Review: The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy

Book Title: The Creeping
Author: Alexandra Sirowy
Published Date: August 18th, 2015
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers
Genre: YA Horror/Mystery
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Eleven years ago, Stella and Jeanie disappeared. Stella came back. Jeanie never did.

Now all she wants is a summer full of cove days, friends, and her gorgeous crush—until a fresh corpse leads Stella down a path of ancient evil and secrets.

Stella believes remembering what happened to Jeanie will save her. It won’t.

She used to know better than to believe in what slinks through the shadows. Not anymore.

Disclaimer: I received this book as an e-ARC from Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers in exchange for my honest review.

I’ve been in an epic slump over the past few weeks. This slump included both reading and blogging, so I was definitely nervous to read this book. I really didn’t want the first book I’ve read in weeks, to be a disappointment.

Thankfully, this book was an awesome surprise.

With books in this genre, I put a lot of importance on the writing. I want to feel scared. I want to be intrigued. I want to be afraid of the unknown. Sirowy’s writing did that for me.  I basically read 85% of the book in one day.

I was utterly captivated by the mystery and horror that Sirowy created. I won’t say much about the mystery & horror aspect because I want to avoid spoiling the book for those who haven’t read it yet.

What I wasn’t expecting was the romance. I loved, LOVED the romance. It was unexpected as there isn’t normally romance in books like this. But it was cute and sweet to see how this boy cared for Stella.

Stella did have a bit of a toxic friendship with Zoey. Zoey really drove me insane. She was judgmental and rude and mean, especially to the boy Stella falls for. Yet, Stella continues to defend her. That drove me insane. I understood that Stella felt this loyalty to Zoey, but I desperately wanted Stella to have a backbone.

The mystery of what happened to six year old redheaded Jeanie was captivating. I kept wanting to read more and more. I wanted to learn more about that day, but Stella couldn’t remember anything.

Until bits and pieces started coming back to her.

I cannot say enough good things about this book. It did remind me a bit of The Devil You Know by Trish Doller, which I also enjoyed. This book will be getting 5 stars from me.

Review: One by Sarah Crossan

Book Title: One
Author: Sarah Crossan
Published Date: September 15th, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads

Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
Tippi and Grace share everything—clothes, friends . . . even their body. Writing in free verse, Sarah Crossan tells the sensitive and moving story of conjoined twin sisters, which will find fans in readers of Gayle Forman, Jodi Picoult, and Jandy Nelson.

Tippi and Grace. Grace and Tippi. For them, it’s normal to step into the same skirt. To hook their arms around each other for balance. To fall asleep listening to the other breathing. To share. And to keep some things private. The two sixteen-year-old girls have two heads, two hearts, and each has two arms, but at the belly, they join. And they are happy, never wanting to risk the dangerous separation surgery.

But the girls’ body is beginning to fight against them. And soon they will have to face the impossible choice they have avoided for their entire lives.

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book from Greenwillow Books via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.
I had been wanting a YA book about conjoined twins for well over a year, so when I saw this one, I pounced on it. I was a little nervous about it though because of the writing style. I’m normally not a fan of novels that are in verse, but considering the subject matter, I decided to give it a shot.
I am so glad I did, because it was really good, and even though it was written in verse it didn’t read like it was. It read like it was written in typical novel fashion. I think it was probably because it was written as a free verse novel. 
Another problem I normally have with novels written in verse is that I can’t connect to the characters very well. That was not a problem this time around. I loved Tippi & Grace and their personalities were different, and interesting. They were captivating and so very fascinating. 
They shared friends. 
I really loved Yasmeen. She was so good for them and she accepted them without question. She was a wonderful friend throughout the entire book. And Jon was another friend of theirs. He treated them normally and like Yasmeen he didn’t even seem to see that they were conjoined. That wasn’t an issue for him.
I was really glad that there wasn’t a whole lot of romance in this book. There were hints of it here and there, but this book was mostly about two sisters who had been joined together since before birth. You know me, I’m a sucker for sister stories.
I do wish we could have seen more of their younger sister, who they had nicknamed Dragon. I felt crappy for their mom as she was desperately trying to hold down the fort. Their dad was no help as he was unemployed and spent most of the book drunk, leaving his wife to deal with the mounting hospital bills and her constant worries about Tippi and Grace.
Oh, and make sure you have kleenex. I needed it several times while reading the book. There are definitely feelsy moments throughout the book.
I ended up really enjoying this book more than I thought I would, and I definitely think there needs to be more books about conjoined twins. I find the whole concept fascinating and am so thrilled that I got to read this book. I am giving it 4 stars and I definitely recommend it to fellow YA Contemporary lovers like myself.

Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Book Title: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Published Date: June 16th, 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

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

Oh my god. I think my feels are dead. This book wrecked me in the best possible way. I don’t talk about this much, but I have OCD and until I started this book, I had no idea that my obsessive thoughts, my obsessions over the number 16, and my constant overthinking of things was part of OCD.

I thought I was genuinely crazy and that was utterly terrifying.

I loved Sam. She was raw, real and awesome. She was so resistant to being different, to showing weakness in front of anyone outside of her psychiatrist or her family.

No one knew the real her. Not the friends she had known since kindergarten, not the people she swam with.

Not until she met Caroline and the rest of Poet’s Corner. AJ, Sydney, Emily, Cameron, Jessica, Chelsea and Abigail are all part of this thing. They come to be better friends in just a few months than her other friends have been in twelve years. She is able to be the real Sam with them.

I was really curious to see how things would progress with AJ and Sam. Especially considering how Sam’s superficial friends treated him when they were just in grade school. I was worried that AJ would still hold a grudge about that. Thankfully he handled it well.

The ending was crazy-pants. I was utterly stunned at certain events that took place at the end of this book. Certain things happened in this book that I never expected. If you’ve read the book, I’d love to know if you guessed the twist.

This book was gorgeous, heartbreaking and it left me emotionally spent, half sobbing, half hyperventilating. I loved this book and I think it needs to be in all high school classrooms. It’s such an important book. I’ll be giving it 5 stars.

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Book Title: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Published Date: September 1st, 2015
Publisher: Random House Children’s
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
My disease is as rare as it is famous. It’s a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, but basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in fifteen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives. New next door neighbors. I look out the window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. I want to learn everything about him, and I do. I learn that he is funny and fierce. I learn that his eyes are Atlantic Ocean-blue and that his vice is stealing silverware. I learn that when I talk to him, my whole world opens up, and I feel myself starting to change—starting to want things. To want out of my bubble. To want everything, everything the world has to offer.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book from Random House Children’s via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

It was no secret that I was insanely excited for this book. I had repeatedly told fellow bloggers that it was one of my most anticipated fall reads. I was super nervous about reading it. I really didn’t want it to let me down.

Thankfully it didn’t.

This book blew me away in the best possible way. I finished the book totally and completely in love with it. It’s been awhile since I fell this hard for a book. It’s unlike a book I’ve ever read before.

I love books about illnesses and I’ve always been fascinated by Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease. So as soon as I saw this book up on NetGalley, I KNEW I had to request it. When I got the email that my request was approved, I kinda screamed a little bit. Okay maybe more than just a little bit.

I read it last week and finished it in basically a day. I devoured it at rapid speed. I cannot say enough about Madeline and Olly’s romance. It was perfect, shippy and all kinds of adorable. God, I loooooved watching them fall in love. It was so much fun to watch/read. Now theirs is the kind of love I can root for.

Sweet, sweet Olly had a crappy home life and I’m happy about how that was handled. I wanted to hug Olly so much during certain parts of the book.

I feel like Maddy’s nurse, Carla is going to be overlooked, but she was really awesome. She was there for Maddy when she needed someone. She knew how Maddy felt about Olly even before Maddy realized it herself. Carla really was Maddy’s best friend and I loved Carla for how wonderful she was to Maddy.

