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:

[Keep Reading]

What I’ve Been Audiobooking Lately

All of my audiobooks lately were new reads to me and I’m kind of disappointed I didn’t get any re-reads in via audiobook because I have been loving that. I also didn’t audiobook as much as lately because of my new podcast obsession.

 

The Running Dream

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

Oh man, I really liked this one! It’s about a girl who loses a leg and is facing the new reality of her life as an amputee. I was just really inspired by this book even though it was fictional because I know this could be someone’s story. I found myself so invested in Jessica and her journey — watching her feel defeated to watching her really work to walk and run again and her growing friendship with Rosa. It was just such a good book that really gets you pumped about how strong the human spirit is and makes you feel like you can accomplish anything. I also loved how it explored how we treat people who are sick or disabled or just physically different through Rosa’s character and Jessica understanding some of what Rosa has gone through. I do wish it would have been a little more grittier as it explored some of her depression after the accident and her struggles to run again. It definitely was a lighter, more uplifting story that gave an inspirational message, and while I definitely was moved by it, I know I would have felt more for it had it been a little grittier in areas. I would probably READ this one because I found the narrator so irritating — kind of valley girl like or how an adult might think a teenager sounds like — and just not my favorite. If I wasn’t so into the story I would have quit because of the narrator.

RATING-reallyliked

Boy Meets Boy

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

I’ve loved so many of David’s books but had never read this one. IT WAS SO DELIGHTFUL and the audiobook was soooo good. It was Full Cast Audio and it was my first time every listening to an audiobook where all the different characters had their own narrator when they spoke. The narrators were just all so great and engaging. As far as the story goes, it was just such a cute romance and I just adore all the characters! The setting was so interesting because it’s not at all like any high school I’ve ever seen — it’s this sort of made-up, fantastical  sort of high school where the cheerleaders ride motorcycles, the prom queen is also on the football team and there is so much openness/acceptance when it comes to sexual orientation. It was such a great book about friendships, too. I LOVED the friend group and how they were there for each other so much plus that sexuality wise it was all over the spectrum — people who were really confident in their sexuality and people who weren’t sure what they identified as, etc. This one was just so charming and funny and I just loved David’s books so much!

RATING-reallyliked

story of a girl

Story of A Girl by Sara Zarr

I just felt weirdly ambivalent to this one which was sad for me because I really loved Sweethearts. I do wonder if it was the format for such a quiet book…maybe reading it would have been better for me and I would have connected with Deanna better. There is always this sad yet beautiful undertone to Sara’s books and this definitely had that. Deanna was a character it was easy to feel truly bad for — she gets branded as the school slut at a young age when sleeping with her older brother’s friend and her dad is the one that catches her and basically hasn’t been able to look at or talk to her for years. The past has really affected her even years later, particularly because she was so young when it happened, and all she wants to do is get out of her parent’s house and have a new start. My heart ached for her through so much of this story even when she made incredibly bad decisions. I loved the relationship with her brother — that was a shining relationship for me in this story! I think I just wanted more when it comes down to it — Deanna was an interesting character but I only got invested to a certain point. There was just something missing for me.  The narrator was Sara Zarr herself and I thought she was good. I always like when the author reads because they kind of KNOW the inflections and how things are supposed to sound.

Rating

RATING-OKAY

 

 

 

 

 

Have you read any of these books?? Tell me what you thought! What have YOU been audiobooking lately?

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan | Book Review

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan | Book ReviewTwo Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Published by Knopf Books For Young Readers on August 27, 2013
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: The Lover's Dictionary, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Every Day, The Running Dream, Boy Meets Boy, You Know Me Well
Pages: 208
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

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

 

 

 

Based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS.

While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other. (from Goodreads..I just couldn’t write a good summary myself for this one).

Ladies and gentleman, we have yet another David Levithan novel that I am absolutely and totally smitten with. This may just be my favorite yet. I’m telling you, I dogearred the hell out of Two Boys Kissing (don’t cringe..you already knew I committed this book crime) and read it in a single day! Incredibly thought-provoking, beautiful and so many passages that make me remember how words can just make my heart flutter. David Levithan is one of those special voices  and this book is a shining example of that.

