05/29/15

Book Review: More Happy Than Not

20522640Novel: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera | Goodreads
Release Date: June 2nd, 2015
Publisher: Soho Teen
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher via BookPeople Teen Press Corps

The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto — miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can’t forget how he’s grown up poor or how his friends aren’t always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it’s not enough.

Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn’t mind talking about Aaron’s past. But Aaron’s newfound happiness isn’t welcome on his block. Since he’s can’t stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.

Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut novel offers a unique confrontation of race, class and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.

 

It’s impossible not to fall in love with More Happy Than Not.

Seriously.

More Happy Than Not is a brutally honest story of a young man confronting who he is, falling in love, and learning what it means to be human, all with the hilarious and poignant hand of Adam Silvera.

I don’t know how to perfectly explain my emotions surrounding this book, because I hold that much love for it. (So, I found a gif.)

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This book, in one word, is beautiful. It takes the pain of losing a parent, the feeling of being love, and the difficulty of coming to terms with your sexuality, and weaves them all together. Aaron, the main character, is one of those characters who I connected with immediately, despite our incredibly different lives. I felt his pain, his happiness, his love, and his fear. I just got him. And I love when that happens in a book.

The story mainly focuses on the growing friendship between Aaron and Thomas, a boy he meets in the beginning of the book. They quickly grow close, and Aaron begins to feel more-than-friends feelings towards Thomas, causing him to question his sexuality. Silvera handles this questioning in by far the best way I’ve seen: he lets Aaron struggle. It’s not necessarily the loving another guy part that trips Aaron up, it’s what it will mean for him, his family, and his friends. Being gay in his neighborhood is dangerous, and Aaron fears for his life. He fears the possibility of being an outcast among his childhood friends, and the possibility that his mom and brother will reject him. He fears losing his girlfriend, Genevieve, whose friendship and love he treasures.

And because he doesn’t want to cause all of this pain, Aaron turns to the Leteo Institute, hoping they can erase his memories of Thomas and turn him straight again. The most important part of the book, in my opinion, is whenever Aaron is making his decision as to whether or not he’s going to go through with the procedure. His mom doesn’t want him to, but Aaron believes that it’s the only answer for him. His inner battle between the person he is and the person he wants to be broke my heart: I just wanted him to be happy and to be loved.

The Leteo Institute stands for the idea of people believing we need to forget people in order to be happy in our lives (I believe – I’m obviously not sure what Silvera intended). It’s a powerful symbol, especially in Aaron’s story. For Aaron it’s a way out, but for other people, it’s a way of moving on. The concept of Leteo isn’t entirely far-fetched, which is possibly what made it so real in my head, and also a bit frightening. How would people use a technology like that? How would it change society? More Happy Than Not confronts those questions through Aaron, and changed the way I thought about the phrase “forgive and forget”.

More Happy Than Not is a must-read for everyone. It is on my favorite reads of all time list, and is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year. Silvera writes with a masterful, yet relatable style that I connected to immediately, and Aaron is a character I’ll never forget. Go out and get this book. Buy it for a friend. Buy it for a family member. Buy it for a random person on the street. It’s that good, and that important.

05/28/15

Book Review: We All Looked Up

20522640Novel: We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach | Goodreads
Release Date: March 24th, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Before the asteroid we let ourselves be defined by labels:
The athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever.

But then we all looked up and everything changed.

They said it would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we’d been, something that would last even after the end.

Two months to really live.

First off, I hate this synopsis.

Second, I do not know how I feel about this book.

Third, I LOVE THIS COVER.

The synopsis should really read something like: “A group of teens who discover they have only two months live fall in love, become friends with people they never expected to befriend, and forget they have parents.”

Part of me adored this book. It was incredible meaningful and beautiful, but I also struggled with some elements. Misery, one of the characters, and her older brother Peter, were especially difficult for me to understand. I never quite got either of them – I wanted to know why Misery became rebellious and why Peter suddenly wanted to give life meaning.

