Anna and the French Kiss Review

August 6, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★★

Anna and the French Kiss ReviewAnna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1) by Stephanie Perkins
Published by Dutton Juvenile on December 2nd 2010
Pages: 372
Also by this author: Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories
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Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

This is an absolutely compelling Young Adult novel, one of the best I’ve ever read honestly. It’s the combination of the setting, characters, and the plot as a whole. I feel like I’m the last person on planet Earth to read this book, but I’m glad that I finally got around to picking it up. If you’re also like me and pretty much live under a rock and didn’t read this, make sure you get a copy of it soon, you won’t regret it.

Anna is a rising senior living in Georgia. She has a great best friend and a relationship that’s just about to happen. All of that is put on hold when her father ships her off to Paris to attend boarding school. While most kids would love to be sent there, she longs for her life in the states. Then she meets Étienne St. Clair, the beautiful and smart British boy who takes her breath away right from the start. The only problem is that he has a serious girlfriend.

If you take away all of the supporting characters and just leave Anna and Étienne, there’s still a nicely developed plot. The scenes these two characters share are adorable and there’s Paris in the background, what else could you possibly need? Anyway, I’m going to focus on them only just because I believe they are clearly the most significant. I enjoyed the supporting characters but I was always just waiting for the next scene between our favorite couple. I can’t stress how charming Étienne is. Perkins did a terrific job with creating this charismatic guy. Anna got on my nerves at times because she whines about literally everything, but our boy manages to bring out a different side of her. The romance in the book is masterfully crafted and I adored everything about it from start to finish.

If you haven’t been able to tell yet, I’m actually in love with this book. I don’t think it is everyone’s cup of tea, but I don’t know many people who didn’t love it. So if you like Young Adult books with a charming love interest, the beautiful setting of the city of love, some hilarious drama, and an awkward yet endearing female narrator, this book is right up your alley! I can’t recommend it enough.


“For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.” 

“The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.” 

“Will you please tell me you love me? I’m dying here.” 

“I’m saying I’m in love with you! I’ve been in love with you this whole bleeding year!”

“You say that I’m afraid of being alone, and it’s true. I am. And I’m not proud of it. But you need to take a good look at yourself, Anna, because I am NOT the only one in this room who suffers this problem.” 

Rating Report
Overall: five-stars


Ask Again Later Review

August 4, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★½

Ask Again Later ReviewAsk Again Later by Liz Czukas
Published by Harper Teen on March 11th 2014
Pages: 336
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Despite what her name might suggest, Heart has zero interest in complicated romance. So when her brilliant plan to go to prom with a group of friends is disrupted by two surprise invites, Heart knows there's only one drama-free solution: flip a coin.
Heads: The jock. He might spend all night staring at his ex or throw up in the limo, but how bad can her brother's best friend really be?
Tails: The theater geek...with a secret. What could be better than a guy who shares all Heart's interests--even if he wants to share all his feelings?
Heart's simple coin flip has somehow given her the chance to live out both dates. But where her prom night ends up might be the most surprising thing of all...

This was a cute and light read that is yet another YA book that I have no clue how I missed it when it first came out. This book won’t be good for you if you’re not big on predictable high school romance books, but it’s perfect if that’s something you really enjoy reading. I guess what I’m trying to say is that not everyone is going to like it, but it’s ideal for those looking for some light end of the summer reading.

Her biological name might be Heart, but this teen has absolutely no interest in love. Her mom was only 18 when she had Heart’s older brother, and 19 when she had her. After giving birth to her, she left her family shortly after. So Heart made a rule that she’d avoid relationships so she would never end up like her mother. Anyway, she ends up unsure of what to do when she has two guys asking her to prom. To decide, she flips a coin and gets to somehow live out both of these fantasies.

