Liz Grant is preparing for the perfect summer. Things are finally supposed to be easy. She’s friends with a new popular crowd. She’s about to become the girlfriend of the richest and most handsome boy in her small North Carolina town. Her sister’s getting married. But then Jason Sullivan gets released from juvie early. They were best friends as children. He ditched her in middle school, then got arrested for attacking and disfiguring the older brother of Liz’s new beau. Liz has never known what to believe about Jason’s arrest, but the rest of the town and her own family have no such qualms. With lots and lots and lots of romance (which obviously is my favorite), this story shows Liz struggling between what she believes to be true and what everyone around her wants.
I was drawn to the book because of the premise, I was totally hooked because of the fantastic feminist undertones woven in and out of the story. Also, of course, the smoochy, swoony scenes didn’t make me like it any less. Continue reading “The Last Time We Were Us, by Leah Konen”
These days, I love a short book. There is something so fun about sitting down and reading a book in one sitting. Although I will definitely make exceptions. Here are the ten longest books I’ve ever read. They range from War and Peace (which I read when I was an annoying sixteen-year-old pretty much just to say that I’d read it) to one of the more scandalous romance sagas I’ve ever encountered – with a nice dose of George R.R. Martin on the list as well. What is the longest book you’ve read? Do you like long books or short books better? Let me know in the comments! Continue reading “Ten Longest Books I’ve Read”
- I’ve been struggling with writing and revising and productivity, but this week I made a calendar for how much I want to write every week for the next six weeks. It’s already making me more accountable. I really, really want to get this draft done this summer (hopefully ready for beta readers by the end of July!). If this doesn’t work, I’m going to have to go back to the Trump plan that worked so well during thesis semester.
- Reading’s been a bit slower this week, but I did finally read The Last Star, by Rick Yancey. I’m not sure I entirely understood the mechanics of how the story ended (the science went right over my head) but I was happy to finish this amazing series.
- This week was my first week as a lead instructor at my job. I taught a fiction workshop to nine and ten year olds in the morning. Their stories were all so so amazing. I want to have that much imagination!
- In a few hours, I’m heading to the airport to go see my sister in LA. I’m unbelievably excited for sister chats, sister cuddling, sister massages, and maybe even a sister camping trip.
Hope your week has been full of good things too!
Last week, I was lucky enough to sit on a hard wooden bench on the lower level of McNally Jackson Books and hear David Levithan and Nina LaCour read from their new book You Know Me Well. David Levithan has long been one of my favorite authors and I’m totally obsessed with Nina LaCour’s novel, Everything Leads to You, so I’ve been looking forward to this book pretty much since it was announced. Still, despite this excitement the mood was somber. To be discussing LGBT YA fiction just days after the Orlando shooting felt hard, appropriate but hard. With readings that ranged from full of grief to full of pride and hope – I knew I’d start reading this book right away. Despite my high expectations, it did not disappoint. Like many Levithan collaborations the story takes place within a fixed amount of time. This time a week, the week leading up to San Francisco’s Pride Parade no less. Continue reading “You Know Me Well, by Nina LaCour & David Levithan”
How is the year almost half over? Last week, I wrote about ten books I’m looking forward to being released in the next six months. Today, I’m giving you my favorite ten books that have been released so far in 2016. Which of these have you read so far? What 2016 releases have I missed? Let me know in comments! Continue reading “Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year”
Sorry for dropping my blogging hat for the week. It was a big one (hence the lack of blogging), with lots of good things.
- I started a new job! I was just in training this week, but I’m teaching creative writing to nine and ten year olds. It’s definitely weird to be in a classroom again, and having to get up early and take a crowded subway all the way across town isn’t the most fun. But the kids are so imaginative and focused. It was a really great first week and tomorrow I’ll be the lead teacher for a new class.
- On Tuesday, I got to see Lisa Williamson, Stephanie Perkins, Nina LaCour, and David Levithan at McNally Jackson to celebrate Nina and David’s new book You Know Me Well. I finished the book on my aforementioned subway rides and it is fantastic. And after the sadness of Orlando, it was wonderful to celebrate LGBT books.
- I’m also almost done with I Love Dick, by Chris Kraus. It is a very strange book that half my friends are obsessed with. It’s definitely not what I normally read, but I’m definitely enjoying it.
- My dad and stepmom came to visit this week. It was great to see them and also meant yummy restaurants, going to see the show She Loves Me (which was fantastic!), and visiting the New York Historical Society.
- I wrote another post for BookRiot!
