P.S. I Still Love You Review

August 29, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

P.S. I Still Love You ReviewP.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2) by Jenny Han
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 26th 2015
Pages: 337
Source: Library
Also by this author: Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3)
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four-stars
Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?
In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

This was a delightful companion novel to the wildly popular “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.” I’m going to start things out a little differently by recapping the book since it’s been awhile since the first book was released so some who read it then may not remember all the details. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you check it out before you read any further.

Towards the end of the first book, Lara Jean and Josh kiss and she also realizes that it’s really Peter who she wants to be with. She makes out with Peter while they are away on a school trip and Lara Jean hears that Peter is telling people that they had sex. Regardless of how betrayed she feels, she still knows that it’s Peter who she is in love with. The book ends with Lara writing a letter starting with “Dear Peter” and that’s it.

In “P.S. I Still Love You” it picks up directly with the letter which I think was really smart of Jenny Han since readers were desperately wondering what Lara Jean would say to him. In the letter, she admits that she loves and cares about him. She goes and delivers the letter to him herself and the two end up getting together. Drama then pretty much goes down again and again in the book. The most important drama that happens between them is that Peter starts hanging out with his ex girlfriend Gen, while a blast from both of Peter and Lara Jean’s past gets in contact with Lara. John is one of the guys who received the letters from the first book but he just now got back to her. Lara will have to somehow make a choice between two boys that she has loved for a long time now.

The thing about Jenny Han’s writing is that you get automatically swept up in every character but sometimes you may not always absolutely love that character. Honestly, I found Lara Jean to be beyond
irritating and whiny at times. She also really let her insecurities take over as she attempted to push people she cares about away. However, she does grow so much as a character and I think it’s great that she has these completely relatable flaws. Peter is a complicated character but I’ll talk about him more in the next paragraph. My favorite character is definitely Kitty, Lara Jean’s little sister who is so mature that it’s easy to forget she’s still in middle school. One of the funniest moments came from Kitty confessing that she watched The Sopranos, I literally laughed out loud. She’s the comic relief of these books for sure.

I don’t understand why Jenny Han has to have love triangles in the majority of her books. (Besides the Burn for Burn books) If you can’t already tell, I can’t stand love triangles. I love the relationship between Peter and Lara Jean although it does have it’s flaws, but they still make sense together. Lara Jean’s fascination with John, a sweet childhood friend of both Peter and Lara Jean, also makes sense in its own way. Although it’s over, Peter and Gen also made sense together and Lara Jean struggles with seeing them together, even though Peter picked her. The boy has communication issues and he doesn’t stand up for her like he should, but it’s clear that he cares for our girl Lara. I won’t lie, at times I was rooting for John and I’m sure you might feel that way as well. The ending is just completely satisfying and that’s the main reason why I rated this a 4 instead of a 5.

I know fans of the book are probably hoping Han will write another novel since all of her others are trilogies. Personally, I’m more than happy with her closing this story here because I think we were given more answers and no more questions. Regardless, I’ll always love these stories and will continue to buy any book written by Jenny Han!

four-stars

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All The Rage Review

August 29, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

All The Rage ReviewAll the Rage by Courtney Summers
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 14th 2015
Pages: 321
Source: Library
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four-stars
The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 
With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

I said that I was going to be taking a break from depressing and heavy books for awhile, but I’ve been wanting to read this book for awhile now so I had to give it a try! This book is extremely powerful, even more so than what I was initially expecting. It’s honestly difficult to read at times because the kids are just so cruel, but it’s still an important read for everyone.

Romy has been receiving horrible bullying since she told the truth about the Sheriff’s golden boy son Kellan. No one believed her because she’s from the wrong side of town so the kids at school instantly come to his defense. Her only safety is the diner she works at where no one knows about Kellan. The rest of the book consists of the disappearance of a girl who has ties to both Romy and Kellan, and the night before she disappeared where Romy last saw her but can’t remember. It’s a story that will keep you guessing until the last page.

Can I just say that the kids Romy goes to school with are absolutely evil? It really blew my mind just how cruel they can be, they don’t even treat her like she’s a human being. That is completely unacceptable to me and it broke my heart but also made me angry. I felt this way because it was very real, high school sucks and Summers accurately portrayed bullying the best she could. Romy is an incredible main character. It broke my heart to see her thoughts about not being good enough or believing what all those kids said about her.

