Lily & Dunkin (mini-review)

Finished Lily & Dunkin by Donna Gephart. 

Lily and Dunkin are new friends. They immediately like each other but aren’t yet comfortable enough to share their respective huge secrets. 

Oh, guys, this book. This gorgeous, perfect, life-changing and life-saving book. 

I can’t even talk about how much I love Lily and Dunkin and how much they broke my heart. You just need to read this. 

Highly recommended. 

Sticks & Stones

Finished Sticks & Stones by Abby Cooper. 

Elyse has a weird disorder where whatever people say about her appears on her skin. If it’s a nice word (for example, cool or fun or sweet), it feels good. If it’s not (weirdo, freak, pathetic), it itches. Elyse is in middle school so care to guess how that’s working out for her?

I wanted to read this because it’s been compared to Wonder (which I loved). It’s a fair comparison, but I think they’re also pretty different. 

It’s impossible not to like Elyse. Watching her learn to like herself is an incredibly rewarding experience, as is watching her understand how to overcome…well, basically every aspect of her life. 


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. 


Finished Torch by Cheryl Strayed. 

Teresa is a wife (in a commonlaw marriage) and mother to two kids (Claire is in college; Joshua is a senior in high school). After she’s diagnosed with terminal cancer, her family starts to disintegrate. Once she’s dead, it happens even faster. 

This is apparently really loosely based on Cheryl Strayed’s life although only the grief is accurate. In a preface, she mentions that, for example, Joshua’s life doesn’t mimic her actual brother’s. (No spoiler here.) 

I think anyone who’s lost a parent will overidentify here, though. Even if you don’t react the way that Claire or Joshua do, the sense of the world being just WRONG will resonate. 


You Are A Badass

Finished You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. 

I got this as a present a few days ago. I’m leery of self-help books because (a) I suck at admitting I need help and (b) they seem kind of lame. But how can you resist one with the title “You are a Badass”?

I’m not sure about all the visualization (I have had very specific images of myself as a lottery winner and with specific, awesome jobs and am still broke and jobless) but there is a lot of value here. And there’s a lot I’m already doing. 

(Fun fact: at my last job, the one I hated? Every day, I made myself list at least five reasons why I’d have a good day. It kept me from calling in sick every day.)

I have the playlist, I have the pep talk. So maybe the affirmations and visualizations aren’t too far behind. :)


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. 

Tiny Beautiful Things

Finished Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. This was a reread. 
If you are my Facebook friend, you know how I have been doing post-election. Rereading this helped. 
It’s a compilation of Dear Sugar advice columns and while none applied to this situation, they all did. 
The hard thing is going forward when you just want to stop and grieve. But that fixes nothing. Donating and volunteering to the DNC may not either but it’s a step forward. I’ll take it. 

Carry On, Warrior

Finished Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. 

I am at loose ends. I don’t have a job, my severance has run out, I haven’t gotten an interview in two weeks and unemployment is not very much money. I am freaking out. 

And then my best friend sent me Love Warrior and, like a raft, the answer came: read it. Read Glennon’s other book, too. Read Cheryl Strayed. Read Anne Lamott. It won’t get you a job, but it’s harder to be afraid when you’re reading wisdom. (And I’m waiting for publishers to send the other Cybils books anyway, so…)

You’ve all read this, right? You don’t need me to talk you into it, do you?

Carry On, Warrior is exactly what I needed. It’s like sitting down with a friend and being told that it’ll all work out. Of course it will. So now I need to read some Momastery. And maybe she’ll write another book. Maybe soon. 

Highly recommended. 

I Hope You Forgive Me

This week Liza Wiemer is launching a new initiative, I HOPE YOU FORGIVE ME. IHYFM is a revolutionary website that asks teens and adults to anonymously share moments from their teen years they wish they could ask forgiveness for but have never had the courage to. Until now.
During your teen years…

Who hasn’t done something stupid? Thoughtless? Rude? Cruel? Mean?

Who hasn’t made mistakes? Done things they regret? 

Who hasn’t been afraid to ask forgiveness, but instead chose silence?

Who hasn’t wished they had said, “I’m sorry,” but now it’s too late? 

It’s not.

I HOPE YOU FORGIVE ME is the opportunity to share your burden. To admit what you’ve done. Anonymously. So that teens can learn from your experience. 

Let’s make a difference. Together.
All stories shared are anonymous – no telling details save for details you provide are shared publicly. The goal is the bring people together and help today’s teens realize they are not alone by reading the experiences of others.
For more information or to share your own story, visit

Love Warrior

Finished Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. 

This is such a weird book for me to love, but I do. I’m single and this is about a marriage, its near-implosion and eventual rescue (although the couple split up after, according to the internet). Still, there’s a lot of truth here, things that apply to everyone. 

I have Glennon’s first book and I plan to read that soon. I just met her (my best friend is a long-time fan but Glennon and I are new acquaintances) but I like her. 

Between her, Cheryl Strayed and Anne Lamott, I think I’m going to grow a lot. I hope. 

Highly recommended.