The Summer I Found You
By Jolene Perry
Publication date: March 1, 2014
Albert Whitman Teen, 254 pages
All they have in common is that they’re less than perfect. And all they’re looking for is the perfect distraction.
Kate’s dream boyfriend has just broken up with her and she’s still reeling from her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Aidan planned on being a lifer in the army and went to Afghanistan straight out of high school. Now he’s a disabled young veteran struggling to embrace his new life. When Kate and Aidan find each other neither one wants to get attached. But could they be right for each other after all?
— Goodreads.com description
I liked this one. Two messed up teens happen to find each other, fall in love, drama ensues…it’s all right up my alley.
Adam’s backstory was extremely compelling — his struggles to overcome his injury, fit into his new life as a civilian and move on without a ton of family support were very moving. And Kate’s was great as well. I’ve never read a book about a teen diagnosed with a lifelong, but not terminal, medical issue, and I think a lot of teens will relate to her internal battles.
I’ve read mixed reviews on The Summer I Found You, but for me it succeeded because I was in just the right mood for a story like this and Perry was a new-to-me author so I didn’t have preconceived expectations. So I’d definitely tell you to give it a go — not an all-time fave, but I enjoyed the different points of view and the romance as a whole.
My big complaint, though…what is with the title?!?!?!?!?!
I don’t think any of it took place over the summer? I feel like Kate was in school the whole time. So I was extremely confused. Maybe I missed something?
Better Off Friends
By Elizabeth Eulberg
Publication date: Feb. 25, 2014
Point, 288 pages
For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.
Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?
From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again — and one kiss away from true love?
— Goodreads.com description
Okay, Levi and Macallan are pretty adorable.
They’re best friends — the type that speaks in their own language and pretty much annoys the crap out of every else around them. But, because they are a guy and a girl, everyone wants to know: When are you two gonna get together?
And it’s cute watching these two grow up from junior high and into high school, to see their friendship evolve and their feelings for one another grow. You can’t help but root for these two kids to just make out already!
It’s short and sweet and the writing reflects that. I found myself wishing for some more depth in Levi’s point-of-view sections and a little more complexity and more of an emotional twinge in the writing…but that being said, I really wanted to pick up the book again whenever I put it down. So it pulled me in regardless.
I’d recommend this one for the younger YA crowd and anyone looking for a simple, sweet story.
Bonus factor: WISCONSIN. Loved the bubbler, fish fry, Culver’s and fried cheese curd references, as a Born in Wisconsin Girl myself! Mmmm cheese curds…
Infinite (Newsoul #3)
By Jodi Meadows
Publication date: Jan. 28, 2014
Katherine Tegen Books, 418 pages
Source: Bought for myself
The Year of Souls begins with an earthquake—an alarming rumble from deep within the earth—and it’s only the first of greater dangers to come. The Range caldera is preparing to erupt. Ana knows that as Soul Night approaches, everything near Heart will be at risk.
Ana’s exile is frightening, but it may also be fortuitous, especially if she can convince her friends to flee Heart and Range with her. They’ll go north, seeking answers and allies to stop Janan’s ascension. And with any luck, the newsouls will be safe from harm’s reach.
The oldsouls might have forgotten the choice they made to give themselves limitless lifetimes, but Ana knows the true cost of reincarnation. What she doesn’t know is whether she’ll have the chance to finish this one sweet life with Sam, especially if she returns to Heart to stop Janan once and for all.
With gorgeous romance and thrilling action, the final book in the Incarnate trilogy offers a brilliant conclusion to the compelling questions of this fascinating world, where one new girl is the key to the lives of millions.
— Goodreads.com description
Don’t worry if you haven’t read Infinite yet — this review isn’t going to spoilery. I mostly want to talk about the Newsoul series as a whole and how YOU ALL HAVE TO READ IT. (To catch up, read my reviews of the first two books, Asunder and Incarnate).
Looking at the series as a whole, I’m really impressed with how understated, beautiful and compelling Jodi Meadows’ story was.
I wish there was a camera on me as I turned the last page of Infinite and a slow, single tear ran down my cheek! Because that is the PERFECT illustration of how this story affected me.
It’s emotional, as you can see from the slow tear. It’s steamy (truly, I am still thinking about the masked ball scene from the first book). It’s action-packed. And it’s incredibly thoughtful — the themes of afterlife, nature and love are very present, but never IN YOUR FACE.
I thought Infinite was a perfect ending for a lovely series. If you haven’t started it yet, get thee to a bookstore or library. If you’re midway through, keep going with the next book! It’s definitely going to be a favorite of mine for years to come.
LOTS of reading. Ahh, the beauty of having a Monday off work!