I’m not going to lie, as soon as I started reading I was not thrilled about the Greek Chorus narration but it quickly won me over and honestly I think MADE the novel. Their collective voice broke my heart but was also so, so hopeful. As much as I loved the boys, these men are the ones that will linger in my heart for a long, long time. I was tearful at times and completely mesmerized by them and their take on what was unfolding in the boys lives and also reflecting on THEIR lives and delighting in the PROGRESS that their own struggles and fight helped pave the way for. As much as it was the wise and thoughtful insight of the gay men of the past who died from AIDS reflecting on all this, it also made me think SO much of all the voices of the past that fought for us to have something or to make progress or give us rights in general. It made me weep for those people and what they went through and gave up for the sake of progress.

The main event of the novel is these two boys who are going to be publicly kissing in front of their high school to beat the world record for the longest kiss. Woven in are stories of various other boys who are gay and at various stages of coming out or in their relationships. There’s also another couple who are both out and dating, two guys who meet at a dance and are in the very beginnings of getting to know each other and a boy who isn’t out yet to anyone except the guys he meets in chatrooms.

There were many things these boys dealt with — being ok in their skin, approval from their family, first loves, coming out to their family and more — and it was easy to get caught up in all the story lines and be rooting for them. I was brought to tears, was reminded of first love, how hard it is to fight for love sometimes and accepting yourself first before you worry about others accepting you. Their stories felt authentic and embodied what it is to be a teen — gay or straight.

Two Boys Kissing was yet another brilliant novel from David Levithan. It was beautifully written, uplifting and honestly sobering at times. As wary as I was about the Greek Chorus style narration, I quickly cast my doubts and found their voice to really make the novel for me — to be honest I think THEY were the ones that will linger even more than the boys. It’s a must read — not just for gay teens — but for everyone because it touches so delicately and thoughtfully on so many issues. It reminds you of all the people in history who paved the way for any of us but how much further we have to go because the things these boy faced are real and they are today. I love books that make me think, just want to squeeze all of humanity in for a hug and remind me why books are so, so powerful. David Levithan, you are a hell of a man, a very gifted writer, a wonderful advocate for gay teens and someone who has helped pave the way for more progress even in your own space in publishing by giving voice to LGBT teens who needed to see themselves in YA. Looking at this cover reminds me of how far we’ve come.

 

two-boys-kissing

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? What did you think if you’ve read it? Did you find the Greek chorus narration to be effective? Did you dogear the crap out of this book like I did??

Review: Every Day by David Levithan

Book Title/Author: Every Day by David Levithan
Publisher/Year: Knopf Books for Young Readers 2012
Genre: Contemporary + maybe magical realism? Really defies genre.
Series: No.
Other Books From Author: The Lover’s Dictionary, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Boy Meets Boy, The Realm of Possibility, Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, Love Is the Higher LawWide Awake, Every You, Every Me, Are We There Yet?, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
Amazon| Goodreads | David Levithan’s Website

 

Every day A, a teen who is neither male nor female, wakes up up in another body and experiences another life for twenty four hours. The teen has no control over it and never knows what body will be next nor the rhyme or reason to it. All A knows is that the best way to get through the day is to just go through the motions of the characters life and try not to do anything out of character or that would really interfere with their life. A has successfully been able to do that until Justin’s body where A meets Rhiannon — Justin’s girlfriend — and makes a very real connection with her.

As somebody who is normally overly verbose and always has something to say, I’m at a loss for words when it comes to Every Day by David Levithan. I will try to explain why I loved it so much but just know this, because I’m afraid my words will just get in the way, I FREAKING LOVED THIS BOOK. One of my favorites of this year and pretty close to being an all time favorite. If there was ever a time for you to listen to me and read a book I loved, please make it be this one because it is just so beautiful, unique in EVERY sense of the world and just a book that will touch your heart.

The plot itself was just so fascinating. The idea of someone jumping from body to body every day just intrigued me from the start and I loved learning all about how A has coped with it and how it must feel to exist in a completely different way as other people. Life as A knew it was way different than we see life.  I was so in I loved getting these little vignettes of the people’s lives and how A related to them or tried to assert themselves. Some of the lives were just incredibly sad. And then once he formed this relationship with Rhiannon I was already invested in A’s life and was so intrigued as to how everything was going to work out considering he was never in the same body. Right from the moment that A made the choice to act differently than he did with all the other bodies I KNEW I was in for a complicatedly good story. I have to say that I SO wished that we knew the WHY/HOW it happened to A but I was completely satisfied not knowing and just accepting it as it was.

