Posts Categorized: Young Adult

The Great American Whatever Review

February 22, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

The Great American Whatever ReviewThe Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on March 29th 2016
Pages: 278
Source: Library
Also by this author: Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, Flying Lessons & Other Stories
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister. Of course, that was all before—before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa…and before the car accident that changed everything.
Enter: Geoff, Quinn’s best friend, who insists it’s time that Quinn came out—at least from hibernation. One haircut later, Geoff drags Quinn to his first college party, where instead of nursing his pain, he meets a guy—okay, a hot guy—and falls hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually end happily—if, that is, he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story.
Tim Federle’s beautiful YA debut is laugh-out-loud sad; a wry, winning testament to the power of old movies and new memories, one unscripted moment at a time.

This is the first full length Tim Federle book that I’ve ever read! I’ve previously read two short stories of his that were published in anthologies, but that’s it. I’m happy that I finally read it, because I’m a big fan of everything that he represents and have followed him on Twitter for some time now. Anyway, this was a nice introduction to him. I’m definitely going to check out his Nate books and whatever he writes next in the future. However, this book simply wasn’t my favorite, which makes me sad. I can’t completely put my finger on what it is, but it was missing something for me. This just didn’t click for me as a whole. I think it was a good book, it just wasn’t great for me. I recommend this if you don’t mind angst and enjoy books that have a snarky/clever protagonist.

Quinn is a pretty interesting main character. I’m always a fan of sarcastic and witty protagonists and Quinn did deliver on this front to an extent. This probably isn’t a fair comparison, but the book in general did remind me a bit of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which is one of my all time favorites. I think that Quinn’s personality didn’t stand out in the way that Simon’s did. Quinn was very sarcastic and hilarious in the beginning, but I think he did lose a little of that as the book continued. I know that some of that is due to the rather serious subject matter, but I think that isn’t enough of an excuse to not still have a strong and memorable personality. He was still interesting, but not my favorite.

So there is a romance in the book, but I honestly don’t feel like it’s super essential to the plot. I liked it and I thought that it was a great example of a summer romance. The boys weren’t a couple that I rooted for necessarily, but I think it was still important for Quinn’s general character development. I wanted to focus more on the things that I liked and disliked. So a positive is that I thought the humor was clever and fun. I also felt like a lot of the secondary characters were well developed and complicated. I thought the stories were interesting and layered. There was one storyline in particular that had a twist to it that I honestly didn’t see coming at all. That was a pleasant surprise for me. I thought the romance was relatable and intriguing. The LGBTQ rep was also awesome. Quinn wasn’t out of the closet yet, but his sexuality still wasn’t a huge part of the plot either, it was just a natural part of it. What I didn’t like is that I was truthfully pretty bored. I wasn’t always entertained for whatever reason. Maybe it was the story that just didn’t totally click, but it didn’t work for me. The pace just seemed rather slow as a whole. Like I mentioned earlier, it seemed to be missing something essential. I thought that the concept was interesting, but the execution wasn’t as great as I was anticipating it to be.

My review might sound rather negative, but I don’t mean it to be! I think that it was a solid novel, just not the best. I’m pretty likely to forget about it sooner rather than later. It wasn’t painful to read or anything, I still believe that Federle is a great author and I want to read more from him. He has such a unique and compelling voice as an author and I’m dying to read more of it. I can’t help but compare it to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and it just didn’t come close to that. I liked the book, but it wasn’t my favorite. I hope that people read it because it’s still an interesting and important book!

three-stars

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ARC Review: #famous

February 13, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★

ARC Review: #famous#famous by Jilly Gagnon
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on February 14th 2017
Pages: 384
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.

In this modern-day love story, Girl likes Boy, Girl takes photo of Boy and posts it online, Boy becomes accidentally insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent joke spirals into a whirlwind adventure that could change both their lives—and their hearts—forever. But are fame and love worth the price?
Told in alternating points of view, #famous captures the out-of-control thrill ride of falling for someone in front of everyone.

So I was really excited to read this book. The plot is that this girl takes a picture of this cute guy from her school while he’s at work and posts it, then it becomes extremely popular. I’m sure you guys have heard of Alex from Target, and it’s a very similar concept to that one, though it obviously adds much more plot and drama to it. I enjoyed how this book took on the topic of social media and how it can easily impact someone so quickly. The interesting thing about it is what it means to become an overnight sensation, which is more and more common in our society of YouTube and other social media platforms. Though I liked the plot itself, I wasn’t a fan of all the typical high school cliches that went down. It didn’t feel all that unique in a lot of ways, which was disappointing. It was a good book, just not my favorite as a whole. It was mostly rather forgettable.

