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A Million Junes – Emily Henry

A Million Junes – Emily HenryTitle: A Million Junes by Emily Henry
Publishing Info: May 16, 2017 by Penguin
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Magical Realism
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 17, 2017
Related Posts: The Love That Split the World

For as long as Jack “June” O’Donnell has been alive, her parents have had only one rule: stay away from the Angert family. But when June collides—quite literally—with Saul Angert, sparks fly, and everything June has known is thrown into chaos.

Who exactly is this gruff, sarcastic, but seemingly harmless boy who has returned to their hometown of Five Fingers, Michigan, after three mysterious years away? And why has June—an O’Donnell to her core—never questioned her late father’s deep hatred of the Angert family? After all, the O’Donnells and the Angerts may have mythic legacies, but for all the tall tales they weave, both founding families are tight-lipped about what caused the century-old rift between them.

As Saul and June’s connection grows deeper, they find that the magic, ghosts, and coywolves of Five Fingers seem to be conspiring to reveal the truth about the harrowing curse that has plagued their bloodlines for generations. Now June must question everything she knows about her family and the father she adored, and she must decide whether it’s finally time for her—and all the O’Donnells before her—to let go.

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** Warning: This review DOES contain spoilers for the book! I will be talking about specifics! ** 

A MILLION JUNES was a very solid sophomore novel from Emily Henry with her debut, THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD, being one of my favorite reads of 2016. I’ve been having a hard time with sequels/sophomore novels lately so it was so refreshing to enjoy this book and get lost in the same sort of writing style that I experienced with THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD.

Emily Henry has a unique story-telling experience and her books are ones in which you totally lose yourself. While THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD was magical realism, it was a also a little bit science-fiction so it was really great to see the same sort of feel and concept with the magical realism aspects but ones that took the stage even more so in A MILLION JUNES. Depending on your view of the book, it’s magical realism meets paranormal and it’s truly a magical experience to read.

Possible spoilers in the rest of the review! No giveaways about specific plot points but things that may be a general spoiler if you want to go in blind to certain aspects of the shape of the book. The thing that I really took from this book the most is the family aspect. It’s not the usual family dynamic or lesson that you see in a lot of books because it approached the topic from a totally different angle. The O’Donnells and the Angerts have been in a feud for at least four generations and after the passing of her father, Jack IV (aka Junior aka June) is left to decide whether she wants to hold that grudge or let it go with her generation. Her mother still holds those feuding values although not as tightly as her father and and June loved her father so much that she had every intention of following in his footsteps until she falls unexpectedly head over heels for youngest Angert, Saul. Without rehashing the whole plot, throughout the book, June is able to experience the memories of her father through the “whites”, which are a sort of wraith or spirit (glowing white, hence the name) and through these memories, she learns a lot about her dad… and not all of it is good. The stories of the past lose shape and take on new ones the more they get told so June learns a lot about her family’s past, spanning back to the first Jack O’Donnell all the way down to her father and his relationship with his family, including June. She realizes that the truth about him and how their family history played out is very different than what she thought it was. It’s especially hard since he passed away when she was eight. She still idealized him and didn’t know some of the darker truths or grittier details and it was shocking to realize that her dad wasn’t as perfect as she thought it was, and I thought this was a really, really great concept to include in the book. It’s so interesting to think of your parents’ history. There are so many things I know about my parents through the stories they tell me of their pasts and childhoods and yet I know that there’s so much more that I don’t know or from which I’ve been shielded. It was really interesting to watch June go through this experience and wonder what exactly I’ve been missing from my own family’s history because it’s not a pretty story to tell. My parents have told me a lot of things throughout the years and I’ve gained a lot of family knowledge as we’ve grown up but it’s so interesting to think of really how much history there would be to learn when experiencing memories first-hand. There are only so many stories that get told and no one wants to constantly tell the negative ones so it was just a really curious thing to think about!

I really loved the connection between June and Saul. I loved the bond that brought them together so fiercely and how it was the requirement that they stay apart that patched their worlds. Their chemistry was excellent and I loved how real their characters felt. Both characters were simply them, not trying to be someone else and not wanting to be, and I could just feel their personalities really come through.

The ending was a little different than I thought it was and sometimes I have trouble when magical realism takes a little turn into a little bit more magical than I expected. There were a few things in the end that crossed over from magical realism into more of a fantasy-type concept so that changed the tone of the book for me a bit and I wasn’t a huge fan but it was still a solid ending to the book.

THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD holds a special place in my heart for the way it made me feel and the books that it reminded me of but A MILLION JUNES is a wonderfully solid novel and great sophomore book from Emily Henry. I’m a big fan of her writing and the atmosphere that she creates in her books and I really am able to feel myself in the story. I’m up for her next adventure and I can’t wait to see what it holds!

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Kept Me Hooked On: The blur between reality and magic. While THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD was magical in a sci-fi way, this was definitely more magic and hedging on the paranormal. There’s still a possible bit of a sci-fi angle but I love the uniqueness of how reality blends with the impossible.
Left Me Wanting More: Structure. I guess structure isn’t the right word, but the ending felt a little too… untethered. I think I just wanted something a bit more concrete and it kind of ventured more into the magic.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I love Emily Henry’s story-telling and this book continued on the great path of bending reality and expanding beliefs.

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BOOKS LIKE A MILLION JUNES

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    BONE GAP

Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love #1) – Jessica Park

Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love #1) – Jessica ParkTitle: Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love #1) by Jessica Park
Publishing Info: May 18, 2011 by Independent
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 29, 2017

Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it. When Julie's off-campus housing falls through, her mother's old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side... and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there's that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That's because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie's suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that ... well... doesn't quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.

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I picked up FLAT-OUT LOVE in an Audible sale because Julia Whelan is one of my favorite female audiobook narrators and I had seen a lot of positive reactions from my Goodreads friends. I really didn’t know what it was about before I started but I was pleasantly surprised with its content and tone!

