Book Talk & GIVEAWAY: You Know Me Well by David Levithan & Nina LaCour

Book Talk & GIVEAWAY: You Know Me Well by David Levithan & Nina LaCourYou Know Me Well by David Levithan, Nina LaCour
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on June 7, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: The Lover's Dictionary, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Every Day, Two Boys Kissing, Boy Meets Boy, Everything Leads To You
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

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

 

 

 

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

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Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed. That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way. When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other— and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.


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I am a big fan of David Levithan’s work and super enjoyed Nina LaCour’s Everything Leads To You so I was very excited to read a book co-written by the two because I know I love both of their writing and they both have this knack for these poignant stories that make me think a lot. And they certainly delivered!!

3 reasons I really enjoyed it:

[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Book Talk: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky AlbertalliSimon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Published by Balzer & Bray on April 7, 2015
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!

 

 

 

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

 

A1

Sixteen year old Simon is gay and hasn’t yet come out — until a classmate finds an email of his to Blue, a boy he likes and has been writing back and forth to anonymously from his school who might just like him too, and threatens to out him unless he helps him get a girl that Simon is friends with. Not wanting to screw up things with Blue or let someone else tell everyone that he’s gay, he goes along with it all while trying to navigate this growing relationship with Blue and shifting dynamics amongst his closest group of friends.

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a4It’s no secret I gave a little preview telling you all that Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda was one of my favorite books I read last year. I’m so excited to tell you WHY I loved it so much!

1. It made me so INDESCRIBABLY HAPPY. If you know me you know that more often than not I don’t read SUPER happy books. I always seem to be drawn to the books that break me, destroy my life, elicit intense feelings or that tackle tough topics. But Simon made me realize how wonderful it IS to read a book that makes you feel giddy and slaps a goofy grin on your face. How FEELSY it can be. How warm and fuzzy feelings can be just as intense and legit as stab-your-heart-fifty-times type books can be.  Reading Simon was like hot cocoa w/ fluffy marshmallows and warm cookies on a cold day. It just completely warmed my heart from the inside out. AND I REALLY LIKED THAT FEEL. What a high pure happiness can be!

2. I loved the romance: Simon and Blue have been talking anonymously through emails — all they know is that the other person goes to their school and they both are gay but not out yet. I love how they get to know each other through the emails and talk about anything and everything and they leave out all the main details that would give them away (friends, classes, extra-curriculars etc). The suspense for WHO Blue is was definitely there and I became on high alert with every interaction. ARE YOU BLUE? ARE YOU? I loved how they wrestled with how they would go about finally meeting because it would change things and because neither of them were out yet. There was a certain comfort to their relationship as it was but they were definitely falling for each other in a deeper way. Their exchanges made me have a goofy grin on my face. What a sweet, sweet romance! AND HOW THEY FINALLY MEET/THE BIG REVEAL? The most swoony thing ever and I reread it like 5 times.

3. The blackmail storyline was really interesting: Simon isn’t ready to come out quite yet but he also doesn’t look at it as such a big deal. BUT when he gets blackmailed by a opportunistic classmate who threatens to expose it that definitely concerns him because he knows what he and Blue has is fragile and it could mess that up. I liked watching him wrestle with it all — not wanting to give in because it’s HIS thing to tell, not wanting to betray a friend who this classmate wants to get closer to and wanting to preserve what he and Blue have. I think the particular classmate who does the blackmailing is interesting himself — you just want to punch him for being a shithead but also you see him as a PERSON.

 4. THE FRIENDSHIPS: This book had such a great example of a realistic friendship group with all the ebbs and flows they tend to endure — probably one of the best I’ve ever read. I loved the dynamic of the group and seeing how it has been shifting and changing as newcomers were introduced (and how threatening that can be), how crushes within a group impact it, how to handle all the growing and changing even among the “core” members of the friend group who have known each other for years and years. All the nuances of friend groups and long-time friendships vs. new ones were just perfectly done.  I loved Simon’s friend group and it made me miss having a GROUP like I did all throughout high school and college. I just really appreciated how strong the friendships were but they were also susceptible to being caught in the wave of change and not knowing how to adjust.

5. Simon: Simon is just an unforgettable character and I really felt like I KNOW him… and it’s one of those cases where I’m sad he exists only in the pages and in my heart. You’ll know what I mean when you meet him. He’s smart, funny and thoughtful but humanly flawed. So humanly flawed. He makes me smile and I think everyone would be better off having met him.

6. These quotes: I loved the writing in this book in general but I loved these were some of my favorite quotes (just to note, they ARE taken from the ARC so subject to change):

     ” But I’m tired of coming out. All I ever do is come out. I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways. I get a girlfriend. I have a beer. And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.”

