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Title: Lighter than my Shadow
Author: Katie Green
Genre: graphic memoir, YA
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 528
Date read: August 2017

Like most kids, Katie was a picky eater. She'd sit at the table in silent protest, hide uneaten toast in her bedroom, listen to parental threats that she'd have to eat it for breakfast.

But in any life a set of circumstance can collide, and normal behavior might soon shade into something sinister, something deadly.

Lighter Than My Shadow is a hand-drawn story of struggle and recovery, a trip into the black heart of a taboo illness, an exposure of those who are so weak as to prey on the vulnerable, and an inspiration to anybody who believes in the human power to endure towards happiness.

Wow... this book really packs a punch.

An extremely poignant story about a teen battling an eating disorder and sexual abuse and the long-term effect on her life from both. It did an excellent job of explaining how having an eating disorder isn't just a phase that a person can grow out of - it takes years of work, setbacks, therapy and relapses and is probably something the person has to battle in some form or the other, for the rest of their life.

I liked the drawing-style and found it fascinating to see how Katie Green used the media to depict the specter of an eating disorder without having to use any words at all.

I did miss getting full closure on her battle with sexual abuse (mainly knowing whether or not she ever reported it), but appreciate that in real life we just don't always get that kind of closure, and that reporting it would probably have taken more strength that she had at the time.

A really brilliant graphic memoir that I highly recommend.
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Title: The Pearl Thief (Code Name Verity #0)
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Genre: Historical, YA
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 336
Date read: April, 2017

When fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart wakes up in the hospital, she knows the lazy summer break she'd imagined won't be exactly like she anticipated. And once she returns to her grandfather's estate, a bit banged up but alive, she begins to realize that her injury might not have been an accident. One of her family's employees is missing, and he disappeared on the very same day she landed in the hospital.

Desperate to figure out what happened, she befriends Euan McEwen, the Scots Traveller boy who found her when she was injured, and his standoffish sister Ellen. As Julie grows closer to this family, she experiences some of the prejudices they've grown used to firsthand, a stark contrast to her own upbringing, and finds herself exploring thrilling new experiences that have nothing to do with a missing-person investigation.

Her memory of that day returns to her in pieces, and when a body is discovered, her new friends are caught in the crosshairs of long-held biases about Travellers. Julie must get to the bottom of the mystery in order to keep them from being framed for the crime.

While I never found it quite as engaging as neither Code Name Verity nor Rose Under Fire, I was still very pleased to get to read it.

It took me awhile to get into the story. Partly because I didn't care too much about Julie at first, partly because I really couldn't figure out what genre the book was trying to be! However, I was still intrigued enough to keep reading, and once the book decided for sure that it was going to be a mystery, I enjoyed it a lot more.

I was really, really frustrated by how people treated the tinkers, but guess that's pretty true for the time, and that describing it any other way would be "whitewashing" (for want of better word) history.

It didn't break my heart the way Elizabeth Wein's two other books did, but it's a cute story to tide people over, who want to know more about Julie/Verity.
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Title: Hul i hovedet
Author: Nicole Boyle Rødtnes
Genre: YA
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 212
Date read: April, 2017

"Du skulle have set Susan!" Ida himler med øjnene. "Festens tema var gangsters og ludere, men alligevel...!" "Hvor kort var hendes kjole?" spørger jeg. Eller det troede jeg. Men en rynke i Idas pande fortæller mig, at det ikke var det, der kom ud. "Hvad kost var festen?" gentager jeg, og nu kan jeg godt høre, at noget er galt. "Nå, hvad det kostede at komme ind?" spørger Ida. "40 kroner – det var ingenting." Jeg ryster på hovedet. Ida tænker igen. "Hvor mange, der kom? "Jeg ryster på hovedet igen. "Lige meget," siger jeg så. Jeg kan se på hende, at det slår hende lidt ud, at jeg klokker i det. Det må også være nederen at være den, der altid skal lege gæt og grimasser med spasseren.