Leon is a guy who works at the diner with Romy and doesn’t know about what happened with Kellan. She likes being with him because she feels like she’s a different girl when she’s with him. It broke my heart to see how she felt about him actually treating her with respect since her experience with a guy was so terrible. I think the most heartbreaking and touching moments was the surprise that Romy felt when she asked Leon to stop and he instantly did. This was a tragic and real experience that is really educational for readers that may not know much about sexual assault. I’m not saying that those who have never experienced it can possibly understand what all they must go through after that, but it still provides some perspective.

I didn’t give All The Rage five stars because I was so confused and dissatisfied with the ending. I walked away with a ridiculous amount of questions. On one hand, it’s good to not be able to stop thinking about a book once you finish it, but on the other I felt like not enough was explored. I wished that we would have gotten to see Kellan for even just a few pages, he doesn’t have to be a main character but I would have liked at least some interaction. The ending was really abrupt and I was looking for some general closure. Overall, the message of this book was beyond powerful. This is the first Courtney Summers book I’ve ever read and I’m excited to read her other books. You need to read this if you haven’t yet!

four-stars

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I’ll Give You The Sun Review

August 27, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★★

I’ll Give You The Sun ReviewI'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Published by Dial Books on September 16th 2014
Pages: 371
Also by this author: The Sky is Everywhere
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five-stars
A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.
This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

As I said yesterday in my review of Nelson’s first novel, I have heard a lot of about this. After reading her debut, I was even more excited about picking up this one. But I was nervous as well, the expectations for this one were pretty high after reading that beautiful and memorable novel. It’s safe to say that her sophomore novel went above and beyond those expectations set by The Sky is Everywhere. I absolutely loved the book and thought that her prose combined with the unique plot make it a novel that no one is going to be forgetting anytime soon.

Noah and Jude are twins who are completely in sync. They always seem to know what the other is thinking and feeling and they are all around inseparable in every sense of the word. However, something happens that makes them go on different paths without the other. They are both 16 now and barely speaking at all. We learn what happened in the altering voice of both twins: Noah narrates the younger years which is starting at 13 up until 14, while Jude is the last year or so of their lives. What follows is a wonderful story about love, loss, friendship, grief, death, forgiveness, and acceptance as they try to find where they belong in the world. Which for both of them includes a world of art and the people that they love most in the world.

I absolutely love how unique Jandy Nelson’s writing is. There is no YA writer out there writing in this unique style and I think she’s helping create a path for writers to come. It was just really clever to write the perspectives at different ages and I felt like it helped us learn this essential information about the pair and why they live in such separate worlds now at the pace that the author set for the audience. I’ve seen some reviews that said that they liked Noah better than Jude right away but I liked Jude right away also. I feel like she’s incredibly witty and sarcastic in a charming and catching way. Of course I loved Noah too, but I felt like I could personally identify with Jude. However, my heart did break for Noah as he tried to come to terms with who he was. I felt like this was done in such a realistic way. Though I personally have never struggled with my sexuality, I have close friends who have and that reminded me so much of Noah. In his mind, he feels like being with men is the most natural thing in the world for him, but at the same time he’s scared of what society will think about him and Brian felt the same way, except even more was at stake for him in his mind. Anyway, the main characters were written in such a heartbreaking and real way.

The romance in this book is a little bit different than a lot of books I’ve read recently considering there are two main characters, not just one. I believe that both of the twins are just as important and neither love story is more important to the plot than the other. Brian and Noah was a delightful and sad romance to read about. When Noah was 14, he meets new boy Brian who lives next door and falls in love with him. I felt like the relationship was very sad but also real. They both spent a lot of time being just friends, and that broke Noah’s heart. Once they worked it out though, it was clear that these two should without a doubt be together. I also loved Jude’s relationship with the charming and dangerous Oscar. I absolutely loved Oscar, and I couldn’t help but keep reading so I could definitely figure out his story. I felt like the love between them was so swoon worthy and though I didn’t love him as much as I loved Joe from Jandy Nelson’s first novel, there was something that Oscar had that was just as catching in my opinion. I liked that he was a little bit wild and dangerous, but he was also extremely protective, loving, and caring when it comes to the people he cares about.

