Monday, January 25, 2016

Review: Dating Sarah Cooper by Siera Maley

Dating Sarah Cooper Katie Hammontree and Sarah Cooper have been best friends since the 2nd grade. Katie's welcoming, tight-knit family is a convenient substitute for Sarah when her distant parents aren't around, and Sarah's abrasive, goal-oriented personality gels well with Katie's more laid-back approach to life.
But when a misunderstanding leads to the two of them being mistaken for a couple and Sarah uses the situation to her advantage, Katie finds herself on a roller coaster ride of ambiguous sexuality and confusing feelings. How far will Sarah go to keep up the charade, and why does kissing her make Katie feel more alive than kissing her ex-boyfriend Austin ever did? And how will their new circle of gay friends react when the truth comes out?

My Review: 5 Stars

I got my copy in the mail around 4 in the afternoon, and probably started it around 7 the same evening, and I was finished it by 11 that night.  That should give a bit of an indication of how much I was unable to put this book down.  This book was light, fluffy, fun, and adorable.  It had characters and relationships that I loved.  It was just so great. 

I loved how this book was very tropey at parts, but played with the tropes in new ways that I loved.  Two of my favorite tropes are best friends to romance and fake dating that ends up becoming real, and this book had both so that was a win.  These are tropes that I probably wouldn't get tired of anyway but this book puts an extra refreshing spin on them by using them in a f/f romance.  I loved the progression of the romance.  It's pretty predictable in guessing that they'll end together but it's the journey to that that is important so I didn't mind that I knew they'd end up together.  It was great to watch Katie realize that her feelings were Sarah were becoming real, instead of just acting and to be pretty sure, since we aren't in Sarah's head, that she feels the same way.  Yet Katie was afraid to tell Sarah because she thought the whole thing was acting for Sarah.  And the entire fake relationship was great.  They were so adorable and good at faking being a couple that it didn't seem like much of a stretch for them to become a real one.

I didn't agree with all of Sarah's choices, especially dragging Katie into the whole fake couple thing and lying to everyone about it.  Katie didn't want this, and sure, it did end up working out well for the two of them, but that doesn't mean she should have done it in the first place.  For a while it still seemed like Sarah was using Katie to get to a boy, which she probably should have stopped doing as soon as she realized her feelings for Katie were real.  But I guess she was just afraid of rejection and thought Katie was really straight.  It was confusing for both of them, of course.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Review: This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It Ends 10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

The auditorium doors won't open.

Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

My Review: 5 Stars

I read this book in one day, and am so impressed by it.  I couldn't put it down because I had to know if characters would make it out alive.  I loved so many of the characters quickly, and I wanted them all to live.  And I won't spoil who died, but I will say, not everybody makes it out alive, including characters that I cared about.  This book was heartbreaking, but I still loved it.

This was told from the perspective of 4 main characters.  It alternated POVs between them.  One of the narrators is Autumn, the sister of the shooter.  She is passionate about dance and wants to go to school for it.  She is dating Sylv, who is another one of the POV characters.  Due to living in a probably close-minded small town, their relationship is secret from pretty much everyone.  Instead, people think they are best friends.  Another POV character is Tomas, Sylv's twin brother.  He is not there during the shooting because he had been sent to the principal's office with a friend.  He and his friend, Fareed, decide to try to let people out of the auditorium by getting the doors unlocked.  The fourth POV character is Claire.  She isn't at the assembly due to track practice, but her brother Matt is in the auditorium.  She and her friend Chris work on finding the police and helping people out. 

Tyler was the shooter, and he was awful.  There were hints in the flashbacks of how he wasn't always a bad guy in the past, but there weren't hints of that in the present.  He murdered so many scared students with literally no reason.  They did nothing to him, other than being there in the auditorium.  I wasn't really sure what his plans were, since it seemed like he basically just was doing this because of things with Autumn and Sylv.  I'm really not sure at all about his end goal.  He had to have realized that this was not a good plan.  I never liked him, and I couldn't even feel sorry for him for bad things that had happened to him, since he was just so awful.

If you like dark YA contemporary, read this book.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Review: Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton

Unspeakable Megan doesn't speak. She hasn't spoken in months.

