I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios // PTSD, Love and Being a Teenager

  I’ll Meet You There, by Heather Demetrios                       Publication: February 3, 2015, by Henry    Holt and Co.                                     Genre: Young Adult Fiction,    Contemporary, Romance               Pages: 388                         Format: Hardcover           Source: Borrowed                                   Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

Michelle’s Thoughts:

I love dreamy books, books that make you feel like you’re the only reader in the world because it’s just fitting your style of reading. I’ll Meet You There was special, different, and had the right dosage of real-life issues and situations that many people, including teenagers like myself, face from day to day, night to night. It is a passionate tale that I cannot throw out of my head (and not like I would want to toss it out) and it is seriously recommended.

I’m glad that I am not the only person in the world who has not read this book. Heather Demetrios is an author who has always been on people’s favourites lists, and her writing supposedly always strikes people’s hearts. At the moment, I am sincerely grateful that I am one of those people whose hearts have been struck. This is such a witty, smart tale that I would never trade my experience for. If you enjoy unique but precious characters, writing that could make you bawl at any moment, and a lyrical, deep meaning, this is for you. But then again, who would not want that in a story?

“To wake up and know this is who I am, this is what I do, this is where I belong. To have tasks and accomplish them. To have some goddamn pride. And she needed backup, I could tell, and I wanted to, I don’t know, be her fuckin’ knight in shining armor, I guess, but I couldn’t get out of the truck fast enough.”

I’ll Meet You There focuses on an unexpected couple. Two teenagers, Skylar and Josh, are just trying to get out of their small home-town where not much goes on except for being stereotypical people. But when both of their worlds turn around, Skylar having to work for the whole summer and her dream of art school floating away, and Josh being injured in the Marines, they don’t have much hope left. The two “meet,” having known each other before but having their friendship grow could definitely start a gorgeous romance YA readers would not want to miss out on.

The hype that established itself around this book is real and meaningful. It absolutely makes sense that readers would go MAD for this book. Demetrios throws in a nice, realistic YA story that is different than the rest, still focusing on contemporary themes that many deal with at the same time. There’s romance, war struggles and finding a way to follow your dreams, as Skylar had. There could definitely be discouraging people out there who just do not understand what it is like to have big dreams and fall in love with life.

“Soon, the party was a distant murmur, the music and laughter already memories. I walked more slowly, feeling close to my dad as I looked up at the familiar bend in the creek and the trees that leaned over it. His spot. I wished he were there right then, to tell me why boys were such jerks. I wanted to ask him if it would always be this hard.”

Skylar could be your best friend. She is a character who seems like a real person—there are traces of her in every person and teenager. Ms. Demetrios spent a grand time making her be like readers and really show what it is like to be a teenager. Everyone has it hard and the teenage years could be the absolute bullshit years, and Skylar tried to make the best out of it which is truly magical. Josh too, I must say. They are a beautiful couple who WERE ADORABLE AND BEAUTIFUL AND MAGICAL AND ASDFGHIKL. They are the pure definition of love. And whoever says romance cannot occur in teenagerism is completely wrong, because it seems like the same story where two thirty year olds fell in love. It is absolutely believable.

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Heather Demetrios then threw in an end that whirled me around, threw me upside down… whatever you want to call “that feeling.” I was shocked, I could not believe it, and some inner tears exploded somewhere in my body. It sure is a wonderful book, I thought to myself later on. And now? I am trying to encourage you to pick this book up too someday, whether it be tonight, tomorrow, in a week, or in a few years. It is one of those spectacular, mystical stories that can hook you up at any moment and leave you aching for years later. Then again, it is not really that heartbreaking when I think about it. THIS BOOK WILL MEET YOU IN HAPPINESS AND GRATITUDE.


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Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler // New Adult With a Twist

22719283  Under the Lights (Daylight Falls #2), by   Dahlia Adler                                                                Publication: June 30, 2015, by Spencer Hill Contemporary                                                     Genre: New Adult, Contemporary,    Romance, LGBTQ                                                       Pages: 312                                                   Format: Paperback                                   Source: BEA/Publisher                           Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents’ wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show, Daylight Falls … opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he’s trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he’s in the spotlight—on everyone’s terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.

Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents’ disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she’s painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van’s life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she’ll have to choose between the one thing she’s always loved … and the person she never imagined she could.

Michelle’s thoughts:

Sometimes it seriously is great to read a book that is hassle-free and just full of drama. Under the Lights is just a great novel that just made me laugh, giggle and want to gossip about each of the characters for days with my friends who haven’t even heard of this series since they’re non-readers. Dahlia Adler is an amazing author whose books I haven’t read before, but when I read this, I just wanted to add all of these books onto my TBR list for the future and fall in love again and again. There’s an unexpected romance, a nice crew of characters, and a story that could go either way for some.

There’s so much drama here. I just imagine this taking place in Hollywood or Miami, any party central of the world where the characters will spend time partying and just having fun. There’s friend-zoning (FOR REAL) and an unexpected romance that will have you wondering… WHAT?! It’s crazy, but pretty great.