In December, I blogged about the 2016 book releases for the first half of the year that I was most excited about. My grandfather says time flies whether you’re having fun or not. Luckily, even though the last 5 months have gone by incredibly quickly, for the most part they’ve been fun. But now it’s time to list book releases for the second half of the year. Here are some books I’m really excited to read in the upcoming months. Continue reading “Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For The Second Half Of The Year”
- Lots of good reading time this week! I reviewed The Art of Being Normal, by Lisa Williamson yesterday and also really enjoyed Love & Gelato, by Jenna Evans Welch. Two very, very different books. I was especially excited to read Love & Gelato because it’s represented by an agent I got to know at my summer internship last year.
- I started listening to a new podcast 88 Cups of Tea, which features interviews with lots of writers of YA and children’s book. I’d start with the recent interview with Jenny Han. I was obsessed and am listening through old episodes like crazy.
- Everything seems better when you aren’t dripping in sweat. The weather finally cooled down in NYC this week. On Sunday, my roommate and I went for a long walk in the rain to celebrate the lower temperatures.
*Sometimes I blog about writing in my weekly wrap up post … but, frankly, it hasn’t been going that good this week. I’m working on feeling okay about that. Just like everything, I’ve learned that a certain zone of writing never lasts forever. I had a really long block of time feeling really productive and really positive about my story – now it’s a little harder, but I will get back into that positive zone again. And until then, I’ll keep trying.*
There are not very many books about transgender teenagers. More than there used to be, but still not enough. Which is one of the reasons I was eager to read The Art of Being Normal, by Lisa Williams. I read with great hope but also a pinch of trepidation because negative representation can be just as harmful, or more harmful, than no representation. As a cisgendered person, I’m not the best person to comment on this, but I do want to link this review (which, be warned, does contain spoilers) by a transgender blogger which points strengths and weakness within the story.
This British novel, alternates perspectives between David and Leo. David wants to be a girl. Leo, who also has secrets, wants to fly under the radar at his new school. This becomes harder when he stands up for David in a fight and the two become friends. But when secrets become unsecret, as the back cover will tell you, things are about to get messy. Plenty of drama ensues to propel the story forward. Continue reading “The Art of Being Normal, by Lisa Williamson”
Guys, at first it was really hard for me to come up with this Tuesday’s topic. I LOVE so many bookish things. There were so many options. But Stephanie Perkins is on my mind because one of my best friends finally read the Anna/Lola/Isla books and I finished Summer Days and Summer Nights (which Perkins edited) recently. Also I have like a thousand, or at least a hundred, reasons I love her so coming up with the top ten isn’t that hard. Here we go!
- So much romance! I loved Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and Isla and the Happily Ever After for so many reasons. But the biggest reason is that they are SO ROMANTIC. Serious swooning. I love how Perkins writes scenes where just sleeping together is more romantic than anything else that could happen … I also don’t mind the scene where more than just sleeping happens (winky face emoji).
- Female characters with strong passions. Anna loves movies. Isla loves fashion and costumes. A lot of the Isla story is about her not knowing herself and not knowing what she wants to do, but she loves reading and comics and adventure stories.
- Amazing settings. Paris. New York City. San Francisco. Barcelona. These novels take place in such magical cities and Perkins writes about them so perfectly!
- I love all three books, but Isla and the Happily Ever After is my favorite. It came out my first week in New York. I read it three times lying on a mattress on the floor, trying not to freak out about the fact that I lived here and it was so so scary.
- Even though Isla is my favorite book, Cricket Bell is my favorite boy in the series. He. Is. So. Dreamy. The rubber bands. The way is pants fit. Everything.
- I’ve really loved the two YA short story compilations Stephanie Perkins has edited. My True Love Gave to Me and Summer Days and Summer Nights are full of romantic stories by some of my favorite YA authors. I highly recommend reading both of them.
- She’s been very open about being a writer and having depression in blog posts here and here and here. I read all three posts during my time in Big Sur trying to decide if I wanted to “be a writer” and they were incredibly helpful to me as a writer and a human. So brave.
- Her idea about creating love lists for story ideas is something I’ve used and relied on during revision. It’s some of the best writing advice I’ve ever received.
- She also gave some great NaNoWriMo advice.
- I met her the night I turned in my critical thesis first semester. I totally cried I was so excited to meet her. I’ve never reacted to any other author that way. And she was THE KINDEST, most gracious person about it. She gave me a hug. We took a picture. She asked me about my writing and chatted with me. I saw her at another event later in the week and she remembered me. Magic.
Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting this weekly book meme. Also, if you’ve read Stephanie Perkins I would love to know what your favorite book is. If you haven’t, do you have an author you feel this way about?