Review: Me Since You by Laura Wiess

Book Title: Me Since You
Author: Laura Wiess
Release Date: February 18th, 2014
Publisher: MTV Books
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Link: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis from Goodreads:
“Laura Wiess’s masterful prose kept me turning the pages. This is the first book in a very long time that made me say, ‘Wish I’d written this’” (Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank, on Such a Pretty Girl).

Sixteen-year-old Rowan is still reeling from her father’s suicide four months ago, after he failed to stop a man from leaping off an overpass to his death. The only witness is Eli, a teenaged boy wrapped deep in mourning for his own father, killed in action in Afghanistan. When Rowan and Eli meet, they recognize kindred spirits, and begin to navigate grief and its aftermath together.

Rowan can’t understand how her father could choose to leave her, and acts out, pushing away friends and taking risks with her safety. Rowan’s mother, wracked with her own guilt and sorrow over failing to save her husband, stops going to work and collects stray cats for comfort. Grief, fractured and unpredictable, rules their lives now. Rowan is lost—and sinking. But Eli represents a lifeline for Rowan, and as they struggle to make sense of what’s gone and what is left behind, they begin to fall in love. Me Since You is Laura Wiess at her finest—a beautiful, gripping and painfully honest examination of adolescence.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review:
This one is going to be a hard one to review for several reasons.When it was really good, it was really good and I cried so hard I nearly puked. But when there was a lull, which was a lot of the time, it was disappointing to me. I think a lot if not all of the problem I had was that I couldn’t really relate to Rowan.She had an intact family where her parents clearly loved each other. I couldn’t relate to that.

Yet when her father commits suicide, I cry buckets. I cry for Rowan because it’s just not fair that a father who loved his family that much, could be in so much pain where the only thing he could do to deal with it, was end his life. I cried because I remembered being in a similar position 2 years ago when a good friend of mine ended her life. 

This one was different though. With Rowan it was her beloved father. The grief was palpable, but yet I felt disconnected from it. Trying to connect with either Rowan or her mother was impossible because I couldn’t understand why they were so sad. I blame that totally on my life experiences though.I totally understand why this entire book was a complete sobfest for others.

I absolutely adored Eli though. I know normally I say that relationships like this are formed out of convenience, but not this time. It helped that Rowan and Eli were already friends before Rowan’s dad killed himself.I love watching a friendship turn into something more. It’s always been a big positive for me to see two people start off as friends first before they become romantically involved.

Rowan needs Eli, especially once she realizes that her onetime best friend, Nadia has essentially deserted her. That absolutely infuriated me. Nadia expects Rowan to be okay only a month after the death? Nadia’s job is to love and support Rowan as she navigates this journey called grief, and yet she doesn’t. She gets mad at Rowan for “not being over it already” Really she wants Rowan to “get over” the death of her father in a month? Nadia turned out to be a class A bitch.

I really wanted to love this book, but I think the fact that I couldn’t connect with the characters at all was my main problem. Structurally the book was great and the feels were definitely there.The crying I did was really the only time I connected with the characters.The emotional parts were wonderfully written and Eli was easily my favorite character. Aside from that, I didn’t hate this book, but I just didn’t love it either. That’s why I have to give it 3 stars.

Review: Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

Book Title: Being Sloane Jacobs
Author: Lauren Morrill
Release Date: January 7th, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte
Genre: YA
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Link: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
This book title had been floating around my fellow book bloggers since shortly after I became a part of the book blogger community. I had seen the synopsis and I was truly excited for it although I knew my chances of getting an ARC of it were pretty slim. Imagine my surprise when I got the email from NetGalley a few months ago, in October.

I downloaded it instantly but wasn’t able to get to it until recently.It was well worth the wait. It made me cry, laugh and have all the feels in between. This isn’t a fluffy Parent Trap-esque book. The romance happens for the girls, not the parents.Happily, the romance wasn’t the main plot point. It was a subplot to the main plot of two stressed out athletes needing a month away from their families. 