The novel starts off with our protagonist, Josh Chester, who is a star of the TV show which this trilogy is named off of, Daylight Falls. He’s a bad guy, and basically rebels against everything that happens in his life. He parties hard, and finds out that he begins to start liking his costar, Vanessa, who has her mind on other things. It’s pretty crazy and everything is falling apart in their lives. THIS IS A GREAT, GREAT, GREAT STORY.

The plot is racing. This is a story that could be placed in The Hills or One Tree Hill and seem perfect. Everything came together quickly, formed a plot and Under the Lights just wow-ed me. I became so excited and hoping to read more, more of the series that was seriously awesome. The characters seriously became developed and I liked them all seriously. Josh was annoying, but arrogant at the same time that made me stay on opposite sides of love and hate. This is LGBTQ, I must admit, and it was formed in a surprising way. Vanessa realized her feelings in a surprised matter that was different than the regular books where we are introduced to characters who already are understanding their feelings.

Dahlia knows how to handle love. This isn’t a book where the romance comes quickly and characters spend time trying to run away. Josh felt feelings, so did Vanessa, and there was a love triangle essentially. I fell in love with the plot and it captured all of the feelings that I ever had about chick-lit. This was seriously intriguing.

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Under the Lights is racing, bright and a great read, though nothing special and not my favourite book ever. There are developed characters, those who are easy-going and made the story better, and it’s the perfect beach read. Adler’s books have been on my radar for years, and I am very excited to have given her writing a chance because the public was somewhat correct. I loved the racing-ness of how quickly the story came together and made me smile. I seriously recommend it to all contemporary romance lovers, enjoy and adore it.

do you enjoy new adult romances? what about those books that feel like they’re all about drama? have you read anything by dahlia adler?

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Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols // Tens of Thousands of Times Better Than the First Novel

Perfect Couple (Superlatives #2), by Jennifer Echols                                  Publication: January 13, 2015, by Simon Pulse                                                                 Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance                                                          Pages: 336                                                         Format: Paperback                                       Source: Purchased                                         Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM½

As yearbook photographer, Harper is responsible for those candid moments that make high school memorable. But her own life is anything but picture perfect. Her parents’ bitter divorce left her wondering what a loving relationship looks like. And ever since the senior class voted her and star quarterback Brody “Perfect Couple That Never Was,” her friends have been pushing her to ask Brody out.

Brody doesn’t lack female admirers, but Harper can’t see herself with him. He’s confused about the match too. Yet they find themselves drawn together—first by curiosity about why the class paired them, then by an undeniable bond.

The trouble is, though they’re attracted to each other, they have a hard time getting along or even communicating well. If they’re the perfect couple, this shouldn’t be so difficult! Soon it becomes clear their class was wrong, and they throw in the towel. But they feel so changed from making the effort, they can’t forget each other. What if this match made in hell is the perfect couple after all?

Michelle’s Thoughts:

Jennifer Echols’ writing just keeps getting more and more amazing, as this Superlatives trilogy continues. I’m obsessed with this book, I really am, and I never ever expected something like this to come out of it. You know how the first book contained a nerdy guy and a kickass, rebellious girl? This is the same, but a gender swap where things and much more sexier and adorable. I promise you that yearbook photographer Harper and football quarterback Brody are going to be your new favourite sexy couple. 

This book all begins with Harper and Brody getting nominated for Perfect Couple, but they certainly think that it’s a mistake. Besides, they are complete opposites and share no common interests. In Harper’s spare time, she helps her mother out with her B&B and takes photographs, while Brody plays football and is highly popular and has a “hot girlfriend.” They are both confused with the reason why they’re put together, but as they begin to spend more and more time together when they decide that they have to take the yearbook photo together, they realize that they have a connection.

“Another day, my heart would have gone out to him. He was my geeky soul mate, the boy I belonged with. So what if he wasn’t a muscle-bound hunk ready to challenge Brody when he brazenly eyed me? As an independent woman, I didn’t need a protector. I wanted a sensitive guy with a great sense of humor and a fresh view of the world.” (86)

This is a lightweight novel where its contemporary style is precious and easy-going. Yes, it’s that kind of summery novel that you’ll finish in a matter of hours and beg for more. I’d seriously run to the bookstore right now if I could to get the sequel and last book, even though I already have the third on my Kindle. The writing is cute, fresh and much better than the first book. I seriously love the way this series is formatted, with all three books being placed with different characters and storylines, though all being tied in with the same concept in a way. I loved it.

I must say that this could turn out to be one of the best books of the year for me. Yes, it’s heartbreaking when Brody and Harper realize that they’re having issues, but it’s heart-wrenching when they’re in love and find romance. The connection that they have is beautiful and I just giggle and “aw” every time I see the cover.

“With a last salute to me, he jogged along the sidelines to rejoin his team and finish his adventure. I brought up my camera and snapped a picture.” (301)

You know how a lot of people these days are beginning to think that they’re all photographers if they have one of those high-tech cameras? Harper wasn’t one of those people. Her life of photography was the reason why everything clicked together. It was a big deal for her, and the descriptions of the things she did with her natural talent was wonderful. I loved her character ten times more than Tia’s in the last book, as well as Brody’s. *falls in love* Brody is my new book boyfriend and he’s so adorable.

