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Showing posts from 2019

Wild and Crooked Review

Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas 
Overview: A murder from a generation ago still haunts a rural Kentucky town. Two families that might as well be the Capulets and the Montagues are at the center, stirring drama through the town. When the alleged murderer's daughter and the victim's son form an unbreakable friendship and new evidence comes to life, the town gets torn up again over the controversy. Overall: 5+++

Characters: 5 I am so in love with every single character this book- and there are quite a few. Kalyn Spence is the daughter of a murderer. Her mother married her father when he was already behind bars. She's been in the center of controversy her entire life. She's a bit jaded, but she's so self assured. She's fierce and stunning and soft, and I would read a million books with Kalyn Spence at the helm.
Gus is the son of the victim, his father from the famous Ellis family. Gus was supposed to carry on the heroic legacy, but his grandfather is horrible and cut…

LGBTQ+ Pride Month Reading List!

Happy Pride Month everyone! I wanted to celebrate with a list of some awesome books featuring LGBTQ protagonists. I tried to put mostly ownvoices authors at the forefront of this list, but not all of them are. I love that we're getting so many lovely, diverse books, so I wanted to share some of my personal favorites with all of you. Let me know in the comments which ones you love!

The Summer of Jordi Perez
This is the perfect book, both for Pride Month and the start of summer. Jordi will get you in the summer spirit with this super cute romance. 

Red, White, and Royal Blue
I'm so excited to see NA starting to make a comeback! Living up to the hype, this is the perfect love story for royal lovers and those fascinated by what happens at the White House.

10 Things I Can See From Here
Maeve may be full of anxiety, but when she falls for a fearless girl, her world starts to change in ways she never expected. It's a wonderful romance and mental health book. 

Please Send Help
While I ha…

Something Like Gravity

Something Like Gravity by Amber Smith (386 pages)
TW: Violence towards a trans person
Overview: Chris needs to get out of Buffalo where everyone remembers him being stuck in a hospital bed and why he was there. Maia is still struggling, living in a home, crowded with the ghost of her older sister, Mallory, and her parent's divorce. Maia and Chris find each other as Chris's parents drop him off in Carson to live with his aunt and have a summer away. Though they're weary of letting people in, the two recognize a similar fear inside one another. Their relationship offers comfort and healing but also have the potential for even more heartaches. Overall: 4

Characters: 4 Maia is still lost because she hasn't had a real support system to grieve with. Her parents have been divorced, but they live in the same house in icy silence, both emotionally unavailable to Maia. She starts to take on Mallory's identity, grabbing her camera and going out to recreate her photos. When she m…

A Lite Too Bright

A Lite Too Bright by Samuel Miller (480 pages)
Overview: In a contemporary quest story, Arthur Louis Pullman the Third traverses the country, following the clues left behind by his grandfather, five years ago before he finally succumbed to dementia. Though the clues are small and easy to miss, Arthur is determined to find the lost connections and escape from his own crumbling life. Where the Amtrak train leads him, though, is much more than he bargained for. Overall: 4 

Characters: 5 If you like unreliable narrator stories, this one is for you. Arthur is plagued by hallucinations of his ex-best friend and girlfriend as the trip starts and he has a hard time distinguishing certain hallucinations from reality. Beyond that, he's a deep thinker and critical even though he sees the world from a relatively sheltered place. The trip helps to expand his world.
Mara is his travel companion he meets on the train. Running from problems of her own, she feels a connection to Arthur. Also, she re…

Ashley Woodfolk Cover Reveal

Ashley has a new book coming out on 3/10/2020, and I have the privilege of being one of the bloggers to take part of the cover reveal on Best Friends Day!
Check out the description of the book and prepare to be excited:

"You can't rewrite the past, but you can always choose to start again.

It’s been twenty-seven days since Cleo and Layla’s friendship imploded.

Nearly a month since Cleo realized they’ll never be besties again.

Now, Cleo wants to erase every memory, good or bad, that tethers her to her ex–best friend. But pretending Layla doesn’t exist isn’t as easy as Cleo hoped, especially after she’s assigned to be Layla’s tutor. Despite budding new friendships with other classmates—and a raging crush on a gorgeous boy named Dom—Cleo’s turbulent past with Layla comes back to haunt them both.