If you can’t tell by now, after reading two books by Jandy, it’s safe to say I’m a fan of her books. I can’t wait for her to release another book and it’s safe to say I won’t hesitate at all to pick the next one up as soon as it comes out. If you haven’t read this one yet, I can’t recommend it enough. It will leave you bursting with so many different emotions you won’t even know what to do with yourself. It’s certainly one that I’m going to be thinking about for a long time after and I love books that leave you speechless in the best way possible.

five-stars

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The Sky is Everywhere Review

August 26, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

The Sky is Everywhere ReviewThe Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Published by Dial Books on March 9th 2010
Pages: 288
Source: Library
Also by this author: I'll Give You the Sun
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four-stars
Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life - and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding.
This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.

Jandy Nelson has recently received a lot of attention for her sophomore novel, “I’ll Give You The Sun.” I decided to start with her debut novel before I get to that one. I found this book to be very powerful and filled with many different emotions. It was a pleasant read for me that has made me all the more excited to read her latest. This book is still relatively heavy in terms of the subject. I’ve just read a ton of YA books recently about death so I think it’s time for me to take a break from that for a little while anyway. If you are like me and live under a rock and somehow missed this one, definitely seek it out and read it!

Lennon is a bookworm and band geek who is dealing with the recent abrupt death of her big sister Bailey. Now Lennie is forced to pick up the pieces and keep going on with her life. However, she feels guilty to experience happiness when her sister no longer can. So she starts spending time with her sister’s longtime boyfriend Toby, who is the one person that seems to be struggling just as much as she is. Then she meets Joe Fontaine, a new boy who was living in Paris, and who has serious musical talents. Lennie has to make the choice if she wants to be happy and start fresh with Joe, or stay in the darkness with Toby.

I instantly loved Lennon due to her name, she’s named after John Lennon because her mother was a total hippie. We learn this information because Joe is the only person who questions it and I love that he starts calling her that. Other things I love about Lennon include: her love of books, her passion for music, and the poems that she writes and leaves in random places. Lennie only has two main parent type figures: her Gram and Uncle Big since her father isn’t in the picture and her mom left when the girls were little. I didn’t like Toby at all, but I did understand that grief is something that connects people so it’s natural that he turned to Lennon as a comfort with Bailey gone. I can’t stand love triangles, and this was really no exception but I felt like it was automatically obvious that she wouldn’t end up with Toby.

There is so much to say about Joe Fontaine, he’s just one of those totally swoon worthy characters that you come across every now and then. He’s a genuinely good guy and I love that his feelings for Lennon were so clear from the beginning. There was no game going on between them where neither would admit to liking the other, she learns pretty early on that he likes her. I adored that music was a huge connection for them and I loved that he would write music for her to play so it could be a duet between them. I think that he’s the perfect guy for Lennon since he has so much brightness and happiness radiating from him the entire time and she desperately needed that as she dealt with her grief.

It’s a beautiful story from start to finish. The main reason I give it a four is because of Toby, yes it made sense why it was there, but there were a few things about the intensity of the relationship that I wasn’t a huge fan of. It was unfair for her to do that to Joe, especially when she is aware of his feelings for her (mild spoiler alert) and that he’s been hurt before. Nelson’s writing is just so realistic and I loved how poetic it was. It was different from many books I’ve read about grief, and it’s insanely memorable and fascinating.

four-stars

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The Start of Me and You Review

August 26, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★½

The Start of Me and You ReviewThe Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Published by Bloomsbury Children's Book on March 2015
Pages: 231
Source: Library
Also by this author: Open Road Summer, When We Collided
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four-half-stars
Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.
Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.
It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

Open Road Summer was a bit of a disappointment for me. I just couldn’t connect with the female protagonist, so I was a little hesitant to jump into this one. I was pleasantly surprised by how relatable Paige and the rest of Emery Lord’s characters are. This is a must read about love, grief, forgiveness, acceptance, growing up, and taking risks.

For the last year, Paige has been identified around her smallish town as the girl whose first boyfriend drowned in a freak accident. Paige is finally trying to move past this identity and make a name for herself. She starts by making a list of things she wants to do during her junior year. One item on her list is going on a date with her longtime crush Ryan. Things change once Paige joins the Quiz Bowl team with Ryan’s dorky cousin Max Watson, who recently transferred back to their public school. Paige is finally getting her big chance to take risks and go outside of her comfort zone, and that all starts with Max.