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Perfect Couple definitely expressed the perfect couple of modern-day cutesy contemporary literature, Brody and Harper. This book features the way they fell in love, got to know each other and dealt with many things that practically teared their hearts apart because they realized that they needed each other so much. I adored the characters, writing and beautiful easy-going writing that makes so much sense in a high school environment, though we don’t see it coming around often. If you hadn’t enjoyed the first book for some reason, forget about it and read this, because it’ll knock your socks off.

What do you think of books with different plots in every book? or should i say… different characters? please read this, everyone. have you read jennifer echols’ books before?

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Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson // A Beach Read Incorporated With the Maximum Amount of Feels

Second Chance Summer, by Morgan Matson                                                    Publication: May 8, 2012, by Simon and Schuster BFYR                                               Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance                                                           Pages: 468                                                     Format: Paperback                                   Source: Gifted                                               Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

Michelle’s Thoughts:

I can’t take it anymore. I have to spill it out. I have to bawl, make fun of myself secretly since I’m SUCH A NERD, and fangirl. Fangirl until there isn’t anything else left of me. Morgan Matson, you have rocked my world for the fourth! time with this beautiful piece of art and literature that is too amazing to just call “a book.” Second Chance Summer is racing, mesmerizing and unlike anything I’ve read before. I hope you like to get hit with nonstop tears and sadness because she just did it. It’s marvellous.

Second Chance Summer is a wild ride that I am SO fortunate to have read about. Books like this don’t show up in people’s lives often, and I just can’t stop thinking about this “world” that the main character, Taylor, has us in. Her summer life in Lake Phoenix is like the dream I’ve always had—not the sad stuff, obviously, but the summer days by the lake, making friends that you’ll miss everyday when you’re not with them, and feeling like you’re in a different place for a little while. If I could pick any place in any book that I’ve ever read to visit, this world definitely would be one of them, just to be there for the characters and understand what it’s like to have a summer fling. Hah.

“What was the point of trying to run away if people were going to insist on reminding you of what you were running from?” (10)

Taylor Edwards, Morgan’s teenage protagonist, is a clear replica of many girls, including myself. When I read her story, I imagined myself in her situation and I promise you that I’m sure that I would do the exact same things as she did. We’re kind of connected, to be honest. *winks* Taylor was relatable, easy-going and just so awesome. She had feelings, not like as if she was some kind of clone who walked around and pretended to feel things. This is like a story of someone’s life, so realistic and inspiring. There’s loss, love and just about everything many people eventually feel in their lives when the right time comes. It’s a life lesson filled with themes that not every novel gets into, sadly.

I keep talking/typing about loss, sadness. Morgan wrote about that with so much passion. Taylor’s father has cancer, and her family is about to spend one last summer with him in the place that he loved the most, Lake Phoenix, where they have a summer house. I guess that you don’t realize how life can fly by until the moments where you need more of it the most, right? Taylor is instantly brought back into the times of hatred and memories that she wouldn’t like to get back into, but she’d do anything for her role model, her father. She has a former best friend there, Lucy, and her first crush, Henry, who lies behind.

I say that this is a beach read, but it isn’t at the same time. First off, you’ll look like a maniac crying on the beach in public where you should really be laughing around and giggling like the cute person you are. THIS HAS FEELS, FOR THE FIFTEENTH TIME. You have feels, everything has feels and your eyes will just water up and explode. You can’t help it. No other contemporary author other than Morgan will make you cry the same way, feel things the same way. It is pretty easy-going at times, but the cancer thing just made the mood way more intense.

“His arms were around my back, pulling me closer, and I looped my arms around his neck and ran my hands over his jawline, suddenly not able to stop touching him. And while we kissed, up there among the trees, the rain tapered off until, at long last, the sun came out.” (358)

Can’t you see how descriptive this novel is? The writing? The plot? Everything about it is perfection and 5/5 gazillion stars. No flaws, people. A second chance summer definitely beats the old first chance, first love kind of thing, because no in NO WAY was this any kind of instant romance between Taylor and Henry. In fact, it was magical and precious. I love romances where one of the characters will help the other in ways that are definitely not understood to the regular being. It’s a deep romance that is intense and crazy, but not in any ways that would make me frown. HENRY IS FICTIONAL BOYFRIEND #1. I say that in every review, but this time it means a lot. Agh.

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Second Chance Summer is the first and only chance I’ve given this book because it used it up and impressed me to the maximum. It’s one of those books that you’ll find yourself thinking about at the sweetest, easiest moments, like if you’re falling asleep at night or simply sitting in Math class on a Thursday morning. At first, when you look at it and read the summary, you may think that it’s a cliché, easy-going novel, but TRUST ME, it’s so much more than that and I’d need years to explain it. It also needs 1000 more pages because I can’t get enough of it. I’m sure about that.

who is your favourite contemporary author/writer? do they make your heart jump with feels as morgan does for me? do you enjoy stories about second chances and summer? (my favourite season of them all.)

