Source: Library

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The Fill-In Boyfriend Review

October 23, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★★

The Fill-In Boyfriend ReviewThe Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Published by HarperTeen on May 5th 2015
Pages: 352
Source: Library
Also by this author: The Distance Between Us, P.S. I Like You, By Your Side
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five-stars
When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.
The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.
Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

I’ve been a fan of Kasie West’s contemporary books, On The Fence and The Distance Between Us. However, her latest book is the one that I personally loved the most. I think most of this is because I could relate to Gia in a way that I couldn’t with her other protagonists. I also really believed the growth that happened to Gia throughout the book. I felt like the focus on friends and family was extremely well done and the romance was just the icing on top of it all.

The Fill-In Boyfriend was just a beautiful book all around for me. I’m not going to say much about the guy who Gia uses as “Fill in Bradley” (her boyfriend Bradley dumped her in the parking lot at prom) since it’s kind of a secret. Honestly, I was expecting his name to be kept a secret longer than it was since most of the reviews I’ve read don’t reveal it. However, I will say that the love interest is sweet and a little bit of a nerd, which makes him even cooler to me. Gia and him form a sort of bond after the prom incident. His sister Bec attends Gia’s school and although they both come from different social groups, they end up somehow becoming close friends.

A lot of this book focuses on being true to yourself and not pretending to be someone that you aren’t just to make other people happy. Gia has a huge habit of doing things just to keep up her popular status. She is a little bit of a brat in the beginning who is way too obsessed with how her friends see her. But I love how she matures as the book goes on. She becomes more comfortable in her own skin and forms a friendship with Bec, a girl who is completely loyal and honest with her, while her own group of friends isn’t always that way. Bec and her fill-in boyfriend have a large part in helping Gia figure out who exactly she is.

There’s a lot of interesting things that happen between Gia and her family. I can’t tell you how mad I was at her older brother. He was so pretentious and I couldn’t believe what he did to his little sister. What made me even angrier was how her parents reacted to what he did. Anyway, I definitely enjoyed this book more than I thought that I would honestly. I felt like the fake to real thing might be off-putting but Kasie West made it work in the most effortless way. I’m beyond glad that I decided to give this one a try!

five-stars
Rating Report
Plot
four-half-stars
Characters
five-stars
Writing
five-stars
Pacing
four-half-stars
Cover
four-half-stars
Overall: five-stars

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I’ll Meet You There Review

October 22, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 2 ★★★★★

I’ll Meet You There ReviewI'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on February 3rd 2015
Pages: 388
Source: Library
Also by this author: Something Real (Something Real, #1)
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five-stars
If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.
Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

Going into this book, I had extremely high expectations for it. I didn’t read Heather Demetrios debut novel, but I also heard positive things about it. I’m still looking forward to reading Something Real at some point, but I couldn’t hold off on reading this one any longer. I was really pleasantly surprised that my library had a copy of this book so I picked it up. Once I picked it up, there was absolutely no putting it down. I sat down and read this book in just a few hours because I was so anxious to find out what was going to happen. I loved Skylar and Josh more than I expected that I would. This was just an unbelievable book and I loved every minute of it.

One of my favorite things about this book is how realistic and well developed every character is. If you’ve read any of my reviews before, you can probably tell that I tend to like books better when the supporting characters have quirks and characteristics of their own that make them stand out. Obviously, you don’t want to care about them more than the main characters, but I still think it’s important to have characters that are sure to stick with the readers. Demetrios does this with ease, you care about every character in this book from the first page. The supporting characters that I loved the most were definitely Skylar’s two best friends Chris and Dylan. I loved how Skylar had such an innocent friendship with Chris, you don’t see a lot of boy/girl friendships in YA. Dylan is a girl with tons of spunk, it’s nearly impossible not to like her.

