Monday Mini-Reviews…AKA Summer Time Makes Jamie LAAAAZY.

I’ve got quite a backlog of books to talk about so I figured I’d do mini-reviews for 3 books I’ve read this summer! It’s hard to get my act together in the summer so this seemed like a good idea to me!

 

A Really Awesome Mess Trish Cook

A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook & Brendan Halpin
July 23, 2013 – Egmont USA
I received this for review consideration — this in no way influenced my opinion.

I LIKED this one in but I expected to love it MORE than I did. I tend to love books that feature unlikely friendships/rag-tag group of people who are kind of forced to come together. I loved the circumstances in which these teens had to come together — being sent to this boarding school that deal with “issues” like suicide, anger, eating disorders, etc. I enjoyed getting to know the main characters and seeing them work through their issues while learning to lean on each other. It was SUPER funny and I loved some of the banter in this group that was thrown together because of a class in which they needed to learn to work together/depend on each other to get something they wanted. There were some emotional moments in their journey but it didn’t quite come altogether for me where I really felt super invested. I liked what it was but it needed more to be GREAT for me and really leave its mark. (Goodreads // Amazon)

 
RATING-LIKED

 

 

18404113

Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn
June 24, 2014 — St. Martin’s Griffin
I received this for review consideration — this in no way impacted my opinions.

This is one where I must have completely missed something because everyone told me how amazing it was and how SHOCKING it was. And not a thing shocked me. I guessed everything. And I just wasn’t feeling it. Despite my mixed feelings, I was really impressed with the writing and how Stephanie was able to really reel you in with this sense of mystery about what Jamie’s sister did and the truth about their past. It was very controlled and precise and I loved how truly she was able to slowly make you feel like something sinister or not right was going on….all the way to the very last page. However, despite all that, it all seemed obvious to me and I could have lived with that had I not been kind of bored in a way. So in the end I kept thinking MAN I was hoping to be blown away but I sadly wasn’t. I’m definitely going to give Charm & Strange a try but this one sadly didn’t do much for me. I wanted to be SHOCKED but I was sadly not and altogether kind of bored despite her writing and the impressive way she could spin this mystery and make this an interesting psychological thriller-ish novel. (Goodreads // Amazon)

 

RATING-mixed

 

 

A Girl Called Fearless Catherine Lanka

A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka
May 6, 2014 — St. Martin’s Griffin
I received this for review consideration — this in no way influenced my opinions.

MAN, I’m conflicted with this one. I had a WHOLE review written about it trying to explain my crazy feelings but in the end I scrapped it because it was just too confusing. About a week after I wrote it I came across THIS review that seriously took the jumble that was my brain and SO ACCURATELY described all that I was mixed on which kind of prompted me to scrap my own rambling thoughts so go read that if you are curious. I LOVED the premise of this one (scary because it was so plausible in a way) and that it was a standalone dystopian. I was hooked from the start because the society was so fascinating and unique plus it really brought a lot to the table in terms of talking about gender and power.  There was SO MUCH GOOD in this one but then it fell apart in ways as it went on and I wanted MORE from it — in how I felt towards it and some pivotal areas when it came to building this world that had all the makings to make this an AMAZING book. I read it very quickly and kept turning the pages especially as the danger heightened but I finished being like, “Sigh I wish I could have known this” or “I don’t get quite get this or “I wish this part would have given more explanation to build a stronger world for me.”  (Goodreads // Amazon)

RATING-OKAY

 

 

Have you read any of these? Interested in any of these? I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read them!!

Book Talk: Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Book Talk: Let’s Get Lost by Adi AlsaidLet's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
Publisher/Year: Harlequin Teen- July 29, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
Other Books From Author: None -- debut novel!

 
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I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1
Let’s Get Lost is told from the perspective of four teens who all encounter Leila, a girl on her own journey, in places along her road trip. They all have their separate life happenings and hurts and somehow Leila winds up in their life at the right moment as she’s driving across the United States. She’s kind, is one of those people who shines brighter than the rest, isn’t afraid to get involved in their lives and yet she’s such a mystery. In the process of changing their lives as she’s passing through, the trip she has embarked on just might help her find the answers she’s looking for but in ways she’d never expect.

a2ROAD TRIP NOW PLEASE?

a4Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid was one of my most anticipated 2014 debuts and I’m happy to report that Let’s Get Lost and I were a good match! I look forward to what Adi Alsaid will write next to be honest.

1. This was one of the most exhilarating road trip I’ve been on in a book: It was the type of book where I could feel the wind in my hair, the bass from the road trip tunes buzzing through my body and the open road before me. Lots of adventures, exploring and the adventure of meeting people on the road. Sometimes you had to suspend disbelief but there were lots of crazy shenanigans that happened on this trip and it was EPIC.  It’s the best part of travel — those stories that are of the “totally doesn’t sound true but it really happened” variety and you seriously could relay those stories to the best of your abilities but you’d never be able to convey how you felt when it happened.