Pushing away the people she cares about is just a small price to pay. Because there are things locked inside Megan's head - things that are screaming to be heard - that she cannot, must not, let out.

Then Jasmine starts at school: bubbly, beautiful, talkative Jasmine. And for reasons Megan can't quite understand, life starts to look a bit brighter.

Megan would love to speak again, and it seems like Jasmine might be the answer. But if she finds her voice, will she lose everything else?

My Review: 5 Stars

This book was so good and so compelling that once I got into it, I really couldn't put it down until I reached the end and could get all the answers and make sure everyone was okay.  I read this within one day, and loved it so much.  The characters, the relationships, the mystery - everything was just perfect.

Megan is an interesting character, especially since she doesn't speak.  It is cool to get to read the book from her perspective, since I could see when she wanted to speak, but couldn't make the words leave her mouth.  And she really censored what she did and didn't say, since to really say something, she had to write it on a piece of paper, which took more time.  We don't immediately know why she doesn't speak, though it's clear that she must have faced some kind of trauma.  Over the course of the book, the mystery behind when she stopped speaking slowly unraveled.

There is a romance in the book, that started as a great friendship.  I would have been happy with it even remaining solely in friendship territory, but I was happy with it becoming a romance too.  At the beginning of the book, Jasmine moves to the school during the middle of the school year.  Pretty quickly, she befriends Megan.  She is a great friend to her, always being there for her, and never trying to push her to speak.  She accepts Megan's lack of speaking for what it is.  Megan is there for Jasmine too, when people send her threatening notes and bully her.  During this amazing friendship, Megan slowly discovers she has feelings for Jasmine, and eventually it becomes clear that they are mutual.  The romance between the two is super cute and adorable.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Review: Thicker Than Water by Kelly Fiore

Thicker Than Water Cecelia Price killed her brother. At least, that’s what the police and the district attorney are saying. And although Cecelia is now locked up and forced into treatment, she knows the real story is much more complicated.

Cyrus wasn’t always the drug-addled monster he’d become. He was a successful athlete, but when an injury forced him off the soccer field and onto pain medication, his life became a blur of anger, addiction, and violence. All CeCe could do was stand by and watch, until she realized one effective way to take away her brother’s drugs while earning the money she needed for college: selling the pills.

Soon, CeCe becomes part drug dealer, part honor student. But even when all she wants is to make things right, she learns that sometimes the best intentions lead to the worst possible outcome.

Thicker than Water is an unforgettable dark, harrowing look into the disturbing truth of drug addiction and the desperate love of a sister watching her brother deteriorate before her eyes.

My Review: 5 Stars

This was a book that was dark and had morally complex characters.  It was a book that made it easy to root for a character even when she did things that were wrong and even illegal.  It dealt with tough issues of addiction to and use of prescription drugs.  There were complex relationships between family members.  Nothing in this book was just easy and simple.  I also liked how this book alternated past and present timelines so that the full story unraveled throughout the book.

CeCe is in behavioral therapy at a juvenile center awaiting a hearing to see if she will be convicted or acquitted for being responsible for her brother's death.  She blames herself for his death, but is she really fully responsible?  If one gave someone the weapon that killed them, is that person responsible for the death that follows?  The book deals with these tough questions.  Because they really are tough questions.  I'm not fully sure what my opinion is on the answers to these questions.  But I do feel that CeCe was not fully responsible for her brother's death.  She is not blame-free though.  She made bad choices.  Illegal choices, in fact.  She got wrapped up in something that wasn't good for her because she thought it would help her make some money.  It was hard to watch her make choices that I knew would come back and hurt her later.

Cyrus, CeCe's brother, was a drug addict.  It was hard to see his downward spiral, and to watch CeCe try to tell her dad while he lived in denial.  It showed how tough it would be to have a family member succumbing to drug addiction and feel almost helpless to do anything about it.  When Cy got clean, it was sad, because as the reader, I already knew he was going to end up dead, so that wasn't going to last.  

