number of hours. As I said earlier, the characters are all very well developed and there’s a lot of depth to them, besides the love interest. I wasn’t blown away by this book, but it was still entertaining. I think readers will really like this one!

three-stars

Divider

Alex, Approximately Review

May 14, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

Alex, Approximately ReviewAlex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon Pulse on April 4th, 2017
Pages: 391
Source: Library
Also by this author: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.
Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.
Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.
And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

Jenn’s first YA novel left a major impact on me as a reader. I can’t totally explain it, all I know is that it was beautifully written and completely took me by surprise. That being said, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of her second young adult novel. I’ve been hearing nothing but positive things about Alex, Approximately so I couldn’t wait to read it for myself. In the end, it was pretty much everything that I wanted it to be. It had wonderful characters, solid plot, and fabulous romance. My standards were rather high because of her last book, so it says a lot that this one managed to stay close enough to that. It wasn’t quite as good as her previous novel, but like I mentioned, that’s a lot to live up to. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading this book. I feel like I didn’t love it as much as others seem to, but it still was a decent read for me. It was fast paced and just what I needed. I’m glad that I read this!

Bailey is a strong character for the most part. I thought her personality was so much fun and I loved her sense of humor. She was relatable, and just a decent character all around. She also had a whole lot of depth to her as well. The trauma that she had was a bit darker than I expected, but I thought that Bennett addressed the subject with a very good amount of sensitivity. I also adored her love for classic films. I can’t say that I’ve personally watched many of these films, but I just adored the passion that she had for it nonetheless. You could really feel that passion bleeding through as the book progressed. I won’t lie though, it did bug me how naive she was about Alex’s identity. The worst part about it was how hellbent she seemed to track down who it was, but she wasn’t even close to discovering this.

Porter is definitely my dude. It’s no secret that I’m a true sucker for book boyfriends and Porter is a wonderful one to say the least. He’s funny, swoony, smart, and charming. What more could you possibly want? I’m not sure if he’s an all time favorite of mine, but he’s still scored major points in my book anyway. I thought that his personality was so hilarious and memorable. He was a cocky guy, but not to the point where it became unbearable or frustrating. You still cheered for the guy, and wanted the best for him. This was especially the case once you discovered his own background. Can I just hug him now?

Since this is written by an author who has previously released adult romance books, you can guess that even her YA books are steamy. The romance doesn’t disappoint here in the slightest. Porter and Bailey have a hate to love or enemies to lovers romance, which is a trope that I’ve always loved. I thought that she couldn’t have written it any better. You immediately believe in the passion that the two share for another from the start. It’s also a fairly mature YA romance which I enjoyed. I’m always a fan of these books that promote sex positivity, and this one totally does that. You’ll fall in love with Porter and Bailey both as individuals, and you’ll love them even more as a couple.

While this wasn’t quite the book that I was expecting, it was still a damn good one. I was REALLY close to giving it five stars, but something held me back from doing that. I will say that the plot was still unique enough. I also felt like the characters were very complex and well developed. You truly grow to love basically every character that Bennett introduces us to, which is a hell of an accomplishment. All in all, I’ll say that this was a really beautiful romance that I thoroughly enjoyed from the first page until the last.

four-stars

Divider

ARC Review: Forever and Always, Lara Jean

May 8, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★

ARC Review: Forever and Always, Lara JeanAlways and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3) by Jenny Han
on May 2nd 2017
Source: Publisher
Also by this author: P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2)
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

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

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.
Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.
But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.
When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

So this review is really difficult to write. This series is very popular and I know that a lot of people who love it haven’t gotten the opportunity to read it yet. I’ve had the book for almost two months now, but put off reading it because I just really didn’t want the series to be over. Anyway, I’m struggling with how to write this review and how much I should reveal about the plot itself and my feelings on it. I know people aren’t as worried about spoilers for this one like they are with Sarah J. Maas’s series, but I still want to be careful and understanding for the fans out there. I’m not going to reveal any major plot points, still read with caution I suppose. I really liked this one! It was probably one of my favorites of the series, though the second book was amazing as well. I’m not sure how necessary it was to have a third book, though it was awesome as always to get the chance to be reunited with Lara Jean’s family for at least a little while. I have a feeling you guys will be very pleased with how Jenny Han closes out her beloved series.