The characters in this book are absolutely fabulous. The most memorable is probably our hilarious narrator Heart, who is witty and charming all at once. None of the events that go down during prom would be as funny without Heart’s voice. I really love how sassy and likable she is from the very first page. Another character that I found myself invested in was Ryan, one of the boys who asked her to prom. Ryan becomes a close friend to Heart throughout the novel and I love all his wisdom and hilarious moments. I also loved Chase, or Schroeder, as Heart calls him. He’s also a smart and likable character and I was always eager to read any scenes that he appeared in. I’m going to talk more about him in the context of Heart (it’s pretty impossible not to).

Heart and Chase have an adorable relationship, mostly due to the fact that it grows from friendship to more. The banter between them from the very first chapter is endearing and funny to read. For example, Heart calls him Schroeder since he reminds her of the Peanuts character due to the fact that he plays piano and has the same look. He calls her different body parts like Lung, Kidney, and Pancreas because of her name. It’s a lot more adorable than it sounds, you just have to read it!

In short, I recommend this book because it can be read in just one sitting. It was a great read for me considering I’ve been reading such heavy books lately, this was a refreshing break from all of that. Sometimes reading a predictable and cute book is just what you need. I loved the authors witty and creative writing style and now I’m dying to read more of her work!



Faking Normal Review

August 2, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★★

Faking Normal ReviewFaking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
Published by HarperTeen on February 25th 2014
Pages: 336
Also by this author: The Lies About Truth
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An edgy, realistic, and utterly captivating novel from an exciting new voice in teen fiction.
Alexi Littrell hasn't told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.
When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in "the Kool-Aid Kid," who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.
A searing, poignant book, Faking Normal is the extraordinary debut novel from an exciting new author-Courtney C. Stevens.

This book made me feel so many different emotions. It’s sad and deals with a dark subject, but it also is filled with hope and love.  I’m a huge fan of books that tell unique stories in a fresh way. Courtney C. Stevens is seriously wonderful at this. I strongly recommend this book for anyone who has yet to read it for whatever reason!

Alexi Littrell has a secret that is continually tearing her up. To deal with this, she finds comfort in hiding in her closet and scratching the back of her neck. She hurts her outside in order to cope with how she’s feeling on the inside. Bodee Lennox has his own personal tragedy, his dad recently killed his mother. Alexi’s mom was close friends with her, so Alexi also attends the funeral. Bodee comes to live with Alexi and her family for the year. Bodee and Alexi gradually get closer as she finally comes clean about her past.

To be honest, I wasn’t all that huge of a fan of the characters besides Bodee and Alexi. I thought that even her closer female friends like Heather were a little bit annoying. They accomplished what Stevens intended, just showing the life that Alexi had before she was raped. Although she tries to put on a brave face and act normal around her peers, she’s an extremely broken girl. Sometimes it makes a huge difference to me when the supporting characters aren’t all that interesting or quirky, but I didn’t feel that way in this case. Our main characters were so fabulous that nothing else really mattered.

The romance between Alexi and Bodee is perfect. Bodee is a considered “that Kool-Aid freak” by some of Alexi’s friends and even by herself before she got to know him. However, I like that once she befriended him, she didn’t try to hide the friendship from her other friends. It did annoy me that Alexi seemed to be oblivious to how crazy he was about her, but I did like the slow build-up from friendship to relationship. Bodee shows his protectiveness for Alexi from the beginning, and he also was someone that she could trust with the truth about her rape.

The topic of rape has been used in many Young Adult books including Speak and Just Listen. What makes this one stand out from both of those is the twists and turns that are not revealed until towards the end of the novel. With the other books, it’s pretty clear what happened and who did it, but this one will have you guessing up until the last page.



Freaky Friday: Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

August 1, 2015 Features 0 ★★★★★

Freaky Friday: Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar ChildrenMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1) by Ransom Riggs
Published by Quirk on June 7th 2011
Pages: 352
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Also see: Alternate Cover Editions for this ISBN [ACE]
ACE #1

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.
A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

If you’re looking for an exceptional summer read from start to finish, this novel is definitely the one to grab from bookstores. It is the first novel from Ransom Riggs and doesn’t fail to disappoint in the slightest.

