Book Talk: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Book Talk: Saint Anything by Sarah DessenSaint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Published by Viking Juvenile on May 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Once and For All
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!

 

 

 

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

 

A1

Sydney has always felt like she has lived in the shadow of her brother Peyton, the one that got all her parents attention, especially as he started getting into trouble. When Peyton drives drunk and strikes a boy, he’s sent to jail and Sydney’s world is shaken and her parent’s focus is definitely on him now. Sydney decides she wants a fresh start and switches schools so she doesn’t have to be The Girl Whose Brother Hit A Kid While Driving Drunk and feel the guilt and shame that brings with it. As she tries to wrestle with the accident and her relationship with her family, she crosses paths with Layla and Mac, brother & sister, who accept her and bring her into their family when she needs it most.

a2I REALLY REALLY WANT SOME PIZZA AND FRIES PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

a4

There is a reason that Sarah Dessen is one of the queens of YA. Well, many reasons. But the one I’m thinking about is that she knows how to do EVERYTHING and do it well. Great characters, crisp and quoteable prose, interesting plots, emotional journeys that bring the feels without ever seeming too much, this astute look into the teenage mind, great adult characters, important relationships with friends and family that feel just as weighty as the romance. I could GO ON AND ON. I will say that this is my favorite Dessen I’ve read so far. It’s so wonderful. SO WONDERFUL. And makes my heart so happy. The more and more I read of her…the more I know she’s definitely an author that will become a go-to.

Two BIG reasons I loved it:

1. Complicated family relationships: Oh man. This one was so good and complicated — just probing into the messy situation of Sydney’s family in which her brother is incarcerated for driving drunk and hitting a young boy. It was a storyline I could honestly relate to in some ways as my cousin drove drunk and ended up killing his best friend. It was horrible and, from my view, Sarah just got so much right when this situation happens. It taps into that feeling of guilt, shame and blame with the conflicting feeling of love and concern so perfectly and from all sides. Sydney has complicated feelings about it — she loves her brother but she doesn’t have the same feelings her mom has in trying to shift the blame and try to act like he isn’t 100% at fault here. She can’t just forgive him and she feels so much guilt over what he did. It puts an even bigger strain on her relationship with her family because as Peyton has been getting in trouble all their focus has been on fixing him. With him in jail, it just makes EVERYTHING about him…even more so than she already felt because Peyton was always the one people were drawn to and who took center stage. I just love how Sarah explored Sydney’s relationship with both her parents AND her brother with such raw emotion.

2. Friendship FEELS!!: Sydney decides to transfer schools after what happens with her brother because she just wants a fresh slate with people who don’t know what happened. She wanders into a pizza shop after school and meets Layla and Mac — an amazing brother and sister duo — who become her friends. FIRST, I love that they bond over food. I feel like a lot of my friendships start out that way. I love the way Sarah gives us a great picture of new friendship and how with that comes a new start but also she doesn’t ignore Sydney’s old best friends and how to navigate not seeing each other at school and the weight of everything that has happened in Sydney’s life recently. I love the group that Mac and Layla bring Sydney into. They just made my heart all aflutter and I WANT LAYLA TO BE MY BESTIE. I though the romance was super cute in this one but the FRIENDSHIP FEELS were where it was at for me. I just love watching new friendships and new friend groups blossom just as much as I do a good romance.

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ everything really — writing, MC, family dynamics, friendships, romance, THE FEELS, the compulsive need to read it
–  nada

Re-readability: Oh yes.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I did buy one already! I had an ARC but had to get a finished!!

a5fans of Sarah Dessen, people who want just really solid contemporary that balances light and weighty well, people who love friendships just as much as romance in their books, people looking for a read with interesting family dynamics

a8Saint Anything is everything I love about contemporary YA novels and I devoured it. Saint Anything is just such a testament to this amazing career Sarah Dessen has had thus far because it’s SO DAMN EXCELLENT and hits all the right notes because she has this uncanny ability to create stories that just feel REAL and always leave me remembering the important things in life without ever nearing after school special territory. I don’t know, man, Sarah Dessen just feels like one of those people who observes life and spills it out on to the pages in a way that makes you feel like she just GETS IT even though you know she’s one of those people who is honest about still trying to figure her shit out.

review-on-post-itSaint Anything Sarah Dessen review

 

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?
PLEASE TELL ME YOUR FAVORITE DESSEN NOVEL IF YOU HAVE READ HER BOOKS!

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Book Talk: Mosquitoland by David ArnoldMosquitoland by David Arnold
Published by Viking Juvenile on March 3, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Results May Vary, Kids of Appetite
Format: Hardcover
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!

