Book Talk: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Book Talk: Passenger by Alexandra BrackenPassenger by Alexandra Bracken
Published by Disney Hyperion on January 5, 2016
Genres: YA Science Fiction
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”

 

A1

Etta is just living her life in present day when suddenly she finds herself falling through time and dropped on a ship in the 1700’s aboard a ship Nicholas, another time traveler, works on. He’s to take Etta to an evil man who he had hoped to get away from and never have to deal with again. He’s looking for something (that would totes give him like Time Travel Overload status) that is hidden by another time traveler and he believes Etta can find it which Etta is like HUH? I don’t even know how I got here but then he throws a little life plot twist her way to make her realize she might have a better shot at finding it than she thought — and the stakes are HIGH. So Etta and Nicholas take off across and time and continents to follow clues, find what he wants and stay one step ahead of Ironwood who will use it for bad.

a2HOW CAN I WAIT FOR BOOK 2?!? Someone please let me time travel to the day this releases!!

a4One of my all time favorite books is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneggar and, to be honest, I haven’t read many time travel books since then.  Passenger made me remember how much I enjoy the time travel storyline in fiction. Particularly from the point of view of a character who is just living her life as a competitive violinist (as one does) and has no idea time travel exists but suddenly is caught up in this high stakes race against the clock because apparently there’s some things she didn’t know about her heritage and now a baddie is holding her hostage to find what he’s looking for.

[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: Far From You by Tess Sharpe

Book Talk: Far From You by Tess SharpeFar From You by Tess Sharpe
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 8, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Mystery
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!

 

 

 

 

book synopsis

When Sophie’s best friend, Mina, is murdered everyone blames her. Why? Because she used to pop pills after a bad accident and everyone thinks that it was a drug deal gone wrong no matter how much Sophie swears she’s clean. Sophie knows what happened that night —  that Mina’s murder was NOT random or a drug deal gone wrong. Her parents send her to rehab and when Sophie returns she comes faces the same distrust, the secrets she and Mina shared and this burning desire to solve the mystery of Mina’s death because she KNOWS as killer is still roaming free and that she has to bring everything to light.

good books to read

Oh man, Far From You! It’s no secret this one was one of my most anticipated debuts of 2014 and it was even MORE than I was expecting — one of the best debuts of 2014. It was one of those mystery type reads that balances that element so well with this genuine characterization that really had my gut twisted. It managed to be and do a lot of things really, really well!

1. Far From You was really intense: Sophie’s past is rough, friends. As the summary tells, she gets in a car accident that almost kills her and she ends up on pain meds and then she ends up really hooked on them. She gets clean, comes back and then shortly after her best friend gets murdered right in front of her and everyone thinks it is because it was a drug deal gone wrong and they blame her. So THEN Sophie’s parents send her to rehab because they didn’t believe her. Man, Sophie’s pain became my pain in this — the grief of losing Mina, the unanswered questions of their complicated relationship, the hurt of nobody believing her and the fact that she knows Mina’s murder was NOT random and fighting that desire to use pain meds. It was quite an intense, absorbing read. Each and every thread was just handled really well and packed quite a punch and then the action-y bits were intense when the reveal happens and AH TAKE SOME BETA BLOCKERS BEFORE READING. (please do not really consider that as medical advice, k?)

2. I loved the back and forth of the past and the present to learn more about Sophie and Mina: Their relationship was JUST as compelling as the mystery and I loved seeing the bits and pieces of their friendship through the years and in relation to these big events in Sophie’s life. The flow and transition was done really well between them and really added all these dimensions to them individually and as friends. Their relationship was just so complicated and messy and I could feel the hurts and the betrayals and the confusion SO much — all tied together with this deep love for one another. God, my heart ached throughout this whole book when it came to these two. Their relationship was one of the most raw and memorable ones in recent history for me and it made me weep a little. I also loved how Mina’s brother factored into everything and how absolutely complicated his relationship with Sophie was. My heart was torn for Sophie but the heart wants what the heart wants.