The book centers on protagonist Jacob Portman whose grandfather passes away at the beginning of the book. Jacob, who is close with him, feels lost and questions the strange way his grandfather died. Could he have been murdered? Was he attacked by a wild animal or worse?

After months of agony, he makes his way to England where he explores relics of his grandfather’s past. From old friends and loves, exploring a somewhat haunted house, and eventually embarking on time travel, Jacob is in for a wild adventure while discovering who his grandfather really was before coming to America. All of which involve the supernatural and peculiar children he thought were dead.

Peculiar Children also uses vintage photography throughout to further create the characters and storyline to reel readers in. Each of the photos are real and cited in the back of the book. Some showcase the peculiars exercising their power, while others simply show Jacob or another character in action.



A movie is set to debut in March of 2016. It stars Asa Butterfield, Eva Green, and Samuel L. Jackson. There is also two books titled Hollow City and Library of Souls that follow this prequel. The latter will be released on September 22nd of this year.



The Distance Between Us Review

July 31, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★

The Distance Between Us ReviewThe Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Published by Harper Teen on July 2nd 2013
Pages: 312
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: The Fill-In Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You, By Your Side
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Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.
So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.
She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

Even though this book has been out for two years now, I’ve never gotten around to reading it. Now that I finally have, it’s safe to say that I’m even more in love with Kasie West’s writing now. This book specifically is the perfect light and adorable summer read.

Caymen Meyers was raised by her single mother to believe that poor and rich people come from completely separate worlds, and she belongs to the first world. She works in her mother’s doll shop where she gets plenty of practice observing the rich people who buy the dolls. She can instantly tell that Xander Spence is beyond rich. As she gets gradually closer to him, she realizes that the two have more in common than she initially anticipated. However, it seems like the rest of the world is against the pair being together, and Caymen learns a family secret that threatens her outlook on her life entirely.

I really enjoyed the main characters Xander and Caymen. I felt like they were well developed and I loved watching their relationship grow. I think the supporting characters could have had a little bit more development because most of them were meant to be unlikable – besides Caymen’s friend Skye. So it’s safe to say that I liked the characters but felt like they weren’t memorable as a whole.

The relationship is obviously one of the big selling points of the book. It tells the story of a great summer romance that has a realistic and gradual build. The two face challenge after challenge and you start to wonder if they are ever going to get together at all. But that’s often how it works in real life and I like the accuracy of the relationship in general. Another enjoyable part was how quirky and witty the pair of them are. When together, they seem to bring out a whole different to each other and that’s fun to read about as they develop not only as a couple, but as individuals as well.

All in all, this is a book that will make a nice summer read. Yes, it’s on the predictable side, but what do you expect? It’s a summer Young Adult Romance book and if that’s something you typically enjoy, then I’m sure this book is something you’d be interested in. Kasie West is a fantastic writer and I recommend starting with this book first if you’ve never read any of her stuff!



Everything, Everything Review

July 30, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★★

Everything, Everything ReviewEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on September 1st 2015
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: The Sun Is Also a Star
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My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

I’ve heard some amazing things about this book so I was excited to finally pick it up for myself. It turned out to be more brilliant than I was even expecting. Madeline is a witty and fascinating character and she’s
probably one of the quirkiest narrators I’ve seen in a YA book for a long time.

The book follows Madeline, an eighteen year old girl who hasn’t left her house since she was a baby due to the rare disease SCID. Maddy is allergic to pretty much everything and has to live in a bubble. Her only contact comes from her nurse Carla and her mother, who also doubles as her doctor. Any visitors that she does have are forced to go through a serious examination and decontamination. Her whole safe world is turned upside down by her new neighbor Olly. What follows is a heartwarming love story between the two as they must face these real life issues.

The characters in this book were absolutely fantastic. Our heroine Madeline has many awesome little quirks, including the hilarious spoilers that she wrote about classic novels. She also draws entertaining illustrations that will certainly amuse readers. For someone who’s never been outside of her house, she is still extremely cultured and full of wit. Now that I’ve spent time talking about Madeline, I want to talk about the super swoon worthy love interest of hers. Olly is just as smart and witty as Madeline. He also is insanely charming and I love how protective he is of the people he cares about.