2. The way the story was told was just magical: Not only was the prose just delectable but the way it was written was perfect. So we get the POVs of Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia and the main thread is that Leila has met them on her journey and she just jumps into their lives and changes it in her own way. We get about 60 pages or so of their encounter and then the new encounter happens on the road. So we see Leila through their eyes and learn about her through their encounters. But really she’s still an enigma…like we don’t quite have the whole picture. We get bits of pieces of what kind of person she is but we don’t really know anything about her past and what her reason for traveling to see The Northern Lights is especially when she isn’t consistent in her answers. You get to know the other characters, not SUPER well but in the glimpse one would have with someone you might meet on the road, but you know enough to be invested in their story and then we get to HER story. And OHMYGOD. The momentum of the trip and then we learn about her just took my breath away. In my mind I thought I knew something about her story but NOPE. Wrong.

3. This book was thought-provoking as hell: I love books that really make me think about my own life and the world. This one definitely was that kind of book. I have a new mantra to come out of this book (Seize the Tuesday) and I’ve thought a lot about living life actively and what that means vs. what we think it should look like sometimes.

4. My only downfall was the romance and the character attached to the romance: There was a romance and it initially made me go “EH” because it was kind of insta-lovey and I just didn’t GET the attraction so fast — like I could get why he was attracted to her because she shines BRIGHT but I don’t get her interest at all from what we saw. But I’m glad the romance wasn’t the bulk of the story! I will say that this character’s story grabbed my attention the least while the other ones I was SO invested in. (My favorite was a toss up between Sonia and Bree’s stories).

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ beautiful writing, the storytelling, the ability to create this beautiful enigma around Leila and it pays off, FEELINGS, thought-provoking
- the romance aspect just didn’t work for me

Re-readability: I would actually…despite knowing Leila’s story. There’s just some really great thoughts in here I want to revisit. Great moments. And I especially want to reread after KNOWING Leila’s story to pick up on things I missed.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? YES!! I need this!

a5people who like road trip novels, people who like thought-provoking and soul searching types of books, fans of contemporary YA,

a8

Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid was a journey that left me yearning for my own crazy road trip and doing some major soul searching about Big Life Things all that the same time. Told through snapshots of four people’s encounter with Leila while she passes through town, I found myself desperate to know why Leila’s journey was so important and loved watching how Leila would get entangled in each person’s individual affairs. Like the characters felt the mark of Leila in their life, I found her story to linger well after I finished and I felt so deeply how we are all tethered together in this life and have the ability to make a mark on the people who we encounter — no matter how brief the encounter.

review-on-post-itLet's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
* If you haven’t read it, is it something on your radar or that you think you will read?
* What are some of your favorite road trip books?
* Did you figure out Leila’s story before it was revealed?
* Which was your favorite story out of Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

Book Talk: The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie ConnorThe Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor
Publisher/Year: Katherine Tegan- June 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: Waiting For Normal, Crunch

 
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I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

A1

Bettina’s super strict dad never lets her date or really out of the house much at all. But when she starts talking to Brady, a decently popular and cute guy at school, he manages to woo her dad as well and suddenly Bettina has something she never really had — FREEDOM. Plus a great boyfriend. Until suddenly Brady changes and suddenly isn’t who she thought he was at all. As she tries to figure out what to do with Brady, she meets a much older guy in his twenties who she ends up spending significant time with. As she tries to keep this secret relationship with Cowboy under wraps and keep herself at a distance from Brady without sacrificing her freedom, something that happens that tears it all apart and brings the truth out in the open.

a2*wipes eyes* I need a moment, please. *curls up in a ball*

a4

I did not expect The Things You Kiss Goodbye to make me cry. Nope. Sometimes there are books that I have a hunch that might make me cry but this was not one of them — not even when I was reading it did I think that. But oh did I cry…sob really. It’s really hard to explain how I felt about this one — it affected me for sure but I can’t say it was in a way that was lasting or that made it a favorite but I absolutely couldn’t put it down and think there was so much good about it.

Here’s some of the main things I thought about this one:

1. It certainly was a dramatic, intense story and I felt emotionally devastated by the end: I read this prior to BEA and knew I’d forget things about it if I didn’t write down and one of the first things I wrote was “reminds me of the kind of drama you’d get from a Lifetime movie or a soap opera but less cheesy.” A few days later I saw Blythe say something similar to that and it made me feel better because I didn’t know if I was explaining it right in my preliminary thoughts. There’s a whole slew of intense things in this book: abuse, secrets, family drama, an older man and a thing that happens that was pretty intense and made me weep alongside Bettina. The escalation of emotional things happening made me turn the pages faster for sure and by the end I just wanted to sleep for days because I just felt sad.

2. I never felt anything for the romance but had complicated feelings towards it: So there is a secret romance that happens. I guess the age difference didn’t really bother me — it happens — I saw the struggle there. But I never felt the butterflies or FELT the fireworks as I was reading. But I found myself feeling really invested in it toward the end — even though I didn’t believe necessarily it as it was happening. I can’t explain much more of when I felt invested or else it would give the whole thing away but I was very emotional towards their relationship for REASONS.

3. The whole Bettina and Brady situation made me physically panicky: It was very hard to read about how Brady changes. You see how charming he is and how their relationship starts and it’s really sweet. And then I felt like I wanted to vomit each and every time we started to see this other side of Brady. I seriously felt tense and sick to my stomach when it came to Brady. I think the progression of their relationship was written very well because it definitely got to me as a reader and it felt so plausible. It wasn’t ever this huge, explosive thing but these little things that were just getting more and more aggressive and it made me sick how he could just laugh it off and Bettina could doubt herself. HOWEVER, as much as I think this was written very well, I feel conflicted as to how it was dealt with by the end. I felt like there weren’t any consequences for Brady AT ALL. And I know sometimes that is realistic but I kept having this nagging voice wanting SOMETHING a little more when it came to him.

