Review: (Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

Book Title: (Don’t You) Forget About Me
Author: Kate Karyus Quinn
Published Date: June 10th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Mystery/Horror
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.

Disclaimer: I received this book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

This book, much like Quinn’s first book, was a puzzle. Normally I hate puzzles. They frustrate me, they make me lose my temper a lot. But when there’s a puzzle in a book, I’m patient and eager to see how things unfold. That was certainly the case with this book. I was fascinated by the world that Quinn had created.

Gardnerville was a place where no one got sick, everyone lived a long life and it was place that promised newcomers a happy, illness free life. But that life came at a price. Every 4 years teenagers are affected with deadly powers. A teen could turn his entire football team into stone or, even lead them to a watery grave. 

This book had so many twists and turns in it that I wasn’t even sure what direction the book would take. It did take me awhile to read it but I think part of that was that I was trying to figure out what was going on and I was actually reading slower than I normally do in an attempt to really let everything sink in. Little tidbits of information at every turn kept me guessing about what was truly going on and I still was never able to figure it out before the book ended.

The last 25% of the book was the best part. That’s when things began to click into place and all of my questions were answered. The way the story was weaved was awesome and I absolutely loved how this story was like an onion. As I read the book, layers and layers of the book unfolded until the entire story was laid out in front of you by the end.

This book was truly awesome and I’m giving it 4 stars. It was absolutely fascinating and Quinn has earned herself a spot on my auto-buy author’s list. This book was such a great ride and I cannot wait to see what Quinn writes next.

Review: Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

Book Title: Fan Art
Author: Sarah Tregay
Published Date: June 17th, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
When the picture tells the story…

Senior year is almost over, and Jamie Peterson has a big problem. Not college—that’s all set. Not prom—he’ll find a date somehow. No, it’s the worst problem of all: he’s fallen for his best friend.

As much as Jamie tries to keep it under wraps, everyone seems to know where his affections lie, and the giggling girls in art class are determined to help Jamie get together with Mason. But Jamie isn’t sure if that’s what he wants—because as much as Jamie would like to come clean to Mason, what if the truth ruins everything? What if there are no more road trips, taco dinners, or movie nights? Does he dare risk a childhood friendship for romance?

This book is about what happens when a picture reveals what we can’t say, when art is truer than life, and how falling in love is easy, except when it’s not. Fan Art explores the joys and pains of friendship, of pressing boundaries, and how facing our worst fears can sometimes lead us to what we want most.

Disclaimer: I got this book from Katherine Tegen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Oh man, I was so excited about this book and for the first about 20% of it I was actually enjoying it. But everything took a downward turn and I started to feel really bored while reading this book. 

I was so excited about the possibility of Jamie and Mason getting together as best friend romances are some of my favorite things in the world. Add on the LGBT aspect of it and that would ordinarily excite me so much that I’d devour the book at lightening speed. I am not really the artsy type but I was hoping that the slow burn romance would allow me to overlook the artsy parts of the book.

But not with this couple. I really felt like Jamie and Mason would be much better as friends and that a romance would really ruin the friendship. I wanted to root for them to get together, but I didn’t feel “it” between them so I didn’t root for them because I didn’t feel any chemistry. It was awful feeling like this and feeling like there was no character development for either of them, which was definitely something I was looking for.

It kills me to admit this, but this book really disappointed me and I was so bored while reading the book. So I’ll be giving it 2 stars. It had a lot of potential, but it wasn’t executed all that well and it felt like a chore to pick this book up every single time.

Review: The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex #1) by Lindsay Cummings

Book Title: The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex #1)
Author: Lindsay Cummings
Published Date: June 10th, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Series: Book One in The Murder Complex Trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings

Disclaimer: I received this book from Greenwillow Books via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

I was so excited about this book when I first downloaded it from Edelweiss. It seemed right up my alley. But when I finally got a chance to sit down and read it, I was only mildly interested in it. I was liking the characters names. I’m obsessed with the name Zephyr now. I want to name everything Zephyr.

But the character development was totally lacking. I wanted more character development for Zephyr & Meadow. I also didn’t really feel the chemistry between them which really bummed me out. I felt like they were only good friends and that was it. There was no sizzling chemistry, I didn’t root for them to kiss. Actually, I think the book would have been much stronger without the romance. Usually I don’t say that. In fact I think I’ve only said it once before. Some books are much stronger without the romance.