 

 

 

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

 

A1

When Mim’s mom and dad split, Mim finds herself suddenly uprooted and living with her dad and his brand new wife all the way in Mississippi while her mom, whose correspondence has become less and less frequent, is in Ohio. When she finds out that her mom is sick, she hops a Greyhound bus to get to her which leads her on a journey where she’ll encounter people who leave a mark on her and be forced to confront some tough things.

a2There’s no way I’m going to be able to explain this book!!

a4What an experience reading Mosquitoland was! I know I’m not going to be able to adequately describe this book or the experience and that’s okay. I’m just hoping you’ll see that beautiful cover or my interview with David Arnold and will want to just rush right to pick it up!! It’s one of those one in a million kinds of books. The kind of book that doesn’t FEEL like anything else you’ve ever read. I really have a hard time comparing it to anything I’ve ever read before, truly. I love experiences like that.

Here’s what I loved about it:

1. ROAD TRIP: I’ve read lots of road trip books but none quite like this. Mim truly goes on quite the adventure as she leaves Mississippi to get to her mom in Ohio. It was like a road trip hopped up on extra shenanigans. I don’t want to slip in too many of the situations she finds herself in but it was quite the wild ride. I kept turning the pages like WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?!

2. MIM: You guys, YOU NEED TO MEET MIM. There’s no one way to describe Mim — I’d say quirky or eccentric but I’m not sure either of those words fully encompass Mim’s personality. I could tell you about her personality or the things she likes but it doesn’t present the whole picture.  She’s Mim. That’s the only way you can describe her. MIM. I’ll assert it as an adjective. Mim in all her Mimness.  That’s all I can say. And when you meet her you will know what I mean. She’s a voice that echos louder than most in the recesses of my readerly mind. She made me snort-laugh unattractively. She made me cry inconsolably. She made me want to shake her but then hug her at the same time. She made me think. She seeks answers and her journey to find them is one you don’t want to miss as she really has to confront some tough things in her past and present. I could go on and on about Mim and her growth and how much of an amazing heroine she is but the takeaway here is….THERE WILL NOT BE ANOTHER VOICE LIKE MIM. She’s an anomaly (but, like, not written in that annoying way in which the author is like LOOK AT MY CHARACTER ISN’T SHE SO QUIRKY AND DIFFERENT). She’s Mim through and through.

3. The writing: There was something so hypnotizing with David Arnold’s writing. The way this story was told was just so VIBRANT. I don’t know how to explain it other than that. It was dream-like. Surreal. Half the time I was like “IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?” or is it one beautifully constructed hallucination?? Or maybe it’s a movie reel in my mind?? It was just told in a different way. He spins some sentences/thoughts that just make you pause before moving on. I dog-earred the crap out of this book for many reasons — profundity, humor, a certain turn of phrase that delighted the cockles of my heart, a heart-warming moment, etc. I also love how the story is revealed with the trip narration and then with letters to Iz. We get slivers of the past that has brought her here mixed with this surreal road trip. Also? How David Arnold explored mental illness in a powerful way. I don’t want to say too much on it because I want people to experience it purely how I did.

4. The cast of characters she meets along the way: There were sooo many excellent characters she crosses paths with who change her and help her along her journey. Every character she crosses paths with come to life so vibrantly in a way that is just SO impressive.

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ plot, characters, writing, uniqueness, themes
–  Nothing really.

Re-readability: Yes!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Yes!

a5contemporary YA fans looking for something a little different, people who like offbeat indie movies like I do (seriously, it’s so cinematic and I kept picturing it shot like some of my favorite indie flicks), readers who like a wild road trip,

a8Mosquitoland was just delightfully offbeat in the most charming of ways. Mim is a heroine which no adjectives can quite pin down the essence of Mim. She will test your patience but you cannot help rooting for her on her journey. And the writing?! It made me up my dog-earring game! Gut-bustingly funny at times, punches you in the gut at other times. David Arnold is a brilliant author who DEFINITELY brought out the big guns with his refreshing and vibrant debut. What next, David, WHAT NEXT? I cannot wait to see what else he can do.

review-on-post-itMosquitoland by David Arnold

 

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?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Book Talk: I Was Here by Gayle FormanI Was Here by Gayle Forman
Published by Viking Juvenile on January 27, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: If I Stay, Where She Went, Just One Day, Just One Year, Just One Night
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!

