Monday, June 30, 2014

On the Fence (ARC Review)

Monday, June 30, 2014 2:01 PM with 11 comments

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On the Fence

Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Harper Teen
Number of Pages: 320
Release Date: July 1, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads:

She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Fun, original, and endearing, On the Fence is a romantic comedy about finding yourself and finding love where you least expect.


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MY THOUGHTS:

Kasie West has made quite the YA splash over the past year or so. First she brought us the fun Sliding Doors meets X-Men novel Pivot Point (and its sequel), then last summer she brought us the cute YA romance The Distance Between Us. These books have made Kasie West an auto-read for a lot of bloggers (myself included), so I was ecstatic when this popped up on EW. On the Fence is a cute, if fairly unassuming, YA romance, and the perfect book for the sunny 4th of July weekend while laying on the beach or by the pool.

On the Fence follows Charlie Reynolds, a tomboy who easily holds her own against her four older and bigger brothers. Her mother passed away when she was little, and while her father--a police officer--does the best that he can, Charlie really doesn't have any female role models in her life. Something that she is, frankly, used to, and mostly fine with. After she gets pulled over, once again, for speeding, her father decides that she needs to take responsibility for her actions and get a job to pay off the fine. She finds employment at a small boutique which brings about one of the two changes in her life during this particular summer. For the first time in her life, she has to dress in something other than hoodies and sneakers. She also becomes close to both her employer and a couple of the girls who come in to the shop. While these things don't change her into a girly-girl, it does make her see the value in female friendships and girly things like make-up.

The other major change is that she finds herself night after night at the fence that splits her property from that of Braden's her next-door neighbor. These nightly talks help Charlie forget about the nightmares of her mother's death that plague her. They are also making Charlie see Braden, a boy she has known forever and who she has always treated as a fifth brother, in a whole new light. 

I really enjoyed On the Fence. I loved her family and the way they were portrayed. I loved Braden. Mostly, I loved Charlie and her tomboy ways. This book is very simple. It stays grounded by the death of her mother and the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death, but it is still incredibly light and cute (without being too saccharine). It could have easily been deeper and more substantial, but it doesn't need to be. I kind of wish the four brothers would have been differentiated more. I didn't feel like I really knew any of them, they are really more a unit: The brothers, but that is a small complaint--and honestly not really even a complaint. Sometimes you just need a simple read, and this one fits the bills. 

Overall, I found On the Fence to be perfectly pleasant. It's not a book that is going to stay with me for any length of time, but I had fun reading it. Kasie West's writing is easy and sweet without being too fluffy. I usually love super cute love stories, but lately I've been finding myself getting drawn to books with more...heft, I guess. So I was so happy to find myself really enjoying this one. 

Definitely Recommend.

*I received an advanced reader's copy of this novel from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review.*

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tease (ARC Review)

Thursday, June 26, 2014 12:00 AM with 15 comments

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Tease

Author: Amanda Maciel
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Number of Pages: 328
Release Date: April 29, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From debut author Amanda Maciel comes a provocative and unforgettable novel, inspired by real-life incidents, about a teenage girl who faces criminal charges for bullying after a classmate commits suicide.

Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault. At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media. In the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her own role in an undeniable tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.

With its powerful narrative, unconventional point of view, and strong anti-bullying theme, this coming-of-age story offers smart, insightful, and nuanced views on high school society, toxic friendships, and family relationships.



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MY THOUGHTS:

Even though I have a review copy of this, I let the release date come and go without picking it up. While I had seen a couple of fairly positive star-ratings for this one, it just sounded so...cringe-worthy. After I sincerely enjoyed the similar story The Truth About Alice, though, I decided to give this a try after all, and I am so glad that I did. Tease is important and thought-provoking and just so real. 

Tease deals with a tough subject matter from a unique perspective. After a fragile young teen named Emma commits suicide a community turns on the two popular girls (and a couple of guys--although not nearly as much) who bullied the girl throughout the past year. The story is told from the POV of one of the accused, Sara. The story is told in non-linear way flashing back and forth between the present--the summer that finds Sara talking to a therapist and a lawyer while possibly getting ready to go to trial--and the past year that follows the Sara's and her best friend, Brielle's, torture of the girl. 