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon // My New Favourite Gorgeous Pretty

Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon  Publication: September 1, 2015, by Delacorte Press                                                         Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance                                                                     Pages: 320                                                                 Format: ARC                                                               Source: BEA/Publisher                                           Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Michelle’s thoughts:

This might just be the cheesiest and well-known way to start a review about this book but… Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything was seriously everything. I can’t stop thinking about it after putting down and there are millions and trillions things that I simply adore about it. You know how every bookworm has many favourite novels, not only one? I kind of now believe that this one may take that special spot, fellow friends. And that the most amusing, happiest thing that has happened to me in a while.

Everything, Everything took a whip and journey around your unusual, unique contemporary-romance plot. It’s compelling, different and flawless. Nicola Yoon’s writing is some of the best I’ve seen, and I just keep wondering: Where did that gorgeous premise and plot arc come from? Some may compare it to John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, a totally recommended novel that’s one of my favourites, but this takes its own compelling route and is more unique. No one can simply weave another storyline like this one.

“I keep picturing myself floating high above the earth. From the edge of space I can see the whole world all at once. My eyes don’t have to stop at a wall or at a door. I can see the beginning and the end of time. I can see infinity from there. For the first time in a long time, I want more than I have.” (80)

Maddy, our African American-Japanese mixed protagonist has SCID. It’s a disease where she’s basically allergic to everything. (What a coincidence with the title, right?) She’s beginning to get depressed onto why she has to have it and the fact that she can’t live an ordinary life. When a new family moves in next door, Maddy is compelled to watch them and imagine what a great life they must have. But they have issues, too. The teenage boy in the family, Olly, begins to talk to Maddy through IMing and over notes seen from each other’s windows, and slowly fall in love though they both know it’s kind of impossible to be with each other. What happens when the extraordinary occurs and all your life has basically been a complete lie?

I’d get pissed and raging, that’s for sure. NICOLA HONESTLY KILLED ALL READERS IN THE END. Our book-loving, reviewer protagonist used books and her lovely unique self to promote her message to the one she loves. Without spoiling, that was one completely messed up truth. Not that it was horrible or anything. I’ll just state that I was left shocked with my jaw wide open, not being able to even remember my name after this trauma that hit me. I seriously wanted to punch Maddy’s mother as well as her nurse, because that was kind of messed up. Okay, never mind, it was messed up, but when looking at the amount of enjoyment, it’s a good thing that it happened, because I never thought that it would.

Alongside All the Bright Places, this is definitely the most hyped up contemporary of the year, and I can totally see why. I SUPPORT THE HYPE THROUGHOUT AND THOROUGHLY. Let’s get Team Everything, Everything t-shirts and be the best bookish fangirls on this planet for bookish sake. Contemporary-romances are practically my most favourite genre and finding an unique one with a tall tale is difficult to find. I’d really like to promote an award to Nicola, for everything, and to the person in Penguin Teen’s department who decided to hand copies of this beauty out at BEA. You rule, friend.

“I think of Olly, decontamination-cold and waiting for me. He’s the opposite of all these things. He’s not safe. He’s not familiar. He’s in constant motion. He’s the biggest risk I’ve ever taken.” (69)

I’m this book’s Daddy/Mommy.

five (There Are More) Reasons Why You’ll Adore Everything About This Beauty:
  1. HAWAII. I had to note that extraordinary trip of a lifetime, right? I’ve always wanted to go, and Maddy has routes from there. She’s been there when she was a kid, back when “everything seemed to be okay.” She wanted to rebel, have an amazing life and be with the person she loves the most, as well as see the state fish. *giggles* That’s freaking adorable and I wish I could go on that trip.
  2. OLLY, DUH. Olly’s the cutest guy that you’ll read about for ages. HE TOOK RISKS, HE DIDN’T GIVE A SHIZ ABOUT WHAT DISEASE HIS GIRLFRIEND HAD. He acted like it hadn’t existed because Maddy wanted him to think about it in that way. It’s amazing.
  3. DIVERSITY. Woo for diversity! Maddy’s background is African American and Japanese, which is the strangest yet coolest mix I’ve ever read about. Yoon really did add everything in this book to make it perfect and stick out to all readers, readers of contemporary or not. Plus, many readers hadn’t enjoyed contemporary until this book popped out to them.
  4. SUPPORTIVE CHARACTERS WHO ARE THERE FOR MADDY. Maddy’s nurse, Carla, was always there for her when her mother wasn’t. It was like she was her only friend and that simply added thousands of tears to my eyes. She understood teenagers unlike any other parent or bookish character.
  5. THE WRITING. Nicola Yoon is my new favourite author. Her words are compelling, intriguing and I read this all in a sitting. Agh, I can’t stop thinking about that beautiful feeling, that’s for sure. The feels kept flying over me and I couldn’t stop myself from giggling or being afraid for Maddy, as she was a character who reminded me of myself in a way. Relatable main characters are always keepers. I’m this book’s keeper. 😉

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This is something special. You’re probably rolling your eyes right now, but I’d seriously like to say it once more because Nicola Yoon has changed my life with this gorgeous thing. It’s not just a thing, either. It’s a symbol of literature that wins all of the positive medals. I don’t know how Nicola has created this story, but I’d love to creep into her mind for a little bit and hear some of those other perfect stories, because this sure is. Every teenager needs everything that this book gives to readers. September 1, you’ll one day be marked as a special day in history where literature’s best novel was first released.