Where do I even start with Josh? Skylar doesn’t have it easy, but Josh’s story is extremely heartbreaking. Josh enlisted in the Marines so he could escape small town life and find a way out. Instead, he finds himself back after losing his leg in Afghanistan. We get to see Josh’s point of view through small journal entries that he’s writing to his best friend from the Marines who lost his life. It’s definitely not easy reading all of this pain that Josh is obviously dealing with after all this death that he witnessed in the Marines. Honestly, the whole thing made me want to hug a Marine really tight because this was some seriously sad stuff and it broke my heart to read it.

At the end of the day, what makes the book memorable is the beautiful writing and of course these unbelievably real characters that will capture your heart right away. As I already said, this isn’t an easy book to read at all. You’ll likely find yourself getting emotional during it if you’re anything like me. However, it’s a read that you won’t regret. I can’t recommend this one enough.

five-stars

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A Court Of Thorns and Roses Review

October 5, 2015 Reviews 1 ★★★★

A Court Of Thorns and Roses ReviewA Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1) by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury Children's on May 5th 2015
Pages: 416
Source: Library
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four-stars
three-half-flames
A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it... or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.
Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Confession: I feel like I’m one of the few people who has never read a Sarah J. Maas novel until I finally got around to picking up this one. I will start by saying that she definitely lived up to the hype. Her writing is absolutely gorgeous and I found myself enchanted by her fabulous storytelling. I said this in my review of Red Queen and I’ll say it again: there can never be too many strong heroines in YA/NA books. Bottom line is that I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to read a magical story that has complicated and fascinating characters. Give this one a try, I’m sure you’ll love it.

Feyre is a fierce protagonist to say the very least. Like Katniss, she provides for her family that lives in poverty by hunting. The main reason why I loved her so much was because she possessed all of the qualities that I believe a female protagonist should have. Those qualities include: selfishness, bravery, cleverness, loving, feisty, and resourceful. Tamlin was a complicated but still a mostly likable love interest. Since this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Tamlin is obviously the Beast of the story. He certainly shows some of those Beast qualities at points in the story, but he gradually becomes more vulnerable and caring around our girl Feyre. I also found myself really liking Tamlin’s friend Lucien, who didn’t like Feyre at first but slowly warmed to her and formed a friendship with her. I didn’t like Rhysand. Sorry to all those who do like him, but I’m just not a fan of the bad boy.

As you’ll see in pretty much any review of the book that you read, the romance in this book is extremely steamy. I think that the pace of the building relationship between the two went at a realistic speed that I truly enjoyed. However, I think it still was a little bit unrealistic how quickly the relationship turned into love. Lust I could see, but it being love in such a short amount of time seemed a bit far fetched to me. Regardless, I still found it to be completely swoon worthy. It’s actually rather graphic at times, which is why I consider it to be more New Adult than Young Adult.

If I liked this book so much than why am I rating it a four instead of a five? I’m so glad that you asked! I’m rating it this because I found the character of Rhysand to be off-putting. In the majority of scenes that he’s in, he just acts so repulsively and I especially didn’t like how he treated Feyre like a slave. She makes a deal with him that she’ll go with him for a whole week every month for the rest of her life. After making that deal, he feels as if he has huge control of her and he drags her around to parties as if she was a play thing. Worst of all was when he would make her drink the wine at the parties, which made her unaware of what was happening around her for the rest of the evening. Basically it’s the equivalent to giving her date rape drugs. He justifies this by telling her that he could have easily raped her, but didn’t. And she’s supposed to be grateful for that? Maybe you just shouldn’t have done it in the first place, Rhys. Anyway, a lot of people are anticipating this becoming a real love triangle in the second book with Rhys being the other love interest obviously. Already, people are talking about how they are Team Rhysand, which I absolutely can’t understand. While I respect everyone is entitled to an opinion, it’s just mind blowing that people would let his behavior go like that.