Rachel is a “nobody” who just happens to take a picture of her crush Kyle and is obviously shocked when it becomes insanely popular within hours. I thought that she was a solid character for the most part. I didn’t find her all that memorable though. I will admit that I sympathized with the fact that she was immediately cyberbullied for posting the picture. It’s definitely unfair how her appearance is automatically scrutinized though that had nothing to do with the picture itself. I do believe that’s realistic because the internet can obviously be really cruel for no reason.

Kyle is honestly kind of a douchebag. He’s working at a place in the mall when Rachel takes his picture and it goes viral online right away. He’s pretty popular in school and has a hot on and off girlfriend. He received his douchebag status for how he judged Rachel for literally no reason. I didn’t understand why he felt like she was weird. We had no evidence that she did anything weird besides the fact that her hair was curly. It just seemed like a super cliche and annoying thing to happen. He was just your typical high school cliche dude with not really anything special about him, in my opinion. There was nothing swoony or particularly memorable about his character. I will admit that I did find it interesting how fame affected him personally. I think the author did a nice job with this side of the storyline in particular.

As a couple, I honestly didn’t care all that much about Rachel and Kyle. I don’t know what it was exactly, I just wasn’t a fan. I think most of it was due to all the cliches that happened to them as a couple. There was the good old ex-girlfriend tries to break them up and several other tropes. I thought the whole fame thing did add an interesting dynamic here, but it wasn’t as developed as I was hoping it would be. I just wasn’t emotionally invested in them which made me sad.

Like I said, this wasn’t exactly a bad book but it wasn’t my favorite either. The writing and the plot itself was actually pretty good, it was the character, romance, and general cliches that made it not as enjoyable to me. It was still a pretty addicting read. I couldn’t stop reading it once I picked it up. Part of the reason why it wasn’t my favorite might be because I’m too old to really enjoy high school stories. So if you’re okay with a great deal of drama, you’ll probably like this.

three-stars

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ARC Review: By Your Side

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

ARC Review: By Your SideBy Your Side by Kasie West
on January 31st, 2017
Source: Edelweiss
Also by this author: The Distance Between Us, The Fill-In Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You
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four-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.

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.
When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.
Only he doesn’t come. No one does.
Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

As you can probably tell by now, I’m a big fan of Kasie West. There isn’t a book by her that I haven’t really enjoyed. I’ve given her past two books five stars because I loved them so much. I’m happy to report that By Your Side is pretty great as well. It has a lot of angst going on here, but I really did enjoy the main storyline. I was just honestly expecting a little more focus on the whole library part of the story since that’s what the synopsis talks about. Anyway, it was yet another solid and swoony book from my girl Kasie, and I can’t wait to read her next book! Seriously though, is she capable of writing a bad book? I don’t think so.

Autumn was a wonderful protagonist. I have to admit that she probably isn’t the most memorable, but she’s still a real and relatable character that I really enjoyed all around. I felt like her struggles with anxiety were well discussed and portrayed. As someone who’s struggled with anxiety, I’m happy to see that authors are representing it more and more since it’s a topic that needs to be discussed in YA books specifically. So yeah, I liked Autumn and I felt like she was well written and well developed as a whole. Was she perfect? Of course not, but who is? She’s your average teenager who makes some dumb mistakes along the way, but that’s what makes her so easy to relate to.

Dax was definitely a troubled character. I normally don’t really go for the “bad boy” types, but she actually makes this one work for the most part. Dax has a lot of baggage and a history that is extremely tragic and heartbreaking all around. As far as I can remember, Kasie has never written a love interest quite like him. Because of his past, he was understandably pretty closed up and refused to let anyone close to him. At first this was a little annoying because we weren’t sure why he acted this way, but as the book progressed, we learned more and more about his history. I think that Kasie did a great job writing his character. I honestly just wanted to hug him again and again at certain points in the book.

As a couple, they make a pretty cute one eventually. They have a great deal of drama that gets in the way of things at times, but they are a sweet couple once it really comes down to it. The romance is a rather slow-moving one, but I thought it was at a realistic pace. Although at times I just really really wanted them to get it together already. As I mentioned, Dax has a rough background, and he’s very very careful about who he lets in. As they are trapped in the library, they slowly begin to rely on each other a little bit more and he slowly lets his guard down with her. It’s a beautiful moment once this finally happens. There were so many cute scenes that happened between them during their time in the library. They didn’t kiss or anything, but the moments where they were just getting to know each other was so adorable and I loved reading it.

Kasie West has written another fun and easy book to read. I started this one with absolutely no intention of reading it in one sitting, but somehow I managed to do that anyway. It’s a wonderful and sweet read. Who hasn’t thought about being trapped in a library? I know that I have, but especially if someone hot was trapped with me. There was a lot of drama, and some of it was a little much at times. However, I think that Kasie did the best that she could. Though this wasn’t my favorite, it was still pretty good.

four-stars

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Blog Tour: Long Way Home Review

February 2, 2017 Blog Tours, Reviews, Young Adult 2

LONG WAY HOME - Tour banner

 

 

The highly anticipated third book in Katie McGarry’s Thunder Road Series is finally here! LONG WAY HOME is a Young Adult Contemporary Romance being published by Harlequin Teen! Order your copy of the next book in this emotionally charged series, and don’t miss Violet and Chevy’s story! Check out all of the stops on this awesome tour and be sure to grab your copy today!