One of my biggest issues was that I feel like Wallach wanted there to be meaning in this book so much that he stretched some of the plot elements too much. Like the beginning where Peter is talking with his history teacher and his history teacher goes all philosophical and suddenly Peter is changed? Like? What? This happened over and over again – these kids had these incredibly deep conversations and were questioning philosopher’s views on death, and I couldn’t help but think that no kid would ever do that on this level. Also, there seems to be a severe lack of parents in this book. In the beginning and end they are important, but in the middle sections they are very absent. It’s the end of the world. HELLO. Don’t you want to know where your kids are?

My other issue was that there were some weird scenes in this book. One imparticular is towards the end and is definitely the climax but made very little sense. I was confused by the setting, the actions, and the motivations of all of the characters. There were a couple other scenes like this, but the other good scenes weighed out the not-so-awesome ones for me.

Of the characters, Anita and Andy were by far my favorite. I connected to Anita the most – I got her intensity for school and her love of learning, as well as her lack of experiences that most of her peers had had. Andy made me laugh and he seemed so real and beautifully raw. He was in love with a girl who was in love with someone else, had a best friend he wasn’t sure about, and didn’t know what to do about his after high school time. Anita and Andy’s blossoming friendship was sweet and hands down the best relationship that developed over the course of the book – I was rooting for them from day one.

There’s this one quote in the book that read as follows:

The best books, they don’t talk about things you never thought about before. They talk about things you’d always thought about, but that you didn’t think anyone else had thought about. You read them, and suddenly you’re a little bit less alone in the world.

This quote exemplifies one of the reasons I loved this book. It made me think. It made me think about love, life, friendship, and a lot of current events as well. Wallach incorporates current issues like police brutality, the government (President Obama is mentioned), and blogging fame. He crafts a story of seemingly unconnected people who become best friends and change each other.

I think that I would recommend this book despite my issues with it, because I think most people would really enjoy it. I think I need to steer away from the “the-world-is-ending-in-x-amount-of-time-now-what-do-we-do-with-our-time?” books because they seem to always disappoint me. I think this book honestly would’ve worked better without that element and just as a simple contemporary book – I know I personally would’ve enjoyed it more.

05/26/15

Book Review: Immaculate

20522640Novel: Immaculate by Katelyn Detweiler | Goodreads
Release Date: May 26th, 2015
Publisher: Viking Children’s
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher via TT4L

Mina is seventeen. A virgin. And pregnant.

Mina is top of her class, girlfriend to the most ambitious guy in school, able to reason and study her way through anything. But when she suddenly finds herself pregnant—despite having never had sex—her orderly world collapses. Almost nobody believes Mina’s claims of virginity. Her father assumes that her boyfriend is responsible; her boyfriend believes she must have cheated on him. As news of Mina’s story spreads, there are those who brand her a liar. There are those who brand her a heretic. And there are those who believe that miracles are possible—and that Mina’s unborn child could be the greatest miracle of all.

I’ll admit that I was a bit weary going into this book. That was mainly because of the idea behind the novel: virgin but pregnant. I was concerned that it would be heavy on religion, and as someone who hasn’t ever been interested in super religious books, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to relate to the story, and/or that it would play a larger role than I was comfortable with.

However, I was proven wrong in all of my concerns.

Immaculate, in simplest terms, is a story about a girl who is pregnant. It’s a story about life changing all at once, and your future no longer being what you thought it would. Mina is this strong, loving, and determined character who I related to immediately. She’s a dedicated student who has a firm plan about where she is going to go to college and what she will become. When she finds out she’s pregnant, that all begins to fall apart. One of her best friends and her boyfriend both think she’s lying about the child’s conception and refuse to speak to her, as does her father. Mina grapples with the reality of motherhood and why she was “chosen” to be a virgin mother. The book is fast paced and beautifully written, focusing on Mina’s inner thoughts and personal conflicts.

Mina’s support system is incredible. Her mother believes her from day one, and stands by Mina and her decisions for the entirety of the book. Hannah, her best friend who sticks by her, is also a fabulous friend. She helps protect Mina from the hatred she faces at school, and shows her that her future can still be a great one, despite the changes to the plan. Jesse, the boy who was with Mina the night Mina meets Iris, the spirit? that tells Mina about her future as a virgin mother, helps Mina through love and support. He is fiercely loyal to her, and, like Hannah, helps protect her at school. Jesse was one of my favorite characters – he was funny, sweet, and incredibly supportive.