3. What a thrilling and page-turning mystery that kept me guessing: I’m that person who ALWAYS guesses the baddie or the twist. ALWAYS. It annoys me that I do this. I actually didn’t figure it out until like a couple of pages before the reveal and even then I was like HMMM COULD IT BE?! The mystery was so interesting because nobody else but Sophie is even looking at it like a true mystery. Everyone else thinks it is this random drug deal related shooting. But Sophie knows, based on the interaction before she gets knocked out, that this person was TARGETING Mina and Sophie has to figure out WHY. So Sophie starts sleuthing like one does, while dealing with the guilt daggers that everyone is throwing her way, and starts to trace back what Mina wanted from the person she thought she was meeting in the woods. And honestly it’s kind of like a mystery withing in a mystery and that just delighted me to no end.

4. Sophie is a damn well written character: You know those characters that you swear are just going to pop out of the book when you are reading? YEP. Sophie. There’s so much to her — all these layers you could just keep peeling back and back. A lot of times with mysteries and thriller-y type books, I find that I don’t find those I FEEL THEIR SOUL sorts of characters and they are wibbly wobbly almost real characters but not Sophie. I appreciated the care in which Tess Sharpe lets us get to know Sophie and her story — especially when it comes to her sexuality. She’s got some tough issues — a murdered best friend, a drug habit that she has to work at every day, she’s got a limp as a forever reminder of her car accident — but I always could feel Sophie not ever being defined by those things and I really felt like, if we got to see Sophie grow up, she was going to kick life’s ass because she already was strong.

 

book reviews

 

Far From You by Tess Sharpe is one of the best 2014 debuts out there! It had this compelling & very emotional mystery element to it — Mina’s murder + the fact nobody but Sophie knows that it was NOT a random murder — that completely knocked me off my game as a person who always guesses early on but the strength in this story is the characterization — something that makes me so, so happy because I need characters who live and breathe. Sophie is as real as they can get and Sophie and Mina’s relationship has this ability to make my heart ache even weeks later. It’s all so complicated and confusing and tender and GOD I COULD FEEL IT ALL. I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on whatever Tess Sharpe is up to next!

 

short book reviewFar From You by Tess Sharpe

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? What did you think of it? Did you guess who it was??


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland | Book Review

13597696Book Title/Author: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
Publisher/Year
: Disney Hyperion May 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: No
Other Books From Author:

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

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

 

 

 

 

 

Cricket and Jules have planned the perfect summer — Cricket will stay in Nantucket for the summer with Jules and her family, who is the perfect family Cricket wishes she could have, and Cricket will finally get Jay to fall in love with her since he also vacations there. Cricket’s plans fall to pieces when a tragedy happens to Jules’ family and suddenly Jules is being cold and distant to Cricket and telling her that her dad won’t let her come anymore. Cricket is determined to still have her amazing summer on Nantucket and be there for Jules so she finds herself a job. Her perfect summer isn’t exactly what she thought it would be with Jules and a new forbidden crush emerges that could really complicate things more.

I really enjoyed this one and thought it was a fun beach/summer read though not entirely light and fluffy. It was a quick read that explored a few relationships — romance, a fractured friendship and a strained mother-daughter relationship —  in a really great setting that will have you thirsting for your own summer romance in Nantucket. I really LIKED it and on paper it looks like it should have been an absolutely PERFECT read because I can’t really pinpoint what I DIDN’T like about it but, for some reason, I never got to that OMG I LOVE IT SO MUCH point like sooo many of my friends.

The biggest thread of the story really revolves around Cricket and her best friend Jules. They have had that ultimate close friendship that every girl wants until this tragedy happens in Jules’ life and suddenly Cricket is being shown the cold shoulder. I thought this break in the friendship was done really well and felt realistic of that weird kind of tension that happens between friends — the analyzing & asking yourself WHY they are made at you, that longing you have to tell your best friend something, etc. I actually identified a lot with Jules after this tragedy and, even though she was being a royal BEYOTCH to Cricket, I just always felt for her because I did a lot of pushing people away after my mom passed away. However, I had a hard time when I found out her reasoning for it. I liked that their storyline wasn’t so cleanly wrapped up but I will admit to wanting more.

I really enjoyed the romance aspect of this story. It felt like it fell into place just perfectly and was so romantic and sweet and very worth of the swoon. I loved how it developed and the complications that went along with it but it was this really bright spot in the story when it was hard to deal with how Jules was being and the dynamics between Cricket and her parents.

