Skip to main content

Four Three Two One



Four Three Two One by Courtney Stevens (November 13)
Overview: There were four survivors of bus 21 after the charter bus was bombed a year ago. There was a young couple from a commune in Kentucky, Golden Jennings and Chandler Clayton. There was a soccer star left wheelchair bound, Rudy. Finally, Caroline, the last survivor was the bomber's girlfriend, and she's left to shoulder his guilt and her own. When the bus gets reassembled as part of an art installation/memorial by one of the paramedics who helped saved Golden, she feels determined to get all of the survivors back together, even if that means hurting some of her own relationships. Overall: 5 

Characters: 5 All of these characters are so deep and individual. They've also had the trauma touch their lives in different ways. Golden has always been stuck between leaving the Hive and going to Emerson or staying and getting married to a boy she's loved almost her whole life. She knows there's no combining the two after the bus incident and the fights they were having that day. Golden just wants to be able to reconcile her feelings, but no one on the Hive wants to let her. 
Chandler coiled himself deeper after the bus. He pretends it never happens. In his woodworking shop and with his sketches, he hurts in silence while his girlfriend begs him to speak, and their opposing wants wear on him. 
Not to mention Rudy. Rudy finally accepts Golden's friend request on Facebook. They'd only met once before the bombing, but there's chemistry you could pull out of the air. But she has a boyfriend. Rudy respects that and stays upbeat, but the road trip helps him resolve feelings he's kept close to his chest as well. 
Finally, Caroline. She's been bullied to no end since the bus explosion. She had to leave college it was so intense. Wrapped in a spiral of self hate and self harm, she can't get past her former abusive relationship ir how it ended on the bus that day, but, as the trip to New York goes on, if she chances opening her heart to this crew, she might just make it to find happiness again. 

Plot: 5 This book dissolves into a sort of road trip novel. It starts with Golden and her doubles partner, Becky, setting off for New York, and they slowly make their way through the states to gather the other survivors. Car troubles, painful realizations, and healing ensues as they travel, slowly, to New York. 

Writing: 5 I've never read a book that's made me reflect on it so much after. Not necessarily the events of the bus incident, but how each survivor dealt with the pain. They each treated it differently, and they each had a different idea of what moving forward was for them. Both applying this to any other horrible experience and thinking about it in the context of the numerous violent attacks that seem to happen each week, it's both heart wrenching and unsettling to experience, through Golden and Caroline, how deeply internalized wounds become and how a tragedy is never escaped without survivors guilt.

Links of Interest:
Author Event Ally Carter & Jennifer Barnes: Here
Into YA with Gordon Jack: Here
Your Own Worst Enemy:Review Here
Creativity and the Ed Sheeran Concert: Here

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Top Reads of 2018

This year's best of 2018 list has tons of new categories to fit all of the amazing books I read this year. I've had the chance to read so many advanced books and recent releases, so most of what I read were books that came out in 2018. I mostly choose contemporary, so I've started with my favorite debut as well as the best books in other genres I've ventured into. After that, I have smaller categories in the contemporary genre. I hope you find new books to love and give to your friends and family for the holidays. If you're interested in learning more about the books on the list, click their titles to go to my reviews. Let me know if these are some of your favorites in the comments, and tell me your favorite books!
Best In Genre Top Debut
Nothing Left To Burn by Heather Ezell Nothing Left To Burn gave me the craziest book hangover. I was so immersed in the story, and I couldn't stop reading to do anything that I actually needed to be doing. There is a toxic relat…

Top 10 of 2019: All the YA Love

We're winding down 2019, so it's time to get reflective on the past year. It feels like multiple lifetimes have happened in this single year. It was one of the best years for the blog that I've ever had. Even though I might have read less this year, I expanded my interviews and guests posts, got to work closely with some wonderful writers, and fell further in love with the YA community. A huge thank you to everyone in the Novel19s for working with me, being so kind, and putting out some of the best books I've ever read. In the next few weeks, I'll be posting more about the future I see for the blog going into 2020 and it's third year, but, for now, let's celebrate all the amazing stories 2020 has brought to us! I did my Reading, Writing, and Me book awards recently which honored over 20 books in tons of different categories so if you need last minute holiday shopping inspiration, check out this list and the earlier one!

1. Permanent Record
I have not stoppe…

Queen of Geek Review

Queen of Geek by Jen Wilde
Overview: Charlie is a famous You Tuber whose indie film has exploded in popularity. It's landed her at SupaCon in San Diego with two of her best friends. While there, Taylor and Jamie try to find a way for Taylor to meet her favorite author, and Charlie has to do tons of press with her exboyfriend. Luckily, though, the magic of the con brings them all some good luck and memorable moments. Overall: 4 

Characters: 4 Charlie is so much fun. She's confident, has pink hair, and is full of life. She has some interesting commentary on being famous and also on how fandom works when people ship actors together in real life.
Taylor has anxiety and is on the autism spectrum. She's the biggest fan of the Firestone series, but winning the contests to meet the author requires her to step way outside of her comfort zone. With Jamie by her side, she reclaims a lot of confidence and makes the con her own.