Sara is an insecure girl who rides the coattails of the stronger-willed, more popular, Brielle. She can't believe that she is lucky enough to be dating a popular and cute senior named Dylan even if she isn't sure whether or not she is ready to have sex with him yet despite pressure to just get it over with from Brielle. She decides to go for it for the worst reason there is: because if she doesn't than she knows somebody else, Emma especially, will. See, Emma is the school "slut". She tries to be friends with the other girls, but she still goes after their boyfriends. Beautiful Emma with her gorgeous red curls has made it clear that she likes Dylan and that she is going to get him despite the fact that he is with Sara. 

I'm just going to lay it out there. I liked Sara. I didn't like her actions, but I liked her. And I understood her. In junior high I was definitely a follower. I grew out of it in high school, but when I was in the ninth-grade (which is jr. high in WY), I was basically a lap-dog to a mean girl who ruled our small clique. When she was mad at somebody, I was mad at her. When she was mad at me, I did everything I could to get back into her good graces. Just thinking about it makes my stomach ache for the tiny, naive girl I was. Again, by the time I got to high school, I found my way out of that clique and formed true friendships that helped me grow into the woman I am now, but, yeah, I got Sara. I wanted to shake some sense into her, but I completely understood how things just snowballed out-of-control. She didn't like Emma, but she certainly didn't want her to die. 

What I liked about this book is that Sara isn't vilified. Her actions are despicable, but she is still just a young girl who had no idea that her actions would have such dire consequences. I also really liked how Emma wasn't canonized. She isn't shown as some angel. She definitely goes after Dylan and plays the game of teenage girls. She was obviously a sad and confused girl, but in my (maybe not popular opinion) I don't think that the bullying could have been the only reason she committed suicide. We'll never know what really caused her to go to such horrible extremes, but that's how life is. In real life there will always be a question of WHY? What could cause somebody to just give up on life completely? 

The only issue I had with this book is pretty minor: I feel like about 50 pages or so could have been shaved off as the later half starts to drag, but, again, that's a minor complaint. I didn't LOVE this book because it would be hard to love anything with such a sad, hard-hitting subject matter, but I did admire it and I would absolutely recommend it. When I have my own secondary classroom, this book will definitely be on my shelves for students to read. It really is such an important book. It's easy for teenagers to forget that their words and actions hold weight. It's important to remind teenagers that high school will be over soon enough and that they still have their whole lives in front of them. What seems SO important now will be something they will laugh at in 10 years. You just have to get through it. 

Definitely recommend.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (58) Dead to Me

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 11:40 PM with 14 comments
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. Click the link to see the original post plus a whole slew of links to other blogs. After you read this one, of course.



18460455 Dead to Me

Author: Mary McCoy
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: March 3, 2015

Link to Goodreads:

LA Confidential for the YA audience. This alluring noir YA mystery with a Golden Age Hollywood backdrop will keep you guessing until the last page.

"Don't believe anything they say."

Those were the last words that Annie spoke to Alice before turning her back on their family and vanishing without a trace. Alice spent four years waiting and wondering when the impossibly glamorous sister she idolized would return to her--and what their Hollywood-insider parents had done to drive her away.

When Annie does turn up, the blond, broken stranger lying in a coma has no answers for her. But Alice isn't a kid anymore, and this time she won't let anything stand between her and the truth, no matter how ugly. The search for those who beat Annie and left her for dead leads Alice into a treacherous world of tough-talking private eyes, psychopathic movie stars, and troubled starlets--and onto the trail of a young runaway who is the sole witness to an unspeakable crime. What this girl knows could shut down a criminal syndicate and put Annie's attacker behind bars--if Alice can find her first. And she isn't the only one looking

Evoking classic film noir, debut novelist Mary McCoy brings the dangerous glamour of Hollywood's Golden Age to life, where the most decadent parties can be the deadliest, and no drive into the sunset can erase the crimes of past.

   
Why I'm Excited:

A YA LA Confidential! Seriously, I didn't have to read past those 3 words to know this is the book for me. I love everything about the Golden Age of Hollywood. Everything about this sounds amazing. Everything. Gimme, gimme, gimme!

What are you waiting for on this Wednesday? Link me up! 

Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin as we all know Google Reader has gone/is going by the wayside. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Weekly Rewind 6.21.14

Saturday, June 21, 2014 12:08 AM with 24 comments






Weekly Rewind
The new books on my shelves, the links I loved, and my week in a nutshell.