 

 

 

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

 

A1
Cody’s best friend, who has been away at college, commits suicide. When she goes to clean out Meg’s room at college, she meets her roommates and realizes that there was a lot Meg hadn’t been telling her when she was away for college — a boy who broke her heart and an encrypted computer file that makes her question Meg’s suicide. As she tries to reconcile the Meg she’s learning about, she also pursues the things she finds in the file to find out what really happened to Meg.

a2*wipes away a tear*

a4If you know me, you know Gayle Forman is one of my favorite authors. If I Stay/Where She Went broke my feels and left me with characters I will NEVER forget. Just One Day changed my life, literally. (Loved Just One Year as well). So whenever Gayle has a new book out it’s kind of scary because there is always the potential NOT to love a favorite author’s book (I will need to a bottle of wine and cake to cope if the day ever comes I don’t love a Gayle book). Her books possess top spots in my heart and on my shelf so obviously going into I Was Here I had some MIGHTY high expectations.

But this right here is what I love about Gayle Forman’s books! They are all so different and yet emotionally they poke and prod into depths of the heart and the soul not always explored and always leave me thinking all these very life-examining thoughts and questions. I Was Here was this same experience. And to be completely honest, I Was Here was a book that kept having this residual affect on me the further and further away I got from reading it. I read it in the beginning of AUGUST of last year and I’m still finding new dimensions to it and having new epiphanies about it randomly that make me appreciate it more. That says a lot to me.

 The plot definitely was one that I knew emotionally was going to be hard as I lost a friend (not a best friend but still a friend) to suicide and it’s such an intense, confusing thing as a human to understand.

I think, by nature, suicide is one of those things that makes you examine someone you love. Cody was already feeling the strain of them living these separate lives after Meg left for college and then she begins to find out so many things about her when she talked to her roommates and cleaned out her room. This  added all these dimensions to Meg. Then there’s  the suicide and all those “WHYS” and “what could I have missed/did I not see” made Cody unsure of everything she thought she knew about Meg and the picture of her becomes so blurred.

I think Gayle wrote that raw confusion very well as Cody tried to reconcile her best friend Meg with the Meg she’s learning about. I could FEEL that as a reader, which in some ways made me feel like I didn’t understand Meg so much or connect to her, but I realized it’s because THAT is exactly how Cody is feeling. So many complicated THINGS are being added to the person of Meg that make her feel like she’s seeing her for the first time — she’s exploring all these nooks and crannies she never was aware of. Things that she’ll never be able to see for herself or hear from Meg’s mouth. You can feel the barest and most raw emotions in Cody — anger, numbness, resentment, guilt, confusion, sadness. I felt that gamete of emotions after my friend committed suicide and so I really understood the disorienting head space Cody was in. I think sometimes she feels a little detached from it all because it doesn’t feel real nor like the Meg she knows but at the same time her emotions are driving her in an intense way. I think we get an interesting picture of a friendship, maybe not the one I expected to see explored, but ultimately one that felt very real and raw after something like this.

The majority of the plot hinges on Cody pursuing the things she finds that makes her question everything about Meg’s suicide. It’s one of those DANGER DANGER DANGER moments as the reader because you know it’s not a good idea as she proceeds. But this is what I LOVED about this book!! There’s this deep drive as humans to UNDERSTAND when things like this happen. To find answers. To make sense of it. To know what could have helped. We like order and things that we can wrap our mind around.  Someone to blame. I grieved very closely with the mom and dad of my friend as they were family friends and I’ve seen this desire very intensely in them even years later. Cody wanted to make sense of things and she latched on to this uneasy feeling she had to pursue answers that maybe would make more sense to her. That could make this easier as she grieved and tried to make sense of the fact that her best friend was gone. I think for me, being able to slip in Cody’s head space so easily, made me understand this desire for closure no matter how reckless it seemed.

The romance in I Was Here takes a back seat to the plot and Cody’s grieving and I think it was better that way. When they do start to have a connection, there’s this “hmmm” feeling I had because it’s a little more challenging of a pairing than Mia/Adam and Allyson/Willem in her previous books. Ben had history with Meg so it’s this strange feeling and you can FEEL that Cody and Ben both feel that at first. I think Ben was pretty hot and intriguing in true Gayle Forman boy-writing fashion but their romance was different for me. I think that’s maybe because we only get to see the challenging start of it and both of them are in very confusing, grief-laden places. I think I wanted more to understand their connection in a deeper way but I think that’s where they are at in the story — a very confusing, trying-to-figure-it-all-out place and all they know is that there is this shared and messy connection between them that they would have never expected. I thought more about it weeks after I finished and started to understand it more though I tend to go for the more sweeping romances myself (ie. her other two) and I think even MORE of the romance would have been a disservice to the heart of this book.

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ writing, the depth of Cody’s character, plot, emotional impact
the romance wasn’t as strong (but I also think it was kind of perfect). I’m still challenged by it.