Til en fest slår Vega hovedet og får en hjerneblødning. Da hun vågner på hospitalet, har hun mistet sit sprog, og det føles, som hele hendes liv er forsvundet sammen med ordene. Men en dag møder hun Theo, der ligesom hende har svært ved at tale. Men kan man elske uden ord? Og hvad skete der egentlig den aften, hvor Vega kom til skade?

Meget samme stil som "XY", men afgjort bedre! Jeg havde ikke de samme problemer med troværdigheden denne gang, og var væsentlig mere tilfreds med slutningen.

Men fælles for begge bøger er at Nicole Rødtnes tager fat i seriøse emner, som man ikke umiddelbart ser i ungdomsbøger. Afgjort en bog jeg ville anbefale til alle i målgruppen, og som jeg også selv nød, selvom jeg nok er lidt over den. Jeg kunne godt lide at følge Vegas og Theos venskab, og se hvordan de fandt ud af at kommunikere selv uden ord.

En rigtig good teenage-roman.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: XY
Author: Nicole Boyle Rødtnes
Genre: YA
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 240
Date read: April, 2017

Da Asta som 15-årig får meldingen om, at hun er en XY-pige og derfor genetisk set en dreng, falder hendes verden sammen. Hun kæmper med vrede og selvmordstanker - men så møder hun Christoffer. Han har selv forsøgt at begå selvmord, og med ham kan hun tale om alt det, som de andre ikke forstår. Langsomt forelsker Asta sig i Christoffer. Men kan man elske uden køn?

Meget fascinerende og tankevækkende bog. Jeg havde svært ved at lægge den fra mig, og blev meget glad for både Asta og Christoffer.

Men - for selvfølgelig kommer der et men når jeg alligevel ikke gav den mere end 3 stjerner - jeg syntes ikke slutningen var troværdig.

Spoiler )

Jeg brød mig heller ikke særlig meget om Astas mor før til allersidst. Hendes opførsel var dog mere forståelig, omend stadig frustrerende.

Jeg ville ønske jeg havde læst den som teenager - så havde jeg nok været gladere for den.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Follow Me Back
Author: A.V. Geiger
Genre: YA
Rating: 2/5
# pages: 368 pages
Date read: February 2017

Tessa Hart's world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it's like his speaking directly to her...

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn't help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast - like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric's plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world's best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn...

Please note that this is a review of the book version only. There is also a version on Wattpad, which has some significant changes. Ironically, I believe I would have rated that one higher, but this is the version provided to me by NetGalley, so so be it.

It will be hard to review it properly without spoilers but I will do my best.

Most of the book was excellent. Well written and captivating - written in the style of a YA Liane Moriarty novel. Sure, it was kinda sweetly tacky in places, and unrealistic in a chick-lit kinda way, but it worked. I stayed up much too late to read it, and despite a few glaring plotholes (most notably the MET storyline which was never tied up... I also have questions about both Blair and the therapist) was ready to give it a solid 4 star rating.

But then came the last 5 pages. I realize they were added for shock value and to get people to read the sequel, but when I read them, I didn't know a sequel was in the works, and thought this was the end - and it basically ruined the book for me. Only the fact that I was reading it on my tablet saved it from being tossed across the room.

At that time I was ready to give the book just 1 star, but a quick look on Goodreads informed me that a sequel is indeed in the works (and spoilers are aplenty on Wattpad) and that all is obviously not how it seems. That mellowed my opinion a fair bit, and made me raise my rating from "I didn't like it" to "it was okay". Still not fond of the cheap trick though.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: We Are Okay
Author: Nina LaCour
Genre: YA
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 240
Date read: February, 2017

"You go through life thinking there's so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother."

Marin hasn't spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she's tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that's been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

I can't quite figure out what I thought of this book. I read it in one sitting, so it certainly had that going for it (even if it is short), but it was awfully depressing at times. I kept reading, because I wanted to know what the trigger was, but when it was finally revealed, I felt that it was far too 'little' to warrant such a major (over-)reaction, which detracted somewhat from my enjoyment of the book, and meant it packed less of a punch than it could have.

