Book Talk: Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

Book Talk: Falling Into Place by Amy ZhangFalling Into Place by Amy Zhang
Publisher/Year: Greenwillow Books- September 9, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: None, this is her debut!
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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
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.

a2*CURLS UP IN FETAL POSITION*

a4

I gave you my early thoughts on this book and I still can’t stop thinking about it to be honest. I know it’s been a tough read for some because they hate the characters or didn’t like the storytelling but this book was a major WIN for me!  So let’s talk about it.

1. You will hate all the characters mostly: At first I was like GOOD GOD THESE PEOPLE ARE AWFUL and it’s not even like they ever become super loveable characters even by the end. But I felt like page by page these characters and their relationships with one another got even more and more stripped down and dissected and it made them more vulnerable to me. They weren’t just one dimensional even if they gave that vibe in the beginning for me.  You see characters who have become something that they probably would have never imagined themselves being and you would think it would be simple for them to just change and stop being awful human beings but sometimes you don’t realize how deep you are in and when you do change seems impossible.

2. It’s a really quiet kind of novel but made a huge visceral reaction within me that I didn’t expect: I wouldn’t say I was 100% into this novel at first but rather it was the kind of book that page by page crept up on me and dug it’s claws into me. I seriously had that pit in my stomach feeling as I kept reading faster and faster and the devastation plowed through me like a wrecking ball to the heart and made all my insides crumble. It was a combination of the way the story was told, the plot and all of these really unhealthy relationships. I just felt like I was propelled forward by how sick this book made me feel at times and I just needed to find out how it would end. It made me weep at 1am and I just wanted to curl up in a little ball because it made me feel just a litttttlle bit too much. The emotional response I had to this one surprised me and suddenly my cheeks were damp and my heart hurt.

3. I LOVED how this story was told as it was super unique and really effective: I’m not going to tell you who the narrator is but it kept me guessing a little bit until it dawned on me who it could be. We aren’t told who they are and they can see and know everything but slowly you begin to figure out who it is telling the story. I also really loved the non-linear way in which this story was told. All the flashbacks and detours made my mounting anxiety even more heightened.

4. PRETTY PRETTY WORDS: I loved the prose so much. For example: “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.”

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ writing, storytelling, emotional response, uniqueness
- Nada

Re-readability: YEP I would because it’s one of those books where I almost NEED to go back and read it again.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Yes!

a5people 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, people who don’t mind not loving characters, people who like “darker” contemporary YA (because this certainly isn’t LIGHT)

a8Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang probably isn’t going to be for everyone but it was definitely a ME book. Quiet and unassuming and then an onslaught of emotional chaos for me by the end. I loved the beautiful prose and the unique narration and how it added to my mounting “pit-in-the-stomach” feeling while reading this one. I felt it all. Can’t wait to read more from Amy Zhang — she’s brilliant!

review-on-post-itFalling Into Place by Amy Zhang

 

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, does this book feel like something you’d be into?
* Did you guess who the narrator was?

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: Random by Tom Leveen

Book Talk: Random by Tom LeveenRandom by Tom Leveen
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse- August 12, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: Party, Zero, Manicpixiedreamgirl, Sick
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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

On the eve before Tori has a big court date for her role in a national bullying case that resulted in a suicide, she receives a mysterious call from a stranger at random. He says he plans to take his life tonight…unless she can give him one reason why he should live. Being nervous to be connected to another suicide if he goes through with it, she tries to decide if she believes him or if it’s just a prank. But the stakes are too high if she doesn’t take him seriously and try to save his life.
.

a2WHAT!? *also massages hands because DAMN I flew through that*

a4Ever have one of those books where you find yourself, even days later, trying to collect your scattered, fragmented thoughts and they just keep blowing away with the wind every time you get close to articulating them? I’m having a really hard time reconciling my thoughts when it comes to this one especially because it was going so well…and then the ending threw me. So let’s do a pro/con thinger shall we? Maybe that will help you get a better sense of where my head is at. MAYBE IT WILL EVEN HELP ME.

