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Spotlight Review: So Glad To Meet You

So Glad To Meet You by Lisa Super (July 31)
Overview: When Daphne finds her dead older sister's bucket list under a floor board, she knows what she has to do. She tracks down her sister's boyfriend's younger brother, Oliver. After their siblings died together, she thinks that it's only right they complete their bucket list together the best they can. Overall: 3.5

Characters: 4 I enjoyed Daphne and Oliver. They both seem like genuine people trying to figure out what's right and what happened to their families with the death of their sister and brother. Though they're both in tough situations, it's nice to see them take comfort in one another.

Plot: 3 The plot was interesting while I was reading it. They set out to complete a modified version of the ten item list but slowly grow closer as they do. Though their journey isn't without a fair amount of speed bumps. Unfortunately, the book lacks the sense of urgency I needed to feel compelled to get all the way t…
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Spotlight Review: How We Learned To Lie

How We Learned To Lie by Meredith Miller (July 31)
Overview: Joan and Daisy were always best friends. Until, one day, they started drifting, their relationship troubled by new lies springing up. Joan wants to know how the world works, and she uses biology to try to tether herself. Daisy just wants a normal life with a normal family. In a creepy, ominous story, we learn how the lives of Joan and Daisy unfold. Overall: 3.5

Characters: 4 I thought that Joan and Daisy were both interesting. They have difficult lives and family situations. Daisy has to deal with his mother's drug use and his brother's sketchy activity. Joan's mother has informally abandoned the family to run a theater in New York. For the most part, the characters are well fleshed out, but the way their alternating chapters are written, even though they are first person, they feel removed from the characters.

Plot: 3 While there's a constant teaser of drama that's about to happen, 25% of the way through, t…

The History of Jane Doe

The History of Jane Doe by Micheal Belanger (2018)
Overview: Ray knows the entire history of his hometown, Burgerville, Connecticut. He also knows lots of different tidbits about the world as well. But, for his first written account of history, the story must center on loss, why, and fleeting moments of happiness. He has to tell the story of his first girlfriend, hidden by the anonymity of the name Jane Doe. Told in Before and After chapters, Ray explores the highs and lows he had in his fleeting relationship with Jane and his recovery from crushing loss. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 Jane is coping with clinical depression that probably stems from a combination of family history and past trauma. She goes between trying to hide her scars and struggles and exposing them, tiny piece by piece to the people she loves.
Ray is fascinated by Jane and the way she looks at the world and the town he's lived in all his life with fresh eyes.
His friend, Simon, is dorky and not quite all together b…

Spotlight Review: Letting Go Of Gravity

Letting Go Of Gravity by Meg Leder (July 17)
Overview: Charlie and Parker were inseparable twins till school split them up into different classes, and they have to fend for themselves. Since they have their own lives, they get closer and more distant over time. Then Charlie gets cancer. Though the family gets through it, the cancer resurfaces in their later teen years throwing their family back into uncertain territory. Parker tries to take the experience to her internship at the children's hospital, though it proves harder to return than she thought while Charlie spirals out of control having felt robbed of his high school life. Can the twins keep it together? Overall: 3 

Characters: 3 I feel like the characters fell flat as a whole because they didn't have their own, distinct voices. I had to put the book down because the monotone style couldn't hold my attention.

Plot: 3 I think that this goes back to the voice as well. The characters couldn't produce enough genuine te…

Spotlight Review: Wrong in All the Right Ways

Wrong in All the Right Ways by Tiffany Brownlee (July 17)
Overview: Emma is a people pleaser, or, more precisely, a parent pleaser. This means that when her parents decide to foster a new kid to hopefully adopt, Emma has to smile and bare it even though she feels she is getting replaced. Emma is taken by surprise when she finds out that Dylan, her new maybe brother, is sixteen and hot. As their English class explores Wuthering Heights, the book that inspired this narrative, they must also  explore their relationship and whether their romance is worth the risk. Overall: 3

Characters: 3 There were moments when I liked Emma, but those were far outnumbered by the moments I didn't like. There were moments of borderline slut shaming of her classmates that I really didn't appreciate, and her self-defense superiority complex that comes from having no friends is not articulated well. Instead of adding depth, it just makes her hard to be around.
Coming from Emma's lens, everyone else …

I Believe In A Thing Called Love

I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo (317 pages)
Overview: Desi has every award under the sun, but there's still one thing missing from this near perfect SAT scoring, class president's high school experience. A boyfriend. Luckily, a new boy shows up senior year, just in time for Desi to make check the experience off the list. Unfortunately, Luca appears to be unattainable until Desi starts to make a plan. Using her father's Korean dramas as a template, Desi creates a series of careful steps that will (hopefully) guarantee her the guy of her dreams. Overall: 4

Characters: 4 I liked Desi. She's an overachiever and set on making herself and her father proud by following in her deceased mother's footsteps to attend premed at Stanford. She's driven and analytically oriented. Luca makes a great boyfriend for her in the way that he balances her out. He's engaged and focused in his own way, but, in his artistic pursuits, he doesn't hold the same rigidi…

Spotlight Review: I'm Not Missing

I'm Not Missing by Carie Fountain (July 10)
Overview: Syd always kept Miranda afloat. She was the loud voice to triumph over all of Miranda's insecurity. She was her guide to the world and the ultimate decision maker for every facet of Miranda's life. She was going to Stanford and getting out of her trailer park.
And then she's gone. Missing with no trace except for a note to make it clear she doesn't want to be found, Miranda tries to figure out what happened all while falling into a new life complete with her long time crush as her new boyfriend now that Syd is out of the way. Will Miranda find Syd? Should she even bother looking now that she knows what Syd's done? Overall: 5 

Characters: 5 The secret sauce to good characters is authenticity. Fountain nails that. Every character in the story is so genuine to themselves and to each other. Miranda makes for an interesting lead as she's always been Syd's side kick. She has to learn how to lead her own life…