4. Despite my concerns for Bettina and my empathy for sure, I never quite found her to be a character I thought about after: I really did feel for her and have major anxiety when it came to things going on her life but I always felt a bit of a distance from her. She just never really leaped off the page even though her story definitely did…if that makes ANY sense at all.

a6RATING-LIKED

factors+ page-turning, got me emotionally invested, felt unique in lots of ways
lack of true connection to MC, never truly felt the romance with Cowboy,


Re-readability
: More than likely not to be honest.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Because it wasn’t a favorite/I wouldn’t read it, no. But I’m contemplating buying this for my 17 year old niece for her birthday because I think she’d dig it.

a5people who like books that are a bit more dramatic and pretty damn emotional, people interested in books that feature a more unique relationship (a significantly older guy), readers who don’t shy away from a book where abuse happens, people looking for books that deal with family, readers wanting a POC main character

a8This book hooked me for sure with its emotional intensity and drama. From the Brady situation to the budding romance with Cowboy, an older guy, I couldn’t stop turning the pages because I was nervous for Bettina and how all this would turn out. I felt emotionally devastated by the end and wasn’t sure WHAT to think about the ending in certain ways. I wished for more in different areas –actually FEELING the thing with Cowboy, wishing for a less flat MC — but I can’t deny that I was sucked in.

 

review-on-post-it

The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
* If you haven’t read it, is it something on your radar or that you think you will read?
* Did anyone else wish the whole Brady thing was a little more wrapped up? I just…I could see it being realistic that way but maybe I just wanted some sort of justice or responsibility or something?
* Was I the only one who wasn’t shipping Bettina and Cowboy (and not even because of age for me)?? I liked their relationship but never felt how this romance happened.


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Save The Date: I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

To learn more about why I started doing this Save The Date feature and how it differs from my reviews — go here!

 I'll Give you The sun by Jandy Nelson

 

* Release date according to Goodreads

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Pre-Order It | Add It To Goodreads


What I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson is about:

Jude and Noah are twins and have always been very close — Jude the popular, wild daredevil who is outgoing and fun and Noah the quiet, artistic outcast who loves the boy next door. The cracks in Noah and Jude’s relationship start to form at age 13/14 and one event will completely shatter them (told through Noah’s perspective) and then 3 years later the twins, who are stranger to each other and barely speaking, will start to find their way back to each other (told through Jude’s perspective).

Why You Should Be Saving The Date for I’ll Give You The Sun:

1. The writing is just absolutely gorgeous: In typical Jandy fashion, the writing is just so damn beautiful. It’s an art form with the way she writes — vivid and beautiful imagery and metaphors and these sentences that just evoke so much feeling. I was absolutely tangled up in her prose and wanted to stay there forever.

2. The way the story is told kept me turning the pages: The (very long) chapters are told in alternating fashion — chapters where 13/14 year old Noah tells the story and then 16 year old Jude tells the story 3 years later. So we see the beginning fractures to their relationship through Noah’s eyes and we see where they are in the present through Jude’s eyes and it was just SO effective to hear from both of the twins and also heartbreaking as a reader because we KNOW secrets and key pieces that they are missing that could help repair their relationship. We carry the burden of their secrets and biggest hurts.

3. It’s the best book I’ve read all year: This book was 100% a Jamie book. I’ve already mentioned the FLAWLESS writing but it was just the kind of intensely beautiful and heartbreaking book that always burrows itself inside my heart. Memorable characters, moments that steal your breath away and a portrait of humanness so raw it hurts at times (I wept at times). I wanted to savor it and devour it all at the same time which is the best kind of book for me. Also, I need my finished copy because it WILL be reread ASAP.

4. I finished it and I was speechless. It’s not often that I’m at a loss for words but I’ll Give You The Sun is just a book unlike most. Jandy Nelson is one of the best writers out there in YA and elsewhere and I feel like my words aren’t even worthy enough to begin to talk about this book. The struggle is real, friends, to even begin to try to describe this book. Just experience it and let her writing and storytelling dazzle you. You don’t READ a Jandy Nelson novel, you live it. Her words will ignite you.

 

Who Should Save The Date: fans of Jandy Nelson’s The Sky Is Everywhere obviously, people who like poetic and lyrical writing, fans of Melina Marchetta/Cath Crowley/Hilary T. Smith (I also likened, when I reviewed Shatter Me, her kind of writing to Jandy’s writing if that helps), fans of siblings stories, people who like books that are both heartbreaking and beautiful, lovers of character driven novels, people looking for a unique read, fans of books that make you think, PEOPLE WHO THINK YA CANNOT BE LITERARY (read this and I dare you to tell me that again!)

 

A Sneak Peek: “A horrible flailing monster of a noise comes out of me and then the whole disgusting night wants to come out of me too. I run to the side of the road and throw up each grain of beer and that disgusting drag of a cigarette, ever last lying, revolting kiss, until I’m just a bag of clattering bones” (this is taken from the advanced copy and could be subject to change)

“I think the heart of every living thing on earth is beating in my body.” (this is taken from the advanced copy and could be subject to change)

Be on the lookout for my FULL review closer to the release date where I will flesh out my thoughts a little more!