Fantasy has never been my type of genre. I naturally gravitate more towards contemporary, especially in the YA/NA category. I was definitely surprised that I enjoyed this story so much since it was heavy with fantasy and fairy themes. I think it’s a true testament to Sarah J. Maas’s writing. She created such gorgeous and vivid imagery that made me feel like I was standing right there in the middle of this world. It was never a slow paced book in the slightest, twist after twist kept going down that certainly kept your interest. While Rhysand does rub me the wrong way, he doesn’t completely discourage me from really really liking this novel. I wanted to give it five stars, but I felt like my pretty negative feelings about that character made it more of a four star read. You should get a copy of this ASAP and form your own opinion about it then talk to me about what you think!

four-stars

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Red Queen Review

September 26, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 3 ★★★★½

Red Queen ReviewRed Queen (Red Queen, #1) by Victoria Aveyard
Published by Orion on February 10th 2015
Pages: 383
Source: Library
Also by this author: Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)
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four-half-stars
This is a world divided by blood - red or silver.
The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.
That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.
Fearful of Mare's potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.
But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance - Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart...

This book is definitely one of the most violent and intense books I’ve read this year. I almost had a heart attack a grand total of no fewer than three or four times. Sometimes, it felt like I was watching a violent TV show or movie (like Game Of Thrones maybe) and I just wanted to shut my eyes during the particularly gruesome parts. It kept me on the edge of my seat for a good part of the book and I seriously enjoyed it.

At the start of the book, it felt extremely boring to me. I had to fight through the first fifty pages or so to get to the good parts. Despite this, the book picked up so much that the slow beginning wasn’t such a huge deal to me. These types of stories aren’t usually my thing, but I found myself fascinated by Aveyard’s beautiful writing. There’s just something about her style that felt really authentic and enticing to me.

Mare was a brilliant lead character. I loved her strength, humor, and sarcasm. She had such a dynamic personality and I loved how she told the story. I’m not going to lie, several of her qualities reminded me a lot of Katniss Everdeen. Some people disliked the story because they felt like it was a rip off of other stories like The Hunger Games and Game Of Thrones. While the similarities are pretty obvious, I still feel like the story had its own unique story to tell. If you ask me, YA could always use more strong female characters so Mare was really awesome and unique to me.
I’m not going to reveal much else about the other characters and much about the plot. I’ll just say that the supporting characters were very dynamic and full of life. I felt like they were each masterfully crafted. The romance here is pretty moderate to low, but there’s just so much plot going on that it didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I’m on edge waiting for the next book to come out. It can’t get here soon enough!
four-half-stars

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Mini Review: The Truth About Us

September 24, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★

Mini Review: The Truth About UsThe Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on April 7th 2015
Pages: 304
Source: Library
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two-stars
A powerful and gripping contemporary YA from the author of I'm Not Her that's "Just right for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jodi Picoult."-Booklist
The truth is that Jess knows she screwed up.She's made mistakes, betrayed her best friend, and now she's paying for it. Her dad is making her spend the whole summer volunteering at the local soup kitchen.
The truth is she wishes she was the care-free party-girl everyone thinks she is.She pretends it's all fine. That her "perfect" family is fine. But it's not. And no one notices the lie...until she meets Flynn. He's the only one who really sees her. The only one who listens.
The truth is that Jess is falling apart – and no one seems to care. But Flynn is the definition of "the wrong side of the tracks." When Jess's parents look at him they only see the differences-not how much they need each other. They don't get that the person who shouldn't fit in your world... might just be the one to make you feel like you belong.

I probably should have just skipped this one altogether. It wasn’t an enjoyable read for me as a whole. Parts of it really struck my attention and made me want to keep reading, then I’d reach a part that just made me want to stop reading. It does explore the issue of social class, but I’ve read other YA books that pulled it off in a much more natural fashion. I felt like this book only scratched the surface on this issue and didn’t go deep enough. The ending also REALLY put me off, I just didn’t understand why it ended there. All in all, this was a book with much more flaws than strengths.