There is a small romance, but it is not a big part of the story.  It is sweet, though, and the boy is good for CeCe, since he really cares about her and wants her to be better.  He's in the same juvenile facility, so he has things in his past too, but he really seems to be a genuinely good guy.

If you like dark YA contemporary, read this book.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Review: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

All American Boys Rashad is absent again today.

That’s the sidewalk graffiti that started it all…

Well, no, actually, a lady tripping over Rashad at the store, making him drop a bag of chips, was what started it all. Because it didn’t matter what Rashad said next—that it was an accident, that he wasn’t stealing—the cop just kept pounding him. Over and over, pummeling him into the pavement. So then Rashad, an ROTC kid with mad art skills, was absent again…and again…stuck in a hospital room. Why? Because it looked like he was stealing. And he was a black kid in baggy clothes. So he must have been stealing.

And that’s how it started.

And that’s what Quinn, a white kid, saw. He saw his best friend’s older brother beating the daylights out of a classmate. At first Quinn doesn’t tell a soul…He’s not even sure he understands it. And does it matter? The whole thing was caught on camera, anyway. But when the school—and nation—start to divide on what happens, blame spreads like wildfire fed by ugly words like “racism” and “police brutality.” Quinn realizes he’s got to understand it, because, bystander or not, he’s a part of history. He just has to figure out what side of history that will be.

Rashad and Quinn—one black, one white, both American—face the unspeakable truth that racism and prejudice didn’t die after the civil rights movement. There’s a future at stake, a future where no one else will have to be absent because of police brutality. They just have to risk everything to change the world.

Cuz that’s how it can end.

My Review:

This is a powerful story that is very timely to issues of police brutality that often appear in the news today.  This book does a good job showing the issue from the perspective of both of the victim and a bystander trying to figure out what is right.  This book will probably make you angry, when people in it defend someone who seems very clearly in the wrong, and it is a great book for how it was able to affect me so much in that way.   

Rashad was one of the main characters, and was the victim of the incident.  He was a good guy, who was buying some chips that he was going to pay for, and then he got beaten by a cop who thought he was going to steal.  The reason the cop thought this was because some lady tripped over Rashad, so the cop assumed he must be hurting the lady, since he was black and his pants were sagging, so of course he must have just been a thug.  Hopefully, you can tell that I think the cop was wrong in making this assumption.  Assumptions like this are dangerous, as they can get people wrongfully killed.  Luckily for Rashad, he lived, but he did have to spend several days in the hospital, with a broken nose and bruised ribs.

The other main character was a white boy named Quinn who saw the incident from a distance.  I really liked the evolution of his thinking and how he really tried to do what was right.  Seeing this was tough for him because the cop, Paul, was his best friend's older brother, who had been a role model to him in the past.  His friend assumed he would be on Paul's side, but he wasn't so sure that Paul was in the right.  But his family and other people close to him told him that Paul had a tough job and was just doing his job.  I liked how Quinn didn't just blindly listen to their thoughts on the issue.  Instead, he formed his own opinion.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Review: When Audrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrens

When Audrey Met Alice First daughter Audrey Rhodes re-creates Alice Roosevelt's infamous antics in this fun, smart middle-grade debut

First daughter Audrey Rhodes can't wait for the party she has planned for Friday night. The decorations are all set and the pizza is on its way. But the Secret Service must be out to ruin her life, because they cancel at the last minute-citing security breach and squashing Audrey's chances for making any new friends. What good is being "safe and secure" if you can't have any fun?

Audrey is ready to give up and become a White House hermit, until she discovers Alice Roosevelt's hidden diary. The former first daughter gives Audrey a ton of ideas for having fun...and more problems than she can handle.

My Review:

I am glad that this was a pick for Dahlia's Book Club, because I really enjoyed it and probably wouldn't have read it otherwise.  This one was pretty cute and fun, while also having some serious moments.  Overall, I didn't think this read too young for me.  It seemed more like it was on the upper end of Middle Grade, since the main character was in 8th grade, and was a teenager.

