Category Archives: YA Fiction

Thunderhead

Finished Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?”

This is the second book in a trilogy, and just to warn you—you will be so desperate for the third book when you’re done with this one.

It’s hard to review second books, but this does everything one’s supposed to do: provide answers and more questions, raise the stakes, be complete enough to reasonably stand on its own but to also make obtaining the third book an absolute necessity. (Unfortunately, the third book will obviously not be here until 2019 and there isn’t an on-sale date yet. Could be roughly this time in 2019; could be end of December 2019.)

I love this book and this series. Highly recommended.

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Before I Let Go

Finished Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp. I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable in their snow-covered town of Lost Creek, Alaska. When Corey moves away, she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the long, dark winter, and wait for her return.

Just days before Corey is to return home to visit, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated―and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town’s lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she’s a stranger.

Corey knows something is wrong. With every hour, her suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets―chilling secrets. But piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter… ”

This book is so hard to describe. It’s a sort of ghost story and a sort of cult story and definitely one about grief and friendship. (Basically all my favorite things in one gorgeous mishmash that shouldn’t work, but does.)

It’s not a secret that Kyra has been diagnosed bipolar. The whole town knows and the whole town (except for Corey, basically) has shunned her. Except when Corey goes to a new school out of town, somehow things have changed and the town now views Kyra as…well, to paraphrase Groundhog Day,  something like A god, if not THE god.

And now that Kyra is dead and Corey has no idea what happened to her friend, she is trying to piece together exactly what happened. (It doesn’t help that she is now viewed as an outsider–seriously, guys, this place is hardcore creepy.)

To say more would be to rob this story of its beauty (and creepiness, and it has both in roughly equal measure). You want to experience this for yourself. Recommended.

You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone

Finished You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon. I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah awaits her acceptance to Johns Hopkins, the first step on her path toward med school and a career as a surgeon.

But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind. It’s turned their Israeli mother into a near stranger and fractured the sisters’ own bond in ways they’ll never admit. While Tovah finds comfort in their Jewish religion, Adina rebels against its rules.

When the results come in, one twin tests negative for Huntington’s. The other tests positive.

These opposite outcomes push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and the unexpected thrill of first love. How can they repair their relationship, and is it even worth saving?

From debut author Rachel Lynn Solomon comes a luminous, heartbreaking tale of life, death, and the fragile bond between sisters.”

Oh you guys, this book. This book could have been a horrible Lifetime movie of an experience and instead it’s this amazing, wonderful thing. It’s smart and sad and completely unexpected.

I feel like we have a very specific narrative with illness. People suffer bravely and gain these profound insights, right? But when one of the sisters learns that she has the gene for Huntington’s, there are no insights. There is rage and pettiness and a little bit of a malaise.

I also want to mention that I read the acknowledgments (as I always do) and I love the fact that she wanted to write a story about Jewish people that wasn’t a Holocaust narrative. (I’m sure there are plenty of stories that center around Jewish people that aren’t—one that immediately comes to mind is my beloved OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy—but there aren’t many. And I love the portrayal of faith here, too.)

This book subverted all my expectations for what would happen. I cannot believe this is a debut novel. Rachel Lynn Solomon is definitely one to watch. Highly recommended.

Together at Midnight

Finished Together at Midnight by Jennifer Castle. I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“What does it really mean to be kind . . . and why does it sometimes feel like the hardest thing in the world to do? High school senior Kendall, who just returned from a life-changing semester in Europe, and Max, who is drifting his way through a gap year before college, struggle with these questions when they witness a tragic accident in New York City during the holiday season. Racked with guilt, the two accept a dare to perform random acts of kindness to strangers. The challenge pulls these two teens, who have a history together from back home, closer and closer as they explore a vibrant city filled with other people’s stories and secrets.

Kendall and Max can’t deny their growing bond, even though they both have other romantic entanglements and uncertain futures. As the clock counts down on New Year’s Eve, will they find themselves together at midnight?”

This book is absolutely adorable. It’s sweet and fun, the kind of book that is perfect for winter and reading under a warm blanket or by a fire. It’s also an incredibly fast read.

I liked the fact that we also got brief chapters from the perspective of the seven people helped. It was interesting, but made me wish that we heard more from them. (I especially wanted to know what happened to Luna, the woman who was hurt and who set everything off.) In a way, though, it makes sense–there’s no way to realistically know what happened next. (And yet.)

I don’t think this is the book that will stick with me, but I hope it’ll help me be a little nicer to strangers.

The Forgotten Book

Finished The Forgotten Book by Mechthild Glaser. I received a copy for review.

Emma found a book in the library of her boarding school. Seems super commonplace, right? Except this book is different. If you write something in this book, it comes true.

Except, as with all things magic, there’s a catch.

