Book Talk: This is Where The World Ends by Amy Zhang

Book Talk: This is Where The World Ends by Amy ZhangThis Is Where The World Ends by Amy Zhang
Published by Greenwillow Books on March 22, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Mystery
Also by this author: Falling Into Place
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”

 

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Janie and Micah have been friends since they were young — but mostly in secret and especially at their high school where they act like they don’t even know each other. They are mostly opposites in every way but their secret always just seemed to work and was always an adventure. But then something happens one night and Micah can’t remember anything surrounding the night of a party and Janie won’t answer his texts or calls as he struggles to remember and put the pieces together while the cops keep asking him questions.

a2NEED TIME TO PROCESS…..

a4Have you ever finished a book and legitimately not know whether you liked it or not?? That’s how I feel with this one. Amy Zhang’s debut, Falling Into Place, was a book I raaaaaved and raved about the year it was published and I was so excited to see what Amy Zhang would do next.

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Book Talk: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Book Talk: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff GarvinSymptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
Published by Balzer & Bray on February 2, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA
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”

 

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Riley identifies as gender fluid — some days Riley identifies as a boy and other days as a girl — but Riley isn’t exactly out or open up being gender fluid. The comments and looks have already started at Riley’s new school plus Riley’s conservative congressman of a father is up for reelection so things have been pretty intense. On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to have an outlet to let loose some of those feelings. In addition to writing about school, crushes and family, Riley writes raw posts about what it feels like to be gender fluid and the blog ends up going viral bringing with it an incredible response…. and an anonymous commenter who threatens to share Riley’s identity.

a2Riley is an important character I’m glad to see in YA!

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What a unique POV in this novel that I really appreciated for the fact that 1) it might speak to a teen/any person who hasn’t been able to find a label that fits them and 2) it would educate others. Prior to the last year or two, I wouldn’t have had any clue what gender fluid meant. But thanks to Twitter and the YA community I’ve learned a lot outside of what I thought was just straight/gay/lesbian/bi/trans. I’m thankful to learn and to be challenged.

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What I’ve Been Reading Lately

 

As I said in this post, I got a lot of reading done during my unintentional blog break due to hurting my right wrist. So much so that I have quite the backlog of things to talk about but don’t feel like trying to squeeze in a bunch of individual posts about! So let’s get to some of these:

 

My Brilliant Friend series

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

About In A Sentence (ish): It’s about the ever changing friendship between Lila and Elena as they grow up in Naples, Italy in the 195o’s. (That’s totally simplifying it but there’s so much!!)

Thoughts: One of the ugliest covers I’ve ever seen. Truly. When I went to go read this I hadn’t heard much about it — it was a pick for a book club a new friend invited me to join! I went to get it from the library and there were like 140 something holds for it and I’m like WUT — I have NEVER heard of this book and it came out years ago. Come to find out it has become super popular recently! Anyways, this one was sooo slow to start and it was hard to follow at times — because it jumps around from stories from the girls’ childhoods and there are A LOT of people referenced and sometimes not a lot is actually happening. But then slowly I realized I was SOOO immersed in their story and couldn’t put it down…it just happened without me realizing how much I was falling in love with the story and these girls. The writing is incredible and her ability to construct these characters just impressed me so much. Their friendship is complicated (the competitiveness, the way they would come and go with each other at periods of time, the loyalty) and kind of toxic but I found myself fascinated by it and fascinated by where it will go.  I was fascinated (and saddened often) by all the dynamics working in their poverty-filled neighborhood in 1950’s Naples — which was a GREAT setting by the way! I definitely plan on getting to the next one because this one ends when they are 16 and I know A LOT is going to happen throughout the years…especially based on HOW the novel started. It’s honestly just such a smart book about A LOT of things, not solely a friendship, and I wish I could properly talk about it. It’s just such a masterpiece of a book that it’s so hard to explain what exactly makes it so great because it’s a lot of things!