I had a lot of hope for the world building and I hate to admit that I was disappointed. I felt like more care & attention should be paid to the world building. Especially when it’s a science fiction or a dystopian world. It’s the author’s job to make the reader feel like they’re in the world they are reading about. Unfortunately Cummings’ attempts at world building were not as good as I was hoping they would be.

I hate being disappointed by books, but I didn’t enjoy The Murder Complex like I thought I would. Giving it 2 stars is very difficult for me, but this book just wasn’t for me and I won’t be continuing the series. 

Review: Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten

Book Title: Wickedpedia
Author: Chris Van Etten
Published Date: June 24th, 2014
Publisher: Point Horror
Genre: YA Horror
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
It’s the return of Point Horror for the Internet generation! Don’t open the door. Don’t answer your phone. And whatever you do, DON’T turn on your computer. . . .

Cole and Gavin love playing practical jokes through Wikipedia. They edit key articles and watch their classmates crash and burn giving oral reports on historical figures like Genghis Khan, the first female astronaut on Jupiter. So after the star soccer player steals Cole’s girlfriend, the boys take their revenge by creating a Wikipedia page for him, an entry full of outlandish information including details about his bizarre death on the soccer field.

It’s all in good fun, until the soccer player is killed in a freak accident . . . just as Cole and Gavin predicted. The uneasy boys vow to leave Wikipedia alone but someone continues to edit articles about classmates dying in gruesome ways . . . and those entries start to come true as well.

To his horror, Cole soon discovers that someone has created a Wikipedia page for him, and included a date of death. He has one week to figure out who’s behind the murders, or else he’s set to meet a pretty grisly end.

Disclaimer: I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

I must be getting really picky about books in the YA Horror genre, because this is the second book that I’ve read recently in this genre and, once again, I’m woefully unimpressed. I love murder mysteries and I was sure this one was going to hook me and it didn’t. 

I think it had to do with the fact that not only did the characters bore me, but I didn’t even care about the murders. I thought for sure the added storyline of the social media playing a part in this book, would make it more interesting.

I didn’t even care that Cole’s life was in danger. I found myself almost wishing for his death. I know that sounds awful, but man, was this book boring. It lacked the creepiness factor that I love so much in YA Horror.

So again, this book didn’t do anything. It didn’t scare me. It didn’t freak me out and I wasn’t invested in the characters or the murders. I was bored out of my mind. I’m giving this book 1 star. Hopefully it will be someone else’s taste, but it definitely was not my taste.

Review: Behind the Scenes (Daylight Falls #1) by Dahlia Adler

Book Title: Behind the Scenes (Daylight Falls #1)
Author: Dahlia Adler
Published Date: June 24th, 2014
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Book 1 in Daylight Falls
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
High school senior Ally Duncan’s best friend may be the Vanessa Park – star of TV’s hottest new teen drama – but Ally’s not interested in following in her BFF’s Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally’s ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father’s mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van’s on-set assistant to get the cash she needs. 

Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors’ publicist arranges for Van and Liam to “date” for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she’s capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can’t play by Hollywood’s rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Spencer Hill Press via Edelweiss.

I was really excited about this book despite the fact that it isn’t normally my cup of tea. I am definitely a sucker for good friendship stories and that’s what Behind the Scenes gave me. Ally and Vanessa’s friendship was solid and it was an equal friendship. Vanessa is talented and she is set to be one of the stars of the new show Daylight Falls. Yet, she is careful not to flaunt her success in front of Ally.

Ally’s going through her own problems. Her father is in the hospital, fighting Stage IV skin cancer. Doctors are saying that he doesn’t have much time left so Ally spends a lot of time in the hospital with him. Her family is very close and supportive of one another. Ally has been planning to attend Columbia, but now that her father’s medical bills are eating up the college fund. So Ally wonders just how she is going to be able to go to Columbia when all this is going on in her family.

That’s where Vanessa sweeps in and hires Ally as her assistant so that Ally can go to Columbia like she’s dreamed of. It’s here where Ally met Liam. Ally tried her hardest to ignore Liam. She doesn’t want to have anything to do with a guy who makes a living as an actor. What she doesn’t know is that Liam has his own demons.

When Ally begins to talk to Liam, she learns that he has gone through absolute hell. His mother died from cancer when he was 8 and he was whisked off to his father’s house. He didn’t know his father at all and things between his father and him never improve.