I didn’t click with either Jess or Flynn, which obviously makes me feel disconnected with the story. I wasn’t all that invested in the plot or the characters, but the ending still rubbed me the wrong way to say the least. I’m not going to say much about it, but I’ll leave it at the ending just wasn’t necessary and it didn’t seem realistic to me either. Both characters had their fair share of respective issues, but I felt like some of the drama was also not needed. I wanted more focus on the relationship between Jess and Flynn, not a ton of drama with just a little bit of romance thrown in for a few pages here and there. I didn’t feel good about the majority of the decisions made by Flynn, and Jess wasn’t 100% innocent in some areas. However, I felt like it was Flynn who was the real fickle one. On one page, he would be certain that he and Jess were meant to be together, but then the next he was calling her spoiled and saying they wouldn’t work out. It gave me whiplash and was another thing that made me want to stop reading.
Why did I keep reading if there were so many things that made me want to stop? In short, I pretty much ended up skimming quite a bit of the pages. I wanted to read a contemporary YA book that was light. This one wasn’t as light as I was anticipating, it had a lot more drama. One of the positives is that I do think that the writer has a lot of potential. She really channeled Jess’s voice and I liked her storytelling methods. Anyway, this wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read, but there were plenty of weaknesses about the book that certainly rubbed me the wrong way.
two-stars

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Just One Day Review

September 14, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★½

Just One Day ReviewJust One Day (Just One Day, #1) by Gayle Forman
Published by Speak on August 20th 2013
Pages: 416
Source: Library
Also by this author: Where She Went (If I Stay, #2)
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three-half-stars
A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay.
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

I’m a pretty big fan of Gayle Forman’s writing. I think that she weaves story together in a beautiful and effortless sort of way. She also creates such memorable and awesome characters. There aren’t many characters of hers that I haven’t connected with or cheered for. Comparatively, this book didn’t hit me as hard as If I Stay did. However, it is unfair to compare the two since it’s such a different story. This one was definitely more upbeat and filled with a lot less sadness. I like books that have adventures and this one certainly has that going for it.

Allyson Healey is in her last summer before she heads off to college. Her parents sent her on a three-week European tour with a group from her school as a graduation gift. On the last day, she meets a boy named Willem, who acts in Shakespearean plays and goes wherever the wind blows. Willem is unpredictable, the complete opposite of the careful and safe Allyson. She decides to shake things up in her life and go with Willem to Paris, a place she desperately wanted to see but didn’t have a chance on the tour. There is where the pair share grand adventures as they share one unplanned day in the city of love together. She wakes up to find Willem gone, so she finds her way back to the states on her own, completely heartbroken over his disappearance. As the months at college fly by, Allyson can’t get the day that she spent with this boy out of her mind. So she decides to down whatever it takes to track him down.

I liked hearing the story from Allyson’s point of view. She was a decent narrator and I liked seeing her develop as the story went on. She could be a little annoying at times considering how jealous she was of every single girl who even looked Willem’s way. However, I enjoyed that she was uptight and safe but gradually turned into someone else, a person who doesn’t plan everything out and just goes with the flow. Obviously, she’s more that person around Willem than she is on her own, but I still thought it was fascinating to see. Willem was a fun character that I really enjoyed. He had a ton of personality and was hard to pinpoint. While I wish he would have opened up to Allyson more about her life, that just wasn’t his character I guess.

I’m aware that it’s obvious that the two are only together for one day, but I still found myself craving more of Willem. I know that the second book is dedicated to his point of view during the time they were apart, but I just didn’t like the flow of this one. Allyson at college was just kind of boring to me and I found myself skimming through it honestly. Overall, I loved the first part of the story because any story in Paris is automatically awesome in my book.

three-half-stars

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The Heir Review

September 12, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★½

The Heir ReviewThe Heir (The Selection, #4) by Kiera Cass
Published by HarperTeen on May 5th 2015
Pages: 346
Source: Library
Also by this author: The Crown (The Selection, #5)
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three-half-stars
Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought.