 

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

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Book Talk: Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

Book Talk: Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila SalesTonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
Published by Farrer Straus and Giroux on September 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: This Song Will Save Your Life
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”

 

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Arden is recklessly loyal and always has been. She cares about her friends and family and really does a lot for everybody but lately she’s feeling like she’s being taken forgranted and that maybe she loves and cares for people just a bit more than they love her. An existential google search has her stumbling upon a blog called Tonight the Streets Are Ours that’s written by a guy named Peter who ends up writing things that speak directly to her soul and who she ends up pouring over his every entry. On a whim she and her best friend take off on a road trip to find this guy whose life she feels so connected to for one wild night in the city where she learns a bit about what she needs and wants as well as the fact that Peter might not be who she thought he is.

a2*muses on internet life and curation of our lives and all the things*

a4This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales is a book I super love. Like really high up there for me. Tonight The Streets Are Ours didn’t quite make me feel like that one did but I really did enjoy this one (I mean, I read it in a whole afternoon) and it made me think A LOT about internet life because Leila weaves a lot of interesting thoughts about how we curate our lives for the internet.

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Save The Date: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

To learn more about why I created/started doing this Save The Date feature back in 2012 and how it differs from my reviews — go here!

 I received this book for review consideration and that has zero affect on my opinions on it. PINKIE SWEAR.

 

The Serpent King

* Release date according to Goodreads

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

Pre-Order It | Add It To Goodreads


What The Serpent King is about:

Dill has always been a little bit of an outcast with a super religious Pentecostal preacher dad whose preaching is a bit unorthodox and extreme — aka his congregation frequently handles poisonous snakes during the sermon. But he fell even further into outcast land, and pretty hard, after his father’s public and awful fall from grace which has affected a lot at home, too. His two best friends, Lydia and Travis, are fellow outcasts in their small Southern town. Lydia runs a very popular fashion blog, dresses quite differently than her classmates and has her eye on moving to NYC as soon as high school is over. Travis, mostly content with staying after graduation, is often lost in a popular fantasy series and its fandom where he finds people who GET him. They’ve always stuck together to survive this town but now, with graduation nearing, the uncertainty of the future and their friendship going forward weighs heavily as plans to leave and stay are made and dreams are becoming realized.

Why You Should Be Saving The Date for The Serpent King:

Do you know that feeling when you read something and you are just like YEP. THAT’S IT. THIS IS PERFECT. THIS IS THE KIND OF BOOK I LIVE FOR”? Pretty much the whole time I was reading The Serpent King I felt like this. It’s this feeling I can’t describe and I wish I had the words for it. It’s just this feeling I get whenever I encounter a new favorite book or a book that just has something special. The Serpent King is both of those things. It was everything. It had all the things I want out of a book no matter what the genre is. I have to be honest — my go-to is contemporary YA — but lately, while I’ve been loving many I’ve read, I haven’t been having those books that just stop me in my tracks as much as I used to. But The Serpent King? Like the venom from a serpent, this book made quick work of coursing its magic through me as I read and affecting every inch of my being until by the end I just was rendered incapacitated and alone in a puddle of book feels with one massive book hangover to which there is no anti-venom for.

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Book Talk: Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

Book Talk: Underwater by Marisa ReichardtUnderwater by Marisa Reichardt
Published by Farrer Straus and Giroux on January 12, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA
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”

 

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Morgan survived a horrible tragedy — one that she feels partly guilty for because of an act of kindness she did that day. Racked with fear and guilt, Morgan has not been able to leave apartment she shares with her mom and brother and truly move forward after everything that happened. She’s lost her friends, attends high school via the internet and her therapist comes to her home once a week to try to work through this with her. And then Evan moves in next door and she’s confronted with the life that she’s missing and his presence starts to stir in her a desire to see the outside world again.

a2Very heavy book, oof. Need something happy next!!

a4

One of the worst feelings is finishing a book and just not really feeling what you know you probably should have. Which is really sad because there were moments in this book that were great and really affected me.   I should be overwhelmed with emotional connection given the content of this novel but I just wasn’t in the grand scheme when I finished. In small moments, yes. I was there. But when I finished I was like I was left wanting more overall.

