Publisher: Delacorte Press

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The Sun Is Also a Star Review

December 18, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★½

The Sun Is Also a Star ReviewThe Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte Press on November 1st 2016
Pages: 348
Also by this author: Everything, Everything
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two-half-stars
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

I’m extremely disappointed that I didn’t love this one more. I should have known that this wouldn’t be my thing since I’m not a fan of insta-love. I wanted to give it a shot anyway because Nicola Yoon’s debut Everything, Everything was just so spectacular. While Nicola Yoon still had such unique and beautiful writing in this one, the story itself wasn’t as fascinating and real to me. The book is about immigration so it’s a seriously relevant issue that will likely appeal to a lot of readers. It turned out to be a book not for me because I wasn’t able to overlook pretty much the entire romance in the story.

I hate to compare characters, but Natasha wasn’t as memorable as Maddy in Everything, Everything. Obviously they are totally different characters and it’s unfair to make any comparisons, but I honestly can’t help myself here. It’s a personal preference but I just wasn’t able to relate to her with all of the Science stuff. I obviously can’t relate to the terrible feeling of having to be deported because of your father’s mistake. But I was easily able to sympathize with her situation easily. Natasha has lived in America practically her entire life and has little memories of Jamaica, but she’s now being forced to go back to that country anyway? It’s such an unfair and heartbreaking situation that happens all too frequently. I’m glad that Nicola Yoon was able to tell this very important story.

Daniel was a diverse character. He’s Korean American and has spent his entire life in America. His parents immigrated here from Korea in order to give their children a better life than what they had. His parents both put a lot of pressure on him and his brother to go to Harvard and become doctors. This is something that Daniel doesn’t want for himself at all. He’d much rather become a poet. Daniel is also a hopeless romantic who believes that he falls in love instantly with Natasha and that they are meant to be. I didn’t find him to be all that swoony really. I might have my standards set too high due to how perfect Olly was, but I found Daniel to be a little disappointing. I was just so put off by all the love at first sight stuff that I really wasn’t able to enjoy his character.

As I’ve clearly already stated several times, the main problem that I had was with the romance. I think the book could have honestly been a lot more solid without romance being such a main point in the plot. Look, I’m a big fan of romance, it’s usually one of my favorite parts of a story. But I’m a person who absolutely can’t stand insta-love story. I only picked this up in the first place because I thought Yoon’s debut was so fabulous. I’m never going to love a book that promotes love at first sight so heavily. Maybe I’m a cynic, but I just can’t wrap my mind around this idea. In my mind, you have to fully know someone in order to fall in love with them, it’s just not love otherwise.

While I’m sad that I didn’t love this book, I still have to admit that Nicola Yoon’s writing is as beautiful as ever. I won’t lie though, I did find some of the random narrator’s to be totally weird, and I didn’t really buy the idea that all of these people are connected and all that stuff about fate. Nicola Yoon still has written yet another novel that is very much quotable. She says such fascinating and thought provoking things that really spoke to me on some level. All in all, this was still a well written novel, but one that I couldn’t fall in love with because of how the romance was written.

two-half-stars

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Sunday Street Team: Girl in Pieces Review

August 21, 2016 Blog Tours, Reviews, Young Adult 2 ★★★★

Sunday Street Team: Girl in Pieces ReviewGirl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
Published by Delacorte Press on August 30th 2016
Pages: 416
Source: Netgalley
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four-stars

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

For fans of Girl, Interrupted, Thirteen Reasons Why, and All the Bright Places comes Kathleen Glasgow’s debut novel about a girl who has lost everything—almost even herself.      Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The thick glass of a mason jar cuts deep, and the pain washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.    Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.   A deeply moving portrait of a teenage girl on the verge of losing herself and the journey she must take to survive in her own skin, Kathleen Glasgow’s debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from.

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Hey, everyone! I’m so happy to be a member of the Sunday Street Team. SST is hosted by Nori @ ReadWriteLove28 and you can learn more about it by heading over to her website.

I’m going to be honest, Girl in Pieces was not an easy read for me. It wasn’t one of those light and fluffy books that I could sit down and read in just a few hours. It ended up taking me a few weeks to read it, just because it’s such a heavy and downright emotional read from start to finish. However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a worthwhile read and that Charlie’s story isn’t one worth telling. Though difficult, it’s still beautifully written, thanks to Kathleen Glasgow’s remarkable prose. This is only Glasgow’s debut novel, yet she manages to write like a seasoned professional. I highly recommend reading this book because it’s about such a relevant topic that people of all ages need to learn more about.