 

Have you read this one? Are you excited for it?? Putting it on your TBR list?

Book Talk: Tease by Amanda Maciel

Book Talk: Tease by Amanda MacielTease by Amanda Maciel
Publisher/Year: Balzer & Bray- April 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: eARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: None yet! Debut author!

 
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I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

A1

Okay so Tease is told from the perspective of a girl who, along with her best friend and others, bullied another girl who ended up killing herself. It goes back and forth between what started the bullying/led to the suicide and then also is in the present where she’s fighting a case against her and the others for their responsibility in the girl’s death as well as trying to live life after this event.

a2I NEVER WANT TO HAVE KIDS BECAUSE, MAN, BULLYING IS WAY WORSE THAN WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL!

a4What a compelling book! There was a lot of good and then there were some little details that would have made for a BETTER experience for me. I think, altogether, it is a powerful read (albeit a frustrating one at times) that will stir up a good conversation. I absolutely couldn’t put it down because it made my stomach all in knots.

Here’s what I liked about it:

1. Being in the head of the BULLY  made for an interesting experience:  Okay, so I’m just putting it out there. YOU ARE GOING TO BE FRUSTRATED. We are in the head of a girl who bullied a girl with her friends (though her bff was the mastermind) and was AWFUL… and for most of the books can’t see that she did anything wrong. But the thing there was constantly a war waging war in my head because we really get to know her — the good and the bad and what makes her tick — and it made it hard for me to HATE her despite the fact I wanted to strangle her half the time. We see her side of the story and, though I disagree with a lot that she did OBVIOUSLY, I really was able to understand in some ways where she was coming from — NOT that bullying is the answer. The girl who was bullied, Emma, from what we see actually DID things to warrant some of the feelings that she had towards her and was not innocent in the beginning situation. Stealing her boyfriend? Yeah no. Not cool. I GET that rage. I was mad FOR her. (Mad at the boyfriend too). I get the wanting revenge (not the actual carrying out of). I get that sometimes jealousy and fear and insecurities can manifest and it’s not pretty. I GET IT.  As humans we are capable of these ugly emotions and feel them intensely. But the actual letting those feelings manifest into action like THAT? That’s where it was hard to stomach for me and I would feel so angry as 28 year old reader Jamie like, “NO! WHY! STOP!” But then I would feel compassion for her because, as a reader, we know she’s not just a 100% evil person despite what an AWFUL thing she was part of (and as an old lady I was like…ahh so many years to learn and grow from this).

It’s not black and white and I LOVED THAT because people rarely are so easy to put into a box. We never know the whole story — sometimes we just see the tip of the iceberg and we don’t know what is going on underneath. This story really captured that on all sides — especially Sara and a bit with Emma. There was obvious wrong and right but there was A LOT of grey for the reader to wade through.

2. It’s so, so relevant with all the bullying cases making headlines: There’s so many questions this novel brings up and I love that the author did not answer them but posed them through this story. There’s a lot to navigate — especially with online bullying. Emma’s bullying takes place in school, harassment outside of school and there is some vicious bullying on social media. During the whole book there’s the questions of: who is responsible? Should the bullies be held responsible and to what degree? What constitutes bullying and what is just catty teen stuff? It was just a really thought-provoking and compelling read because it’s so realistic and relevant.

Now despite the gripping and page-turning aspects and all the GOOD there were some things I needed to make it better:

1. At certain points it would linger and I found myself bored: Some of the timeline kind of would drag out and I’d just kind of be like OKAY LET’S GET ON WITH THIS.

2. I felt like a lot of the other characters fell a bit flat: I felt like our main character was really pretty fleshed out but some of the other characters just had nothing to them at all which frustrated me. Even with the one moment of vulnerability we see with Brielle, I still felt she just felt like a standard mean girl with nothing really to her. Carmichael was the most fully realized character, I thought, besides Sara but I still felt like he didn’t JUMP out at me. I liked him alright but I felt like I was missing something in his development. And even Emma was just like this sort of person to me. We know she steals Sara’s boyfriend and clearly has some things going on in her own life but other than that she just IS the person Sara is fighting against. I wish we could have learned more about her in the end. OR oh my gosh I would love an Emma novella or something to learn more about her!

 

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ the complexity of the main character, the unique way this story is told, how much it made me think & the conversation that can happen because of this book
- bad pacing at times despite me furiously turning pages for most of it, a lot of flat characters

Re-readability: Probably not. It was a one time read kind of deal.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No but I want to buy it for every teen I know! And I want to make sure all the teachers and libraries have it on their shelves (I wish I could fund that).

a5people who don’t mind really difficult characters, people who are interested in books about bullying or slut-shaming that isn’t preachy and shows different sides, people who are looking for a good conversation starter or book club read (MAN I wish my book club read this), lovers of contemporary YA that deal with tough issues, people who liked Speechless by Hannah Harrington

a8What a uniquely crafted story dealing with bullying and slut-shaming that manages to NOT be preachy or make everything black and white. I was so intrigued by the POV of the bully and loved the switching of the story in the past and the present. I love a book that I REALLY have to engage with and think about and this book was certainly that. While it wasn’t a technically WOW book for me for a couple reasons, it really did absolutely pull me in and I do recommend it!