 

 

LongWayHome-cover

LONG WAY HOME Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.

It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.

But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.

Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.

LONG WAY HOME Order Links:

Amazon | Kobo | BAM | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound

 

 

“An intoxicating and unforgettable story that kept me glued to the page.”

Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times bestselling author, on Walk the Edge

Add it to your Goodreads Now!

 

 

long-way-home-_-chapter-reveal-teaser-1

 

 

Don’t Miss the First Two Titles in the Thunder Road Series! Grab your copies today!

NOWHERE BUT HERE

WALK THE EDGE

My Thoughts:

Long Way Home was just as amazing as I hoped that it would be. I love absolutely anything that Katie McGarry writes, but I especially loved the Thunder Road books. Since Nowhere But Here, I’ve been dying to read Violet and Chevy’s story and I’m so glad that the wait for it is finally over. McGarry has written yet another intense story filled with memorable characters that you cheer for every step of the way. I really hope that she writes more books in this series because I feel like it’s far from over! I recommend this if you’re a fan of YA romance that gives you the feels and has a little bit of angst as well.

You guys, Violet is seriously my girl. I thought that I related to Breanna from the last book, but it turns out that I loved and related Violet just as much. The thing about Violet is that she’s full of fire and that she doesn’t take crap from anyone. Most of Katie McGarry’s heroines have similar qualities, but there was still something unique and special about this character. At the beginning of the book, she’s not totally herself since she’s still hurting from the loss of her father and still resents and blames the motorcycle club for it. However, her old personality gradually comes out more and more as the book progresses. She’s seriously a force to be reckoned with, and I loved every second of it. Have you ever met a character who isn’t afraid to bad mouth big and scary motorcycle club leaders? I didn’t think so, but that’s just who Violet is and it made me happy to see that.

Going into this, I was definitely afraid that Chevy wouldn’t be as swoony as Razor from Walk the Edge, but it turns out that he comes pretty dang close. Chevy is his own character and is completely different from both Razor and Oz. Chevy is still seventeen and can’t officially join the club yet. But he’s also a very great football player, and he feels torn between playing football and joining the rest of his family in the club. When it comes to Violet though, Chevy totally has a soft spot. He loves that girl, and it kills him to be apart from her. I really sympathized with Chevy, and felt like McGarry did an excellent job at adding all these layers to who he is.

I love the romance between Chevy and Violet. What makes them unique is that they already have a whole history between them. They’ve already had all of these memories together as childhood best friends turned lovers, so there’s no process of falling in love since they’ve already fallen. I’d love to have like a prequel where we get to see how they first got together, but I think it was still well written anyway. The two have been separated for awhile due to the death of her father and her basically forcing him to choose between her and the club. The romance has quite a bit of angst, but the fact that they loved each other was never a question.

Long Way Home was an amazing addition to a fantastic series. As mentioned, Katie can do no wronfour-starsg in my book. She’s coming out with a new book not related to this series, but I’m automatically reading it if it’s by her. This book has it all: drama, love, family, friends, action, intensity, adventure, and everything else. I always like the second chance romance trope and the author absolutely nailed it here. I recommend that you read the two other books in this series before reading this one just because they are all connected. But McGarry still provides a nice recap of events that you might have missed if you didn’t read the other books. All I can say is read this one, you won’t regret it!

 

 

Katie McGarry’s LONG WAY HOME – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

January 23rd

Aaly and The Books – Review & Excerpt

Angel Reads – Review

Books,Dreams,Life – Excerpt

Feed Your Fiction Addiction – Review & Excerpt

Girl Plus Books – Review & Excerpt

Letter Shelves Blog – Review & Excerpt

The Book Hammock – Review & Excerpt

January 24th

Book Boyfriend Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Ficwishes – Review

Lovin’ Los Libros – Review

MrsLeif’s Two Fangs About It Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Nose Stuck in a Book – Excerpt

Whatever You Can Still Betray – Excerpt

Zach’s YA Reviews – Review & Excerpt

January 25th

Always YA at Heart – Review & Excerpt

Bridget’s Book Bungalow – Review & Excerpt

Friends Till The End Book Blog – Excerpt

Mythical Books – Excerpt

Resch Reads and Reviews – Review

Swoony Boys Podcast – Review & Excerpt

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Book Boyfriends – Review & Excerpt

January 26th

A Bookish Escape – Review & Excerpt

Book Sojourner – Review & Excerpt

Crazii Bitches Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Dark Faerie Tales – Review & Excerpt

