Review: Asher’s Fault by Elizabeth Wheeler

Book: Asher’s Fault
Author: Elizabeth Wheeler
Publish Date: September 17th,2013
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Genre: YA/LBGT
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-order links: AmazonBarnes & Noble

Synopsis (from Barnes & Noble) 

The day fourteen-year-old Asher receives a Minolta camera from his aunt Sharon, he buys the last roll of black-and-white film and takes his first photograph—a picture of a twisted pine tree. He’s so preoccupied with his new hobby he fails to notice his dad’s plan to move out, his increasing alienation from his testosterone-ridden best friend, Levi, and his own budding sexuality. When his little brother drowns at the same moment Asher experiences his first same-sex kiss, he can no longer hide behind the lens of his camera. Asher thinks it’s his fault, but after his brother dies, his father resurfaces along with clues challenging Asher’s black-and-white view of the world. The truth is as twisted as the pine tree in his first photograph.

Disclaimer: I received this e-galley from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
This one caught my eye due to a number of factors. The coming of age concept,the burgeoning sexuality as well as the photography factor.So I was really excited to read this one and for the first two-thirds of it I had some significant emotions come out of me but the last third of the book was such a major disappointment.

Let’s discuss the characters first. Asher was a good kid who had gone through quite a bit in his life and was now having to deal with his parents divorce,the new kid Garrett and his little brother’s eventual death. He does go a little off kilter near the middle of the book but really,who can blame him? His father walked out,his mother is an emotional wreck,his brother Travis is dead and he’s trying to sort out his feelings for Garrett.

Photography is key and it’s Asher’s way of hiding. He hides behind the lens because he is not ready to face the realities of his life.When his brother dies at the exact moment that Asher is experiencing his first same sex kiss,he feels an immense weight of guilt crushing him to the point where he avoids Garrett’s calls.

Levi is Asher’s best friend and they have been friends for a long time but I spent nearly the entire book absolutely hating Levi for the way he treated Asher. I know people are going to say “Well it was the hormones” Please,that is NO excuse. I’m also completely flabbergasted that Levi did not attend the funeral. Really? His best friend’s brother died and he didn’t attend the funeral to provide support to Asher? Levi’s parents went,but not Levi.

Now we go to Asher’s mom Margaret,she was an emotional wreck throughout the entire thing. I still believe that she was being a big time baby over the divorce.I mean really she kept calling Asher’s dad “him” Come on,you were married to the man for a long time and now you carried with you a boat-load of anger.I mean Asher, Travis & their mother even went to the earlier church service to avoid seeing him with his new wife. Now THAT is totally childish.One rule of divorced parents is to never speak ill of the other parent. Asher’s mother definitely failed on that count.

Now I could have done without Asher’s dad and his stepmother but his connection to his dad’s house was important.I do think the author could have achieved the same result through other means though.I did like that Heather attempted to fix the camera after it met an untimely demise.I think she had some redeeming qualities but since Asher was committed to hating her,we never got to see those qualities. 

Now I need to go off on a small tangent,there was a lot about God & religion that really made me uncomfortable. I’m an atheist so there were some parts in this book that made me not want to finish this book.Had I known that there was a lot of religion in this book,I would not have requested it on Netgalley.

It was refreshing to see a teenage character who is openly gay. Generally we don’t get to see that. Most teenage characters who are gay,hide their sexuality for fear of being beaten to a pulp.So I liked that Garrett was so happy and confident with himself.I really wish we had gotten to see more of him.I wanted more interaction between him and Asher. 

Jennifer & Kayla were okay characters but I wasn’t really invested in either of them. It was obvious to me that Asher was using Jennifer to try and erase those strange feelings he had for Garrett.

And now,for my biggest pet peeve.I wish this book focused more on the LGBT aspect.I liked that it focused a lot on family but since this book was in the LGBT/YA category on Netgalley I was hoping that it would focus more on Asher’s feelings for Garrett. I don’t think those feelings were really explored at all and that was my biggest disappointment with this book.

So this book gets three stars from me. It was a beautiful 5 star book until the last third of the book and that’s when it went down.I also wasn’t satisfied with the ending so that’s another reason why it’s getting the 3 star rating. 