There were definitely aspects of it that I enjoyed, and I loved Mabel's parents, but as a whole, I was fairly underwhelmed.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Last to Die
Author: Kelly Garrett
Genre: YA
Rating: 2/5
# pages: 218
Date read: January, 2017

Sixteen-year-old Harper Jacobs and her bored friends make a pact to engage in a series of not-quite illegal break-ins. They steal from each other's homes, sharing their keys and alarm codes. But they don't take anything that can't be replaced by some retail therapy, so it's okay. It's thrilling. It's bad. And for Harper, it's payback for something she can't put into words-something to help her deal with her alcoholic mother, her delusional father, and to forget the lies she told that got her druggie brother arrested. It's not like Daniel wasn't rehab bound anyway.

So everything is okay-until the bold but aggravating Alex, looking to up the ante, suggests they break into the home of a classmate. It's crossing a line, but Harper no longer cares. She's proud of it. Until one of the group turns up dead, and Harper comes face-to-face with the moral dilemma that will make or break her-and, if she makes the wrong choice, will get her killed.

Huh! I'm starting to wonder if I read a different book than the others did! So many 4 and 5 star reviews, and mine can only just sneak its way up to 2.

Because my honest opinion is that this book was absolutely ridiculous. None of the characters seemed believable or acted in an even half-way realistic manner.

A shame too, because the plot had potential, and could have been really interesting if the characters hadn't been so hopelessly exaggerated. And twist seemed completely unmotivated and was never properly resolved or explained.

Granted, it did keep me reading, and despite how overdone everything was, I did want to know how it ended. But when push came to shove, I couldn't really bring myself to care about any of the characters other than Maggie, and most of them seemed more like charicatures than anybody you'd meet in real life.

With all the awesome YA books out there, give this one a miss.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: A List of Cages
Author: Robin Roe
Genre: YA
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 320 pages
Date read: January, 2017

When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he's got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn't easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can't complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian--the foster brother he hasn't seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He's still kind hearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what's really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives.

The writing-style took some getting used to - to the point that the first 25% took me 2 months to read, and I then finished the last 75% in one sitting!

I wasn't as blown away by this book as other reviews had let me to hope I would be. As already mentioned it took some getting into, and while I loved the growing friendship between Julian and Adam and his friends (definite shades of "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" there!) and found the middle part of the book captivating, the lack of communication and trust in adults was still frustrating (Adam's mother especially). Worst of all, the ending was deeply unsatisfying. The other issues I could have ignored or forgiven, but a poor ending means a poor lasting effect of a book.

It still deserves 3 stars though, as it was a very powerful book up until then. With a better ending, it could easily have been a 5-star read.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Afterworlds
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Genre: YA
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 599
Date read: October, 2016

Darcy Patel has put college on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. With a contract in hand, she arrives in New York City with no apartment, no friends, and all the wrong clothes. But lucky for Darcy, she's taken under the wings of other seasoned and fledgling writers who help her navigate the city and the world of writing and publishing. Over the course of a year, Darcy finishes her book, faces critique, and falls in love.

Woven into Darcy's personal story is her novel, Afterworlds, a suspenseful thriller about a teen who slips into the "Afterworld" to survive a terrorist attack. The Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead, and where many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. Like Darcy, Lizzie too falls in love... until a new threat resurfaces, and her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she cares about most.

"Afterworlds" is really two stories mixed together. Every odd chapter tells the story of Darcy Patel, her life in NYC and her experiences as a debutante author, and every even chapter is the book Darcy wrote.

I'm finding it extremely difficult to figure out what I think of this book and how to rate it. I enjoyed the chapters about Darcy - appreciating this look into the book publishing business and the life of an aspiring author, not to mention that I really liked Darcy, despite her tendency to turn into an emo teen. She's 18 - she's allowed to. Those chapters flew by and were a breeze to read. That part of the book probably deserved 4 stars.

However, the chapters about Lizzie were such a slog to get through! I LOVED the first one (and as that was the chapter I read as part of the sample, which made me buy the book, I feel kinda cheated), but once she went back to the flipside after that first time, I was done. That entire storyline just didn't work for me. I don't know if it's just that I'm really not into ghosts, or if I'd have disliked it regardless, but those chapters were a real chore to read. That part of the book would probably have been a dnf if it had stood on its own.