I thought Cricket was easy to relate to and I thought she was incredibly realistic. She wasn’t a perfect character, you wanted to smack her upside the head sometimes but ultimately you could feel for her. She wanted to be there for Jules even when Jules wasn’t having it and she had a big heart even if sometimes she didn’t look out for herself. I really liked Cricket’s interactions with the secondary characters that she meets on Nantucket and I thought they were really special and added a lot to Cricket’s summertime adventure. I loved the character development of Cricket and that she realized she couldn’t stay stuck in the past. She deals with a lot in this summer and I think, though there are ups and downs, she handles it gracefully.

I thought Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland was a really great summer read that had a little bit of everything in it. I loved that it wasn’t just a romance but a story about friendship and parental dynamics and how Cricket handles these things and really starts finding out who she is. Truly, I can’t really think of anything that bothered me or that I didn’t like about it, however, I only really felt like “oh I really LIKED it” rather than OMG I LOVED IT. Somewhere it just didn’t click for me as it did for all my friends.

 

nantucket-blue-leila-howland

Let’s Talk: Have you read of it? Heard of it? If you’ve read it what did you think? Did you HATE Jules like I know so many others did or did you understand her to some degree (even though you still want to punch her sometimes)?

three-half-stars

The Rules For Disappearing by Ashley Elston | Book Review

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston cover & reviewBook Title/Author: The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston
Publisher/Year
: Disney-Hyperion – May 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA – Mystery
Series: The ending seems  to leave it open that it could be one (and I see a #2 on Goodreads) but I think it could also stand alone.
Other Books From Author: None — debut!

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

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

 

 

Meg and her family have been put into the Witness Protection Program and have been bounced around to new towns and given new identities six different times. Meg doesn’t what her dad did to land them  in the program and her parents refuse to speak about it. Meg sees her family falling apart — her mom is drinking a lot, her dad is keeping something and look stressed all the time and her little sister is so fragile and is barely speaking — and she knows she has to figure out why they are in this situation to save her family and to stop all the tiring identity changes. She’s sick of making relationships only to have to leave so she enters this new school keeping a low profile and vowing not to make any friends — until she meets Ethan, the cute farm boy, whose curiosity could be dangerous for them both.

I really enjoyed The Rules For Disappearing though the first half was significantly a better experience for me in many ways. I didn’t fall in LOVE with this book like so many did but it was a pretty good read for me that and the MOST PERFECT gym book! It was a fun blend of mystery, romance, action, great character development and some nice familial aspects that I don’t often see.

The premise, right off the bat, drew me in as it was wholly unique with the main character and her family being in the Witness Protection Program. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of the WPP and Ashley Elston definitely drew me in with the main character’s experiences of being moved around and having new identities all the time. The majority of The Rules of Disappearing takes place in the latest town but I loved the way we learn about the prior moves and how, at this point, she’s just so weary of it all. You really see why she is so hardened now when she arrives in this new town and I really felt for her and how her life was now totally different than it ever was. I felt for her especially since it seemed like the rest of her family was taking all of this even worse than she was and I was drawn into how all of this moving and changing of identities could wreak havoc on a family. I thought Ashley Elston really excelled in creating a believable voice and exploring how this experience might really mess a family up –especially with so many secrets and mystery around WHY they are in this situation.

The mystery element of this book was what made it the most perfect gym read because I just wanted to keep finding out MORE of what happened that put them in this Witness Protection Program and her dad was so hellbent on not telling her that it drove me just as crazy as Meg. It was unraveled at what I found to be a good pace and I was surprised once we finally found out the event that was the catalyst for everything. I figured out “the twist”  for sure because of how fixated Meg was on it but the actual event was surprising to me but that’s where it kind of got EH for me as things start being remembered and Meg decides to take matters into her own hand.

Things that prevented this from going beyond a GOOD read to that next level? I thought the romantical element started out  interesting — she was so cold to him because she knew they’d probably have to uproot again and he kept annoying her and trying to find out more. I thought their exchanges were fun and playful but then as the romance progressed it just fell flat for me. The love interest is by all standards swoonworthy and I really adored Ethan but it just really felt like really intense so soon and the things that I loved about Meg just seemed to get lost inside of this romance. There was just so much of her doing things wrong and him always coming in to save the day and I just thought the first part of the book was better in terms of their relationship dynamic. I just didn’t feel anything after the halfway mark when  I was LOVING their exchanges in the beginning.