Sloane Emily’s family is a mess. She walked in on her father having an affair with his assistant, and suddenly that assistant is everywhere-even in Sloane Emily’s thoughts. Her mother is clueless about the affair and Emily isn’t about to clue her in on it. Her brother, James is working with the political party, who their father is NOT affiliated with.

Sloane Devon’s family is a mess too. Her mother is a raging alcoholic, who is in rehab, her father is trying to parent her as a single father but is failing big time. Add that to Sloane Devon’s temper and there’s a recipe for disaster.
A lot of people are going to take issue with the fact that it seemed like they had no problems with switching and that they seemed to do well in sports that they weren’t previously focused on.I don’t find that as much of an issue mostly because they do have the background of being on the ice. They just have to get used to using different equipment. For Sloane Emily, that’s pucks and hockey sticks and lots of body armor. For Sloane Devon, that’s ice skates.
Nando and Matt were two good additions to the story. I did prefer Matt, mostly because I didn’t feel it between Sloane Devon and Nando. I did feel major sparks between Matt and Sloane Emily though. They were completely adorable.Matt was so determined to prove that he was no longer a playboy like he had been in the past.
There always has to be some sort of rival in books like this but I was bored with Melody. I fully expected her to pull some crazy stuff like Ivy did.Yet, she didn’t and that kind of bored me.Melody just seemed like the typical ultra-competitive player who talked a big talk but when it came right down to it, she was not going to risk her place at camp to go after Sloane Emily.
Alternating POV’s was great and overall I preferred Sloane Devon’s. There were many times that I busted out laughing so hard I was crying while reading her POV. 
“And as much as the thought of Ivy finding a mouse in her bed thrills me, I really should just open the box and eat the brownies.” Sloane Devon

She was everything that I could want in a likable character. She was laugh out loud funny, which was one of my favorite things about her.

“The only thing that’s keeping me from smothering Ivy in her sleep is that I’m convinced that she would haunt me if I did.” Sloane Devon

I do think that Sloane Emily was the one who changed the most by the end of the book.I ended up liking her a whole lot more than I had initially.Yet it was Sloane Devon’s family that made the most changes to themselves by the end of the book and that alone made me cry quite a bit at the end.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book, loved the characters a lot. I would love to give this book a full five stars but I didn’t get many feels while reading this, which bummed me out. I also didn’t feel like I got to see enough of Sloane Emily’s personality. If I had gotten to see more of her personality, I think I would have liked her more.So this book will be getting 4 stars.

About the Author:

Lauren Elizabeth Morrill is many things, including, but not limited to, a writer, an educator, a badass roller derby skater, a former band nerd, an aggressive driver, and a die-hard Mac person. She also watches a lot of TV, eats a lot of junk food, and drinks a lot of Coke. It’s a wonder her brain and teeth haven’t rotted out of her head.

Connect with the author:
Website
Twitter
Facebook Author Page

Review: Uninvited (Uninvited #1) by Sophie Jordan

Book Title: Uninvited (Uninvited #1)
Author: Sophie Jordan
Release Date: January 28th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/SciFi
Series: Book one in Uninvited duology
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble, Book Depository 
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she’s destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review:
Oh man, I really, REALLY liked this one. I had never read any of Sophie Jordan’s work before but when I was auto-approved awhile back for all of HarperTeen’s titles, I snatched this one up in a hurry.I was so hoping that I wouldn’t be disappointed. And I wasn’t. I was fully thrust into this world where it is so very much like it was prior to the end of segregation of African Americans and Caucasians.

Davina “Davy” Hamilton has a bright future but all of that comes to a crushing, heartbreaking end when she is found to be carrying the HTS gene. Suddenly, all her friends abandon her, her boyfriend ditches her and her parents seem afraid of her. She is now sent to a different school where the carriers are separated from the other students, the normal ones who don’t carry this gene.