In the end the good outweighed the bad, and I finished the book - but it was a huge disappointment, and I'm disinclined to recommend it to anybody else.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Down with the Shine
Author: Kate Karyus Quinn
Genre: YA, Sci-fi
Rating: 2/5
# pages: 368 pages
Date read: August, 2016

These are things Lennie only learns when it's too late-after she brings some of her uncles' moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago.

Lennie didn't mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles' moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their "important family legacy," she thought they meant good old-fashioned bootlegging.

As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year.

Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can't be unmade...

Ooooh boy, where to begin with this one! The concept sounded intriguing but the book itself ended up being ridiculous, far-fetched, outrageous, oh, and did I mention ridiculous?

People died or were permanently disfigured and apart from an initial "Oh no, how terrible!" it ended up being regarded as non-events? And everybody just mostly accepted these totally crazy things that happened? Honestly, at one point I wouldn't have been surprised if the book had ended with "And then they woke up, and it turned out it was all just a dream."

Fortunately, they didn't sink quite that low, but it came close. So why do I still give this 2 stars? As ridiculous as it was, it did keep my interest, and I really wanted to know how it all got sorted in the end, so I never considered giving up on it.

I'd never recommend it to anybody else either though.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Boyfriend App
Author: Katie Sise
Genre: YA
Rating: 1.5/5
# pages: 320
Date read: August, 2016

Super-smart, somewhat geeky Audrey McCarthy can’t wait to get out of high school. Her father’s death and the transformation of her one-time BFF, Blake Dawkins, into her worst nightmare have her longing for the new start college will bring.

But college takes money. So Audrey decides she has to win the competition for the best app designed by a high schooler—and the $200,000 that comes with it. She develops something she calls the Boyfriend App, and suddenly she’s the talk of the school and getting kissed by the hottest boys around. But can the Boyfriend App bring Audrey true love?

It started out decent enough (enough that I actually purchased it after having read the sample), but then it turned really, really weird and really, really ridiculous. I'm glad I was warned that there was a twist about half way through, but even so, the twist ended up being even more ridiculous (and - let's be blunt about it - actually uncomfortably close to being pro-rape) than I had expected, and I finished the novel with a permanent eye-roll.

It had its moments, and the first half of the book deserved a much better ending. But the second half pretty much ruined it for me. Do not recommend.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Secrets
Author: Sue Welford
Genre: YA
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 187
Date read: July, 2016

17-year-old Jason is going out with Maria, and everything would be perfect if it wasn't for his 15-year-old sister, Lisa, behaving so strangely.

Slowly Jason realizes that Lisa is anorexic.

20 years ago I would have adored this book, and indeed read several books of this genre. Now that I'm ever so slightly out of its target audience range (*grin*) I had a few problems with it, as I felt some parts were somewhat unrealistic. I did appreciate that it was told from the viewpoint of an older brother, however, instead of from the anorexic girl herself.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Yearbook Committee
Author: Sarah Ayoub
Genre: YA
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 268
Date read: June, 2016

Five teenagers. Five lives. One final year.

The school captain: Ryan has it all... or at least he did, until an accident snatched his dreams away. How will he rebuild his life and what does the future hold for him now?

The newcomer: Charlie's just moved interstate and she's determined not to fit in. She's just biding her time until Year 12 is over and she can head back to her real life and her real friends ...

The loner: At school, nobody really notices Matty. But at home, Matty is everything. He's been single-handedly holding things together since his mum's breakdown, and he's never felt so alone.

The popular girl: Well, the popular girl's best friend ... cool by association. Tammi's always bowed to peer pressure, but when the expectations become too much to handle, will she finally stand up for herself?

The politician's daughter: Gillian's dad is one of the most recognisable people in the state and she's learning the hard way that life in the spotlight comes at a very heavy price.

Five unlikely teammates thrust together against their will. Can they find a way to make their final year a memorable one or will their differences tear their world apart?

Awesome book, with a suckerpunch ending, that left me reeling.

This was basically "The Breakfast Club" for the 21st Century. 5 students are thrown together for a school activity, bicker and annoy each other at first, but slowly become friends (or at least friendly).

