Mini Reviews: The Great American Whatever, Tell Me Three Things, & After the Woods


I never do mini-reviews. Like, ever.

However, in light of the fact that I’ve been out of the blogging grind and have read some books but don’t feel like writing full-length reviews, I’m doing mini-reviews. Get excited, people.

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle | Goodreads

Release Date: March 29th, 2016 from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course, that was all before—before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa…and before Annabeth was killed in a car accident.

Enter Geoff, Quinn’s best friend who insists it’s time that Quinn came out—at least from hibernation. One haircut later, Geoff drags Quinn to his first college party, where instead of nursing his pain, he meets a guy—a hot one—and falls hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually have a happily-ever-after ending—if, that is, he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story.

This book was equal parts hilarious, touching, and relatable. The book opens with Geoff pulling Quinn out of his room for the first time in a while and out of his grieving for his sister. Enter Amir, the cute college boy who Quinn likes immediately. Thus ensues two weeks of a blossoming romance, a sweet and totally real friendship, and Quinn understanding himself a bit better.

I can’t pinpoint what I loved most about The Great American Whatever because I genuinely loved ALL of it. I loved Quinn’s 100% authentic and quirky narration, I loved Geoff cut-the-crap style friendship, I loved Amir’s screw-ups and also his kindness. I loved Quinn’s mom from page one, and their relationship even more. I loved the plot that kept surprising me, but also made me laugh, cry, and want to bang my head against a wall. It was everything I needed to read right now.

Also, it wins for best quote from a book so far this year:

“Quinn, your life story is starting to turn into a documentary that people would walk out of because it’s both too sad and too slow.” -Geoff, being the realest friend ever.

Basically, Tim Federle, you win with this book. You. Win.

After the Woods by Kim Savage | Goodreads

Release Date: February 23rd, 2016 from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.

I love a good thriller, and this one pulled through for me. It wasn’t super heavy on the thriller aspects, but was instead a lot stronger in plot and character development. Julia was surprising me from page one, and I feel like she grew a ton over the course of the book, which I always love to see in main characters. Julia’s desire to understand what really happened the night of her abduction drives the story, but so does a friendship (and maybe something more?) with the police chief’s son. Their relationship really blossoms over the course of the book, and I loved getting to know him as a character, as he was one of my favorites.

The highlight of the book, however, was the ending. That plot twist! Holy cow. Props to Savage, because I did not see that one coming. If you’re in the mood for a thriller/good contemporary, this is definitely one I recommend.

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum | Goodreads

Release Date: April 5th, 2016 from Delacourte Press

What if the person you need the most is someone you’ve never met?

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

This book surprised me in so many ways.

Sure, it was a little predictable in parts and some of the minor details weren’t 100% #RealYA, but overall, I really enjoyed it. It took me away from my school woes and through me into the woes of another person’s life and the hilarity and growth that ensues. Jessie’s no-nothing attitude and her ability to constantly surprise me made me fall in love with her instantly. (Jessie, can we be besties? Please?!)

One of the main things I loved about this book was how much I related to Jessie’s relationship with SN. She looks to him for a friendship she is having trouble finding and ends up really relying on him. They develop this sweet, caring, and meaningful friendship that I’ve found with all of my blogger friends, some of whom I text daily (*cough cough* Aneeqah *cough cough*). Buxbaum did a fabulous job of portraying online friendships but THANK YOU. <3

If you’re in the mood for a great story about growing up, friendship and falling in love, definitely check this one out. It’s down-right hilarious, fresh, and plain fun.