This book was so fun! It’s YA but I think it would work for younger readers, too. (It almost feels like a fairy tale, with the magic and mythical creatures.)

While I was reading it, I kept thinking about what it would be like to have a book like that. (And yes, I do know what I’d write in it.)

Instructions for a Secondhand Heart

Finished Instructions for a Secondhand Heart by Tamsyn Murray. I received a copy for review.

Jonny needs a new heart. He’s been sick his whole life and time is running out. And then a boy roughly his age dies and is a perfect match. His life is great, except he can’t stop thinking about the donor. After a little detective work, he thinks he’s figured out who it is. Jonny wants to learn more about Leo (donor) but there’s a new hitch: he’s fallen for Neve, Leo’s sister. His twin sister.

This is easy to dismiss as a slightly altered YA version of Return to Me, but there’s a lot going on here. This story has a lot of heart (forgive the phrase) and is just a delight. But also, since there are sick kids, a tear-inducing monster. (A little of both.)

2017: The Books

January:

1) The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams (1)

2) The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins (2)

3) The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty (3)

4) Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson (4)

5) Cinder by Marissa Meyer (5)

6) After the Fall by Kate Hart (6)

7) The Girl Before by JP Delaney (7)

8) The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish (8)

9) Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson (9)

10) The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles (10)

11) Copycat by Kimberla Lawson Roby (11)

12) Caraval by Stephanie Garber (12)

13) Silver Stars by Michael Grant (13)

14) Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley (14)

15) By Your Side by Kasie West (15)

16) Nowhere Near You by Leah Thomas (16)

17) March Trilogy by John Lewis (17)

18) The Young Widower’s Handbook by Tom McAllister (18)

19) Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (19)

20) Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel (20)

21) Marbles by Ellen Forney (21)

22) Stitches by David Small (22)

23) Becoming Unbecoming by Una (23)

24) Ghost World by Daniel Clowes (24)

25) Black Hole by Charles Burns (25)

26) Blankets by Craig Thompson (26)

27) Kindred by Octavia Butler (27) (graphic novel)

28) Rosalie Lightning by Tom Hart (28)

29) The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak (29)

30) All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai (30)

31) A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom (31)

32) The Mothers by Brit Bennett (32)

33) All the Lives I Want by Alana Massey (33)

34) The Lost Woman by Sara Blaedel (34)

35) Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson (35)

February:

1) #Famous by Jilly Gagnon (36)

2) A Separation by Katie Kitamura (37)

3) Sister, Sister by Sue Fortin (38)

4) Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance (39)

5) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (40)

6) On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman (41)

7) Wonder by RJ Palacio (42) (reread)

8) The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan (43)

9) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (44)

10) The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (45)

11) Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (46)

12) Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher (47)

13) Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen (48)

14) We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (49) (2017)

15) Sophie Someone by Hayley Long (50)

16) The Book That Made Me by Judith Ridge (51)

17) Camp So-and-So by Mary McCoy (52)

18) The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (53)

19) The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig (54)

20) Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (55)

21) The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman (56)

22) Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse (57)

23) Who Killed Christopher Goodman? by Allan Wolf (58)

24) The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo (59)

25) Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly (60)

March:

1) Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens (61)

2) I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid (62)

3) The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour (63)

4) Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper (64)

5) Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (65)

6) Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson (66)

7) Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres (67)

8) Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail (68)

9) Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen (69)

10) The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend (70)

11) See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng (71)

12) Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner (72)

13) You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner (73)

14) Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (74)

15) The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett (75)

16) Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (76)

17) Beatdown in Bangkok by Adam Fleming and Justin Fike (77)

18) The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato (78)

19) The Secrets You Keep by Kate White (79)

20) A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell (80)

21) Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (81)

22) 100 Hours by Rachel Vincent (82)

23) Dead Little Mean Girl by Eva Darrows (83)

24) All the Forever Things by Jolene Perry (84)

25) Miss You by Kate Eberlin (85)

26) The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck (86)

27) Hallelujah Anyway by Anne Lamott (87)

28) Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer (88)

29) At First Blush by Beth Ellyn Summer (89)

30) Pretty Fierce by Kieran Scott (90)

31) Extreme You by Sarah Robb O’Hagen (91)

32) The End of Our Story by Meg Halston (92)

33) We’re All Wonders by RJ Palacio (93)

34) Chester and Gus by Cammie McGovern (94)

35) Worthy by Donna Cooner (95)

36) Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (96)

April:

1) Fallout by Sara Paretsky (97)

2) Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr (98)

3) The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (99)

4) The Takedown by Corrie Wang (100)

5) The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day (101)

6) One Hundred Spaghetti Strings by Jen Nails (102)

7) Literally by Lucy Keating (103)

8) Apartment 1986 by Lisa Papademetriou (104)

9) The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda (105)

10) Dangerous Ends by Alex Segura (106)

11) Fireworks by Katie Cotugno (107)