FLAT-OUT LOVE was a wonderful mix of serious and sarcasm. Main character Julie ends up moving in with a family friend (and the family that comes with her) after being scammed on an apartment listing for college and ends up staying there throughout the year. The story revolves around the family that Julie moves in with and their delicate balance of affection and stoicism, most noted by 13-year-old Celeste’s attachment to a cardboard cut-out of her older brother Finn, who is away travelling the world. I won’t rehash the whole plot but essentially Julie brings levity and a fresh outlook on life to this family and really breaks through a point where they were all standing still, holding their breath. I loved Julia’s personality and attitude. She brought a light to that house and so much humor, sarcasm, and high spirits. There were plenty of serious moments, as this book is clearly harboring some deep secret with Celeste’s quirks that no one will talk about, but I thought the balance was really well done. If this had been a strictly serious or tragic book, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much.

Every relationship was really well-crafted. Julie is able to connect with each person in the house on a different level, even if it’s not deeply. Julie shakes things up and yes, breaks a few hearts by making them admit the “bad things”, but ultimately is able to show them that standing still is no way to live if you can’t ever move forward. I don’t really know how I feel about the romance because without spoiling anything, it gets complicated on soooo many levels and there’s a level of trust that was broken with me as a reader that I don’t think I could have personally come back from, but Julie is a forgiving soul and of course she wants to make the relationship work because it is quite sweet in its core.

While FLAT-OUT LOVE was a quick and addicting read for me, I really don’t have any interest in its companions. I tried reading FLAT-OUT CELESTE and her voice was just very difficult for me to at least listen to, though I don’t know about reading, and I don’t have an interest in FLAT-OUT MATT since it’s really just the same story but in parts from Matt’s POV. Julie was the best part of the book and without her, the stories don’t really have a draw for me.

I think FLAT-OUT LOVE is a great contemporary read and good book for those who don’t want to shy away from real life but also appreciate some good humor and lightness in times of darkness.

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Kept Me Hooked On: The nitty gritty. I’ve been shying away from the more rough patches of life and have had a strong preference for the light and fluffy. I’m glad I read FLAT-OUT LOVE and that the balance of light and dark was there.
Left Me Wanting More: Honesty. If the family had been able to just tell Julie what their life-changing situation was, there wouldn’t really be a book… so obviously that’s why there’s a secret there, but I wish everyone had just been a bit more honest. I know they didn’t want to talk about the THING but it seemed silly to keep it from the person who was living in your house.

Addiction Rating
Check it out

I actually really enjoyed this one, which surprised me! I loved Julie’s outgoing, sarcastic, and friendly tone.

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BOOKS LIKE FLAT-OUT LOVE

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    MY LIFE NEXT DOOR

Fireworks – Katie Cotugno

Fireworks – Katie CotugnoTitle: Fireworks by Katie Cotugno
Publishing Info: April 11, 2017 by HarperCollins
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 1, 2017

From Katie Cotugno, bestselling author of 99 Days, comes Fireworks—about a girl who is competing with her best friend to become the new pop star of the moment—and all the drama and romance that comes with it—set in Orlando during the late-'90s boy-and-girl-band craze.

It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along.

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

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Heads up, talking about specifics so there will be SPOILERS.

This book wasn’t quiiiite what I thought it would be and that was okay but there were things that just didn’t quite fit. I liked Dana a lot but it never really felt right for her to be a part of this pop star world. I feel like it would have been a little different if there had been an expressed interest in singing before she took Olivia to her audition. It just felt so off of Dana to even enter the world of singing and show business without even wanting any part of it before she got there. Maybe that’s just me as a big choir nerd not understanding how you can jump into this without a passion for music or performing… I have no idea. Not staying that you HAVE to have experience in order to get into the music industry but trying to think about it as someone who was only a part of choir was overwhelming, not to mention voice lessons, dance lessons, and all of the show biz type stuff that you have to do. I don’t know… I just felt like Dana didn’t belong there, which I guess was the point, but it felt wrong to take that opportunity away from someone else just because she wanted to get out of her town. There are so many people who have that DREAM and while she may have been a natural performer, I don’t know… It just didn’t click for me and I actually was not rooting for her to make it in the industry. It really bothered me throughout the whole book and despite the fact that she was actually putting a great effort forth to grow and listen and perform… I still didn’t think that was the right place for her and I knew it the whole time.
Aside from that, let’s not even tap into the fact that four girls are chosen for this girl group and out of four in the whole country, Dana is selected ALONG WITH her best friend, even when she sings Happy Birthday and… that’s it. No other auditioning process? No other callback? No tests to see if she even knows how to read music or if she’s a good dancer or if she doesn’t have an attitude, etc etc etc?? I 100% understand selecting someone for their star quality but people aren’t selected because of that alone. There has to be something else going there to make someone think they can turn that person into a star and that the work is going to be worth it. They flat-out didn’t see enough of Dana to even know that.

The friend thing bothered me too. One of the reasons I loved Open Road Summer so much was the fact that the best friends were supportive and things didn’t get catty. One was the star, one was not, and it wasn’t a competition. I didn’t like that Olivia sort of abandoned her best friend for the other girls because they had more experience and were, for lack of a better word, cooler than Dana was. I didn’t like that this book pitted the two best friends against each other and then Olivia stabbed Dana in the back!!! Ugh UGH UGH. I couldn’t stand that.

I also just had more hope that this was going to have some more 90s/early 2000s type feelings with all of those shows like Making the Band and Popstars. That was what I immediately went to when I heard the girls were going to audition for a girl group and there were some feelings of it there but I would have loved to get a little more of that feel. There wasn’t much of a time era feel aside from music references, which I would have loved to see more of because HELLO 90s, like the best time ever (ha)! There wasn’t that nostalgia that I had hoped for at all.

There were other feelings I got from this book though, in so many ways. I actually felt a lot of Center Stage because of all of the industry moments and things we got to see that happen in closed-door meetings. People get cut from groups, deals are made, people get stabbed in the back, images are created. I also felt some That Thing You Do! and Selena with some of those musical moments about trying to get your music out there and be heard, so that was a fun feeling.

The book was entertaining but I feel like I had a totally different image going in. FIREWORKS is a cute title for it but the cover is pretty misleading for what the book is about (despite the fact that I love it). Things were not really fun and friendly… they were kind of catty. And the fireworks were a small part of the book although related to kind of a big concept. I feel like it made the book seem so much lighter and easy-going and it was intense show business work!

