Book Talk: Girl Against The Universe by Paula Stokes

Book Talk: Girl Against The Universe by Paula StokesGirl Against The Universe by Paula Stokes
Published by HarperTeen on May 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Liars, Inc.
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

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

 

 

 

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

 

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Maguire considers herself unlucky and a danger to be around after she survives, without a scratch, a fatal car accident that kills her brother and father and then a few more incidents happen in the following years that has her coming to this conclusion. To keep others safe, she stays at home a lot and tries to be around the least amount of people — all the while constantly checking for things that could be a potential hazard. When she meets Jordy at her therapist’s office he’s determined to help her see that she’s not actually unlucky and helps her to complete the tasks her therapist has helped her come up with but everything within Maguire tells her to not let Jordy get to close and risk something bad happening to him.

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What I’ve Been Reading Lately – Mini Book Talks

I had a bunch of books I read I read before vacation and then after and I’m just behind so here’s some mini book talks to let you know what I thought about some of my recent reads.

 

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The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith

I received this for review consideration but this in no way affected my opinions.

 

About In A Sentence (ish): The Way I Used To Be chronicles the high school years of a girl named Eden who was raped by her brother’s best friend and how that night, and the pain of how deep she buries it within her, changed her whole world.

Thoughts: Oof this one hurt my heart. It was so hard to watch how the rape and keeping the secret of it slowly changes her so that she’s so far from the person she was. I enjoyed that it didn’t just show the immediate effect and aftermath but how it changed her over time in those 4 years and the lasting effects on her life. As I’m writing this I’ve following and sick to death over the whole Stanford rape case and even more furious that this guy will get six months when this girl will live with this for a lifetime. This book really showed a powerful glimpse into what rape survivors may go through though obviously everyone’s experience and reaction is different. Eden’s secret pain and the way she tries to cope with what happened to her will break your heart but her strength will leave a lasting mark on readers. Read this if you enjoyed Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn.

 

Rating:

RATING-reallyliked

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Book Talk & GIVEAWAY: You Know Me Well by David Levithan & Nina LaCour

Book Talk & GIVEAWAY: You Know Me Well by David Levithan & Nina LaCourYou Know Me Well by David Levithan, Nina LaCour
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on June 7, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: The Lover's Dictionary, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Every Day, Two Boys Kissing, Boy Meets Boy, Everything Leads To You
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

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

 

 

 

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

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Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed. That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way. When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other— and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.


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I am a big fan of David Levithan’s work and super enjoyed Nina LaCour’s Everything Leads To You so I was very excited to read a book co-written by the two because I know I love both of their writing and they both have this knack for these poignant stories that make me think a lot. And they certainly delivered!!

3 reasons I really enjoyed it:

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Book Talk: This is Where The World Ends by Amy Zhang

Book Talk: This is Where The World Ends by Amy ZhangThis Is Where The World Ends by Amy Zhang
Published by Greenwillow Books on March 22, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Mystery
Also by this author: Falling Into Place
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

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

 

 

 

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

 

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Janie and Micah have been friends since they were young — but mostly in secret and especially at their high school where they act like they don’t even know each other. They are mostly opposites in every way but their secret always just seemed to work and was always an adventure. But then something happens one night and Micah can’t remember anything surrounding the night of a party and Janie won’t answer his texts or calls as he struggles to remember and put the pieces together while the cops keep asking him questions.

a2NEED TIME TO PROCESS…..

a4Have you ever finished a book and legitimately not know whether you liked it or not?? That’s how I feel with this one. Amy Zhang’s debut, Falling Into Place, was a book I raaaaaved and raved about the year it was published and I was so excited to see what Amy Zhang would do next.

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Book Talk: A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Book Talk: A Study In Charlotte by Brittany CavallaroA Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Published by Katherine Tegan on March 1, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Mystery
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

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

 

 

 

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

 

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It’s set in a world where Sherlock and Watson really existed and their two of their descendants in the modern world end up going to the same boarding school. A murder happens at the school, Jamie & Charlotte are suspects and they work together to solve the mystery and clear their name.

a2WAHHH I JUST REALLY WANT THE NEXT SEASON OF SHERLOCK but this was fun in the meantime

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Book Talk: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Book Talk: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff GarvinSymptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
Published by Balzer & Bray on February 2, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

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

 

 

 

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

 

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Riley identifies as gender fluid — some days Riley identifies as a boy and other days as a girl — but Riley isn’t exactly out or open up being gender fluid. The comments and looks have already started at Riley’s new school plus Riley’s conservative congressman of a father is up for reelection so things have been pretty intense. On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to have an outlet to let loose some of those feelings. In addition to writing about school, crushes and family, Riley writes raw posts about what it feels like to be gender fluid and the blog ends up going viral bringing with it an incredible response…. and an anonymous commenter who threatens to share Riley’s identity.

a2Riley is an important character I’m glad to see in YA!

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What a unique POV in this novel that I really appreciated for the fact that 1) it might speak to a teen/any person who hasn’t been able to find a label that fits them and 2) it would educate others. Prior to the last year or two, I wouldn’t have had any clue what gender fluid meant. But thanks to Twitter and the YA community I’ve learned a lot outside of what I thought was just straight/gay/lesbian/bi/trans. I’m thankful to learn and to be challenged.

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What I’ve Been Reading Lately

 

As I said in this post, I got a lot of reading done during my unintentional blog break due to hurting my right wrist. So much so that I have quite the backlog of things to talk about but don’t feel like trying to squeeze in a bunch of individual posts about! So let’s get to some of these:

 

My Brilliant Friend series

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

About In A Sentence (ish): It’s about the ever changing friendship between Lila and Elena as they grow up in Naples, Italy in the 195o’s. (That’s totally simplifying it but there’s so much!!)