I’ve decided not to make my review all that long because I think the book really speaks for itself. Glasgow ends up tackling so many important issues in this book including: cutting, sexual abuse, alcoholism, and the main character is staying in a mental hospital. Yes, we have seen most of these topics be addressed in many YA books in the past, but the author still manages to make it all feel so unique and like it’s all being addressed for the very first time. Though it has been talked about before, cutting especially is still a topic that makes people really uncomfortable. I remember when I was in middle school, I picked up a book called Cut and my mom was extremely concerned for me, though I actually picked it because I knew some friends who were cutting and wanted to be better informed on the topic. Anyway, it goes to show that just the thought of cutting makes people uncomfortable, and that’s why we need to address it. There are teens out there who are doing it and not getting help because they feel too ashamed to speak up. I’m getting a bit off topic here, but I just think Glasgow’s sensitivity while still addressing useful information was very beautiful and refreshingly well done.

All in all, this was a wonderful book that wasn’t an easy read by any means, but it’s still one that is ridiculously important. Charlie is such a beautiful and heartbreaking character who I wanted to hug and comfort all throughout the story. I also want to hug and give a huge round of applause to the fabulous author, Kathleen Glasgow, for taking on such important topics that are always relevant to teens and also adults today. I think this will particularly stand out to readers who enjoyed Thirteen Reasons Why or love Ellen Hopkins’s books. Though I do believe that it’s such an important and wonderfully written novel, I don’t think you should read it if these are topics that are triggers for you in any shape or form. This is a dark read, but I’m still glad that I read it anyway because it’ll definitely stick with me for a long time.

About the Author:
Kathleen Glasgow lives in Tucson, Arizona. She writes for the radio show The Writer’s Almanac and can probably provide you with some interesting anecdotes about historical literary figures if you asked nicely. You can find out more about Kathleen by following her on Twitter: @kathglasgow, Instagram, @misskathleenglasgow (where she posts about sunsets, depression, spirit circles, and books) or her website: kathleenglasgowbooks.com.

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four-stars

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Tell Me Three Things Review

April 6, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★

Tell Me Three Things ReviewTell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Published by Delacorte Press on April 5th 2016
Pages: 336
Source: Purchased
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four-stars
Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?
It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.
In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?
Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

Oh man, this book was honestly so sweet but also ended up having a lot of depth and emotion to it. First things first: I just wanted to say that this does NOT have a love triangle. I almost didn’t read it because I heard this, but I’m glad that I took a chance on it anyway. This was a seriously quick read for me, it only took me about three or four hours total. Once you pick it up for the first time, you can’t stop reading. I had to put it down for a few hours and I was actually sitting there thinking about when I could pick the book back up during most of that time. So yeah, it’s one that you have to keep reading since you desperately want answers to who the main character is emailing. In this respect, it’s a lot similar to one of my favorite books, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. This is Julie Buxbaum’s first YA book, but she writes like she’s been doing this forever. She has the voice of this teenage girl down so well that it’s a little bit scary. I really enjoyed this book and know that I’ll be thinking about all the adorable and swoony moments for a long time. If you love contemporary YA books that truly capture what it’s like to be in high school, this book is likely for you.

Jessie was a character that I was able to connect with from the first page. Unlike her, I’ve never lost a parent, I can’t even fathom how painful that would be. But I do know serious loss, and so I truly felt for her situation. Jessie has kept count of every day, hour, and minute that’s passed by since her mother’s death. I found it so raw and real that this was included in her story. At times, Jessie can be extremely naive. Like it was so obvious who SN was and it bothered me how long it took for her to figure it all out. But that’s actually pretty realistic even if it was a bit frustrating at the same time. Not going to lie, I wanted to go to California and give this girl a huge hug. Especially during the awful times when she gets bullied at her new school. However, I love the gradual change that she goes through during the novel. She begins standing up for herself, which I absolutely loved seeing. 

Normally, I’d talk about how great the love interest was. I can’t really do that in this case since it’s supposed to be kept a secret. As I mentioned earlier, who SN is turns out to be not that much of a surprise in my personal opinion. SN stands for Somebody Nobody. He begins emailing Jessie when she first starts at the new school in California. He gives her advice because he sees that she’s having a tough time adjusting. Anyway, they strike up an online friendship that slowly turns into something much deeper than that. I liked the way the two initially bond, it felt very real and heartfelt. They’ve both experienced the death of a loved one, and they both count exactly how long it’s been since they died. Maybe it’s not the most traditionally romantic connection, but that’s why I liked it. Oh yeah, you’ll definitely swoon over some of the three things that the two share with each other. This is a game that they start in order to reveal more about themselves. I’m always a sucker for little games like this that further bond a couple together. 

