Mon, August 4, 2014

The Bridge from Me to You by Lisa Schroeder Review

The Bridge from Me to You book cover

The Bridge from Me to You book cover

The Bridge from Me to You
By Lisa Schroeder
Publication date: July 29, 2014
Point, 336 pages
Source: Publisher

Lauren has a secret. Colby has a problem. But when they find each other, everything falls into place.

Lauren is the new girl in town with a dark secret. Colby is the football hero with a dream of something more. In alternating chapters, they come together, fall apart, and build something stronger than either of them thought possible–something to truly believe in.

— description

What I love most about Lisa Schroeder’s books is how wonderfully READABLE they are. Her verse is beautifully written but not overwrought and I just seem to breeze through them.

The Bridge from Me to You was a wonderful book that kept me just enough in the dark about Lauren’s past to be intrigued but not annoyed. I loved Colby’s friendship with Benny and loved Lauren’s extended family — her aunt and uncle and cousins were all so sweet.

The romance was adorable — though Lauren and Colby have an instant attraction, they get to know each other as friends before they take it to the romantic level. It built and it grew until I was really rooting for them.

The character growth is definitely my favorite part of The Bridge from Me to You. Lauren and Colby learn to believe in themselves and follow their hearts in this story, and you can’t help but love that in a good YA. Definitely, definitely, recommended.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: family, friendship, lisa schroeder, romance, Uncategorized, verse

Thu, June 26, 2014

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel Review

Second Star book cover

Second Star book cover

Second Star
By Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Publication date: May 13, 2014
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 248 pages
Source: Publisher

A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete’s nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she’s falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up–and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

— description

The feelings I got when I read Second Star certainly matched its oceanside, surfer setting. As a reader, I felt like I was caught in a wave, forced underwater, not knowing which way was up.

What is true? What is real? What is happening here?!

Yup, we’ve got a potentially unreliable narrator in Wendy, which made the vibe of the book very disturbing, mysterious and, well, trippy.

I guess I’d compare it to the feeling I got when I read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, though I didn’t exactly like that story. Maybe it’s something to do with my love of surfer books (aka Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar) but it worked better for me here.

My problem with the book was more related to the Peter Pan references. I mean, clearly it’s a take on the classic: Her name is Wendy Darling, for goodness’ sake. But it was a little too vague of a reference for me; I almost wish the author had left it out altogether and just said Peter Pan “inspired” her rather than using the names so literally. I found it distracting!

A mixed bag for me, I guess. Has anyone else read this one?

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: alyssa b sheinmel, drugs, family, Uncategorized

Wed, May 21, 2014

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes Review

The Art of Lainey book cover

The Art of Lainey book cover

The Art of Lainey
By Paula Stokes
Publication date: May 20, 2014
HarperTeen, 384 pages
Source: Publisher

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they’re sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few “dates”, it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What’s a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you’re meant to be with if you’re still figuring out the person you’re meant to be?

— description

I weirdly NEVER get tired of people in books fake dating each other for revenge on other people. And then when, of course, they fall for each other in the process…I LOVE IT. Paula Stokes, you have my attention locked in with that alone.

Sure, I saw how it would all work out. But I enjoyed the journey thoroughly.

Lainey’s a tough cookie. She’s got a BFF I loved (and one I hated, but you know, can’t win ‘em all). She’s sporty — which I love in books and we don’t see often enough. And she has an extremely interesting, different love interest in Micah, which I so appreciated.

I think it would be hard to NOT enjoy The Art of Lainey.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: Bonus factor! Blew my mind when I got to the acknowledgements and realized Paula Stokes = Fiona Paul. Whoa.

Posted by: Anna   •   In: friendship, paula stokes, romance, Uncategorized

Mon, April 14, 2014

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith Review

The Geography of You and Me book cover

The Geography of You and Me book cover

The Geography of You and Me
By Jennifer E. Smith
Publication date: April 15, 2014
Little, Brown for Young Readers, 352 pages
Source: Publisher

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and — finally — a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel shows that the center of the world isn’t necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

— description

Here’s what I really enjoy about Jennifer E. Smith: Each of her books has a very different vibe, yet they all have a beautiful sense of thoughtfulness and expanded worldview about them.

This time around, with The Geography of You and Me, I loved how understated and real the story felt, even considering the unlikely “caught in an elevator” scenario. Lucy and Owen’s circumstances might be out of the norm, but their experiences felt very true-to-teenage-life.

I loved the travel aspects — I adore a book that can take me on a mental vacation or so perfectly capture what it is I love about a place I’ve been. And while that was beautifully done here, what really drew me in to The Geography of You and Me was the romance and the family troubles.

Lucy and Owen were faced with tough decisions, distance and wandering hearts. For anyone who has ever gone off to college, moved away, gone through a rough patch with their families or even fallen in love as a teen, these feelings will seem familiar.

Overall, though, like I said: This book is understated. It isn’t loud and it isn’t very fast-paced. I worry some people will expect this book to be “OMG swoony” and will be put off by this, but I think that’s what I loved about it most. That helped the book’s main message come through, and that message (or what I took it to be) was quite beautiful.

In the words of The Apache Relay’s “Home Is Not Places” (which I really think should be this book’s theme song): “Home is not places, it is love.”

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: Uncategorized

Thu, April 10, 2014

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Open Road Summerbook cover

Open Road Summer book cover

Open Road Summer
By Emery Lord
Publication date: April 15, 2014
Walker, 342 pages
Source: Publisher

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

“A fabulously entertaining story of friendship, healing, and love. Filled with laughter, heart, and a side of sass, this rock star debut will have you cheering for an encore!”—Elizabeth Eulberg, author of Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality

— description


I mean, really, there’s no better way to sum up this book. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord has summer, romance, best friends who don’t suck, celebrities, music and road trips. Um, WHAT ELSE WOULD I WANT FROM A BOOK?

After finishing it, I (1) tweeted the author to say how much I adored it and thank her and (2) immediately texted my friends to recommend it. You all are going to love it.

Lilah (who goes by Dee in the books and is super Taylor Swifty but in a better way) and Reagan are the BFFs I’ve been dying to read more about. Sure, they fight. They disagree. But they have each’s others backs and backstabbing never even crosses their minds. We need to see more of that in YA.

Plus, the romance. Oh, my word. It’s that “I hate you, but I sort of like you” thing that grows into “Ack! I like you? I didn’t see that coming! Must resist!” to melt-your-heart amazing.

And the character growth is really beautifully done.

Yep, this one’s going to be one of THE books for summer 2014. Mark my words!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: Uncategorized