Book Talk: A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery

Book Talk: A Million Miles Away by Lara AveryA Million Miles Away by Lara Avery
Published by Poppy on July 7, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: The Memory Book
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

When a girl loses her twin sister in an accident she is naturally devastated. She realizes that her sister’s boyfriend has no idea about her death because he is in Afghanistan on a tour. She has intentions of telling him but when she does get to connect with him she doesn’t have the heart to tell him, for a couple reasons, but mostly in that moment she sees how hard things have been over them for him. She lets him believe she’s her sister but lines start to blur when she starts to have real feelings for him.

a2Clueless gif

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The marketing copy says “for fans of Nicholas Sparks” and I have to say I felt like that was pretty accurate. It was definitely the emotional drama type read I needed for the pool and I breezed through it though I felt SICK to my stomach the whole time as I was reading and she strung this lie out. This is one of those books from the onset that you are like OH GIRL THIS IS A BAD IDEA. I mean, impersonating your dead twin to her boyfriend who is overseas in the military? EEP. ALERT ALERT. HORRENDOUSLY BAD IDEA.

The bad decision she makes doesn’t even bother me that much. I believed it. That sometimes in the moment, especially when grieving, you could make a really bad choice. I understood that it made her FEEL something to feel like she was doing something good for him and also kind of denying that her twin was gone in some ways. I understood how sometimes you get yourself tangled so badly in a lie that you don’t know how to get out of it with the least amount of damage. I was like OH GIRL STOP THIS but I couldn’t stop reading because I truly was invested in her grief and how the story would play out. I enjoyed watching the dynamics of her family as they were trying to grieve as well.

I was digging the book but then slowly my feelings started to wane as we get closer towards the end and things happen with the ~romance~ between Peter and Kelsey. I can’t explain it without spoilers so just know that how it all ended up made the difference from it being okay to my next notch up on the rating scale.

So here’s my super spoilery explanation for what irked me:

View Spoiler »

 

a6RATING-mixed
(I was going back and forth between it was okay and mixed feelings to be honest. But typically my “it was okay” doesn’t have me feeling such strong negative feelings about a big aspect).

factors+ how compulsively it made me read, writing, the grief explored & the family dynamics
–  THE ROMANCE, THE ENDING

Re-readability: no
Would I buy a copy for my collection? no

a5people looking for a Nicholas Sparks-esque book, people looking for a romantic beach read you’ll race through, people who aren’t bothered by predictability

a8It was no doubt a compulsive read that was perfect for the beach but I just really didn’t enjoy the romance and the ending even though I should have realized that it was going to be predictable. I did enjoy the story up until then and the grieving process she goes through really had me emotional.

review-on-post-it

a-million-miles-away

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 it feel like something you’d be into?
What did you think about the ending if you’ve read it?? Mark spoilers in the comments please! 🙂

 

 


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Book Talk: A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

Book Talk: A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody KeplingerA Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger
Published by Poppy on 2012
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

 

 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 night of graduation, before she gets ready to head to her dad’s house to spend the summer, Whitley has a one night hookup that she thinks she’ll never see again. Imagine her surprise when her dad springs it upon her in the car ride to his house that he is getting married and that she will also be living with her new family which includes and new step-brother and sister. A step-brother who she has TOTALLY seen naked the night before. Her dad is like this new shiny dad she’s never seen and she struggles to feel at home in this new family — with a stepbrother who she is absolutely attracted to.

a2Can’t wait to pick up her other books!

a4This book was super duper addictive. I just FLEW through it. This was my first Kody Keplinger book and it definitely won’t be my last! So, let’s talk about it:

1. The romance was so not typical:  Okay so it had a Clueless thing going on (most of you are old enough to know this movie yes???) for me. I remember even back in the 90’s being like I SHIP THIS SO MUCH (okay maybe I didn’t say ship) but IT FEELS A LITTLE SQUICKY EVEN THOUGH I KNOW IT’S NOT? Well, in this book it was the same way. The main character hooks up (yes sex) with a boy randomly on graduation night and then, as she goes to spend the summer with her dad, finds out that he actually is her NEW STEPBROTHER. Ohmygod right? AWWWWKWARD. So, hey-brother-who-I-have-seen-naked can you pass the gravy? I SO wanted them together even though in my head, knowing that there wasn’t anything “wrong” with it, I kept thinking MAN that would be so awkward to date your stepbrother. I LOVED Nathan by the way!! What a great guy!