I had a hard time putting it down, and it could have been a straight 5 star book (even though I didn't like the twist... it was still believable) if Sarah Ayoub had added just a few more chapters. There were a few too many threads left hanging, and though people appeared to be heading in the right directions, I'd like to have it confirmed before the book ended.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Seeds of Discovery
Author: Breeana Puttroff
Genre: YA, fantasy
Rating: 4/5
# pages: Audiobook ~7hrs
Date read: May, 2016

Quinn Robbins' life was everything she thought a teenager's should be. She has good friends, a family that she loves, good grades, and an after-school job she enjoys. And, she's just been asked out by Zander Cunningham, a popular football player and great guy. But one day when driving home after picking up her little sister from the baby-sitter's, she nearly hits a boy who, after running blindly into the street, mysteriously disappears.

The mystery only deepens as she figures out who the boy is; William Rose, a reclusive, awkward boy from school who always has his nose in a pile of books.

As she becomes more aware of his behavior it becomes more obvious how out of the ordinary William is and how hard he deliberately tries to blend into the background. This only intrigues her more and she finds herself working to find out more about him, and exactly where he keeps disappearing to.

On a whim one night she follows him and suddenly finds herself in a new world. One where William is a prince, literally, and she is treated like a princess. She also discovers that she is stuck; the gate back to her own world isn't always open.

Quinn finds herself smack in the middle of a modern-day fairy tale, on a course that will change her life forever.

A bit slow to start, but that may have been because I 'read' it as an audiobook rather than a physical book. Once it did take off I really enjoyed it. It's a different take on the normal YA fantasy, and I liked the mix.

I loved seeing Quinn's growing friendship with William and Thomas, and was pleased that at least in this book, no romantic tangles were included.

A charming book, and with enough of a plot of its own to not just feel like a "setting the scene" novel. It didn't make me feel like I have to rush out and read the next one immediately (mostly because I'm afraid Quinn will get into some annoying situations due to her secret - there were signs of this already in this book), but I may eventually. It was sweet.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Genre: YA
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 305
Date read: May, 2016

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life - dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew

I watched the movie before reading the book, and don't know if that had any influence of my enjoyment of the book. It's ridiculously readable, just like John Green's other books, but I don't think it packed the same punch that "Looking for Alaska" and "The Fault in Our Stars" did.

I didn't care much for neither 'Q' or Margo (one too insecure, the other too self-centered), but I absolutely loved the road-trip Q, Ben, Radar and Lacey went on to find Margo. Those chapters made the book, with its depiction of the easy friendship between the four of them.

I think I liked this ending better than the one in the movie though. There seemed to be more closure for all of them.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Awake
Author: Natasha Preston
Genre: YA
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 336
Date read: March, 2016

Scarlett Garner doesn't remember anything before the age of four - until a car accident changes everything. She starts to remember pieces of a past that frighten her. A past her parents hid from her...and a secret that could get her killed.

I almost gave up on this book before I even started it, due to the surprisingly high number of 1-star reviews and DNF* shelvings on GoodReads. However, I'd requested an ARC from Netgalley, and figured I should at least give it a chance to make up my own mind.

I ended up being completely unable to put it down, and finished it in a day.

Mind you, I can still understand some of the things the other reviewers had problems with. The writing wasn't as tight as I could have hoped for, and there were obvious mistakes along the way (e.g. the main character was 16 when the book started and 15 when it ended...), but as it was an ARC, I could chalk that up to it being an uncorrected proof, and that these were issues that would (hopefully) be caught by an editor before actually being published.

But occasional sloppy writing aside, the plot just grabbed me from page 1 and wouldn't let me go. It had some awesome twists along the way, which left me gaping and I just had to know what happened next. The writing might have bothered me more in a less captivating book, but as it was, it diminished to just being something I noticed from time to time, but which didn't really pull me out of the book.

The quick romance didn't bother me. I've seen love at first sight happen too often to dismiss it as "unrealistic". It might not be the norm, but it's definitely not unheard of either.

So 5 stars for a gripping book I couldn't put down. Minus 1 star for the writing and slight plotholes near the end.