*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*

Wow. talk about life changing, huh? What’s one of those books that completely made it life changing for you? If you only could go one place in the world, where would you go? how would you keep yourself busy if you were stuck in maddy’s situation? thanks for listening to me fangirl and bawl.

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Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill // The Parent Trap Without the Sister Dilemma

Being Sloane Jacobs, by Lauren MorrillUntitled-1      Publication: January 7, 2014, by Delacorte Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance                                                             Pages: 352                                         Format: Hardcover                     Source: Gifted                                             Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.

Michelle’s Thoughts:

I feel pretty bad for my books. I treat them as real people, if you can believe it—not to sound weird or anything. I’m friendly, no stalker. But if I leave a book itching for me to read it for ages, I feel bad that I’m not picking it up instead of all of the other new books that are being released and those that I’m requesting and borrowing from the library. Being Sloane Jacobs by the awesome Lauren Morrill was one of those books that I’ve been waiting to read forever. It was pretty fabulous, if you ask me.

Have you ever watched the classic film The Parent Trap? This book is so similar to it. Minus the actual secret twin/sisterhood thing as well as parents getting back together, Morrill basically adds all of the quirkiness and entertainment that you ever have wanted in a contemporary-romance novel, with two different perspectives that’ll leave you giggling for ages, even after the whole story is over.

“Either you love it or you don’t. Either you can do it or you can’t. And, kid? I been watching you for years, and I know you can do it. The question you gotta figure out is, do you love it?” (4)

This features two distinct girls with the same name: Sloane Jacobs. One is a figure skater while the other plays hockey. When summer vacation comes, they decide that they’d like to go to camps where they’re able to do the talents and hobbies that they enjoy the most. When they meet in a hotel in Montreal and discover that they look pretty similar and both are able to skate, they decide to switch places. They fall in love with different people, learn new things and decide how they’ll actually be themselves when the time comes.

I adored the concept which Morrill handed to us. There’s no doubt about that. I can’t get the story and its events out of my head, including the cute picture-perfect romance and all of the things that made each character and perspective themselves. The writing is brilliant, though quick, fast-paced and interesting, leaving me unable to stop reading. As I’ve read the author’s other books in the past, I kind of already knew what to expect, but it all turned out to be more satisfying than what I already predicted beforehand.

“I, Sloane Emily Jacobs, am sitting in my pajamas on the handlebars of a boy’s bike, being whisked around a foreign city at midnight. I can’t even imagine what my mom would say. The thought makes me grin.” (139)

When I think about it, I don’t really have a favourite “Sloane Jacobs.” The girls were two different, distinct personalities who loved different things, behaved differently and had a different view on life and what you should do to be happy. Love isn’t all you need kind of felt like the motto by the end as well. Fame and fortune? Those don’t matter either, actually. All that mattered to me was the writing, plot, characters and pacing, as well as the meaning discovered in the end. At least, those things satisfied me. *giggles*

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All in all, Being Sloane Jacobs turned out to be one of those books that you’ll finish and enjoy in one sitting. It’s fast-paced, and unique, compared to the large selection of contemporaries that are found in YA lit today. Did you enjoy The Parent Trap films? Do you enjoy books about the theme of friendship and first love? What about starting over again once something bad occurred to you in life? This has that all.

do you prefer a fast or slow pace when contemporaries are written? have you read anything by lauren morrill before? Do you like similar cover schemes from one particular author and all of their books?

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P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han // An Actual Bittersweet Symphony

P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2), by Jenny Han          Publication: May 26, 2015, by Simon and Schuster BFYR                                             Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance                                                       Pages: 337                                                 Format: Hardcover                                 Source: Purchased                                 Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM½

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.


Sam’s thoughts:

Jenny Han is one of my all-time, ultimate favourite contemporary writers. Her stories are captivating, unique and I end up falling in love with every single male love interest who Lara Jean lays her eyes on. It’s that perfect love story that’ll leave you thinking about first love and romance, and you’ll never want to stop reading. Sadly, this was only a duology and Lara Jean’s story just ended here, but her and Peter’s love story lives on.

P.S. I Still Love You was fascinating and gorgeously written, just as all of the other stories that I own for my collection. Lara Jean and Peter turned out to be the cutest, bittersweet couple in all of YA fiction for 2015, and I just feel like tearing up and letting all of my feels explode. Not every author has that capability to make every, single reader fall in love with their work, but Jenny has that ability. I need everything she’s ever written, all sent to me in a pretty, posh letter like Lara Jean’s, and I’ll spend the rest of eternity reading it all. I needed to read it all at once, in one gorgeous sitting.

