Category Archives: Books I Received From The Publisher

Cybils Roundup

Thanks to jury duty, I had plenty of time to read last week (I wasn’t put on a trial, thank goodness, but was there from 8-3:15 or so). 

I read Autoboyography by Christina Lauren (so cute and fun) and Far From the Tree by Robin Benway (just a really great book) and if you are also stuck at jury duty, I would recommend those books keep you company. 

The great thing about being a Cybils judge is that there are so many great books. The bad thing is that now blogging them is seeming like a pretty insurmountable task. 

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Eliza and Her Monsters

Finished Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. I received a copy for review. 

In real life, Eliza is nothing special. She’s super quiet and her friends are all online. On the internet, though, she’s LadyConstellation. Her web comic has millions of fans (not an exaggeration) and she makes enough money to put herself through college. And then she meets Wallace. He writes fanfiction and is a huge fan of LadyConstellation’s. Eliza isn’t sure how to tell him who she actually is. 

This book is amazing! The premise is fantastic and the execution is even better. It deals with fandom, which I love, but also with mental illness (in a variety of ways). 

I also love the fact that it dealt with the ways it’s so easy to misunderstand people. Eliza feels misunderstood in a lot of ways (her family doesn’t really get what she does) but never really realizes she’s doing it back. When she DOES see how she ignores her brothers, it was one of the most powerful part of the book for me.

This is such an intense but also lovely novel. I hope you love it like I do. Recommended.  

The Hanging Girl

Finished The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook. I received a copy for review. 

Skye has a semi-lucrative business going at school. For $10 a pop, she will use her psychic ability and Tarot deck to tell your future. (Yes, she’s a fake.) This would all be fine except she gets involved after a popular girl goes missing—and it turns out she was kidnapped. Skye gives the police some key details that turn out to be correct. Except she’s still not psychic. She knows because she’s involved. 

I couldn’t stop reading this book! It’s so clever and intricately done. Every time I thought I knew what would happen, I was proven wrong. It’s a completely stunning novel, one that I hope everyone will read and discuss. 

If you don’t love Eileen Cook already, (a) examine your reading choices and (b) this book will change that. Highly recommended!

Everything Must Go

Finished Everything Must Go by Jenny Fran Davis. I received a copy for review. 

Flora has developed quite a crush on Elijah, a photographer. He calls her his muse and created a blog full of pictures of her that’s gone viral. In a bid to win his heart, she decides to spend her (high school) junior and senior years at the world’s hippiest, crunchiest boarding school: Quare. (It’s where he went to high school and where he is supposed to spend time as an artist-in-residence. Except–surprise!–after learning Flora is going, he decides not to go after all. And now she’s stuck. 

This is a fun and feminist novel that deals with friendship, first love, kickass ladies, guys that mostly suck (that’s especially you, Elijah) and fashion. It’s a lot to cover and it does it supremely well. 

I picture Flora as sort of a brunette version of Grace Kelly in Rear Window (I think the comparison would please her) and I like her so much. Yes, she seems a little trivial at first but even when she’s in love with fashion, she’s still smart. And it’s not betraying feminism to love clothes. I like her style, even though I personally relate more to second semester-Flora. 

This book is an absolute delight and I hope you pick it up. Recommended.  

Warcross

Finished Warcross by Marie Lu. I received a copy for review. 

Emika is a bounty hunter. She tracks down people who illegally bet on Warcross (the most popular online game ever, and that is a huge understatement) and barely manages to keep her head above water that way. Then the game’s developer asks her to track down a hacker who’s interfering with the game. Her cover: a wild card in the major Warcross tournament. 

This book is BANANAS. It has everything: enough tech to make me feel smart, enough romance to make me swoon and enough intrigue to keep me hooked. And Emi is a total badass. It’s impossible not to love her. 

I cannot wait for the second book. Highly recommended. 

Don’t Let Go

Finished Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben. I received a copy for review. 

