ARC Review: They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

33385229They Both Die At The End
Author: Adam Silvera
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Despite the ominous connotations of the title, They Both Die at the End is ultimately a story about life and having had lived. Silvera’s writing is striking and cuts right into a reader’s heart as we navigate through the last day that Mateo and Rufus have to live. Despite the short time, they find both fun and friendship and love with the other as each of them grow. Silvera brings two vastly different boys together and offers a close insight on their doubts and vulnerabilities, as well as strengths and love, in this beautiful contemporary that will leave you with an aching but full heart. Continue reading “ARC Review: They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera”

Book Review: You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

25701463You’re Welcome, Universe
Author: Whitney Gardner
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Knopf
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural.

Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast as the only deaf student. The last thing she has left is her art, and not even Banksy himself could convince her to give that up.

Out in the ’burbs, Julia paints anywhere she can, eager to claim some turf of her own. But Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town. Someone is adding to her tags, making them better, showing off—and showing Julia up in the process. She expected her art might get painted over by cops. But she never imagined getting dragged into a full-blown graffiti war.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I’ve had a copy of You’re Welcome, Universe for the longest time but haven’t had the chance to pick it up until now. I’m so glad I did, because this book left me with all the feels. You’re Welcome, Universe follows the first person POV of Julia, a protagonist who is as flawed as she is artistic. I adored her growth throughout the story and how her role as an angry teen evolved towards someone who understands and appreciates the love surrounding her (or, less of an angry teen). As an artist myself, I really identified with Julia’s need to release her art and emotions into the world. However, I’d also like to add that Julia does participate in illegal activity in the book (street graffiti in public places) and shouldn’t be condoned. Other than that, You’re Welcome, Universe was a beautiful exploration of art, friendships, growth, and the love that we experience in our lives. Continue reading “Book Review: You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner”

ARC Review: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

24974996Dear Martin
Author: Nic Stone
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and set for the Ivy League next year—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He is eventually released without charges (or an apology), but the incident has Justyce spooked. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.

Struggling to cope with it all, Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But do Dr. King’s teachings hold up in the modern world? Justyce isn’t so sure.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny get caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. The truth of what happened that night—some would kill to know. Justyce is dying to forget.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

“Dear Martin (AKA Dr. King),
First and foremost, please know I mean you no disrespect with the whole ‘Martin’ thing. I studied you and your teachings for a project in tenth grade, so it feels most natural to interact with you as a homie. Hope you don’t mind that.”

How can I not love this book? Dear Martin is a wonderful piece of work that explores important racial discussions that take place today through its nuanced, quick dialogue and exemplary introspection of the main character, Justyce. Even though this book was short at only 224 pages, it’s absolutely unforgettable and raises relevant discussion points. I really recommend this contemporary to all readers – they will not regret picking up this small but fierce and mighty book. Continue reading “ARC Review: Dear Martin by Nic Stone”

Book Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

30312700Alex, Approximately
Author: Jenn Bennett
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

This fun, summery contemporary read was so delightful to read! Bennett’s contemporaries have been a success, and I do adore her refreshing writing, coupled with delightful characters who undergo tremendous growth and gorgeous settings. Alex, Approximately follows a film-loving girl on her huge move from the city to a small surfing town in California, where she creates memorable friendships and explores family relationships. With a fresh, relaxing vibe to carry out Bailey’s summer, the setting of the book was absolutely magnetic and un-put-downable – a perfect summer read! Continue reading “Book Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett”

Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

32075671The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Five stars for this book doesn’t do it justice. It deserves ALL THE STARS. I’ve experienced so many emotions while reading this book, and will break this review down to some of the important ones. Phenomenal, uplifting, and honest, The Hate U Give follows the journey of Starr, a black teenager who finds her voice after a tragedy that makes it to national news. Continue reading “Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas”

ARC Review: I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

31145133I Believe In A Thing Called Love
Author: Maurene Goo
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She’s for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Thank you MacMillan for the review copy!

I started this book with the goofiest smile on my face, and ended it with that same goofy smile intact. I Believe In A Thing Called Love follows Desi Lee, a Korean-American on her way to medical school and Stanford who gets captured by the grasps of first love. Known for her flailures in flirting, however, Desi composes a plan derived from the beloved K dramas her and her father watch to snag the crush, an artist struggling to reconnect with his father. Gripping, off-the-charts hilarity, and ultimately triumphant, readers will fall in love with Desi as she navigates her way through love and life. Continue reading “ARC Review: I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo”

Book Review: Summer of Sloane by Erin L Schneider

22537367Summer of Sloane
Author: Erin L Schneider
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.

These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.

Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.

But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to find as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Thank you Netgalley and Disney-Hyperion for the review copy!

I picked this up looking for a summer of self-discovery, and while I found that I really enjoyed the main character Sloane, that same feeling couldn’t be directed at the other characters. And while I did find great development on her end, the overall drama made it extremely exasperating (and laughable, in a way) to read about. However, the soothing, tropical atmosphere with the intense focus on friendship keeps it a light, summery read that’ll delight contemporary readers.