The second part of the book gets increasingly action packed and I had a love/hate relationship with it. It was good because it kept up this page-turning tempo that held my attention until the very end but pretty much I had to suspend my disbelief VERY often. I mean,  I know it’s fiction but just the way everything went down I started to get eyerolly about certain things and it distracted me from the things I LOVED about this book — the character development, the familial dynamics, etc.

The Rules For Disappearing was a book that I enjoyed but ultimately didn’t finish as strong for me. It made a great gym read for me because of the mystery and the building suspense. I was invested in Meg and her family and finding out the reasons for why they were thrust into the Witness Protection Program but as the why’s started being revealed I felt conflicted about where it went. On one hand, I flew through it but, on the other hand, I just thought it missed the mark as it progressed. I loved the character development and the unique premise and thought it was a breeze to read and quite fun. It never went anywhere past the “good” mark for me but overall an enjoyable read.

 

The rules for dissappearing ashley elston

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  Heard of it?  If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it? I’m probably in the minority on the love story huh? I mean,  I did LOVE Ethan but I just loved it more in the beginning than the end. Did you guess the twist? Have you read any other stories with the Witness Protection Program plot?

 

three-half-stars

Book Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

12851538Book Title/Author: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Publisher/Year
: Disney-Hyperion  2012
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: No
Other Books From Author: The Lion Hunter’s series

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I borrowed this from my local library!

 

 

I don’t want to give too much of the story away but basically Code Name Verity is set in the midst of WWII and the narrator has been held prisoner by the Gestapo and forced, by interrogation and force, to write down everything she knows about the war efforts even though she knows they are going to kill her when she’s done what they’ve asked. She weaves in what she knows about the war effort in with how she even ended up involved in the war and her current condition and happenings while being held captive. I swear it’s so much more than what I’ve described but you need to just not know ANYTHING so you can get swept up into it all!

This is one of those books that I almost wish wasn’t labeled YA because I know that deters some people from reading books and this book is one I know that could be enjoyed by SO many different kinds of readers. I have friends who only read adult fiction and I am going to be shoving this in their hands because this is one magnificent and heartachingly wonderful story that is well written and will for sure have a spot on my top ten of 2013 list. Without a doubt.

I’ll be honest with you. If it wasn’t for trusted friends recommending this with high praise, I would have probably put it down for a bit. I mean, I love historical fiction set during WWII so I was just itching to read it! The beginning was a bit hard to get into for me — the way it’s told is a bit jarring at first and there were so many descriptions of aviation and locations and things I just felt were just making it hard for me to get into it or see where the book was going. Felt like I was really excited to get into this wonderful story I’d heard about but it was like trying to run in a swimming pool for me, with the things I named above, the resistance to me immersing myself into the story. So if you’ve tried to read this one and really couldn’t get into it. PATIENCE. It’s worth it! And I started to really find myself unable to turn the pages faster the further I got into it. It’s a slow build but the payoff is hefty.

I don’t want to give ANYTHING away plot-wise because this is the type of story that’s brilliance is in the careful reveals and the sharp unraveling of the story that demands you keep reading just one more chapter. Told in two parts by two different narrators, Code Name Verity is a poignant and impressive novel about friendship, survival and courage with the sobering backdrop of the war. Infinitely more than “just a war story”, Code Name Verity is one of those books that will be seared into my brain and heart with how tremendously moving it was and the way Elizabeth Wein delivers blindsiding twists and breathtaking revelations I could never anticipated nor have expected their impact to move me so profoundly. I’m a sucker for books with unique and all around masterful storytelling and this is one of those books that just soars in that department — from start to finish.

Also, KISS ME HARDY!! Three words that will always make me burst into tears now.

If there were ever a book that I’d make a sweeping recommendation for, no matter if you read YA or if you aren’t into historical fiction, this is it. Despite the slow start due to an abundance of aviation type descriptions and the settling into the way the story is told, this book was knock-you-off-your feet incredible! The unraveling of this story and the deliverance of moving twists and revelations, accompanied by the most moving story of friendship I’ve encountered in a while, ensured this book has wound up on my very small ALL TIME FAVORITES list. I’m most stingy with this kind of recommendation and Code Name Verity certainly is deserving.