Napoleon “Nap” Dumas has never really gotten past his senior year of high school. His brother and his girlfriend were killed in what could be an accident or a double suicide and almost immediately after, Nap’s girlfriend disappeared. Now, 15 years later, Maura’s prints are found at a crime scene…

Like everything Harlan Coben writes, this is a phenomenal book that is seriously impossible to stop reading. I had a bunch of theories about what happened and who was to blame; I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

I need to stop even trying to figure out his plots ahead of time and just go with it. 

Highly recommended. 

Moxie

Finished Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu. I received a copy for review. 

Vivian is so done with her school. The football players are treated like gods and they wear gross t-shirts and make even grosser comments. The officials almost condone it and the teachers all ignore it. So she creates Moxie, a feminist zine. And…it takes off. 

I loved this book. It is smart and fun and funny and sweet and, best of all, unapologetically feminist. It is exactly the book I needed. (Moxie Girls Fight Back.)

This is a Daughters of Eve for this generation and I an absolutely on board. So if you want to know what feminism really is, read this. You’ll love it. 

Highly recommended. 

In Sight of Stars

Finished In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner. I received a copy for review. This will be published March 13. 

Klee (pronounced like clay) has been committed. We don’t know why, and this book goes back and forth in time, explaining how he got there and, more importantly, how he’ll find his way back.

I want to make my book club read this, because I have so many thoughts. I think teens will love this—this book really showcases the way that everything feels so viscerally important but never makes it feel silly or trivial, but I think it will also resonate with adults, because we actually really get the idea of having to decide whether to pursue your passion or to settle for a career you don’t love so you can manage to buy food and pay rent and all the other delights of adulthood. 

I’m not sure I can even express just how deeply this book has resonated with me. Every character, every theme, every nuance is absolutely perfect. Most of all, it’s about how art can save us temporarily while we become strong enough to save ourselves. And about how asking for help is not at all weak. The world is better with this book in it. 
Highly recommended. 

Suspect Red

Finished Suspect Red by LM Elliott. I received a copy for review. 

Richard is growing up in 1953, during the height of the McCarthy witch hunts. Some of it annoys him (he wants to read whatever he wants) but mostly he buys into all of it. It’s partly because his father works for the FBI and Richard sees himself as (a) super smart, (b) very intuitive and (c) sure to be able to find and bring down any communists in his life. And then he meets Vladimir and his family. (They’re Czech, not Russian.) His dad has a government job and his mom is an artist with radical ideas. Richard loves Vlad and his family but…well, he’s pretty sure they’re total commies. 

I really enjoyed this novel. It’s always a little hard to imagine how people could get blacklisted for attending a meeting or voting once, but it also keeps happening (see claims of people being unpatriotic for questioning the government after 9/11). 

I didn’t really like Richard. He’s smarmy and he doesn’t really think about how actions (and accusations) have consequences. It’s almost like he pictured himself as the hero in one of his books, and never paused to wonder what could happen to his friend and Vlad’s family. 

I do love his little sister, Ginny. She’s smart and feisty and can we get a book from her perspective?

Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies

Finished Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello. I received a copy for review. 

If you love TV and the internet, you know who Michael Ausiello is. Maybe you found him through Entertainment Weekly (I did) or TVLine.com or maybe through a shared love of Gilmore Girls, Felicity or Veronica Mars (he’s got great taste), you know who he is. What you may not know is this story. 

He was married to a man named Kit and then Kit got cancer. The title tells you how it ends and that if you have a heart at all, this will break it. But what it doesn’t tell you is that this is also hysterically funny. I cried in public, yes, but I also laughed really hard. (Like getting looks from the fellow light rail passengers hard.)

And as hard as this was to read, it’s also really beautiful. This is the kind of love I think we all want, even though it ended too soon. There is no way to read this and not see how much they loved each other. 

You need to read this and then help me make sure everyone else reads it too. Highly recommended.