“The minutes longer, stronger, more vibrant. All I know is that very minute without him feels interminably long, like I’m waiting, just waiting for him to come back to me. I, Lara Jean, know he isn’t, but my heart doesn’t seem to understand it’s over.” (256)

This continues right from where the last book left off at. It’s New Year’s Day and the Covey family are going all out, getting fancy, though Lara Jean can’t stop thinking about Peter and about everything that has happened between them in the past. Sooner than later, we find them back together for real now, and Lara Jean is the happiest girl alive. When a mystery guy from her past appears in her life once more, she finds herself falling in love with two amazing guys, where she has to make the biggest choice of all: Who will she pick?

It’s a freaking hard decision for her to make. And the best thing is that Lara Jean is one intelligent young woman who completely knows how to talk back, how to win at stupid conversations and make people who hurt her feel bad and guilt. Two guys from her childhood are foolishly in love with her, and she is secretly in love with both of them. You know we all hate instant romance? This is none of that, because they were childhood friends since they were able to walk and… it’s magical. I can’t stop thinking about the attraction between her and John or Peter and… I don’t know what I would’ve done if I were in her shoes.

The minor issue which I had was Peter. I GOT SO UPSET AT HIM AND GENEVIEVE AND I WANTED TO PUT MY HAND THROUGH THE PAGES AND PUNCH HIM. Ugh. I’ll just ignore that and stop raging because at least the ending was perfect with him alongside it. 

“Things feel like they’ll be forever, but they aren’t Love can go away, or people can, without even meaning to. Nothing is guaranteed.” (29)

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The ending to this fabulous duology is special and 100% satisfying. I just can’t get the meaningful story out of my head and especially all of the characters. As always, Jenny Han’s writing is enchanting, mesmerizing and like an illusion—I’m stuck in her fictional worlds for ages after I flip through the last pages. I’m in love with this book, as well as Peter and John Ambrose. *blushes*

can every contemporary author produce the feels in their writing for you? are you a fan of jenny han’s writing? do you enjoy love triangles?

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Boys Like You by Juliana Stone // A Heartwarming Story With Many Themes Incorporated

                                                                                    Boys Like You, by Juliana Stone       Publication: April 7, 2015, by Sourcebooks Fire                                                                     Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance                                                         Pages: 304                                                       Format: Paperback                                   Source: Borrowed                                     Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

If I hadn’t fallen asleep.
If I hadn’t gotten behind the wheel.
If I hadn’t made a mistake.

For Monroe Blackwell, one small mistake has torn her family apart–leaving her empty and broken. There’s a hole in her heart that nothing can fill. That no one can fill. And a summer in Louisiana with her grandma isn’t going to change that…

Nathan Everets knows heartache firsthand when a car accident leaves his best friend in a coma. And it’s all his fault. He should be the one lying in the hospital. The one who will never play guitar again. He doesn’t deserve forgiveness, and a court-appointed job at the Blackwell B&B isn’t going to change that…

There’s No Going Back

Captivating and hopeful, this achingly poignant novel brings together two lost souls struggling with grief and guilt–looking for acceptance, so they can find forgiveness.

Michelle’s Thoughts:

This is a love story that Nicholas Sparks would be proud of to write or even read about. It’s something that stands up to the rest of the contemporary romances that are found all over the place. It’s unique and hopeful, dealing with subjects that come so close to heart to many people out there. It’s a love story that’s completely believable and beautiful. I can imagine something like this happening and real life and it wouldn’t sound like some kind of stupid story that is impossible.

Juliana Stone’s Boys Like You hit me and I couldn’t stop tearing up in my heart. It was happy and sad, all at the same time, where the two beautiful characters needed each other more than everything else happening to them. It’s such an inspirational novel that means so much to me and there isn’t one wrong thing about it.

“I’ve learned in my sixteen and a half years that there are things that will surprise you because you don’t see them coming. They can be hard, painful things, and it’s those ones that will live with you forever, bound to your soul in layers that grow thicker each year. Hopefully those layers will eventually dull the pain.” (186)

This is one of those perfect summer love stories between two people who are kind of attracted at first sight. But I wouldn’t classify it as instalove, either. It’s between Monroe, a girl from New York City who’s trying to get away from the rest of the world after her extreme mistake that she feels is all her fault and Nathan, who’s trying to get over the fact that his best friend is in the hospital, in a coma, all because of him. It’s a beautiful story that just kind of forms out of nowhere, but it’s truly memorable.

The plot was completely entertaining and intriguing from the start. I felt mesmerized with all of it from start to finish, leaving me truly believing that it’s the most enchanting story about first love from the time I began it to the last page, and even after. It’ll leave you with a hole in your heart—because there’s no more to the story than the pages that you’ve already flipped. It’s exhilarating and interesting.

We always look for chemistry in a fictional relationship, right? Some characters don’t have that; Nate and Monroe did. Their relationship turned out to be healing, though completely sexy as one with two wild individuals would be. As Monroe’s grandmother says, they caught each other and are meant to be. It’s not something you’ll read about in a movie or have issues with because of corniness. It’s charismatic, as every portion of the novel is.

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Boys Like You initially gave out the vibe of a girly, chick-lit, ordinary contemporary novel that I only read because I own another novel by the same author. It’s more than chick-lit, it’s beauty, and I’m so excited to continue to read Stone’s work in the future as it’s unlike anything else I’ve read in the past. Every girl or book lover would find something special in this novel, and it’s now your turn to explore Monroe and Nate’s electrifying story.

what is your opinion of contemporary novels? what if you disliked them, but someone told you this one is completely different than the ordinary? would you still go for it?

