Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (mini review)

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  • Title: Everything, Everything
  • Author: Nicola Yoon
  • Genre: Young Adult
  • Publication date: September 2015
  • Format: physical copy

Synopsis from Goodreads: My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Mini Review:

Wow! What a fantastic YA!

Everything, Everything is cute, fun, interesting, and heartbreaking all at once. Nicola Yoon does a fantastic jobs sharing Maddy’s story. I love the complexity of the story. This is more than just a love story, or a coming-of-age story, or even a story of family dynamics. It has raw moments that pull you in and it makes you feel the emotions along with the characters. Tough subject matters are present in the story.. so beware when diving in to this book. I want to give this book a higher star rating but unfortunately the ending was ruined for me thanks to people spoiling it on social media..grr. If you read a book please do not give away the one big plot twist in the story.. it lessens the story for the reader.

Avoid spoilers and dive in to this great YA book!

Rating: 4.5/5 

P.S. I really love the format of this book! The drawings, email exchanges, definitions, etc make the book super interesting and attention-grabbing! ❤️❤️❤️

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty (mini review)

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  • Title: Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling #1)
  • Author: Megan McCafferty
  • Genre: Young Adult
  • Publication date: 2001
  • Format: physical copy

Synopsis from Goodreads: ” “My parents suck ass. Banning me from the phone and restricting my computer privileges are the most tyrannical parental gestures I can think of. Don’t they realize that Hope’s the only one who keeps me sane? … I don’t see how things could get any worse.”

When her best friend, Hope Weaver, moves away from Pineville, New Jersey, hyperobservant sixteen-year-old Jessica Darling is devastated. A fish out of water at school and a stranger at home, Jessica feels more lost than ever now that the only person with whom she could really communicate has gone. How is she supposed to deal with the boy- and shopping-crazy girls at school, her dad’s obsession with her track meets, her mother salivating over big sister Bethany’s lavish wedding, and her nonexistent love life?

A fresh, funny, utterly compelling fiction debut by first-time novelist Megan McCafferty, Sloppy Firsts is an insightful, true-to-life look at Jessica’s predicament as she embarks on another year of teenage torment—from the dark days of Hope’s departure through her months as a type-A personality turned insomniac to her completely mixed-up feelings about Marcus Flutie, the intelligent and mysterious “Dreg” who works his way into her heart. Like a John Hughes for the twenty-first century, Megan McCafferty taps into the inherent humor and drama of the teen experience. This poignant, hilarious novel is sure to appeal to readers who are still going through it, as well as those who are grateful that they don’t have to go back and grow up all over again.”

Mini Review:

AHHH this book ❤ Jessica Darling is everything I wish I was when I was her age. Smart, athletic, snarky, witty, and just so damn cool (even if she can’t see it.) This is my first time reading a Jessica Darling book and even at the ripe ol’ age of 29 I absolutely LOVE it! The drama, the growing pains, the love interests, the bad boys & good boys, the friends turned frenemies… how do you not love this book? I wish I read this when I was closer in age to Jessica because I know I would love it even more back then. I am definitely going to check out the rest of the books in this series. I need more J.D. in my life! ❤

Rating – 5/5

Dare Me by Megan Abbott

  • Title: Dare Me
  • Author: Megan Abbott
  • Genre: Young Adult – Mystery
  • Publication Date: July 31, 2012
  • Format: Physical copy of the book. I own it.

From Goodreads:

“Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy’s best friend and trusted lieutenant. Beth calls the shots and Addy carries them out, a long-established order of things that has brought them to the pinnacle of their high-school careers. Now they’re seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls — until the young new coach arrives.

Cool and commanding, an emissary from the adult world just beyond their reach, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life. Only Beth, unsettled by the new regime, remains outside Coach’s golden circle, waging a subtle but vicious campaign to regain her position as “top girl” — both with the team and with Addy herself.

Then a suicide focuses a police investigation on Coach and her squad. After the first wave of shock and grief, Addy tries to uncover the truth behind the death — and learns that the boundary between loyalty and love can be dangerous terrain.

The raw passions of girlhood are brought to life in this taut, unflinching exploration of friendship, ambition, and power. Award-winning novelist Megan Abbott, writing with what Tom Perrotta has hailed as “total authority and an almost desperate intensity,” provides a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl.

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My Review:

When I think of cheerleaders I associate them with fun things like: cheering, boys, parties, best friends, carefree, etc. This book carried me on a dark roller-coaster ride of bullying, anorexia, bulimia, obsession, sexuality, and murder. Not at all what I was expecting but I was sooo intrigued. This sinister book had all the drama and “WTFs” to keep me hooked from the very beginning. And seriously – this book is a fast and mean roller-coaster ride! One minute you love the characters and next minute you cant wait to get far away from them. It is a battle between innocence and the consequences of growing up too fast. So dark. So entertaining.

This is my first Megan Abbott book but not my last!

I highly recommend if you are looking for something dark, mean, & ugly..yet still addictive.