When it comes down to it, I enjoyed the read and it was quick but I can’t quite give it four stars because I didn’t feel like Dana ever fit into this world and it stuck out to me the whole time. I just felt like everyone was forcing her into that role even though SHE knew it wasn’t the right place for her either, even if she did have that star-quality. It made it hard for me to root for her to succeed because I didn’t feel like even she wanted it.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Not-quite-historical-fiction. I love books set in specific eras that aren’t quite historical fiction since they’re still somewhat current (even though the 80s are now 30 years ago and the 90s are 20 years ago!). It’s fun to have that nostalgia while still peeking into a time frame that I was actually alive and enjoying!
Left Me Wanting More: Fun. This book just wasn’t… fun. The girls were mean to each other, there wasn’t a lot of 90s nostalgia, and it all felt a bit dramatic. I just really was hoping for more a light summer read.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

Some people LOVED this book. It just didn’t work for me. I think I went into it thinking it was something else so I guess it depends on what you’re looking for!

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BOOKS LIKE FIREWORKS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    THE REECE MALCOLM LIST

It Started With Goodbye – Christina June

It Started With Goodbye – Christina JuneTitle: It Started With Goodbye by Christina June
Publishing Info: May 9, 2017 by HarperCollins
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Retelling
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 7, 2017

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

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I was so excited to read IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, Christina June’s debut novel! I’ve known Christina since we were first both bloggers way back in the day and it was such an honor to be able to read her debut novel and hold a physical copy of her ARC in my hands! I received a copy of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE from the publisher and it was so neat to read a book written by someone I had met and talked and to watch their journey to become a published author! The fact that I know Christina June does not affect my review in anyway aside from the fact that this was a big reason of why I wanted to read this book!

This book was very quick and easy read and a lovely modern take on Cinderella! Contemporary adaptations of fairy tales are always so interesting because I love seeing how magical things get adapted to a real world. I really loved the nod to the original fairy tale and how Christina June fit the story to a modern-day teenager. There were even some direct references to Cinderella which were so fun to note, along with the general story line that paralleled it.

IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE was a great book about finding yourself and being comfortable in your own skin. It’s hard as a teenager (okay, it’s hard as an adult sometimes too) and it made things even worse for Tatum with a stepmother who always seems to have it out for her and a stepsister who can do no wrong, following in her stepmother’s footsteps. Much like another recent Cinderella contemporary adaptation, GEEKERELLA, the modern take here also focuses on the redemption of the family members and the main character realizing that sometimes there is more behind that “evil” facade than meets the eye.

I actually wish there was more focus on the relationships in the beginning of the book because it was a little slow to start for me despite the fact that this was a very quick read. I wanted to just race through it and I found myself hitting rough patches with the direction of the plot and was hoping for more of a focus on the core relationships instead of branching out to include other acquaintances first. Especially with how short the book was (which I appreciated, actually!), I would have loved a stronger focus on the best friend and romance specifically, along with the family, instead of adding in more minor friends. I wasn’t as interested in the secondary characters and some of their stories seemed to take focus where I would have rather read about Tate, although I know a lot of my friends enjoyed those other friendships.
Also with the split of Tatum from her best friend, she felt sort of solitary throughout the first half of the book and I felt like she didn’t really have anyone to share the story with so secondary characters were forced into the mix. I would have loved to see some more heart-felt dialogue with someone she could share more secrets with and I was really missing that best friend vibe, or even just someone close that she could have talked to in the beginning. The cute little romance didn’t catch me right away, I think because the initial meet-up was crowded with other characters, so the warm-fuzzies got a little bogged down in the character relationships all around.

The family dynamic was the hit of this book for me and I really enjoyed how things progressed with each family member. Tatum establishes new relationships with her stepmom, stepsister, and even her dad, who had really always been in her corner but reached a point in this book where their relationship hit a turning point. With the kids growing up and stepmother Belen often in charge while he is out of town, Tatum’s relationship with her father really began to change and then mature throughout this book. I also really liked that the father-figure was just traveling for work and that was was created his frequent and long absences instead of death. We did have the absence of Tate’s mother but I liked that she wasn’t orphaned for this book!

IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE was an easy and quick read with some really well-founded family concepts. I didn’t quite connect with it like I had hoped but I feel like it’ll do great with the teen crowd (who is really its intended audience) who are going through the same situations with best friend fights, family relationships, and first-time big crushes. The Cinderella adaptation adds a really nice touch to this book and it’s a great pull into the story and motivation to pick it up!

 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Modern adaptations of fairy tales. I was so giddy when I found direct references to the original Cinderella fairy tale! I think this adaptation and concept were spot on and I loved the modern take.
Left Me Wanting More: Relationship focus. I felt like there was a strong focus on the family throughout the whole book but I was missing the best friend and/or crush vibe in the beginning. I think I’m just so used to reading young adult books that are constantly surrounding those two relationships that are so prominent in teenage lives that I come to expect that to the be the focus of every book. They were definitely still featured here but it didn’t feel like the strongest relationship of the book for me, which was okay but a little bit of a surprise for me.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE was a fun and quick read! I loved how the concept fit together and

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BOOKS LIKE IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE

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    THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS

Geekerella – Ashley Poston

Geekerella – Ashley PostonTitle: Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Publishing Info: April 4, 2017 by Quirk Books
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 16, 2017

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.
Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?
Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.

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GEEKERELLA, as its name implies, is a play on the classic Cinderella story and that’s one of the things that first attracted me to the book! I’m actually not a big Cinderella fan (I like it just fine but it’s not my favorite fairy tale or Disney movie), but throw “geek” in the title of anything and I am there! I also loved the concept of a contemporary adaptation of a fairy tale because I’ve read so few modern, non-fantasy/sci-fi retellings and Ashley Poston really did a great job of pulling this one off!