 

review-on-post-it tease-amanda-maciel

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
* If you haven’t read it, is it something on your radar or that you think you will read?
* If you read, HOW FRUSTRATED WERE YOU WITH SARA ON A SCALE OF 1-10?? Did it impact your rating of the book or no? (It did not impact my rating personally).
* Does anyone else need an Emma novella?? LIKE I NEED IT.


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: Life By Committee by Corey Ann Haydu

Book Talk: Life By Committee by Corey Ann HayduLife By Committee by Corey Ann Haydu
Publisher/Year: Katherine Tegan- May 2013
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: OCD Love Story (which I am dying to read now!)

 
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I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

A1

Tabitha has been ditched by her friends who think she’s suddenly changed just because she’s gotten bigger boobs and become a bit of a beauty. She’s dealing with mean rumors at school. Her parents are having a baby. And the boy she thinks she is in love with (whom she’s sure shares the same feelings)  and has been secretly hooking up with? He has a girlfriend. It’s almost serendipitous that she finds this online community called Life By Committee to share her secret relationship with. The rules? If you share a secret, you will be given an assignment to compete within  a certain amount of time that ensures YOUR secret is kept safe. The assignments give Tab a chance to do things, related to her secrets, that she would never do on her own — a chance to take risks and be bold — until they assignments toe the line of causing absolute havoc in her life and the lives around her.

a2HOLY SHIT. *sends frantic g-chat to April saying,  “LIFE BY COMMITTEE. Read that shit!”

a4WOW. This book. It was as addictive as it was powerful and thought-provoking. I’m going to have a hard time talking about this one. You should know it made my top ten books of 2014 so far…that’s how much I loved it!

Here’s what you need to know:

1. I FREAKING LOVED EVERY MOMENT OF IT. Everything about this book was just flawless for me and MAN Corey Ann Haydu can WRITE. The things I need for a book to really stand out were in this book. It was complex, beautifully written, gripping and thought-provoking. Honestly I’m really frustrated because I don’t have the words to explain what an EXPERIENCE this book was.

2. The story nor the characters are of the “neat and tidy bow” variety: The main character, Tabitha, is not always someone you like and you are going to cringe often because of her though, actually at her core, I really LIKED her. We would be friends despite me not liking her actions sometimes. I mean, there is cheating and Tabitha KNOWS the guy  has a girlfriend and she does it anyway. Some of the decisions made because of the Committee are going to infuriate you. The story is not always black and white and Tabitha is just trying to figure it all out because life is not so simple always. I could feel myself wanting to SHOUT about things but, in my heart, I could UNDERSTAND things — the way Tabitha is acting because of how she’s been treated at school, how alone she felt in not yielding to what people wanted her to be, etc.  But it was such a raw portrait of how we as humans deal with the mistakes we’ve made in life. It’s messy and complicated and imperfect and I LOVED IT. And it just isn’t Tabitha that but also some of the secondary characters…and they just were all such so ALIVE and complex..just the way I like it. Lots of learning and picking up the pieces to the messes you’ve made — not just for Tabitha but for other characters.

3. The concept was TOTALLY original! Secret online society? HELL YEAH: I was fascinated by the idea of this online community from the initial idea of it — a community that would keep your deepest secrets, but in return for telling a secret, you would get an assignment related to that secret and HAD to complete what they told you to do or all your secrets would be shared. I totally felt how exhilarating this new community was as someone who has gotten sucked into MANY online communities. There’s that camaraderie. That obsessive logging in and just being OBSESSED WITH IT. I was always dying to know what assignment would be given next. I could totally understand Tabitha’s interest in being bold and DOING things which is what the assignment’s were supposed to do — push the limits with whatever situation you were dealing with. It was exciting and I think, at the core, it was supposed to be super empowering. But then you see what happens when other people start dictating your life for you and how maybe that isn’t a good thing especially as some of the assignments get a little bit out of hand and could have some really lasting effects.

4. Seriously, this book was addictive and unpredictable in the best way possible. You’ll be reading faster and faster because you want to know what is going to happen next with Tabitha’s missions and then a point came where something happens and it was VERY MUCH an “OMG” moment for me because I sat STRAIGHT up from my lounging position (to which Will laughed and said, “Shit must have gotten REAL in your book.” and I was FRANTICALLY flipping back through the whole book to see THINGS.

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ writing, plot, characterization, addictive factor…really it has it ALL.
- NADA

Re-readability: I already want to read it again!!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Absolutely!

a5people who don’t mind characters who make big mistakes and are super unlikeable at times, contemporary YA lovers who like messy & complicated stories, people who like smart & thought-provoking books

a8

Corey Ann Haydu’s Life by Committee is one of my favorite books I’ve read so far this year. It’s addictive, well-written and the way in which it constructs and deconstructs these characters just drives home the fact that PEOPLE and interactions are complex and life is messy. There are a lot of really thought-provoking themes that kept me up late at night that are woven together brilliantly with the page-turning plot that never became predictable. Highly recommend!

review-on-post-it

Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
* If you haven’t read it, is it something on your radar or that you think you will read?
* Did you find yourself sympathizing with Tabitha or no?
* Did you kind of LOVE the idea of this online community at first and then were like OH NO NO STOP?
* Were you SHOCKED by THE THING?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

Book Talk: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin RaeWish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Publisher/Year: Bloomsbury USA Childrens- May 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: None!

