My Biggest Book Haul in a While (My Trip to the Ripped Bodice: Romance and YA)

I finally made it to a new LA bookstore, and it's the shop that's been at the top of my bookstore bucket list since I arrived. So far I've been to Skylight Books, the massive Barnes and Noble at the Grove, Stories, and now The Ripped Bodice. I was supposed to attend a book signing there last Monday, but I wasn't able to get over to the store in time, so they were nice enough to get my book signed for me and put it on hold til I was able to get to the store. The following Thursday, since my grandma had come to LA to see me, I took her to the store to claim my book, and she let me indulge my inner teen who loved nothing more than collecting piles and piles of books. I've been really good in the last few years about primarily utilizing the library and buying books less frequently (I just don't have the space anymore!), but when books are being offered as gifts, I'm never going to pass up that chance. Also, I love getting to support independent bookstores and authors, so books are always purchases that I 100% feel good about. I was only going to get 1 or 2, but The Ripped Bodice has such an amazing collection that I wound up with 8 new ones plus the book I'd already bought that was on hold. 

The store is absolutely gorgeous and well designed for its relatively small space on a very cute street in the middle of Culver City. I noticed as we were leaving that there's a Monty's Good Burger on the other end of the block, and I will have to treat myself to books followed by vegan cheese fries sometime. But we basically had the store to ourselves to wander around. If you don't know, The Ripped Bodice specializes in romance in both the adult and YA age groups. They also stock a small selection of literary fiction and nonfiction novels–your typical bestsellers– if you're also looking to pick up one of those quintessential books. While the YA section looked small at first, it's expertly stocked with an amazing and thoughtfully curated selection of books featuring so many of my all time favorite authors. I've never been in a better curated store than The Ripped Bodice, and I've visited many bookstores and even worked at one. 

On top of that, they had the most lovely bookseller I've ever encountered. She guided my grandma, who said she hadn't read romance in ages, through what historical romance she might like, and I asked her one of the more random questions I could've to see if she could recommend any YA contemporaries that took place over 24 hours. I figured it was a long shot, but I needed them for a writing project and had come up blank myself even though I knew they were out there. Not only did she immediately find a couple that were close like Rise to the Sun and See You Yesterday, she came back to me ten minutes later with a sticky note full of suggestions that they didn't have in stock at the moment. I was so impressed by every part of the store, and I'm excited for the next chance I'll have to visit again. 

So without further ado, here's a recap of the massive stack of books I got from The Ripped Bodice that will take me all summer to finish. 

by Tashie Bhuiyan

I picked up Tashie's first book, Counting Down with You, as an ARC before it debuted and enjoyed it, so when I found out that her second book revolved around falling for an undercover movie star, I knew I had to pick it up. In the author's note, she shares that this was inspired by Tom Holland enrolling in her high school to learn about American high school for his Spider-Man role. Of course, she was right in believing this would be a fantastic book concept, and it also seems like this book is a total love letter to NYC as the main character who's desperate to get out sees it through new eyes taking this famous actor sightseeing.
Also, if you haven't read the blog long enough to know this about me yet, you'll quickly discover that I am a devoted lover of books about famous characters or characters with cool jobs. 

by Julian Winters

I love Julian Winters's stories, and I also love that they center on characters at the older end of the YA spectrum. In his latest book, best friends Issac and Diego are going to have the best summer at the comic convention until Issac fails to get the badges he promised to score for them. This means that their best friend time just between the two of them before they part ways for college is gone, and now Issac will have to hang with Diego's other friends all summer. There's hints at a possible love triangle and plenty of messy feelings in this summary, so I'm excited to dive in.

by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Rachel Lynn Solomon books always own my heart, and I was so excited to discover that she'd recently released a new one that I hadn't realized was out yet. When the bookseller brought it to me, I was over the moon about it. What makes it even better is that this book is that this book is set in university! There's also a fascinating twist as the main character is stuck in a Groundhog Day of the worst day of her life where she ruins her college fresh start. The only possible silver lining? She realizes she isn't the only one left trapped in the loop. Another boy has been stuck for months. They end up uniting to try to get back to the regular timeline.