I’m pretty tough when it comes to The Selection series. Personally, I did enjoy parts of the first three books. But I just disliked all of the drama and the love triangle. In the second book in particular, America was so possessive over Maxon, even though she herself was secretly cheating on him. But anyway, The Heir had its moments for me. It’s absolutely necessary for you to read the first three books before checking out this one. I’ve read all of them and even I was a little lost at times because I’d forgotten different characters and events from the other books. For fans of the series, this will be a pleasant and intense read.
Eadlyn is the daughter of Prince Maxon and Queen America Singer. This book picks up 20 years after the last book. The country of Illéa is currently in a bad place. Maxon got rid of the social classes and this caused even more of an uprising from the people. In an attempt to ease the tensions, Maxon and America convince Eadlyn to allow them to bring back The Selection. Despite having no intentions of finding a man to marry, Eadlyn reluctantly agrees to participate although she still plans on scaring away the boys one by one. Will she change her mind and actually find that The Selection isn’t so terrible after all?

Surprisingly, I disliked Eadlyn even more than I disliked America in the earlier books. She’s different from her mother in the respect that she has things handed to her, she’s spoiled, and she thinks she’s better than others. America was never really like that, she was just unlikable because of her jealousy and possessiveness. The most likable characters included her twin brother Ahren, who didn’t have to host his own Selection because he’s already found his future wife. I liked the strong bond that they shared and how Ahren was never scared to set his twin straight when she was totally out of line. It was strange seeing characters that we know from America’s story through her daughters point of view. Meaning, she sees her mother’s old boyfriends in a completely different light. It’s just a new perspective that really brings something new to this story. Anyway, Eadlyn was still a difficult character to follow considering her attitude that stays pretty strong throughout most of the book.

As far as the romance goes, Eadlyn starts out having 35 guys to pick from. She immediately begins winding the pool down and cuts 11 guys, who she barely had one more than one conversation with. While there are many potential love interests, the main one is still obvious from the very beginning. This love interest I’m talking about is Kile, who is Marlee’s son, America’s servant and friend from the previous stories. He is selected to be one of the contestants in The Selection, much to his dismay. Kile and Eadlyn immediately bump heads, but they also pretty quickly form a mild friends with benefits relationship. Meaning, Eadlyn still tells him she dislikes him but she still wants to kiss him, which doesn’t make much sense. I didn’t like the way this relationship went down in this book and I hope it improves more in later novels. The other boy I liked was Henri, who doesn’t speak much English. He has a translator named Erik who stays by his side at all times. While Eadlyn enjoys Henri’s personality and company, she slowly grows closer to Erik as well, even though he isn’t technically apart of the competition. It’s unclear (but probably Kile) who she will choose, but this should become revealed to readers in the next book.

This was a quick read and I liked catching up with characters that we’ve grown familiar with. I didn’t give it a higher rating because I was unable to click with Eadlyn at all really. She does grow more as a person there towards the end, but I just didn’t like her attitude. It’s hard for me to absolutely love a story if I can’t get past how the main character treats other people. I do think that fans of The Selection will enjoy that the story didn’t end with America.

three-half-stars

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Since You’ve Been Gone Review

September 5, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 2 ★★★★

Since You’ve Been Gone ReviewSince You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster on May 6th 2014
Pages: 449
Source: Library
Also by this author: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, The Unexpected Everything
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four-stars
It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.
On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?
Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.
Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?
Kiss a stranger? Um...
Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go skinny-dipping? Wait...what?

Since You’ve Been Gone is one of those books that I wish I would have picked up sooner. Part of my hesitation was honestly because I knew I’d be singing the Kelly Clarkson song in my head the entire time I read it. Despite my fears, I heard so many great things about it and about how swoony the male lead is. So I eventually gave it a shot and I’m so glad that I did. I’ve never read anything by Morgan Matson before even though I know she’s becoming a pretty popular YA author. However, I am definitely interested in reading more from her.

Emily is an awkward and shy teenager who planned on spending the summer with her best friend Sloane. But Sloane mysteriously took off without telling Emily anything, all she sent behind was a list of things that she wanted Emily to accomplish. Emily quickly makes the connection that every item on the list is something that scares her. Her summer takes an unexpected turn when she starts hanging out with Frank Porter, the class President and total good kid. She also forms a friendship with his best friend Matthew Collins, and Dawn, a girl who works next door to the ice cream shop where Emily works. All three of her new friends help her knock off each item on the list one by one. For Emily, it turns out to be one summer to remember.