There’s some interesting supporting characters in Tell Me Three Things. These include Scarlett, Dri, Agnes, and Theo. Scar is Jessie’s best friend back in Chicago, but she’s forced to form new friendships out in California with her father’s new wife and her son. Her new stepbrother is Theo, who seems like a total punk at first, but later becomes someone Jessie genuinely likes. He’s a hilarious character, and I wanted to see even more of his friendship with Jessie. SN tells Jessie that the first person she should befriend at the school is Dri, a quiet but sweet girl who she was already considering talking to. Dri turns out to be a lot like Jessie, so they naturally end up getting along fairly well. Dri’s best friend is Agnes, who didn’t really like Jessie at first but they eventually get closer. I wanted to know more about her. I also am curious about why she was mean to Jessie at first and what made Agnes suddenly start liking her. I liked these friendships because they brought out a different side in Jessie. It turned out to be an important theme of the book as well. 

This was a fast paced YA contemporary that made me feel a strong combination of both happy and sad at various points throughout the novel. I can’t believe I haven’t read anything from Buxbaum before. I know her adult stories have been well received so I’ll have to check it out. Hopefully she’ll write another YA book soon! The only complaints I have is that I wanted to see more character development for the supporting characters and the two main adult characters. Nevertheless, this was a rather fabulous read that I know will likely stick with me for a long time coming. 

four-stars

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Save Me, Kurt Cobain Review

March 8, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 2 ★★★

Save Me, Kurt Cobain ReviewSave Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer
Published by Delacorte Press on March 8th 2016
Pages: 272
Source: Delacorte Press
Reading Challenges: Debut Author Challenge 2016
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

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

What if you discovered that Kurt Cobain is not only alive, but might be your real father?
Nico Cavan has been adrift since her mother vanished when she was four—maternal abandonment isn't exactly something you can just get over. Staying invisible at school is how she copes—that and listening to alt music and summoning spirits on the Ouija board with her best friend and co-conspirator in sarcasm, Obe. But when a chance discovery opens a window onto her mom's wild past, it sparks an idea in her brain that takes hold and won't let go.
On a ferry departing Seattle, Nico encounters a slight blond guy with piercing blue eyes wearing a hooded jacket. Something in her heart tells her that this feeling she has might actually be the truth, so she follows him to a remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest. When she is stranded there by a winter storm, fear and darkness collide, and the only one who can save Nico might just be herself.

So I’ve been waiting for this book to come out for a good six or seven months now. When I first read this description, I knew that it was something that I absolutely had to read. In the end, it’s not my favorite book, but I feel like the writing and all the references to Kurt Cobain couldn’t have been written any better. The overall message to take away from this book was very clear. Additionally, I feel like the plot was pretty unique and I also enjoyed Nico’s character growth throughout the book. Personally, I believe that people who love music (specifically grunge) will connect best to the story, but it also is a coming-of-age tale that anyone can relate to as well.

I found it fascinating that this book took place in 2006. You don’t read all that many modern day contemporary novels that occur only a decade ago. This might not seem like a huge deal, but it kind of is when you think about all the technology that’s developed in ten years. I take note of this because it made it all the more intriguing (and also more difficult than our options today) to me how Nico had such little resources when tracking down her mother. Obviously, they still had computers, but it just wasn’t as technologically advanced the way it is today. So yes, this takes place in 2006, but Nico is trapped in the 90’s with her love for Kurt Cobain/Nirvana. As a teenager growing up a few years later than Nico, I can relate to feeling like you don’t belong because the music that you listen to is so different from what all your peers are listening to. The music side of the plot was easily one of my favorite things about Save Me, Kurt Cobain, which I naturally expected. I LOVED how each chapter was a Nirvana song. I also loved all of the random Kurt Cobain facts that Nico would bring up. The majority of these I didn’t know and it’s obvious that Manzer did her research here, which makes me appreciate her work even more.

Besides a shared passion for music, I feel like I have little in common with Nico. More than that though, I just couldn’t connect with her. A lot of her decisions were ones that I felt were unrealistic and at times irrational. I get that she was driven by her emotions in the moment, but it still didn’t make sense to me. She’s one of those characters that you’re either going to completely understand, or be pretty confused by her actions, or you might end up somewhere in the middle of the two. I’m not going to go too much into it for fear of spoiling it, but she makes some rash decisions when it comes to following the man who she believes to be Kurt Cobain to a cabin in the woods. Whoever this man might be, he clearly doesn’t WANT anybody bothering him and Nico doesn’t respect that privacy at all. Anyway, you’ll likely be rather frustrated with her for being so persistent and for also blindly following a random man just because she “thinks” it’s one of her musical idols, and her possible father. I have to admit though, she does experience a gradual growth, it just doesn’t really start to show until close to the end.

As you probably know, I am a reader who ADORES all different types of romances. The one presented here was one that I wasn’t a fan of. It didn’t take away from the story, I just wasn’t blown away by it. It felt like more of an afterthought than anything. But I did like that Manzer explored Nico’s first relationship and her general crushes on guys that she didn’t really know. I did relate to this presentation of romance and relationships in high school, since I know that I had more than one crush on guys that likely were unaware of my existence. The part that bothered me about the romance in the book was that it didn’t feel resolved at the end of the book.

