Tag: Young Adult

Review: 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston

Posted October 24, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: 10 Blind Dates by Ashley ElstonReviewer: Rowena
10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »

Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars

Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Cue devastation.

Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents' house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That's when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.

When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she's started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.

This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever... or is it?

What a fun book this turned out to be. I haven’t read too many books by Ashley Elston but I’m going to need to change that because if her other books are anything like this one, I’m all in. This book features Sophie who thought she’d be spending the holidays with her longtime boyfriend but ends up being dumped and spending the holidays with her big ol’ family instead. She shows up to her grandparent’s house and she’s heartbroken so in an effort to cheer her up, her family members set up her on blind dates, ten of them to be exact, and when she doesn’t completely hate the first date, she figures, why not?

Sophie really grows into herself over the course of this book and it was a lot of fun to be a part of her journey. As she learns more and more about herself, and as she grows closer to the family members that she drifted apart from, I grew to adore her more and more. She wasn’t perfect and there’s some shadiness going on that I thought was handled well by the author but overall, this book was a fun, holiday young adult romance. I’m super glad that I read it. It was a fast read, it was a fun read, and I closed the book with a giant smile on my face so needless to say, this was a successful reading choice and I am going to Goodreads right now to check out Elston’s backlist for more goodness to read. I really enjoyed the emphasis this book put on family relationships and I definitely recommend this one.

Final Grade

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

Posted July 29, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Call It What You Want by Brigid KemmererReviewer: Rowena
Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First

Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 376
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship...

This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?

I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about Brigid Kemmerer so I wanted to try her out and I’m glad that I did. It was a lot more angsty than I was prepared for or even in the mood for but I pushed through and am glad that I did because this book was good. Brigid Kemmerer’s writing style is compelling and I couldn’t stop reading it.

So this book follows Rob and Maegan. Both characters aren’t wildly popular at school because they’ve fallen from grace. Maegan fell from grace over a cheating incident from last year that had consequences for everyone while Rob’s fall from grace was more repercussions from the shitty things that his father did. People swear up and down that Rob knew all along so they’re holding him just as responsible as his father.

When Rob and Maegan are paired up to work on a project together, they’re not too happy with the situation but the project needs to get done so they work together. While they’re working together, they get to know each other and I thought Brigid Kemmerer handled bringing them together rather well. Sure they had a complication relationship and things weren’t always easy but Kemmerer tells their story really well. She does teenage angst really well. There was a lot of things tackled in this book and I thought Kemmerer handled all aspects of the story well. Even though there was a bit of a lag in the beginning, the pacing really picks up and the story, along with the characters really shine the more you read, if that makes any sense. I loved the message that carried throughout the story. One decision isn’t going to determine your entire future. Your future is made up of a bunch of decisions that you make so if you get off track, you have the power to get back on track.

This book was a lot deeper than I was anticipating and it was a lot more angsty than I was in the mood for but that didn’t stop me from reading every word. There were parts of the book that were a little slow, mostly in the beginning but I was glad that I stuck with the book because, in the end, I was a happy camper. I will definitely be reading more books from Brigid Kemmerer in the future.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

Final Grade

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

Posted July 9, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Rest of the Story by Sarah DessenReviewer: Rowena
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »

Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

Emma Saylor doesn’t remember a lot about her mother, who died when she was ten. But she does remember the stories her mom told her about the big lake that went on forever, with cold, clear water and mossy trees at the edges.

Now it’s just Emma and her dad, and life is good, if a little predictable…until Emma is unexpectedly sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family—her grandmother and cousins she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl.

When Emma arrives at North Lake, she realizes there are actually two very different communities there. Her mother grew up in working class North Lake, while her dad spent summers in the wealthier Lake North resort. The more time Emma spends there, the more it starts to feel like she is divided into two people as well. To her father, she is Emma. But to her new family, she is Saylor, the name her mother always called her.

Then there’s Roo, the boy who was her very best friend when she was little. Roo holds the key to her family’s history, and slowly, he helps her put the pieces together about her past. It’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of North Lake—and Saylor finds herself falling under Roo’s spell as well.

For Saylor, it’s like a whole new world is opening up to her. But when it’s time to go back home, which side of her will win out?

Sarah Dessen has always written such high-quality stories that I’m not at all surprised that I was engrossed in Saylor’s story from beginning to end. Emma Saylor lost her mother when she was ten years old and with the death of her mother, she lost contact with her mother’s side of the family. She doesn’t remember a lot about her mother’s family since her mother became estranged from them when she was little but she does remember stories her mother used to tell her about the North Lake and the life her mother had there before Saylor was born. When her father remarries and Saylor needs a place to crash while he goes on his honeymoon, she finds herself back in her mother’s world with a whole lot of questions. When we first meet Saylor, she’s Emma but everyone in her mother’s family calls her Saylor, just like her mother did when she was alive. This story is about how Emma became Saylor.

When Saylor gets to North Lake, she finds out that she had a giant family that she doesn’t remember and yet there are pictures floating around that prove that she was, very much, a part of this family. That she spent significant time with these people but she doesn’t remember very much. After years of being part of such a small family that consisted of her, her father and her grandmother and now her step-mother, being smack dab in the middle of so much family is overwhelming but I really loved seeing Emma grow into Saylor and just seeing her come into her own while getting to know the other side of her family.