I love the characters in Since You’ve Been Gone. Emily is such a relatable main character. Sometimes in Young Adult books, it can be annoying when the main character considers herself to be awkward just because she trips on her own feet or has difficulty talking to a cute guy. Emily is a genuinely awkward girl who has trouble fitting in. She’s awkward through the fact that she has trouble forming sentences in front of people that she doesn’t know, not just boys. I really related to how she relied on Sloane to help her socialize with others. Sloane was a people person and Emily’s more social side came out when she was around her. I’ve been in that position before, so I totally got where Emily was coming from. I also loved some of the supporting characters like Matthew Collins. I loved how Emily would notice his subtle changes in behavior and how she got to the bottom of what was going on with him. I love stories where the supporting characters are complex and we get to see the main character bond with them. That doesn’t always happen in Young Adult novels and I think this was extremely well done.

Frank Porter is such a great character and I absolutely loved him. It’s always awesome to see the love interest be such a solid guy. I mean honestly, how many books have you read where the guy was the class President and smart guy who also happens to have incredible taste in music. I think part of his general appeal is that his characteristics are very similar to real high school boys. Many high school boys in YA books are portrayed as being these perfect and flawless guys who have every girl drooling over them. On the other hand, Frank has flaws just like real guys you meet in high school have. I loved how his relationship with Emily started as a friendship and slowly built into more. Pretty much every scene between them was so incredible to read. I just loved the average interactions that they had and all of the random things they bonded over. It all felt insanely realistic to me.

The big reason why this book didn’t get a perfect rating from me was that Frank had a girlfriend for the majority of the book. At the beginning, his relationship is introduced as being perfect since they are both insanely smart kids who are very involved in school. Anyway, I felt like the plot was completely pointless. It became more and more obvious that something wasn’t right between Frank and his girlfriend as the book went on. I feel like I would have been even more invested in the relationship and the plot if there was no girlfriend at all. The book would have just flowed a little more naturally and smoothly for me if that was the case. Don’t get me wrong though, this book is fast paced and really great aside from that minor issue.

four-stars

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Where She Went Review

September 4, 2015 Reviews 1 ★★★★★

Where She Went ReviewWhere She Went (If I Stay, #2) by Gayle Forman
Published by Dutton Juvenile on April 5th 2011
Pages: 264
Source: Library
Also by this author: Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)
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five-stars
It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.
Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

I loved “If I Stay,” but I held off for as long as possible before reading this one. I was scared that it wouldn’t live up to the first book. However, I’ve heard nothing but good things about it so I figured I might as well give it a shot. Seeing things through Adam’s perspective was so incredible and I feel like Forman absolutely couldn’t have written it any better. The writing, characters, plot, just everything about this book was amazing. I did miss seeing things from Mia’s point of view, but it was a good idea to just focus on Adam’s perspective only and not alter back and forth between the two.

It’s been three years since Mia’s accident and Adam hasn’t talked to her since she left for Julliard. Adam had a lot of anger whenever she first left his life, but he turned all that anger into a chart topping superstar album with his band. His band has been touring around the world and winning big time musical awards. He also lives in LA with his movie star girlfriend. Although his whole world seems to be perfect on the outside, he’s really falling apart of the inside. He and his band members are barely speaking at all and he hardly ever gets to spend time with his girlfriend. Adam ends up spending the night in New York by chance, and decides to go see Mia Hall perform. This sparks a surprise reunion between the two former lovers as they make some last minute memories before they both go their respective ways: Mia to Japan for her concert tour and Adam to join his band members on tour in England.