Guilty Indulgence Book Club – Review

SnoopyDoo’s Book Reviews – Excerpt

January 27th

Bookshelf Adventures – Review & Excerpt

Little Read Riding Hood – Review & Excerpt

Nerdy Soul – Review & Excerpt

Random Book Muses – Review & Excerpt

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium – Excerpt

Writing My Own Fairy Tale – Review & Excerpt

January 28th

Abibliophobia Anonymous Book Reviews – Excerpt

Zili in the Sky – Review & Excerpt

Greyland Reviews – Excerpt

Chasing Faerytales – Review

Brittany’s Book Blog – Excerpt

Dog-Eared Daydreams – Review

Movies, Shows, & Books – Excerpt

January 29th

Book Angel Booktopia – Review & Excerpt

BookWorm221 – Review & Excerpt

Confessions of 2 Book Lovers – Review & Excerpt

It’s All About the Romance – Excerpt

Milky Way of Books – Review & Excerpt

Waiting For Wentworth – Excerpt

January 30th

Collector of book boyfriends – Review

Latte Nights Reviews – Review

Margie’s Must Reads – Review & Excerpt

Oh My Growing TBR – Review & Excerpt

Readers Live A Thousand Lives – Review & Excerpt

So Bookalicious – Review & Excerpt

January 31st

A crazy vermonters book reviews – Review

Desert Divas Book Addiction – Review & Excerpt

Little Bookworm Reviews – Review & Excerpt

What Is That Book About – Excerpt

With Love for Books – Review & Excerpt

The Cover Contessa – Review & Excerpt

February 1st

A Leisure Moment – Review

Book Bite Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Never Judge a Book by its Cover – Review & Excerpt

Pages to Explore – Excerpt

Red Hot + Blue Reads – review & Excerpt

Stuck In Books – Review & Excerpt

February 2nd

Actin’ Up with Books – Review & Excerpt

2 girls who love books – Excerpt

Books, Coffee & Passion – Excerpt

Contagious Reads – Review & Excerpt

Go Read A Book – Review

The Book Maven – Review & Excerpt

The Heart of a Book Blogger – Review

February 3rd

A Gingerly Review – Review & Excerpt

Bookish Hollow – Review & Excerpt

G & T’s Indie Café – Excerpt

Lovely Reads Publishing – Review & Excerpt

Mary Had a Little Book Blog – Excerpt

Vera is Reading – Excerpt

I Heart YA Books – Review & Excerpt

 

 

LONG WAY HOME - teaser 3 Fotolia update

 

 

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Katie McGarry - author picKatie McGarry Bio:

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, NOWHERE BUT HERE and WALK THE EDGE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine’s 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads

 

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Hope Was Here Review

January 29, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★

Hope Was Here ReviewHope Was Here by Joan Bauer
on June 2nd, 2005
Source: Library
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Hope is a 16-year-old girl, living a nomadic lifestyle with her aunt Addie. Addie is a chef and restaurant manager, and Hope works as a waitress. They're always moving from place to place, and the story opens with them up-rooting from Brooklyn, New York. Before she leaves, Hope scribbles 'Hope Was Here' onto the menu board - it's become her motto, a ritual she carries out whenever they have to hit the road - again. Hope's a city girl and she isn't sure how she's going to tackle life in 'cow country'. Things start hotting up for her, though, when she gets embroiled in the local politics of Mulhoney, Wisconsin while working at the Welcome Stairways diner- Soon, Hope is tackling big issues about her own past, while grappling with some surprising developments in her new home town.

This was a wonderfully short yet beautiful novel that I really enjoyed. It only takes you a few hours to read it, which is a definite perk to picking it up in the first place. I’ve only read one book from Joan Bauer in the past and that was Rules of the Road. I found that one to be completely touching and a fun read as a whole. Not going to lie, it definitely made me cry. Hope Was Here also had similar emotions: funny but also sad. Strangely, this one was rather accurate to what’s going on in the world when it comes to politics. Really though, there’s a rather crooked politician who manipulates pretty much everyone in the town except a few good people who are made aware of what exactly is going on. Sounds familiar, right? Anyway, this was a nice read and I’m happy that I picked it up.

Hope was easily the highlight of the book for me. She has a wonderful and fierce personality from the very first page. She just had some of the best and laugh out loud funny lines. She was a character that I was personally able to identify with. Though she could be a little immature at times, she was still relatable and fascinating. She’s one of my new favorite female characters! She’s an inspirational character, and she reminded me a lot of a Sarah Dessen heroine.

There isn’t much romance in this book so I’m not really going to touch on that at all. However, the romance between Hope and a cute cook at the restaurant where her and her aunt worked. That wasn’t really that big of a plot point, but it was still a sweet little side story that went on. A lot of the romance isn’t actually between Hope and anyone, it’s actually between her aunt and the kind owner of the restaurant who is also running for mayor. The main focus of the story is really about non-romantic relationships. Hope doesn’t know much about her mother besides the waitressing tips that she gives her when she visits her every now and then. Her aunt Addie is the one who takes care of her and does everything she can to provide for her. They move to a lot of different places and work at a lot of different restaurants but this place is one of their favorite places yet.