Focusing on the relationship itself, Maddy and Olly gradually begin a relationship that affectionately begins through instant messaging and slowly progresses into in person meetings. I love this relationship and the life experience that Olly teaches Madeline as he becomes her first love. The roadblocks placed in front of them seemed very real to me and not at all cliche like some Young Adult romances can get.

This is a very fast paced read due to the short chapters and how it isn’t always traditional chapters. Meaning, some will just be illustrations, Madeline’s book spoilers, or emails between Madeline and Olly. It’s a book with a totally unique plot filled with heartwarming character to match. What more could you ask for from a Young Adult book? I strongly recommend picking this book up in September when it’s officially released!



Every Day Review

July 28, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0

Every Day ReviewEvery Day (Every Day, #1) by David Levithan
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on August 28th 2012
Pages: 322
Source: Library
Also by this author: You Know Me Well
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Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

I’ve read a lot of amazing books lately, and this one is definitely one of the best. I think what makes it such an incredible story is Levithan’s talented writing ability combined with this unique concept. It works out to be one of the most mind blowing books I personally have ever read.
Every Day is about A, who has no known gender or identity, but isn’t the devil either. A spends every day in a different body and he/she never finds himself in the same body twice. This means A never develops any relationships, family, or unique memories. Things change when A lands in the body of Justin and falls in love with his girlfriend Rhiannon. Every day A wakes up as someone different, sometimes a girl, sometimes a boy. No matter who’s life A is living, Rhiannon is still who A wants to be near. What follows is a beautiful, tragic, and complicated look at the true meaning of love and relationships.

A is our lovable and insightful narrator. I love hearing things from his point of view because he describes everything that happens on a day to day basis with such careful observation. A is one of the most standout characters I’ve seen in awhile. Our other main character is Rhiannon, who is sort of a tough character to totally figure out. We actually get to see her side of all these events in the companion novel, “Another Day” which is coming out this fall. I actually already have a copy so I will be reviewing it soon! Anyway, A sees Rhiannon as a sad girl who is dating this douchebag who doesn’t treat her right. I think we can tell a lot about her simply by how quickly she trusts A. From what we can tell, she’s a fascinating character and I can’t wait to learn more about her.

The relationship between A and Rhiannon is obviously ridiculously complicated. However, I think it’s still really beautiful how real it seems. They don’t have an easy path, they encounter more road blocks than most, but I like how the issues weren’t your typical YA couple drama. I can’t reveal much else about the relationship itself, but let’s just say that I loved it.

This is such a mind blowing concept for a book and David Levithan executes it in such a natural fashion. Whenever I would attempt to put this book down, I’d find myself thinking about it. Even now that I’ve finished it, I’m still thinking about everything that happened. To put it simply, it’s a great read and I doubt I’ll come across another book that is so unique and haunting in the best way.

“There will always be more questions. Every answer leads to more questions. The only way to survive is to let some of them go.”

“People are rarely as attractive in reality as they are in the eyes of
the people who are in love with them. Which is, I suppose, as it should be.” 

“This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And
when it’s just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.” 

“I am a drifter, and as lonely as that can be, it is also remarkably freeing. I will never define myself in terms of anyone else. I will never feel the pressure of peers or the burden of parental expectation. I can view everyone as pieces of a whole, and focus on the whole, not the pieces. I have learned to observe, far better than most people observe. I am not blinded by the past or motivated by the future. I focus on the present because that is where I am destined to live.”

“It’s one thing to fall in love. It’s another to feel someone else fall in love with you, and to feel a responsibility toward that love.”



On the Jellicoe Road Review

July 27, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★★

On the Jellicoe Road ReviewOn the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Published by Penguin Australia on August 28th 2006
Pages: 290
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I'm dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.
Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs—the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.
And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor's only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother—who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.
The moving, joyous and brilliantly compelling new novel from the best-selling, multi-award-winning author of Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca.