2. I loved the honesty of Whitley’s voice: I’ve always heard Keplinger just writes with this searing honesty and rawness and I totally agree. Everything written is just so authentic of being teen and Whitley’s voice just really worked for me. There is just that genuine portrayal of being a teen girl in all of its messiness and ugly glory but also in the way that we grow SOOOO much and learn (the hard way a lot of the time). I loved how Keplinger didn’t shy away from drinking and sex and stuff…it felt so seamlessly what a lot of teen experience is. It wasn’t an “issue-y” type of thing ever but you see realistic “consequences” to some of the things she was doing. Nothing preachy or OH THE END OF THE WORLD BECAUSE YOU DID THIS. But just a lot of food for thought.

3. Loved the exploration of family dynamics: Whitley has divorced parents and there is a lot of bitterness there. Whitley has spent every summer with her dad who was like her best friend. This year? He springs the news on her that he’s getting married and…surprise! You have a stepbrother and stepsister! He’s turned into this guy she doesn’t really recognize, she’s thrown into a new family (with a step-brother she hooked up with) and she feels like the odd man out when her dad barely spends any time with her. I just loved how it explored all of it. The feeling of being the old kid in the new family. Having to hear bitter things said from one parent about the other. It was just so perfectly explored because, coming from a divorced kid here, IT GETS COMPLICATED. And as an aside, I LOOOOOVED her stepmom!!

4. I wished for a little bit more depth in some areas toward the end is my ONLY complaint: When it got to some of the things that Whitley was learning, I was REALLY excited to see her think about and put these things together. But it fell a little short for me. The book went RIGHT THERE for me and was so close to having the depth that I needed to make this a WOW read but it never hit that. I don’t know how else to really explain it but with the variety of issues that Whitley was dealing with (especially with her dad) I just wanted MORE in the end I guess. When I reached the end-ish I just felt like it could have been better for me and a little more profound? I don’t even know if that’s the word I’m looking for but I just knew I felt a little disappointed at the end.

 

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ characters, plot, addictive factor, writing
wanted a little more depth in some aspects

Re-readability: Probably not because I’m picky about rereading but I want to read the rest of her books!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I have one but I’m probably passing it on bc it wasn’t a fave/I won’t reread

a5contemporary YA fans, people who want authentic voices in YA

a8I couldn’t put this one down! Really impressed with Kody Keplinger and the raw sort of emotions she brings to her teen characters and her ability to tackle some tough stuff. Loved the story and the characters despite wishing for a little depth in some areas. Will definitely be reading more from Keplinger!

review-on-post-it

midsummers-nightmare-kody-keplinger

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 it feel like something you’d be into?
Have you read any other Keplinger books? Which one should I read next?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: Wildlife by Fiona Wood

Book Talk: Wildlife by Fiona WoodWildlife by Fiona Wood
Published by Poppy on September 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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

Wildlife is told from the perspective of two girls who are doing a required semester at an outdoors camp. Sib gets a little boost of popularity as she gets her face on a billboard (as well as some scrutiny) right before she comes leave for this semester and finds herself in her first real relationship and navigating some choppy waters with her best friend Holly. Lou is a new student and is thrown into this experience not really knowing anybody and with a heavy amount of grief that is closing her off. She observes her new peers and starts to witness some unraveling in Sib and Holly’s friendship and also starts to feel more drawn in even though she wants to stay an outsider.
.

a2Another Aussie win! Also, I kind of want to go camping or something and get my outdoors on?

a4

I really enjoyed this one!! I’m telling you…I keep waiting for the day that I won’t like an Aussie YA book and today was definitely not that day. Wildlife was just an altogether great read for this contemporary YA lover! Apparently this is a companion novel to Six Impossible Things but I haven’t read that and I wasn’t missing anything (especially since when it was talked about BEA there was no mention of the companion. I do want to read it and read more about Lou even knowing what we learned happened as this novel starts.

So here’s what I liked:

1. The setting : I loved the idea of this semester at an outdoors camp! It’s required so it’s interesting to see everyone adapting to the things they have to do — the chores they are assigned, having no technology, camping and hiking. They had to do this crazy solo hike and camp by themselves which scares the beejezus out of me because 1) obviously and 2) OMG THE WILDLIFE IN AUSTRALIA SCARES ME. I was waiting for her to be eaten alive by some snake or crazy spider. But overall I just loved the outdoors-y element to this and how it contributed to their growth and took a lot of them out of their comfort zone. It sounded like a really GOOD experience to build character and really LEARN about yourself in a different way — minus that solo hike where you camp by yourself in the Australian bush. I would never survive.