THE YAYS

* If I had to sum up my experience by using a movie title from my youth it would be THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: No seriously, I FLEW through this book. I finished in 1.5 hours. Even Will looked impressed because he witnessed me starting and finishing it. I COULD NOT STOP READING IT. I wanted to know fully what her part was in the death of Kevin and also I was so intrigued by this random phone call and I so desperately needed to know if she would be able to talk him out of the suicide.

* The concept is AWESOME and it delivered on the intensity I expected: A person calls you at random and says they are going to commit suicide and they want you to give them a good reason to live. GULP. That’s a lot of weight on someone and especially someone who has her own craziness going on in her life. Finding out how this all would play out was the only thing I cared about for that 1.5 hours that I read this. The level of anxiety Tom Leveen was able to bring to my reading experience was impressive because I just needed to keep learning about this stranger’s story and the words that Tori will need to say to stop him from doing it.

* It actually took me surprise…like gaping mouth and all: I don’t want to say too much about this because I don’t want to give a hint of what surprised me but just know that it shocked the pants right off me and it takes a lot to do that. MAYBE I should have caught on to something but I DID NOT.

* The conversation starting qualities to this book are great: Bullying online is a big deal these days. This book shows that even if you don’t you pull the trigger/tie the noose/etc that does not mean you are innocent. This is the big thing the main character keeps not getting when she says, “BUT I DIDN’T KILL HIM.” “I DIDN’T BULLY HIM..JUST MADE A FEW COMMENTS.” Etc. Random challenges those kinds of prevalent thoughts when it comes to online bullying.

The NOT-SO-SURE-ABOUT

* I felt nothing emotionally despite how intense the reading experience was: I hate comparing books but a couple of months ago I read a book called Tease that was also from the POV of the bully and that one twisted my heart and frustrated and elicited a lot of conflicting emotions within me when it came to the main character but I felt really invested in her. I literally felt nothing for Tori. She didn’t seem real to me and didn’t illicit any emotions out of me. As invested in the random caller as I was I found myself really detached.

* THE ENDING: GAHHH. Not what I expected and I think it made me further detached from the book. I was like REALLY? THAT’S THE ENDING?  I don’t know how I FEEL about this story now. I don’t know what I was expecting but that wasn’t it and I’m not sure I was really all that happy about it. I was waiting for something super powerful and it fell flat for me. (BABY SPOILER-ISH COMMENT: Also, a little too wrapped up neatly in another area with a KISS and all.)

* The lesson: There was a clear lesson here. An important one. And I’m still struggling to decide if Tori even got it. I mean, it wraps up all nicey like she does but I didn’t FEEL like she really learned her lesson? Tori and the main character in Tease (which I referenced in my first point) were really similar in this way but for some reason in Tease I felt like there was a glimmer of hope for her to learn from this — even if she still had a long way to go. With Tori, I just didn’t even believe it. I didn’t feel any sort of emotions from her at all.

 

a6RATING-mixed

factors+ addictive factor, intensity, writing
- pretty much lack of any emotion and a lot of detachment, the ending

Re-readability: No. That said, I plan to read the copy of one of his other books I have (manicpixiedreamgirl)
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No but I hope my library DOES have a copy.

a5people who want a book dealing with bullying but from a different POV, people not afraid of heavy topics like suicide and bullying, people who like more intense/gritty contemporary YA, readers who don’t mind a really frustrating main character

a8This one had the potential to be AMAZING for me — the concept, the writing and the absolutely intensity that made me read faster and faster to find out how all this would end. But when it came time to the ending…it just wasn’t what I expected and made me feel a bit disappointed. There was a lot of build up for awesome and mindblowing and I just found myself staring at the pages not even able to reconcile the ending and how I felt about it. And the fact I felt nothing emotional, aside from anxiety, just didn’t help. I need to be emotionally connected at SOME point.

review-on-post-itRandom by Tom Leveen

 

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, does this feel like something you’d be into?
* Okay was it just me that didn’t feel blown away by the end?? (MAYBE SPOILERISH: I feel like maybe I was looking for a more profound, life-changing ending and it got too lesson-y in a contrived manner? IDK. IDK)
* Did you GUESS or were you shocked??