Firstly, I loved the characters. They were true to the Cinderella archetypes in many ways but also so uniquely themselves. I loved Elle and her geeky past (and present) growing up watching Starfield reruns with her dad. Her dad loved the show so much that he and her mom would cosplay and they started a whole conference for it, which ends up being a big part of the book. I adored THE GEEK’S GUIDE TO UNREQUITED LOVED, half because it had a con in it and it was amazing. Having attended Book Expo (and other book cons) the last handful of years, the concept has grown close to my heart and I loved seeing book characters enjoy the same things! Connected through the con (amongst other things), is Darien, heartthrob actor and… totally normal dude. I LOVED that Darien was this really big teen actor and just wanted to be a normal, geeky guy. He ends up being cast in the Starfield movie and everyone things he’ll screw it up because he’s known for being a totally different character and no one knows his nerdy side. (Which publicists and media people, whoever you are, let us see the geeky side!!! Don’t suppress it!) Anyway… these two are just adorable on their own and I had a hell of a time shipping them throughout this book!

Elle’s family was truly horrible but I did like that there were some gray areas. She does have an evil step-mom and some awful step-sisters but then there are times where readers realize things aren’t just in black and white. Some villains are still villains but others have a story behind their actions or are just along for the ride. GEEKERELLA was a book about everyone getting a chance to be them — whether each character seized that opportunity was up to them but I really appreciated that they all had the chance to stand up for what they believed in and what the loved.

GEEKERELLA is described as “part romance, part love letter to geek culture” and this is 100% true. Every nerd is geeky in their own way and I love that TV fanatics, comic book nerds, book-lovers, and more can appreciate the general nerdiness of this book and see themselves reflected in the characters. It was a positively delightful reading experience and I find myself gushing about it even more as I’m writing the review. It’s a book that sticks with your feels long after the end!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Geek Chic. I created a bookshelf on my Goodreads account called Geek Chic simply for those adorably nerdy books. This is definitely on there.
Left Me Wanting More: On-screen swooning time. Elle and Darien take a while to actually get together and it was kiiiiilling me. I wished we had seen just a bit more of them together before the book ended.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you love cute romances and/or geeky books, GEEKERELLA is totally for you! It also was not like A Cinderella Story and yet it was (a contemporary take on Cinderella and the texting, I guess) so I had happy teen memories while reading it too!

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BOOKS LIKE GEEKERELLA

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    THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD

By Your Side – Kasie West

By Your Side – Kasie WestTitle: By Your Side by Kasie West
Publishing Info: January 31, 2017 by HarperCollins
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 16, 2017
Related Posts: Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1), The Distance Between Us, On the Fence, Split Second (Pivot Point #2), The Fill-In Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.
When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.
Only he doesn’t come. No one does.
Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

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So it’s been a while since I finished this book before I started writing my review (two months, actually. Oops. Life has been busy, okay!?) and this is one of those books where my feelings about it change the further I get away from it. Some books I end up loving even more after the fact but BY YOUR SIDE sort of sticks out as one that’s fizzling out the more time that passes. When I first finsihed BY YOUR SIDE, it wasn’t a Kasie West favorite but it was cute and fluffy and just what I needed at the time… But the more time I spend away from the book, the more I realize how unrealistic it seemed which is such a shame because although Kasie West’s books are cute and light, they still have a sense of true, honest characters and some wonderfully realistic family and friend situations.

Let’s start with the good stuff. I did love Dax and how he came around to Autumn! I really liked seeing him let someone in and I’m a sucker for that boy-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks vibe. I didn’t totally love his story because I felt like it was maybe a bit too melodramatic for the current context and I thought he could have used a bit more personality… But he was definitely my favorite character of this book. I just love Kasie West’s romances and I always love a good bad-boy type finally opening up and falling for someone. It’s so cliche sometimes but it’s such a heart-warming trope that I’ll never get sick of it (as long as it’s done well). I instantly loved Dax and his whole vibe.

I also enjoyed the way that the book wrapped up. While I didn’t really love the journey to get there, I liked that it ended on a harmonious note and could have been incredibly dramatic. I actually kind of didn’t see that coming and I liked the way that Autumn’s friendships resolved, which is always something I enjoy in Kasie West’s books.

Now for all of the things in the middle that left me wanting…

I didn’t feel as much personality as I have from some of Kasie’s other female leads. While I appreciate how the book highlighted someone with an anxiety disorder, I didn’t really feel like it was realistic. Granted, I don’t personally deal with anxiety to that extent but I know several people who do — both socially/situationally and generalized anxiety — so this just didn’t really feel natural to me. While I appreciated that it was in the book, I’m not sure that it’s the most accurate portrayal. I did like that a plot point wasn’t how she discovered the extent of her anxiety but rather that she hadn’t told her friends about it because she didn’t want to be treated differently. I liked that she wasn’t embarrassed by it but just didn’t want to be treated like she was emotionally fragile, but on the flip side, that’s exactly the kind of things I would tell my friends and that they could support me on. It seems like she doesn’t really have a very good relationship with her friends if she can’t even tell them about her anxiety and panic attacks and they can’t even tell that she’s getting anxious and removing herself from situations.

It’s funny because in my initial reactions upon finishing, I wrote down how much I lvoed this friend group and how much her friends ended up supporting her… but that didn’t really happen until the very end of the book. Her friends left her in a library, didn’t notice she was missing, and hadn’t noticed for years that she gets anxious in certain situations and that’s why she’s leaving. They’re all too self-absorbed to notice, I guess. I did like the way that the book ended with these friendships but looking back, I feel like Autumn was not with the right group of friends. Too many of them seemed like they were not even interested in what Autumn was feeling and I felt like she was forcing her way into this friend group.

And let’s not even talk about how the main characters were locked in a library and neither one was like, “Dream come true!” Come on. You’re appealing to bookworms, here…

It’s weird how time changes your perspective on things. I’m not changing my rating because I did enjoy the book while reading it but I think this was the Kasie West book with the biggest problems and while I love all of her books, this one is at the bottom of my list. It’s a bummer because Kasie is one of my queens of contemporary! I’m hoping for better with the next book that’s coming out so soon!

Oh, and I happened to read it during the actual weekend that the book took place so high five for good timing! It just made it that much more fun.