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Etherworld by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam // Please Take Me to the Future

Etherworld (Elusion #2), by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam                               Publication: March 31, 2015, by Katherine Tegen Books                                                 Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Romance                               Pages: 352                                                   Format: Hardcover                                     Source: BEA/Publisher                           Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

In this sequel to Elusion, three teens fight a virtual reality program that threatens to destroy their minds. Dangerous secrets and lies add up to a thrilling futuristic fantasy with an Inception-inspired twist.

Elusion was hailed as an exciting leap in technology—until users began to disappear amid rumors of addiction. Regan’s search for the truth led her and her new love interest, Josh, to Etherworld. Etherworld is a dimension hidden deep beyond Elusion’s firewall, where players can hide, and ultimately fight back. Regan’s father and others are here working to destroy Etherworld, but the longer they stay the less likely they’ll be able to return to the real world alive.

Escape means attacking Elusion from within the program. It’s dangerous and it’s a puzzle. And even if they manage it, how will they be able to stop Orexis from distributing Elusion to the masses when the people who run it are corrupt?

Sam’s thoughts:

I often find myself wishing that I could be part of some kind of new project that’d totally change the world and its history. Make a new discovery or whatsoever. A girl can only dream, right? Reading Etherworld, the sequel to the magnificent Elusion that captivated me so much when I first read it made me feel that I was part of this new ‘project’ and ‘discovery.’ Gabel and Klam’s inner vision of what the human race may turn into, by looking at personality and intelligence, of the future seems to be perfectly on-point, especially as the knowledge of everything and the universe expands and strengthens. I seriously loved this.

After reading dystopian hundreds and hundreds of times in the past, you know that you could possibly get sick and tired of the same subject over and over again. Although this was a sequel to a duology that readers loved from the first page to the last, and although it features the same characters and problem/issue, it’s not something to get tired of. Yes, Gabel and Klam feature aspects of dystopia that sounds so cool and realistic both at the same time, and yes you’re going to want to read about it. This is like a virtual reality, reading about a completely alien planet and universe that may seem perfect at first. But everything has flaws. 

“When I returned, things between us felt uncomfortable and weird, as if we weren’t sure if what had happened was the result of how we really felt or a product of artificially stimulated euphoria.” (257)

Klam and Gabel are masters of diction, of literature. Their descriptions of the setting that Regan is introduced to is utterly fabulous. It’s not like you’re just reading a book, it’s more like you’re living it. You know how George R.R. Martin wrote about readers living thousands of lives? These authors’ work truly exemplifies that saying. They can multitask and make everything that a reader looks for right.

This starts off straight from where the magic of the first book left us off at, I’m telling ya. Regan and Josh, her new beau (a hot one, too) are in Etherworld, where Regan discovers that what people have been telling her about Elusion and her family are all complete lies. There are other people there, too, and alongside the help of the new couple, everyone’s trying to destroy the weird atmospheric world and get back to their normal lives where people who they love are left behind, struggling to get by life without them. When Regan heads back to reality, people, including the people she love, suspect that she is crazy and going through nano-psychosis. I’m not trying to sound like an actual summary, but… Will she be able to destroy the world and be back with her family once again?

Everything was practically the most action-filled that it could get. And seriously, the authors surprised me with the fact that Josh and Regan did have the ability to head back and forth between two worlds, trying to figure out hints and answers to all of the issues around them. Everything expanded and turned out better. The first book had expanded on the issue of Elusion not being safe, and this one has truly unfolded into the works of Elusion and what the actual founder has to go through. Get ready for scientific explanations and kick-assness coming from Regan.

Regan supported her family. After all of the lies that her father has told her to keep her safe and happy without any troubles, she’s still fine and has a great relationship with him. Thank the book lords that we don’t have a bratty teenage girl who only cares about her boyfriend and them kissing and hating her father, because I’m sure that we wouldn’t have had a great turn out. Her character and perspective is certainly entertaining and more protagonists should definitely be like her. Please, authors-to-come, learn from this advice.

YOUR SHIP DREAMS WILL COME TRUE. Regan and Josh are the ultimate one true pair, I promise. Perhaps you’ll even adore watching them go through battles and discovering the truth, as well as make the right or wrong decisions. It’s kind of awesome to be in love when everything around you is falling apart, actually.

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Claudia and Cheryl have totally blown me away with this epic finale. I just had to write my thoughts down after I completed and flipped the last page over because this story means so much to me and my perspective of dystopian fiction. Etherworld captured me, threw my emotions around and left me aching for more of their indulging, descriptive writing. But hey, I guess you’ll realize that by simply taking a peek at the gorgeous, stellar covers of this series. You know you want all of it.

*A finished copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!*

What do you think of virtual realities and how technology is expanding? what is a ya dystopian novel which you believe the subject it focuses on may turn into our planet someday? do you enjoy books with evil villains turned good? lemme know it all in the comments below!