Whether you love or hate her, Lara Jean is Lara Jean. She’s a teenage girl who is far from perfect, and that’s what makes her so easy to relate to. Her awkward moments are sincerely cringe-worthy, but we’ve all been there in some ways. In this book specifically, you can tell that she’s grown and changed a lot as a person. At times though, she does seem really young to me. Just some of the things she says doesn’t always seem fitting for an 18 year old, in my opinion. I do love how passionate she is about baking. This girl bakes A LOT in this book. I don’t remember her doing it as much in the other books, but she does it as a stress reliever specifically in this book.

Peter is probably one of my favorite book boyfriends. I love how he’s a jock, but he’s not your stereotypical jock. He’s a pretty complex guy, and he’s developed into such a different person throughout the series. It’s probably no surprise to you if you read P.S. I Still Like You that she chooses to be with Peter. I was honestly shocked that there are some fans out there who didn’t like her with Peter and wanted her with John Ambrose (or whatever his name is) instead. I’m one of those people who feels like Peter is the only guy out there for Lara Jean at this point in her life, and that’s all I have to say about that.

Family is a pretty big theme in this book. I absolutely adore Lara Jean’s little sister Kitty. She’s always been the total comic relief in the series, and that definitely doesn’t change in this one. She’s still as endearing and as hilarious as ever. I also thought her bond with Peter and her dad’s girlfriend was so sweet. I’ve seen some people say this already, but Lara Jean’s older sister Margot just gets on my nerves. I didn’t have a major problem in the other books, but she was just so ridiculously selfish here. There was also one specific scene where she was just being downright disrespectful to her dad and I didn’t appreciate that at all. I get that there was a lot of changes that happened while she was away in another country, but that’s still no excuse to behave the way she did in that situation. That being said, I really do enjoy the bond that Lara Jean’s father shares with all three of his daughters. He’s such a remarkable father, and I just love his character in general.

Wow, I did a much better job than I thought I would about not giving too much away. This book is pretty much one big love letter to all of the fans of this series. Jenny Han does a good job at allowing us to say goodbye to this wonderful character one last time. That reminds me, there’s also a ton of Hamilton references in this, so you’ll appreciate the story even more if you’re a big fan of that musical. This ultimately fell a bit short of the 5 star mark for me. However, it was still a light and fun read. I can’t wait to see what everyone else thinks about Forever and Always, Lara Jean!

four-stars

Divider

ARC Review: Girl Out of Water

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

ARC Review: Girl Out of WaterGirl Out of Water by Laura Silverman
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on May 2nd 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley
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.

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.
Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves

I was expecting just a little bit more from this book. It was a solid debut, but my ridiculously high standards going into this might have been unfair. I’ve heard nothing but absolutely rave reviews about it so that’s what I was anticipating. It’s a good book, but not a great one. In my opinion, it felt as if it were missing something. I loved Lincoln, and there’s no way I can ever deny that. I just wasn’t a fan of the romantic choices made outside of Lincoln. Anyway, it was a nice light summer read that was mostly enjoyable. I just wasn’t completely captivated by it for whatever reason. It was just a mostly forgettable read that didn’t make that big of an impact on me personally. I hope I have better luck with this author’s next book!

Anise was a character that I found it difficult to identify with. She was pretty selfish in the beginning, and I didn’t agree with some of her choices. At the same time though, she’s just a teenager who’s trying to figure out who she is. I feel like she did have some character growth throughout, but not really that much. However, it seriously bothered me that she just stopped talking to her friends when she went to Nebraska. There was no good reason for it and it pissed me off honestly. I thought it was awesome that she was a surfer, though we obviously don’t get many scenes of this since she leaves California at the beginning of the novel for the summer. I just thought it was cool that she did it at all. For me, she was just an average character that didn’t have that many unique things about her that stood out to me.

You guys, Lincoln is a super cool guy. I don’t know if he’s one of my favorite book boyfriends of all time, but he’s definitely one of the better ones of the year. I wanted to know even more about his adoption and his history. I felt like in their interactions, Anise was always talking about her life much more than Lincoln was talking about his. He’s a good guy all around that I desperately wanted to see even more. Part of me wishes that this was told in dual points of view so we could get his side of it as well. He’s a sweet and swoony character.