 
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I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

A1

Pippa is off to Italy for the summer except she’s not at all excited that she’s being forced to go to this art program by her parents. When she finds herself ALONE and in ROME she embraces spontaneity and decides to spend her summer in Italy but NOT how her parents are expecting her to.  She ditches the art program and decides to travel on her which opens her up to new friends, some cute boys and incredible memories.

a2GET ME BACK TO ITALY, PRONTO!

a4What a cute, adventure-filled romance! It was a really good summer read that simultaneously cured and riled up the travel bug in me. I enjoyed and breezed right through it and really enjoyed Pippa’s full story — her relationship with her mom and grandma, the romance, her adventure and seeing the world through new eyes.

Here are the highlights for me:

1. The travel descriptions absolutely transported me: Seriously, Kristin Rae nailed the Italian setting and just completely immersing you in this adventure as a reader. I hated when I had to put it down and be reminded that OH WAIT I’M JUST HERE ON MY COUCH instead of eating gelato (True story: the main character went to the same gelato shop I ate at) or staring at the Coliseum all wide-eyed because of how her descriptions just invited all your senses to just plop right into the story and experience it all alongside Pippa.  The descriptions were just really fantastic and were exactly like what I NEED in a good travel-y novel to satiate my wanderlust temporarily and then make me start fake planning trips immediately after. (Seriously, Will was so irritated with how much my wanderlust HOWLED during and in the days after reading this one). I loved revisiting Rome and seeing more of Italy through this book.

207307_502515195062_247_nfrom my trip in 2007

2. What a sweet romantic hook: I always dreamed of being swept off my feet but some hot Italian when I went  to Italy. (It would only ever be a dream because I had just started dating Will haha). So I completely understood where Pippa was coming from in making “fall in love an Italian” one of the things on her list. Oh and then there’s a charming American boy too! I wouldn’t say there is a love triangle really. I mean, she has feelings for both guys and entertains both ideas but her feelings all make sense to me honestly. I loved watching her try to figure out her feelings for both guys — one who is sexy and more exciting and the other the sweetest guy ever. I liked them both as people but there was only ONE in my mind. But the swoonworthy moments just absolutely made me melt. I CAN’T EVEN TELL YOU. Especially the end.

3. I loved the premise and how Pippa really did embrace this opportunity: I thought it was a fun premise that the main character would be sent to Italy for an art program that she had no interest in and then she decides to do what SHE wants to. At first I’m like, CHILD THIS IS DANGEROUS but then I saw Pippa has a good head on her shoulder and makes sure somebody knows where she is. I know I learned a lot about myself through travel and I enjoyed Pippa start to, from the moment she chose to say yes to this adventure, to really start to see herself, her parents and the world through new eyes. This is the element that made it more than just a cute romance and I enjoyed this self-discovery and seeing how her perspectives shifted and changed in certain areas.

And now I’ll share some pictures of little College Jamie in Italy!

208164_502555125042_6661_nTrevi Fountain, bring me back!

207215_502515439572_3483_nFlorence!

215642_502515359732_8572_nVatican!

207189_503020836752_6364_nSeriously, I wanted to faint when I saw the Colosseum. History made my bones just giddy.

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ the fun, the romance, the travel
- Nothing really.

Re-readability: Possibly but um can this be a movie?? I’d watch it!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I’m split. I want one just because what if I need an immediate armchair adventure to Italy but I’m picky about what stays on my shelves. Has to be a favorite or I know for sure I would reread it (and I don’t re-read a TON). I would, however, purchase it for a friend if I knew they dug travel-y YA novels.

a5People who like light and fun contemporary YA with substance, people who want fun travel novels, lovers of cute romances

a8Wish You Were Italian was a charming armchair adventure through Italy complete with a side of heart-melting romance and self discovery! It was a great story as a whole and the vivid descriptions just completely transported you to the point where you might start to question yourself if you were really there or not. My heart felt as light as cotton candy while reading this one (except for the one part that made me CRY) while also wrestling with some of the things Pippa was struggling with — her parents, knowing what she wanted, etc. Perfect read in the summertime but also a great way to battle winter blue’s I’d imagine.

 

review-on-post-itwish-you-were-italian-kristin-rae

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
* If you haven’t read it, is it something on your radar or that you think you will read?
* What are some other books that make you all wanderlust-y??

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: Just One Night By Gayle Forman (JOD/JOY Novella)

Book Talk: Just One Night By Gayle Forman (JOD/JOY Novella)Just One Night by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #2.5
Publisher/Year: Viking Juvenile- May 29, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Other Books From Author: If I Stay/Where She Went, Just One Day/Just One Year, Sisters in Sanity

 
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SPOILERS AHOY FOR JUST ONE DAY/JUST ONE YEAR so if you haven’t read those yet…beware!