“Sick as it was, there was something oddly nice about being able to talk cancer with someone who already knew the terminology.” -Ally-

I totally understood that as I have often said the same thing about my own health problems. It is definitely really nice to be able to talk about my heart problems with others who have experience with it. That means I don’t have to stop and explain everything that I’m talking about, which sometimes drives me batty. I could tell Ally really needed someone who knew about cancer to talk to them about it.

It wasn’t just the cancer thing that brought Ally and Liam together. They have great chemistry even as friends. Liam desperately wants to prove to Ally that he’s not a total douchebag and Ally wants to believe that he’s not like every other actor on the planet. But as things begin to deepen between them, Ally starts to wonder if she can really deal with being the secret girlfriend to an actor. She starts to think that maybe she’s not cut out for this. Maybe she’s not okay with seeing him “date” Vanessa.

“I just wanted to be enough” -Ally-

That line pretty much broke my heart. Ally’s best friend is a beautiful actress and her boyfriend is a very attractive guy. Ally lives in the real world. The world of high school and homework and prom, and sick dads and money problems. She doesn’t feel like she’s good enough for Liam. She doesn’t feel pretty enough, she doesn’t feel sexy enough. Not feeling good enough is definitely a high school thing so I was happy to see Adler put this in the book as I felt like Ally didn’t feel good enough for Liam for the longest time.

I really enjoyed this book a lot. More than I expected to. I am definitely excited to see what happens next. It was a book that combined friendship, family and love and those seem to be my favorite books regardless of the setting. 4 stars to this book and I’m excited for Vanessa’s story next. 

Review: The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

Book Title: The Things You Kiss Goodbye
Author: Leslie Connor
Published Date: June 24th, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.

But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.

Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.

When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.

Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Katherine Tegen Books via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

This book frustrated me a lot. 

Abuse was prevalent through the majority of this book and I was so aggravated by Bettina’s behavior towards it. Brady was an asshole. Plain and simple and yet Bettina would blame herself and say things like “Well maybe if I encourage him more” or “Maybe I need to change.” Yes I know abusive relationships are incredibly hard. I’ve never been through one so maybe that was why I didn’t have any sympathy towards Bettina. I think the only reason she kept dating Brady was because she wanted a boyfriend and he was the only one her parents (particularly her very strict Greek father) would approve of.

“This kind of thing hurts a boy’s feelings if you go out when he cannot be with you.”

I hated Bettina’s father. He was so strict and Bettina was so scared to tell her family that Brady was hurting her. Not that she thought her father would hurt her, but she was still scared to tell them. I wanted her mom to stand up for her. I desperately wanted Bettina to be brave enough to tell her family about Brady hurting her.

And “Cowboy?” Ugh, ugh, UGH. No, no, no. I didn’t have an issue with the cheating only because Brady was abusive. If he hadn’t been abusive, I would have had an issue. The age difference was icky, but again, I didn’t have a major issue with it either. The biggest issue for me, was the lack of chemistry. Whenever they were together, I was bored. 

Really the only guy Bettina had any sort of chemistry with was Tony. I liked that there was nothing romantic there. I liked that Bettina had a male friend. Opposite sex friendships are so underrepresented in YA.

Overall, I was very unimpressed with this book. I kept wanting it to be over. Even the ending didn’t save it for me. I’ll be giving it 2 stars. Lackluster romance in every way and frustrating characters ruined the book for me.

Review: 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

Book Title: 17 First Kisses
Author: Rachael Allen
Publish Date: June 17th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/ Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.

Until Claire meets Luke.

But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.

With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.

In her moving debut, Rachael Allen brilliantly captures the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and the difficulties of trying to find love in high school. Fans of Sarah Ockler, Susane Colasanti, and Stephanie Perkins will fall head over heels for this addictive, heartfelt, and often hilarious modern love story.

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

This book was far more complex than I initially thought it would be. I was expecting a sweet, fluffy book with some friendship drama mixed in. What I got was a book about love, life, choices and family.

Claire’s family has been through absolute hell and they are still going through it. Her mom spends her days in bed, avoiding her children & husband. Claire’s father has immersed himself in his work, leaving Claire to run the house & take care of her younger sister Libby. Claire had a lot of pressure put on her and my heart broke for her.

Yet she also is dealing with the fact that every attractive boy in the world seems to want her best friend. As a teenager, that is an all too common problem. Every female teenager has that “hot” friend that the boys are in favor of. And it sucks because you want to be that girl. Thankfully, Megan and Claire made a pact to never let a guy come between them. 