Autumn // Character obsessions: Her crush, her friends, Dax
Soooo, Autumn. She fell pretty flat for me. She was a decent enough character to read about but she didn’t have nearly as much personality as Kasie West’s usual heroines! I always love Kasie’s strong, spunky, proud females and Autumn was much more subdued and shy to the point where she didn’t even feel comfortable with her friends.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Kasie West. This wasn’t my favorite but I will forever be a fan of her books! BY YOUR SIDE was not nearly as fun as her other works but I still enjoyed it while I was reading it.
Left Me Wanting More: Reality. Kasie West’s books can have deep or serious issues but they usually don’t feel so melodramatic. It wasn’t the anxiety but the way it was handled and portayed, amongst other things. I just really wish it had been a little bit different.

Addiction Rating
Try it

I still enjoyed the book and the less-than-happy thoughts didn’t hit me until later. Some loved it. Others didn’t. It’s worth a try!

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BOOKS LIKE BY YOUR SIDE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    26 kisses

Throwing My Life Away – Liz Czukas

Throwing My Life Away – Liz CzukasTitle: Throwing My Life Away by Liz Czukas, Ellie Cahill
Publishing Info: December 20, 2016 by Independent
Source: Author
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 6, 2016
Related Posts: Ask Again Later, Top Ten Clues You're Clueless, When Joss Met Matt, Call Me, Maybe, Just a Girl

7 photographs, 2 weeks, an entire life to get back. No problem, right?
After her stepfather accidentally throws away her high school mementos, sentimental Mariska is pretty sure the world is over. That is, until she comes up with a plan. She's going to recreate her past, with a little help from her friends.
It's not easy to rally everyone into helping, especially Caine, who couldn't be less sentimental about anything if he were a park bench. But from a guerilla kite festival to convincing her ex-boyfriend to recreate her lost prom picture, Mariska is willing to do what it takes.
With a little nudging from Caine, Mariska starts to realize she can't actually get her past back. And maybe that's okay. Because while she's so focused on the past, she's missing out on the present, where her friends are busy having the summer of their lives. And where funny, quiet Caine might just be the future she never knew she wanted.

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I’ve read everything Liz Czukas has written and loved them all so I was so excited to hear about Liz’s newest YA release, THROWING MY LIFE AWAY! As usual, Liz Czukas brings to life some lovable characters, realistic situations, and of course, some amazing friendships. THROWING MY LIFE AWAY was one of the most realistic contemporary stories I’ve read that was on the fluffier side (i.e. not dealing with serious life issues). Liz Czukas did a great job of bringing the average teen to life! The friendships were fun but not over the top. The crushes were superficial and then something more. The parental relationships were complicated, but not too serious for the tone of the novel. It was a light, easy read full of fun, nostalgia, and a good message too.

What you need to know about THROWING MY LIFE AWAY is that it’s the story of Mariska, a girl who has just graduated high school and is enjoying the last summer at home before she and all of her friends leave for college. When her step-dad accidentally brings all of her old photos and memories to the shredder, Mariksa embarks upon an epic summer quest to try to recreate as many of those memories as possible. Now, I don’t doubt Liz Czukas but I was a little scared before I started that this story would be TOO perfect, imagining that Mariska would end up recreating all of her memories fairly accurately. Instead, I found an incredibly enjoyable story where Mariska’s memories got destroyed and her quest to recreate them didn’t totally work out. In fact, it actually came together in a much better way by ending up with new memories and different photos instead of her getting the exact pictures she used to have. I loved that she couldn’t recreate the past and instead, made a much better present and future.

I didn’t connect with this book AS much as I had with some of the other Liz Czukas books I’ve read, but that’s bound to happen when you read so many different and wonderful characters. I still loved everyone that I met and the situations were just delightful as well as insightful. I mostly have just connected with other books of Liz’s better, so that ends up affecting any future reads, this being one of them. I still think Mariska and her friends/family were incredibly realistic and they were so much fun to read about! The book was done so well and it’s such an enjoyable concept as well.

I’m a life-long fan of Liz Czukas and I’m so happy I got to read this book early! I’m always so happy to be able to read the latest from this wonderful author because I think in all of her books, whether that’s young adult or new adult (as Ellie Cahill), she does a wonderful job of keeping a light and fun tone but still incorporating some serious moments and realistic situations. I will forever be scrambling to pick up anything new from her!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Fluff yet real. “Real fluff” — this is my new favorite contemporary genre. Is a real thing? I don’t know. But Liz Czukas totally nails it if it is. It’s fun and light without being overly serious and yet it’s still very realistic and has a lot of thoughtful moments as well as life-lessons.
Left Me Wanting More: Character connection. I don’t know why but I didn’t connect AS much as I had with previous books. But I guess I can’t very well have everything be a super favorite!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

Start from the beginning and work your way forward through Liz’s books. She’s a gem and her books are too!

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BOOKS LIKE THROWING MY LIFE AWAY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE    THE CHAPEL WARS

If You Liked… Gilmore Girls

One of my favorite parts about being a book blogger is sharing the books that I love with others. I absolutely love sharing my favorite reads and recommending them to others who are looking to fall in love with a new book!

12 YA BOOKS FOR GILMORE GIRLS FANS

It’s almost time for new Gilmore Girls!!! Are you so excited!? I usually do these book recommendation guides for other books but with new episodes of Gilmore Girls coming out, I thought this would be a fun opportunity to make some book recommendations based off of the show! I decided to stick to strictly young adult book recommendations since I don’t read a lot of adult outside of fantasy and I came up with some unexpected recommendations but for good reasons! Check out what I picked below!


books for gilmore girls fans


IF YOU LIKED GILMORE GIRLS

The Distance Between UsTry… THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Kasie West.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

I love all of Kasie West’s books but I think this is a great one for fans of Gilmore Girls! Main character Cayman lives with her mom and together they run a doll shop. I love the mother-daughter relationship in this book! I think Gilmore Girls-fans would appreciate the relationship that Cayman has with her mom and really the overall story is a lot of fun too. The book explore family, friendships, first loves, and more, PLUS this book was the whip-smart sass that I think Lorelai and Rory possess. What more could you ask for in a reading recommendation?