A1This literally picks up where Just One Year leaves off which is where the door opens. So we find out what happens next after Allyson and Willem have finally found each other.

a2SMILE. HAPPY SIGH. Now I need to re-read Just One Day.

a4Here was my thought process when I first found out that Gayle Forman wrote the Just One Night novella:

1. OMG NEW WORDS FROM GAYLE FORMAN. I NEED.

2.  I really don’t like buying novellas but FINE OKAY IT’S GAYLE.

3. But…I LOVED THE ENDING. It doesn’t need a novella to me. I have how it all goes down in my mind.

4. However, I won’t pass up more time with Allyson and Willem and company.

Here’s the thing: you either found the ending of Just One Year to be satisfying (like I did) or you were furious about how it ended with them opening the door and us not knowing what happens beyond that. I know so many people just wanted to know what happened (I totally did) and hated the fact that we watch them look for each other and we don’t get to see the “end results” so to speak. I totally get it but I felt differently (and I think in the minority?).

For me, the ending to Just One Year was perfect because, even though it was about THEM finding and losing and finding each other again, it was also mostly for me about them finding themselves in the first place. So, as much as I would have LOVED to see the happily ever after and all the nitty gritty details of their reunion, I was at a state of complete contentedness with the ending. It felt full circle and I saw two people who were changed by an encounter they had a year ago reunite as very different people.  They lost each other but they had found themselves. And them being reunited, to me, was just this confirmation that taking risks and letting yourself become who you want to be by saying YES is life changing. But this is just my opinion and it’s probably TOTALLY biased because Just One Day changed my life. Literally. Like action was taken because of this book so that stuck with ME as I read Just One Year as well.

So now that we’ve talked about where I was with my feelings going INTO Just One Night(because that’s important)…let’s talk about Just One Night:

I really enjoyed it! I didn’t NEED it but it made me smile and honestly was kind of perfect. I can’t say a lot HAPPENED in it so if you are looking for some HUGE, dramatic fireworks-and-they-lived-happily-ever-afters kind of thing I didn’t see it as that (I mean, it’s a night) but it still gave me those happily ever after feels anyways because of everything they gained in the first place and the possibilities that there WERE for the future (especially as we learn in Just One Year about a potential job offer that would take Willem to the US). It complemented Just One Year nicely in the way it ends to be honest. It was quiet (okay, the sexual tension and FEELS was anything but quiet) but exciting and FULL of feelings and answers.

I was really pleased that it started from the exact second the door opened. Everything that happened seemed so realistic after that. The emotions and FEELINGS after all the longing and searching. The wanting to talk about everything they both had been through. The exuberance shared with friends who knew their journey to find each other. I LOVED watching them put the pieces together about how they found each other and how hard they searched. Everything that happened was exactly what I think would happen in that scenario. The whole night was the perfect kind of reunion and I loved that we were reunited with so many important characters that aided them to get where they were. I had lots of FEELINGS (happy ones) and I don’t want to give too much away but it was a really nice peek into what happened after the door opened and I was really pleased with it as someone who had already had a whole made-up reunion and thoughts of Allyson and Willem years down the road in my head immediately after I finished Just One Year.

a6loved-it factors+ Nice glimpse into what happened AFTER that I felt pleased with though I didn’t NEED the “closure”, feelings!!, worth the 99 cents for the reunion
- SO SHORT (but this is because I could read about them for forever)

Re-readability: I probably wouldn’t reread it but I will re-read Just One Day and Just One Year (many times)!! Would I buy a copy for my collection? Already did. Gayle Forman is insta-buy for me so even a novella gets bought if she writes it.

a5Fans of Just One Day/Just One Year who are curious about what happened after the door opened!

a8 I didn’t necessarily NEED this novella because I was very satisfied with the way Just One Year ended but I’m glad I read it because I was curious how their reunion went and I wouldn’t pass that up ever! It was a quick novella that gave the perfect, realistic glimpse into their reunion night and brought them full circle as two people who changed a lot over the course of the year after their life changing encounter. Happy feelings for sure!   review-on-post-it Just One Night by Gayle Forman

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless! * Were you pleased with the ending of JOY and how did that affect how you went into this one (if you read it) or are thinking about it (if you haven’t yet read it). The Perpetual Page-Turner

Save The Date: Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

To learn more about why I started doing this Save The Date feature and how it differs from my reviews — go here!

 Falling Into Place review Amy Zhang

 

* Release date according to Goodreads

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

Pre-Order It | Add It To Goodreads


What Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang is about:

Liz Emerson, a popular junior, decides to drive herself off the road and into the tree. Nobody knows, except the mysterious narrator who pieces Liz’s story together for us, that she did it on purpose — everyone assumes it was an accident because of an icy road. The story unfolds as Liz’s family, friends, and classmates find out and cope with the news and flips back and forth to the past and the present to tell the story.

Why You Should Be Saving The Date for Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang:

1. I could not put Falling Into Place down. It just sort of crept up on me, dug its claws into me and I just had this pit in my stomach until I could finish it. The plot mixed with the way it made me feel propelled me forward.

2. It was tragically beautiful and heartwrenching and really, really stripped down the characters: At a glance, these characters could have been one dimensional but as the story is told it really strips down the characters, (and the relationships I would say) in all their complexities and they  just became so vulnerable to me. Even the “dislikeable” ones. Which you could say there are a few. The relationships and friendships are rather unhealthy and, as a reader, you just feel like “OMG WHY STOP.” As you read you see why it all lead up to this destructive event.