Adam is one of my all time favorite book boyfriends. Yes, part of that has to do with him being a musician. But it’s mostly just because of the way he carries himself and how genuinely kind he is. He appears as a total jerk and is labeled as a douchebag bad boy in the media, but that couldn’t be further from the truth in reality. I’m going to continue stressing the fact that I love getting to read the story through his eyes. Getting an insight into what makes Adam who he is, and knowing exactly what he’s thinking make him all the more charming. It’s strange not seeing the story through Mia’s eyes, but she’s just as charming and composed as ever.

In my opinion, this story was the ideal conclusion to the not so fairytale but still beautiful romance between these two. They are one of my favorite couples because they just get each other. I love the way they bond over all different types of music. They obviously have somewhat of different tastes considering that Mia is a classical musician while Adam is a rockstar, but that seems to not be a big deal to either of them. I also love how we get to see flashbacks of their relationship in high school. Some of the scenes are just too adorable for words, like talking about them will just make me beyond mushy so I’ll spare you guys that whole mess.

Basically, this book was everything I hoped for and more. If I Stay was such a beautiful and heartbreaking story, one of my all time favorites, and I’m glad to say that this one was no slacker either. It couldn’t have been better or more heartwarming for me. Gayle Forman is honestly one of my favorite YA writers, she just has such memorable characters filled with unique and special plots.

Quotes:
“You don’t share me. You own me.”
“I needed to hate someone and you’re the one I love the most, so it fell on you.”
“In the calculus of feelings, you never really know how one person’s absence will affect you more than another’s.”
“Letting go. Everyone talks about it like it’s the easiest thing. Unfurl your fingers one by one until your hand is open.”
“A day might just be twenty-four hours but sometimes getting through just one seems as impossible as scaling Everest.”

five-stars
Rating Report
Plot
five-stars
Characters
five-stars
Writing
five-stars
Pacing
four-half-stars
Cover
four-stars
Overall: five-stars

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99 Days Review

September 3, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 2

99 Days Review99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 21st 2015
Pages: 384
Source: Library
Also by this author: Fireworks
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Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.
Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”
Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

For the most part, I really enjoyed the writing and I think it was a creative concept. However, I wasn’t able to connect with Molly at all and wasn’t a fan of the decisions that she made. All in all, this is a quick read that always holds your interest, I just had a problem with how some of the events turned out in the end. I’ve also made it clear that I hate love triangles and I thought this one wasn’t going to be one of those types of stories, but unfortunately it did become one and that made me less interested in the story completely.

Molly ran away from her town after her longtime boyfriend Patrick discovered her affair with his older brother Gabe through a book that her mother wrote about Molly’s experiences. Now Molly is back in the town for the summer before she leaves for college and she’s trying to make amends with the people that she hurt. Gabe is back for the summer from college and seems to be the only person who is on her side and sticks up for her. Then Molly becomes confused for her feelings for him when the boy she loved for so long, Patrick, returns for the summer.

I don’t want to ruin too much here but the one thing I hate more than love triangles in YA books is cheating. Yes, Molly made a mistake and I don’t think that she deserves to be treated so poorly when Gabe is treated exactly the same way. I like that he also has a problem with this and I instantly liked him when he took responsibility for his involvement in the affair. I really loved Gabe and felt like he truly cared about Molly in a way that his brother never did but Molly isn’t as aware of this as she should be. One thing that I did enjoy was the female friendship here. Molly has to repair a lot of friendships that she abandoned when she took off and ran away from all her problems. She slowly gains back the friendship of her old best friend and gains a new friend in Tess, who also happens to be her ex boyfriend Patrick’s new girlfriend. This obviously is an interesting and sort of cliché friendship, but I like that they do bond since most new girlfriends in YA books seem to have it out for the old girlfriend but Tess is nothing but nice.

I recommend 99 Days specifically for people who love contemporary romance YA. If you have an issue with love triangles or cheating, I would recommend just passing up on this one even though there still may be some parts of the book that you might enjoy. Most of the reviews that I’ve read for this one are either people who absolutely loved the book or it just didn’t click for them. I say that you give it a shot because it isn’t a heavy read, you’ll likely finish it in just a day or two so check it out if it sounds like something you’d be interested in!

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