I enjoyed how this really showed that being the president's daughter isn't necessarily an amazing experience.  It shows how it can be lonely to be living in the White House with parents who are two busy for you.  It shows how it can be hard to make friends at a new school because you can't tell if they genuinely are interested in being friends with you as a person, and not just because you're the First Daughter.  Of course, I haven't had this experience so I don't know what it's really like, but it read very genuine to me.

I liked getting to read the fictional diary of Alice Roosevelt.  She had quite the adventures in her days.  I liked seeing how things that Audrey did paralleled the life of Alice, and how reading about Alice was really able to help her. 

I liked the sweet romance that developed between Audrey and her friend from school, Quint.  Since this is MG, the romance was not a big focus, and remained a friendship for a while.  But once it turned into a romance, it was quite cute and light. 

If you like MG and younger YA, read this book.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Review: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

What We Saw Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

My Review: 5 Stars

This is an extremely important book that should be required reading for all high schoolers, and probably all adults in the country as well.  Society is pretty messed up when it comes to views of rape, and books like these try to help change this rape culture.  But people need to read these books to get the message.  I really loved this book, though the subject matter was certainly tough.  It made me super angry at a lot of characters throughout.

This book doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of rape culture.  It shows how so many people have a victim blaming mentality.  As soon as people know that the four boys have been charged with rape, they immediately assume Stacey was making it up.  They think she had too much fun with them and regretted it in the morning.  Almost no one considered the possibility that Stacey was telling the truth.  Instead, they worried about how the basketball team would play if their top person wasn't there to play.  They worried about the futures of the boys.  They were worrying about the boys while a girl was suffering from being raped.  Being raped would be bad enough without everyone assuming you were a liar who ruined the lives of four boys with promising futures.  When, in reality, those boys ruined their own futures when they decided that it would be okay for them to rape.  

I loved how this book really showed Kate's thinking and how it progressed throughout the book.  As the narrator, I was glad she wasn't a person who automatically assumed Stacey was lying, because it would have made me even angrier to have to be in the head of one of those people.  Kate really thought through everything and she was determined to find the truth, though she may have tried to stay out of it at first.  I think part of what made her so invested in the case was knowing that she too was very drunk at that party, and it could have easily been her instead who was raped.  Kate knew that doubting that the boys were innocent could make things hard for her, since it's tough to stand up for what's right against a crowd, yet she never backed off from finding the truth.  I also loved how she worked to make sure that her younger brother wasn't turning into a jerk.  He was on basketball like the guys who did the rape, but on the JV team, and he looked up to those guys.  There were parts when I didn't like him, but he ended up being a good guy.

There was a sweet best friends to romance relationship between Kate and Ben.  This relationship was not free of complications, and I can't really say what happened with it at the end of the book.  I really liked Ben at first, but near the end, this changed for me.  He was best friends with the boys who did the rape, and he seemed so sure they were innocent.  Kate didn't know what he could have seen at the party, or how much he might know, so she was determined to get this information.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


Friday, January 8, 2016

ARC Review: Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

Underwater Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive—first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and then, herself.

But Morgan can’t move on. She can’t even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface. Unable to see her friends. Unable to go to school.

When it seems Morgan can’t hold her breath any longer, a new boy moves in next door. Evan reminds her of the salty ocean air and the rush she used to get from swimming. He might be just what she needs to help her reconnect with the world outside.

Underwater is a powerful, hopeful debut novel about redemption, recovery, and finding the strength it takes to face your past and move on.

My Review:
Underwater is a great book that I read in a bit over a day.  I really liked it and it was a great example of really developing a character.  I was rooting for Morgan the entire time, and I was glad when she took small strides and accomplished more.  There was a great family in this story, as well as an adorable love interest.  Also, I read this book and am writing this review in August, even though it isn't going to go up until January.  

Morgan goes through a lot of development in this book.  She starts out the book as someone who is afraid to leave her apartment, for reasons that are fully disclosed later in the book.  While I couldn't personally relate to her, reading about her anxiety was interesting, and it was sometimes painful to see how much she was affected by it and how much it hurt her.  Her fear really was such a big part of her life, and it was keeping her from doing things that she wanted to do, like start swimming again, since she used to be on the swim team.  