 

For Fans  Of: moving stories of friendship, historical fiction, beautiful stories that make you ache and give you so many feelings, WWII stories
You May Also Like: The Book Thief by Markus Zusack, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepytus, Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum  — all three of these books are not only among my favorite historical fiction books but just, in general, all time favorites.

code-name-verity-review

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard of it? Did you love it like I did or feel differently? Was it hard for you to get into it in the beginning or was it just me? (My book club was split!). Did you also bawl just thinking about KISS ME HARDY?? Please tell me all the things you thought about this one!!

 

five-stars

Audiobook Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

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Book Title/Author: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Publisher/Year
: Hyperion 2008
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Nope!
Other Books From Author: The Ruby Oliver series, Dramarama, How to Be Bad, Fly On the Wall

Amazon| Goodreads | @elockhart |

Recommended by the girl whose recommendations I take SERIOUSLY


In the summer between 8th and 9th grade, Frankie transforms from cute debate club nerd at her prestigious boarding school to suddenly having guys take notice of her for her new, more adult-like figure and her witty demeanor. She finds herself in the arms of her senior crush, Matthew Livingstone, and ushered into the world of his fascinating and elite group of friends. As she gets closer to Matthew and his friends, she starts to feel excluded from parts of his world that she can’t enter — an all male secret society that she knows her dad was a part of that has Matthew sneaking off in the middle of the night and pranks happening around campus. Frankie thinks it’s crap that, as a female, she can’t be a part of this group when she knows she could think of more genius pranks so she takes matters into her own hands as she hides her knowledge about the secret society from Matthew and his friends.

On the story itself:

I have always had a weak spot for fancy schmancy boarding school stories and have loved the idea of a secret society since my days of binge watching Gilmore Girls with my college roomie and watching all about The Life And Death Brigade that the (smokin’) Logan was a part of. So immediately the setting of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (and isn’t the title just SO intriguing??), along with the premise of this novel, hinted towards a good time for me.

This book was so fun in terms of the plot. These boys have their secret society and their pranks and Frankie decides she can do better and masterminds her own series of elaborate pranks while keeping up appearances with Matthew and her friends. It’s perfectly paced as you get this perfect balance of her scheming and her just being a normal student/friend/girlfriend that’s trying to be a part of her boyfriend’s world and trying to fit in. You can’t help but cheer her on as she masterminds these pranks, feel tense wondering if she’ll get caught and secretly cringing as she maybe starts to take things too far.

Confession time: I was totally a master pranker in college with my guy friends — we put white mice in the girls dorm below us, launched water balloons at people walking, egged the college vans as they drove from campus to the dorms and captured ducks outside the pond and put them in the common area in the dorms. I had to outrun campus security, fall into a pricker bush and got duck poop all over me. Deservedly so. I’m SORRY, alma mater. I am. So naturally, I was giddy about Frankie’s plotting and pranking and her outwitting everyone!

The real make or break deal of this novel lies in if you like Frankie — which I absolutely loved her. The girl wasn’t perfect by any means but I loved how strong she was and how she wanted to just prove that she could be like one of the guys — I could totally relate to that. She didn’t want to be excluded from the boys club because she had a vajayjay.   I loved how she explored what feminism was and what it meant to her and I think that’s important for girls to think about — what feminism is and looks like lived out. I think she made mistakes and had some skewed views but ultimately she learned a lot about herself. I mean, what 15 year old girl can REALLY know exactly what feminism is and what it looks like in your life. I just loved watching her grow and learn — even when it was painful and you wanted to be like “GIRL YOU ARE ACTING CRAY!” Plus she was sassy, strong and had some majorly awesome pranking skills.

On the audiobook:

This was one of the audiobooks I listened to while working out so my experience was a bit choppy because it wasn’t like it was a long car ride or something. I thought it was easy to follow and the plot worked well in the audiobook form. I didn’t feel like I was too lost and rarely did I have to go back to re-listen to something. The only thing I had a hard time was, and I’m quoting my friend Heidi from Bunbury in the Stacks on this, is that the narration kiiiind of “makes Frankie sound like a bit of an asshole” and not as endearing, despite her flaws, as I found her to be. So if you give this a go on audio and you find yourself hating on Frankie, try to switch to an actual book. It might help you but if you are still annoyed — you might just fall in the camp that just doesn’t like her as I alluded to before.

I really enjoyed The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks! It was a ridiculously fun boarding school story that not only had some serious mischief & pranking involved but also weaved in the story of a girl trying to figure out her place in the world dominated by men and hold on to her feminist ideals. There are plenty of mishaps and cringeworthy moments as to be expected but I loved Frankie, her spunk & sass and watching her grow!

