Category Archives: Books I Received From The Publisher

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. 

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. 

The Seventh Wish

Finished The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner. I received a copy for review. 

Charlie starts ice fishing to help pay for an expensive dress but she keeps doing it after she catches a magic fish that can grant wishes. (I know but this is more contemp MG than not.) At first, her wishes are a little silly but then there’s a crisis with her older sister. 

I loved this book. I immediately loved Charlie and her parents, and I felt awful for Abby (the older sister). 

I think this is an incredibly important book, and one that will resonate with a lot of people. 

Highly recommended. 

It Looks Like This

Finished It Looks Like This by Rafi Mittlefehldt. I received a copy from the publisher for review. 

Mike’s life is mostly non-eventful. He has friends and a good relationship with his mom and little sister, Toby. (His dad is distant and sometimes angry.) And then he meets Sean…

This is a hard book and awful things happen. I’ve heard that used as an excuse to avoid (gay teens need affirming stories, not sad ones!) but honestly, sometimes horrible things happen. Sometimes parents aren’t supportive. Sometimes they’re awful at first and better later. And we all deserve to see our lives reflected back. Not everyone gets a pride parade right away. 

I love this book and am excited to read everything Rafi Mittlefehldt writes from now on. 

Highly recommended. 

Die For You

Finished Die For You by Amy Fellner Dominy.  I received a copy from the author for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Not everything is as perfect as it seems in this dark romance by A Matter of Heart author, Amy Dominy.

Theirs was the perfect love story.

After Emma Lorde’s parents’ divorce forces her to move halfway across the state of Arizona to live with her father, Emma must face her senior year in a new school knowing absolutely no one.

Then she meets Dillon Hobbs and something just clicks.

Dillon introduces Emma to friends she can call her own. He provides a refuge from the chaos of her past and the security of a commitment that he promises will last forever. And because circumstances of her messy life forced Emma to put aside her dream of pursuing archaeology, Dillon creates a blueprint for a future together.
He saves her, over and over, by loving her more than she thought anyone ever would.

But just when everything seems picture-perfect, Emma is offered an opportunity that will upend the future they’ve planned. Uncertainty grows, and fear spirals into something darker.

Now Dillon is the one who needs saving.

But how much do you sacrifice for the one you love? What if saving Dillon means losing herself?”

I am a huge fan of Amy Dominy’s and I have been since I read OyMG.  This is her fourth novel (and second for young adults) and I cannot even tell you how big of a departure this is for her novels.  She’s always had an incredible amount of talent, but this is a whole other level.

I mean, think about it: odds are a book like this would be incredibly fun but campy.  Right?  Kind of ridiculous? Like, say, Swimfan?

Nope.

I immediately loved Emma, and I could see that Dillon showed creeper potential, but it happened slowly and organically, and it was absolutely chilling.

And it shows just how easy it is to make excuses.  Like, “Oh, he loves me; he’s just having a bad day” or “He loves me; I just need to be patient.”

Highly, highly recommended.

All the Feels

Finished All the Feels by Danika Stone. I received a copy for review. 

Liv is part of the fandom for Starveil and when I say that, you should interpret that as this: Starveil is her life. Except for her best friend Xander, it’s what she cares about most. And then the new movie came out and her favorite character died. Liv is devastated…until she realizes that she can fix it. So she creates a video bringing him back to life. Her fellow fans jump on board, and soon it looks like the studio is paying attention. 

I really enjoyed this book. I’m a minor part of a lot of different fandoms (Harry Potter, Buffy, X-Files, horror, especially Nightmare on Elm Street) and I love the way this book handles it. Yes, Liv is OBSESSED, but we all have our thing. And Liv is never portrayed as being pathetic or bad-weird. 

I also love the acknowledgment that fans can change the course of a story. We all have seen that happen and I’m generally a fan of people being passionate about things. :)

Recommended. 

The Sun is Also a Star 

Finished The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. I received a copy for review. This review was originally posted in August. 

This review is essentially exclamation points and heart emojis. I’m not sure I have the words to do it justice but I will try. 

Natasha and Daniel view the world very differently–he’s a romantic and she’s a realist. He’s Korean-American and about to apply to Yale to be a doctor (his parents’ dream, not his). She is from Jamaica and about to be deported with her family (literally about to be deported; it’ll happen that night). 
This book reminded me of Before Sunrise in all the best ways: two people meet and have an immediate connection but you know there’s no way it can last. (I hope we get sequels and that those sequels won’t be a decade apart.)
Nicola Yoon is one of the best authors writing today and her books are pure magic. I cannot wait to see what she does next. And I hope it’ll be soon. 
Highly recommended. 

We Are Still Tornadoes

Finished We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen. I received a copy for review. 

It’s the 1982-1983 school year. Cath is a freshman at Wake Forest; her best friend Scott didn’t go to college and is back home, working at his dad’s clothing store. They decide to write letters back and forth, because it’s 1982 and there’s no email. 

Basically, this is about that time in your life when you have to reconcile who you’ve been with who you’re becoming. College is really fun (you’re really independent for the first time and you get to decide if you’ll go to class or if you’ll sleep in; will you write that paper or go out drinking? Will you pick the safe-but-boring major or the impractical one you love?) but being left behind kind of sucks. 

It’s impossible not to love Cath. She did what most of us do. But I also love Scott and felt so horrible for him as he saw all his friends leave and then had to go work for his dad. It wasn’t the life he really wanted for himself. 

And I love their friendship. The letters really show how well they know each other. 

This is just a really fun book and I love it. Highly recommended. 

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit

Finished Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown. I received a copy for review. 

It’s her senior year and Jo–an incredibly out lesbian–is starting over in a new place. A small town. With her dad and new stepmom. Her dad (a preacher) asks her to maybe try being a little less openly gay (read: totally closeted) and, in exchange, she can go on her dream vacation after graduation. Her new step-grandma is not exactly down with the gays. So Joanna (as she is now called) does her best. But then, of course, she meets this girl. 

You guys, this book would have been my everything if I had read it in high school and it’s kind of my everything now. It’s got religious people who don’t suck, great friends and family and the best love story ever. 

No words will do it justice. 

Highly recommended. 

Girl Against the Universe

Finished Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes. I received a copy for review. 
Maguire is convinced she’s cursed. Accidents keep happening around her, leaving other people injured or dead (including her dad, brother and uncle). As a result, she tries to keep people at arm’s length and to stay home as much as possible. She also has rituals to keep herself safe. And then she meets Jordy. 

I love this book. It’s sweet, funny, deep, swoonworthy–really, just perfect. 

I dare you not to fall for the characters in this novel (especially Maguire and Jordy). 

Recommended.