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Book Talk: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Book Talk: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth FlynnFirsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on January 5, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: eARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

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

 

 

 

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

 

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Mercedes, the main character, helps guys make their first time with their girlfriend perfect — or at least way better than her first time experience. She gives them tips for creating the perfect night and, well, hands on experience. The catch is they have to be virgins. She’s kept it a secret from her friends, the student body and her mom, who isn’t around much anyways. Soon word gets around a little too much and guys start trying to take advantage of her services — namely her best friend’s boyfriend who isn’t happy when she refuses and threatens to expose her and destroy her reputation.

a2tumblr_mz1ayehIxC1t1onefo1_250

It took me a looong time to process this one after I read it! So yeah….my brain was just cricket noises because it didn’t know what to think.

a4

Woo boy, this book. I have thoughts and feelings. I had to try hard to block out my old lady feels towards what was going on because half the time I was like CHILD NO to many of the characters and situations. Firsts is definitely a honest and provocative book that will make you uncomfortable for sure but I loved the honest and open exploration of teen sexuality in it though I felt kind of conflicted about certain aspects.

[Keep Reading]

What I’ve Been Reading Lately – Mini Book Talks

I read quite a bit in December and have quite the backlog but wanted to at least let you know what I read!

 

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic by Lauren Oliver

About In A Sentence (ish): The two main characters lives intersect as they play, each having their own strong reasons for participating, in their town’s yearly high stakes game called Panic that is judged by two anonymous people and gives dangerous and potentially deadly challenges to complete.

Thoughts: MAN, I love Lauren Oliver. LOVE HER. But this book was not for me at all. It had such a good premise (high stakes game played by high school students!) but the execution lacked for me in many ways. I was bored despite the fact it was high stakes and had mysterious aspects (that I found so predictable). One romances was great and the other was so weird and forced. The characters never felt real to me. I honestly would have quit it pretty early on had it not been a book club book. To be honest, it could be a really cool movie but I just couldn’t get into it in any way. It was a fairly quick read so there was that and probably the only reason I was still reading was to see how one of our main characters would fare and also what kind of seriously crazy challenges the judges would throw out next.

 

Rating:

RATING-Not-a-fan

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Book Talk: Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler

Book Talk: Just Visiting by Dahlia AdlerJust Visiting by Dahlia Adler
Published by Spencer Hill Press on November 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Behind the Scenes
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”

 

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Reagan and Victoria both cannot wait to graduate and leave their small town where Reagan won’t be ostracized because of a past relationship or have to deal with her parents and where Victoria won’t stand out for being Mexican and where she can pursue her dreams to do fashion design. They are in it together and started planning the post-high school life of their dreams by going on a series of college visits to choose together where they will end up. The college visits prove to be interesting. Reagan falls hard for a boy after keeping her heart pretty guarded over the past couple years but it seems like it could end in heartbreak and Victoria starts to really doubt if the path they are choosing is right for her future — something that could change the future of this friendship especially when faced with certain parts of their past they’ve kept from each other the whole time.

a2

7221749

*happy sigh*

a4

I really enjoyed Dahlia’s debut Behind The Scenes but Just Visiting blew me away and is definitely one of my most favorite contemporary YA books I’ve read this year! It’s just such an authentic story about friendship and love and that confusing time when that next stage (post-high school) is staring you right in the face. So compelling and so compulsively readable! I really just want to follow the next few years of their lives if I’m honest!

4 things that made this book such a win for me:

1.Exploring the feeling of approaching that “next stage” of your life: I feel like not enough YA books really get into the nitty gritty of the post high school tornado that happens in junior and senior year. When that next stage of your life is right before you and it’s terrifying because there are all these endless possibilities it seems and you don’t want to make the “wrong” one. Through Reagan and Victoria we see how tumultuous this time can be. Who are you? Who do you want to be? What do you want your future to look like? It’s overwhelming and I loved how Dahlia portrayed that through these two most vividly and I almost felt like I was thrown back to 2003/2004  standing on this precipice myself feeling like I’ve been thrown out into the middle of the galaxy without a map. Is college the right choice? Which one? What major? If not college, then what? Stay close? Go far away? ALL THE POSSIBILITIES.