For Fans Of: boarding school novels, snarky and sassy female characters that show strength without being of the literal “kickass” variety, secret societies

 

frankie-landau-banks

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? Did you enjoy it or have a different opinion than me? What was your favorite Frankie prank? How do you think about Frankie’s notions of feminism? Do you feel like she grew in  them?

four-stars

Review: The Darlings Are Forever by Melissa Kantor

Book Title/Author: The Darlings Are  Forever by Melissa Kantor
Publisher/Year
: Hyperion 2011
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Yes — The Darlings In Love
Other Books From Author: If I Have A Wicked Stepmother, Where Is My Prince?, The Breakup Bible, The Amanda  Project, Girlfriend Material, Confessions of a Not It Girl

Amazon| Goodreads | Melissa Katnor’s Website |

I checked this out from my wonderful library. LIBRARIES ARE COOL, y’all!

 

 

Jane, Victoria and Natalya have always be best friends — they do everything together and have been through everything together. They’ve always had one another by their side through the years at their tiny private school so the girls are nervous as they begin 9th grade at different high schools without each other in Manhattan. They vow to still be as close as they’ve always been and not grow apart but as they begin to navigate their new lives they struggle with balancing their friendships plus all the new things life has thrown at them. Jane feels the pressure of trying to land a leading role at her performing arts high school and figure out a crush she shouldn’t have.  Natalya lands herself a spot at an extremely prestigious school with some of the wealthiest families but she tries to fit in with the popular girls without letting on that she’s a scholarship student and not actually rich. Victoria tries to blend in at her new private school — which is hard to do with her dad running for office & her sister’s legacy at school. As the girls navigate boys, peer pressure, fitting in and making friends, they realize trying to keep the closeness of the Darlings in tact is harder than they realized.

I don’t know about you all but sometimes I just wander the library and pick up something I’ve never heard of and give it a try. I picked this one up on a whim, thought it sounded fun and cute and checked this baby out! What a pleasant surprise this was! It was very reminiscent of The Sisterhood of The Traveling pants in that it was a very friendship oriented book (YAY!) with romance and general high school pressures weaved in. It was cute and fun and not really over the top — lots of realistic situations and a little bit of drama (especially with a dad who is in the political spotlight and one of them who is falling for a teacher sort of figure — I’ve totally had a crush on a younger teacher in high school. LISTEN, his ass looked mighty fine in those Banana Republic pants he wore). I can’t say it was particularly a standout or a favorite but it satisfied my need for something fun and light as I’d been reading lots of darker type stuff that weighed heavy on my mind.

It definitely was a bit of a younger novel being that they are starting out their 9th grade year so I’d keep that in mind for you older readers. However, I really enjoyed reading about each of the girl’s transitions into their new high school lives and the issues they faced. I really loved their friendship and rooted for them to stop taking each other forgranted and figure out how to balance their friendship and their new friends and love interests. To be honest, I really enjoyed watching them grow on their own and have to be courageous and bold without one another. I really loved Victoria’s storyline the most I think — but a lot of that was how sweet her romance was!

I had mentioned how this book made me want to find a close-knit group of girlfriends and it’s true — the loveliness of their friendship and how they worked through all the changes in their lives made me want to go all “GIRL POWER”! Speaking as a girl who has had a hard time keeping relationships with my gal pals, it was such a wonderful story to read as they come to terms with their changing lives and try to find out where their former besties still fit in. Such a relatable plot! And I LOVED how the girls were always trying to reach out and do things that they were afraid of doing and I feel like that’s such a good message no matter what age you are! It’s easy to let fear take over and continue to do the same things because you feel complacent. They had a motto they said but I can’t recall what it was and unfortunately the book is back at the library!

 

 

The Darlings Are Forever was such a fun book about friendship, growing up and living boldly despite how much things scare you. Definitely a great book if you love books about enduring friendships between a VERY close group of young girls — a la Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I loved the ups and downs of the girl’s life in New York City as they try to navigate through their new high schools without each other while they face many normal pressures! A pinch of drama, some cute romances and a big feeling of girl power made this such a fun read!  It felt a little young to me at times, being that I AM 27 years old, but it was still totally fun and I would think that younger readers of YA would LOVE this one especially! Won’t say it was a favorite but it was the kind of fun, light read I needed! Definitely recommend to younger YA readers!