I found Hope Was Here to be a wonderful and charming short little read. I’m happy that I had the chance to read another book from Joan Bauer. She’s written yet another memorable story filled with a fantastic cast of characters. I mentioned it earlier, but this story reminds me a lot of a Sarah Dessen book, specifically Keeping the Moon, which also featured characters who worked in a restaurant. This was a refreshing and enlightening read. Though it was written awhile ago, it still felt just as timely as ever. It wasn’t a perfect book by any means, it could have been a little longer which would have allowed for more character growth. However, it was still pretty freaking good and I look forward to reading more from Joan Bauer.

four-stars

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ARC Review: Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World

January 24, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★½

ARC Review: Here We Are: Feminism for the Real WorldHere We Are: Feminism for the Real World by Kelly Jensen
on January 24th, 2017
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-half-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.

Let’s get the feminist party started!  Here We Are is a scrapbook-style teen guide to understanding what it means to be a twenty-first-century feminist. It’s packed with contributions from a diverse range of voices, including TV, film, and pop-culture celebrities and public figures such as ballet dancer Michaela DePrince and her sister Mia and politician Wendy Davis, as well as popular authors like Nova Ren Suma, Malinda Lo, Brandy Colbert, Courtney Summers, and many more. All together, the book features more than forty-four pieces and illustrations.
Here We Are is a response to lively discussions about the true meaning of feminism on social media and across popular culture and is an invitation to one of the most important, life-changing, and exciting parties around.

I’ve been tremendously picky about giving five star reviews, I have still yet to give one out in 2017. However, this one comes about the closest to getting one so far. I really enjoyed this because it’s a beautiful and intriguing take on feminism. It’s also the most inclusive collection about the topic that I’ve seen yet. Kelly Jenson did an incredible job at picking from such a huge variety of voices from all walks of life. Regardless of your thoughts on feminism, this is an important thing to read. This was extremely easy to read, I read it in just a sitting or two. Like I said, you need to read Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World, that’s honestly all there is to say on the matter.

So I could go on and on about how important this is, but I won’t bore you with those repetitive details. Feminism is something that people have very strong opinions about. A lot of people that I know, particularly girls my own age, think that it isn’t important. There’s this one article in particular that a Facebook friend recently shared (she called it ridiculous thankfully) that made me absolutely crazy. The author says that she’s so “over” feminism and that she completely twists around basically everything that feminism stands for in the first place. I personally learned even more about feminism and how much I needed it when I was a junior or senior in high school. At the same time though, I’m still constantly learning more about feminism and how exactly it works. My rant about this subject here is to show my own personal history with feminism. The reason why I think this is such an important matter to talk about is due to people like the college student who wrote that piece totally trashing it. At it’s core, feminism simply means that both men and women are equal, and what’s so wrong about that? Yes, there is obviously a lot more to it than just that, which I think the book explains in a fabulous and informative way.

I never really know how to review anthologies like this one. In this case, I’m not going to go over them one by one since there’s a lot of them, but just going to discuss some of my personal favorites. After reading the introduction of the book, I was afraid that there would be tons of essays that were previously published elsewhere. For example, an excerpt from Roxane Gay’s book Bad Feminist is included here. I loved Bad Feminist and highly recommend that you read all of it. I was afraid that there wouldn’t be a lot of totally creative content here, but I was definitely wrong about that. Though they’ve included some other work that was previously published somewhere else, each of them makes complete sense in this specific collection. I love that Lily Myers’ “Shrinking Women” is included here. I heard this spoken word poetry a few years back and absolutely loved it. At the same time, I feel like I understand the true meaning of it a lot more clearly now that I’m a little bit older. Some new content that I loved were fantastic essays by Senator Wendy Davis, Sarah McCarry about growing up hating girls, Siobhan Vivian’s personal letter, Ashley Hope Perez about being a nice girl, and Brenna Clarke Gray’s take on fandom and fanfiction, and many more!

This book was a wonderful and unique take on feminism. I truly hope that it will make a difference on the lives of teenagers who know very little about the topic. I’m not sure if it will change minds that are already fully against feminism, but I think that it just might be able to do that. If you want to read a more in-depth and powerful review about this collection, go check out Emily’s because she makes some awesome points that I didn’t touch on. As I keep saying, we need this book now more than ever. Feminism shouldn’t be a dirty word, we need to embrace that and I hope that this book will help get that started even more than it already has. I can’t recommend it enough!

four-half-stars

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The Female of the Species Review

January 22, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

The Female of the Species ReviewThe Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on September 20th 2016
Pages: 341
Source: Library
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three-stars
Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.
While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.
But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.
So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.
Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

So this book was a difficult book for me to rate. On one hand, I really adored the message of this book and basically everything that this story represented. However, I also personally wasn’t completely able to look past some of the plot and characters. In my opinion, this story isn’t going to be for everyone. It’s especially not for people who aren’t into dark books or strong violence. This contains a solid amount of violence, and even some acts against animals, which I think people will likely have the most issues with. I also found myself struggling with the animal violence in the story, which I’ll explain more later on in my review. That being said, this was a fast paced story that was extremely intense, but it was far from perfect. I can’t say that this is my favorite, but I’m still happy that I read it.