2. How it explored friendships: I love reading books about friendships because they are SO complex and honestly such a hard thing to navigate sometimes — especially as you are coming of age and really finding yourself. We see kind of early that Sib and Holly are pretty different in ways and their dynamic is interesting. Sib is just passive and lets Holly be a douche and walk all over her. At first you are like ehh Holly sucks and is kind of mean but then you suddenly are like okay is this toxic? It feels toxic right? I love that it explored how hard it is to be honest with yourself about a friendship that has kind of turned into something not so good — how Sib tries to reconcile the good vs. bad and the memories of Holly and has to decide if the friendship can be salvaged or if, as we grow, that sometimes we have to let people go. But even outside of Holly and Sib there were some other relationships that I enjoyed watching grow and mature! They all just seemed very realistic and had the kind of complexities and messiness I have experienced in my life.

3. The alternating chapters between Sib and Lou: I really liked Sib and watching her grow  and her perspective (maybe because I could identify a lot with her) but Lou was such an interesting character too. She’s a new student and she’s out here with no friends and, not only that, she’s grieving so deeply which makes her even more lonely. Her perspective is truly as an outsider and I loved watching her observe Sib and Holly and everything going down at camp as she keeps her distance but also gets drawn into it all and starts to make connections and open herself up to start to figure out who is after this tragedy.

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ writing, characters, themes explored, setting
nothing!

Re-readability: Maybe!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I want one!

a5fans of Aussie YA, contemporary YA readers, people who like boarding school/camp settings, people who like books that explore friendships

a8Wildlife was just a really damn good character-driven story — interesting characters, great setting, thought-provoking and incredibly well written. I loved watching Sib start to, through the outdoor experience and relationship issues, start to really grow and learn more about herself. It was nice to watch her be less PASSIVE and start to learn to be more independent. I loved watching Lou grow from this experience to — to confront her grief and to open up a little bit rather than keep herself so closed off.

review-on-post-itWildlife by Fiona Wood

 

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 it feel like something you’d be into?
I’m curious if any of you have read Six Impossible things!
*

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Book Talk: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. SmithThe Geography Of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Poppy on April 15, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight, This Is What Happy Looks Like, Done Dirt Cheap
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

 

 

 

 

book synopsis “Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and — finally — a reunion in the city where they first met.”

 

good books to read

I really enjoyed The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith. It was absolutely different than I thought it would be and in such a good way. I think Jennifer E. Smith’s books are such feel good books and while this WAS that it was a whole lot more honestly. I still think The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is still my favorite but this comes pretty darn close to rivaling it. It was really a beautiful story that really displayed what a talented author Jennifer E. Smith is. Let’s break it down:

1. I loved the idea of this book and, even though it didn’t go the way I thought it would, I loved it more how it DID go: I loved the idea of this chance meeting during the blackout and then the fact that circumstances would send them both away so they’d have this long distance relationship. First, I thought we’d see a lot more of their adventures through the blackout. Secondly, I thought it would be more of a long distance relationship where they were together and keeping the relationship alive through cutesy emails and texts and postcards and stuff. They did communicate through postcards and emails but they weren’t “together” and it wasn’t this constant communication. It was more of a story where these two people meet, feel this really strong spark but move to opposite sides of the world before anything can really happen between them and are left to deal with what to do with all those feelings plus what they were individually going through before they met. I LOVED watching this play out — them in their new environment moving on with their own lives but still having these lingering feelings for each other that nagged at them at certain point. That question of “what might have been” just dangling there because it was never able to really start! It was romantic but in a different way than her usual books — maybe not in such an obvious way.

2. As far as writing goes this is my favorite Jennifer E. Smith book: Another blogger, Heather, and I were talking on Twitter about just how BEAUTIFUL the writing was in this book. I thought her books were always well written but there was just something about this one where I really kept getting lost in the words and was just really impressed by the writing of this one.

