Waiting on Wednesday: Like it Never Happened by Emily Adrian

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.  Its purpose is to spotlight eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases.

This week I’m eagerly awaiting:

Like it Never Happened by Emily Adrian

Expected Release Date: June 2, 2015

When Rebecca Rivers lands the lead in her school’s production of The Crucible, she gets to change roles in real life, too. She casts off her old reputation, grows close with her four rowdy cast-mates, and kisses the extremely handsome Charlie Lamb onstage. Even Mr. McFadden, the play’s critical director, can find no fault with Rebecca.

Though “The Essential Five” vow never to date each other, Rebecca can’t help her feelings for Charlie, leaving her both conflicted and lovestruck. But the on and off-stage drama of the cast is eclipsed by a life-altering accusation that threatens to destroy everything…even if some of it is just make believe.

(summary via Goodreads)

This looks like it’s going to be a fun, light summer read.  It doesn’t look like it’s going to be ground-breaking, but it does look like it’s going to be entertaining.  The perfect way to waste an afternoon on a hot summer day, in my opinion.  Plus, theater nerds always make for the best ramped up self important drama.

What are you waiting on this week?

Book Review: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Now that Peyton, Sydney’s older brother has gone to prison for a drunk driving accident, her parents finally have to deal with the fact that he’s not the charismatic golden boy they’ve always thought he was.  Always playing second fiddle to Peyton, Sydney has to deal with the fact that the attention is on her for the first time, but she also struggles with her place within her own family.  When she meets the Chatham family and starts spending time at their family pizza parlor, she finds a family so unlike her own.

There’s a reason why Sarah Dessen is one of the biggest names in YA, and it is on display here in her latest offering.  Saint Anything offers readers so much of what they love when it comes to the world of Dessen: sweet, thoughtful prose, authentic characters, and gentle exploration of growing up.  The result is a compelling novel about a girl trying to find her place in her family while also dealing with the harsh realities of life.  It’s a satisfying, sweet read, guaranteed to satiate seasoned Dessen fans as well as win her new ones.

Sharp, unique details bring each of the book’s characters into focus.  Sydney is well drawn, as is Mac, the brother of her new best friend Layla, and their tentative romance is plentiful when it comes to chemistry.  Her burgeoning friendship with Layla is as real as can be, and all of this helps make the book work on multiple levels.  Dessen’s only missteps are with Sydney’s mother, who feels a little one-note at times (though Sydney’s frustration with her mother’s inability to really hear her is achingly real), and with Ames, Peyton’s friend from rehab.  There are moments where it’s hard to figure out what Ames’s end-game is, which is Dessen’s point, but there are other moments where his behavior is so over-the-top he might as well be twirling his mustache mischievously.  Luckily, these minor missteps don’t derail the book, and the overall result is satisfying and emotionally resonant.

A rich novel with memorable characters and emotional resonance.  This is guaranteed to be a hit with teens, and won’t stay on shelves for long.  Highly recommended.  This is Dessen at her best.

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen. Viking Juvenile: 2015. Purchased copy. 


Waiting on Wednesday: The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.  Its purpose is to spotlight eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases.

This week I’m eagerly awaiting:

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

Expected Release Date: June 2, 2015

Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it’s just the risk she’s been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.

(summary via Goodreads)

I love basically everything Trish Doller does, so there’s no question that this book is on my radar.  I can’t wait to see her take on the thriller genre.  It looks like it might be a little bit silly, but I mean this in the best way possible.  It might also not be silly at all, which is also okay. Doller is an excellent writer, and I can’t wait to see what she does with this.

What are you waiting on this week?

Book Review: All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Romy Grey is a girl from the bad side of town, and because of that, she’s automatically tainted.  It doesn’t help that something bad happened with the sheriff’s golden-boy son Kellan Turner and no one believes her.  Now she’s lost everything: the trust of the town, her friends, everything resembling a normal teenage life.  Her only safe space is the diner she works at in a nearby town, where no one knows her past or her unfair reputation.  When a girl who is connected to both Kellan and Romy goes missing and rumors of another girl’s assault surface, Romy faces hard choices between staying silent or finally speaking up.