Rating: 4/5

You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

  • Title: You Were Here
  • Author: Cori McCarthy
  • Genre: Young Adult + mixed media (comics)
  • Publication Date: March 1, 2016
  • Format: eARC from netgalley

From Goodreads:

Grief turned Jaycee into a daredevil, but can she dare to deal with her past?

On the anniversary of her daredevil brother’s death, Jaycee attempts to break into Jake’s favorite hideout—the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum. Joined by four classmates, each with their own brand of dysfunction, Jaycee discovers a map detailing her brother’s exploration and the unfinished dares he left behind.

As a tribute to Jake, Jaycee vows to complete the dares, no matter how terrifying or dangerous. What she doesn’t bargain on is her eccentric band of friends who challenge her to do the unthinkable: reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother.

My Review:

What a surprise! This book is so much more than I thought it would be. Not a typical YA story. You Were Here deals with grief, friendship, falling in love, and falling out of love. It presents an honest look at the different ways people react to tragic events.. everyone grieves differently.

The characters are not perfect. They can be extremely immature at times. Isn’t this what being a teenager is all about though? Not wanting to completely grow up? I find the banter between them fun and true to the teenage language of today. There are cuss words, sex , booze, regrets, parties, etc etc. This isn’t the main focus of the story though. The core of the book has the reader follow the characters on a journey of reconnecting with someone they lost, rekindling friendships, and finding romance.

Side note – let’s talk about the visual aspects of this book. That cover! ❤ It’s eye-catching. Simple yet gorgeous. AND THE COMICS! I love mixed media formats. Throw in pictures, or comics, or links to interactive tools and I am HOOKED. The comics are fun! A nice way to compliment the story. This is a page-turner for sure! If you are looking for a quick read that isn’t quite like the others then I recommend checking this book out.

Rating: 4/5

Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider

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  • Title: Summer of Sloane
  • Author: Erin L. Schneider
  • Genre: Young Adult
  • Expected Publication: May 3rd 2016 by Disney-Hyperion
  • Format: eARC from netgalley

From Goodreads:

These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.

Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.

But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to find as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Review:

There are parts of this book that I really enjoyed and parts that I didn’t. So I thought it would be easier to break it up in to the two sections..

I Liked:

I enjoyed how fun this book was! Ok – the starting wasn’t fun BUT setting it in Hawaii with hot boys, swimming, surfing, and beach hangouts made it fun! A great summer read.. it really sets the mood! It had a typical YA storyline – love lost leads to new love found – and I surprisingly didn’t find it boring considering. However, it wasn’t anything special either. It entertained enough that I kept wanting to pick it up and find out how it ends!

I Didn’t Like:

I disliked that it started off with the betrayal. Without any interaction between Mick and Mack as BFFs I had a hard time believing their friendship. Even with the reminiscing I couldn’t believe that it was that great because I couldn’t “see” it with my own eyes. Perhaps a few hangouts before the reveal would’ve been better. That could just be a personal preference though. Also, WHAT IS WITH THESE PARENTS? It’s like they don’t want to actually be parents so they indulge their kids and allow them to drink and party without caring. That really bothered me. I get that they are all around 17.. and 17-year-olds party BUT it doesn’t mean you have to act blindly to it or encourage it. The story had its share of drama but it wasn’t anything new or surprising with this genre. Misinterpreting things, overreacting, so self-centered you can’t see how it is affecting someone else, etc. It would be nice if something threw a curve in the typical plot course for this type of book..

Overall:

Although it doesn’t present anything new to this genre I did end up enjoying it! It was a fun non-serious book that allowed me to get lost in it pretty easily. I so want to visit Hawaii now!!

Rating 3.5/5

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

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From Shelfari: “When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. He’s also a washed up child prodigy with ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a passion for anagrams, and an overweight, Judge Judy-obsessed best friend. Colin’s on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which will predict the future of all relationships, transform him from a fading prodigy into a true genius, and finally win him the girl. Letting expectations go and allowing love in at the heart of Colin’s hilarious quest to find his missing piece and avenge dumpees everywhere.”

There is a HUGE John Green following both online and outside of the webs. Naturally my curiosity was on high alert and I just HAD to check him out. I began with The Fault In Our Stars. I liked it a lot..but it wasn’t the best I have ever read in YA literature (Perhaps there was just too much hype around this book.) I was a little hesitant to pick up more because it seems like everyone places TFIOS as the best book Green has ever written. So, it could only go down from there right? No way! An Abundance of Katherines was so surprisingly entertaining and FUNNY (I laughed out loud a lot) that I did not want to put this book down. Colin is awkward and quirky without purposely trying to be. He doesn’t understand sarcasm, he thinks in equations, and loved to anagram everything. His best bud Hassan is sarcastic and really compliments Colin’s lack of outward personality. John Green’s use of footnotes and math equations enhances the story by helping the reader understand how and where Colin is coming from (sometimes his way of thinking can be hard to follow but the footnotes clear things up and give some extra tidbits to mull over.)