From looking on Goodreads, many people are concerned that the book is a Virgin Mary story. I want to reassure many of you that it’s not. It’s very similar, but I think that Immaculate stands apart. It tells the story of a young girl who is faced with the reality of a changing life plan and hatred from her community. She deals with the media, with hate mail, with bullies. Mina becomes a stronger woman and mother through her experiences, and ultimately that is what this book is about.

It’s not about faith (although there are some undertones) and it’s not about the Virgin Mary story. It’s about Mina. And I loved reading her story.

 

05/25/15

Driving Playlist

Almost everyone of a certain age drives. It’s a given in the society we live in. For me, I always have to have music playlist while I drive. There’s almost a science to the music you play while driving, and I’ve put together my favorites in this playlist. It’s incredibly long, so it’s a great one for road trips but also for day driving.

Let me know what kind of playlist you’d like to see!

05/24/15

Let’s Chat: The Balancing Act

let's chat

“Let’s Chat” is my Discussion series on Willa’s Ramblings, where I talk about things on all topics – life, books, music, and pretty music anything under the sun! Please let me know in comments or on Twitter what you think and let’s chat!

Today on “Let’s Chat”: The Balancing Act

Finding a balance in life is difficult no matter how old you are, but I think that teenagers definitely struggle with it the most. As a teen you’re trying to balance school (which, let’s face it, can take an overwhelming amounts of time and is basically a job), family, friends, a job for some people, and afterschool activities. At times, it can get to be too much.

When I started blogging, I was a seventh grader. You have practically no obligations as a seventh grader, and I definitely didn’t grasp how busy I would become in the coming years. Now, as a junior in high school (almost senior) I’ve can look back and see how much I’ve had to balance over the years. It’s taught me a lot about not only what I can take on, but also how to do everything I want to do.

My activities list:

  • School (9AM-4:30PM)
  • Homework (2+ hours/night)
  • Working out – Swimming on Tuesday, Thursdays, and Sundays (I quit club and am doing Masters at the Y) and other days it’s me and the treadmill.
  • Job – lifeguarding at Y right now about once a week, but I’ve recently gotten a job as a bookseller at Barnes and Noble!
  • Blogging – both Lit Up Review & Willa’s Ramblings the amount of time this occupies depends on the day
  • Newspaper (one after school meeting a week)
  • Swim Team (September-January)
  • Youth and Government Club (September-January) – once a week meeting
  • BookPeople Teen Press Corps (meeting once a month)

As you can see, it can get a bit overwhelming.

Thankfully, I’ve learned how to make it all work for me. Right now, here’s an average day during the week for me.

 Average Day:

  • 6-6:30AM – Wake up, work on some homework/blogging/emails/reading, depending.
  • 8AM – Arrive at school. Work on homework and studying or hang out with friends until 9.
  • 9AM-4:30PM – School. Work on some studying as time allows.
  • 5-6PM – Gym
  • 6-7PM – Shower/eat dinner and start homework
  • 7-9PM – Homework
  • 9:15/30-10PM – Reading
  • 10PM – Sleep

For me, this works. I’m able to fit in blogging in the morning or evenings, and I get all my homework done along with studying. I’m also able to get at least eight hours of sleep which is a MUST have. I’m not a caffeine drinker, so without adequate sleep I’m a zombie who falls asleep during Pre-Calculus. (Not fun.)

Blogging has forced me to figure out how to balance my life while also fitting in things I love. I read every night which allows me to fall asleep easier AND get blogging reading done, so it’s a win-win. This schedule has taken a lot of finagling and trying out different techniques, but I’ve finally found something that works well. I’ve done the going-to-sleep-at-midnight thing and it just doesn’t work for me. I hate being exhausted and I can’t focus during school which drives me up the wall. 10 is my sweet spot, so it’s going to be permanent, I think.

I know this is totally unrelated to anything else I blog about, but I think it’s interesting to talk about. Balancing life takes practice and time, and it’s always interesting to see how people do it.

So how to do you balance your time? What’s your secret to keeping yourself sane?

Keep an eye out for a discussion about my organization techniques – there’s a post coming soon!

05/22/15

Book Review: Solitaire

20522640Novel: Solitaire by Alice Oseman | Goodreads
Release Date: March 30th, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher/Book People Teen Reviewing

In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.

Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.

I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden.

I really don’t.

This incredible debut novel by outstanding young author Alice Oseman is perfect for fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell and all unflinchingly honest writers.

I’m going to completely admit something: I picked up this book purely because on my copy it said “for fans of Melina Marchetta” so I just assumed I’d love it.

And holyohmygodithinkihavenoair this was good.

You want realistic teen fiction?

This is it.

Solitaire is the story of a girl. An incredibly normal girl. A girl who has a Tumblr that she spends entirely too much time on, who watches Netflix all the time, and doesn’t really know what the heck she wants to do with her life. She doesn’t have the kind of friends who really get her (besides her best friend, and even that’s kind of shaky) and she’s not on the best of terms with her parents. Tori was the best part of this entire book. The cynicism, sarcasm, and pessimism made her so much more real in my head. She has an incredibly distinct voice from the beginning of the book (it actually shook me up a bit) which made her Tori. Her voice matched her personality and made sense with the way she acted – I loved it.

Enter Michael Holden. The guy who even her brother is telling her to stay away from because he’s just a bit too odd. Michael, however, doesn’t seem to care that Tori isn’t giving him much attention, but rather makes an effort. He befriends her, and their friendship is utterly beautiful. They’re both aching for someone who gets them, and that’s what they provide for each other. Michael Holden is a character who really surprised me, and I ended up adoring him. He’s funny, kind, a bit odd but a really cool kind, and someone who I think I would like in real life. He keeps you on your toes, so to speak.

The actual plot of Solitaire is a bit out there. Essentially, there’s a series of pranks happening at Tori’s school (and in the surrounding area) that are targeted at her, but no one knows who exactly is behind them, other than that the organization is named Solitaire. Tori and Michael make it their own personal mission to figure out who the organizers of Solitaire are and stop them before things get too ugly (because the pranks are turning more and more dangerous) but this task ends up being a bit more difficult than they expected. The mystery/thriller element that the Solitaire pranks brought in made the book move faster and filled what would’ve been a boring middle section of the book with engaging scenes.

Solitaire deals heavily with depression and suicide. Multiple characters in the book are battling depression, and Oseman approaches these topics with kindness and care. Through Tori we see the ups and downs, the precipice of suicide, and walking away. This book was an incredibly emotional one, and I absolutely fell in love with it.

Alice Oseman’s debut novel is at the top of my list for favorite 2015 releases. Solitaire is an incredibly unique story of love, friendship, and finding yourself, and one that everyone can relate to.

05/21/15

Book Review: Extraordinary Means

20522640Novel: Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider | Goodreads
Release Date: May 26th, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher/TT4L

From the author of The Beginning of Everything: two teens with a deadly disease fall in love on the brink of a cure.

At seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and confusing rituals, where it’s easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French.

There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane, who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times.

But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down. Told in alternating points of view, Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about doomed friendships, first love, and the rare miracle of second chances.

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 9.46.03 PM

This tweet perfectly explains my emotions after reading Extraordinary Means.

Robyn Schneider is one heck of a writer, you guys. Not only does she craft utterly beautiful sentences, she also has a masterful hand when it comes to plot lines and characters. The thing that draws me to Robyn Schneider books over everything else though is that her books are full of NERDS.

That’s right.

NERDS.

Can we get more nerdy characters in YA? Ones like Lane who have spent their entire life working incredibly hard at school, taking a ton of AP classes and have put aside their social life for their grades? The ones who make bad classic literature puns and are fluent in French? Who love physics and history? I want more of these characters, because as someone who fits into the category (minus the fluent French and love of physics) I don’t see this part of myself in that much of YA. And I want more.

Schneider brings the nerds to the table, though. Lane arrives at Latham House with a stack of AP work and a belief that he will get better ASAP and then return to his life. When he learns that he physically cannot do this or it will kill him, his entire life changes. He goes from being withdrawn at Latham to talking to Sadie, who he knows from a summer camp they both went to at thirteen. Sadie and her band of friends (Nick, Charlie, and Marina, I love you) teach Lane about the value of living in the moment and how, although school is important, the connections you make with people are even more valuable. I really connected to this journey and it was so comforting and eye-opening to see this same journey in a character.

