Wild (mini-review)

Finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed. 

You know this story, right? Cheryl Strayed decides to hike part of the Pacific Crest Trail (or PCT) a few years after her mom dies in order to get her life back on track. If you haven’t read the book, you probably saw the movie (which stars Reese Witherspoon). 

If you haven’t read it, this book is incredible. I can’t imagine putting my body through something so grueling and I have nothing but respect for Cheryl Strayed. 

If you haven’t read it, you need to. 

Highly recommended. 

My Sister Rosa

Finished My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier. 

Che and his sister Rosa have just moved to New York with their parents. It should be exciting but all Che wants is to move back home to Sydney. Actually, no. He wants to move home, to be able to spar (he boxes but his parents won’t let him actually fight or spar), to get a girlfriend and, most importantly, to keep Rosa under control. Because something is wrong with Rosa. 

This is a deeply unsettling book. It’s not like The Good Son or any other cheesy horror film. Rosa is old enough to know that she’s not like other people and she’s smart enough to be able to fake it (it helps that she’s really adorable). And she promises not to kill anyone…unless she knows she’ll get away with it. Che thinks it’s a joke. (I was a lot more skeptical.)

If you’re in the mood for something creepy, give this one a try. Recommended. 

What We Saw

Finished What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler. I received a copy for review. 

Kate was at a party, drank too much and was taken home by her friend, Ben. Stacey was at the same party, also drank too much and was apparently gang-raped by at least three guys. Stacey’s been branded a slut and has been treated horribly for ruining those guys’ lives and possibly affecting their chances of going to college. 

This is such an important book. If you don’t understand rape culture, this book does a great job of explaining it. 

One of Kate’s friends says that there are rules–you don’t drink too much, you don’t wear clothes that are too revealing, you don’t go off alone with a boy. But as Kate realizes, it’s all luck. The only difference between her party experience and Stacey’s is that she was lucky and Stacey wasn’t. 

I couldn’t stop reading it and I wanted to know what would happen to Stacey and if Ben was involved. This is such an intense book and I loved it. 

Highly recommended. 

Field Trip!

This morning, I went back to my elementary school and talked to one of my favorite teachers’ classes. Another favorite set it up and getting to see Mrs. Ennis and Mrs. Pappas made this the best day ever (even before getting to talk about books and blogging and BEA for an hour)!
 I know that we hear all these stories about how no one reads anymore, but it was a class full of actively literate people. As you know, I love talking about books and the authors I love. And I could tell they felt the same way–they told me their favorite books and authors, and showed me what they were reading now and they were all SO EXCITED about all of it. 
And guys, I am SO BEHIND on my reading. I have to read Rick Riordan and the Charlie Bone series and like 50,000 others that I’ve scrawled on a piece of paper. I don’t know when I’ll get to it (I’m going to stay on top of review books in 2017, I swear!) but I’ll get to everything eventually. (Shut up, YES I WILL.)
Book people are the best people and I’m really happy to report that the next generation of book people are doing just fine. 

Still A Work In Progress

Finished Still a Work in Progress by Jo Knowles. I received a copy for review. 

Noah’s life is completely changing. All at once, his friends start dating or talking about dating. That’d be bad enough, but his older sister may be getting sick again. 

I think this may be Jo Knowles’ best yet. Noah’s confusion and anxiety is perfectly captured. I could imagine every character and scene in this novel, and everything broke my heart and fixed it and broke it again. 

Highly recommended. 

Love and Other Unknown Variables (mini-review)

Finished Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander. 

Charlie is a science genius. It’s his thing and he’s planning to go to MIT. And then he meets Charlotte, his sister’s new best friend…

Oh, guys, this book. Everything about it is absolutely perfect. I can’t even discuss it rationally. And I can’t talk about it because (a) spoilers and (b) my heart. 

I am a fan for life of Shannon Lee Alexander. Anything she writes is now a must-buy. 

Highly recommended. 

A Week of Mondays

Finished A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody. 

Ellison Sparks is living the same day over and over. That’d be bad enough, but it’s the Monday her boyfriend breaks up with her. She knows that eventually, though, she’ll figure out how to make Tristan realize that they’re meant to be together. 

I don’t know what it is, but Jessica Brody’s books are always exactly what I need. They’re ridiculously fun with incredibly relatable heroines, but they’re also just really good books. 

We all know people like Ellison (Ellison Sparks c’est moi) but every character in here is multi-dimensional. Even secondary characters feel like real people. 


The Merciless II

Finished The Merciless II by Danielle Vega. 

This is only slightly less intense than its predecessor. Sofia is now at a Catholic boarding school (her mom dies early on in the book) but she’s still haunted by the events in the first book. And bad things happen around her…

OK, as I’ve come to expect from Danielle Vega, this book is incredibly messed up. It’s creepy and graphic and beyond unsettling. (And really fun, if you like being scared.)

There’s going to be a third one next year. I can’t wait. 


A Daring Sacrifice

Finished A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Heglund. I received a copy for review. 

This book is basically Robin Hood, but with the genders swapped. Juliana steals from noblemen and illegally hunts on their lands after her uncle has her father killed and steals his land for himself. Everyone believes her dead, but she dresses as a boy and survives on her wits and, again, illegal gains. Then she meets Collin. He’s also a nobleman but not like the others. He has compassion for the peasants and vows to help Juliana, whether she wants it or not. 

This is an incredibly fun novel. It helps that I love Robin Hood stories, and Juliana is a fantastic heroine. 

Yes, you know everything that will happen before it does, but you’ll have enough fun that you won’t care. 

Chasing Truth

Finished Chasing Truth by Julie Cross. 

Ellie is living with her sister Harper after their parents’ life of crime ended. They were grifters, though Harper ran away when Ellie was 12. Now Ellie is starting over with Harper and Aidan (Harper’s boyfriend). That’s all backstory, though. This is about Ellie’s friend Simon, who may or may not have commited suicide. Now Ellie is using her special skills to solve the case. 

This has been compared to Veronica Mars and that is an incredibly apt description. I absolutely love Ellie and am really happy that this is the first book in a series. 

Maybe we can get a movie here, too?