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Book Talk: Friday Never Leaving by Vikki Wakefield

Book Talk: Friday Never Leaving by Vikki WakefieldFriday Never Leaving (aka Friday Brown) by Vikki Wakefield
Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers on September 2013
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

 

 

 

 

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

 

A1

Friday Brown has been used to never have one permanent home as she’s traveled here and there with her mom but she’s always felt like that’s where she belonged — on the road with her mom. When Friday’s mom passes away, she finds herself presented with a new home but she can’t give up feeling like she needs to be on the move. So she leaves the security she could have and decides to go in search of her own place to belong — which ends up being with a group of other street kids who is held together by Arden, a girl who has a strong hold on the group and who likes to play games — especially when anyone challenges her.

a2*adds to list yet another Aussie novel that I love*

a4If you’ve followed this blog for a while you know I love me some Aussie YA (here’s a Aussie YA 101 list to get you started if you don’t know the magic that is Aussie YA). Vikki Wakefield was one of those Aussie authors I’ve yet to read yet so I grabbed Friday Never Leaving (titled Friday Brown in Australia) to give her a try.  The verdict? I was impressed by this quiet yet moving novel! It was a gritty, emotional novel about what makes a home and a family and that never-ending quest to find where you belong.

Some things I loved:

  1. The rag-tag group of street kids: I don’t typically read a lot of books about young adults who are homeless or runaways. I enjoyed learning a little bit about their heartbreaking stories and, even though there were some toxic aspects of their little family they made together, I really enjoyed seeing they came together to make a family and a home out of their situation and how they looked out for each other. The dynamics are complex, no doubt, but I really loved following this group and coming to care about these characters who have slipped through the cracks of society. Their personalities were so distinct and honestly I wish I had some sort of novella followup so I can know what happened to all of them!!
  2. The writing & emotions portrayed: Oh just that Aussie magic that runs deep over there apparently!! There is this paragraph about grief and losing someone that just SLAYED ME.
  3. How it so perfectly balanced character and plot: I love how it flowed  — memories of Friday’s childhood and life with her mom intermingled with Friday’s journey trying to find her own way after her mom passes away. It had all the character-driven qualities I love in a novel and was wrought with emotion and these stirring passages and then there are these super charged and intense situations that had me biting my nails. I felt the intensity of life on the street, the dangers, the uncertainties. I think the plot went places I didn’t expect which definitely upped the intensity and actually was a pleasant surprised though at times I was like WOW IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING.
  4. How home, family and belonging were explored: It’s always been Friday and her mom. The stories she knows are stories told by her mom. All the history she knows from her mom. She belonged — on the road going here and there with her mom. When her mom dies Friday finds herself alone. She has family that she never knew. She could have a home. But her sense of belonging has disappeared. I loved how the book explored this idea so beautifully and emotionally as all these kids, Friday included, are trying to cobble together some semblance of belonging — something they all share.

 

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ writing, plot, characterization, the ability to surprise me
–  nothing really just missing that SOMETHING to make it be a fave


a5Aussie YA fans, fans who like character-driven novels (that still have plot but it isn’t apparent at first), fans of gritty stories, people who like quiet novels

a8Friday Never Leaving was such a gem and I wish it got more love here in the States when it got published. I cared about the characters and couldn’t put it down with the tension and intensity heightened. It was heart-wrenching and beautiful and quiet but the sorrow and grief and loneliness rattled my bones…and the sense of hope I did feel amidst it all sent me soaring.

review-on-post-itFriday Never leaving vikki wakefield

 

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 other Aussie gems should I have my eye on??

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

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