Sadie is this mish-mash of rebellious and self-conscious. She hides the part of her that’s self-conscious though, and is known as the girl who gets contraband alcohol and food for the Latham residents. Secretly, she fears the possibility of returning to the outside world after a year and a half at Latham and no change in her illness. Lane teaches Sadie about hope and love and taking risks, and helps her see more light in her life.

The world of Latham and TB that Schneider is incredibly believable. Believable in that I could definitely seeing this happening in our society – an illness spreading the way TB does in the book and dominating the fears of citizens. Of sanatoriums and widespread fear of survivors of the disease. The residents of Latham confront the hatred of those undiagnosed who fear catching the disease, and grapple with not only their diagnosis but also their future. If they get better they go back to their old lives, except those lives will never be the same. Sadie contemplates this a lot throughout the book, and becomes one of her biggest struggles – what would she do if she recovered? These characters’ journeys of illness are rare in YA, as Schneider addresses in her “Author’s Note” at the end of the book, and I agree with her that we need more of them.

Latham is based partly off of Hailsham from Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (a book I need to read but a movie I adored) and focuses on recovery. But at the same time, the residents of Latham, like those in Hailsham, live in this world so incredibly isolated from the outside. They only see one another, school is basically a joke, and they struggle to find ways to feel normal. They don’t have cell phones, they all distance themselves from things like Facebook (the reminders of home hurt too much), and people always end up falling in love with one another. Except, as Sadie points out, it usually doesn’t end well.

…if the past year had made me certain of one thing, it was that love stories at Latham all ended the same way: with someone left behind.

Lane and Sadie’s story of love and loss broke me in half. They’re so beautiful together, and they both have to face impossible questions about their lives that I can’t imagine. Their strength, hope, and determination inspire me.

Schnieder’s new book Extraordinary Means made me think about love, friendship, and our futures in ways I hadn’t in a while. It made me contemplate the way I view my own future (and present), and the stigmas that surround illness in our society. To say the least, Extraordinary Means was a thought-provoking and emotional ride that I loved every second of.

05/19/15

Book Review: Rain

20522640Novel: Rain (Paper Gods, #2) by Amanda Sun | Goodreads
Release Date: June 24th, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher/Book People Teen Reviewing

American Katie Green has decided to stay in Japan. She’s started to build a life in the city of Shizuoka, and she can’t imagine leaving behind her friends, her aunt and especially Tomohiro, the guy she’s fallen in love with. But her return is not as simple as she thought. She’s flunking out of Japanese school and committing cultural faux pas wherever she goes. Tomohiro is also struggling—as a Kami, his connection to the ancient gods of Japan and his power to bring drawings to life have begun to spiral out of control.

When Tomo decides to stop drawing, the ink finds other ways to seep into his life—blackouts, threatening messages and the appearance of unexplained sketches. Unsure how to help Tomo, Katie turns to an unexpected source for help—Jun, her former friend and a Kami with an agenda of his own. But is Jun really the ally he claims to be? In order to save themselves, Katie and Tomohiro must unravel the truth about Tomo’s dark ancestry, as well as Katie’s, and confront one of the darkest gods in Japanese legend.

This series never ceases to amaze me.

When I read book one, Ink, I was absolutely blown away by the world Sun had created. In Rain, she takes that world and turns it inside out, introducing new legends, new questions, and new challenges. Katie struggling to figure out what exactly she is and how she can be with Tomo without hurting him, and Tomo is trying to discern how he can keep everyone he loves safe. To say the least, there are some pretty big character arcs.

Katie and Tomo have got to be one of my favorite couples in YA. I seem to forget about them when I’m thinking of my favorite couples, but after reading Rain I love them even more. Their tenderness, courage, witty banter, and devotion make them such a beautiful match. Tomo is this weird mix of tough but totally sweet, and Katie challenges him over and over again to be better. They love each other and simply want each other to be happy, and this drives them to answer their questions about who they are.

The story of the Paper Gods series is a one-of-a-kind. From the legends to the art to the culture, the plotline of these books are riveting. Sun does an incredible job of mixing background information in with the action, allowing the reader to learn right along with Katie. In Rain, the majority of the plot is centered around Tomo’s struggle to control his powers and Katie’s struggle to help him. This causes Katie to learn more about the legends surrounding kami, and in doing this she begins to understand why she has the powers she does.