Since I started this blog I've participated in Stacking the Shelves, which is a weekly feature hosted by Tyngas Reviews, and I'm going to continue linking to that meme. Throughout my student teaching semester I was using my weekend post as a way to let people know what's going on in my life, so I've decided to rename my weekend post because this feature is more personal than just what books I've received. The Weekly Rewind will be about what's going on with me and my blog, as well as about the books I've added to my shelves, and the links I've enjoyed over the past week from other blogs and the interwebs in general.  

My Life and Blog

Life: I'm throwing this together at the last minute and am tired, so this is going to be an abbreviated post sans links and with less rambling. The job hunt continues. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that the right job comes along (or the wrong one is fine, too, anything that keeps me from subbing for a full year...)

Blog: I posted stuff.
  • Tuesday: I don't usually do TTT posts anymore, but I love the "season" TBR lists. So I participated in this week's Books Topping My Summer TBR.
  • Wednesday: I'm waiting for I'm Glad I Did a book set in the rock-n-roll era of the 1960s.
  • Thursday: A review of The Body in the Woods which I unfortunately found boring and underwhelming. 
New Books: I have a fabulous haul to share with you this week, so without further adieu...I hope you are all having fabulous weekends!

Review Books

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Wildflower  by Alecia Whitaker
I just started this one last night (and didn't get very far before my eyes closed involuntarily), but I'm enjoying it so far. It follows a girl who has long played in her family's band who suddenly breaks out as a solo star.
One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
I haven't read anything by this author yet, but I've heard awesome things. I'm excited to dive into this one.
Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
A girl honors her dead ex-boyfriend by training for the marathon he was planning on running. I didn't realize this was part of her series--which I haven't read--but it seems like all of the books are separate stories?
Conversion by Katherine Howe
I've been so excited about this book billed as Prep meets The Crucible--Prep is seriously one of my all-time favorite novels--but it is so similar to The Fever that I just read. I'm about 20% in and I'm intrigued, but I wish I wouldn't have read The Fever first as they pretty much have the same plot.
The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
I have no idea what this is about. Snagged because of the pretty cover, I'm not going to lie.
The Dare by Hannah Jayne
A girl and her best friend jump off a pier, but her friend never comes back up, she then starts getting messages from somebody claiming to be her. *shrugs*

What I snagged from the library

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A MG short story collection. Just look at that cover! So gorgeous.
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
This ambitious novel follows 6 teens from a Reagan-era summer camp into the next decade. I'm a little intimidated by this almost 500 pager, but I've been meaning to read it forever and it's out in PB.
I have the e-arc of this, but wasn't getting into it. I'm hoping to have better luck with the HB. I know there is no logic in that. Whatever.

Anticipated Reviews

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I know I was going to post a review of On the Fence this week, but didn't finish it as soon as I was planning. I should have reviews for both of these up next week. I really enjoyed both. This was a good reading week.


Well that's it for me this week. Feel free to leave a link to whatever weekend post you do (Stacking the Shelves, In My Mailbox, etc). I love to see what books people have recently snagged and especially enjoy hearing about my fellow bloggers' weeks. I hope you are all having a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Body in the Woods (ARC Review)

Thursday, June 19, 2014 11:30 AM with 7 comments

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The Body in the Woods

Author: April Henry
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Number of Pages: 263
Release Date: June 17, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In this new series told from multiple perspectives, teen members of a search and rescue team discover a dead body in the woods.

Alexis, Nick, and Ruby have very different backgrounds: Alexis has spent her life covering for her mom’s mental illness, Nick’s bravado hides his fear of not being good enough, and Ruby just wants to pursue her eccentric interests in a world that doesn’t understand her. When the three teens join Portland County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, they are teamed up to search for a autistic man lost in the woods. What they find instead is a dead body. In a friendship that will be forged in danger, fear, and courage, the three team up to find the girl’s killer—before he can strike one of their own.

This first book in April Henry’s Point Last Seen YA mystery series is full of riveting suspense, putting readers in the middle of harrowing rescues and crime scene investigations.


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MY THOUGHTS:

This was my second book by April Henry. I was underwhelmed by the first one I read (The Night She Disappeared), but decided to give the author another shot as YA mysteries is one of my favorite genres. Unfortunately, I was just as underwhelmed by this one, so I think this may be the point where I move on. The Body in the Woods isn't a bad book, necassarily, it's just a boring one. I never felt that edge-of-your-seat feeling that murder mysteries usually give you, and I never connected--or cared--about any of the three main characters.