The romance between Lincoln and Anise was pretty good. I feel like it did progress rather quickly. But I really liked seeing all of the adventures that they went on together. I also thought it was awesome how they initially bonded over Lincoln teaching her how to skateboard. I didn’t identify with how competitive Anise was about learning this so quickly, but I did like how patient and fun Lincoln was about it. All in all, the relationship that they had was a cute little summer romance that I really enjoyed.

Girl Out of Water is a decent book all around. It’s not really my favorite, but it was still a light and remotely fluffy book that I needed. It’s a good summer book that I do recommend. It wasn’t totally my kind of book due to my lack of being able to connect with the main character. I did really enjoy the supporting characters. Her three cousins were seriously adorable and I loved them. I also loved Anise’s relationship with her dad. I thought that was well written. I recommend this if you’re just looking for a fun read to kick off your summer. For me, it just felt like something was missing.

three-stars

Divider

ARC Review: Noteworthy

May 3, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

ARC Review: NoteworthyNoteworthy by Riley Redgate
Published by Amulet Books on May 2nd 2017
Pages: 400
Source: Netgalley
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
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.

It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.
Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped ... revered ... all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Noteworthy was a pleasant surprise for me. I meant to read this author’s debut, but just never really got around to doing it. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this one so far, and since it’s also about a cappella groups, I thought it’d be my cup of tea. Turns out, this was exactly the book that I was looking for. I’ve had some bad luck with YA contemporary books here recently, but this one ended up breaking that streak thankfully! It was a wonderfully delight and lighthearted read that I was able to devour in just one sitting. I’m glad that I gave this one a chance and I’m hoping you’ll do the same.

So the plot for this book is basically She’s The Man meets Pitch Perfect. Jordan goes to a super rad arts school, but is sick of never being cast in any of the school productions. Once she sees that a spot is available for a male a cappella group, she immediately jumps at the opportunity. Much to her surprise, she gets the spot, which leads her to have to continually pretend to be a boy. I really liked how Redgate made a clear and sensitive distinction that Jordan is not transgender and she doesn’t mean to offend transgender people by crossdressing. I thought the exploration of her sexuality was really well written. Over the course of the novel, Jordan gradually comes to the realization that she’s bisexual. This is not touched on a whole lot, but I think that it’s done in a realistic way. Jordan is just a teenager who is trying to discover who she is, so obviously she doesn’t have her sexuality completely figured out yet. I thought that Jordan was an absolutely badass person. I totally connected with her and I love her a lot.

I’m not going to touch on the love interest too much here because I’d rather talk about the group as a whole. I will say that the love interest is in the a cappella group, and you’ll probably guess who it is from the first time that you’re introduced to him. Romance does play a pretty big part in the book, but I think the boys themselves are all rather important. I loved them all but especially Nihal. He’s the one who Jordan connects with the most (besides the love interest) and you can’t help but love him from the first page. He has such a big heart, and he’s such a diverse and beautiful character as a whole. While she wasn’t as close to them as Nihal, you can’t help but love Mama and Jon Cox, who were ridiculously hilarious and lovable. Trav, Isaac, Erik, and Marcus were all such unique and lovely developed characters. I could go on and on about the greatness of these guys, but I just want you guys to figure it out for yourselves!

I sound like a broken record at this point, but you guys need this book in your life. I’m a big a cappella person in general, so this book was a dream come true for me. I’d say that it’s probably one of my favorite books of the year so far. I hesitated giving it five stars because it isn’t super realistic if you really think about it hard enough, but that doesn’t take away from how enjoyable and entertaining it was. I was fully invested in the characters and their relationships. I seriously want a spin-off dedicated to my amazing boy Nihal. He deserves a happy ending, that’s for sure. Noteworthy was a fun read that I wasn’t expecting. I’m glad that I gave it a chance, and I now know that I need to get around to reading Redgate’s debut. All I have left to say is read this!

four-stars

Divider

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
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
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

Divider

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
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
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

Divider

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
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
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

Divider

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
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
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

Divider