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill cover
Try… MEANT TO BE by Lauren Morrill.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

I like MEANT TO BE as a recommendation because it’s just plain fun on so many levels and I think main character Julia has a lot in common with younger Rory. Julia loves her pocket Shakespeare and Rory has an appreciation of all books but also the classics. I think Julia appeals to the nerdier side of Rory and holds some of the same naive ideals that season one Rory had. Julia may be a little bit more naive than Rory but I still like that little nerdy bookish side to her! I also love the hate-to-love romance in MEANT TO BE which is something that Rory also sees in a couple love interests throughout the show!

the start of me and you emery lord
Try… THE START OF ME AND YOU by Emery Lord.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
This is another intellectual-type comparison and I actually think Paige and Rory are a lot alike in many ways. I can see them sharing a lot of the same interests and even participating in things like Quiz Bowl. I also really like the friendships that Paige makes and maintains throughout the book. She has some amazing friends with her core friend group (like Lane), meets a new love interest that she wasn’t expecting, and also finds unexpected friends with her Quiz Bowl team, including a girl that she finds hard to understand and get along with at first who kind of reminds me of Rory’s frenemy relationship with Paris in a way!

my life next doorTry… MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
Want a book in another Connecticut town? MY LIFE NEXT DOOR takes place in the Connecticut suburbs! It’s not as small town as Gilmore Girls but it does feature many local businesses and a variety of families. While the Garretts are a much bigger family than the twosome of Lorelai and Rory, they have an amazing family dynamic that totally makes the book. I don’t usually like books with so many younger kids but even the youngest characters came alive here. I also love the budding relationship between Jase and Samantha and how it not only affected them but also their families. Rory is so close with her mom that her relationships are also important to the family dynamic and the same goes for Jase and his family!

since you've been goneTry… SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE by Morgan Matson.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE isn’t so much of a direct comparison to the TV show but I think it’s a fun read for Gilmore Girls fans! I love the little missions that Sloane leaves for Emily and I think it feels like the same fun and fierce atmosphere that Gilmore Gils has. You see Emily learning about herself through her family and friends, pushing outside of her comfort zone, and really putting herself out there. I just think this book has the same sort of vibe and Gilmore Girls fans could appreciate it!

THE CONSPIRACY OF US
Try… THE CONSPIRACY OF US by Maggie Hall.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
THE CONSPIRACY OF US isn’t a book one might normally pick as a Gilmore Girls comparison but it has a lot of the same elements that I love about the show! Avery has such a tight relationship with her mom and I really love their relationship. Although you might not think that an international, jet-setting, multiple country thriller fits with the show and it doesn’t exactly in feel… But there’s also no shortness of sass, sarcasm, and wit that I always enjoy from Lorelai and Rory! I love the team of strong and intelligent people in this book and I think that’s something to be appreciated. There’s also a bit of some head-butting between the boys and I can relate with the guys having some fights over Rory! Plus, I can’t recommend ALL contemporary books. We want to get a little variety to our reading, right?

Try… NANTUCKET BLUE by Leila Howland.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
This is a book I recommend quite a bit. Cricket is a character who I feel such a connection to in the sense that she’s like the girl next door. She has a good relationship with her family, even if she does get a little pressure about school sometimes, and a best friend who becomes extended family. She’s a very hard-working and loyal person which I think are qualities always appreciated in the Gilmore realm and I actually think she’s a lot like Lorelai in her determination to work and really earn her way for what she wants. I think the overall vibe is there as well, although NANTUCKET BLUE may be a bit more on the serious side with a little less witty banter!

Confessions of an Angry Girl Try… CONFESSIONS OF AN ANGRY GIRL by Louise Rozett.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

This is another book I recommend quite a bit because there’s a whole lot of important things going on here. There’s the loss of a father and how the family handles this loss. There’s a mother-daughter relationship which may not always be as tight as Lorelai and Rory but I really appreciated seeing them work on it. And there’s, of course, Jamie Forta (swooooooon). Jamie is a little bit of a bad boy and just from his description, he REALLY reminds me of Jess Mariano. He may not have an uncle Luke but just his overall vibe and the way he interacts with Rose somehow really reminds me of Jess!

The Raven Boys - Maggie SteifvaterTry… THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

If you’re up for a bit of magical realism and borderline paranormal, THE RAVEN BOYS has some really, really, really amazing relationships and that awesome small-town feel. Main character Blue (yes, that’s her real name) has an amazing relationship with her mother Maura and becomes friends with some local Raven Boys (the boys that attend the private school in town) despite how much she had previously tried to avoid them in the past. The town of Henrietta is small and has such personality — not in the same way that Stars Hollow does but in its own special right. I also love the addition of the other secondary characters of the series who add such vibrance to these books. Blue and Maura live with friends and fellow psychics who are like family to Blue and I love the camaraderie of all of the Raven Boys as well. I think they bring the same feel to the series that characters like Sookie, Miss Patty, Babette, and Kirk bring to the Gilmore Girls atmosphere. It’s a wonderful mix of personalities that really bring the book to life much like the fun cast of characters adds that extra layer to Gilmore Girls!

26 kisses anna michelsTry… 26 KISSES by Anna Michels.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
This another cutesy sort of book but I really enjoyed so many things here. Veda’s split from her serious boyfriend kind of reminded me of Rory’s relationship with Dean and although they may not have taken the same approaches post-relationship, I liked how they both got a little surer of themselves and ended up discovering a new piece of their life independently from their relationships. I also liked the lighter feel of this book and how it was just a feel-good sort of story!

my lady janeTry… MY LADY JANE by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

MY LADY JANE is really nothing like Gilmore Girls in content but it’s the same sort of humor that I think GG fans would love! It’s a historical fiction account of Lady Jane Grey but think of The Princess Bride meets Monty Python. The book is clever through and through and there are so many witty moments, anachronisms, and pop culture jabs that really make the book laugh-out-loud funny. Although I wouldn’t say it’s normally a book I’d recommend as a “read alike”, I think the humor would really appeal to fans of Gilmore Girls!

The Scorpio Races paperback cover
Try… THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
I accidentally ended up with two Maggie Stiefvater books on this list (what can I say? They’re amazing). This one is quite different than THE RAVEN BOYS but actually the reasons I selected it are similar, the first being the small-town sense of community. THE SCORPIO RACES takes place on the island of Thisby which is a fictional island of unknown origins but seems to be somewhere off the coast of the UK. Everyone knows everyone on the island. The families are very tight and the townspeople really bring a lot to the story. I love how the main characters interact with the town and how the small-town feel really affects every person as well. It may not be another Gilmore Girls feel but this is one book that I really love for its sense of community, even if the community is not always on the side of the main characters.