by Casey McQuiston 

This book is the whole reason I wound up at The Ripped Bodice. I was going to go to Casey's signing at the store, but I ended up not being able to make it, so I needed to go over to the store to grab my book. I signed up to go to the event with no clue what I Kissed Shara Wheeler was about. I just knew Casey wrote it and that Wednesday Books (my favorite YA publisher) released it. That was good enough for me.
This book is a bit of a mystery-thriller-contemporary. Chloe is going to win a hard fought battle for valedictorian against Shara Wheeler who is the apple of her Christian school's eye. But then Shara kisses Chloe out of the blue and disappears. Chloe finds out that there's 3 people Shara's kissed, and she left them each letter. They're forced to band together to find her together, and Chloe wants to make sure they can do it in time to finish the valedictorian battle. 

by Leah Johnson

This book was brought to my attention to one of the wonderful booksellers as well. I was on the hunt for books that take place over a 24 hour span, and while this one takes up three days, it does happen at a music festival. There's no way I was going to pass up a music festival book, and I already enjoyed Leah Johnson's last book, so it was an easy addition to the stack.
Though Olivia and Toni come to Farmland Music and Arts Festival, they quickly realize that they need to spend the weekend together. Olivia is dreading senior year and how she's becoming an outcast in her school after her most recent break-up. She's looking to the festival as a way to forget and reset before her senior year. Toni recently lost her father who was a musician and roadie. This festival started her father down his life's past, and now she's going in the hopes of finding the same illuminating outcome for herself before she leaves for college. Through falling in love and connecting with each other, they might be able to find the answers they need by the end of the weekend.


by Casey McQuiston

This is a book I've never owned before but have read from the library. While I wasn't totally sure how I felt about One Last Stop when I finished reading it a few months ago, my love for this book has only grown in reflection. It maybe drug on a bit long, but the story capturing all the fears of the end of college and starting adult life has stuck with me for months now. There aren't enough books about college in general and especially the later college years, so I'm going to celebrate every last one of them. 
I'd been meaning to get myself a copy of this book for months, and I'd ended up getting something else every time I stopped into a bookstore, but last Thursday was finally the day. Like I mentioned earlier, Casey McQuiston stopped into The Ripped Bodice for her YA event earlier in the week, so they had a ton of signed copies of all of her books out. I figured I might as well pick up a signed one.

by Cathy Yardley

This was the last book I randomly grabbed off the shelf. While I have a scope of knowledge of authors and styles in YA, when I got into the contemporary romance section, I grabbed books purely from covers and summaries on the back. This was the last of my impulse purchases before I finally made it to the check out counter. I can never pass up something about YouTube/social media creators, now, can I?
Lily and Tobin ran in the same circles in high school, and while neither of them were considered popular back then, they've both skyrocketed to YouTube fame in the decade since. Lily has taken over the beauty space but is looking for a new push to finally cement her success, and Tobin is a gamer and prank channel that's finally getting stale. How long can he keep up the same childish format? The two realize that they need to change up their formats, and a collaboration might be exactly what they need.

by Sarah Smith

I am always going to pick up a book about food and food trucks. When Nikki moves back to Hawaii to help her mom run their food truck, she expects the change to be difficult, but she's excited to lend a hand. Everything is going well until a new British guy opens up his brand new food truck right next to them on the beach. The competition is not welcome and starts eating into Nikki's truck's bottom line. There's only one way to settle who gets to keep the spot. They enter the local food contest and decide that whoever wins gets to keep the spot. Still, it's never that simple when feelings start to get involved.

by Alison Cochrun

My first purchase from the romance section, of course, is themed around reality TV. 
Dev has crafted so many epic love stories on the dating reality show, Ever After. He's created so many success stories for others while his own love life is as stale as ever. This new season, though, will be his most challenging yet. When the latest bachelor arrives, he's horrible on camera, can't connect with the contestants, and doesn't seem to really care to be there. Really, this seems like a last ditch PR stunt to put him back in the public's good graces. Dev has to get him into shape to save his TV show baby, but the more they work together, the more it becomes apparent that the great love story isn't the one that's being built for the cameras.

More on Reading, Writing, and Me...


  1. Okay, so this sounds like a dream day!! Enjoy your summer reading! That stack of books reminds me of my childhood summer reading program days. Good times!

    1. It really was a dream! And yes! Total summer reading book pile vibes

  2. Soooo . . . it's been a few weeks. Recommendation from this haul?

    1. Coming soon! I actually left on vacation right after I went to the store, so I haven't had a chance to delve in. I did bring See You Yesterday and really enjoyed it, but that's the only one I've had a chance to read sadly!


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