 

For Fans Of: The Sisterhood of the Traveling pants-esque stories, books about friendship, cute & fun reads with not too much angst

The Darlings series Melissa Katnor

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? Which girl did you like to follow the most? Did YOU have a close knit group of girl friends/or do you still? Any other good friendship type books you’ve read and enjoyed?

three-stars

Review: By The Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead by Julie Ann Peters

YA books about bullying & SuicideBook Title/Author: By The Time You Read This  I’ll Be Dead by Julie Ann Peters
Publisher/Year: Hyperion 2010
Genre: YA Contemporary
Topics: Bullying, Suicide
Series: No.
Other Books From Author: She Loves You, She Loves You Not.., Between Mom & Jo, Rage: A Love Story, Luna, Keeping You A Secret & more.

Amazon| Goodreads |Julie Ann Peter’s website

 

 

 

 

 

Daelyn is ready to end it all. She’s tried to commit suicide before and she’s failed which has only made things worse for her — everyone thinks she’s a freak and her parents won’t let her out of their sight. This time she’s found a website that will help her in her efforts but only if she’s serious. She’s also found herself spending a lot of time in the forums on this website where she reads about other people’s experiences and why they want to commit suicide and posts her own thoughts. She’s happy when nobody talks to her and doesn’t have to interact with people  so when a boy named Santana starts hanging around her after school it gets under her skin and throws her for a loop since she wasn’t expecting on making any friends knowing that she plans on killing herself.

This book pretty much threw it’s metaphorical hand out of the book and ripped through my body and just squeezed the hell out of my heart. Oh man. It was really heavy and made me so incredibly sad for anybody — especially the young people — who are contemplating suicide or who have endured horrible bullying or just any sort of horrible thing that they’ve kept to themselves that’s made them want to end their life. I seriously can’t even explain how hard my heart ached for Daelyn and people in situations like her.

The way Julie Ann Peters unravels Daelyn’s history of being bullied was just completely effective. When my heart didn’t think it could break any more from hearing how she was bullied, it would start to break even more with the stories she’d reveal — the fat camp, how nobody would listen to her, the bathroom scene at school. I could honestly see why things were so hard for her. It was so painful to read it and to think that this kind of stuff happens in real life. I think Julie Ann Peters gave such an authentic look into the mind of a girl who just grew weary of being bullied, of having nobody listen to her and of trying to make it through every day. She was drained. I quite enjoyed Daelyn’s voice — she was kind of snarky and called it like it was. Obviously I’d wish anyone to choose to live but I found myself really rooting hard for her to find her way through it. I connected with her in the moments when she allowed us to see HER; not the Daelyn who has given up.

Each chapter is a countdown and gives the number of days she has left — a number generated by the website. As every day got closer and closer to the day she was supposed to complete I was reading even more anxiously to find out if she was going to actually go through with it or if she would find some glimmer of hope that would make her change her mind — maybe Santana and his story would, his friendship, or when the music teacher sticks up for her in a way. So many things made me think that maybe she’d find what little bit of hope and strength she could from the good.  I loved when Santana enters the picture and I’m happy that the author didn’t go in the direction I thought it could go in terms of a romance suddenly make everything better. Santana was so full of life despite the heavy stuff he was facing and was so determined to live which was a real contrast to Daelyn and how numb she was.

The ending totally wasn’t what I was expecting. I don’t want to give it away. I still don’t know how I feel about it but I think it was actually kind of perfect in a way and not necessarily in a pretty little bow.

By The Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead is a heavy, heavy book dealing with bullying and suicide in a really powerful way. It weighed heavy on my heart for a while. I felt like it was such a raw and honest portrayal of a subject that is so delicate yet so prevalent in our society. I’ve read books dealing with these subjects before and sometimes they feel really contrived or less than authentic. This just felt really superior to a lot of them in authenticity and emotion as it never felt contrived nor was Daelyn made to be this poor, poor pitiful me character. Daelyn’s voice is just unshakeable and Santana is unforgettable. I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Hard to say that I LIKED it because of the nature of the topic but I was really moved by it and it caused me to think.

 

You May Also Like: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford, Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? What did you think if you have read it? What other books have you read that deal with bullying & suicide? If you did read it what were your thoughts on that ending?

three-half-stars
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