3. I loved how the characters really learned what “home” meant in this novel: Both characters, when we meet them, have this really broken feeling of what home means. Owen’s mom passed away and him and his dad just can’t bear to be in their home without her so they just wander. Home for Lucy has been kind of lonely with her parents always traveling and her brothers away at college. I just really enjoyed watching both characters have to reconcile what HOME means for them and what and who it includes. It was just really beautiful to watch this happen though I think Owen’s story just really resonated with me more with losing his mom and watching him and his dad work through that.

4. LOVED all the travel going on in this novel: There were just these little moments that perfectly and quietly captured each location and I just loved seeing these new places through their eyes! At times I wish we could have gotten even more immersed in some places — especially New York during the blackout! I wanted to see more of Lucy’s New York!

5. I loved Owen and Lucy but I didn’t find them to be super REAL to me: I liked their stories and really connected with Owen’s but I never found them to be these super alive characters that I could picture and felt like I really KNEW them. They just fell a wee bit flat despite how much I enjoyed their stories and watched their growth.

6. I loved that this wasn’t necessarily all about the romance but the romance was still compelling: I so deeply felt that lingering of their one night in New York. There wasn’t an insta-love or anything like that but there was this SPARK that they had and they never got to examine that. I loved that they didn’t pine for each other when they parted but there was a very realistic feeling of wanting to know what COULD have been had they had more time together. Wanting to know more about the other person from the little bit you got. I loved watching them work through the other things going on in their life but could SO SO SO feel the pull of each other at times.

book reviews

The Geography of You and Me was just what I needed — sweet, romantic in a untypical way, reflective, beautiful, messy and just a really enjoyable read even if it didn’t go at all how I thought it would by the summary. I expected it to be a bit lighter and more of a long distance romance but I really, really enjoyed what I read instead.  I don’t think the characters were as full and real as I needed them to be to make this a favorite but I really enjoyed this nonetheless.  Really impressed with Jennifer E. Smith’s writing in this one and the refreshing plot!

 

 

short book reviewGeography of You and Me Jennifer E Smith

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? What did you think of it? Did you think this one was going to be a bit lighter than it was or think certain elements were going to be different because of the summary..or was that just me? If you’ve read her books before where does this rank for you? I think I LOVED Stat a wee bit more but loved this WAY more than This Is What Happy Looks Like.


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton | Book Review

What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton | Book ReviewWhat Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
Published by Little Brown Books For Young Readers, Poppy on October 2012
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads
four-stars

 

 

 


Cassidy, known to everyone as Sid, is on a ski club trip with her two best friends when she meets a charming guy who invites her to his house for a party. She sneaks out to go to the party, without her friends who didn’t approve, and finds her way to his house. The next thing she knows is that she has woken up in this house and can’t remember anything from the night and quickly realizes that this guy stole something from her that she can’t get back. Reeling from the aftermath of this incident, she comes home and decides to stay silent about what happened. She withdrawals from her friends, starts running a lot, drops her advanced classes and takes the only available activity for credits at that time in the A/V room with Corey — a guy she knows to be a complete stoner. An unexpected friendship, and maybe even more, blossoms between them that makes her feel alive again as she tries to ignore what happened to her.

Wow! What a recommendation from Estelle! What Happens Next is definitely a book I’m surprised more people haven’t read! It was incredibly powerful and highly affective though not entirely perfect, in my eyes, with how some of the things were dealt with. It deals with a heartbreaking scenario that happens way more than we probably even know — Sid wakes up remembering nothing that happened after hanging out with a guy she met on the slopes until she realizes one thing that did happen — something she could never get back. What Happens Next deals with the aftermath of that and how she copes with this secret silently. She acts different towards people in her life and pushes them away, starts running A LOT and drops her college prep classes but, on the surface, she still very much is the same Sid. I felt like the portrayal of her dealing with this (and NOT dealing with it) and all the hurt she harbored was very realistic — she tried to push it away and ignore it but eventually she had to deal with it. I just wanted to hug her so much and kept silently pleading with her to tell someone.

The thing that made me LOVE this book was Sid herself. She is a great character that I felt like just leapt off the page. She was hilarious and strong yet I could feel those insecurities she had. I feel like, before I started this book, I thought it was going to be a really dark, serious book and, while it tackled such a topic, there was so much lightness and vibrancy in this novel because of who Sid is and the hope you could feel even in the aftermath of this horrible event. She had so much resiliency in her and you could feel it but I also could feel those gut dropping moments when you’ve almost forget it happened because you are happy and it comes rushing back. The character of Sid was written perfectly and makes this novel stick with me. Her pain was as real as her.

