The Rose and the Dagger, by Renée Ahdieh

23308084Somehow, I didn’t end up reviewing The Wrath and the Dawn this fall when I read it, which makes no sense because it was one of my favorite books of 2015. I did do a marry, date, or dump devoted to the book (now I’d add Rahim in to the mix and that might shake all the answers up). The book was perfect, and if you haven’t read it stop reading this review and go check it out before I SPOIL anything about it for you. So in a week when many favorite authors had books released, The Rose and the Dagger is the one I had to read first. And I’m so glad I did. Because, perhaps improbably, this book was perfection to0. Two perfect companion books! Which makes it so much fun to experience as a reader and as a writer. Because, how??? But also… yes! swoon! oh my god! Only these disjointed thoughts for the most part came to me after setting the book down. While I was reading it I had few thoughts except for being totally immersed in the story. So if you are looking for an intelligent or critical review of this book, perhaps you should stop reading too. I’m just going to fangirl all over it for a few minutes, and then get on with my Friday.  Continue reading “The Rose and the Dagger, by Renée Ahdieh”

Truest, by Jackie Lea Sommers

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*One of my favorite books I’ve read this year – Truest, by Jackie Lea Sommers – came out this week! Here is my review!*

I’ve been excited about reading Truest, by Jackie Lea Sommers, for a long time. A really really long time. Why? Because I’ve been reading her blog since before she even got an agent. And because after she wrote this guest post about belonging to a writing group, Jackie and I stayed in touch and she such a big inspiration and support on my writing/grad school/hopefully eventually publishing journey. She is such a caring person and her blog posts are so well-written and interesting that I couldn’t wait to get the book in my hands. Those were the reasons I was excited to read Truest. After finishing the book (in basically one sitting) here are the reasons you should be excited about it…

The story follows small-town pastor’s daughter, Westlin Beck through the summer before her senior year. In the beginning, she seems like she has everything figured out. Her father is one of the most respected men in town. Continue reading “Truest, by Jackie Lea Sommers”

Another Day, by David Levithan

18459855Every Day was the first book by David Levithan I read (now apparently one of my most-read authors). I didn’t pick the book (my friend who wrote the blog with me back then did). The thought of getting an MFA, let alone taking a YA literature class from David himself, weren’t even on my radar. But the book was very exciting to me. It pushed the boundaries of what I thought writing and story telling could do. Still, I guess even then I found myself wanting more. In my review, I wrote, “Rhiannon’s journey is every bit as compelling as A’s”. This is a sentiment shared by many readers and, apparently, the author as well because this month companion novel Another Day covers the same timeline told from Rhiannon’s journey.  It’s a story that can be read just as easily on its own as in tandem with Levithan’s early novel – and let me tell you (written in a high-squeely-over-excited tone of voice) it is so so goodContinue reading “Another Day, by David Levithan”

A Tale of Two Besties, by Sophia Rossi

23493735Hi friends and happy Friday! I decided to do a double book review week, since I also finished A Tale of Two Besties, by Sophia Rossi, which Penguin Young Readers generously gave me a review copy of in exchange for my honest opinion. This book was really cute. It tells the story of two best friends (unsurprisingly), Harper and Lily, who are starting high school and going to different schools for the first time. Harper has always been the cool one, who looks out for Lily (who’s personality and decision to wear a pair of costume wings all the time have earned her the nickname gawkward fairy). When the two switch positions in their new high schools, their friendship hits a major hurdle. The book focuses on how each girl deals with her new social status and the changes that occur within their friendship. If you want more from a summary, you can read the goodreads copy hereContinue reading “A Tale of Two Besties, by Sophia Rossi”

Book Review: About a Girl, by Sarah McCarry

22813444I was excited to read About a Girl, by Sarah McCarry. The plot of a girl running away to find out more about her past from a famous musician really intrigued me. I had some mixed feels about the book, but overall I’m glad I read it. Before I continue with my thoughts, here’s a brief summary from goodreads: Eighteen-year-old Tally is absolutely sure of everything: her genius, the love of her adoptive family, the loyalty of her best friend, Shane, and her future career as a Nobel prize-winning astronomer. There’s no room in her tidy world for heartbreak or uncertainty—or the charismatic, troubled mother who abandoned her soon after she was born. But when a sudden discovery upends her fiercely ordered world, Tally sets out on an unexpected quest to seek out the reclusive musician who may hold the key to her past—and instead finds Maddy, an enigmatic and beautiful girl who will unlock the door to her future. Continue reading “Book Review: About a Girl, by Sarah McCarry”

Book Review: Pointe, by Brandy Colbert

13360957 (1)You know how everyone says that junior year is the hardest one in high school? That’s more true for Theo from Pointe, by Brandy Colbert, than it is for any person I’ve ever met or any character I’ve ever read. This book initially intrigued me based on two recommendations and the premise of an African American elite ballet student. However, there is a lot more going on in this book than just that.

Theo feels like she’s finally got her life back on track. She’s eating … most of the time. She’s dating guys who might not be appropriate, but who are at least her age. She’s got two supportive best friends, maintains a good relationship with her parents, and is well on her way to becoming an elite ballerina. But all of this is changes when oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after being kidnapped four years ago. He isn’t talking about what happened. He isn’t talking at all. But Theo recognizes the kidnapper, and will have to decide if coming forth with the truth is worth risking everything she’s worked for.  Continue reading “Book Review: Pointe, by Brandy Colbert”

Book Review: I’ll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson

sun_375wIf you read I’ll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson, with the hope of finding one singular or dominant theme of the novel then I wish you good luck. I don’t think you will be able to. Art. Family. Blame. Death. Grief. Fidelity (in many different senses). Love. Coming of Age. I could go on. These themes aren’t all simply present. They all play major roles in the narrative and interweave with each other in interesting, unique, and relatable ways.

Similarly, I’d wish anyone looking to examine the book through a single literary trope good luck. Except this time I would know, not simply think, that this would be an impossible task. Twins. First Love. First Sex. Mother-son adoration. Mother-daughter jealousies and strife. Misunderstood, moody artists. Supernatural interventions from kooky, deceased relatives. Once again, I could go on. But just like with the multiple themes, there is nothing that feels common or over-used when it comes to Nelson’s manipulations of these tropes. They are subverted and twisted to fit this thoroughly unique story in both enchanting and unexpected ways. Continue reading “Book Review: I’ll Give You the Sun, by Jandy Nelson”