Re-readability: YES! I NEED to read it again. It’s impacted me so much more in the months since I’ve read it and I just NEED another read because there’s always so much to glean and think about in Gayle’s novels.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Oh I plan on it!!

a5Gayle Forman fans, fans of books that tackle the intricacies of grief, contemporary YA fans that don’t mind something a little dark (but not overwhelmingly so)

a8This is why Gayle Forman is a favorite of mine. This was quintessential Gayle Forman in that she managed to do something so completely different than everything else she’s written but in that same signature Gayle Forman way — an overload of feels, incredibly layered characters, brilliant and compelling writing and an emotional story that just hits ya hard. This one was heavy but oh so good!! It was heartbreaking but made me think a lot about LIFE. Is this my favorite Gayle Forman novel? No, but how can you compete with a book that literally changed your life like Just One Day did for me?

review-on-post-itI was Here by gayle forman

 

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?
* How did you feel about the romance in this one?

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

Book Talk: A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs WallerA Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller by Sharon Biggs Waller
Published by Viking Juvenile on January 2014
Genres: YA Historical Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted
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
When Vicky gets kicked out of her French finishing school when someone finds out she has posed nude for her art class she’s sent home to face her parents who are outraged at how she’s disgraced the family and they are trying to marrying her off to save the family name and her social status. While she tries to pretend to play nice with her parents rules and plans for her life, she really is applying to the Royal College of Art behind their backs, finding a growing interest in the suffragette movement and spending time with a man her parents and their social circles wouldn’t approve of. She dreams of being an artist but at what cost?

a2HELL YEAH SUFFRAGETTES

a4

Historical fiction used to be my one true love, friends. In the past couple years I haven’t read as much of it but this book reminds me why I LOVE it so much. The truly excellent historical novels, like this one, transport me so flawlessly into this sliver of the past and leave me with this insatiable thirst to research that time period or event or find more fiction set in that time.

So what was so great about A Mad, Wicked Folly?

1. The setting: London in 1909 = Edwardian era goodness! The height of the suffragette movement there! Plus Vicky’s world is high society and balls and pretty dresses. I was just so immersed as Sharon just so perfectly and with detail painted the setting for the reader to feel instantly transported to that time. I could feel the tension in the social structure and in the women’s rights movement as well.

2. Vicky is such a dynamic character: Girl is FEISTY and incredibly passionate about her art and I loved it. She’s not a perfect character and that’s what I loved about her. She only really seems to be interested in the suffragette’s works at first because it can further her dreams of going to art school. She has her prejudices, due to her upbringing, that will make you cringe. But it all felt so realistic. How her eyes were opened to the things that the suffragette’s were fighting for. How she looked differently at the social constructs after the things she experienced. I loved watching her growth SO MUCH as she fights to be able to create the art she so desires, asks the hard questions and questions

3. It made me just feel so thankful for these suffragettes: Reading this book and watching what the suffragette’s are doing in this time just made me so grateful for all these women who did so much to give me all the right’s I have. They were laughed at and jailed and treated AWFULLY and still they fought. It was so incredibly inspiring and I just love reading about strong, passionate women. Made me not want to take forget how far we’ve come but also so sad for the ways that as women we still are not looked at as equal to men.

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+plot, characters, romance, setting, writing
Nada.

Re-readability: Yes!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Already have one thanks to Jen!

a5historical fiction lovers, people who like reading about strong women, people who like reading about women’s rights subjects, people who are new to historical fiction (bc this one is SO great!).

a8A Mad, Wicked Folly was just one of those books that reminds me why I love historical fiction — I felt so transported to the setting, found myself immersed in the characters ad plot and it gave me this fierce need to LEARN afterwards. I loved Vicky’s journey as she fights to pursue her art when society is positioned against her and then having her eyes opened to the injustices of the time which make her question everything she was ever told.

review-on-post-itA Mad, Wicked Folly

 

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?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: Brazen by Katherine Longshore

Book Talk: Brazen by Katherine LongshoreBrazen by Katherine Longshore
Published by Viking Juvenile on June 2014
Genres: YA Historical Fiction
Format: Hardcover
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!

 

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

A1
Brazen is set in England during Henry VIII’s reign during the time when Anne Boleyn was Queen. It follows Lady Mary Howard, wife of King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son Henry Fitzroy, through her marriage to Fitzroy and her time at court as she navigates friendships, romances, the scandals of the court and more.

a2Must get my hands on Gilt and Tarnish. ALSO, historical fiction how I have missed THEE.

a4

1. It’s a perfect blend of history and fun: SERIOUSLY it reminded me of one of my current obsessions — The CW’s Reign. There’s the historical facts there but some great fictional speculation and storytelling that just brings it to life. I loved seeing the lives of characters like Anne Boleyn and more obscure characters, like the main character Mary Howard, just feel like people rather than these names on paper. It was definitely more of a “fun” historical fiction kind of novel rather than something more serious set in that time period or something that makes you feel like OH HISTORY CLASS. It has that vibe of all my favorite CW shows (a la Gossip Girl) in the way the drama and the romance and the scandal is so addictive but the research and the history is THERE. I knew the story of Anne Boleyn and what happened to her as a wife of Henry but Katherine Longshore made me see it in a new way and really FEEL it.

