Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

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Rating: ★★★

“Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.”

Review:

John Green hasn’t failed me yet. I didn’t want to say that this one disappointed me, but it wasn’t as great as I thought it was going to be. John Green has given me this high standard throughout the years, and this one didn’t quite live up to it.

The beginning of Turtles All the Way Down did grab me pretty quickly. I thought the characters were interesting, and I thought that I would find more out about their characters. However, as the book went on, I couldn’t connect to the characters in a way that I thought I would. I really liked Aza’s character, she probably is the reason I gave this a higher a rating. It just was hard to see these characters the way they were written.

Second, the story line was a little weird. I feel like the missing father didn’t really have a lot to do with the book. Of course this plays a big part of the story, but I couldn’t really connect them and Aza. I feel like there were a lot of missed connections.

I have read countless young adult books with mental illness and mental health as their genres and I feel like John Green did a great job inserting his own OCD into Aza’s character. However, I still couldn’t get a direct feel from her character. There was something about her that was just so tough to read, I couldn’t figure it out. The ending was a little spark of something to get something else going for this book, but unfortunately, it was the end and I wish there was something else to add to it.

For the next John Green book I read, I want to not have my expectations so high. Every book is a new book. I took my previous ratings from his other books and I automatically set this book to a really high standard. I think a lot of people did the same thing I did, and I feel like that probably hurt this book more in the long run.

Lucky in Love by Kasie West

Publication Date: July 25th, 2017
Publisher: Scholastic

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Rating: ★★★

Can’t buy me love…

Maddie’s not impulsive. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment—

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun…until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?”

Review:

Lucky in Love starts out with a girl Maddie who wins the lottery by buying her first ticket on her 18th birthday. What is a teen supposed to do with $50 million dollars? After she wins, everyone changes. They all want money and Maddie doesn’t know who she is, who her friends are, and who she can trust. Family included.

This book really flew by for me. I read it in a day. Half of me thinks the fact that I read it so quickly is a good thing and the other half wasn’t really impressed. I wanted to find out what was going to happen in the end, but I felt like the reason was because I wanted to get to the end.

The story was pretty typical. I feel like when reading the synopsis, I had a vision of what this story was going to be like. Teen wins lottery, people try to use her for money, she meets a boy, everything is fine, the rest is history. Unfortunately, I was pretty spot on. I was hoping for some twist. This book seemed pretty vanilla.

I think that this book was neutral for me. Everything seemed flat-lined. It wasn’t terrible, but there wasn’t a stand out moment that made this book phenomenal. This is my third Kasie West novel that I read, so I enjoy her as an author.

 

Words In Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Publication Date: June 6th, 2017
Publisher: Knopf Publishing

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Rating: ★★★★

Love lives between the lines.

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.

Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.”

Review:

There were many things about this book that stood out to me, and one of them kept me from giving this book a 5 star rating. The characters were very well established, and the story was great. On the other hand, one major subject about this book, romance, should have been more prevalent. It seemed almost desperate, and sometimes I think that makes a book. In this case, I didn’t seem to like it as much.

As a library assistant, books about book stores or libraries always seem to get a five star rating from me. I think it’s a personal preference and a hope that a romance like that will happen to me one day. However, the romance in this book threw me for a loop. In this book, there are two main characters, Rachel and Henry. Rachel is in love with Henry. Henry is in love with a girl named Amy. When Rachel leaves, she leaves a note in a book for Henry to read. This is where it kind of shut off for me. Amy is a cold-hearted girl. I would see Henry being so in love with Amy if she was a nice girl, but the way the author wrote about her, I couldn’t like her. Because Henry was so in love with this girl that was terrible, I had a hard time liking Henry.

When Rachel comes back, the story picks up from there. She lost her brother while she was gone, and becomes this cold, distant girl who could use a friend. I sympathized with her and liked her character. The death of her brother had such an impact on her, however, she kept it a secret for a lot of the book. I feel like that should have been a massive part of the story, it kind of was, but keeping a secret until the end was hard as well.

The thing that kept this book at a higher star rating for me was the setting. The author did a phenomenal job with the setting. I felt like I was there with all of the details. Howling Books was the perfect bookstore and I would love to go there and see the books that were described!

When It’s Real by Erin Watt

Publication Date: May 30th, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

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Rating: ★★★★★

“From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley’s team decides it’s time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he’s settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of “normal.” Under ordinary circumstances she’d never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn’t have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley’s team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley’s a shallow, self-centered jerk? It’s not like they’re going to fall for each other in real life…right?”