12) The Unprotected by Kelly Sokol (108)

13) Bang by Barry Lyga (109)

14) The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook (110)

15) It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vezzini (111)

16) The Widow of Wall Street by Randy Susan Meyers (112)

17) Beartown by Fredrik Backman (113)

18) Looking For Group by Rory Harrison (114)

19) Lucky Girl by Amanda Maciel (115)

20) I Found You by Lisa Jewell (116)

21) The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger (117)

22) How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake (118)

23) Suspect Red by LM Elliott (119)

24) Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee (120)

25) Dreamfall by Amy Plum (121)

26)  Planet Jupiter by Jane Kurtz (122)

27) Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson (123)

28) Georgia Rules by Nanci Turner Steveson (124)

29) The Summer of Bad Ideas by Keira Stewart (125)

30) Posted by John David Anderson (126)

May:

1) The Scattering by Kimberly McCreight (127)

2) Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han (128)

3) Saints and Misfits by SK Ali (129)

4) Girl out of Waterby Laura Silverman (130)

5) That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim (131)

6) Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy (132)

7) Deacon Locke Went to Prom by Brian Katcher (133)

8) Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane (134)

9) Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia (135)

10) Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee (136)

11) Gabby Garcia’s Ultimate Playbook by Iva-Marie Palmer (137)

12) It’s Not Like it’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura (138)

13) Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King (139)

14) Public Relations by Katie Heaney and Arianna Rebolini (140)

15) Arrowood by Laura McHugh (141)

16) Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (142)

17) The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord (143)

18) Keys to the City by Lisa Schroeder (144)

June:

1) It Started With Goodbye by Christina June (145)

2) What is the Bible? by Rob Bell (146)

3) Antisocial by Jillian Blake (147)

4) Max and Menna by Shauna Kelley (148)

5) From Ant to Eagle by Alex Lyttle (149)

6) Once and For All by Sarah Dessen (150)

7) Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith (151)

8) The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs (152)

9) Vigilante by Kady Cross (153)

10) When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (154)

11) The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green (155)

12) The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone (156)

13) Necromantic Shenanigans by JA Campbell and Rebecca Mcfarland Kyle (157)

14) Fanny and Dice by Rebecca McFarland Kyle (158)

15) He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly (159)

16) Geekerella by Ashley Poston (160)

17) Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett (161)

18) Torn Away by Jennifer Brown (162)

19) Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid (163)

July:

1) The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (164)

2) After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid (165)

3) Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid (166)

4) Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid (167)

5) It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany (168)

6) Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (169)

7) The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo (170)

8) My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella (171)

9) The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (172)

10) Off the Cliff by Becky Aikman (173)

11) Beware the Ranger by Debra Holt (174)

12) The Force by Don Winslow (175)

13) The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand (176)

14) A Stone of Hope by Jim St. Germain (177)

15) The Reason You’re Alive by Matthew Quick (178)

16) The Late Show by Michael Connelly (179)

17) The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash by Candace Ganger (180)

18) The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein (181)

19) The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham (182)

20) Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave (183)

21) Freefall by Joshua David Bellin (184)

22) The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed (185)

23) Final Girls by Riley Sager (186)

August:

1) The Stars in Our Eyes by Julie Klam (187)

2) Morningstar by Ann Hood (188)

3) Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (189)

4) One For Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn (190)

5) Between Me and You by Allison Winn Scotch (191)

6) The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby (192)

7) Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker (193)

8) The Authentics by Abdi Nazemian (194)

9) Things That Surprise You by Jennifer Maschari (195)

10) The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter (196)

11) To Siri with Love by Judith Newman (197)

12) Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore (198)

13) Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess (199)

14) Patina by Jason Reynolds (200)

15) Blood Defense by Marcia Clark (201)

16) Moral Defense by Marcia Clark (202)

17) Snap Judgment by Marcia Clark (203)

18) I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin (204)

19) Blame by Jeff Abbott (205)

20) Hunger by Roxane Gay (206)

September:

1) Friend Request by Laura Marshall (207)

2) They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera (208)

3) Copycat by Alex Lake (209)

4) Clickd by Tamara Ireland Stone (210)

5) Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello (211)

6) What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton (212)

7) In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner (213)

8) Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu (214)

9) Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben (215)

10) Everything Must Go by Jenny Fran Davis (216)

11) Warcross by Marie Lu (217)

12) Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King (218)

13) The Thin Line Between Good and Evil by Liza Wiemer (219) (beta read)

October:

1) There’s Someone in the House by Stephanie Perkins (220)

2) We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby (221)

3) The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (222)

4) Little Monsters by Kara Thomas (223)

5) Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (224)

6) One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus (225)

7) Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen (226)

8) Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (227)

9) Genuine Fraud by e. lockhart (228)

10) Autoboyography by Christina Lauren (229)