But that comes into question when Luke arrives on the scene.

I could never get a really good read on Luke. Sometimes I’d really like him and root for him and Claire to be together because poor Claire desperately needed something good to happen for her. But sometimes I’d want her to run far away from this guy. There really is more to attraction than simply physical attraction and I think teens struggle with that fact.

Megan and Claire’s friendship is not smooth sailing, but no friendship ever is. There’s bumps in the road, fights that happen and loyalties that are questioned. However I never doubted the friendship. I never doubted that they cared about one another. I never thought that they couldn’t work things out. Friendships aren’t perfect and mistakes are definitely made.

I really wished we had seen more of Sam. I really liked him a lot and I definitely wanted to see more interaction between him and Claire. He seemed to linger in the background a lot without being a main character in the story. I couldn’t really tell what part he’d play in the story but I was definitely eager to see where it went.

This book brought out the feels more than I ever expected. There was a significant chunk about 30% in where I just full on sobbed. It was beautiful and heartbreaking. I found myself wanting to hug Claire because I remembered what it was like to have a mom refuse to get out of bed. It was unbearably hard and oftentimes I cried myself to sleep. So that part was really hard for me to read.

Character development for the main characters was pretty good, but character development for the secondary characters was lacking. However, I really enjoyed the book,and will be giving it 4 stars. I would definitely recommend it to others. It’s not a light and fluffy read by any means, but it was still a very worthwhile book.

In The End (In The After #2) by Demitria Lunetta

Book Title: In The End (In The After #2)
Author: Demitria Lunetta
Publish Date: June 24th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/ SciFi
Series: Book 2 in In The After duology. My review of Book 1 is here.
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The thrilling conclusion to In the After, the survival story of Amy and Baby, set in a near future where Earth has been overrun by vicious, predatory creatures. 

It’s been three months since Amy escaped New Hope, and she’s been surviving on her own, like she did in the After. Until one day, her former fellow Guardian’s voice rings out in her earpiece. And in a desperate tone, Kay utters the four words Amy had hoped she would never hear: Dr. Reynolds has Baby.

Now it’s a race against time, for Baby is in imminent danger, her life threatened by the malevolent doctor who had helped start the end of the world. In order to save Baby, Amy must make her way to Fort Black, a prison-turned-survivor-colony, where she will need to find Ken, Kay’s brother. He alone holds the key to Baby’s survival.

One small slip-up on this quest could spark a downward spiral that would not only cost Baby and Amy their lives, but threaten the very survival of the people in the After.

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

There’s one thing that is so rare in YA books, and, particularly, YA Dystopian books and that’s the absence of romance. I think I mentioned it in my review of In The After, but it bears repeating here. YA needs strong ladies who do what needs to be done without the complication of romance. There is so much more to girls and women than romance and Lunetta definitely makes sure we remember that in this duology.
Amy has one goal, to return to New Hope and get Baby. Baby is really the only one she feels any sense of loyalty to anymore. She has to go to Fort Black in order to save Baby. She tries to avoid it, but when her friend Kay radioes her, everything changes. Dr. Reynolds has Baby. From that point on, Amy knows she must go to Fort Black and she must find Ken. 
The world building was fabulous. Oh my goodness, the creep factor for Fort Black was definitely there. The Warden & Doc were both creepy and I didn’t trust them one iota. But Jacks, I could tell he wasn’t anything like the Warden or Doc. I could tell Jacks had some secrets of his own. I could also tell that he was interested in Amy. Amy is conflicted for a little time, but her resolve to save Baby was much more important than any man. 
That’s another thing that so many YA heroines seem to forget. Family is and always should be more important than any man. Amy’s willing to do whatever she needs to do to save Baby. She finds help in another girl, Brenna. Brenna was willing to help Amy do anything she needed to do. She was another Kay, but they were in Fort Black.
They learn even more about the Floraes and the vaccines and the research and we, as the reader did as well. That was a great treat as I was a bit worried that Lunetta wouldn’t go for it and delve into more of the politics. But she did and I was thrilled.
I very much enjoyed this book, though I wanted the conclusion to be a bit longer. It seemed to wrap up a little abruptly and it left some strings hanging. I’ll be giving the book 4.5 stars. I definitely think everyone should read this duology.

Review: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Book Title: Say Whay You Will
Author: Cammie McGovern
Release Date: June 3rd, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern’s insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about how we can all feel lost until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.

Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can’t walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.