I mentioned this earlier but I just want to stress again that I was shocked that I connected with Paige the way that I did. I’ve never experienced the death of a boyfriend, but I do understand the process of grief in general and how she felt as if she didn’t know him very well, but she liked the attention he gave her. Every girl wants to be noticed and it can be tough getting over the loss of someone who saw the real you. I felt like the supporting characters were well written, especially Paige’s support system aka her group of best friends. Her very best friend is the beautiful and strong Tessa and her other close friends are Kayleigh and Morgan. I loved that these girls went to the ends of the Earth to support and protect one another. There was never any seriously dramatic fights between them and I appreciated that promotion of uplifting female friendship. Ryan obviously wasn’t as likable as Max, but I still felt like his character was well developed enough, he had his own fair share of loss and longing.
I wasn’t sure if any male love interest from Emery could compete with Matt Finch but Max was pretty great in his own respect. What I most loved about their relationship was all the banter and witty pop culture that bonded them together. I thought it was absolutely adorable when Max told her that she was more of a Jane than an Elizabeth (from Pride & Prejudice) and then called her Janie throughout the rest of the book. He’s just such a smart, caring, and nice guy, I found myself desperately wanting Paige to open her eyes up much sooner than she did, but she did wake up eventually.

There’s not much for me to add except: read this! It’s an eye opening book filled with a beautiful plot paired with some of the most memorable characters that I have managed to come across in YA throughout 2015. I also keep begging over and over for Max Watson to be real! Fingers crossed that there is still a chance of him existing.

four-half-stars

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The Boy Most Likely To Review

August 24, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

The Boy Most Likely To ReviewThe Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Published by Dial Books on August 18th 2015
Pages: 432
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: My Life Next Door, What I Thought Was True
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four-stars
four-flames
A surprising, utterly romantic companion to My Life Next Door—great for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han 
Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To find the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, and drive his car into a house
Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To . . . well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.
For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.
Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.
And Alice is caught in the middle.
Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this novel is for readers of The Spectacular Now, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Towns.

I’ve loved both Tim Mason and Alice Garrett since we were introduced to them in My Life Next Door. More specifically, I loved Tim, but Alice is still a memorable character. I found Tim’s crush on her in MLND to be endearing and hilarious. I loved getting to read Tim’s story where he is the main character. I also liked that Fitzpatrick had both Alice and Tim’s point of views included as they altered back and forth. She didn’t do that with her first two books, so I liked that she mixed up the narration a bit. As a whole, this wasn’t what I was expecting going in, but it was still charming in its own special way.

Tim has been kicked out of his house and is now living in the garage apartment outside of his best friend Jase’s house. Tim is currently doing his best to get on his feet and get away from drinking and doing drugs. Not even 18 yet, Tim feels as if he’s screwed up enough of his life already and he’s making a huge change in his life. Not to mention, it seems like he’s finally getting the attention of Jase’s big sister Alice. All of a sudden, his life takes an unexpected turn and Tim is forced to stop everything and take responsibility for his past mistakes.

I could probably just make this entire review about my love for Tim. Yes, he’s a screwed up kid, but he has the best heart. He also is just straight up hilarious, he’s always making the funniest jokes. He uses them as a defense mechanism but not in an annoying way. Alice is a lot more rough around the edges, she can be rather scary when she wants to be. But Tim sees through all that and that kind of catches Alice off guard. I like Alice, I think she’s a complex and likable character. She and Tim are also pretty different on the surface and I like that. Beyond the two main characters, we also have the whole Garrett clan making some pretty important appearances in both Tim and Alice’s lives. I thought that baby Patsy’s obsession with Tim was the cutest thing ever. My one complaint about the Garrett family is that we didn’t get enough of scenes with George, or even Jace and Samantha. Sure they showed up many times but were mainly just there, they never really said anything important or memorable. However, this is supposed to be just Tim and Alice’s story, Samantha and Jace already had one so I get why they weren’t such key players.

I really did want to see more of the relationship between Alice and Tim. Whenever they seemed to be getting somewhere, drama would go down and the relationship would pretty much be placed on pause and we didn’t get many scenes of them just being together. However, the scenes that we do see of them are still very adorable and similar (in a good way) to Fitzpatrick’s other books. Meaning, this one doesn’t leave out sex, just as the other two didn’t. It never gets downright explicit, but it’s still extremely real between them. I kind of thought they said I love you a little too fast, but maybe I’m just being picky.