2. Being in King Henry VIII’s court is SO ADDICTIVE: Henry VIII’s history is one I remember decently from history classes and I know there is tons of drama and, well, Katherine Longshore definitely makes use of the history there to weave her story of Mary Howard, who is married to Henry’s bastard son Henry Fitzroy, and show all the happenings in the court during the time in which she is there. I mean, Henry VIII’s court is just so scandalous and crazy that it just has a lot of story to be told. PAGE TURNING I TELL YOU.

3. It was so engaging it had me wanting to find out more: I found myself looking up things to see if it really happened or if this person existed or what happened to so and so. I just wanted to learn MORE about this slice of history. I love a historical fiction book that makes me want to LEARN just because it was so engaging.

4. I loved the romance: Mary Howard and Henry Fitzroy’s marriage was arranged and with that comes much more about responsibility and duty than romance but Mary wants to LOVE him — even though sometimes he’s distant, that court life takes him away a lot and that Henry VIII won’t let them consummate her marriage which makes her feel like a pawn. I loved the slow-burn longing and questioning to figure out if there is something there over the years. The awkwardness at times. The way they explore their relationship. It captivated me the whole time!

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ fun, addictive, perfect blend of fact and fictional liberties, loved the time period
little slow/dragging at times

Re-readability: Probably not but I would definitely pick up the other two books in the “series” which are also set in King Henry VIII’s court in Tudor England.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I already own it! It’s so pretty!

a5fans of the CW show Reign or even The Tudors though I’d say it’s more like Reign to me, readers who maybe aren’t SUPER into historical fiction because it’s a little bit more accessible than other historical fiction I’ve read (not super daunting), historical fiction readers who like books set in Tudor England,

a8Brazen was an addictive romp through King Henry VIII’s court that re-acquainted me with historical figures I’m familiar with and introduced me to new ones I’d never heard about. As someone who loves history, I found it to be the perfect balance of fun while using the historical facts to weave together a story that makes it all just come alive. Can’t wait to read Gilt and Tarnish to get my scandalous and drama-filled historical fix — especially while my current tv obsession, Reign, is on break!

 

review-on-post-itBrazen Katherine Longshore review - for fans of Reign

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
* If you haven’t read it, is it something on your radar or that you think you will read?
* What are some other books you’ve read and recommend set during this time period?
* TELL ME YOUR FEELS ABOUT MARY AND FITZROY’S ENDING!!


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: Just One Night By Gayle Forman (JOD/JOY Novella)

Book Talk: Just One Night By Gayle Forman (JOD/JOY Novella)Just One Night by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #2.5
Published by Viking Juvenile on May 29, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: If I Stay, Where She Went, Just One Day, Just One Year, I Was Here
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

 

 

 

SPOILERS AHOY FOR JUST ONE DAY/JUST ONE YEAR so if you haven’t read those yet…beware!

A1This literally picks up where Just One Year leaves off which is where the door opens. So we find out what happens next after Allyson and Willem have finally found each other.

a2SMILE. HAPPY SIGH. Now I need to re-read Just One Day.

a4Here was my thought process when I first found out that Gayle Forman wrote the Just One Night novella:

1. OMG NEW WORDS FROM GAYLE FORMAN. I NEED.

2.  I really don’t like buying novellas but FINE OKAY IT’S GAYLE.

3. But…I LOVED THE ENDING. It doesn’t need a novella to me. I have how it all goes down in my mind.

4. However, I won’t pass up more time with Allyson and Willem and company.

Here’s the thing: you either found the ending of Just One Year to be satisfying (like I did) or you were furious about how it ended with them opening the door and us not knowing what happens beyond that. I know so many people just wanted to know what happened (I totally did) and hated the fact that we watch them look for each other and we don’t get to see the “end results” so to speak. I totally get it but I felt differently (and I think in the minority?).

For me, the ending to Just One Year was perfect because, even though it was about THEM finding and losing and finding each other again, it was also mostly for me about them finding themselves in the first place. So, as much as I would have LOVED to see the happily ever after and all the nitty gritty details of their reunion, I was at a state of complete contentedness with the ending. It felt full circle and I saw two people who were changed by an encounter they had a year ago reunite as very different people.  They lost each other but they had found themselves. And them being reunited, to me, was just this confirmation that taking risks and letting yourself become who you want to be by saying YES is life changing. But this is just my opinion and it’s probably TOTALLY biased because Just One Day changed my life. Literally. Like action was taken because of this book so that stuck with ME as I read Just One Year as well.