There’s three main POV’s in this story. First we have Alex, who’s older sister was brutally raped and murdered years ago and her killer wasn’t arrested. Alex ends up taking matters into her own hands and killing him herself. I don’t consider this to be a spoiler since we learn this very early on in the book. Anyway, we can basically consider Alex to be like a younger Dexter who isn’t really a serial killer, she just believes in getting justice for those who are being wronged. We also have Peekay, which isn’t her real name, but everyone calls her that because she’s a Preacher’s Kid. I liked her, but I wasn’t sure what to make of her views on her parents and religion. She talked a lot about how she no longer believed in religion and said bad things about her parents, but I didn’t really understand why? I did think that she was a strong and powerful character as a whole. She was also a solid friend to Alex, and I enjoyed their friendship. Our final main character is Jack, who I probably liked the least. However, I do think that he evolved a lot as a character throughout the story. At the beginning, he was a major douchebag who only acted on his hormones. By the end of the story, he still was very much dominated by those hormones, but he was still a better person who had changed his way of thinking to an extent.

So one of the problems that I had with this book was the animal violence. Though it wasn’t exactly a major point of the plot, it still disturbed me that it was included at all. In the beginning, I was excited that Alex and Peekay both volunteered at the animal shelter. Though Alex can be a ridiculously violent person, she shows nothing but pure kindness towards animals. There were a few brief scenes that featured some really graphic instances of what happens when the shelter has to deal with dead animals. I think the point of the scene was that it showed extreme violence towards these animals, which brought out some equally violent images from Peekay, who views these as awful and wrong thoughts. Though I’ve tried to justify it to an extent, it still doesn’t make sense to me. I also felt disconnected from the characters a lot of the time. I respected the fact that this was a take on rape culture, but that still doesn’t mean that I really identified with the characters. I also realize that characters being likable isn’t a reason to like or not like a story, in this case though, I just wasn’t able to feel that much of an emotional attachment to the characters, mostly Jack. The ending also caused me to knock about half a star or even a full star off of it. It honestly caught me off guard entirely, it just didn’t feel like an appropriate ending to me!

The Female of the Species is a different kind of book to say the least. I’ve never read anything by Mindy McGinnis before but I’m sure I’ll pick up her stories in the future. This book was pretty well written. I think she did a solid job at making all three of these POV’s unique. That can be a particularly difficult thing to pull off, but the author did this with ease. This was an interesting take on rape culture that I’ve never really seen before. I seriously enjoyed this aspect of the book. There were just some other parts that I wasn’t a huge fan of and so that affected my rating. I do recommend it, but only to those who are okay with a good amount of violence.

three-stars

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ARC Review: History Is All You Left Me

January 19, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★

ARC Review: History Is All You Left MeHistory Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
Published by Soho Teen on January 17th 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Edelweiss
Also by this author: More Happy Than Not
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four-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.

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.
To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.
If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

So I read this book back in August and I planned on re-reading it closer to the release date, but haven’t had the time to do that yet. Luckily though, this book is such a powerful one that it’s still managed to stick with me all these months later. I think that this is a compelling and beautiful story. Yes, it’s a highly emotional one and you’ll probably cry throughout most of the story. Regardless, Griffin’s story is so important and it needs to be told. I strongly recommend reading this one. You just have to be prepared to read it all in just a few sittings because you won’t be able to put it down.

My heart was totally broken for Griffin throughout the novel. On top of the fact that his first love and best friend just died, he’s also doing his best to manage his OCD. Though I personally am not OCD, one of my best friends is and I feel like he would be pretty pleased with Silvera’s portrayal of it here. I’m not entirely sure if the author does have this or not, but either way, he still managed to capture how scary and overwhelming it is. It’s not something that you can just turn off, and I loved how realistic Adam showcased this. Like I said, the dude is also understandably a hot mess over the death of his best friend and first love, who he never really got over. I definitely wanted to give poor Griffin so many hugs as he struggled with this huge loss. I really liked Griffin and found him easy to relate to, but at the same time, I wanted to shake him before he made some terrible choices. Although it was sad to see him make some of these choices just due to how hurt he was, it was also very real. As humans, we all make some huge mistakes that we probably wouldn’t under normal circumstances. Maybe it’s frustrating, but I like that he’s messy and flawed just like everyone else is.