Also, I really need to point out 2 things — I loved the great family portrayed in this and I loved the friendship of Corey. Corey is one guy I didn’t expect to swoon over and TOTALLY did. His friendship was so important, I think, to anchor her at least a little bit and their romance came as one of those slow burn, I-TOTALLY-BELIEVE-THIS kind of romances. I loved how his relationship factored in but it didn’t overshadow Sid’s growth — she did the hard work but had great support.

I will say I was a little disappointed with how one of the issues was tackled/wrapped up. There were a lot of things that happened as a result of what happened that night and a number of, on the verge of overwhelming, threads that emerged and one of those centered around an eating disorder. It wasn’t developed a lot, like I said there was a lot going on, and I just felt this nagging sense when I finished that I didn’t completely love how it seemed like she just STOPPED doing it. Just a minor issue in my mind while reading but worthy of note because I just felt like it wasn’t super developed at all.

At first I wasn’t sure if I liked how neatly things seemed to wrap up but ultimately I decided that I know this story is just a small piece of this event and wasn’t about the healing aspect but rather the admittance that it occurred and coming to terms with what happened so the healing can begin.

I bawled through the last few pages of What Happens Next — this emotional surge that had been building up from the beginning to the end overtook me and the dam was able to burst forth with my tears. It tackles a really difficult subject brilliantly and Sid is a character who shines. Really, really shines. In the midst of a story that could, at first glance, seem to be a complete downer there is resiliency and strength in a character who is so vibrant and funny you can’t not care and flawless slowburn romance that will light your heart on fire but not distract you from Sid’s journey to come to terms with what happened so healing can come.

What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton book review

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? What did you think of it if you have read it? Did you LOVE Sid like I did?? How did you feel about Corey and Sid? How did you feel about how the subject was portrayed? Also, I’d love for some other recommendations for books that tackle date rape/rape well.

four-stars

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith | Book Review

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. SmithBook Title/Author: This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher/Year
: Little Brown 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: No
Other Books From Author: The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight, The Comeback Season, You are Here, The Storm Makers

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

A friend let me borrow this one!

 

 

 

When Ellie accidentally receives an email meant for someone else she never could have imagined that the person she developed a friendship with is one of the biggest teen movie stars — Graham Larkin. They’ve kept up the conversation but have remained anonymous about who they are and their background. Graham decides he wants to meet Ellie in real life so he makes sure his next film is shot in Ellie’s very small town in Maine which happens to be the perfect location for the film. When Graham finally reveals himself to Ellie it seems like it is destined to not work. Even if Ellie really believed something could ever work out between an average girl from a small town and a famous actor, she knows she has to avoid all the attention and the spotlight to hide her past.

I thought this one was okay — cute, light and entertaining enough. I didn’t feel as much for it as I did The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight but it wasn’t by any means a BAD book at all. I enjoyed it in the way I enjoyed (ok, still enjoy) Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen movies like Passport To Paris, Winning London, When In Rome, etc. It was more of the cheesy cute romance variety where you’ll need to suspend some disbelief and there’s a bit of predictability. This actually would make a VERY cute movie on ABC Family or the Disney channel.

The romance is very cute and is the sort of thing that 13 year old Jamie would have gone gaga over since she always dreamed of chance encounters with the boys of Tiger Beat who plastered her walls where they would fall madly in love with her. It’s a really cute, fun premise that certainly was easy to get into.

The tension of the romance is in that Ellie, the main character who ends up emailing with THE BIGGEST TEEN MOVIE STAR, has absolutely noooo interest in fawning over a movie star. I loved reading the emails they exchanged between each other and how she had NO idea he was famous. It led to some crazy tension when he finally rolls into town and she finds out that HE was the person she had been emailing all along. Not to mention the fact that Ellie has her own secret and needs to keep her life private — something that dating a celebrity would not afford you with all the paparazzi intruding on their every moment. It’s the typical “we could never work out because our lives our so different” kind of thing and I really did enjoy watching them through those moments.

While it was very cute it just didn’t didn’t do a ton for me. I liked the characters but kind of found them to be a little dull though I did love reading about a nice guy though I wished he would have been a little more interesting. The story, at points, seemed to drag and I just never really felt invested in the story or characters to make me feel anything other “well, that was cute.” That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it because I definitely did just wasn’t super strong for me. Also, we read this for book club and it honestly didn’t lend to much discussion to be honest.