Review:

This book was so, so awesome. There were so many qualities that made this book great. The characters, story, and chemistry made this book absolutely fantastic for me. There were times where I was super excited for what was happening next.

Vaughn Bennett stole my heart right from the beginning. Her character was adorable, smart, and strong. This book resonated with me in many ways, but I really noticed how much how I connected to her character. She is a girl who goes through a lot, but when it meant it the most, she pulled through and showed her strength. The other characters really developed through this book too. I really flip-flopped through this book with the characters, and I enjoyed that a lot!

The story is my favorite, favorite type. I love the whole rock-star celebrity falling for a normal girl narrative. I’ve read this type of story multiple times and I think that this book might just be one of my favorites ever. The way that Erin Watt wrote this had me all over the place with different emotions.

Overall, I loved this book. I’d recommend this book to anyone. It’s good for any age. It might be classified as young-adult, but this book should be read by adults too. It’s a fantastic, quick read.

 

 

 

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

Publication Date: August 8th, 2017

When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.

But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself–or worse.”

Review:

This book had a lot of promising qualities, but it fell a little short for me. There were so many things going on in this book that went along with things in today’s society, but it didn’t feel like it went above and beyond.

The characters were good. I enjoyed the brother and sister aspect even though they were stepbrother and sister. I really liked how they were an African American family marrying into a white family and how the author talked about how things were shown and how people would stare. It was parts like this that seemed very real.

The main character is bisexual. I was very happy with this because it seems that people think that bisexuality doesn’t exist. There are people out there that are attracted to both men and women. I was glad that the author did bring up another social problem from today’s society.

When it came to the actual story of what was going on, I felt like I kept getting stuck. I kept having to stop because it wasn’t grasping my attention. I flew through this book because it couldn’t really holding me. The story seemed a little flat. There were no twists or turns and it seemed a little boring.

I really liked the ending. The ending is where I felt like it did grab my attention. The problems that were occurring felt very real and could easily happen to anyone in real life. It honestly made my chest tighten and tear up a little. I applaud the author on a great, great ending.

Overall, this book was good, but it wasn’t my favorite. There were things that this book could’ve used with all the different platforms it represented, but I felt like it wasn’t there.

Rating: ★★★

On the Fence by Kasie West

Published: July 1st, 2014

“For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can’t solve Charlie’s biggest problem: she’s falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.”

Review:

This book was super quick, cute, and emotional. There were things that this book that were phenomenal, but overall, it was a four star rating for me!

The characters were great. I really loved the “only girl in a all boys household”. This is a classic “brother’s best friend” story and I love that kind of book. There were parts of the characters that I loved, but also, didn’t make me swoon completely. I think that there were more things that could have happened with their developments in the characters that would’ve made this book five stars.

The plot of this book was very emotional. The overall story of what happened and how she had been living with this secret that she didn’t even know about was heartbreaking. There were some parts of it that had me close to tears. However, there were times where I thought that the story was a little far-fetched and that they couldn’t really happy. I love a story that I could relate to, and this one was great, but it seemed a little too far for me.

I’ve read two of Kasie West’s books and I liked both of them. They are written very well and a person can fly through them in one day. Maybe even a few hours. Young adult lovers and romance lovers should really read Kasie West’s books. I think that the people who resonate with current romance troubles or current love lives would love these books!

Rating: ★★★★

The Problem With Forever by Jennifer E. Armentrout 

Publication Date: May 17th, 2016

“For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.”

Review:

This was extremely emotional. I had this on an audiobook and I think it made me like it more than I would have in a regular book. I have to give props to the readers on the audiobook because they read with so much emotion that I honestly teared up many times. There were times where I went back and rewound it to listen to specific parts again because they were so wonderful.

The characters were written perfectly for the story. The story was so dark and heartbreaking that the characters fit amazingly. Mallory “Mouse” and Rider were so angsty and frustrating that I don’t think they could have been more perfect. Listening to their stories and thinking that they could relate to people in real life made it all the more saddening.

I just want to talk about “Mouse” herself. Her character was written so beautifully. I wanted to reach inside my radio and hug her. There was so much that her character not only went through, but realized throughout the book. It’s truly unbelievable how Jennifer Armentrout wrote her.

This book was especially an acknowledgement at “group homes”. You hear so much about group homes, whether kids got placed in great places, or they suffer where they are. This was a nod at the kids who don’t get placed in great homes. These kids suffer so much and it showed in the characters. Jennifer Armentrout did such a great job with the details and everything that came with this amazing book.

Rating: ★★★★★