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: Behind The Scenes by Dahlia Adler

Book Talk: Behind The Scenes by Dahlia AdlerBehind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler
Series: Daylight Falls #1
Publisher/Year: Spencer Hill Press- June 24, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review, From Author
Other Books From Author: None it's her debut!
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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
Ally and Vanessa have been best friends since they were kids. Ally is happy for and supportive of her best friend’s Hollywood career, especially now that she’s landed the lead role in a hot new teen show,  but she couldn’t be anymore different in what she wants for her life — going to Columbia and studying in Paris. When she realizes that the money to make those dreams come true is being all used up because of father’s serious medical bills, she knows she has to make some money so she becomes Van’s assistant on set. The gig is fun and she slowly starts to fall for Liam, Van’s co-star. And then Van and Liam have to agree to fake date for a publicity stunt to drum up gossip about their show. Ally’s left to figure out how to date a boy who appears not to be hers to the rest of the world and if she can handle being wrapped up in Hollywood.

a2THIS WOULD BE A FUN MOVIE OR TV SHOW!

a4It was really hard for me to NOT compare this to one of my favorite books of this summer — Open Road Summer. It was very similar plot-wise except this was Hollywood and not young music stars. Both stories featured “normal” girls who were best friends with a famous person. Both stories featured a love interest that was also famous and who ends up fake dating their famous best friend for a publicity stunt. Luckily I love this trope so reading another book so similar so soon didn’t turn me off to it and I felt like there were a lot of things Behind the Scenes did different/brought to the table that made me forget how similar they were on the surface.

1. I SHIPPED ALLY AND LIAM SO HARD: Like I said, I have a soft spot for that “normal girl dates a famous person thing.” I just do. As a teen I always fantasized about a celebrity falling in love with me. I really felt their chemistry! Ally is jaded towards Hollywood because she sees how it is for Van and Liam is also really jaded towards a lot of it but he has his reasons for staying in the business. I loved that they bonded over something that was actually really similar to how Will and I bonded. I loved how their relationship definitely had some sexy bits, too! You could feel that tension from Ally and Liam being forced to be so careful and private with their relationship spill over into their moments together. I really got the frustrations and hardships that made this relationship tough!

2. I loved the “drama”: It wasn’t over the top but, come on, this is Hollywood so there’s all that goes along with that. The biggest drama is obviously with the fake Liam and Vanessa relationship and I felt like it was done SO WELL and so realistically. I thought that it was realistic that Ally would think she would be okay with it at first and then we slowly see how hard it actually is for her so much that it DOES come in between them. Between having to watch them be all over each other, to barely ever getting to see him and not being able to tell really anyone I could really see why we had the drama. I think the drama level Open Road Summer had with the fake relationship was right for THAT story but I really liked that we saw how absolutely hard this would be to maintain in this situation. The fake-dating thing was definitely more of a bigger deal in this one and I think it suited the story really well! I just loved these characters and how they dealt with the drama at hand — even if not always perfect (which YAY FOR IMPERFECT CHARACTERS WHO MAKE MISTAKES) but always rang true to me.

3. I loved the family situations presented: Vanessa and Liam’s family situations are told but the one we see the most that contrasts those two is Ally’s obviously. Ally’s family is going through something really tough but they are so supportive and in tune with each others lives. I really loved Ally’s family and how Van was like another daughter to them. There was a lot going on in this story and even though the romance was important I still felt how her family situation was in the forefront of her mind and what kept her going.