So now that we’ve talked about where I was with my feelings going INTO Just One Night(because that’s important)…let’s talk about Just One Night:

I really enjoyed it! I didn’t NEED it but it made me smile and honestly was kind of perfect. I can’t say a lot HAPPENED in it so if you are looking for some HUGE, dramatic fireworks-and-they-lived-happily-ever-afters kind of thing I didn’t see it as that (I mean, it’s a night) but it still gave me those happily ever after feels anyways because of everything they gained in the first place and the possibilities that there WERE for the future (especially as we learn in Just One Year about a potential job offer that would take Willem to the US). It complemented Just One Year nicely in the way it ends to be honest. It was quiet (okay, the sexual tension and FEELS was anything but quiet) but exciting and FULL of feelings and answers.

I was really pleased that it started from the exact second the door opened. Everything that happened seemed so realistic after that. The emotions and FEELINGS after all the longing and searching. The wanting to talk about everything they both had been through. The exuberance shared with friends who knew their journey to find each other. I LOVED watching them put the pieces together about how they found each other and how hard they searched. Everything that happened was exactly what I think would happen in that scenario. The whole night was the perfect kind of reunion and I loved that we were reunited with so many important characters that aided them to get where they were. I had lots of FEELINGS (happy ones) and I don’t want to give too much away but it was a really nice peek into what happened after the door opened and I was really pleased with it as someone who had already had a whole made-up reunion and thoughts of Allyson and Willem years down the road in my head immediately after I finished Just One Year.

a6loved-it factors+ Nice glimpse into what happened AFTER that I felt pleased with though I didn’t NEED the “closure”, feelings!!, worth the 99 cents for the reunion
SO SHORT (but this is because I could read about them for forever)

Re-readability: I probably wouldn’t reread it but I will re-read Just One Day and Just One Year (many times)!! Would I buy a copy for my collection? Already did. Gayle Forman is insta-buy for me so even a novella gets bought if she writes it.

a5Fans of Just One Day/Just One Year who are curious about what happened after the door opened!

a8 I didn’t necessarily NEED this novella because I was very satisfied with the way Just One Year ended but I’m glad I read it because I was curious how their reunion went and I wouldn’t pass that up ever! It was a quick novella that gave the perfect, realistic glimpse into their reunion night and brought them full circle as two people who changed a lot over the course of the year after their life changing encounter. Happy feelings for sure!   review-on-post-it Just One Night by Gayle Forman

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless! * Were you pleased with the ending of JOY and how did that affect how you went into this one (if you read it) or are thinking about it (if you haven’t yet read it). The Perpetual Page-Turner

The Impossible Knife Of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson | Book Review

The Impossible Knife Of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson | Book ReviewThe Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Published by Viking Juvenile on January 7, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
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!

five-stars

 

 

 

book synopsis Hayley hasn’t had the most normal of upbringings — she’s spent most of her time at the side of her dad, a veteran,  as he drove his rig for work but also as a way to escape his experience in Iraq. She didn’t go to school but rather learned from her dad and learned things on her own.  When her dad decides he wants to settle down in his old town and expects Hayley to go to high school, she’s cautiously optimistic that she’ll even be able to fit into a normal life and that this decision will help her dad’s PTSD. She finds out that she’s not so great with math and winds up in detention because teachers don’t appreciate her sass in correcting them when they are wrong. But she also meets Finn. And with Finn she has a chance at some semblance of normalcy as things with her dad become even shakier.

good books to readHuzzah! One of my 10 most anticipated 2014 releases delivered!! The Impossible Knife of Memory just solidifies, in my mind, why Laurie Halse Anderson is one of the best. I’ve read her YA and I’ve read her MG and I just really think she knows how to write a damn good story that always leaves an impression and always makes me FEEL something — not to mention that her writing is divine. The Impossible Knife of Memory was certainly no exception.

It’s definitely not a light and fun book as it tackles some difficult things but it managed to be balanced by Hayley’s humor and irreverent nature (seriously, girl is a firecracker!) and one HOLD-ON-TO-YOUR-BRITCHES-LADIES Finnegan Ramos. (I’ll get to Finn later but he’s tres PERFECT and worthy of swoons). It’s wounding to your heart in a subtle way that creeps up on you and then suddenly has you in a full-on headlock but also manages to soothe you with its bits of hope. As you learn about Hayley’s offbeat upbringing and see her dad struggling with his PTSD and drinking it just grips you even harder and definitely DOES NOT release you until the very end — oh GOD those last couple chapters killed me. You feel for Hayley at how she has to take care of him and how she feels so helpless because she knows he’s getting worse — you can just FEEL the burden of all this but also the love and concern and protectiveness.