This Is What Happy Looks Like is a cute, clean romance that I thought was okay and enjoyable but I didn’t particularly love it. I enjoyed it in the way I enjoyed Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen movies. It’s filled with romantic tension as Ellie tries to fight her feelings towards the guy she has been emailing who she finds out is actually one of the biggest teen movie stars. It’s full of cute moments that I think 13 year old Jamie would have swooned over but it didn’t leave a huge impression on me though it was totally sweet and uplifting. I would 100% recommend this to tweens/younger teens though!

 

 

This Is What Happy Looks LIke by Jennifer E. Smith

 

Recommend if you like: The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight, Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen movies or Disney channel movies/ABC family shows, clean romances, cute & light books

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? If you have read it, what did you think? Did you feel differently than me! I would love to hear it!

three-stars

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Book Title/Author: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer  E.  Smith
Publisher/Year
: Little Brown 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Nope!
Other Books From Author: You Are Here,  The Comeback  Season, The Storm Makers, This Is What Happy Looks  Like  (Out Spring 2013)

Amazon| Goodreads | @jenesmith |

I bought this with my own cash moneyyy.

When seventeen year old Hadley misses her flight to London for her dad’s wedding to the woman he fell in love with & left her mother for, she finds herself stuck in the airport waiting for the next flight —  thinking about what awaits her in London, how she’ll actually make it to the church on time and unresolved feelings she has towards her dad. What she didn’t imagine happening as a result of those four minutes that prevented her from making her original flight was that she’d meet Oliver — a British boy studying at Yale – who happens to  be  in the same row  as her. Hadley & Oliver spend the entire flight laughing and letting the walls down and sharing some of the most important matters of the heart. When their flight lands they are shuffled off into different lines at customs and Hadley is against the clock to make it to what awaits her at the wedding while she wonders if she’ll be able to talk to Oliver again.

Why the heck had I not read this already?? Everyone had been singing its praises and saying that it would be a total Jamie book! I even BOUGHT it and got it signed at an event but  I don’t know…it got lost in the shuffle of books I own. In Mitali’s (former blogger at Alley of Books & lady who knows what books I love) words:

 

And THE WORLD WAS RIGHT.  In short:

I really enjoyed The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight! It was cute and swoony and such an addicting read that I finished in a single day. I immediately know I have to edit my End Of Year Book Survey to include this book and I already added her to my top ten favorite new-to-me authors that I’ve read this year and I’m dying to read off her backlist & look forward to her new release This Is What Happy Looks Like.

I think this concept of “love at first sight” has the ability to be really tacky and contrived but luckily what Jennifer E. Smith does is just pure perfection for me. It’s one of those things, prior being with Will, I always wondered if it would happened. If that cute guy and I would end up next to each other on the train or if that cute guy in the coffee shop and I would strike up a meaningful conversation and spend hours just talking. A girl can dream! Those chance encounters are always so fun to me and The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight will make your heart thump in your chest at Hadley & Oliver’s meeting and throughout their transatlantic conversation in which they learn the random and the important things about each other. The slow burning realization that there was a connection there was so sweet to watch and deviates far from the “insta-love” that I hate. This was two people who met and had great, honest conversation — it’s happened to me in a non-romantic way plenty of times! Sometimes you keep in touch and sometimes you don’t.

I loved learning about them through their conversation in the airport and on the plane in the first half half of the book and then I LOVED getting to see Hadley finally see her dad and meet Charlotte. There is a particular touching scene between she and her dad and I felt ALL OF THE FEELS. And I don’t want to give too much away but there was some pretty epic scenes that took place in London and I loved how you could see how Hadley realized perhaps her and Oliver meeting was more than a chance encounter that would dissolve into a vague memory.  While I kind of predicted what was going to happen, it did not detract at ALL from my enjoyability level. Hadley & Oliver’s story was sweet, touching and one to cheer for!

I absolutely and undeniably LOVED The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E.  Smith — an author I cannot wait to read more from! It’s a sweet and charming contemporary romance that will bring ALL OF THE SWOON and Hadley and Oliver are two of my favorite pairs this year! It’s a memorable and touching story about happenstance, forgiveness and opening your heart and it will charm the pants right off you. Perfect if you are in the mood for something lighter but with substance!