I always have a blast picking out recommendations and I hope Gilmore fans agree with these! There are some recommendations that are a little outside of the box but I like the elements that connect to some fundamental Gilmore themes!

Looking for more recommendations? Check out my previous list of recs below!

 

 

Kids of Appetite – David Arnold

Kids of Appetite – David ArnoldTitle: Kids of Appetite by David Arnold
Publishing Info: September 20, 2016 by Penguin
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 19, 2016

Victor Benucci and Madeline Falco have a story to tell.
It begins with the death of Vic’s father.
It ends with the murder of Mad’s uncle.
The Hackensack Police Department would very much like to hear it.
But in order to tell their story, Vic and Mad must focus on all the chapters in between.

This is a story about:

1. A coded mission to scatter ashes across New Jersey.
2. The momentous nature of the Palisades in winter.
3. One dormant submarine.
4. Two songs about flowers.
5. Being cool in the traditional sense.
6. Sunsets & ice cream & orchards & graveyards.
7. Simultaneous extreme opposites.
8. A narrow escape from a war-torn country.
9. A story collector.
10. How to listen to someone who does not talk.
11. Falling in love with a painting.
12. Falling in love with a song.
13. Falling in love.

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I should have guessed that I’d be a little bit of a black sheep on this one. I know so many people who rave about David Arnold and though I still haven’t read MOSQUITOLAND yet, I did get to meet David Arnold last year at Anderson’s YA Lit Conference and he was just so delightful! I was really excited to receive a copy of KIDS OF APPETITE from the publisher (I actually received an ARC from Penguin Random House and audio from Listening Library) for review and for participation in the blog tour.

It wasn’t that I disliked KIDS OF APPETITE. It was very well-written, clever (especially the way the ending tied up), and displayed some really beautiful friendships… But I know that I’m not in the right place in my life to read this book. I’ve been avoiding more “serious” contemporary novels as of late as a personal preference and prefer lighter, fluffier contemporary novels to balance out some more serious things in my life right now so I just didn’t appreciate some of the heavier moments in KIDS OF APPETITE that others may connect or sympathize with.

It was a little bit of a style clash too. There were just little things in the book that went against the grain of what I connect with as a reader that really stood out to me. There was just something about this group of kids that I just can’t put my finger on that I just really didn’t connect with. Maybe it was the audiobook narrators that played into that a little bit but despite the detailed character histories, uniqueness, and diversity, I just had a hard time feeling like I really connected with them and I’m not sure why. Then there were little things like the many, many instances of repetition that really got under my skin. I just really hate when things are repeated over and over again and I know that it’s like a mantra but Vic’s “super racehorse” was repeated way too much and it started to bother me. Again, a personal preference that just happened to clash with this book.

I also just never really got into the book overall. I think it was almost too much for me. There was a lot going on which wasn’t BAD but I don’t know… I just didn’t quite connect with everything. Like the characters were somehow too distant for me to connect with or our personalities didn’t mesh. Everything came together really, really well and I was expecting how everything really clicked into place so that was really awesome! The writing was really quite good but I think it just isn’t quite my style, or at least not something that I’m looking for at this point in time. What’s even more sad is that now I don’t feel the pull to read MOSQUITOLAND since I didn’t quite connect with this book.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Source: Digital review copy from Listening Library
Narrator: Phoebe Strole, Michael Crouch, Ryan Vincent Anderson
Performance: Very good

The narrators weren’t my favorites but I still think they did a very good job with this book! I didn’t quite connect to the as much as I had hoped, though. I think there wasn’t as much energy and enthusiasm for each character like I always hope for and for some reason the narration for all of them just fell a little flat. It probably didn’t help that I wasn’t super connected to the story though. I’d be interested in trying more of Phoebe Strole’s narrations but I wasn’t super sold on Michael Crouch which is a shame because I think a lot of people like him!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Bands of misfits. I really loved how this group of kids really came together because of their many differences. I love with “misfits” form their own group/gang and seeing how their relationships grow because of their uniqueness!
Left Me Wanting More: Connection. It’s just one of those books for me, I guess. I think maybe it was just too much in a few too many ways and it just wasn’t my personal favorite style.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

I may or may not be a good resource for you on this. I know some people who have felt the same way and we are just the people who don’t jive here… But I have MANY friends who absolutely loved it. Check out your trusty reviewers and see what they had to say!!

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BOOKS LIKE KIDS OF APPETITE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    we are the ants

Kids of Appetite Blog Tour | Book Recommendations for Characters

banner Welcome to the blog tour for
Kids of Appetite by David Arnold!

I am so excited to be on the blog tour for KIDS OF APPETITE by David Arnold! I was so excited to dive into this book because I’ve heard nothing but good things about David Arnold and his books! Thanks to Penguin Random House for having me be a part of this blog tour!

For today’s blog tour post, I’m sharing some book recommendations for the characters! I always take pride in giving out book recommendations and I think it’s so much fun to wonder what books these characters might like, especially with one character being a reader! (Or at least obsessed with one book) Check out my selections below — and no worries! There are no spoilers for KIDS OF APPETITE!

VICTOR

Victor is one of the main characters in KIDS OF APPETITE and admittedly is not a reader. For Victor’s book recs, I opted for reads that deal with more close-to-real-life events that he might relate to. I didn’t think Vic would like reading fantasy or sci-fi or if he might end up enjoying them someday, they’re not the books to throw a non-reader into, as thrilling as they might be. I tried to pick books that Victor might either relate to or connect to on a broader level and that wouldn’t be super long or intimidating.
I also chose some books for him that I thought he’d appreciate for the beauty in their asymmetry.