When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other’s lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.

Disclaimer: I received this book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

I will admit that I was insanely excited about this book. I mean cerebral palsy is so completely rare in books and yet many people have to deal with it in real life.Cerebral Palsy comes in different levels of severity but it is still massively under represented in books.OCD is more common in books, but this is the first book that I know of that combines both of these things. 

I really don’t want to get preachy but people with disabilities want the same thing as non-disabled people want. They want to be accepted for who they are as a person.That’s the journey that Amy finds herself on in this book.She starts off under her parents roof, coddled and protected to the hilt. Especially by her mother. Nicole feels it necessary to coddle the heck out of Amy even going as far as to interview “friends” for Amy.

I have had my own share of health problems. Not as severe as Amy’s but I use a wheelchair for long distances and being disabled in a “visual way” does make you feel so lonely. People seem to shy away from you and friendships are hard to form & keep.I cannot imagine being nonverbal & unable to use your voice to communicate your thoughts. I was a part of a disabled kids & teens group about 15 years ago and I knew someone who was a lot like Amy.

Matthew’s journey was in some ways, more special than Amy’s. Amy was battling not only her mother, but also her own body and her dream of independence. Matthew was battling himself. OCD can also be very hard to deal with. I have OCD, but in a much milder form than Matthew dealt with. 

I love the little tasks that Amy set for him. She wanted him to get better and to overcome the OCD since she would never be able to do the same with her disability. Matthew found himself wanting to do it because of Amy and how they had developed a friendship. A friendship that is threatened by Amy’s own mother who is clearly afraid that if Amy becomes more independent, she will no longer be needed.

About halfway through this book, I was genuinely conflicted on how I felt about it. But by the end of it, I realized how beautiful it was and how each of the characters, main and secondary had gone through their own journeys. I would absolutely recommend this book. It gets four stars mostly because it took awhile for me to really get into it but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. 

Review: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Matheiu

Book Title: The Truth About Alice
Author: Jennifer Matheiu
Release Date: June 3rd, 2014
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository 
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.

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

Ever have really high hopes for a book and then you read it and find yourself really bummed by a lot of parts in the book? Well that was me with this book. I was about 40% of the way through it and I was so frustrated and angry at so many characters. These characters thought more about being popular than about being a good friend.I mean all of these rumors were swirling around Alice and not once did these kids stand up and stop the rumors. Nope they continued to trash her and spread increasingly horrible rumors about her.

It absolutely killed me to see that no one was willing to forgo their popularity to stand by Alice. It was heartbreaking to see that the only one who was on her side was nerdy Kurt. He was on her side from the beginning. Not because he wanted to sleep with her but because he knew she needed someone to be on her side.

Ugh Kelsie was a terrible person & friend. She valued popularity over friendship. I mean I get it, in high school popularity is the ultimate goal but I was so frustrated by her actions (she was the one who bothered me most) I really wanted her to have some character development but she didn’t really. I mean she sort of did, but the author kind of half-assed it at the end.

I loved Kurt and his interactions with Alice were so sincere and they weren’t forced at all. They were my favorite part of the book and honestly the only reason that this book wasn’t a total miss with me. His friendship was exactly what Alice needed so she would know that she still had friends. Yes Kurt had his secrets and yes he didn’t exactly tell her them at the right time,but he did tell her.

I do think Alice may have forgiven him just a tad bit too quickly. I mean the secret that Kurt had was a major one and it threatened to turn everything around. Yet, Kurt didn’t say anything sooner. If he had, Alice would have gotten her life back a lot sooner.So I was a little mad at Kurt for that.

What really made me mad was the bathroom stall where people would just write terrible things about Alice. Things that were totally untrue, but definitely hurtful. As a former victim of bullying, that part was really hard to read.Bullies tear other people down because they want to feel better about themselves. That’s not the way to do it people. 

Overall I didn’t love the story but I didn’t hate it either. Alice was a big plus in the book but she wasn’t in it enough which is why I didn’t enjoy a lot of it. Plus I really wanted her to have a voice in the story. She didn’t really have a voice until the very end. I think the book would have been much stronger if they eliminated some of the other voices in the story and made more of an emphasis on Alice’s story.

The character development was not as strong as I was expecting in this book which really bummed me out. The author had a chance to really go for it and I don’t think she did that as well as she could have. Kurt and Alice were my favorite parts of the book (and the only two characters that I actually liked) So this book will be getting 3 stars from me.