While there was a lot of drama that I don’t want to include so I don’t spoil anything, I still enjoyed this story. I also felt like Tim really grew as a character and that’s one of the most important things in any Young Adult books. I find myself unable to relate to characters that just stay whiny or screwed up the whole time and Tim isn’t like that at all. I do think that if you read this, you should read My Life Next Door first, but don’t expect this one to be like that book. They are both different but still great reads in their own right.
four-stars
Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
four-half-stars
Writing
five-stars
Pacing
four-stars
Cover
four-half-stars
Overall: four-stars

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The Beginning of Everything Review

August 24, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

The Beginning of Everything ReviewThe Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Published by Katherine Tegen on August 27th 2013
Pages: 335
Source: Library
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three-stars
Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.
No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.
But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?
Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

This book started out really strong and I was sure it was going to end up being one of my favorite books. However, I think what stops it from being so great is due to several different minor details that ended up being a big deal to me in the long run. I recommend reading this one if you want to read something with eccentric characters with a fascinating plot, although things sort of get off track. I found myself really enjoying Schneider’s writing, Ezra’s narration in general was memorable. Anyway, this is a good book, but not a great one.

Ezra believes that everyone has to have a great tragedy happen to them. His childhood best friend Toby got his tragedy in the form of a severed head landing on his lap at Disney World on his birthday one year. Golden boy Ezra got his when he found his girlfriend cheating on him then managed to get in a car crash that ruined any chances of playing tennis ever again, all in one evening. He finds himself reuniting with his old best friend Toby, who now runs with a very different crowd from Ezra, and is also fascinated by the mysterious new girl Cassidy.

Ezra was a charming and lovely narrator. You can’t help but love him and feel bad for him right from the beginning. However, I do feel like Ezra is more than a little bit whiny at times. His best friend Toby is easily my favorite characters. He’s a geek but in the most endearing way. Cassidy was completely annoying to me, I didn’t like her at all. I felt like some of the “mystery” to her was just pointless to the plot.

The reason why this book received three stars from me was mostly due to not connecting with Cassidy. I felt like some of her actions made no sense at all and I just wanted to punch Ezra for not running far away from her sooner. I also wasn’t at all satisfied with the ending. I would have preferred for it to have been wrapped up in a more clearcut way. All in all, I think this is a good book and I do think that most people will enjoy it. It has a lot of interesting and well rounded supporting characters that make you want to keep reading, which is an automatic positive for me. But don’t expect to be completely blown away from this book.      

three-stars

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My Heart and Other Black Holes Review

August 23, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★

My Heart and Other Black Holes ReviewMy Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
Published by HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray on February 10th 2015
Pages: 302
Source: Library
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four-stars
Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.
There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.
Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

Going into this book, I was expecting something completely and totally depressing. For most of the first half of the book, it’s just that. However, if you’re someone who stays clear of dark books that talks a lot about depression, don’t shut down this book just yet. It’s surprisingly witty due to the narrator Aysel’s sharp sense of humor. This is a different type of book and one that I strongly recommend for a number of reasons.

Aysel is a girl who no longer wants to live. She finally puts her suicide plan into action by going online and finding a suicide partner. She finds Roman, a boy who lives pretty close to her and who is nothing like she pictured once they meet in person. He isn’t a geeky looking kid, he is an athletic and attractive boy who seems to have no reason to want to die. However, a family tragedy haunts him and causes him to be determined that he doesn’t deserve to live. Once the two get closer, Aysel starts to see all of the dark parts of Roman and still likes him anyway. Is that enough for the two to live?

It’s hard to describe it, but Aysel is a one of a kind character. I love how quick on her feet she is, and the way she uses sarcasm and witty comebacks as her weapon of choice. I also loved how the author worked in physics into the plot. Aysel is obsessed with Einstein’s theories and is constantly questioning gravity. I found that to be unique and even though I personally am not a fan of Science, I still thought that it was interesting. Roman is something else completely. I love how real and down to earth he seemed. I also liked that he was into art and him drawing Aysel is one of my favorite scenes in the book. My heart breaks for him in terms of why he wants so desperately to die. I just wanted to give him a hug. I enjoyed his relationship with Aysel and watching it grow, despite both of their objections to let anybody in.