3. The narrator is fascinating: It’s told by a mysterious narrator who sees and knows all and is told in a non-linear way (meaning flashbacks and jumping around to different places in the story). It’s easy, after a little while, to guess at who the narrator is but it was a really, really effective way to tell the story.

4. It made me weep at 1am. It’s a quiet novel but it creeps up on you and just lays you out like a wrecking ball does and caused all my insides to crumble.

 

Who Should Save The Date: people who like quiet novels that really dissect the characters, people who want lovely prose, people who like unique narrators, lovers of the complexities of human interaction and motives

 

A Sneak Peek: “Force. Liz. She looked around and saw all the broken things in her wake, and then she looked inside herself and saw the spidering cracks from the weight of all the things she had done. She hated what she was and didn’t know how to change, and half an hour before she drove her car off the road, she saw that despite all of that, she didn’t have enough force to stop the world from turning. But she had enough to stop her own.” (this is taken from the advanced copy and could be subject to change)

Be on the lookout for my FULL review closer to the release date where I will flesh out my thoughts a little more!

 

Have you read this one? Are you excited for it?? Putting it on your TBR list?

Book Talk: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Book Talk: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny HanTo All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Series: To All The Boys #1
Publisher/Year: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers- April 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Other Books From Author: The Summer Series, Burn For Burn series, Shug

 
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I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

A1OH MY GOSH WORST NIGHTMARE EVER. So Lara Jean writes letters to boys she’s loved or really crushed on when she really needs to just let them go. After she writes them she hides them in a hat box and they are safe and secure…until one day they are not. She finds out that all the letters have been mailed to the boys and she’s forced to confront these boys that have been a part of her past and her present all while trying to keep her family together as her older sister has moved across the world for college.

a2OMG I NEED THE SEQUEL (it’s a duology). I don’t want this to end. I need to KNOW THE THINGS.

a4You ever have one of those really delightful reads where you open your mouth to speak about it and you end up doing some high pitched squeal and clapping your hands emphatically? No? Just me? Okay. Well that was To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before for me. Let’s talk about WHY!

1. Lara Jean is one of the most fabulous characters I’ve encountered in a while! I just want to park my butt in the kitchen and chat while she bakes cookies and I eat them all. I LOVED being in her head and I just feel like we would have been friends — her fab sense of style right down to HS Jamie’s skiddish-ness about driving. I really connected with her in the absence of her mom and navigating the changes going on her life. I really just slipped right in next to her and watched everything unfold along with her and I didn’t want the experience to be over. She made me laugh quite a bit and I just really loved her to death! She just shines. I haven’t adored a main character like this in a while. My only thing is that at times her voice seemed super young (inner monologue mostly) and then it didn’t.

2. HOLY CRAP I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO TORN ABOUT A FICTIONAL LOVE LIFE EVER: I mean, I know who I WANT her to be with but oh my gawd the tension and the complications and GAH. But seriously…her love life because of these letters coming out was just so absolutely fascinating! I LOVED IT. I don’t want to say much because I want YOU to discover it for yourself but I loved how the letters brought about truths

3. Sisterly bonds for the win: I have sisters and so I tend to really dig books exploring the complex relationships of sisters. I felt like I really got to know each sister through their bond with Lara Jean and I really understood how they worked as a unit. I loved those sisters! And I could feel their resilience and their need to take care of each other all these years after they lost their mom. And I really could feel that strain and the shift of things in their household when Margot leaves. Lara Jean becomes the one who has to take Margot’s place in keeping everything running the household and watching her try to do that just reinforced just how much they had relied on each other as a unit — to take care of each other, their dad and just to keep the household going in general.

4. Diversity FTW! Lara Jean is half Korean (her mom was Korean) and I loved that we get a sense of her culture which I loved but it’s not the only thing about her as a character (because, to me, that’s not how it is in real life. One’s heritage is not your defining THING). I loved how her dad still tried to keep their Korean roots present as best as he could after their mom passed. It was sweet and touching. Also, HELL YES to the cover model actually not being whitewashed!!

a6loved-it

factors+ characters, plot, writing, could not put it down, the romantic tension, how it made me grin a ton but was still very heartfelt
- nothing really (so close to being a BEYOND LOVED)

Re-readability: YES! In fact I would like to already.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? YES. It would definitely be a keeper on my shelf.

a5Fans of Jenny Han (though the voice is way different than Belly’s), maybe even readers who weren’t fans of The Summer I Turned Pretty because of a lack of connection with Belly, contemporary YA fans who want a story that will make them grin like a fool but that is also very heartfelt.

a8To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before exceeded my expectations. I was drawn in by the plot (I mean, all your secret love letters being sent to the boys you wrote them to??) and it absolutely delivered on everything that could have gone with that. Everything was just impeccable in this story — Lara Jean’s voice, the romance, the family dynamics and just the overall FEELING I got from reading it. It embodies youth in the best way possible and was a very charming and heartfelt story. Warm and fuzzies, y’all. It’s one that is a must read for fans of contemporary YA because it’s just so, so great and I think it has all the things that drew us to realistic teen fiction in the first place. A very refreshing read for me!

 

review-on-post-it

To All The Boys I've Loved Before

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
* If you haven’t read it, is it something on your radar or that you think you will read?
* Did you love Lara Jean like I did?
* And HOLY TENSION AT THE END. Who here is DYING for the resolution??


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

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