Davy’s lost everything and I could feel the grief through the pages of the book.Suddenly she’s friendless and terrified.She’s thrust into a room at her new school that’s dubbed The Cage. It’s here where she meets both allies and adversaries.I really liked Coco from what little we saw of her and I was really wishing she was more of a presence in this book.

Now to the guys who were very mysterious initially, although they couldn’t have been any different. Gil was more outgoing and friendly. Sean was quiet and not all that friendly. He definitely wasn’t mean to Davy, but he definitely had an edge to him.Maybe it was the HTS thing or maybe it was his home situation, but I think it was a combination of both.

As quickly as her former friends turned against her, I never would have believed that her ex boyfriend and her ex best friend along with other kids would have turned her in for a seemingly minor crime. But they did and I was heartbroken for Davy.It wasn’t right and it made Davy feel even more hopeless. 

When she’s given an unexpected opportunity, she takes it instantly. What she doesn’t know is that by taking this offer, she’s putting herself in even more danger.Soon she meets other kids like her, who have the HTS gene. She meets more adversaries and one more ally, all the while trying to ignore her growing feelings for Sean.

Watching that relationship slowly develop was awesome. It wasn’t a case of insta-love, thank goodness. Sean worked his butt off to protect Davy throughout this book. They were friends long before they became anything else.Their romance added a bright light in a very bleak world.

Oh my goodness, I almost forgot to mention the FEELS. Ohhhh boy there were a lot of feels for me in this book. Not just one or two feels either. A whole range of feels. From sadness, to happiness to glee and many other feels.Books that give me these kinds of feels are always going to be some of my favorites.

I really did enjoy this book a lot. There are only a few things I didn’t like so much. I wish we had learned how the HTS gene was discovered and a little backstory on that. I also didn’t like Davy’s parents that much. I know they were scared but I didn’t particularly love the way they treated Davy. It wasn’t like she asked for this gene. Her brother was awesome though. He seems bound and determined not to see Davy as a threat to his safety. He treats her normally unlike her parents and her former friends.

So this book will be getting four stars from me and I cannot wait to read the final book in the duology. I have a feeling that it will be amazing.So go read it if you like action, romance and above all, books that make you feel.

Review: The Sea Of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Book Title: The Sea of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
Release Date: November 13th, 2012
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis from Goodreads:
I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

Disclaimer: This was a personal purchase.

Review:
How the hell do I write a review for this book? Writing a review of this book will definitely prove to be difficult as it was amazing. I don’t think I’ll ever be the same after reading this. It had everything you could ever want in a book and more.

When you read this synopsis, you don’t think this book is going to be funny, but it is funny. It;s also sad,so sad in fact that it pretty much destroyed me in the best possible way. Yes, apparently there is a way to be destroyed in a positive way. There has to be, because I was. Holy crap, I am SO mad at myself for not reading this book sooner. I have a thing for books about damaged characters, yes I’m weird like that. 

You wouldn’t think that Nastya would be likable,but in her own way, she was and I loved that she wasn’t a typical sullen, angry teenager.I also liked that her family was in the book and that specifically her aunt was in the book. Not many YA books involve the extended family so I was excited to see that this one did.

Her family was similar to Drew’s family in a lot of ways, but also different in a lot of ways. Drew’s family doesn’t push her to talk unlike her own family who desperately wants and I think needs to hear her talk.

In contrast, Josh has only one family member left, his grandfather and his grandfather is very sick and he dies in the book. Yet he is very close with Drew and Drew’s family. Drew’s mother likes to take in “strays” and with Josh, she does.

The beginning of this book is slow as it does a lot of introducing the characters and taking a peek into their daily lives. Yet, it wasn’t the kind of slow that was boring. In fact, I devoured every word.

The second half of this book but most especially the last 150 some pages are emotional, gut wrenching and heartbreaking. Like I said before, it destroyed me. I was in bed, sobbing violently into my kleenex until my kleenex was shredded beyond recognition.