Evan was the boy who moved in next door, and he was so sweet, and good for Morgan too.  He was patient with her and understood her limitations.  He was also there for her and didn't pressure her to do more than she could.  He did get frustrated sometimes, but he never judged her for what she was going through.  Sure, it wasn't an easy road for them, and he had also experienced some loss that was difficult for them.  I loved the two of them together, though, when they got to that point.  Both of them were good for the other, and they were able to be there for each other.

Morgan's mom and brother were really good family members, and her dad was not so great.  Her dad had been in several tours with the military, and he had some issues as a result of that, the main one being his drinking.  Morgan's mom officially divorced him after he continued to not care about the family at all.  Morgan had her mom who was there to support her, even if she may have also wished that her daughter would be able to move on and leave the apartment.  Morgan also had an adorable younger brother named Ben.  He was only five, and he had to deal with a lot of difficult things at such a young age in this book, like having to understand why his sister would never go outside.

I liked how important Morgan's therapist, Brenda, was to the book.  There were many scenes with them in it, and she really helped Morgan to do better and to get out more.  She was always there for her, and she was supportive and nice about it too.  I mean, it's her job of course, but I feel like she really cared about Morgan beyond it being a job obligation.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Top Ten Bookish Resolutions for 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1.  Read at least 10 books by male authors.  Some people in 2016 are doing a challenge to read only books by women, but I am not interested in doing this, since I read mostly by women anyway.  I realized that I only read 4 books by males this year, and I'd like to improve this next year.  Since I tend to read about 100 books per year, I'd like to average about one male authored book for every 9 female authored books.

2.  Read at least 10 books by POC.  I realized that I definitely read a lot more books by white people than by POC, so I'd like to improve this by actively out these books in 2016.

3.  Read #OwnVoices books.  I want to read more books that are about a particular group and are written by an author who is part of that group.

4.  Read more backlist books.  I tend to neglect backlist books for new releases, and I'd like to balance this better by trying to read more backlist books.  This year I read 20 backlist, so next year, I'd probably like to increase so about 30 to 40 percent of my reading is backlist.  I have some books that have been on my Goodreads to-read shelf for a long time but haven't been read, so I'd like to change that, while still keeping up with new releases as well.

5.  Organize my books.  My books tend to be fairly disorganized, though I usually know how to find a book I want, so in 2016, I'd like to get these organized.

6.  Cull my book collection.  I want to go through my books and really think about whether or not I want to keep some of them.  If I'm sure I'm never going to look at a particular book again, then I'd like to start donating books, because I don't have the space for all the books that I have.

7.  Finish any books that I've bought but haven't read.  This isn't too many books, but I do have a few that I couldn't get into originally that I own, and I do still want to give them another chance.

8.  Read intersectional books.  I think I already do this a bit, but I want to continue to seek out books that have intersectional diversity.


My Favorite 2015 Releases (Non-Debuts)

These are books that released in 2015 that are not debuts that I loved.  These are not in any particular order because it would be too difficult to rank them.

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios - I really enjoyed this book, though not quite as much as Demetrios' debut, Something Real.  I think this one was more serious in tone than that one.  It dealt with tough things like war, PTSD, and being an amputee.  I really enjoyed the slow burn romance.

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord - This book has cemented Emery Lord as an official autobuy author for me.  I loved Open Road Summer last year, but I'd say that I loved this one even more.  The ship was utter perfection, and the friendships were so fabulous between Paige and her three best friends.  I cannot wait to read Lord's 2016 release, When We Collided.

Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger - I enjoyed getting to read another Keplinger book.  This one isn't my favorite of hers but I did like it.  I liked how it focused a lot on a friendship, and how there were problems the friends had that were dealt with and not just brushed aside.

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West - This book was cute and fluffy, and as amazing as I expect Kasie West books to be.  I hope I'll always have a new Kasie West book to read each year, because I love them so much, and even if there isn't a new one, I'll just go reread the others instead.  Kasie West is a total autobuy author for me, since I have bought all five of her books so far and love them. 

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley - I read this one as an ARC, and I loved it so much.  It was an eye-opener to many things about gender and sexuality that I did not yet know, and some of the discussions in the book were so fabulous.  Also, it has basically an entirely LGBTQIA cast of characters.  I have many thoughts on what makes this book so unique, and they are all in my review.

Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler - This book was so good and fluffy and cute, while also being so important.  It has a lesbian narrator and a bi love interest, and the romance between these two characters was fabulous.

The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen - This one looks like it might be just a cute and fluffy read about revenge, which isn't a bad thing, since I love fluffy books, but it is also so much more than that.  This book is actually a powerful commentary on rape culture, and on the problem in American culture of letting football players get away with anything.  The preferential treatment that they get is really awful.

Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway - This book! It has a great ship, great characters, great friendships, and a great story.  I flew through it and I loved it. 

Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally - This was a cute read that was pretty light.  I enjoyed watching Maya change her views on Jesse as she began to fall for him.

The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes - This was a good mystery and political thriller that I really enjoyed reading.

Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler - Wow! This book is one of the best that I've ever read.  I love it so much.  It deals with so many topics that I haven't seen often before in YA.  It also deals with poverty which I have read about a few times but is still fairly rare in books.  I also loved the friendship between Reagan and Victoria.  This is one of my favorite female friendships in books ever.

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler - This book is extremely important and everyone needs to read it.  It deals with the pervasive rape culture in America, and it made me angry a lot.  I loved the book so much, though, not because it was an easy read of course, though.

Monday, January 4, 2016

My Favorite 2015 Releases (Debuts)

I really enjoyed getting to experience many of the debut books that released this year, and I look forward to reading future books by many of these authors, since many of them were so amazing.

The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes - I really loved this survival story in the woods.  The stakes in this were high, since they needed to get out of the woods to survive since they didn't have much to eat or drink.  I loved how the book dealt with the Christian faith, as well as enjoying the friendships that the characters forged while lost in the woods.

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga - This was an interesting book that dealt with tough topics of depression and suicide.  Despite how it had sad parts, it was also hopeful overall, which I really liked.  I also liked the development of the relationship between Roman and Aysel.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli - This book was one of the most cute and adorable books.  I liked how it dealt with Simon being gay, but was overall pretty light and fluffy.  And the ship was wonderful, though I can't reveal who I shipped Simon with, because spoilers.

None of the Above by IW Gregorio - This is the first book I've ever read with an intersex main character, and it was really a learning experience for me.  It was also a good book and story.  I liked Kristin's character, and getting to read about her struggles, and the good parts of her life as well.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera - This book was a brutal and heartbreaking one, but I loved it so much.  You don't really realize how brilliant this book is until you get to what I believe is the third part, and then there's a twist, and you're like, wow, this is seriously brilliant.  So if you aren't into it as much at first, stick with it to that point.

The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi - This was a fun summer read, that was pretty light overall, but wasn't light all the time.  It was interesting to see the relationships of the characters between the two different nights, and to see the romance between Matt and Ella develop twice.  The relationship between the entire friend group was really cool to read about.

Damage Done by Amanda Panitch - This is a brilliant, twisty mystery thriller.  I didn't see the ending coming, but it was great and I loved it.

Not After Everything by Michelle Levy - This isn't necessarily an easy read, since Tyler has a really rough life with a dad who is abusive.  I loved the hate to love romance in the book since that's a trope that I love.  I loved how this never shyed away from the tougher topics that were in it.

George by Alex Gino - This is a really important middle grade.  I think it will help young kids to be more empathetic to their peers, and it will also be great for the children who will find themselves in the pages and identify with Melissa.

The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis - I loved this book so much, and especially its characters.  They really wrapped themselves around my heart and didn't let go.


Friday, January 1, 2016

January Releases I'm Most Excited For

January 5th:
This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp - This sounds really good and powerful, and unfortunately, also very relevant to today's world and society.

This Is Where It Ends

January 26th:
The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin - This sounds like a great contemporary, and like it could be a best friend romance type of book, so I'm excited.  Also, the cover is gorgeous.

The Year We Fell Apart

You should be excited for:

January 12th:
Underwater by Marisa Reichardt - I have already read this book as an ARC, and it was wonderful, so you should all add it to your to-read lists.