Genre: Young Adult

Throwback Thursday Review: Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols

Posted June 4, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Endless Summer by Jennifer EcholsReviewer: Rowena
Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: April 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 626
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars

Two irresistible boys. One unforgettable summer.

Lori can’t wait for her summer at the lake. She loves wakeboarding and hanging with her friends—including the two hotties next door. With the Vader brothers, she's always been just one of the guys. Now that she’s turning sixteen, she wants to be seen as one of the girls, especially in the eyes of Sean, the older brother. But that’s not going to happen—not if the younger brother, Adam, can help it.

Lori plans to make Sean jealous by spending time with Adam. Adam has plans of his own for Lori. As the air heats up, so does this love triangle. Will Lori’s romantic summer melt into one hot mess?

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on June 4, 2010.

The Boys Next Door: This book follows Lori as she grows balls to finally go after the boy that she’s always wanted, Sean Vader. She grew up with Sean but he’s two years older than she is and doesn’t see her the way that she wants him to but she’s determined to change that. He sees her as her older brother’s little sister and she goes through this transformation in order to get Sean to notice her and when that doesn’t work, she concocts a plan to make him notice her. She also enlists the help of Sean’s younger brother and one of her best friend’s, Adam.

So the plan is to use Adam to make Sean jealous. You could just imagine the kind of drama that caused. I mean, Lori’s in love with Sean. Adam’s in love with Lori. Sean is just well, Sean. He’s a pain in the ass and I could not for the life of me understand why Lori liked Sean. From the very beginning, it was all about Adam for me. It was Adam that I wanted Lori to end up with. Never once did I want Lori to get with Sean and after something pretty big happens at the very first Vader boys summer party, I could not understand why Lori didn’t stop her whole plan to snare Sean because after that happened, I didn’t even like Sean.

He commits a cardinal sin and it took me a very long time to forgive him for it. Over the course of this story, Lori proceeds to drive me absolutely insane. She made one boneheaded mistake after another and I just could not for the life of me figure out how she thought any of her stupid plans would work.

By the time Endless Summer begins, Lori has finally ended up with the guy she’s supposed to end up with and on the night that they make it official, they get grounded. Their parents are livid with them and they’re not allowed to see each other anymore. It’s kind of hard because they live next door to each other and they work together but their parents mean what they say and date, Lori could not.

In the first story, we get to learn a whole lot about the kind of girl Lori is. She’s strong minded, she’s fearless and she does what she needs to do to get what she wants. In some ways, it was good. She didn’t back down from going after Sean when that’s what she thought she wanted and then with Adam, she went after trying to solve their problems by being this no-it-all pain in the ass that got on my hot damn nerves.

In Endless Summer, we get to know Adam more. Adam saved this whole book for me because I adored him. I felt and saw the changes and the growing that Adam went through in this story and it felt sincere and it felt real. In the beginning, Adam is immature and he lets his ADHD rule his life. In the Endless Summer, Adam does some growing up because if he wants that future with Lori, he needs to man up and be the kind of boy that Lori’s father would be okay with dating his daughter.

All throughout the book, we see everyone cracking jokes or picking on Adam for his ADHD. Sean teased him mercilessly about it and never once were any of Sean’s jokes funny. Adam had a lot to overcome between his brothers always picking on him, his parents never believing a word that came out of his mouth and Adam just kind of taking it. More than once, I was livid with Adam’s parents for being won over by Sean. He’s nursing this crush that he’s had on Lori for years and when he finally gets her, he can’t be with her because he’s once again messed things up.

Watching the growth in Adam Vader is what made this book for me. It’s the one thing that at the end of the book, had me closing the book with a smile on my face because I knew that Adam was going to be okay. I was happy for Adam.

I can’t say the same for Lori because at the end of the book, I was still pissed off at her for all of her stupid ideas. It really pissed me off that everyone, including Lori didn’t have enough faith in Adam to do the right thing. I didn’t doubt that Lori loved Adam but for me, she didn’t deserve him. Yeah, he was immature and he was hot headed but he was also so intensely sweet and so passionately in love with Lori and I adored it. I felt like Adam was short changed but because I knew that he was happy because he ultimately got what he wanted in the end, I was happy for him.

This book reminded me of when I read Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer. I was fiercely addicted to that series and when Eclipse finally came out, I couldn’t read it fast enough and while I was reading it, I kept wanting to throw the book at the wall because both Bella and Jacob were getting on my nerves. Edward too but in this book, it was Lori and Sean that got on my nerves. Too bad in Eclipse, there wasn’t anyone in Eclipse that could save that story for me. In this story, Adam saved the book for me.

This book brought out all of the emotions in me. It made me smile, it made me laugh, it made me mad, annoyed and livid at times but it did entertain me as well. It’s also made me very anxious for more Jennifer Echols because I ate this book up, this book is weighs more than my nephew Luke but I inhaled this book in a day.