11) Far From the Tree by Robin Benway (230)

12) What Girls are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold (231)

13) The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe (232)

14) In the Shadow of the Sun by Anne Sibley O’Brien (233)

15) City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson (234)

16) You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins (235)

17) American Street by Ibi Zoboi (236)

18) Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert (237)

19) Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg (238)

20) Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg (239)

21) All in Pieces by Suzanne Young (240)

22) I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo (241)

23) The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz (242)

24) Lucky in Love by Kasie West (243)

25) A Psalm For Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl (244)

November:

1) What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum (245)

2) How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore (246)

3) You Don’t Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Darrow (247)

4) In a Perfect World by Trish Doller (248)

5) The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera (249)

6) The Border by Steve Schafer (250)

7) The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller (251)

8) Noteworthy by Riley Redgate (252)

9) Water in May by Ismee Amiel Williams (253)

10) Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios (254)

11) The Museum of Broken Relationships (255)

12) Pantsuit Nation edited by Libby Chamberlain (256)

13) The Stranger Game by Cylin Busby

14) Crash by Wylie Ender (258)

15) When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn (259)

16) Stolen Secrets by LB Schulman (260)

17) Disappeared by Francisco X. Stork (261)

18) Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (262)

19) And Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin (263)

20) Maud by Melanie J. Fishbane (264)

21) Trell by Dick Lehr (265)

22) Maid of the King’s Court by Lucy Worsley (266)

23) The Agony of Bun O’Keefe by Heather Smith (267)

24) The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah (268)

25) Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (269)

26) Protected by Claire Zorn (270)

27) Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney C. Stevens (271)

28) Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin (272)

29) The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt (273)

30) The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan (274)

31) Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen (275)

December:

1) Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield (276)

2) Truthers by Geoffrey Girard (277)

3) Confessions of a High School Disaster by Emma Chastain (278)

4) 10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac (279)

5) Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman (280)

6) At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson (281)

7) The Lives of Desperate Girls by MacKenzie Common (282)

8) Get it Together, Delilah! by Erin Gough (283)

9) A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White (284)

10) Feral Youth by Shaun David Hutchinson (285)

11) A Void the Size of the World by Rachele Alpine (286)

12) Boy by Blake Nelson (287)

13) The Truth of Right Now by Kara Lee Corthron (288)

14) Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman (289)

15) Neighborhood Girls by Jessie Ann Foley (290)

16) The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares (291)

17) Here Lies Daniel Tate by Christin Terrill (292)

18) A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck (293)

19) Forks, Knives and Spoons by Leah DeCesare (294)

20) Spinning by Tillie Walden (295)

21) The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag (296)

22) Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (297)

23) Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills (298)

24) No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear (299)

25) Girl in a Bad Place by Kaitlin Ward (300)

26) Otherworld by Jason Segal and Kirsten Miller (301)

27) The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange (302)

28) Fragments of the Lost by Megan Miranda (303)

29) Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden (304)

30) Love, Life and the List by Kasie West (305)

31) Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (306)

32) Instructions for a Secondhand Heart by Tamsyn Murray (307)

Love, Life and the List

Finished Love, Life and the List by Kasie West. I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

“Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.”

I love Kasie West’s stories. They always make me feel like it’s summer (making them a great read in winter, when I am freezing and miserable). This one is no exception.

I love Abby and how focused she is on her art. She really wants to get into this special exhibit and so she decides to challenge herself to grow as a person in order to grow as an artist. It sounds a little simplistic, but it actually works.

One of my favorite things in YA novels are when friendships take a central role. I am not a fan of the “girls can’t be friends because they always compete for things” idea and, while there’s some of that, too, I loved Lacey and Abby’s new friendship. I’m also really fond of her relationship with her parents and especially with her grandfather. I’m glad that YA novels are starting to reflect close family ties.

This book is an absolute delight. Recommended.

Fragments of the Lost

Finished Fragments of the Lost by Megan Miranda.

Jessa’s ex-boyfriend is presumed dead (his car washed away in a flash flood) and his family blames her for his death since she was the last one to see him alive. As penance, she’s packing up his room for them…except she is learning some things about Caleb. There is definitely more to this story.

I love Megan Miranda! She writes these amazing, fun thrillers and I never see them coming. This one is no exception. I love everything about this story, and it’s a fantastic winter read.

Grab this and put on your fuzzy socks. Recommended.

Otherworld

Finished Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller.

Otherworld is the world’s most addictive game. It’s virtual reality times a billion—-you would swear that you were really experiencing everything there. Except maybe there’s something sinister going on…

This is insanely fun. I love the concept and it’s nearly impossible to stop reading. I wanted this because it seemed like Ready Player One but it’s a combination of that and a thriller. Yes, please!

Even better, it’s the first book in a series! I cannot wait to read Otherearth, which is out in the fall.