4. Some things I didn’t love: Nate (I didn’t get his role at all or what his real deal was), sometimes the story would hit lulls for me where I wasn’t super compelled to read, sometimes characters (Ally) made really dumb mistakes which doesn’t bother me but I felt like it was SOOOO glaringly obvious and I felt like it was just drawn out for too long. I also found the ending to be a LITTLE rushed for the time they spent apart..I felt like there needed to be a little more there.

 

a6RATING-LIKED

factors+ plot, romance, how fun it was,
- times when the story lulled for me, little bit of a rushed ending for me, some plot areas being drawn out

Re-readability: I probably wouldn’t but I’m itching to read the next book in the series.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Probably not because I wouldn’t reread it and it wasn’t a favorite!

a5fans of Open Road Summer, people who like books set in Hollywood, contemporary YA romances lovers, readers who like the “normal person dates celebrity” trope, readers looking for something fun and romantic

a8Behind the Scenes was an enjoyable read with a fun Hollywood setting and a VERY shippable romance aka normal girl falls for the hot co-star on her bff’s new teen show who ends up being her faux boyfriend in a publicity stunt. Despite some random lulls in the story and little irksome things, it was an addictive read and I can’t wait for the next book in the series because JOSH…I want to know HIS story for sure.

review-on-post-itBehind The Scenes by Dahlia Adler

 

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, does this series feel like something you’d be into?
* What are some other “normal person dates a celebrity” type romances you’ve read?
* Is anyone else super intrigued by Josh?? I can’t wait to learn his story!

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: Everything Leads To You Nina LaCour

Book Talk: Everything Leads To You Nina LaCourEverything Leads To You by Nina LaCour
Publisher/Year: Dutton Juvenile- May 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Other Books From Author: Hold Still, The Disenchantments
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 Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1
Emi has been in an off again/on again relationship with her older girlfriend and suddenly she finds them off again and she wonders if this time it is for good. While her love life is a mess, her job couldn’t being going any better as a part time set designer in Hollywood. Film is her life and she’s been given a great opportunity to be part of the design process and put her on the right track when she graduates. On one of her hunts for pieces to use in an upcoming set, she finds a mysterious letter from an old Hollywood legend and it leads her to Ava — a girl who has had a bit of a tough past but has this light that burns so bright and Emi can’t help but be drawn to her as they figure out the mystery behind the letter together.

a2*adds other Nina LaCour books to my library list*

a4

 My book club friend Katie described Everything Leads To You as kind of a contemporary fairy tale and I didn’t understand what she meant and then I read it and I think that’s fairly accurate…and I mean it in the most positive way ever. It’s realistic but it’s not in other ways — the crazy amazing jobs they have and they haven’t even graduated yet, the way things work out, etc. It had a fairy tale, movie feel to it and I loved it! There was just something very ROMANTIC about the whole story.

So let’s talk about a few things:

1. I LOVED the idea that a famous actor left a mysterious letter and Emi and Charlotte try to find the recipient is: I was definitely intrigued by this mystery and wanted to find out the whole story behind this letter. I loved watching the letter bring Emi and Charlotte in the lives of many different people — and ultimately Ava!

2. HOLLYWOOD: Emi and Charlotte both work in the movie business in various capacities. So does Emi’s brother and her ex-girlfriend. I definitely loved learning about their careers and feeling Emi’s passion towards her set designs. It was just really fun to have Hollywood be such a part of this story — their present careers and then it being twisted up in the story of a Hollywood legend.

3. LGBTQ for the win: Honestly I’ve read maybe one or two YA book with lesbians. It’s not to say they aren’t out there but I just haven’t read them. I loved books where it is about them coming out/coming to terms with their sexuality but I REALLY was pleased to read a book where the main character wasn’t in that place in their life — where they were comfortably out and living life. She had a girlfriend before and there was no “issue” with her being a lesbian. Like I said, those novels are important but I was so ready to read a book where it WASN’T an issue but it was just who she was. She’s dealing with a break-up, the bad decisions she makes because she just can’t quit the girl she was with and then a spark of new love…all while dealing with other normal things 18 years old would be thinking about.  It was just so refreshing to read!