I absolutely adored this book. It was a one-sitter and kept me engaged from page one. Book #3, Storm, is due out on June 30th, and to say the least, I am pumped.

Recently Read | April-May 2015

I tried something a little new and did a “Recently Read” video over on my Youtube channel! A lot of these haven’t been reviewed yet (only two have, actually) but reviews for the rest are being published in June, for the most part.

 

Books Mentioned:

Rebels by Accident by Patricia Dunn

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby | Review

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

Emancipated by M.G. Reyes

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh | Review

Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor

Weightless by Sarah Bannan

The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak

Currently Reading: Immaculate by Katelyn Detweiler

Let me know if you like this style of video, and if so, I’ll do more in the future!

05/17/15

Taylor Swift Tag

taylor-swift-tag

I saw this post on Miss Print the other week and immediately fell in love. It combines two of my loves: Taylor Swift and books. Basically, it’s PERFECTION.

Here’s a bit about the tag, which I found on Miss Print’s post.

Created by The Book Life, the Taylor Swift Book Tag is a fun way to pair book titles to famous Taylor Swift songs through a handful of questions. Some of which are part of the original tag and some that were added by Danielle at Love at First Page and Nova from Out of Time.

And now for my answers!


we're never ever getting back together

(a book/series you were pretty sure you loved but then wanted to break up with)

Divergent Series by Veronica Roth | Goodreads | Review (Allegiant)

For some reason, I had such an issue with this series. I read Divergent shortly after it came out, and then I got a signed! copy of Insurgent at a book conference, but I didn’t read it for at least a year. Then it took me an additional year after Allegiant came out to read it, and by then I was just wee bit lost. I wish I had read these back to back because when I look back on my reading experience with them, I’m a bit sad. I loved each book so much while reading them, but as a whole I was a bit disappointed on my end at how I handled reading the series.

red

(a book with a red cover)

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh | Goodreads | Review

No, I won’t stop talking about this series.

This cover is absolutely STUNNING and is probably my favorite cover that’s red. Not only is it a great cover, but the book is also pretty darn swell.

the best day

(a book that makes you feel nostalgic)

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart | Goodreads

This was one of my favorite series as a kid, and now that I’m babysitting I love reading it aloud to the kids I babysit. I always recommend it to people at bookstores because it’s such a great read. I’d love to reread this series sometime because I remember absolutely loving it as a kid!

love story

(a book with forbidden love)

Like No Other by Una LaMarche | Goodreads | Review

This book floored me. The story follows a girl who is a Hasidic Jew and the boy she falls in love with who lives outside of the community, and their struggle to be together. It’s beautiful, touching, and one of my favorite reads.

i knew you were trouble

(a book with a bad character you couldn’t help but love)

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi | Goodreads | Review

I absolutely HATED Warner at the beginning of Shatter Me, but by the end I was yearning for more Warner. I fell in love with him for some reason, and in Ignite Me when I realized that Juliette and Warner were going to have a very important story I was ecstatic. Warner is the bad character who I loved from the beginning of this series and still love today.

innocent

(a book that someone ruined the ending for)

Allegiant by Veronica Roth | Goodreads | Review

FREAKING TWITTER HAD TO GO AND RUIN THIS BOOK FOR ME I WAS SO ANGRY.

I’m still a bit bitter about it, actually. But I got over it and enjoyed the book all the same.

everything has changed

(a book with a character who goes through extensive character development)

A Sense of Infinite by Hilary T. Smith | Goodreads

I’m such a Hilary T. Smith fan it’s insane. A Sense of Infinite has some of the best character development I’ve read this year, and it made the book a billion times better than it already was. My review will be up soon – and the book is coming out on May 19th so GO BUY IT.

you belong with me

(my most anticipated book release)

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin | Goodreads | Review of The Walled City

I AM JUMPING UP AND DOWN IN EXCITEMENT FOR THIS BOOK. I adored Ryan’s book The Walled City, so Wolf by Wolf was an immediate addition to my TBR. It’s historical fiction, it’s set during WWII, and it has a killer plotline.