I loved that Nastya and Josh’s relationship was slow burning. Much better than having them jump into bed two seconds after meeting. They established a friendship first which I loved.

I cannot say enough about the writing. It was absolutely gorgeous and I think I mentioned that a couple times in my Goodreads & Twitter updates. The dual points of view were done amazingly and I would argue that it was one of the best examples of dual POV’s that I’ve ever read.

Gahhh, I just loved this book. It was perfection and I cannot wait to read the next thing that Katja writes.This was amazing and well worth the 5 stars I’m giving it. If I could give it 6 stars, I would. 

Review: Dare You To (Pushing The Limits #2) by Katie McGarry

Book Title: Dare You To (Pushing The Limits #2)
Author: Katie McGarry
Release Date: May 28th, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Series: Book 2 in Pushing The Limits series
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. “Dance with me, Beth.”

“No.” I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again….

“I dare you…”

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom’s freedom and her own happiness. That’s how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn’t want her and going to a school that doesn’t understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her, but does….

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn’t be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won’t let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all.


Disclaimer: This was a personal purchase.

Review:
Yesterday I reviewed Pushing The Limits which is the first book in this series. Today I am reviewing the second one in the series. I had heard through the grapevine that this one wasn’t as good as Pushing The Limits and while I did have some issues with Ryan at the beginning, I have to say that I loved this one too.For different reasons of course. Pushing The Limits was about realizing that while you may be damaged, you are still worthy of love. Dare You To was about needing to live your own life, apart from what is expected of you.

Ryan is expected to play ball and date Gwen. That’s it.His father has put immense pressure on him to focus on baseball and date a “good girl” like Gwen. The pressure has gotten worse since Mark, Ryan’s older brother came out of the closet.Ryan’s family has all but abandoned Mark for something that he cannot control.

Then we have Beth. Hardcore Beth who we saw a bit of in Pushing The Limits. The Beth that a lot of us were convinced would end up with Isaiah. I think that was part of my initial issues with her and Ryan. I couldn’t get the idea of her and Isaiah out of my head.Beth’s had a hard life. She’s had to play the adult to her mother since she was pretty young.She feels like it’s her responsibility to do that because her mom didn’t leave her.

It takes just about the entire book for her to realize that she is not responsible for her mother’s behavior. Her mother chooses that life. Her mother would rather have a violent drug dealer as a boyfriend than get away and be safe with Beth. Watching Beth realize all of this was gut wrenching. Watching her lean on Ryan was amazing to watch. In the past, her self esteem was in the toilet. She never felt like she was good enough for anyone. Which is why, when rumor swirl around the school about her past, she goes back to believing that she’s not good enough. 

“I love how he can smooth away the roughness and make me feel like someone worth loving.” -Beth

At the end of the book there is a particularly heartbreaking scene that had me in tears, actually more like violent sobs. It wrecked me in the best possible way. It’s no secret that I like books that give me the feels and this book did that.

It took me awhile to warm up to Ryan but once I did, I really liked him. I also really liked that he called her by her name and NOT some stupid nickname. Beth remained my favorite character throughout this book.While I couldn’t relate to her, I could empathize with her. 

I wish we had seen more of Ryan’s brother Mark, but what we did see of him, I liked. I really liked how Beth worked to get Ryan and Mark on speaking terms again.

“Grow a pair of balls, that’s what I would have done. God, Ryan, you are an asshole.Your brother is gay and you toss him out of your life because you are too much of a pansy to stand up to your father.” -Beth

Ryan’s friends Chris, Lacy & Logan all seemed like a good crowd. They supported each other and they were always willing to help each other out. The dares that were part of the friendship took a backseat to true friendship which I loved.

This book was near perfect for me. I am giving it 4.5 stars. I am taking off a half a star mostly because it took me nearly half the book to warm up to Ryan. If you haven’t read this series yet, then you need to and soon.