Kudos, Jennifer Echols for writing a complex character that I will remember for always…Adam Vader.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally

Posted May 5, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Four Days of You and Me by Miranda KenneallyReviewer: Rowena
Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: May 5, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars

A new swoon-worthy romance following a couple's love story on the same date over four years.

Every May 7, the students at Coffee County High School take a class trip. And every year, Lulu’s relationship with Alex Rouvelis gets a little more complicated. Freshman year, they went from sworn enemies to more than friends after a close encounter in an escape room. It’s been hard for Lulu to quit Alex ever since.

Through breakups, make ups, and dating other people, each year’s class trip brings the pair back together and forces them to confront their undeniable connection. From the science museum to an amusement park, from New York City to London, Lulu learns one thing is for sure: love is the biggest trip of all.

It’s been a while since I’ve read anything by Miranda Kenneally. When her Hundred Oaks series ended, I was sad because I really liked that YA series. I loved how different each story was and how she covered all aspects of high school life. She covered athletes, band geeks, musicians, young Christians. If you’ve seen these kinds of characters in the hallways of your high school, she covered them all and I enjoyed every single book.

The blurb describes the story so well so I’m not even going to try to top that. This especially covers what the heart of the story is:

A new swoon-worthy romance following a couple’s love story on the same date over four years.

This story takes place over four days, every year for four years. It tells the story of Lulu and Alex. They started out hating each other, then they didn’t hate each other, then the loved each other but then they couldn’t be together and then they realize that their feelings for each other are serious and not going anywhere so they should probably deal with them.

I was pretty stoked when I saw this book out for review. I’m a big fan of Kenneally’s writing style and I’m stoked to report that she shines again in Four Days of You and Me. This story features a new cast of high school characters that I enjoyed getting to know. Both Lulu and Alex were charming characters that I couldn’t get enough of. Seeing them really come into their own as individuals but also coming into their feelings for each other and then figuring out that their connection was a strong one. It was one worth figuring out. Their love for each other was pretty evident to us readers and I just really liked seeing where they started at the beginning of the book (freshman year) to where they ended at the end of the book (senior year). Lots of stuff happened, things that brought them together and pulled them apart but in the end, all of those things made both of them stronger people and their love for each other strong and fierce.

There were times when I wanted to strangle the both of them but understood that they had to do things, feel things, and reject things to really come into their own so I wasn’t too mad about all of the bad choices made. Miranda Kenneally still shines as one of my favorite contemporary YA authors and I hope she continues to write these wonderfully romantic stories about young love. First love is always so passionate and she covers this so well. I will probably always read her stories, even when I’m old af. She’s a rock star and this was another solid story from her.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Posted April 9, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. ArmentroutReviewer: Rowena
The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 480
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars

Growing up, Mallory Dodge learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime. Now, after years of homeschooling, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at a public high school. But she never imagined she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet soon it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory must make a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants and the truths that need to be heard.

I haven’t been reading a lot of YA lately and I randomly picked this book up one day as I was browsing my kindle selection and read the entire thing in a day. I have enjoyed all of the YA books that I’ve read by Armentrout and this one was no different.

Mallory Dodge grew up in the foster system and one of her housing assignments was with a horrible drunk that scared the pants right off of her each and every day. Her saving grace while living there was her friend, Rider Stark. They became best friends and Rider did his best to protect Mallory from all the bad things that happened but one night, Rider fails to protect Mallory and she suffered from third-degree burns and was ripped away from Rider. They spent four years apart. In that time, Rider moved to another foster home that was heaps better than the one he shared with Mallory and Mallory was adopted by the doctors who helped heal her burns after the fire that ripped Rider and Mallory apart. Mallory was never the same after leaving that home and Rider never forgot about her. When they reunite, Mallory is attending high school again and she’s attending Rider’s school.

At first, Rider and Mallory were thrilled to see each other again. I thought their reunion was sweet and I really enjoyed seeing them get to know each other again. They weren’t the same people that they were the last time that they saw each other and seeing them try to find their way again was surprisingly emotional. I wasn’t expecting all of the emotions that I felt while reading this one. Mallory had overcome a lot in her life and seeing her try to be stronger and more assertive in her wants and needs was great to see. I really liked that we got to see her really grow into her own. She wasn’t perfect but she was as honest as she could be and her relationship with her adoptive parents was great. I liked seeing them try to make room in their lives for Rider even though they didn’t trust him. I loved seeing their trust in Mallory and I really loved seeing Mallory’s spine strengthen as the story unfolded. She came a long way from the Mouse that Rider knew.

Rider was another compelling character that I grew to love over the course of the book. He didn’t have an easy life and he struggled with trying to find his place in the world without a solid family foundation. When Mallory came back into his life, seeing the shock and then the guilt but overall joy from him made me so happy with the way that things turn out for him in the end. Like Mallory, he came a long way from the young boy that Mallory knew and I love that no amount of space or time could diminish what they meant to each other. Sure, they meant different things to each other now since they were both still really young kids back then but their relationship was solid and it was strong and I just really liked seeing the two of them grow together in love.