Alternating between timelines of Then and Now, When You Were Everything blends past and present into an emotional story about the beauty of self-forgiveness, the promise of new beginnings, a…

Into YA with Laura Sibson

I am so excited to write the introduction for this interview about Laura Sibson's beautiful book, The Art Of Breaking Things. If you haven't heard anything about the book yet, I would suggest you read my review from earlier in the week to get a better understanding of the book. I am so glad that Laura had the courage to put this book out in the world. It is both an amazing tool to promote empathy and a comfort and representation to survivors looking to see their voices reflected in YA. 
1. From the beginning Skye, Ben, Luisa, and Keith all have amazing chemistry (in some cases romantic and in others friendship). How did you build the layers behind their connections from the start? Do you have any advice for writers wondering how to develop realistic relationships between their characters?
This is an excellent question! The relationships between the characters evolved during the revision process. In the first draft, Luisa was sort of cold, Ben was too much of a savior and Keith …

The Art of Breaking Things

The Art of Breaking Things by Laura Sibson (June 18)
Overview: Skye was twelve when she was molested by her mother's boyfriend on a camping trip. When she tried to tell her mom that night, her mom brushed her off and was too drunk to remember what happened to Skye. Now a senior in high school, she's lived with the fear and shame for a while, believing that her mother doesn't believe her. She's tried to cope with alcohol, drugs, and art, and she's starting to heal when Dan comes back into their lives. Now with her younger sister Emma turning twelve, Skye is filled with fear, panic, and flashbacks as her family starts to fall apart again. She has to decide if and how she wants to speak out to stop her mother from marrying her abuser. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 Skye is an amazing character. She's so strong, but she feels like she has to be. Her secret eats her alive, and she does whatever she can to drown it with drugs or emotional outbursts. She's trying to cope …

Virtually Yours Review

Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash (June 4)
Overview: Miriam has been in a funk since she started NYU. More accurately, she's been down since her boyfriend of three years broke up with her because long distance would be "too hard". It all changes, though when Miriam decides to try a new virtual reality dating service called HEAVR. The only problem, though, is that when she accidentally matches with her ex-boyfriend, the draw of a second chance is too much to pass up. After concealing her identity, Miriam starts a hoax to get him to fall for her again. Overall: 4 

Characters: 4 I liked Miriam, especially as the story progressed and she became more sure of herself. It allowed her personality to shine and gave her more dimensions than she started with. In the end, I was definitely rooting her.
Her friends at NYU are great additions to the story. Miriam's roommate Hedy is a major film buff, and, while it's pretty much her singular trait, she does offer some good advice a…

Red White and Royal Blue Review

Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
*Disclaimer* This is NOT a YA book. The protagonists are 21-23 year old. It's a book that has gotten tons of buzz in the YA community, but it is not YA. I believe I've seen the author self identify this book on Twitter as NA (New Adult), but, since that's not a huge thing at the moment, you'll probably find it shelved in the Adult Romance section. Anyway...
Overview: Ellen Claremont became the first female president in 2016, but, as 2020 approaches, she is preparing to fight to keep her narrow hold on the White House. Part of that plan includes lots of press with the trio of adult children of the President and Vice President.  Norah, the granddaughter of the Vice President, June, Ellen's daughter, and Alex, her son, are extremely central to the campaign. When Alex makes a scene with the royal son Prince Henry at the Prince's brother's royal wedding, the boys are shoved together and forced to fake a friendship to sav…

Graduation, Gap Year... And Let's Talk About Fear of Failure

I graduated just over a week ago from high school, and I still don't know what to do with myself. I haven't talked a ton about my schooling on the blog, and, while I've shared a little on Twitter, I wanted to talk about it a bit since I've now graduated. I also wanted to talk about my unconventional gap year that's coming up, and how I'm framing it.
For those of you who don't know, I enrolled a year and a half ago in an online school called Laurel Springs. While I'm going to save a lot of details about that for a later post, I will say that a major reason for this was the ability to take a far broader variety of classes than any school I'd ever been to and to self pace my schedule. When choosing classes, I found myself with a sort of buffet mentality, piling my plate with every class that looked remotely interesting. Beyond the required core classes that first year I took things like mythology, intro to law, and philosophy. It was a lot, but it wok…

Dissenter on the Bench Review

Dissenter on the Bench by Victoria Ortiz (June 4)
Overview: Ruth Bader Ginsburg is probably one of the coolest women alive. She's done countless amazing things, and she currently sits on the Supreme Court, advocating for the living and evolving nature of the Constitution. She's fought for equal rights for everyone: women, men, racial minorities, people of the LGBTQ community, and others who are taken advantage of under laws. She's crafted her career around taking gender biases out of laws that only set us all further behind. Whether her opinion is recognized or not, she always states it loudly and with perfect word selection. Beyond that, the book digs into her modern family life and her childhood. Overall: 4 

Content: 4 I loved getting the chance to learn more about my favorite Supreme Court Justice (and role model). It's pretty amazing to see all of the landmark decisions she's been a part of and the work she had to put in to achieve what she did in a time where he…