The Body in the Woods is the first book in a series of mysteries (although it is itself a complete story) about teens in Portland, OR who work for Search & Rescue. The book follows three teens: Alexis, Nick, and Ruby. The three are on their first mission/job--looking for a missing person in a large park--when they stumble across the body of a dead girl. This leads, of course it does, to the three searching for the killer themselves all the while suspecting that this might not be his first kill...or his last. 

There were a few things I didn't love about this. The biggest, again, was my absolute lack of caring about any of the characters. Each is super quirky in their own way. Ruby seems to have Asperger's Syndrome although I don't believe it is ever outright stated. Regardless, she shows some pretty classic characteristics, such as not liking to make eye contact and getting obsessed with certain things. She's obviously incredibly bright. She's, you know, way smarter than seasoned detectives. Alexis is dealing with a mother who is bi-polar and off her meds. Her home life is sad and maybe just a tad unrealistic. Nick wants to be like his army hero father who he never really knew. He is girl-crazy and a bit skittish which is obviously not want you want in a hero. The story is told in 3rd person and switches between our three characters often and quickly. It also occasionally gives us glimpses of the killer. It's my opinion that 1st person would have been the better choice. I think I would have felt more connected with each character if I was seeing the action from their perspective.

The mystery itself was fairly obvious. There were only a few suspects, and it wasn't hard for me to suss out whodunit almost immediately. This lead to an almost apathy on my part, but since the book was a fairly quick and easy read, I decided to push on to the end. 

Overall, I was a bit disappointed in this one. Again, I love a good mystery, but found this one to be a bit lacking and, well, boring. I was definitely happy that this book was a complete story as I don't believe I will continue on with this series. YA mysteries are having a moment, so thankfully there are quite a few choices available for me to get my mystery fix.

Cannot Recommend

*I received an advanced reader's copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.*

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (57) I'm Glad I Did

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 12:35 AM with 13 comments
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. Click the link to see the original post plus a whole slew of links to other blogs. After you read this one, of course.



21467481 I'm Glad I Did

Author: Cynthia Weil
Publisher: Soho Teen
Release Date: January 27 , 2015

Link to Goodreads:

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and songwriting legend Cynthia Weil's extraordinary YA debut opens the secretive doors of the Brill Building-the hit factory that changed history. Part Mad Men, part Grace of my Heart, part murder mystery, I'm Glad I Did is a coming-of-age story at an unforgettable cultural tipping point: the summer of 1963.

JJ Greene, a gifted 16-year-old songwriter, defies her lawyer parents by secretly applying for a job in the famed Brill Building-the epicenter of songwriting for a new genre called rock-n-roll. But their warnings about the evils of the music industry prove far darker than she imagined when she finds herself at the heart of a cover-up that involves hidden identity, theft, and possibly murder.

Story Locale: New York, NY

   
Why I'm Excited:

Everything about this sounds amazing. A book about rock-n-roll in the 60s + a murder mystery. How awesome can one book be? I'm also completely charmed by this cover. The hairdo, the old time-y microphone, that wallpaper! Adorable.

What are you waiting for on this Wednesday? Link me up! 

Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin as we all know Google Reader has gone/is going by the wayside. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

TTT: Summer TBR

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 2:17 PM with 18 comments


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme/original feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click the link to go to their site to see the original list for today plus links to a whole slew of other blogs. After you read mine, of course.




Today's topic is: The books topping my Summer TBR list

I haven't done a TTT for weeks, but I just cannot resist the semi-annual TBR lists. Looking at all the pretty covers of books that are almost out is one of my favorite things in the world. I tried to keep this to 10--ok, I didn't try too hard, but I did try to keep it reasonable. 

New Releases

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Landline by Rainbow Rowell
I really enjoyed Attachments, Ms. Rowell's other adult novel, and cannot wait for this one.
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Finally. 
Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke
I love a good multi-verse novel. That cover is so lovely, too.
Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
I adore this series and cannot wait to see how it ends.
Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Walking toward the creepy carousel at night by yourself = poor life decision. 
Rooms by Lauren Oliver
An adult haunted house story by Lauren Oliver. Every part of that sentence is magical.
Get Even by Gretchen McNeil
Girls run a revenge club at a prep school.
Mary: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
A teen horror novel about Bloody Mary? Yes, please!
Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
Nothing says summer like a road trip.
The Dolls by Kili Sullivan
Mean girls + murder mystery.
Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
I'm excited to read this memoir by the creator/star of Girls.
The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin
This book looks original and amazing.