     “As a side note, don’t you think everyone should have to come out? Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it should be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I’m just saying.”

     “People really are like houses with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.”

a6RATING-beyondloved

factors+ plot, writing, characters, romance, humor, relationships explored, how it made me think, THE FEELS
–  NOTHING.

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

a5EVERYONE. Yep.

a8I think a good indication of how much I loved this book was that, in writing this review, I went to find one quote from it and got absorbed reading almost the whole book again (I read it in December for the first time and I’m not much of a re-reader though I like it in theory). It’s one of my favorite romances I’ve read in a while that in addition also perfectly explores the always evolving nature of friendships (and people), the idea of ‘coming out’ and how people, even the ones we’ve known for forever, will always keep surprising us with the new dimensions and the numerous “vast room and tiny windows” as Simon puts it. This book made me indescribably happy and I’m not going to shut up about it.

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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: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Book Talk: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin TalleyLies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
Published by Harlequin Teen on September 2014
Genres: YA Historical Fiction
Also by this author: Results May Vary, As I Descended
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
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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It’s 1959 and a high school in Virginia is integrating. It’s told from the perspective of two teenage girls — one white and one black — who are in this middle of this fight for integration/segregation. Sarah is a senior and should be enjoying her last year of high school in choir and with her friends but she’s now part of the small group of students that are the first to integrate into the white high school where it’s clear she’s not welcome by all the protests, the assaults and the nasty words being thrown. Linda is also senior and her dad is one of the biggest voices against the integration. The two get paired together for a school project everything they have ever known about themselves and the world feels uncertain.
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a2My heart. And also, MAN I love historical fiction and want to see even more of it in YA.

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1. When I studied history in high school I always wondered what the teens were doing & this book explored that for me: You always are talking mostly about adults in history class but I would always wonder things like, “I wonder what the teens were doing during civil rights or what was it like for them during these wars.” Lies We Tell Ourselves gives me exactly that. Yes, they were being teens and worrying about the dance and relationships and school but they also were very affected and influenced by the current events of the day. We got to see the prejudices they learned from their parents and the media and just how the decisions made by the adults affected them so intensely. I mean, the decision to integrate schools was something that affected the kids more than it did anyone else. They were at the epicenter of that and I loved that we saw just how quizzical teens were and how they explored their own opinions — just as teens do about anything.

2. It broke my heart in a lot of ways and was so hard to read because I knew, while this was fiction, this was a reality: Reading what the black teens who integrated into the white school had to endure just made my stomach hurt and also made me want to hug them all and tell them how brave they were. It’s always hard for me to read about any sort of oppression or injustices in fiction but to read about that 1) REALLY DID HAPPEN and 2) was in recent-ish history and not like hundreds of years ago just killed me. You realize how far we’ve come but also, when I see current events of today, how far we still have to go. Reading the scenes of being mobbed in the halls, having things thrown at them and knowing people wanted you to die shook me up physically. Robin Talley wrote it in such a way where it just reverberated off the pages — the hatred boiling, the fear, the yells echoing. SO real.

3. I really loved watching both characters interact with each other because it felt pretty realistic: You can’t hate Linda — even when she does the wrong thing over and over again and is cruel and obviously racist. At least I couldn’t. So much of coming of age is also figuring out stuff for yourself vs. what you’ve always been told. When your parents believe certain things, they are easily rubbed off on you and that’s what we see with Linda. I loved watching her and Sarah interact and the curiosity that was there in both girls and started crumbling the walls that had been erected by society. Truthfully I thought this was just going to be a novel about two girls navigating a friendship when they weren’t supposed to so I was a little thrown for a loop when I realized it was more of a romantic thing. I think it was a lot to explore in one book considering both prejudices but Robin Talley did it well.

 

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ story, writing, FEELINGS
No real criticism just maybe didn’t feel as head over heels as others despite really liking it.

Re-readability: Probably wouldn’t.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Maybe not for myself because I wouldn’t re-read/it wasn’t a favorite but I want this to be on the shelves of every high school and YA section in the library.

a5fans of historical YA fiction, people looking for fiction dealing with civil rights, readers looking for LGBTQ stories, anyone looking for a powerful story

a8Lies We Tell Ourselves is a powerful story that really reminded me how brave people are and that’s how change happens — standing up for what is right, figuring out WHAT you think is right for yourself and not being afraid to have a voice. Sarah and Linda were two brave characters navigating this battle of civil rights and it really made me wonder about all the real, unknown acts of bravery during this time that helped change happen. I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it!

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Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

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 books set in this time period you could recommend me?
*

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

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