4. Nina LaCour’s writing is STUNNING: Everything about this book was just stunning. The characters were brilliantly written. The prose was BEAUTIFUL. The descriptions always transported me. And just the way the plot unfolded and just seemed so SEAMLESS. I was just very impressed and smitten with the writing on every level.

5. The friendship, romance and familial relationships in this novel were equally important to me: I loved Emi and Charlotte’s friendship SO MUCH and I loved the way that Emi and Charlotte became friends with Ava. But even when there seems to be a hint of something more between Emi and Ava, there’s still a good solid friendship there. I LOVED Emi’s parents and my heart was so warmed to see how different characters started considering family in different ways because of each other. Ava’s past was so hard and watching her gain friends and family was so beautiful.

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ writing, unique storyline, setting, characters
- nothing really.

Re-readability: Potentially!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? It’s on my “to consider buying when I have money” list.

a5contemporary YA fans, people looking for LBGTQ stories, fans of Hollywood and the movies, readers who like character driven novels with a hint of a mystery element to it

a8Everything Leads To You was a beautiful read — from the prose to the relationships in this novel — it was all just so great. I love the friendships and the romance equally and really enjoyed watching the paths of the characters cross when Emi finds the letter and the mystery of who the intended recipient is unfolds. It was at times heartbreaking and other times it was incredibly heartwarming. A very refreshing read and one I flew through!

review-on-post-itEverything Leads To You Nina Lacour

 

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, does this series feel like something you’d be into?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: Isla & The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (NO SPOILERS OBVS)

Book Talk: Isla & The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (NO SPOILERS OBVS)Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Publisher/Year: Dutton Juvenile- August 14, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: Anna and The French Kiss // Lola and the Boy Next Door
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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
“From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever. Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new
”  <— Yep, I’m not giving much more plot wise than the summary this time because we’ve ALL been waiting so long.

a2*melts* ALSO, WHY IS IT OVER? WHY!

a4It’s been a month since I read Isla and the Happily Ever After and I’ve been existing as a happy, melted puddle on the floor so I was unable to talk to you about this book. I DIED. You know I loved Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door something fierce and I’ve been waiting for YEARS for the final companion novel to arrive in my hands. And it did. And it was SO DAMN GOOD with a side of warm and fuzzies. Stephanie, yet again, delivers that kind of romance that makes your heart melt and leaves you feeling a bit lighter and on cloud nine upon finishing — just pure bliss. They give you hope for your OWN happily ever after story no matter where you are at. As a married lady, it makes me remember falling in love and the accompanying feelings but also makes me realize that I’m living my own happily ever after even if it looks different than my favorite fictional stories…and I have so many more exciting pages to be written.

1. Josh & Isla’s love story made my heart do backflips and feel all ooey-gooey: So, I totally didn’t realize who they were from Anna (shh it was a long time ago that I did a full read) and when I realized who they were I was like OH MY GOD YESSSS! The way their story unfolded was so darn cute to watch and I could definitely FEEL the sparks. And HEY this book was SEXY too. I knew Stephanie Perkins could write the most mesmerizing, adorable romances that can make me swoon (which this totally did) but she also was able to write something with a bit of sexy in it — enough to make me blush a wee bit. I don’t want to tell you anything about their romance because I want you to be as swept off your feet as I was! I also really loved the memories that we get about things that happened in Anna’s book. I barely noticed Isla in that book but I remembered those scenes so well when I was reading them. It was nice to see these nods to that story as we are seeing Isla in a whole new way in her book!

2. As a fan, this book was everything I could want out of a conclusion to a beloved companion series: There was weeping and squealing and I melted into a gigantic puddle of feelings. It was the kind of closure I hoped for from this book but didn’t forgo a solid Isla and Josh story just to give us some great cameos. As a fan, I feel sad that this particular series is over but my heart was soaring. One part made me squeal and I don’t think Will’s hearing will ever recover from that. BUT OH MY HEART. It was like watching a beloved tv series finale and I just wept and felt nostalgic and happy but bittersweetly so because NO…CAN WE JUST FOLLOW THEIR LIVES FOR FOREVER?