Books I Own 

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Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
I know, ok? I know.
Meant to be by Lauren Morrill
I've heard this is adorable.
The Archived by Victoria Schwartz
I ADORED Vicious, so I'm excited to read this one, too.
Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
I bought this last week. I need to finish the 3 books I'm reading now, but it's up next. 

That's it for me. Summer is going to be a great season for books. What books are topping your Summer TBR list? Link me up!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Weekly Rewind 6.14.14

Friday, June 13, 2014 11:55 PM with 23 comments




Weekly Rewind
The new books on my shelves, the links I loved, and my week in a nutshell.






Since I started this blog I've participated in Stacking the Shelves, which is a weekly feature hosted by Tyngas Reviews, and I'm going to continue linking to that meme. Throughout my student teaching semester I was using my weekend post as a way to let people know what's going on in my life, so I've decided to rename my weekend post because this feature is more personal than just what books I've received. The Weekly Rewind will be about what's going on with me and my blog, as well as about the books I've added to my shelves, and the links I've enjoyed over the past week from other blogs and the interwebs in general.  

My Life and Blog

Life: So I had two interviews this week, both for schools in Florida. I've already heard back from one that I didn't get the job, but I'm completely ok with it because I was going to turn it down if I got the offer anyway. I'm chalking it up to good experience--interviewing can be so nerve-wracking! It was the first teacher interview I've done and I felt really positive about it when it was over. When the principal called to let me know they were going in another direction he told me that I did a great job during the interview and they were all impressed which made me feel good (even if it was only said to make me feel good). I won't hear about the other job for a couple of weeks--and it is one I actually would take--but I feel pretty good about it. There are still a couple of schools in my area (and a few from out-of-state) that I'm dying to hear from. We'll see. At least for today I'm feeling pretty zen about it. You can only get so stressed out before you reach a breaking point, right? I have faith that it is all going to work out like it should. (No matter how zen I'm feeling, I would still love those good thoughts and crossed fingers!) 

My mother-in-law has been staying with us for the past week. She does the books for my husband's business so comes out every other month or so. Listen, I'm pretty lucky as far as my in-laws are concerned, but it's just hard to have anybody in your house for more than a few days. Especially somebody who thinks that every word that comes out of my husband's mouth is hilarious--especially when he is ragging on me for some reason. I'm trying to come up with a game plan for tomorrow to be out of the house for as long as possible. I'm so close to the edge a feather could knock me over. Deep breaths. Zen. You are being zen...

Blog: The week started out pretty slow, but I got my act together by mid-week.
  • Wednesday: Have you heard of The Third Twin? It looks creepy and fun.
  • Thursday: I bemoan cover changes in my discussion post: Why, Publishers, Why?!? (Part 1). Part 1 because I know there are covers I forgot to bemoan.
  • Friday: An early review for The Fever. This started out strong, but ended up being disappointing. 

New Books: I have a lot of books to share, so without further adieu...Hope you are all having fabulous weekends!


Review Books

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On the Fence by Kasie West
I was trying to hold off starting this one, but I can't do it. I'm only about 3 chapters in, but I'm really enjoying it. That cover just screams summer which is exactly what I need right now.
Followers by Anna Davies
I've been looking forward to this one since first seeing that creepy cover months ago, but it isn't super impressive yet (at about 20%). Hopefully it will pick up soon.
I am the Mission by Allen Zadoff
The second book in the Boy Nobody series. Boy Nobody was a fun teen spy novel, so I'm excited to see what happens next.
The Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett
A re-telling of Cinderella from a not-so-evil stepsister's POV. I'm starting to feel like Cinderella re-tellings are a dime a dozen, but hopefully this one is good.
Loot by Jude Watson
A long lost brother and sister break out of an evil orphanage after their cat burglar father dies.
Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten
So Followers (above) is about a girl whose Twitter feed is hacked and deaths that are tweeted actually occur. Wickedpedia is about two guy friends who make up a Wikipedia page about a classmate dying on a soccer field only to have it happen. Weird, right?

What I bought



Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas 
I've been wanting to read this book about a girl charged with her friend's murder in Aruba. I've heard it's awesome and can't wait to start it.
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday
I've read this breezy murder mystery already, but snagged it for a dollar at HPB. Can't beat that.
So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti 
Also on clearance at HPB. I'm a bit wary about this novel about a girl who moves across the country to NYC to follow her crush to his new school (hi, teenage Felicity), but again, you can't beat a dollar.
When a girl's boyfriend breaks up with her she literally dies of a broken heart. The cover is lovely. I've been eyeing this one up for ages, so was thrilled when it was also on clearance--for two dollars.