For Fans Of: swoony books, the movie Happenstance (umm hello Audrey Tautou, sweet contemporary YA stories, scouring the “Missed Connections” pages (oh yeah, I totally used to do this all the time — the thought of someone finding someone so memorable on a train and maybe chatting them up but then parting ways and hoping you can find them again! Le sigh!) , Just One Day by Gayle Forman

 

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? Did you guess the THING about Oliver?? Which book should I read next from her? ALSO, have you ever had a connection like this with a stranger??

four-half-stars

Review: Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Bunheads by Sophie FlackBook Title/Author: Bunheads by Sophie Flack
Publisher/Year: : Little Brown, 2011
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Series: No.
Other Books From Author: None as of now. It’s her debut novel!

Amazon| Goodreads | Sophie Flack’s website

 While most of her peers are navigating their way through living on their own in college, 19 year old Hannah Ward has lived on her own in Manhattan for years to live her dream to make it into the ultra competitive Manhattan Ballet Company. Her peers go to classes and parties; Hannah enjoys hours of workouts, rehearsals, & performances which is all part of the strenuous life of a professional dancer just waiting to be noticed for a soloist position. It’s all part of her plan — every single blister, every diet, every sore muscle means she’s coming closer to making it and stepping out from the crowd of other dancers vying for the same parts. Her dedication to her dream never wavers until she meets Jacob — a musician and college student who introduces her to the possibilities of a life unbound from stringent schedules and very little free time outside the ballet and makes her start to question what’s important to her in her life or if she’s okay with giving up  “normal life” for a life trying to make it to the spotlight.

Bunheads was a thoroughly enjoyable novel that gives a darker (not Black Swan dark!), somewhat  grittier picture to the world of professional ballet — a world that,  from the audience, is nothing short of graceful, beautiful  & elegant. Sophie Flack succeeds in portraying the captivating beauty of the ballet while balancing it with the ugly and cutthroat reality that happen at that level of success. Eating disorders, backstabbing, excessive exercise & exhaustion is the norm. Sophie Flack writes this world all in a way that pulls you in to this unfamiliar lifestyle — at least for me — as the extent of my dance career was three years of tap class.You can tell that the author was in fact a professional ballet dancer as she lends her knowledge of the world of ballet that really seems quite realistic in her descriptions — from the technical aspect to the magical feeling and rush a dancer gets in being on stage and performing these movements so gracefully and in sync. I really felt like I was getting the inside scoop on life behind the curtain. Like an E! True Hollywood Story.

I was nervous at first, as I am with any fiction that delves into a “specialty”, that it will be too technical or that it will lose me because the author can’t make the lifestyle accessible to the average reader who hasn’t lived a life like that. Thankfully Bunheads was not overwrought with too much technical detail that it went over my head and never did I feel too distant from Hannah’s lifestyle that I didn’t connect with her. In fact, I really connected with Hannah in a way that I haven’t with another character. Her struggle to find balance in her life, figure out who she is and who she wants to be, her sacrifice for her dreams — they resonated with me and felt extremely real. I loved Jacob’s role in this but I loved that he didn’t instantly come into her life and help “save her”. It was HER figuring out what she wanted. SHE struggled to try to balance her dreams with wanting to be a normal girl with a normal life.  He just helped perpetuate that. It was a very sweet romance — one that I really enjoyed to watch develop — even when I wanted to body slam Hannah for ditching him. But it was SO realistic. No girl with dreams so high would immediately leave it all for a boy.

Bunheads by Sophie Flack truly was one of my favorite reads this year! It wasn’t a fast-paced nor an overly dramatic portrayal like you might see in a tv show or movie but the world of ballet portrayed in Bunheads was even more captivating, in my opinion, because it seemed REAL as opposed to a drama-rama, hair pulling, scandalous story . It was gritty and a tinge shocking (like from how the “hide” their breasts to how they make their shoes fit to their crazy schedules) but it was also subtle, beautiful and magical and you can feel why it is someone’s dream. You’ll root for Hannah and Jacob but even more you’ll root for Hannah as she struggles to figure out what she wants — a plight we all can sympathize with.  Bravo, Sophie Flack, bravo. I can’t get this book out of my mind.

 

PS. Also loved this book because it seemed to be a bit of an “older” YA!

 

Bunheads by Sophie Flack

 

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez, Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg, Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe,

 

three-half-stars
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