This was originally published in Australia under the title “On the Jellicoe Road” but was shortened when released in the United States two years later as “Jellicoe Road.” Regardless of what the title is, it’s an amazing book and I can’t believe it took me so long to read it. If you haven’t read it yet either, I definitely recommend picking up a copy soon!

It’s difficult to summarize the book without giving too much away about it. Honestly, it’s best to walk into this novel not knowing much, it’ll be much more mysterious and suspenseful that way. What I will say is that it revolves around Taylor, a girl who attends the Jellicoe School. She is the leader of the boarders at her school and leads them through the territory wars which are against two other groups: the Cadets and the Townies. Her biggest challenge is the terrifying and mysterious leader of the Cadets, Jonah Griggs. Taylor’s world gets complicated when Hannah, her closest ally, disappears without warning. All Taylor has as a guide is a manuscript that Hannah wrote that Taylor slowly realizes is about her own life. She uses it to not only find Hannah, but to find out more about her own past and secrets as well.

I loved Taylor way more than I initially anticipated. She’s a headstrong character who also is witty, funny, smart, and incredible. I really loved watching her evolve and mature throughout the novel. She’s one of the most well written young adult heroine that I’ve seen in awhile. Additionally, I loved Jonah Griggs, but who doesn’t? I also thought her friends Raffy and Chaz were great and fascinating supporting characters. I found myself wanting to know even more about them and about their own stories. The four characters that are the center of Hannah’s manuscript are also hilarious and fun characters that you can’t but love right away.

The relationship between the tough Jonah Griggs and the sassy Taylor Markham is charming and endearing. I loved the banter and how this relationship had such a slow build up. The two also have a history that is pretty difficult to discuss and simply needs to be read. I will say that the truth about this gradually comes out at the best and sweetest times possible. I think the best part about Jonah Griggs is that he doesn’t say memorable things to Taylor that make him extremely swoon worthy like Augustus Water or Park Sheridan, but his actions say it all. He does things to show her how much he cares, which is what any girl wants from a guy.

This is one of the best books that I’ve read in a long time. It’s safe to say that I’ve never read anything like it and I don’t really expect to read anything like it again. This book surprised me by how fascinating it is. It draws you in from the very first page and I love books that manage to hold your attention from start to finish. Another highlight is that it can be read in just one sitting, it’s an easy read and I promise you won’t be able to put it down.

“It’s funny how you can forget everything except people loving you. Maybe that’s why humans find it so hard getting over love affairs. It’s not the pain they’re getting over, it’s the love.” 

“If you weren’t driving, I’d kiss you senseless,” I tell him.
He swerves to the side of the road and stops the car abruptly.
“Not driving any more.” 

“But grief makes a monster out of us sometimes . . . and sometimes you say and do things to the people you love that you can’t forgive yourself for.” 

“Is a person worth more because they have someone to grieve for them?”  

“No,” I say, looking up at Griggs. “It’s actually because my heart belongs to someone else.” And if I could bottle the look on his face, I’d keep it by my bedside for the rest of my life.” 



Go Set a Watchman Review

July 23, 2015 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Go Set a Watchman ReviewGo Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Published by HarperCollins on July 14th 2015
Pages: 278
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From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird.
Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch--"Scout"--returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in a painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past--a journey that can be guided only by one's conscience.
Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor and effortless precision--a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context and new meaning to an American classic.

When I first heard that Harper Lee was releasing a sequel to her beloved To Kill a Mockingbird, I panicked. Was this something that Lee truly wanted to do? Her sister, who cared for her estate had recently passed away, and I worried the older woman was being taken advantage of.

Now that I’ve read Go Set a Watchman, however, I understand why Harper Lee’s lawyers and publishing agent pushed for its release: the book is nothing short of yet another masterpiece. Though it’s an early draft of the novel with spelling and grammatical errors, Watchman brilliantly resurrects our favorite characters and tackles the topic of racism.