Plot: 4 If you love books about celebrity and cons, you'…

Reflecting on 2019 and the Decade

"It was the end of a decade, but the start of an age"- "Long Live"

I can't believe it's finally here. We're all getting ready to step into 2020 tomorrow. It always seemed so far away. We've all been talking about it so long that it's managed to creep up on me. I guess we're all getting a little extra sentimental because we're ending a decade (in terms of the popular view of decades). We're moving into the 20s. Seeing everyone's decade later comparisons has been weird because the 2010s were the first full decade I've ever lived. I started the decade as a six year old in first grade, so, even though I feel like I've accomplished far less than some people on Twitter, I have, in fact, managed to graduate elementary, middle, and high school and get into college in the last 10 years. I've also become a person.
Most of what's shaped me has happened in the last ten years. I've learned an incredible amount about mysel…

I Got Rid of (Almost) All My Books

On Twitter, everyone loves to joke about their TBR piles that are heading to swallow them whole. We talk about buying way too many books. They're like personality traits for book bloggers and book community members, but we don't really talk about the reality of that. Running the blog for close to three years, it was starting to stare me in the face in the form of heaps and heaps of books. Books everywhere. Shoved onto my tiny bookshelf, stacked on top of it, piled on my nightstand, piled on the floor, and lining my long windowsill. I woke up one morning and decided it felt like the books were slowly creeping in and stealing all the oxygen. So I decided to do something about it. I gathered together all the boxes floating around in the garage from Christmas, threw myself on the floor, and started to make piles of my books.
It was honestly overwhelming to start deciding what I was giving away and what I was keeping. I was both feeling like "EVERYTHING MUST GO" and &quo…

More Than Maybe Review

More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn (May 2020)
Overview: Vada works at a dive bar, scraping together money for college and learning about running from a show her soon to be step-dad to get closer to her future dreams. She also runs the Loud Lizard's successful music blog Behind the Music. Vada is about to head off to LA and start working towards her music journalism dreams, but she has to make it through senior year first. Luke Greenly is the son of famous British punk rocker, Charlie Greenly. The whole family has set down roots in Michigan where his mom works at the university, but remnants of his dad's past life still follow them. Luke loves writing songs but hates performing, and, because of his dad, he's been thrust into the spotlight more than he'd like. For now, he'd rather stick to making successful podcast The Grass Is Greenly with his twin brother, Cullen, and hopelessly pining after Vada through stalking Behind the Music. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 Vada is a charact…

Izzy and Tristan Review

Izzy + Tristan by. Shannon Dunlap (324 pages)
Overview: Izzy and Tristan have a love story. When Izzy's family renovates a moves into a new house on a Brooklyn block their lives change. Her twin brother Hull almost immediately gets into a fight, pulling a knife on some neighborhood kids after a gambling chess match goes wrong. Izzy falls for Tristan, the boy who won Hull's match. With Hull away at a rehabilitation center, Izzy and Tristan are free to fall for each other until Marcus decides that he wants to take revenge on Hull by dating his sister. And even when that battle is overcome, police brutality draws a permanent line between the couple. Overall: 2

*Okay, I'm not really sure how to write a spoiler free review of this because the shocker ending is what I take the most issue with. I'll keep it spoiler free in the characters and plot section, but I will talk about the ending in the writing section. I still recommend you read it, even if you plan on reading the boo…

New Release: America Panda

America Panda by Gloria Chao (306 pages)
Overview: Mei is starting MIT a year early, skipping senior year, pushed forward by her parents who always demanded she push herself past extremes. They've also dictated that she's at MIT to become a doctor and that she will marry Eugene. Mei doesn't know how to cope with her parents rigid views and traditions that come from their Chinese culture. She doesn't feel like she can belong anywhere due to the conflicting expectations, and she knows she must sort out her feelings if she ever wants to be happy. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 I loved Mei. I related to her so much. We both need glasses (and don't wear them often), have a thing with avoiding germs, and are graduating early (something I never thought I'd see in a book). Watching Mei struggle between what she wants to do and what her parents want her to do. It's amazing to see how the college experience and the people around her help her sort out her feelings and carry…

New Year, New Blog Goals: Welcome to 2020

Happy late 2020! I meant to make this post a long time ago, but it's taken me a minute to decide exactly what I want to say with this. For most of the blog's history, I've kept a pretty consistent formatting, generally posting Wednesdays and Sundays and sometimes Fridays with YA reviews, discussion posts, and interviews. As I head into the third year of having the blog, I want to adjust this system a bit to better suit where I'm at with my blogging and reading and where your interests are now. Because, most of all, I maintain the blog for you, and I want to make content that you find most exciting.
As I headed into restricting my posting for the blog, I wanted to make sure everyone was involved in the changes so I created tons of polls and questions on both Twitter and Instagram. Those survey results have helped shape my decisions about the blog going forward.
The first change that you may or may not notice is that I'm no longer going to stick to a defined posting…

Waiting For Fitz

Waiting For Fitz by Spencer Hyde (March 5) Click to Purchase
Overview: Addie is in the hospital for inpatient OCD treatment. She's not thrilled, particularly because her mom might watch The Great British Bake Off without her, but, overall, she's ready to try whatever it takes to get better. And it turns out that most of the orderlies are nice and her fellow patients are great company, especially Fitz, who's been there for two years battling schizophrenia. Inside, she makes major strides toward recovery, but Fitz comes to her and asks for help breaking out. Against her better judgement, she can't refuse to help him. Overall: 4 

Characters: 5 I enjoyed reading from Addie's prospective. I thought that Hyde did an awesome job portraying OCD and the compulsions and obsessions that come with it. Addie is sarcastic and sensible. She has a wonderful, supportive mom and a team behind her that's determined to help. I love how she is both reasonable, and takes time to quest…