“Colin did not laugh. Instead he thought, Tampons have strings? Why? Of all the major human mysteries – God, the nature of the universe, etc. – he knew the least about tampons. To Colin, tampons were a little bit like grizzly bears: he was aware of their existence, but he’d never seen on in the wild, and didn’t really care to.”

Without giving the plot away (it isn’t an intricate one.. pretty straight forward actually) I will just leave you with this: If you enjoy a good quirky story full of laughs and adventures than this is the John Green book for you. I may be the odd one out but I liked this book far more than TFIOS.

“Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.”

Rating – 4/5

The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy by Jenny Han

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From Goodreads: “Belly has always lived for the summertime because it means all her favorite things: swimming, the beach and the Fisher boys, Conrad and Jeremiah. She has spent every summer with them at Cousins Beach for as long as she can remember. She has always been in love with Conrad and finally, one summer, it seems like he might have feelings for her too. But it turns out, so does Jeremiah.

As the summers go on, Belly has to choose between two brothers who love her as she comes to the realization that she will have to break one of their hearts.”

**Warning: This review may contain spoilers! I tried super hard not to give too much away but the second and third books focus so much around certain aspects of the story that its hard not to mention them. You’ve been warned.**

My one goal while picking up this trilogy is to find a story that captures summer so well I can feel the sun beating down on me as I read. These books accomplish that and so much more! The Summer I Turned Pretty is a summer love story told by the main character Belly as she swoons over one brother while the other only has eyes for her. Deciding between a first love and a best friend is a choice no girl wants to make especially when someone’s heart will be broken in the process. The first book focuses on their last summer at the beach house with Susannah (Conrad and Jeremiahs mother) who is battling cancer. As the summer goes on Belly falls even more in love with Conrad and it seems like the feelings may be mutual.. but Conrad isn’t easy to read nor good at expressing his feelings. This summer is filled with a rollercoaster of up and down emotions where feelings are just too complicated to deal with.

It’s Not Summer Without You centers around the relationship with one of the brothers. Everything about it is unstable. A death in the family rocks the boat and causes a whirlwind of anger and misplaced emotions to lash out at the couple. This causes them to sink so deep that nothing seems to help their situation. The only logical next step is to end it. But.. with heartbreak comes the revelation that someone else may have feelings for Belly and want to step up to make her happy. Not wanting to ruin their chemistry Belly is hesitant at first but she cannot deny the feelings she holds for this boy. And then their story begins…

We’ll Always Have Summer is definitely the book that causes the reader to stressfully hold her breath until the end. SO MANY EMOTIONS! Belly’s first year of university is coming to an end and things are getting serious with her boyfriend. So serious that wedding bells may be in the near future. Unfortunately, even if someone seems perfect there are bound to be flaws and these flaws could be a breaking point to their relationship. Can love turn a blind eye to mistakes? Does Belly want to forgive and forget? Is she making the biggest mistake of her life? What about her first love? Is he only just a memory of her past or are there still feelings? Jenny Han answers all of these questions as she wraps up the trilogy with an ending I was incredibly happy with!

This trilogy is a super light read that is perfect for the summer. Sun, romance, cute boys, and family bonding are all rolled in to this series along with anger, emotions, fights, and lots more! Jenny Han knows how to keep her readers hooked with the double love interests of her characters. Who will she pick? WHO WILL SHE PICK? I seriously shook this book wondering who she would end up with. You get so invested in these characters that you hate the fact that a choice even has to be made. Can she not be with both of them? hmm.. that would probably be a little too kinky for a young adult book. Be prepared to laugh, cry, and feel your heart crush as things don’t go the way you hope for them.

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Rating – 3.75/5

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

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From Shelfari: “In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year- old Mia Hall has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck… A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.This book will bring tears to your eyes at one point and laughter at another.”

 

There have been similar out-of-body stories before. Something horrible happens to a character and she “leaves” her body and watches it all unfold as if it were happening to someone else. No matter the similarities this story felt so fresh and new! Seventeen-year-old Mia has a near perfect life. Her parents are loving, cool, and quirky. She adores her little brother. Her best friend is sarcastically amazing. And the person who matters so much, her boyfriend Adam, is so out of her league.. yet he loves her? This is the life every girl would die for. That is, until Mia must decide to live or die after a tragic accident puts her family in the hospital. Nothing could be more real than choosing ones own fate.

Gayle takes the reader on such an intense ride of emotions, you’re left feeling drained by the end of the story. Mia’s choice is a hard one, and her reasons for choosing what she does is both beautiful and heartbreaking. Trying to picture oneself in her position, imagining what you would do, is incredibly hard. This is in no way an easy task for both Mia and the reader. I just cannot put in to words how much I loved this story.. It had me hooked from the very first page and in tears by the end.

If I say any more I may spoil the story for you… there is just SO MUCH I want to say! *heartbreak* I literally ran out and purchased the sequel immediately after finishing this book..and I have EVEN MORE to say about that book! omg…

Rating – 4.5/5

Have you read this book? What about the sequel? Thoughts????????