So talking about the other characters is where it gets a bit more complicated. We have Theo, who is the ex-boyfriend that I keep mentioning. Though he isn’t alive at the start of the book, we do get to see a lot of him through flashbacks. There we get to learn about how adorable the friendship and relationship was between them. Part of the reason why I shipped it despite knowing that it wasn’t going to end well was because of all the nerdy references that this relationship was basically built on. There’s so many perfect references to things like Harry Potter and Star Wars. I wasn’t a fan of how things ended between them just because I was so invested in them as a couple. Then more characters are added to the equation like the boyfriend that Theo had in California named Jackson. I wanted to hate Jackson since he was with Theo, but it slowly became more clear that his feelings for him were extremely genuine in an entirely different way so I ultimately sympathized with him as well. Although Griffin knew Theo much longer, Jackson was suffering a tremendous amount as well.

In the end, History Is All You Left Me is a book that you need to read. Adam Silvera has written such an emotional story, but it’s also a beautiful and hopeful book as well. So you should prepare to get your soul completely crushed over much of this writing. Griffin was a wonderfully complex and fascinating main character to read about. He made some devastating choices along the way, but that’s what made him even more human and perfectly flawed to me. I don’t know about you guys, but I love reading books that contain realistic characters. I prefer not to read stories with characters that contain these wonderful qualities that you never come across in real life. The point is, you need this book in your life and be prepared to weep over it.

four-stars

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Replica Review

January 12, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

Replica ReviewReplica (Replica, #1) by Lauren Oliver
Published by HarperCollins on October 4th 2016
Pages: 544
Source: Library
Also by this author: Before I Fall
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three-stars
Two girls, two stories, one epic novel
From Lauren Oliver, New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy, comes an epic, masterful novel that explores issues of individuality, identity, and humanity. Replica is a “flip book" that contains two narratives in one, and it is the first in a duology. Turn the book one way and read Lyra's story; turn the book over and upside down and read Gemma's story. The stories can be read separately, one after the other, or in alternating chapters. The two distinct parts of this astonishing novel combine to produce an unforgettable journey. Even the innovative book jacket mirrors and extends the reading experience.
Lyra's story begins in the Haven Institute, a building tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida that from a distance looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, Haven is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed. When a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects—Lyra, or 24, and the boy known only as 72—manage to escape.
Gemma has been in and out of hospitals for as long as she can remember. A lonely teen, her life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April. But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family's past and discovers her father's mysterious connection to the secretive Haven research facility. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two replicas and a completely new set of questions.
While the stories of Lyra and Gemma mirror each other, each contains breathtaking revelations critically important to the other story. Replica is an ambitious, thought-provoking masterwork.

I’m not a big Science Fiction reader, but I knew that I had to give Replica a try once I heard that it was a “flip book.” In this case, if you read the book from one side, you get one of the girl’s perspective. Then when you turn it over and flip it upside down, you get the other perspective. With this type of layout, you can really read it in the style that appeals to you. I personally read it by alternating between Gemma and Lyra every chapter, but that definitely requires a lot of flipping on your part. I liked doing it this way because the stories do start to come together at a certain point in the novel, and so I think it’s helpful to be able to see what each girl is thinking about these similar situations that they face. Though it wasn’t my favorite, I have to admit that Replica is still a unique and cool concept. I will likely read the next book in this duology just to see how things end up for Gemma and Lyra.

Gemma was easily my favorite character out of the two girls. I felt her to be much more relatable, and I’m sure that other teenagers who’ve also been through high school will probably think the same. She’s your pretty average awkward high schooler who is dealing with some awful and disgusting bullying due to her weight. Though this is a Science Fiction book, Gemma’s perspective does make this seem a lot closer to a contemporary novel, which is something that really stuck out to me about the story. Gemma was a consistently solid and memorable character as the book progressed. She was honestly the reason why I pushed through some of the more boring parts of the story.

On the other hand, Lyra was not as easy to warm up to as Gemma. This might be just me, but I had a difficult time with being able to truly cheer for this character. Yes, I realize that she’s had a tough life and I was totally able to sympathize with her, but that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of her chapters were straight up boring. Her character was also very closed off and extremely brainwashed, which obviously isn’t her fault, but it still made it difficult for me to become invested in her. I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but she wasn’t my favorite to say the least. Her chapters were typically shorter than Gemma’s, so they did go by relatively fast, I just wish the pace itself moved faster than it did.

There is quite a bit of romance in this book for both of these girls. As you can probably guess by now, I also enjoyed Gemma’s romance a lot more than I did Lyra’s. I felt like Gemma’s romance happened at a much more realistic and convincing pace. There was no insta-love, Gemma had little to no interest in Pete at the beginning of the novel, but she slowly warms up to him which I loved seeing. Pete also wasn’t your typical love interest, which I thought was refreshing. I have a soft stop for nerds, and Pete totally fits into that category easily. I wasn’t completely convinced by Lyra’s romance. I felt like it progressed WAY too quickly. Lyra has been taught for most of her existence that love isn’t a thing yet she’s suddenly able to almost automatically confess her love for someone that she barely even knows? It didn’t feel the least bit realistic to me.