  • The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn | A quick read, a gripping concept, and a kid just trying to find his place within a group
  • When We Collided by Emery Lord | The loss of a father and two unique souls finding each other in a complicated world
  • The Distance from Me to You by Marina Gessner | I thought Vic might appreciate the reality and true setting of this book! It’s also a book about finding yourself and gaining confidence.
  • Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson | Maybe not quite Vic’s style but I thought he would connect with the concept of following a list left behind by a loved one
  • Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick | This totally seems like a Vic book. It’s a story about traveling souls and has all of the heart that he so loves about his father. It’s also one of the most unique books I’ve ever read and I think Victor would appreciate its depth, writing style, and content
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein | I think Vic would appreciate some historial fiction. CODE NAME VERITY is one of the best historical fiction books I’ve read and although it’s not short, I couldn’t put it down. I think he’d stay hooked and even as a non-reader, he’d be interested.

MAD

Mad is a reader, at least when it comes to THE OUTSIDERS. I think she’d appreciate similar books or similar concepts, as well as books that show the connection between characters and strong bonds.

  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo | Mad loves THE OUTSIDERS and even though SIX OF CROWS is a fantasy, I think she’d love the kids of The Dregs and everything their stories/histories encompass.
  • We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson | I don’t know why but I just get a feeling that Mad would like WE ARE THE ANTS. This is one of those book recommendations that I make not necessarily on content but on an over all feel/vibe and I just see this one clicking with Mad.
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven | This is another feel/vibe recommendation and I really like the connection that occurs between Violet and Finch when they both grasp onto that connection between each other. It reminds me a little of Vic and Mad in a way.
  • This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales | I think Mad would love Elise and her story of pursuing what she really loves, marching to the beat of her own drum, and finding friends in unexpected places.
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell | Aside from the fact that I think she could enjoy the book, FANGIRL has a specific OUTSIDERS scene and she would gobble that right up!
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman | IF I STAY is a story about love, loss, friendship, and tough decisions. I think Mad could appreciate all of these things.

COCO

I don’t know if Coco would be interested in reading so I tried to choose books for her that I think would hold her attention, characters she could root for, and books that incorporated a lot of action! Coco seems like a sponge, eager to soak up knowledge and I can really see her getting into exciting action sequences!

  • Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce | I recently read ALANNA and I think it would be a fun book for Coco! With Coco being that gap between middle grade and young adult, I think ALANNA would be such a fun book and series to grow with.
  • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech | WALK TWO MOONS may be a little more serious than I’d normally suggest for Coco but it’s such a beautiful story and I think she could relate to Sal, who ends up finding out information about her family — specifically her parents — along the way.
  • The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan | THE RED PYRAMID is such a fun book and I can totally see Coco going for action/adventure/fantasy. She has a curious mind and I can see her imagination running wild with this adventure! Plus, main character Sadie is so sassy, Coco would just love it.
  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead | I think Coco could also read up to some young adult books! She’s very mature for her age and has a lot of world experience already that has forced her to grow up qucikly. I chose VAMPIRE ACADEMY because I think she’d love Rose and I can totally see her cheering on these characters in their quests!
  • Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard | I also think SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY would be a fun book for Coco! It’s a young adult read that easily encompasses all ages, has action and adventure, and Eleanor is a great heroine who doesn’t take crap from anyone.
  • Also Known As by Robin Benway | I could totally see Coco getting into spy/espionage novels! ALSO KNOWN AS is so much fun, has a great main character, is smart and sassy, and as a bonus, it takes place in New York.

BAZ

Baz is an interesting character for book recommendations! Being that he’s compiling his own book, I think he’d be interested in checking out different writing styles. I also think he’s extremely interested in personal connections, friendships, and situations that better people’s lives. The books I chose for him were ones I think he’d appreciate on various levels and offer strong bonds as well as deep lessons.

  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell | Baz is sort of the caretaker for the Kids of Appetite and I think he’d really appreciate this beautiful friendship between Eleanor and Park and how the whole story starts because Park just wanted to reach out to Eleanor.
  • The Lies About Truth by Courtney C. Stevens | I love this book for Baz because of its depth and the complicated friendships detailed throughout the book. It’s also one book that I remember specifically for its characters and how real they felt and I think Baz would appreciate this reality of bringing people to live in a novel.
  • Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine KuderickStardust by Neil GaimanBeauty Queens by  Libba Bray | These may seem like odd choices but since Baz is pursuing a writer career (or more specifically, writing a specific book), I like all of these suggestions to really give him a taste of different literary styles! KISS OF BROKEN GLASS is a story written in verse. STARDUST is a modern novel with a fairy tale feel. BEAUTY QUEENS is a great example of satire (and I’m sure some of those girls would remind him of Coco’s spunk)!
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry | I think Baz would love THE GIVER on so many levels. It’s the perfect story to show how a Utopian enviroment isn’t always what it appears, amazing love for a family that is not blood-related, a strong mentor bond, and all of the lessons that Jonas learns along his journey.

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Don’t forget to check out he rest of the KIDS OF APPETITE blog tour! All the stops are listed below and each blog has something special in store!

Week One:
Monday, 9/19: Owl Always Be Reading (Review)
Tuesday, 9/20: Bookish Lifestyle (Top 5 Reasons to Read KoA)
Wednesday, 9/21: Perpetual Page Turner (Interview)
Thursday, 9/22: YA Bibliophile (Review)
Friday, 9/23: Fiction Fare (Favorite KoA Quotes)
Week Two:
Monday, 9/26: Bookiemoji (CYO KoA Group of Misfits)
Tuesday, 9/27: Here’s to Happy Endings (Review)
Wednesday, 9/28: Grownup Fangirl (Review + Instagram)
Thursday, 9/29: Book Addict’s Guide (Review)
Friday, 9/30: ButterMyBooks (KoA Bookish Scents)
Week Three:
Monday, 10/3: YA Wednesdays (What Makes You a KoA)
Tuesday, 10/4: Lost in Lit (KoA Lookbook/Mood Board)
Wednesday, 10/5: MundieMoms (KoA Playlist)
Thursday, 10/6: Andi’s ABCs (Review)
Friday, 10/7: Bookworm Everlasting (Review + Instagram)

Thanks so much for taking the time to check out the blog tour for KIDS OF APPETITE! I had so much fun picking out these book recommendations and I would hope the characters would love them! What would be your book recommendations for the KOA crew?