I love books that have a focus on a a character’s relationship with their parent and typically the ones I point out are strong but this is one of those stories that paints such a real and stirring dynamic that is actually one of my favorites ever despite how hard it is to read sometimes because of the fractured nature of it. You want to shake Hayley’s dad so much because of  everything going on but you know he’s suffering from PTSD and needs help. Most of my emotions from this relationship came from watching Hayley interact with her dad and take care of him. We get these glimpse of her dad’s memories on random pages but honestly I didn’t feel like it lent much to my view of him like some of interactions and memories did. They just kind of left me feeling I could have done without them. Watching the love Hayley has for her dad and realizing that could not be enough to save him PAINED me.

Finn. I don’t really do the whole “book boyfriend” thing but he is the boyfriend I probably actually would have HAD in high school and I’m staking my claim on him now. He’s got that deliciously nerdy but totally cute thing going on, he’s funny and he’s so, so charming and genuinely sweet and caring. I love how he’s able to break Hayley’s walls down in the most charming of ways despite the fight she puts up being typical Hayley. One of my favorite scenes involves a non-date. Finn and Hayley’s relationship is one that I won’t soon forget because they were both two incredible fleshed out characters and from their very first interactions there was just this energy that I loved. It was playful and wonderful.

book reviewsThe way Laurie Halse Anderson delivers this story is just signature Laurie and it hits all the right notes. There’s a reason she’s one of the Queens of YA and I loved The Impossible Knife of Memory so much! It was powerful and stirring as Hayley settles into a huge transition living in one place with her father as he starts to come more undone because of his PTSD. Quiet, explosive and all around a spectacularly written novel. Also, FINNEGAN, YOU HAVE MY HEART. If you are a lover of realistic fiction that has just incredible depth, get this on thy list!

short book reviewImpossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

books you may also likeWhere Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard of it? If you read it, what did you think? Was Finn not the cutest ever? Did you bawl at that PART ( you know which one!!) like I did?? I honestly did not know what was going to happen at that point. How does this rank if you’ve read other LHA novels?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

five-stars

45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson | Book Review

45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson | Book Review45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson
Published by Viking Juvenile on July 2013
Genres: Contemporary YA
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!

four-stars

 

 

 

book synopsis Ann has been overweight for many years — she’s tried every diet under the sun, has felt pressure from her perfectly sized mother and she’s just come to accept it’s part of who she is. But when her aunt asks her to be a bridesmaid she decides she’s got to lose at least 45 pounds so that she can look her best for the wedding so she decides to try a diet that she finds on an infomercial. Ann takes on a job to pay for her new endeavor of losing weight and along the way learns a lot about herself, her family and meets some new friends along the way.

good books to readI know when I shared a bit about my thoughts for this blog in 2014, I said I was slowing down on reviews for this month but I absolutely HAD to tell you guys about this 2013 release before the year was over! 45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson is one of the most underrated, hidden gems of the year! I really don’t think the summary does it justice at all. I really liked this one from start to finish!

It managed to be heartfelt and snort-worthy funny all at the same time and I just wish so many teenage girls, regardless of what size they are, would read this! I laughed and cringed and felt so, so bad for Ann during certain points. Ann’s story is something that I personally think everybody can relate to in different ways. Ann’s voice was authentic and memorable whether she was talking about how she feels about dieting efforts, the soul crushing embarrassment and shame she felt getting stuck in an article of clothing in a dressing room or the feeling of a new crush. And I loved that she wasn’t some cliche — she felt a person not a stereotype, she had friends, she wasn’t bullied but she had that pressure of her weight being a THING in her life. I could feel it all.

She’s not perfect and there was much growing and learning because of that but you will cheer for her along the way and you will FEEL for her even in her less likeable moments.  She knows some of the choices she makes aren’t the best but she makes them anyways and those moments are incredibly realistic. We’ve all been there in our own ways. We know how it feels to KNOW what we should do to help ourselves but the actual doing part is the struggle.

If you know me, you’d know I’ve never been overweight in my life. Not in the slightest. And that was the beauty of this novel, that it was so completely and wonderfully relatable. It’s hard to love your body — no matter what size you are — and Ann’s story captures those struggles and insecurities impeccably especially in relation to how others see us, how society pushes this picture of an ideal look and how our acceptance and self love for our bodies and ourselves will NEVER be tied to a size because that’s not something that can withstand all the external forces — media, society, family etc. No matter what size we are or how we dress or how we look there will always be somebody telling us we are doing it wrong, shaming us or telling us we could be doing it better. The tone of 45 Pounds is positive and I feel like it deals with these issues in a healthy way that recognizes there are many factors involved.