A is one of those characters whose presence didn’t just linger for a few hours after I finished but seems to be nestled within the folds of my heart somewhere. A’s story was just incredible. I instantly felt how lonely A was having to switch bodies day after day and be basically rootless. A’s love for Rhiannon was just so overwhelming to me as I could feel ALL OF THE FEELINGS that came with making a real connection with somebody for the first time.

What I found most interesting was how A was gender ambiguous. To be honest, I had the hardest time writing this review because I wanted to keep saying “he” but then had to stop myself. It was interesting because I kept thinking of A as a male even though it was clear that A didn’t know what gender he/she was since A didn’t exist outside of the bodies, both male and female, that he jumped in and out of each day. I found it interesting that I kept thinking of A as a male. I don’t know what it was that kept me hearing A’s voice as male.  It challenged me to think a little bit about why that was and if Rhiannon was actually a male would I have seen A as a female? I didn’t have any answers but I thought it was interesting that Levithan was able to challenge my own notion of making A fit nicely into a box of either male or female which was sort of an issue Rhiannon had.

 

As per usual, David Levithan’s writing is beautiful and gets straight to the heart. He’s really outdone himself this time though making this my favorite David Levithan book thus far! This book is imaginative, will dazzle you with its beauty, make you fall in love with A and make you just want to promptly start it all over again. Every Day defies genre and age — I will recommend this to EVERYONE I know — regardless of what they typically read. Both beautiful and page-turning

 

For Fans Of: Incredibly unique stories, books that make you think a bit, books that defy genre

Every Day by David Levithan - Best Book of 2012

 

Let’s Talky Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? What did you think if you have read it? LOVE it as much as I did? Did you think of A as male or female in your head?

five-stars

Audiobook Review – Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan & John Green

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

I’ve never reviewed an audiobook before so this is exciting! I decided that I was going to get more into audiobooks since so many of my favorite bloggers swear by them. I have done ONE audiobook before (This Much I Know Is True by Wally Lamb) so I’m certainly no veteren when it comes to the audiobook scene. I am officially a fan after this one!

Audiobook Review Portion

Let’s just talk about how entertaining this was on audio! I always fear that audiobooks won’t hold my attention but this certainly did. I would advise on NOT listening to this out loud while you are around people that might not want to hear all sorts of swears and some sexual references and jokes. I also would not advise listening to this while you should be working as it may induce the giggles as this book is HILARIOUS and the narrators have the most perfect inflections that really give it that hilarity. I really enjoyed the narrators of this one. They really made it for me. It was easy to follow and they really got into their characters — no monotony here! It switches back and forth between the two Will Grayson’s and I thought it was easy to follow.

I think my only gripe was that sometimes with the one Will Grayson it was hard to follow because it seemed to be in email or IM form a lot of the times because he was IMing but also with the dialogue. I’m not sure how this looks in the book but it was a tad hard to follow but enough that it lost me. I would highly recommend this as an audiobook to people who love contemporary YA and are unsure if an audiobook will hold their attention. This certainly will as the narrators are really quite fantastic and the story is a good pace on audio. Not too much introspection that it loses you because you feel it isn’t moving anywhere but rather has the perfect blend of action and dialogue and comical thoughts.

Review Of The Novel Itself

Oh dear. Where do I even begin? Let’s start with Tiny Cooper! Never in my life have a read a more dynamic character. It’s funny because he isn’t even one of the narrators yet he steals the show and is what I think of most about this novel. Sure he could be selfish and an ass sometimes but, seriously, Tiny Cooper resonated with me for some reason. I think I admired his confidence and optimism but appreciated that he was REAL — selfish, blinded by his own wants but mostly because in his confidence there is still that fraility of being human and being aware of what we lack and what makes us different. He just balanced that well and I thought him to be a great character. I liked the Will Grayson’s well enough but Tiny made the story for me. Really all the characters came alive — from Mona to Gideon.