* Did-Not-Finish
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: You Were Here
Author: Cori McCarthy
Genre: YA
Rating: 4.5
# pages: 400
Date read: January, 2016

Jaycee is about to accomplish what her older brother Jake couldn't: live past graduation.

Jaycee is dealing with her brother's death the only way she can - by re-creating Jake's daredevil stunts. The ones that got him killed. She's not crazy, okay? She just doesn't have a whole lot of respect for staying alive.

Jaycee doesn't expect to have help on her insane quest to remember Jake. But she's joined by a group of unlikely friends - all with their own reasons for completing the dares and their own brand of dysfunction: the uptight, ex-best friend, the heartbroken poet, the slacker with Peter Pan syndrome, and... Mik. He doesn't talk, but somehow still challenges Jayce to do the unthinkable-reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother.

This book caused ALL THE FEELS!!! I was a bit skeptical at first, as I wasn't sure how the format would work - being told part in prose, part as a graphic novel, and part through poetry - but it totally worked, and left me feeling completely emotionally exhausted near the end.

Jaycee is still reeling, trying to come to terms with the grief, anger and horror of having seen her brother die five years ago. Her parents aren't much better, and her primary reaction is to lash out at everybody.

But this summer - the last summer between high school and college - her old friends (and one new) once again attempt to reach out to her, and for whatever reason, she allows them to. Together they try to walk in Jake's footsteps, to understand him better... and along the line, get to understand themselves better as well.

A wonderful YA/coming-of-age novel that I didn't think would work, but totally did. It was heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time, but most importantly, it was true. Cori McCarthy grasped the emotions of teenagers perfectly, and was able to portray them in a way that didn't seem cloying, but instead reminded the reader of what it was like to be 18 and only just trying to find your feet in a grown-up world.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: I Was Here
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: YA
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 270
Date read: December, 2015

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until... they weren't anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything... so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg's college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there's a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg's heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can't open... until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend's death gets thrown into question.

Extremely well-written like all other books I've read by Gayle Forman so far. Very dark though, and I found myself having to take breaks in order for things not to get too bleak.

I'm actually slightly surprised that I liked this book as much as I did - I usually have a huge problem with suicides in books and movies. I think it helped that the suicide itself happened "off-screen" - so to speak - and that the book focused more on the aftermath - coping with having a friend/relative commit suicide and the desire to have somebody to blame - rather than the suicide itself. I was furious with All_BS and wish he could have been brought to justice more fully, but I actually think Cody's comment got to him more than anything else would have.

I liked seeing the relationships develop as Cody allowed herself to come out from behind her defences, and especially appreciated seeing Tricia stand up and take notice.

In no way a feel-good book, but well-written and a fascinating and thought-provoking read.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Genre: YA
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 215
Date read: November, 2015

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

I'm not entirely sure what I think of this book... I think I wanted to like it more than I ultimately did. I appreciated what Patrick Ness tried to do, and did think it an interesting way to handle grief in a book, but parts of it fell very flat to me.

Most of all, I was really annoyed by Conor's grandmother and father. Both seemed distant to the point of almost being cruel. I know we only saw things through Conor's eyes, but surely Conor's father could see that Conor needed him more than his new family did.

I'd guessed the Monster's reason for walking at an early stage, but that was one part that did work for me, and which I found very touching.

As a whole, it's a book I'm glad to have read, but not one I think I'd be likely to recommend to others. Apparently this is being turned into a movie? I have a hard time seeing how that would work. It'd certainly make for a very dark and depressing one.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: YA
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 236
Date read: November, 2015

Four minutes changes everything. Hadley Sullivan 17 misses her flight at JFK airport, is late to her father's second wedding in London with never-met stepmother. Hadley meets the perfect boy. Oliver is British, sits in her row. A long night on the plane passes in a blink, but the two lose track in arrival chaos. Can fate bring them together again?

Really sweet YA that I picked up on a whim and was pleased to find very charming. It was a lot less shallow than I had originally expected, and I really loved seeing Hadley evolve as the day went on. Excellent plane reading, as it didn't ask too much of the reader, while still being very enjoyable and entertaining.


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