3. As a reader, I DID have one SMALL issue (I KNOW I’M SORRY) but it was still perfect as a WHOLE: I feel like I need to be honest that as PERFECT as this book was I didn’t love how the CONFLICT in the relationship was developed. I found myself UNDERSTANDING it but not really feeling like there was any build-up for me to believe it with my whole heart. I HATE having to put a teeny tiny damper on this “OMG I LOVED ISLA” party I’m having here but I just have to be honest. It took me out of their story a little bit and I needed to note that. But you can bet your bottom dollar I was rooting for them and cheering for them to figure it out!

 RATING-beyondloved

a6

factors+ romance & swoons, loved Isla and Josh, an amazing conclusion with cameos by our beloved characters
- the basis for which the conflict happened with the romance (not enough buildup for me) but it didn’t really affect my overall rating at all tbh.

Re-readability: YES!!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Already pre-ordered it!!

a5fans of Anna and the French Kiss & Lola and the Boy Next Door, people who love adorable and heart-melty type romances (BUT GO READ ANNA AND LOLA FIRST), people who are looking for a happily evers that are super satisfying

a8Stephanie Perkins is the queen of happily ever afters and she delivered in this final books in her beloved companion series. I LOVED Isla and Josh and their story and I was over the moon to see what happened to the beloved characters of the previous two books. It was a smile-inducing read that was worth the very long wait and my my heart soar! It was everything I have come to love about Stephanie Perkins books and I’m excited to see what she does next — BUT PLEASE STILL GIVE US YOUR DELECTABLE ROMANCES BECAUSE THERE IS STILL ROOM IN MY HEART FOR MORE!

 

review-on-post-itIsla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

 

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, does this series feel like something you’d be into?
* DID YOU MELT INTO AN OOEY-GOOEY PUDDLE LIKE I DID AT A CERTAIN PART NEAR THE END?? (seriously, when I realized they would be together all in one room I DIED and then the thing after the pizza place…DEAD DEAD DEAD OMG)
* I’m curious, which was your favorite book? Favorite romance? Girl you related to the most?
* Is there anyone who rivals Stephanie Perkins in the swoon department?? Can you recommend something?

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: #Scandal by Sarah Ockler

Book Talk: #Scandal by Sarah Ockler#Scandal by Sarah Ockler
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse- June 17, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: eARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: Twenty Boy Summer, The Book of Broken Hearts, Bittersweet, Fixing Delilah

 
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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

Lucy’s best friend Ellie begs her to go to prom as her boyfriend’s date when she becomes sick before prom. Lucy doesn’t want to because she’s not really into the social scene and would rather stay in and play her zombie video game but she does it for Ellie. Even though it’s a bit uncomfortable for her because, unbeknownst to anyone, Lucy has been in love with Cole before Ellie started dating him. And then Lucy and Cole end up kissing which was bittersweet and, before Lucy can even figure out what to do, someone uploads picture proof the betrayal along with incriminating pictures of others at the party on to Lucy’s Facebook. Everyone assumes Lucy did it and nobody will give her a chance to explain and she’s immediately branded as a rat, a slut, a horrible friend and more. Lucy knows her only chance for things to get better is to find who took those pictures and uploaded them and hope Ellie will forgive her.

a2I’m so glad that I was too old to see this cell phone/social media culture in high school. Our phones were bricks and texting was just getting to be a big thing.

a4I’m so conflicted and it breaks my heart to be because SARAH OCKLER. It was an intriguing enough read to keep reading but it did not blow me away like the books I’ve read and LOVED from her — The Book of Broken Hearts and Twenty Boy Summer. The magic that those two, ESPECIALLY The Book of Broken Hearts, had for me kind of lacked in #Scandal unfortunately!