We are reintroduced to Scout Finch, who is now 26 years old and living in New York. She is coming home to Maycomb, Alabama for two weeks to visit her aging father Atticus. During her stay, we see Scout (now referred to as Jean Louise, her given name) play around with a potential lover, visit and reminisce about old friends, and learn about the NAACP and just how her town feels about it.

While the book contains good points as well as bad, I overall found this to be an easy read and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I did not mind the way Atticus was portrayed. In Mockingbird, he was a hero and the one we cheered on in court as he defended an African American man. In Watchman, Atticus is said to hold racist beliefs. I wasn’t bothered by this in the slightest. Atticus never says outright that he hates African Americans or believes they shouldn’t be citizens. Which is why people shouldn’t let this tidbit dictate whether they read the book or not. Other chapters and characters in the novel make it a notable read and definitely one that everyone needs to see in today’s time and age regardless of if they like the newer Atticus.

I recommend this book to anyone wanting another perspective on the topic of racism. Like Mockingbird, this novel makes plenty of excellent points on the treatment of African Americans and how equality can be achieved. Even if one is unsure this book will live up to the hype of the prequel, it will definitely come pretty darn close.


Fangirl Review

July 18, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★★

Fangirl ReviewFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on September 10th 2013
Pages: 433
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Attachments, Carry On
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A coming-of-age tale of fanfiction, family and first love
CATH IS A SIMON SNOW FAN. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan... But for Cath, being a fan is her life--and she's really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it's what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fanfiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath's sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can't let go. She doesn't want to.
Now that they're going to college, Wren has told Cath that she doesn't want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She's got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend; a fiction-writing professor who thinks fanfiction is the end of the civilized world; a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words...and she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

This book was a very sweet surprise for me. I’ve held off reading this book for nearly two years now and I’m not completely sure why. I think I held Eleanor & Park to such high standards that I was afraid this one wouldn’t live up to it. However, Rainbow Rowell is an excellent writer and her second novel was honestly just as great as the first.

Cath was by far one of the most relatable characters I’ve ever seen. As an introvert myself, I see myself in Cath as she gets lost in her writings and struggles with the truth of whether or not fanfiction is plagiarism. Levi is one of those fictional characters who you instantly swoon over. He isn’t the most popular guy on the college campus, but he’s got an incredible personality. Rowell describes him as someone who is always smiling and that his presence alone instantly lights up a room. Another character I loved was Cath’s roommate Reagan. I love that she bonds with Cath at the dining hall by judging everyone who walks by. She’s a sassy and memorable secondary character. Wren is a character who you gradually warm up to, it’s obvious that she loves her twin sister, sometimes she just needs a break. I loved the twins dad, he had a great deal of wit about him and I appreciated all of the pop culture references.

The romance between Cath and Levi happens at a realistic speed. The two begin as friends then it slowly but surely turns into more. I honestly didn’t completely see it coming since it built so much, I could barely even tell that he liked Cath. I like the pairing between them since they are totally different people. Like they always say, opposites attract and you don’t get more opposite than Cath and Levi.

This book is an enjoyable read that you won’t want to end. It’s safe to say that I wish the story of Cath and Levi didn’t end here. I think that anyone could read and love this book, but I think that nerdy teen girls could probably relate to it the best. If you’re like me and haven’t read this book, do yourself a favor and pick it up.

“To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.”

“How do you not like the Internet? That’s like saying, ‘I don’t like things that are convenient. And easy. I don’t like having access to all of mankind’s recorded discoveries at my fingertips. I don’t like light. And knowledge.”

“In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can’t Google.)”

“Just… isn’t giving up allowed sometimes? Isn’t it okay to say, ‘This really hurts, so I’m going to stop trying’?”
“It sets a dangerous precedent.”
“For avoiding pain?”
“For avoiding life.”

“You’ve read the books?”
“I’ve seen the movies.”
Cath rolled her eyes so hard, it hurt. (Actually.) (Maybe because she was still on the edge of tears. On the edge, period.) “So you haven’t read the books.”
“I’m not really a book person.”
“That might be the most idiotic thing you’ve ever said to me”