But more than how this book dealt with weight, body image and insecurities, I loved how this book was a lot about family and all the many dynamics that make up a family– especially in regards to blended families. I loved Ann and her mom’s relationship and watching the veil slip away on that was really beautiful. I related a lot because of the way my own mother saw her own body and the way she spoke of it.

book reviews45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson was a real gem of a read that I’m so glad I picked up. It made me laugh, made me tear up and made me think about this struggle that we ladies, and men too, deal with about the way we look. It wasn’t merely a story about an overweight girl desperately trying to lose weight, even though that is part of this novel, but it had a lot to do with those insecurities and roadblocks we all have within us. It was heartwarming and thoughtful and I so, so enjoyed it and think a lot of people could relate to this one and would enjoy Ann’s voice.

short book review45 Pounds (More or Less) by KA Barson

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one or heard of it? What did you think of it if you’ve read it? What other books have you read that deal with body image? I’ve also not come across a lot of MCs who are overweight and I don’t know if it’s because they are not represented much or if I’m just missing them!


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

four-stars

All I Need by Susane Colasanti | Book Review

20130501-213622.jpgAll I Need by Susane Colasanti
Publisher/Year
: Viking Juvenile May 21, 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA – Realistic Fiction
Series: No!
Other Books From Author: When It Happens, Waiting For You, Something Like Fate, Take Me There, So Much Closer

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

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

 

 

Every summer Skye hopes to find the boy that will sweep her off her feet during her time at her beach house. When she meets Seth, a guy she has never seen before, at the last party of the summer it’s evident that they both feel this incredible connection to each other. Seth doesn’t show up when they are supposed to meet before they both go back to school for the year and Skye is left wondering why he never showed up, if she was just the only one feeling the connection and, if they COULD find each other again, would that spark still be there.

This was one of those breezy, romantic books that I need once in a while; despite some things that bothered me which I’ll address later. It wasn’t a favorite by any means, it didn’t blow my mind or really stick with me but it’s the kind of feel good story that makes a perfect beach read. It’s light, sweet and very much captures the essence of summer romances and the ups and downs of starting a relationship and really getting into the nitty gritty of getting to know each other. It’s like those rom coms that I always watch wherein I predict most of what happens and don’t really walk away feeling CHANGED but I have that ooey-gooey “YAY love!” feeling in my heart. Sometimes you just NEED THAT, ok! Or I do. I am a former closet romantic — for years I hate-watched chick flicks and my college roommate was appalled that I didn’t squeal watching Sweet Home Alabama with her. I secretly did. SHHH.

The romance in All I Need by Susane Colasanti falls under the realm of insta-love so if that bothers you, you have been warned. I do feel like summer romances is my favorite place to let insta-love shine because it really is how summer romances typically are in real life (experience speaking here!) — they are a whirlwind and you everything speeds up because you know you only have the summer. I loved that Susane showed that whirlwind aspect of it despite sometimes the intense feelings were eyerolly at times because it went from crush to soulmate feelings very fast. I personally would have liked it a little better if the “OMG HE/SHE is the ONE!!” factor would have just been turned down a smidgen. I get whirlwind but the intensity of the feelings to me seemed a little forced.

I really liked how the story ventured outside the summer as well and dealt with life AFTER a summer romance and the troubles of their relationship. It showed that period of time when the honeymoon period is over and you start to really SEE that person — their flaws, their dreams, what they want in life, etc. I thought it portrayed that period really well and I enjoyed seeing them struggle and triumph in trying to define and figure out their relationship.  HOWEVER, the book takes place in a span of 3 years so things feel a little clipped sometimes and the time shifts just were sometimes jarring how they would jump suddenly and I just didn’t feel really connected to it.

 

This was a quick & fun read that I thought was good — not amazing though. Just a solidly light, cute read that would be perfect on the beach or when you are craving something that reminds you of those feel good, romantic chick flicks. I didn’t particularly love the characters or felt it stood out but I did enjoy reading it and thought that the insta-love summer romance was fun but a little TOO “omg he/she is the one” so soon. It did coax a few “awwwws” out of me during the cute, romantic parts.  It’s my first Susane Colasanti novel and I will probably be checking out her other stuff when I’m needing a cute romance that really embodies what it is to be young and in love — in all its messy glory!

 

 

All I need by susane colasanti review

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard of it? If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it? Have you read any other Susane Colasanti novels? Since this is my first one which one do you recommend me trying next?

 

 

two-stars
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