What worked for me:

1. The subject matter: I’m so intrigued by this social media/internet, smartphone obsessed culture –especially how people are now growing up WITH IT. As a teen I begun to be introduced to the texting and all that but I didn’t grow UP with it because it was just becoming a THING so I’m always so curious about how this young generation is affected by it especially in relation to gossip, bullying, how they relate to one another and that kind of stuff. I was intrigued watching how this whole scandal played out via social media and also how they used in ways to “solve” the mystery.

2. How the “mystery” unfolded: There is a bit of a mystery (complete with VERONICA MARS references and banter) to find out WHO was the person who took the pictures that were uploaded for everyone to see on Lucy’s account and started all the scandal. I think THIS is what kept me turning the pages even when I wasn’t connecting to Lucy is that I so desperately wanted to know who did it and why.

3. I appreciated some of the thoughts about how we use social media and the internet as well as how we see other people: Now there was this (e)VIL group who was completely tech-free and while they were silly in some ways they had some good points. They were entertaining and I appreciated how thought-provoking it actually was. And I loved how we see Lucy see these people who she’s overlooked or written off in a different way.

What didn’t seem to work for me:

1. I really didn’t find Lucy compelling really at all: All the other Sarah Ockler books I’ve read I’ve REALLY connected to the main character and cared for them so much but in this situation I cared more about the plot and the secondary characters than I did the main character. In my head it’s like, “Poor girl. Nobody deserves to be bullied” but my heart didn’t really feel much anguish over her plight. I just wasn’t invested and I don’t really know what it was. I don’t mind a difficult main character as you know, so even though what she did to her best friend was HARD for me, that wasn’t really it. It was more like I just found her bland and not this vivid character that she was kind of being painted to be and how her response to the bullying was written it almost made me feel like it was such a minor annoyance more than something that hurt her. I couldn’t tell if it was her defense mechanism to seem like she didn’t care but it didn’t transfer to me as the reader to care much.

2. There were some really great characters besides Lucy but sometimes I felt there were too many and they all didn’t get the development they deserved: There were a lot of other characters that we were introduced to and that all became tangled in this with Lucy and I found myself so intrigued with some of them and others had great potential that never came through. We had Lucy’s sister who I didn’t care for, the (e)VIL group who I found fascinating though sometimes outlandish, Franklin (who I loved!!), the two best friends, a foreign exchange guy who liked Lucy and even more. There are people who are “suspects” and I get how they wouldn’t be fleshed out as well but some of the others I wanted MORE from who fell a little flat.

3. The romance never did anything for me: It wasn’t even HOW the romance happened. It was just that I didn’t find them all that compelling considering that they both loved each other for forever. I wasn’t NOT rooting for them but I wasn’t all I SHIP THIS. He was also kind of a flat character as well. I actually thought the romance was going to go in a different direction than it did, that maybe I would have been MORE interested in, but alas it did not.

 

a6
RATING-OKAY
factors+ plot & how it drew me in, interesting discussions about social media and how we use it, a couple great minor characters
- lack of feelings toward Lucy, not enough fleshing out of other characters, romance

Re-readability: Nope but I now I’m itching for a re-read of The Book of Broken Hearts because THAT is my favorite of hers.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No.

a5fans of books that deal with social media/cyber-bulling, Sarah Ockler fans who want to read all her books

a8Sad times infinity. I have LOVED Sarah Ockler’s books in the past so I’m really sad that this one wasn’t in the LOVE/FAVORITE category the way her other books were for me. I have to care about the character’s story/feel really invested in things to really like it and that just wasn’t the case here. Intriguing plot that kept me reading but I really didn’t feel much towards it from start to finish.

 

review-on-post-it

#scandal by sarah ockler

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?
* Have you read Sarah Ockler’s books before and, if so, what was your favorite??
* Were you surprised about who stole the phone and took the pics? (I wasn’t)
* How did you feel about the romance?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

You may also like:

Book Talk: Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown
Book Talk: Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Book Talk: Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
Book Talk: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

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!

 
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

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

 
AmazonGoodreads

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?

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