Thoughts: One of the ugliest covers I’ve ever seen. Truly. When I went to go read this I hadn’t heard much about it — it was a pick for a book club a new friend invited me to join! I went to get it from the library and there were like 140 something holds for it and I’m like WUT — I have NEVER heard of this book and it came out years ago. Come to find out it has become super popular recently! Anyways, this one was sooo slow to start and it was hard to follow at times — because it jumps around from stories from the girls’ childhoods and there are A LOT of people referenced and sometimes not a lot is actually happening. But then slowly I realized I was SOOO immersed in their story and couldn’t put it down…it just happened without me realizing how much I was falling in love with the story and these girls. The writing is incredible and her ability to construct these characters just impressed me so much. Their friendship is complicated (the competitiveness, the way they would come and go with each other at periods of time, the loyalty) and kind of toxic but I found myself fascinated by it and fascinated by where it will go.  I was fascinated (and saddened often) by all the dynamics working in their poverty-filled neighborhood in 1950’s Naples — which was a GREAT setting by the way! I definitely plan on getting to the next one because this one ends when they are 16 and I know A LOT is going to happen throughout the years…especially based on HOW the novel started. It’s honestly just such a smart book about A LOT of things, not solely a friendship, and I wish I could properly talk about it. It’s just such a masterpiece of a book that it’s so hard to explain what exactly makes it so great because it’s a lot of things!

 

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

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Book Talk: Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

Book Talk: Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila SalesTonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
Published by Farrer Straus and Giroux on September 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: This Song Will Save Your Life
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

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

 

 

 

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

 

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Arden is recklessly loyal and always has been. She cares about her friends and family and really does a lot for everybody but lately she’s feeling like she’s being taken forgranted and that maybe she loves and cares for people just a bit more than they love her. An existential google search has her stumbling upon a blog called Tonight the Streets Are Ours that’s written by a guy named Peter who ends up writing things that speak directly to her soul and who she ends up pouring over his every entry. On a whim she and her best friend take off on a road trip to find this guy whose life she feels so connected to for one wild night in the city where she learns a bit about what she needs and wants as well as the fact that Peter might not be who she thought he is.

a2*muses on internet life and curation of our lives and all the things*

a4This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales is a book I super love. Like really high up there for me. Tonight The Streets Are Ours didn’t quite make me feel like that one did but I really did enjoy this one (I mean, I read it in a whole afternoon) and it made me think A LOT about internet life because Leila weaves a lot of interesting thoughts about how we curate our lives for the internet.

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Save The Date: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

To learn more about why I created/started doing this Save The Date feature back in 2012 and how it differs from my reviews — go here!

 I received this book for review consideration and that has zero affect on my opinions on it. PINKIE SWEAR.

 

The Serpent King

* Release date according to Goodreads

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

Pre-Order It | Add It To Goodreads


What The Serpent King is about:

Dill has always been a little bit of an outcast with a super religious Pentecostal preacher dad whose preaching is a bit unorthodox and extreme — aka his congregation frequently handles poisonous snakes during the sermon. But he fell even further into outcast land, and pretty hard, after his father’s public and awful fall from grace which has affected a lot at home, too. His two best friends, Lydia and Travis, are fellow outcasts in their small Southern town. Lydia runs a very popular fashion blog, dresses quite differently than her classmates and has her eye on moving to NYC as soon as high school is over. Travis, mostly content with staying after graduation, is often lost in a popular fantasy series and its fandom where he finds people who GET him. They’ve always stuck together to survive this town but now, with graduation nearing, the uncertainty of the future and their friendship going forward weighs heavily as plans to leave and stay are made and dreams are becoming realized.

Why You Should Be Saving The Date for The Serpent King:

Do you know that feeling when you read something and you are just like YEP. THAT’S IT. THIS IS PERFECT. THIS IS THE KIND OF BOOK I LIVE FOR”? Pretty much the whole time I was reading The Serpent King I felt like this. It’s this feeling I can’t describe and I wish I had the words for it. It’s just this feeling I get whenever I encounter a new favorite book or a book that just has something special. The Serpent King is both of those things. It was everything. It had all the things I want out of a book no matter what the genre is. I have to be honest — my go-to is contemporary YA — but lately, while I’ve been loving many I’ve read, I haven’t been having those books that just stop me in my tracks as much as I used to. But The Serpent King? Like the venom from a serpent, this book made quick work of coursing its magic through me as I read and affecting every inch of my being until by the end I just was rendered incapacitated and alone in a puddle of book feels with one massive book hangover to which there is no anti-venom for.

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Book Talk: Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

Book Talk: Underwater by Marisa ReichardtUnderwater by Marisa Reichardt
Published by Farrer Straus and Giroux on January 12, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

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

 

 

 

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

 

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Morgan survived a horrible tragedy — one that she feels partly guilty for because of an act of kindness she did that day. Racked with fear and guilt, Morgan has not been able to leave apartment she shares with her mom and brother and truly move forward after everything that happened. She’s lost her friends, attends high school via the internet and her therapist comes to her home once a week to try to work through this with her. And then Evan moves in next door and she’s confronted with the life that she’s missing and his presence starts to stir in her a desire to see the outside world again.

a2Very heavy book, oof. Need something happy next!!

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One of the worst feelings is finishing a book and just not really feeling what you know you probably should have. Which is really sad because there were moments in this book that were great and really affected me.   I should be overwhelmed with emotional connection given the content of this novel but I just wasn’t in the grand scheme when I finished. In small moments, yes. I was there. But when I finished I was like I was left wanting more overall.

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