I loved how she worked through learning about her mother. I loved seeing her develop relationships with people that were strangers to her when she first arrived at North Lake. I loved seeing her grow to care for every single person that she came into contact over the course of her stay there. I loved how by the end of the book, she had strong ties to her mother’s family and I really loved how they taught her how family is sometimes messy but family is family through thick and through thin.

Sarah Dessen never fails to write stories that hit me right in the gut. She writes these emotional journeys for her characters and I’m always right there with them. I enjoyed the love interest in this one a lot more than I did in the last book that I read by her and I’m already looking forward to her next release. Saylor and Roo were an adorable couple and I loved seeing them grow closer and closer each day that Saylor stayed in North Lake. There were times when I got really frustrated with Saylor’s Dad but even that is handled well and I definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting a sweet and emotional contemporary YA with charming characters and a main character that you’ll be cheering on from beginning to end. This book is good, you should read it.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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DNF Review: If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann

Posted June 17, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

DNF Review: If It Makes You Happy by Claire KannReviewer: Holly
If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »

Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
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dnf

High school finally behind her, Winnie is all set to attend college in the fall. But first she's spending her summer days working at her granny’s diner and begins spending her midnights with Dallas—the boy she loves to hate and hates that she likes. Winnie lives in Misty Haven, a small town where secrets are impossible to keep—like when Winnie allegedly snaps on Dr. Skinner, which results in everyone feeling compelled to give her weight loss advice for her own good. Because they care that’s she’s “too fat.”

Winnie dreams of someday inheriting the diner—but it'll go away if they can't make money, and fast. Winnie has a solution—win a televised cooking competition and make bank. But Granny doesn't want her to enter—so Winnie has to find a way around her formidable grandmother. Can she come out on top?

I discovered this book while browsing NetGalley. I don’t usually read YA, but the cover caught my eye (I absolutely adore it..that girl is super cute) and the blurb was interesting, so I decided to give it a try. It started out great. I like Kann’s writing style – simple, yet beautiful. The story flowed well and I was really feeling Winnie, her family and the town.

Sadly, things went downhill around page 40. I thought I was getting a fun story about a girl trying to save her granny’s diner, but that’s not what this is. Part of the problem stems from the stream-of-consciousness writing style. The chapters don’t really seem to go anywhere. Every thought Winnie has is on paper for us to read, so the chapters feel like rambley thoughts, rather than a story that’s headed somewhere. The blurb mentions a baking contest, but aside from a slight mention, there was little of that in the first quarter of the story. Winnie is supposedly happy with who she is, but suddenly the entire focus of the story shifted to her weight. The sudden shift in focus took me by surprise and turned me off the story.

This may have worked better for me if I’d gone into with different expectations. As it is, I wasn’t invested enough in the story or the characters to continue.

Rating: DNF

dnf


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Review: Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Posted June 6, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene GooReviewer: Rowena
Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo
Publisher: Farrar Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »

Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

10 00 p.m.: Lucky is the biggest K-pop star on the scene, and she's just performed her hit song "Heartbeat" in Hong Kong to thousands of adoring fans. She's about to debut on The Tonight Show in America, hopefully a breakout performance for her career. But right now? She's in her fancy hotel, trying to fall asleep but dying for a hamburger.

11 00 p.m.: Jack is sneaking into a fancy hotel, on assignment for his tabloid job that he keeps secret from his parents. On his way out of the hotel, he runs into a girl wearing slippers, a girl who is single-mindedly determined to find a hamburger. She looks kind of familiar. She's very cute. He's maybe curious.

12:00 a.m.: Nothing will ever be the same.

Last year, I read Maurene Goo’s The Way You Make Me Feel and I really enjoyed that one so when I came across this book while browsing Netgalley, I knew that I was going to request to review it. I was mostly interested in seeing what Goo does with that fall in love in one day scenario and even though I didn’t read The Sun is Also a Star, I did see the movie and the whole scenario didn’t work well for me there. After reading this one, I’m thinking of going back and reading The Sun is Also a Star because, in my opinion, that scenario works better in print than it did on screen.

I will say that though I enjoyed the story, it took me a little bit to get into the story because to start things off, Lucky, the k-pop superstar decides to sneak out of her hotel room to grab a burger after she took some pills to help her sleep and she gets lost. She runs into Jack, who is, of course, trying to break into the paparazzo scene. At first, Jack doesn’t know who Lucky is so he helps her out because she seems to be struggling but once he found out who she was, he doesn’t reveal what he is and the night really kicks off because Lucky is really determined to get a hamburger. I will say that I was not a fan of this, it rubbed me wrong but over the course of the story, Goo does a great job of turning things around for me.

One of the things that I really enjoyed in The Way You Make Me Feel was how Goo brings L.A. to life. She does the same thing here. I’ve never been to Hong Kong but I could see everything that Jack and Lucky saw and taste everything that they ate while they explored the city so clearly. Goo does this really well and though I didn’t enjoy this book nearly as much as I liked The Way You Make Me Feel, I thought Goo did a great job of showing us readers the realities of being a k-pop star.

Overall, this was a quick read. The beginning was a little slow and there were times when I wanted to smack Jack and Lucky around but all in all, this was a cute read.

Final Grade

3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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