Top Ten Tuesday – New Additions to My Neverending TBR List

Our second TBR list this month, but that’s fine. I’m constantly adding books to my list. No need for a big introduction his week. These are all recent additions to the list. Courtney Summers is the only author on this list I’ve ever read so it’s a bit of a crapshoot as to what to expect. Several of these aren’t even out yet, so we’ll see if I’m still interested when their release date actually rolls around.

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All the Rage by Courtney Summers

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. Continue reading

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers (@courtney_s)

It’s confirmed. Summers has weaseled her way into way into my cold, bleak heart. But really, where else would she belong? The lady is master craftsman of darkness. She’s definitely working her way up my list of amazing contemporary YA authors. I knew what to expect from Cracked Up to Be based on my experience with TINAT and some of the reviews I’d scanned. People are divided on this novel and many do not like the characters in this novel, especially the main character. And I have to say, Parker Findlay is one of the most unlikable characters I read in YA. However, unlikable does not equate unsympathetic.

I’ve been trying to write this review for weeks. And this is not the book’s problem. The book is excellent. This is my problem. I just can’t seem to figure out what I want to say about it. I think that’s partly because it’s better to just dive into this book and let it take you where ever it takes you. And that might be anger. Parker is a character you will either get or you won’t. Not like. Get. I can’t really see anyone really liking Parker. You’ll either understand where she’s coming from or she’ll infuriate you. Or she’ll do both. I get Parker, but I stilled want to shake the stubborn out of her. It’s terribly hard to watch someone fight so hard to make everyone hate her the way she hates herself.

Let’s take a second to review the story (you know the part where spoilers happen for the rest of the review) – a student goes missing from a party at the end of the school year. Now her friends are trying to figure out what to do with the shadow of her disappearance looming over them. The one suffering the most is Parker – Jessie’s best friend and the most popular girl in school. The most perfect girl. Until Jessie disappears. And now that Jessie’s gone, Parker is being the very best hot mess she can be. But we don’t know all of this at the beginning of the novel. All we know at the start is that Parker is about to flunk out of school. She has to make every class and every assignment for the rest of the year or she’s out. And not drinking at or come to school drunk anymore. We learn about Jessie’s involvement in Parker’s life slowly over the course of the novel. Starting with the terribly sad moments where Parker frantically digs through the dirt looking for signs of her friend. Parker’s not openly suffocating in her loss; she’s slowly drowning in vices. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – Books from Childhood Revisited

I’m not sure I’m 100% on board for revisiting these books. Generally when I’ve re-read a book I loved as a youngster, I start to question my sanity – especially as a teen. However, these books stick out in my brain as formative for whatever reason. Some are from when I was a kid and some were teen years. They’re all what they are.

And this is by no list all inclusive. It could go on forever. I keep remember more and more books.

Pike

Scavenger Hunt by Christopher Pike

I remember hiding in corners of the school so I could read this book without interruptions. It was my favourite Pike book. I remember it kind of freaking me out. Now, I can hardly remember what it was about, but I think it’s probably better to live with the happy memories than to actually re-read. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – Spring To Be Read List

I love seasonal TBR list week. Honestly, this is because they’re super easy. Often, the ttt topics from the girls at the B&B take me a while to think about and write. But for these I can just go look at my physical pile, my library holds list, and if needed (which it rarely is), my goodreads to-read list and decide which books appeal to me most at that exact moment. This week’s list is getting 11 books though instead of ten. For one simple reason – I discovered that there’s a Forever Young Adult Book Club in my town!!! And this is the April topic book. This is so exciting for me. I’m always looking for people to talk about books with, especially YA books. Hopefully, I’ll get to be part of the meet up next month.

I’m excited about this TBR pile because it’s full of authors I’ve never read before. I think there are only two go to authors on this list. Everyone else is new. I love finding new voices!

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Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff

This is the book for the FYA book club read. Not one I would normally choose, but might be pretty rad.

It is Labor Day weekend in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again. But they don’t. Continue reading

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

This is one of the books in my #reread2015 challenge. I read it a few years ago and have been wanting to re-read it for quite some time. I’m glad I finally got around to it. I’ve put this book on several of my lists. It’s about time I reviewed it. So, what drew me to read this book twice? A book about teen suicide – since I am neither a teen nor suicidal. Well, it’s partially the thing that first drew me to the book – the format. The story of a girl’s suicide told through a series of audiotapes. And yes, it was the use of cassette tapes that attracted me to the story. In my edition of the novel, there’s a Q&A with Asher that asks very directly about the choice to use such an outmoded technology. I love that Asher made a conscious decision to use something old to prevent it from dating the novel. It makes so much sense. I love that he chose to do this.

Strangely, I actually found this book the first time through the Wattpad website. Someone had posted a story that caught my eye and one of the comments said that that story was reminiscent of this one. I didn’t get past the first couple pages of that posted story, but I later stumbled across 13RW on a clearance table somewhere and remembered the name. It was a lovely addition to my bookshelf.

To really enjoy this novel, I had to set aside some of my own personal feelings about suicide and just go with the story. To not think of Hannah as selfish, but as a troubled young girl who was very good at hiding the fact that she was in deep, deep trouble. One of the criticisms I’ve read about this novel is that it doesn’t accurately capture someone who suffers from depression/suicidal thoughts. That a person with those thoughts wouldn’t make a list. That there are no signs that Hannah was suffering from any mental illness. But I don’t agree. First, the assumption that the only people who suffer from suicidal thoughts are those with a mental illness, or that there’s only one way to reach a critical point in your life, is just wrong. Everyone’s experience is their own. But I also think that there are many signs in the novel that Hannah might be suffering from something more than just teen angst. The fact that she’s stored these moments away. That’s she’s let them take up so much head space. That she’s made a list with dozens of names on it. That she’s obsessed with how other people influenced and directed her life. Hannah’s obsessive personality was a clear indication that there was something wrong on a deeper level. That she clearly needed help with. Hannah ended up where she was probably always going to end up, but that doesn’t make it less sad. Continue reading