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Sway by Kat Spears // Love From a Teenage Boy’s Perspective Is Magical

Sway, by Kat Spears                            Publication: September 16, 2014, by St. Martin’s Griffin                                                     Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance                                                                   Pages: 320                                                           Format: Hardcover                                         Source: Gifted                                                   Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

In Kat Spears’s hilarious and often poignant debut, high school senior Jesse Alderman, or “Sway,” as he’s known, could sell hell to a bishop. He also specializes in getting things people want—term papers, a date with the prom queen, fake IDs. He has few close friends and he never EVERlets emotions get in the way. For Jesse, life is simply a series of business transactions.

But when Ken Foster, captain of the football team, leading candidate for homecoming king, and all-around jerk, hires Jesse to help him win the heart of the angelic Bridget Smalley, Jesse finds himself feeling all sorts of things. While following Bridget and learning the intimate details of her life, he falls helplessly in love for the very first time. He also finds himself in an accidental friendship with Bridget’s belligerent and self-pitying younger brother who has cerebral palsy. Suddenly, Jesse is visiting old folks at a nursing home in order to run into Bridget, and offering his time to help the less fortunate, all the while developing a bond with this young man who idolizes him. Could the tin man really have a heart after all?

A Cyrano de Bergerac story with a modern twist, Sway is told from Jesse’s point of view with unapologetic truth and biting humor, his observations about the world around him untempered by empathy or compassion—until Bridget’s presence in his life forces him to confront his quiet devastation over a life-changing event a year earlier and maybe, just maybe, feel something again.

Sam’s Thoughts:

Do you ever feel like swaying to a beautiful song that you have just heard on the radio? What about gushing and giggling when an author just writes a brilliant sentence that is so quote sticky-note worthy? If you answered “yes” to at least one of those two questions, that means that 50% of you is a lover of contemporary romance novels. It is just meant to be. And through this review, I promise you that you’ll feel captivated to purchase/borrow/beg for a copy of Kat Spears’s Sway. I almost typed “swag” there, LOLZ.

This is a novel that I admit I wasn’t too sure about. How could you be when it’s about instant romance, in a way? Or money making slash romance? Those can simply go either way, but at least I had enjoyed Owen Matthews’s How to Win at High School, which was kind of similar to this, in a way. I promise you that there are hundreds of phrases/things/quirks that this book has which will leave you gushing, even if you’re not an original fan of these kinds of books or work.

Having to remind myself since it’s been quite a while since I touched the gorgeous dust jacket of Spears’s tale, this is all about first love, which came in an unexpected way to two, completely different teenagers. Written in a male’s perspective, Jesse is the guy you’ll surely fall in love with. He could practically sell anything, or do tons of favours for people, for a price, obviously. When this hot-shot jock named Ken asks him to talk to angelic Bridget for him, Jesse is first hesitant but knows that he’ll get paid well if he succeeds. When he meets her, they click instantly and their friendship begins, and strengthens to limits that aren’t really allowed as Jesse’s doing this as a job. 

Accidents make everything better. It’s like that cheesy saying about karma, “Good things come to those who wait.” Bridget and Jesse’s relationship really was an accident full of lies and stupid mistakes, but it all turned out to be 5 starred and spectacular. It was an accident that they ever clicked, when their personalities never should have clicked as they’re opposites. If Jesse had never begun a friendship with Bridget’s little brother, things wouldn’t have gone to where they ended. It’s a realistic, beautiful story that I just couldn’t keep my eyes off of. And I can tell you that many, many real-life relationships had never been meant to be, but something randomly clicked, and all fell into love’s hands.

Kat’s writing is lyrical, right-to-the-point and like a fresh breeze. Most contemporaries revolve around A) a jealous ex (B) somebody hiding from their past and looking for a way to shine/feel better and/or (C) a huge secret. This book revolved around the last option, but it’s not like we were reminded by it. Jesse and Bridget’s attraction was real, new and enchanting, nothing like it was fake or just written for pleasure. They made the pacing, concept and plot become what it turned out to be, not the other way around. I’d seriously read anything else Spears comes up with in the future, because I just can’t get it all out of my head.

Smart, brainy, beautiful girl, plus a badass, hot guy? That equals absolute flirtation. We all saw some huge fit coming or else the story wouldn’t have been real, but I’m glad to see that the plot and everything practically glued, sewed together to form a true masterpiece in the end. If you typically read science-fiction, go for this book. If you typically read high fantasy, go for this book. I just can’t pronounce it enough. YOU NEED THIS BEAUTIFUL BOOK IN YOUR LIFE, OKAY?

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This is something that I would’ve been a hundred times proud of if I discovered that John Green or Rainbow Rowell had written, some of the best contemporary writers in modern lit. But it takes its own whirl at things, to teenagers’ hearts. Sway will leave you swaying, swaying to the incomprehensible song it promotes, the song that readers are only able to receive once they’ve read it and understood its real message. Plus, who doesn’t like to read about cute elderly people who played on with it all? *winks*

What do you think of romances that are not so typical? what about those that deal with lies and emotional destruction through the end portion of the plot? are you willing to give this a chance? (because i hope you are.) this is wonderful, pure brilliance.

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