Courtney Summers is a damn treasure.  Her latest offering is further proof of that.  All the Rage is a knockout of a novel, one guaranteed to find traction with readers, grip them wholly, and not let go until they finish the last breathless pages.  It is one of the best books of the year.

Summers doesn’t shy away from the ugliest aspects of humanity.  She drops her readers into the middle of a town steeped in rape culture, but it’s also full of simmering resentments.  There’s a ton of generational history at play here, and all the characters are fully-developed and play into the larger plot.  The result is a powerful look at small-town life and the repercussions of being a girl in the world.

Romy is a fully-realized character full of realistic flaws.  She makes a ton of mistakes, and all of them feel authentic and completely believable.  She hurts people without meaning to, which also makes for a real, relatable heroine.  Her narration is both beautiful and unsettling, and her rituals around lipstick and nail polish (coping mechanisms in the aftermath of her sexual assault) make for a great metaphor.

This is a must-read book and one that won’t stay on library shelves for more than a minute.  It’s a thoughtful, powerful examination of girlhood, rape culture, and redemption.  It doesn’t have a cookie-cutter ending, and the powerful emotional conclusion will guarantee that readers will be thinking–and talking–about it long after they finish.  Highly recommended.

All the Rage by Courtney Summers. St. Martin’s Griffin: 2015. Purchased copy.

Waiting on Wednesday: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.  Its purpose is to spotlight eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases.

This week I’m eagerly awaiting:

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Expected Release Date: May 26, 2015

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

(summary via Goodreads)

I loved the first novel in Han’s “To All the Boys…” series (duology? Who knows), despite its many imperfections.  I think Han is one of those charming authors who knows what she’s good at writing and sticks to it, and the result is always satisfying and wholly immersive.  I’m excited to see what the incredibly innocent Lara Jean gets up to in this next installment.

What are you waiting on this week?

Book Review: Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) by Amy Spalding

When Riley and her friend Reid catch their band mates hooking up, they realize they themselves could do with a little bit of romance.  So they make a pact to try to make things happen with their crushes (all while documenting it in a notebook they call The Passenger Manifest).  Though Reid seems to struggle with how to make things happen with the girls he’s interested in, Riley finds it surprisingly–perhaps shockingly–easy to attract cute guys.  It isn’t long before she finds herself with an embarrassment of riches, and that in the process, she might have gotten way more than she expected.

Amy Spalding’s books are funny, smart, and full of heart.  There’s massive appeal here for teens who like their narrators a little quirky but not over the top, and who like their characters fairly well-rounded.  A realistic look at what it’s like to be a teenager navigating the complex world of crushes, romance, and hooking up, there’s plenty to find enjoyable here.

Although the book is ostensibly narrated by both Riley and Reid in alternating chapters, the star of the show here is Riley, a  likable, good kid who is flummoxed by the amount of choices she has when it comes to dudes.  Her ability to find things in common with all the boys she dates and her genuinely authentic interactions with them make for a compelling read.

On the other hand, Reid falls a bit short when it comes to character development.  Much less page time is given to his exploits, and there’s little to delve into when it comes to his character, as well.  These parts of the book don’t detract from the narrative, but they don’t add much to it, either.

Highly recommended.  Spalding is a must-read author for fans of contemporary YA, and her latest offering doesn’t disappoint.

Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) by Amy Spalding. Poppy: 2015. Electronic galley accepted for review via Netgalley.


Waiting on Wednesday: All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.  Its purpose is to spotlight eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases.

This week I’m eagerly awaiting:

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Expected Release Date: April 14, 2015

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

(summary via Goodreads)

Courtney Summers is amazing, and I cannot wait for this one.  Early buzz has been overwhelmingly fantastic and I have no doubts that this is going to be a knockout of a novel.  It’s one of my most-anticipated reads of the year.  I can’t wait.