I’m pumped.

forever and always

(my favorite book couple)

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry | Goodreads | Review of Breaking the Rules (Noah and Echo’s Story Pt. 2)

Just. Noah and Echo.

They make me as feel-y as Jonah and Taylor from Jellicoe Road do. And that’s saying a lot. This book has changed the way I read, write, and think.

I can’t with these two characters.

begin again

(a series that deserves a second chance)

Ensnared (Splintered, #3) by A.G. Howard | Goodreads | Review of Splintered

I loved books #1 and #2 in this series, but when I sat down to read Ensnared, I couldn’t get through it. I want to give it another shot though, because I feel like I’ll love it once I get farther in – plus I love the world in these books.

wonderland

(a book that features your favorite fictional world)

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta | Goodreads | Review

It’s a Melina Marchetta book, so I love it.

This is quite possibly my favorite fantasy series. It’s beautiful, heart-wrenchingly emotional, and the world is described in the Marchetta fashion – with perfection. I love this series so, so, so much.

last kiss

(a series that you’re not ready to let go, even though it ended)

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin | Goodreads | Review

I refuse to let this series go.

Noah and Mara were behind Noah and Echo for favorite couple, but they win for being unable to let them go – this story, these characters, the concept, they all have stayed locked away in my head since I finished the series.

clean

(a series where you’re glad it’s over)

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken | Goodreads | Review of In The Afterlight (Book #3)

I’m picking this series not because I was ready for it to be over (I wasn’t) but because of the ending.

TALK ABOUT WELL DONE.

Applause of Bracken for winning best series finish award.

wildest dreams

(your favorite fictional guy–it’s preferred but he doesn’t have to be a bad boy)

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider | Goodreads | Review

Ezra from this book is probably the type of guy I would date. (After he’s changed though – not him at the beginning of the book!) He’s kind, funny, smart (a TOTAL NERD AND I LOVE IT) and just a sweet guy.

I love him.

enchanted

(a book you found by chance that you ended up loving)

Partials by Dan Wells | Goodreads | Review of Fragments, Book #2

I randomly got this book somewhere and I fell in love. The science of this book is incredible, as is the character development. I just realized that somehow I HAVEN’T READ BOOK #3?!!?!?! I AM ASHAMED.

I must find Ruins now.

all you had to do was stay

(a book you didn’t finish that you wish you had given another chance)

Don’t Look Now by Michelle Gagnon | Goodreads | Review of Don’t Turn Around, #1

I went through this phase were I read a ton of hacker books, and the first book in this series, Don’t Turn Around was one of my favorites. Don’t Look Now was the sequel, and I was ecstatic when I got it. However, I started it and was so confused that I just couldn’t finish it. I still have it and really want to finish it at some point soon!

come back, be here

(a book I would not want to lend out for fear of missing it too much)

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta | Goodreads | Review

Obviously.

I don’t think I could manage to lend this out to someone because I wouldn’t be able to let it go. It has been personalized – there are my tabs with my favorite passages, a set of sticky-notes a friend made me that matched up with pages after we finished a standardized test, and my tally of times I’ve read it. It’s my most prized possession.

teardrops on my guitar

(a book that made me cry a lot)

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta | Goodreads | Review

Oops.

But seriously.

EVERY. TIME.

shake it off

(a book I love so much that I just shake off the haters)

And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard | Goodreads

There have been some mixed reviews on this book over the past year (it come out in December 2014) but I loved this book. It’s the kind of book I see myself writing at some point in my life, and I will defend it until I run out of air.

blank space

(my favorite autographed book)

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers | Goodreads | Review

When I met and interviewed Robin LaFevers I think I had a heart attack.

Therefore, this book is very, very special to me.

today was a fairytale

(my favorite retelling)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer | Goodreads | Review of Scarlet, Book #2

These books are just TOO COOL not to take this spot.

Props to Marissa Meyer for being so darn creative because I don’t know how she comes up with this stuff.


 

 

I’m tagging:

  1. Jen from Books and Other Happy Ever Afters
  2. Grace from Words Like Silver
  3. Emily from Forever Literary
  4. Jessica from Fly to Fiction
  5. Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner
  6. Katie from Katie’s Book Blog
  7. Serena from Reading Over Sleeping
  8. YOU! Link me in comments if you do this tag!