The reason why this book didn’t receive a perfect rating from me is because of the end. I won’t spoil it, but I felt like it wasn’t the right route to go considering how the first part was written. Meaning, it just didn’t seem in character considering all that was developed in the first half of the book. It’s difficult to explain without explicitly stating it, but you’ll know what I mean once you read it. Overall though, it’s a beautifully written debut that really captures the realities of mental illness in a refreshing and real way. I got seriously wrapped up in the main characters and invested in what was going to happen next to them. I definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a read that will instantly catch your attention.

four-stars

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Review

August 22, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 4 ★★★★★

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl ReviewMe and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Published by Harry N. Abrams on March 1st 2012
Pages: 295
Source: Purchased
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five-stars
Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.
Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.
Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.
And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.

Guys, this is one of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time. I know, you don’t expect a book with the dying girl in the title to be funny, but this is not your typical book. It was a pleasant surprise for me and I’m really glad I read this. I recommend this to anyone looking for a hilarious yet oddly charming read.
Greg is our funny and angsty narrator who addresses the audience in a unique way. I won’t spoil it but you figure out who specifically he is writing the book to in the epilogue. It explains a lot and I enjoyed how the book was wrapped up. But anyway, Greg doesn’t have many friends, he just jumps around from social groups in order to maintain some kind of status but not have to deal with relationships. The closest thing he has to a friend is his business partner Earl, who he makes terrible movies with. His mom then makes him start hanging out with Rachel, who has an advanced form of Leukemia. He went to Hebrew school with her and they sort of had a brief thing, but was never close to her at all. Anyway, he finds that he actually kind of enjoys spending time with her. Rachel finds out about the movies they make and she then starts watching them. Greg and Earl then get roped into making a film just for Rachel, which leads to a lot of funny and interesting moments.

Like I said, Greg is a really great character. I can’t really explain what makes him so memorable, but he’s just different from other teen boy narrators that you come across. Even his attitude towards making friends and keeping the films he makes with Earl a secret is different from others. Earl is probably one of my favorite supporting characters. He doesn’t have much to say that doesn’t include a string of cuss words, but he is always up front and says what he’s thinking. I like that he calls Greg out whenever he does something stupid. I also love how sweet Earl was to Rachel and that it was completely genuine.

This is a unique Young Adult novel and I doubt I’ll ever read another book like it. I think my favorite part of it was that it handled cancer in a sensitive manner but it also wasn’t depressing. The humor was always appropriate, it never made light of the illness. It’s hands down the funniest book you’ll ever read about death. I can’t recommend it enough.

five-stars

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Mini Review: Until Friday Night

August 20, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 2 ★½

Mini Review: Until Friday NightUntil Friday Night (The Field Party, #1) by Abbi Glines
Published by Simon Pulse on August 25th 2015
Pages: 352
Source: Edelweiss
Also by this author: Breathe (Sea Breeze, #1), Because of Low (Sea Breeze, #2), Just for Now (Sea Breeze, #4), Misbehaving (Sea Breeze, #6), Bad for You (Sea Breeze, #7), Until the End
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one-half-stars
To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.
Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.
As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.
West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…

This isn’t going to be a full length review, that’s going to be posted on The Young Folks on the release day next week. But I have a lot to say about this book so I figured I might as well post a mini review now just to sort of preview my thoughts.

If you’ve read any of my other reviews on here, you can probably tell that I typically don’t give such low ratings. This one is an exception because of some of the pretty major issues I had with the main characters. If I dislike one of the main characters, the rating is going to automatically be no higher than a 3 for me. In this case, I disliked both of the characters at some point in the novel. I did sympathize with the female character Maggie, but I also felt that she was just as judgmental of the girls at school as the guys. For example, the guys called the girls “sluts” and “whores” constantly and Maggie wasn’t much better.

West is probably one of the most unlikable love interests I’ve ever seen in a YA book. On one hand, I did feel bad that his dad was sick, but it still didn’t make sense to me why he was allowed to behave in such a destructive and offputting manner and not get put in his place. I would have much preferred Maggie to overcome her personal trauma and instantly giving West sass and not excusing his behavior.

I found the majority of these characters to be unrelatable and I couldn’t connect with them at all. My favorite part of the book was easily when West was called out on his possessive behavior over Maggie. It made me so happy that at least one character wasn’t letting him get away with his terrible attitude.

I’m sure handling my rant about this book in mini form is probably easier to handle than the rant in my full length review. Anyway, feel free to check out that review when it’s posted. It’s going to touch more on the characters and what went wrong for me personally. I’m sure people who enjoy Abbi Glines’s New Adult books will likely enjoy this one, but it was just too much for me.
one-half-stars

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