In the end, this was a solid debut novel from Jenny Manzer. The wait for it to finally come out was a long one, but I truly wasn’t disappointed by the book once I finally picked it up. The writing from Manzer impressed me, each sentence was beautifully and carefully written and I found myself totally compelled by it all. As I said, the author is no novice when it comes to music trivia, and she knew her stuff here. It didn’t go exactly in the direction I thought it was going to go in, but I like some of the surprises that were thrown in. Was it a bit predictable? Sure, but I wasn’t expecting it to be a major thriller. It’s a contemporary read about a girl trying to find her way through high school, and get some answers about the mother who abandoned her after promising she’d come back. I think it’s a relatively light read that you’ll likely enjoy.

three-stars

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Waiting On Wednesday: Save Me, Kurt Cobain

September 9, 2015 Features 3

Waiting On Wednesday: Save Me, Kurt CobainSave Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer
Published by Delacorte Press on March 8th 2016
Pages: 272
Also by this author: Save Me, Kurt Cobain
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
What if you discovered that Kurt Cobain was not only alive, but might be your real father? This nuanced and bittersweet YA debut will keep you guessing until the end.  Nico Cavan has been adrift since her mother vanished when she was four—maternal abandonment isn’t exactly something you can just get over. Staying invisible at school is how she copes—that and listening to alt music and summoning spirits on the Ouija board with her best friend and coconspirator in sarcasm, Obe. But when a chance discovery opens a window onto her mom’s wild past, it sparks an idea in her brain that takes hold and won’t let go.
On a ferry departing Seattle, Nico encounters a slight blond guy with piercing blue eyes wearing a hooded jacket. Something in her heart tells her that this feeling she has might actually be the truth, so she follows him to a remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest. When she is stranded there by a winter storm, fear and darkness collide, and the only one who can save Nico might just be herself.

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking The Spine. It basically is where you share upcoming releases that your anxious about or books that are on your TBR list that you haven’t gotten around to yet.

I’m excited about this one for a number of reasons! First and foremost, I absolutely love Kurt Cobain. Nirvana is one of my all time favorite bands. I just think it’s weird in the best way that this Young Adult fiction book is mentioning him. Another reason why I’m excited is because I read an early review on Goodreads from author Laurie Flynn (I’m also looking forward to her debut coming out next year but I’ll save that for another week) that was beyond beautiful. She wrote, “Music has a lot of powers. It soothes and it incites, motivates and empowers, empathizes and hurts, sometimes makes us feel that we’re less alone. For fans, music can be a companion, a friend, an escape. But does music have the power to save someone? That’s one of the themes in Jenny Manzer’s riveting debut, SAVE ME, KURT COBAIN.”

So I can’t wait for this book to come out next year!

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Mini Review: We Were Liars

August 30, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★½

Mini Review: We Were LiarsWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Published by Delacorte Press on May 13th 2014
Pages: 227
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four-half-stars
A beautiful and distinguished family.A private island.A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.A revolution. An accident. A secret.Lies upon lies.True love.The truth. We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. Read it.And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

I feel like I’m one of the last people to read this book. I waited so long because I wasn’t sure what to make of all the hype, plus I’ve heard some mixed reviews as well. Honestly, I don’t really see what the problem anyone would have with this book but obviously everyone is entitled to their own opinion and it just might not be your cup of tea. However, if you’re a fan of suspenseful novels with an ending that you won’t see coming, check this one out.

There isn’t much I can say about this plot without ruining everything. It’s best to go into the novel as blind as you possibly can. I’m warning you, don’t read ahead or check out any spoilers online. You’ll enjoy the book a lot more if you know nothing.

I think part of what makes this book so incredible is the storytelling. E. Lockhart’s narration is definitely different from most of the books that I read. Yes, there’s a lot of Young Adult books out there that has family drama, but there’s still something extremely unique about this particular story and it has to be read for you to truly get it. If you can’t tell, I’m a huge fan of it and I’m honestly still trying to make sense of everything that I read. It’s one of those books that you find yourself constantly thinking about and just completely blown away by. I don’t know about you guys, but I love books that have plot twists. Sometimes I find myself disappointed by books that advertise themselves as having twists and turns, but this one didn’t let me down in the slightest.

If you’re like me and have yet to pick this book up for whatever reason, I suggest you give it a try. It’s an easy read, you’re likely to devour it in one sitting if you’re anything like me. There’s a lot that I could say about this but as I stated earlier, I don’t want to ruin anything. This is one of those books that is filled with complicated and flawed characters and you can’t help but get wrapped up in their stories. If you do read this or if you already have, leave me a comment and let me know so we can talk about it! I’m dying to have a heart to heart with someone about We Were Liars.

four-half-stars

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