The Map from Here to There | Book Review

I want to start by saying, I had no idea when I started this that it was book two in a series. Oops. I’d highly recommend reading The Start of Me and You first. By the time I realized I was reading a story that began in a previous book, I’d already spoiled myself on the ending of that book, so I just kept reading, but I think it diminished my enjoyment of the story. My star rating assumes that I would have liked it better if I was reading it as book two, not a standalone.

What I did love about the The Map from Here to There was its inclusion of Paige’s anxiety struggles. It treated the topic of mental health with care and respect. The book showed a rare glimpse into life after the moment when the two people who have been pining for each other all book long finally get together. The big feelings and struggles Paige and her friends were dealing with as far as selecting colleges, applying, dealing with rejection letters from colleges, seeing their group of friends go in different directions and so on seemed incredibly realistic. I feel like this book would be an especially great read for those around the same age as the characters, or a little younger, who are beginning to deal with these same issues, especially as that struggle often seems to be glossed over in fiction. On the downside, this wasn’t one of the YA books that seemed to have as much YA/Adult crossover appeal, for me personally. But that’s okay, because obviously the target audience is teens, and I wish I’d had books that were this honest when I was in High School.

A struggle I had with the book is that it begins with introducing us to a new guy that Paige (the main character) is hanging out with. And since he was the first guy we met, I latched on to him as the love interest. I had no idea book one ended with her dating someone else. I then had a hard time liking the guy Paige was actually dating once he entered the scene. Not having the backstory of how the two of them fell in love, and all his endearing qualities, I didn’t see how the two of them were a good fit. I didn’t connect as well with the story overall as I’d have liked, and I can’t say for sure if that’s simply because I was dropped into the middle of the story, or if I just didn’t fully connect with the writing style. Either way, I love that this story deals with anxieties and worries and emotions that are very real but not often written about, and I recommend it to those beginning to think about college, or even in college and missing friends and family and struggling to deal with everything.

Thanks so much to Bloomsbury Children’s and NetGalley for the chance to read an advanced copy of the ebook for free. Opinions are my own.

Every Other Weekend | Book Review

Every Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson was a poignant, emotionally gripping read.

Here’s a quick blurb about the book:

“Can life begin again…every other weekend?

Adam Moynihan’s life used to be awesome. Straight As, close friends and a home life so perfect that it could have been a TV show straight out of the 50s. Then his oldest brother died. Now his fun-loving mom cries constantly, he and his remaining brother can’t talk without fighting, and the father he always admired proved himself a coward by moving out when they needed him most.

Jolene Timber’s life is nothing like the movies she loves—not the happy ones anyway. As an aspiring director, she should know, because she’s been reimagining her life as a film ever since she was a kid. With her divorced parents at each other’s throats and using her as a pawn, no amount of mental reediting will give her the love she’s starving for.

Forced to spend every other weekend in the same apartment building, the boy who thinks forgiveness makes him weak and the girl who thinks love is for fools begin an unlikely friendship. The weekends he dreaded and she endured soon become the best part of their lives. But when one’s life begins to mend while the other’s spirals out of control, they realize that falling in love while surrounded by its demise means nothing is ever guaranteed.”

While there were some sweet moments, to be sure, the tone was pretty heavy overall. I loved that the story dealt with some serious topics, divorce, separation, grief, loneliness, abuse, and more. Be sure to check for trigger warnings if there are issues that you don’t want to read about.

It was a four star read for me, and I hope a lot of youth who are going through similar situations have the chance to read this. There are some pretty great pre-order goodies available now, and the book comes out on January 7th.

Thanks NetGalley and Harlequin TEEN for a free advanced copy of the ebook. All opinions are my own.

Book Review | Sisters of Shadow and Light

Some books draw me in slowly, others capture me at the beginning but then disappoint, but with Sisters of Shadow and Light I was utterly enchanted on page one, and as the story continued, the only complaint I had was that I can’t read book two right now.

This is a YA fantasy about sisters and magic, heartbreak and healing, and unending love. It’s a story of hope and family and finding yourself. It follows the tale of a sister who was born with forbidden magic, and a sister born without it. They grow up hidden away in a citadel that’s protected from the world by a magical hedge. And they can never leave it. And no one else can ever join them, until the day a boy makes it through. This story gave me Strange The Dreamer vibes in all the best ways (which is high praise for me, Strange is one of my all-time favorite books). For those who are concerned about the maturity level of YA books, this one doesn’t have anything I would find objectionable for my twelve-year-old. There’s no coarse or offensive language, romance doesn’t develop beyond kissing, and violence is not overly graphic or gruesome. I can’t wait for this book to come out, and hopefully many of you will read it and I can chat with you about it. I met some of my new favorite characters in this story and I need someone to gush to about them! P.S. I saw that Sara has a pre-order incentive going on up until November 5th with a signed bookplate and bookmark and gorgeous character cards. Also, this was the first of her books that I read and I will definitely be adding her others to my TBR now! Thank you so much NetGalley and Tor/Forge for the free advanced copy of this ebook.

Over The Moon | Book Review

I’ve loved every Natalie Lloyd book I’ve read, and this one did not disappoint. In fact, it is probably a tie with my absolute favorite of hers (A Snicker of Magic), which is also my absolute favorite Middle Grade book.

 

Over The Moon is a heartwarming story of courage and hope and friendship and magic. Its pages are filled with a girl who is gentle and strong at the same time, who never lets the fact that she only has on hand stop her. It has a family that loves each other fiercely. A dust that threatens to destroy everything good and lovely. And flying horses. At it’s heart, it’s a story of believing you can choose your own story, and never giving up. I read it to my daughter at a time when she was recovering from a concussion and having a long, hard week, and the words in this story bolstered her spirit in a beautiful way. I absolutely loved this book, and highly recommend it.

Tweet Cute | Book Review

Tweet Cute, by Emma Lord, is an adorably warm and fuzzy book. I read it when I was in the mood for something light and happy and it was perfect.

Obviously it’s not a story filled with nothing but comfort and joy, there’s drama and conflict and enough action that I kept reading it well into the night, but there’s also a really sweet romance that was so fun to watch unfold. Plus the main girl, Pepper, loves to bake and there’s just something heartwarming to me about stories that include a smorgasbord of delicious treats. And there’s a grilled cheese sandwich they describe that I’m still totally craving. There’s also a lovely friendship that develops, and some great family relationships.

It was a five star read for me, and I’d recommend it for fans of cute YA romance books like Love & Gelato, or The Best Kind of Magic.

Thanks NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book for free. All opinions are my own.