This could quite possibly be one of the funniest contemporary novels I’ve ever read — YA or adult. It seemed like every sentence – whether it be a description, dialogue or a vagrant thought — always seemed to be so vivid and alive; peppered with wit and hilarity and TRUTH. Whether the passages were just hilarious or thought-provoking, I was always wishing I could mentally highlight passages every so few pages. (Downfall of listening to this rather than reading it!). I mean, the descriptions of the simplest things were brilliant — like talking about how Tiny Cooper fits in a desk! I’m not normally one to just drop a punch of quotes in a review but this book needs to speak for itself:

 
“Dating you would be like a series of unnecessary root canals interspersed with occasional makeout sessions.” 
 
“When things break, it’s not the actual breaking that prevents them from getting back together again. It’s because a little piece gets lost – the two remaining ends couldn’t fit together even if they wanted to. The whole shape has changed.”
 

“I have a friend request from some stranger on facebook and I delete it without looking at the profile because that doesn’t seem natural. ‘Cause friendship should not be as easy as that. It’s like people believe all you need to do is like the same bands in order to be soulmates. Or books. omg… U like the outsiders 2… it’s like we’re the same person! No we’re not. It’s like we have the same English teacher. There’s a difference.”  

I think the only thing that I found to damper my love for this book was some of the scenes with the play. It kind of bored me and if I would have reading it rather than listening to it I would have probably flipped past those songs and some of those parts. It WAS pretty interesting to hear the narrator sing those songs though. 

My Final Thought: I’ve already been a fan of David Levithan but now I’m even more excited to read the John Green books sitting on my shelf. This book was highly entertaining yet was thought-provoking. The Will Grayson’s and Tiny are people who I wouldn’t think I’d have anything in common with but the barest of human emotions and young adulthood will resonate with you as these characters grapple with love and relationships and what it means to truly be yourself. David Levithan and John Green are a fantastic duo and I beg of them to keep collaborating! Definitely recommend this as an audiobook as well. Sure made my commute a lot less rage inducing.

 Review On A Post-It:

Vagrant Yet Valid Thought: Before I had ever heard of this book I wanted to name my future male child William Grayson.


Have you read this book? What did you think? Also, which John Green book should I read first? I own pretty much all of them but I’ve just never read them!

three-half-stars

Review: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

I was really ecstatic when I heard that that David Levithan was writing an adult novel because I love me some David and I read quite a bit of adult as well…and because it was about loooove. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I knew if it was like most of David’s novels I’d feel some sort of connection to it.

The Lover’s Dictionary was SUCH an interestingly lovely read that I DEVOURED in a day. Each page contains a passage of prose that reflects a word from the dictionary and it is written as though it is a dictionary entry. The passages range in length, some being a sentence or two and some being half of a page long, and follow the love story between a nameless narrator and his lover. You feel kind of a distance at first because you are only seeing snippets (not chronologically) of their love story and because they ARE nameless but you find yourself reading these intensely intimate thoughts and raw emotions and this couple becomes so exposed as the book gives glimpses into some of the most joyful and exciting times in their relationship as well as some of the most difficult and trying times in their relationship.

This book was really such an honest portrayal of the many facets of love as it examines the joys, the doubts, the heartbreaks, the sacrifices and the different nuances and quirks in the love affair between two people. Some passages made me laugh, cry and reflect on my own relationship as certain feelings or situations would hit close to home. The writing was exquisite and I found myself bookmarking page after page thinking that each passage was my new favorite only for it to be dethroned by another.

Some I wanted to share:

 
ineffable, adj.
these words will ultimately end up being the barest of reflections, devoid of the sensations words cannot convoy. Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough.
autonomy, n.
“I want my books to have their own shelves,” you said, and that’s how I knew it would be okay to live together”
 
placid, adj.
Sometimes I love it when we just lie on our backs, gaze off, stay still.

There are SO many wonderful lines and passages in this book but I tried to pick some shorter ones that stood out in my mind.

My final thought: This book was a gem! Upon finishing it I just held it close to my chest because I was amazed at how raw it was and how much I connected with it. I thought of the moments that made my heart flutter in my relationship, I thought about the doubt and the act of learning how to trust in a relationship, the beauty in the mundane and the wonderful journey love really is despite how hard it can be to love and let yourself be loved in a relationship. The prose was something to be savored and I have no doubts that I will read this book again as it has a permanent place on my shelf. Levithan’s delivery was creative and I found the his connection to each of the words to be genius. I’d recommend to lovers of adult fiction who don’t mind something different and who don’t need to be wooed by a fast moving plot.

Review On A Post-It:
four-stars
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