I wouldn’t note this as being one of my favorites or anything, but it was still a decent book nonetheless. It took me a lot longer to read than it takes me to read most books. I think this was mostly due to the kind of slow start that happens in both of the perspectives. Once it got started though, the book did become a lot more intriguing to me. I doubt that this genre will ever become my thing, but I’m still happy that I read it in spite of this. This is my first Lauren Oliver and I don’t plan on it being the last one. I’m for sure going to pick up Before I Fall before the movie comes out in a couple of months! Anyway, I do recommend this, but only if you don’t mind books that have a slower pace at the beginning.

three-stars

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ARC Review: The Secret of a Heart Note

January 11, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

ARC Review: The Secret of a Heart NoteThe Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on December 27th 2016
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss
Also by this author: Outrun the Moon
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four-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.

An evocative novel about a teen aroma expert who uses her extrasensitive sense of smell to mix perfumes that help others fall in love while protecting her own heart at all costs
Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make.
At once hopeful, funny, and romantic, Stacey Lee’s The Secret of a Heart Note is a richly evocative coming-of-age story that gives a fresh perspective on falling in love and finding one’s place in the world.

So Stacey Lee’s book Outrun the Moon was one of the only non-contemporary books that I really enjoyed last year. It had a memorable and touching plot, and also an incredible main character. Although this book is absolutely nothing like her last book, I knew that I had to pick up this one since it has more of a romance and contemporary vibe to it. Besides, Stacey Lee is such a beautiful writer, I can already tell that I’m going to be picking up basically anything that she writes. The Secret of a Heart Note was a fast paced and well written book all around. I highly recommend it if you don’t mind a little bit of magical realism. It’s a great and fun read overall!

Mimosa or Mim was such a cool character, and I loved her right off the bat. She’s such an honest and real character. She has her flaws for sure, but she always means well. I definitely sympathized with Mim as she longed to fit in at her school. Being an aromateur, or a love witch (what the kids call her) can’t be an easy job, but she does the best that she can. Her and her mom are the only aromateurs that are left. They both have an extremely sensitive sense of smell and they use that to mix special perfumes that help the right people fall in love. Though Mim does enjoy her job to an extent, she also wants to be a typical teenager, not someone that most teens are afraid of being around. I feel like a lot of teens can relate to her desire to fit in on some level. She’s a realistic and fascinating character. She’s certainly one that I’m not going to be forgetting anytime soon!

You guys, the romance in this book is all kinds of different levels of adorable. I absolutely loved it and felt like it couldn’t have been written any better. It’s actually a rather small part of the novel in the grand scheme of everything else. However, I still liked it anyway because of how subtle yet memorable it turned out to be for me. Court is just a downright nice guy, though I would have enjoyed learning and seeing more of him in the book. But I have to say that I completely understand that this is Mim’s story, not Court’s. So in the beginning, Mim is afraid of letting him in because boys automatically get a crush on her if she accidentally contaminates them with her perfume somehow. She keeps a special perfume that her and her best friend call “Boy Be Gone” which gets rid of the feelings. This side of things make it very complicated once she falls for Court.

There’s a lot of themes in this book that ultimately stay with you as a reader. One theme is the friendship that Mim has with her best friend Kali. Kali is pretty much Mim’s only friend, but she’s an incredible one to her. I really thought this friendship was beautiful and real all the way around. It wasn’t a perfect one, but what friendship or relationship in general ever is? I thought Kali was a fabulously diverse and fantastic character, and her friendship with Mim was fun to read about. Another theme revolves around family. Mim’s mom is nothing but tough on her about pretty much everything. This makes it basically impossible to have a normal teen life with her mom constantly pushing her and wanting something from her. This might seem like your typical teen parental problems, but I felt like it was much more complicated and compelling than just that. We also have the relationship between Mim’s mom and her twin sister, who gave up being an aromateur for love, which caused the sisters to stop speaking. I thought this was another unique and cool theme to have.

As a whole, I’m happy that I read this one. I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d like it since I’ve never read a magical realism story before. I thought I’d take a chance on this author since it paid off the first time around, and it definitely paid off this time as well. Have I mentioned that I’m happy that I read this one yet? I also don’t really care much about scents or flowers, but Lee made me actually care about all of this information. Though an aromateur isn’t an actual thing, it still seemed like the author did so much research on what it was. In other words, she made it seem totally real to me, which isn’t an easy thing for an author to achieve. This should really be a book that you don’t miss and I recommend trying her other stories while you’re at it!

four-stars

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