Review: The Moon & More by Sarah Dessen

Book: The Moon & More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Published Date: June 4th, 2013
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Genre: NA/Contemporary/Romace
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis:
This summer is a time for transitions for Emaline and her family. While she prepares to head off to college,other members of her family are experiencing changes of their own. Emaline has been with her boyfriend Luke for as long as she can remember.He is perfect in every way but now Emaline is starting to wonder if perfect is really what she needs. Enter Theo the mysterious stranger.
Theo is everything that Luke is not. Theo is ambitious and he goes for what he wants,every day believing that this day or this experience will be the best ever.He thinks that Emaline is much to smart for the small town of Colby.
Emaline’s mostly absent father agrees with Theo. He believes that Emaline can do much better than Colby but he is not willing or able to actually help her get there. Emaline can’t deny that she is interested in this future that both Theo and her father see for her.She loves her family and her small town and she’s reluctant to break out of her comfort zone.
Emaline wants to have it all but how can she balance where she came from,from where she’s going?
Disclaimer: I purchased this book from Amazon
Review:
I know most people are going to focus their reviews on the love triangle aspect of the book but not me. I am going to focus this review on Emaline’s family,most specifically her relationship with her mostly absent father as I related to that one so much. 
Like Emaline, I don’t have much of a relationship with my father. Actually the interaction I have with him is SO much less than what Emaline has with her father.Like Emaline though I do have a relationship with my half siblings. Not much of one but this book inspired me to make more of an effort.
“No you’re my father.I have a dad and right now Benji needs his. Not a lecture.Not fixing because he is not broken. Just your attention and your patience and your time.Just you.” 
                                 -Emaline
Benji was a cute kid and I’m not at all convinced that he didn’t steal the show so to speak in certain parts of the book.I really didn’t like Emaline’s father.Especially towards the end.I began to see just how selfish he was and I hurt so badly for Benji. I wish we had gotten to see more of Emaline’s stepmother Leah. I have a feeling I would have really liked her.
Now Emaline’s nuclear family was great. I loved her grandmother, mom,stepfather and sisters Margo & Amber. They all seemed like a typical family.Close enough to drive each other crazy,but also allowing for autonomy.I can’t blame Emaline for not really minding that her father wasn’t around much.She had a wonderful & supportive family.
Daisy was so sweet and such an awesome friend. I wish I had a friend just like her. I liked her relationship with Morris. I know it seemed like he was a lazy ass and maybe he was,but he made one hell of an effort for Daisy which made me smile.
Oh Ivy,throughout most of the book I kept saying that she was a very high strung woman and just needed to chill for a bit. But by the end of it,I loved her.Yes she was a hard-ass but once I really got to know the character I didn’t mind one iota.She actually grew to be one of my favorite characters in the whole book.
Okay I guess now I have to talk about the two guys. Initially I felt that Luke was too vanilla for Emaline and that Theo was more of a raspberry sorbet type. I liked Theo more for Emaline through a good chunk of it but then I started to realize that he was doing his best to try to change Emaline which drove me bananas. Yes coaxing someone out of their comfort zone could be helpful but he was really pushy.The fact that every day could be the “Best Day Ever” started to really irk me. No day is perfect and there is no such thing as having every day be the best thing ever.
I ended up loving Luke by the end of it. He was sweet and kind and most importantly he cared for Emaline in a way that I don’t think Theo ever did.He didn’t try to change Emaline and he also didn’t push for a reconciliation by the end.
“My point is, I don’t want anymore weirdness between us. Which means honestly not having anything between us.At least not now. All right?” -Luke

There were a few points in the book where it seemed to drag and that really is the reason I’ve giving this book 4 stars.If there hadn’t been any dragging parts,then I would be giving this book the full five stars. As it is,I need to go read some more of Sarah Dessen’s work.

Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

Author: Kasie West
Publish Date: February 12th,2013
Published by: Harper Teen
Genre: YA/Paranormal
Standalone
Synopsis: Addison “Addie” Coleman lives in constant what if’s.As a Searcher,Addie can look into the future whenever she has to make a choice about something,anything.A very important choice hits her out of nowhere when her parents announce that they are divorcing. Now Addie has to choose who she wants to live with (a rough decision for most kids in this situation) However Addie can look into the future and see what life she likes best. Her father will be leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms” while her mother will stay put.
In one future,Addie is adjusting to life outside the compound,meeting new faces like Trevor. He’s sweet and kind to her. In the other future Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in their high school. Things kind of turn on their head when Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the compound.It will eventually come down to,who can Addie not afford to lose.

Disclaimer: I purchased this book off of Amazon.

Review: I must admit that I had heard so many great things about this book but I was worried that I wouldn’t like it. While the beginning was a tiny bit on the slow side,it really picked up quickly and I was drawn into such an interesting world.
I know it sounds crazy but for the longest time I was drawn to Duke. Yes he was an arrogant ass in the beginning. Yes he had the typical quarterback’s attitude but I was drawn to him. Trevor on the other hand was kind of boring. I know he was sweet and Addie liked how he understood her but I really thought he was boring.In terms of character development,both love interests definitely had distinct personalities that authors tend not to showcase enough for me.
Addie was awesome. She was the kind of character that I would want as a best friend.She was funny, loyal & kind. Laila was awesome too. She definitely had spunk just like Addie did but again they weren’t like two peas in a pod or anything. They had their own distinct likes & personalities. Bobby was a class A jerk and I wanting nothing more than for him to get what was coming to him. 
From a writing standpoint,it was perfection. Great pacing & the editing was perfection. No issues at all. At first going back and forth between the possible futures was a bit confusing but I caught on quickly.
It really made me think though. All I could think when I was reading this (outside of what future will Addie pick) was my future. If I was a Searcher would I Search frequently to make choices or would I just let life happen until I had to make a significant choice like Addie did. I found myself wondering what my future held and I even wished that the ability to know my future was a real thing.
It was an amazing book that I would happily and enthusiastically recommend to all of my friends. Five stars to this book that made me think about my own life.