Going Off Script Review

Going Off Script by Jen Wilde (292 pages)
Overview: Bex has dreams of being a show runner, but, first, she has to rise through the ranks of the writers' room. Luckily, she's scored an internship with one of her favorite TV shows, Silver Falls. Unfortunately, the LA dreams she's fought so hard to get aren't as fun as she imagined. The show runner is horrible and even steals a script that Bex wrote. In an environment that has far too many echoes of high school for Bex's taste, she has to figure out how to make the most of her situation. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 4 I really like Bex. She's made a major life change from living in Washington state and working at Sonic with her mother to help support her family. Living with her cousin makes the transition slightly better, but her new life feels both too different and too familiar. Bex is also dealing with understanding her sexuality.  She's nervous about telling her friends and family, even though she knows they'…

A Summer of YA

I thought that I would make a bonus post for all of you to celebrate summer finally starting to arrive! I've compiled a list of books that I've read this year and last that either take place in the summer or give me total summer vibes. A lot of these books are ones that I think should get a lot more love. Let me know in the comments what books make you instantly think of summer! I've linked reviews to all of these books in the titles below.




Going Off Script This is the book I'm reviewing tomorrow! I read it last weekend in nearly a single day because it is such a refreshing, quick read. While I don't think it takes place in the summer and it focuses on a TV internship, it's set in LA which serves up eternal summer vibes.
The Way You Make Me Feel This is one of the ultimate books on my summer playlist. As a punishment for a school prank, Clara has to spend the summer working with her nemesis in her father's food truck. With mouthwatering Korean-Brazilian food,…

What's Coming Up In June

I'm super excited to finally be jumping into summer! June already has a ton of amazing books on the way, and it looks like the rest of the summer is jam packed as well. I'm excited to have more time to write and work on the blog! For Saturday discussions, I'm thinking about talking about graduation and maybe my experience with the SAT this month along with some more bookish thoughts. I'll also be working on a summer reading list of summery books from the past some that are coming out!  Let me know in the comments if there are certain posts or topics you'd like to see from me. Happy summer everyone! Dissenter On The Bench Ruth Bader Ginsburg is amazing. I was super excited to stumble upon a new YA biography about her! I'll be sharing my review of the book on Friday the 31st of May. 

Virtually Yours More college YA! This time, an NYU freshman decides to try a new VR dating app. Inside their system, she reconnects with her exboyfriend under a fake name. Slowly, both a…

We Contain Multitudes Review

We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra 
TW: Abuse, Homophobia, Drug Use
Overview: Letter writing is often called a lost art, but an English class assignment in Minnesota brings it back to two teens. Kurl hates school, he doesn't do many assignments, and everyone is hoping he'll do enough to graduate. Jo, his sophomore pen pal, is locked in a battle with horrible bullies who torment him on the daily because he's gay and dresses in the style of his idol, Walt Whitman. While Kurl feels totally detached from Jo's dense language and different ideas, they get to know each and suddenly writing letters isn't as much of a chore. Overall: 4

Characters: 4 Kurl is a former football player, sort of the joke of the school on the academic front, and the guy no one wants to mess with. His hard exterior, though, starts to melt through his letters with Jo. Kurl works through his sadness over his father's death and his brother Mark's hard adjustment after serving in the Middle E…

About Reading Slumps...

It's the end of the school year, and I've been hearing a lot of book bloggers and readers in school talking about the end of the year crush and the reading slumps it's brought. I too have fallen into this, but I'm trying to fight my way out of it! For some context, I read nine books in April and only 3 books in May.
I figured I'd write a little about reading slumps and how to get out of them as I'm hoping to be coming out on the other side of my own!
Below, I'm breaking down different stages of my reading slumps and then setting out the books I'm looking forward to reading this month.

Book Hangover I honestly think that my reading slump started with a book hangover. I'd just finished The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu which I devoured super quickly and loved. It's bright and engage and bold. None of the books I picked up afterwards felt intense enough or real enough for me to fall head over heels into. I proceeded the only way I knew how: To keep readin…

Into YA with Deborah Maroulis

I got to chat with Deborah about her new book! She has a lot of interesting and important comments about the stories she tells in her new book! 

1. Within and Without takes place on a vineyard which is a setting that I’ve never encountered before. What made you decide to set the story there? I decided to set Wren’s story on a vineyard for two reasons. One, Granny’s farmhouse, where she’s living since her parents’ divorce, is based on my own mom’s house. She didn’t have vineyards on her property, though. She had walnut trees. But her home is surrounded by family-owned vineyards who either make their own wine or sell their harvests to the larger wine companies in Napa, so I thought I’d combine a real house with fictionalized agriculture.   The second reason is more symbolic. Wren’s character arc mimics the life cycle of a grape vine, and I thought it would be fitting to have her in a place where the parallels would be easier to draw. (It’s the English teacher in me…gotta love symbolism!)
2.…