Plus, plenty of shenanigans: A bar crawl and a clothes swap party with my girl friends and book club. But I forgot to take pictures at them all. They’d probably be inappropriate anyway. Heehee.
A new historical thriller masterpiece from New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Elizabeth Wein.
Emilia and Teo’s lives changed in a fiery, terrifying instant when a bird strike brought down the plane their stunt pilot mothers were flying. Teo’s mother died immediately, but Em’s survived, determined to raise Teo according to his late mother’s wishes-in a place where he won’t be discriminated against because of the color of his skin. But in 1930s America, a white woman raising a black adoptive son alongside a white daughter is too often seen as a threat.
Seeking a home where her children won’t be held back by ethnicity or gender, Rhoda brings Em and Teo to Ethiopia, and all three fall in love with the beautiful, peaceful country. But that peace is shattered by the threat of war with Italy, and teenage Em and Teo are drawn into the conflict. Will their devotion to their country, its culture and people, and each other be their downfall or their salvation?
In the tradition of her award-winning and bestselling Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein brings us another thrilling and deeply affecting novel that explores the bonds of friendship, the resilience of young pilots, and the strength of the human spirit.
Oooh, right?! It’s set to come out this September.
I bought my book club’s latest pick, The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison, for my Kindle.
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
(OMG LITTLE BROWN I LOVE YOUUUUUUU)
The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe (Smooches to Ginger)
The Harem Midwife by Roberta Rich (Thank you, Gallery Books)
Snapper by Brian Kimberling (Thank you to Vintage Books)
Subway Love by Nora Raleigh Baskin (Thank you to Candlewick!)
What We Hide by Marthe Jocelyn (Thanks, Random House)
Only Everything by Kieran Scott (Many thanks to Kieran and Simon & Schuster!)
Um, I read like 100 books this week. Okay, so not really…but I read a LOT.
Okay, I’ve been cleaning my shelves out for my big move bit by bit over the past few weeks, and I hate to overdo it on the giveaways…but there’s only so much a girl can lug around with her. So this week it’s time for a MEGA GIVEAWAY.
Here’s how this is going to work. I’m going to show you a blurry picture of my big stack-o-books (25!):
You’re going to enter below to win. One lucky winner will get an unblurred version and will send me a list of all they want. Any if any are left over, I’ll offer ‘em up to the next winner, and so on. U.S. entrants only, pretty please.
Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3)
By Tahereh Mafi
Publication date: Feb. 4, 2014
HarperCollins, 416 pages
Source: Bought on my Kindle
Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she’ll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew – about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam – was wrong.
— Goodreads.com description
I think Tahereh Mafi is a brilliant writer — her writing style is incredibly fresh and gorgeous.
And, beyond that, I think she’s a lovely person. I was lucky enough to go to lunch with her once when Shatter Me first came out, and she was a delight.
So it’s from a place of love that I say this: HOLY COW, TAHEREH, YOUR CHARACTERS INFURIATE ME.
As Juliette falls deeper and deeper for Warner, she becomes less of the Juliette we first met. And I think that’s good in theory — she was a hot mess when we first met her. But what we got here was such a total character 180 it gave me whiplash.
As a reader, I couldn’t keep up as everything that enraged me in the first few books (about Warner, about society, about so many things) was just — poof — written off. I mean, kudos to Juliette for moving on faster than I could, but it was hard for me to process. Her quick forgiveness and acceptance of Warner appalled me.
And while I think we were supposed to be pissed off by Adam…I was really rooting for him. Every single word out of his mouth was exactly what was running through my mind as I read. It was harsh, yeah, but it felt like Juliette was breaking up both him and me! Or, maybe, I was just starting to realize that who I thought she was as a main character in the first two books was phony baloney. So I was cheering him on, like, “Yeah, bro, you tell her what’s up!”
Then the ending felt rushed and I just…blah. I’m not even sure I’m Team Kenji anymore. Team No One.
Okay, clearly I’m feeling a little bitter. Truly, I feel like I’ve been dumped by this book!!!
What’s hilarious is that anyone who was even SLIGHTLY into Warner in book two is going to have a totally different reaction. And that this can’t even be a negative review because Tahereh clearly knew at least a quarter of her readers would feel this way, so it’s like: That thing you wrote knowing it would drive me nuts? You did it. And I hated it, but you succeeded at making me feel that way, so good job.
Either way, I’m very much looking forward to whatever Tahereh has in store for us next. Have you guys read it yet? Thoughts? Do I even want to know, or are you going to be all Team Satan and upset me? HAHAH. Kidding. Sort of.
PS: Is this the longest review I’ve ever written? Was this rant even readable?