Continue reading “Book Review: Summer of Sloane by Erin L Schneider”

Book Review: The Season of You & Me by Robin Constantine

26115812The Season of You & Me
Author: Robin Constantine
Release Date: May 10, 2016
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

From Robin Constantine, author of The Promise of Amazing andThe Secrets of Attraction, comes a funny and heartfelt summer romance set in New Jersey. Perfect for fans of Sarah Mlynowski, Jenny Han, and Morgan Matson.

Cassidy Emmerich is reeling from a sudden, humiliating breakup. The last thing she wants to do is stick around and be reminded of her ex everywhere she goes. On impulse, she decides to spend the summer with her father and his family at their Jersey Shore bed-and-breakfast. A different scene and a new job working as a camp counselor seem like the perfect recipe for forgetting Gavin as quickly as possible—not to mention for avoiding him until he leaves for college.

Bryan Lakewood is sick of nevers. You’ll never walk. You’ll never surf. You’ll never slow dance with a girl and have her put her head on your shoulder. Last year he made one false move—now he’s paralyzed and needs to use a wheelchair. But this summer, he’s back at his camp job and is determined to reclaim his independence—and his confidence.

Cass is expecting two months of healing her broken heart.

Bryan is expecting a summer of tough adjustments.

Neither is expecting to fall in love.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

This book was very light, very fluffy, very sweet and overall very forgettable. It wasn’t just that the cast was no different than any other YA contemporary out there, or the conflicts in the book never really got resolved, or that the cast of characters were as white as snow, but this book itself epitomizes my apathy with this genre in general. The plot cruises by at a leisurely pace as Cassidy goes to Crest Haven for the summer to run away from the boy who cheated on her. Or so she implies.

“There was no reason not to be excited that Crest Haven, a place where people came from all over to enjoy the beach, the food, and the quaint atmosphere, would be my home for the summer.”

Continue reading “Book Review: The Season of You & Me by Robin Constantine”

Book Review: First & Then by Emma Mills

23310751First & Then
Author: Emma Mills
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Quirky, dynamic characters are brought to life in a setting that spans the first semester of high school in First and Then. The book starts with our main character, Devon, trying to figure out what she wants to do for college after she graduates. Devon was a super cute character that I couldn’t help but connect with – throughout the book, she stresses on how everybody is good at something, except for herself. (Although, in particularly witty remarks.)

“‘Are there any particular majors you’re interested in?’
‘Not really.’ Saying advanced breakfast with a minor in cable television would surely bring about some epic battle that Mrs. Wentworth’s smile was doomed to lose.”

However, through the discoveries of senior year, Devon (and us readers) learn lessons that truly stick with us for the rest of life. This story isn’t a retelling of Pride & Prejudice for nothing!

Continue reading “Book Review: First & Then by Emma Mills”

Waiting on Wednesday #16: Falling in Love with Contemporary

waitingonwednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event created by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week I’m featuring two debut authors with some pretty coincidential books:

  1. Their first books come out on the same day: January 26, 2016!
  2. Their first names are both Emily.
  3. They both wrote contemporary books (although one has a lil’ scifi in it) that I absolutely CANNOT wait to devour!

Without further ado, let me introduce you to these two books and GORGEOUS covers!


 

22449806The Year We Fell Apart
Author: Emily Martin
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
ADD TO GOODREADS

Synopsis:
Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.

Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.

While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from.

As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.

In this honest and affecting tale of friendship and first love, Emily Martin brings to vivid life the trials and struggles of high school and the ability to learn from past mistakes over the course of one steamy North Carolina summer.

wow2blog

From the moment I saw the cover, I fell in love. That color scheme coupled with the different pictures is just so soothing. I’m a sucker for stories of first love, and I can’t wait to read about Harper discovering herself in this book, as well as salvaging her relationship with Declan. I guess what drew me in was the whole “making mistakes” part. I love characters that are human, and I can really empathize with them when they do make dumb mistakes and learn from them. Crossing my fingers that the characters can pick up the pieces of their relationships after the year they fell apart!


 

25467698The Love That Split the World
Author: Emily Henry
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
ADD TO GOODREADS

Synopsis:
Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

wow2blog

Every time I see the cover of this book, I want to weep with joy.
Okay but in all honesty, the premise just sounds so delicious. Towns fading away? Illusions following the main character Natalie? That sounds right up my alley. I always enjoy reading contemporary books with a touch of a little extra something (be it magic, time traveling, ghosts, and more) to add some spice to the story. That’s probably because I wish something like that would happen in my own life, but so far nothing close has happened. :’) Thus, I shall continue to experience it vicariously through characters in books such as The Love That Split the World.
Also I’m obsessed with time traveling.


Not gonna lie, 2016 is THE year for amazing debuts coming out. I just want to flash forward six months so my grabby hands can have these books in them. 😀
Alas, the closest I get to time traveling is reading about it.

What are you waiting on this week? Any 2016 debuts that you cannot stop hearing about? I want all the deets! 

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