This was a great read. Jennifer L. Armentrout did a great job of pulling my emotional strings throughout this entire book and before I knew what was what, I had read this entire book in one sitting. So yeah, I liked this one. It’s good and I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: The Upside of Falling by Alex Light

Posted February 24, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Upside of Falling by Alex LightReviewer: Rowena
The Upside of Falling by Alex Light
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 New to Me Challenge
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three-stars

It’s been years since seventeen-year-old Becca Hart believed in true love. But when her former best friend teases her for not having a boyfriend, Becca impulsively pretends she’s been secretly seeing someone.

Brett Wells has it all. Being captain of the football team and one of the most popular guys in school, he should have no problem finding someone to date, but he’s always been more focused on his future than who to bring to prom. When he overhears Becca’s lie, Brett decides to step in and be her mystery guy. It’s the perfect solution: he gets people off his back for not dating and she can keep up the ruse.

Acting like the perfect couple isn’t easy though, especially when you barely know the other person. But with Becca still picking up the pieces from when her world was blown apart years ago and Brett just barely holding his together now, they begin to realize they have more in common than they ever could have imagined. When the line between real and pretend begins to blur, they are forced to answer the question: is this fake romance the realest thing in either of their lives?

I’m a sucker for a fake dating romance and this book promised one of those and it definitely delivered. I’m happy to report that this book was easy to read and easy to follow along with. It was exactly the kind of book that I was expecting so I was glad that I wasn’t misled. The cover and the blurb matched the story and I was glad for it. It’s getting pretty normal for me to pick a book based on the vibe of the cover, only to find that the story and the cover don’t match. I will say that there was much about this book that I thought was pretty cheesy but when all was said and done, I didn’t mind it. I didn’t love this book but it was still a solid story with characters that made the reading adventure fun. This was a quick read and I enjoyed it so I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more Alex Light books to read in the future.

This book follows Becca Hart and Brett Wells as they fall into a fake relationship to serve both of their purposes. Brett needs a fake girlfriend to get people off his back about never dating. He’s pretty serious about working hard for his goals. When he overhears Becca talking about a mysterious boyfriend, he steps in to be that boyfriend. He steps in to help her but mostly as a way to solve his own problems. Their lie becomes a little hard to sell since they don’t really know each other so they don’t have much of a foundation to base their fake relationship but as they begin to get to know each other, they begin to realize that they’re not that different and they like each other.

I liked both Brett and Becca. They were great kids with good heads on their shoulders and seeing the two of them get closer and closer was fun. They were both solid characters with hearts of gold and charm and I was rooting for them throughout the entire book. There were times when I thought that this book was much too easy to read, like there wasn’t enough conflict to really carry the story but when all was said and done, I enjoyed the book and I enjoyed seeing how everything came together in the end so I recommend if you’re a fan of contemporary young adult romances with heart, this one fits that bill.

Final Grade

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli, Aisha Saeed

Posted February 20, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli, Aisha SaeedReviewer: Rowena
Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli, Aisha Saeed
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 448
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

New York Times bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed have crafted a resonant, funny, and memorable story about the power of love and resistance.

YES

Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

NO

Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.

MAYBE SO

Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely.

I’ve never read anything by either of these authors but I have been looking forward to doing so. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book so I was looking forward to digging into my review copy. That’s saying something too because I’m not a political person and I don’t normally gravitate toward stories that deal with politics but I’m glad that I read this one. I thought the beginning was a little slow but there was a charm to the way that this story was told that I liked and am glad that I stuck with because both Albertalli and Saeed did a great job of telling Maya and Jamie’s story.

So the story follows Jamie and Maya as they canvas their neighborhood for the local state senator candidate. They’re both going through things in their lives and I really connected with the both of them even though I’m hella older than they are. Maya’s dealing with her parents separating and her best friend not being around to talk things out with and Jamie is shy and he’d rather stay behind the scenes than speak in front of anyone. Seeing the two of these guys really come into their own over the course of this book and finding in each other, the friend that they both need in their lives was great. Seeing them talk about mature things was another plus for me. I thought the authors handled their backgrounds in a good way. Maya is a Muslim and Jamie is Jewish and I thought their conversations about their lives was real and it was authentic and I dug it.

It took me a little bit to warm up to both Maya and to Jamie but once I got a feel for who they were and what they were bringing to the story, I began to really enjoy the two of them and what was going on. I’m glad that I read this one and will definitely be reading more by these two authors. Their writing style is easy to follow along with and I will definitely be looking out for more of their books. If you’re looking for something cute with a side of politics, check this one out. I think it’s gonna be a hit.

Final Grade

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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