What I snagged from the library 

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The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller 
I've checked this one out a couple of time, but I'm determined to read it this time. Those shoes are so cute.
Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews
A wedding florist who doesn't believe in love...can't you just see Katherine Heigel's ears perking up for the movie rights.
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
No, I've never read this. Yes, this is the fourth time I've checked it out. Will it happen this time? *Shrugs* Maybe. 

Link Love
  • Mands @The Bookish Manicurist reviewed Deep Blue Sea and showed off some beyond gorgeous nails to match (like, for real, she painted a mermaid on her nails and it looks awesome).  
  • Modcloth Blog had a fun look at 13 Reasons Why We Love the Original Freaky Friday. The original was a bit before my time, but the remake was a bit after my time, so I've never seen either movie. This post made me want to seek out the original. 

Upcoming Reviews

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Well that's it for me this week. Feel free to leave a link to whatever weekend post you do (Stacking the Shelves, In My Mailbox, etc). I love to see what books people have recently snagged and especially enjoy hearing about my fellow bloggers' weeks. I hope you are all having a fabulous weekend!

18656036

The Fever

Author: Megan Abbott
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Number of Pages: 320
Release Date: June 17, 2014

Synopsis from The Fever:

The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

A chilling story about guilt, family secrets and the lethal power of desire, The Fever affirms Megan Abbot's reputation as "one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation" (Laura Lippman).


*****************************************************************
MY THOUGHTS:

I've been sitting on this review for the past few days because, frankly, I really just haven't wanted to write it. Don't you hate that? Sometimes reviews are so easy...and sometimes they are like pulling teeth.

I've seen The Fever billed as both a YA and an adult book. In my opinion, this book is definitely an adult novel, but because the focus is on a group of high school girls, those who usually read YA will probably feel comfortable with this one. It follows three members of the Nash family: father, Tom, who is a teacher at the high school where the action takes place; son, Eli, who is popular and well-liked with girls throwing themselves at him on a fairly regular basis; and daughter, Deenie, a teenage girl who is just trying to get through high school while dealing with the shit a high school girl has to deal with: boys, friends, school, etc. 

Deenie is shocked when her best friend, Lise, has a violent seizure in class at the beginning of the story. Soon Lise lying in a coma in the hospital, and other girls start to show physical and mental symptoms to some mysterious ailment that seems to only be affecting the girls in this small town. What is blame for this affliction? Is it the fenced-off lake that is so polluted it actually glows? Is it the HPV vaccine that was recently given to the girls in the town? Or is it something else--something otherworldly? 

I have to admit: I was very intrigued by this novel for the first, oh 90% of it. I had no idea what the cause was, but I certainly wanted to figure it out. I also have to admit that I was completely disappointed by the pay-off which dramatically changed how I felt about this book. 

This book does have several things going for it: the mystery is intriguing, the family dynamics are interesting, the hysteria of the parents as they try to figure out what is happening to their daughters is realistic, and the look at teenage girl life is spot-on. Abbott certainly understands "girl world". Throughout the book I found myself identifying with Abbott's view of the teenage girl. The shifting landscape of the Deenie and her group of girlfriends was so realistic. The friendships reminded me so much of my own high school life when alliances within my own group were constantly forming and reforming. Teenage girls, man, they can be a brutal bunch--as most of you know, I'm sure. 

This book is also very much about sexual awakening. The need to lose your virginity just because you are the last one. Deenie compares it to Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None which is apropos and kind of hilarious. Eli is surprised when he gets explicit texts from girls only in their underwear, or by the brazenness of the girls who come to his house for one purpose.

Which brings me to my biggest pet peeve: the use of the word mouth over and over and over throughout the book: wet mouths, open mouths, dark mouths. Mouths, mouths, mouths. Ugh! It got to the point where I wished I would have counted. For real, this could be a new drinking game.

Overall and again, while I was so intrigued by the novel, by the end I was almost bitterly disappointed. The whole teenage girl aspect, as well as the look at small-town paranoia, the effects of divorce, the politics of friendship, etc were all very well-done, though, so the book isn't without its merits. Looking at the star-ratings on GR, I'm definitely in the minority, but it is hard for me to recommend something that was ultimately such a let-down for me. So I would take my opinion with a grain of salt and read a couple of reviews before deciding whether or not to give this one a try. 

Cannot recommend

*I received an advanced reader's copy of this novel from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review.*