There is a twist in this book, and it’s one I never in a million years saw coming. If you’ve read it, I’d love to know if you saw it coming. It made this book even more amazing to me.

Needless to say, I loved this book. I’ll be giving this book the full five stars. It was amazing, and I absolutely loved it. It is firmly on my favorites list for 2015. I’m thrilled that this book lived up to the hype.

Review: What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

Book Title: What You Left Behind
Author: Jessica Verdi
Published Date: August 4th, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
It’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead, he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic—and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions, and Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the author.

I legitimately don’t know how Jessica Verdi does it. She creates compelling stories with interesting characters. Tosses in a lot of feelsy moments and voila, she’s got a story that I will fall in love with. What You Left Behind was definitely different than her previous books, but it followed her formula to a T.
Interesting plot. Check
Captivating characters. Check
Tons of feels. Check
It took me a bit of time to warm up to Ryden to be totally honest. He seemed to be struggling with everything and trying to do it all. He didn’t want his life to change at all and he relied heavily on his mom to care for Hope, his baby. I know it’s probably tough to assume so much responsibility so quickly, but his actions at the beginning of the book were a bit maddening. 
He was baffled that his daughter seemed to hate him, but babies at her age form attachments to the people who care for them the most. In this case, that was Ryden’s mom. Ryden is still in school, playing soccer and working. It doesn’t feel like his schedule was really changed at all and to be honest, he seemed selfish at times. It was probably his age, but it was definitely something that I noticed. 
Finally things started to change, Ryden had to make some decisions about Hope and his mom couldn’t make the decisions because she was not the baby’s next of kin.
Most of the reviews will probably focus on Ryden’s growing romance with Joni, and I will talk about her later, but right now I want to talk about Ryden’s relationship with his mother. We don’t usually get to see mother/son relationships in YA. In fact, I think this book may be the first one I’ve read with such a positive mother/son relationship. In fact, I think it was my favorite part of this book. She was just so supportive and kind to her son and to her granddaughter.
I really liked Joni. She was quirky, fun and she had a healthy self respect for herself. She was good for Ryden. I was excited for them to get together, and I rooted for them. They made sense as a couple. I wish we had seen more of Joni because I feel like we didn’t get to know as much about her as I would have liked.
The journals told a story. A story that we learned about right alongside Ryden. It showed that this whole situation was not as black and white as we all initially thought. I am a very black & white thinker, so this made me do a lot of thinking. I  didn’t love Meg, but her journals helped me understand certain things that she did.
Jessica Verdi had already earned herself on my auto-read & auto-buy author lists, and this one was certainly no exception. I really enjoyed this book and will be giving it 4.5 stars. I do recommend this book because not only was it unique, but it also had some diverse and interesting characters.

Review: Paperweight by Meg Haston

Book Title: Paperweight
Author: Meg Haston
Published Date: July 7th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. In her body. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert.

Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at mealtime, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she’s worked so hard to avoid.

Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn’t plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh’s death—the death she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she too will end her life.

In this emotionally haunting and beautifully written young adult debut, Meg Haston delves into the devastating impact of trauma and loss, while posing the question: Why are some consumed by their illness while others embark on a path toward recovery?

Disclaimer #1: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Disclaimer #2: Trigger warnings: Self Harm, Eating Disorders.

Every once and awhile, there’s a book that changes your life. It had been a very long time since this had happened. I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did. It was one of the hardest books I had ever read in my life. It was a book that I know will stay in my mind for a very long time, probably forever.

When we meet Stevie, she is completely against any kind of treatment. It isn’t necessary in her opinion. She plans on ending her own life. She believes that she was responsible for her brother, Josh’s death. She wants to be with Josh again, and she believes that killing herself can absolve her of guilt.

She developed the eating disorder prior to her brother’s death and after her mother walked out on her, Josh and their dad. Yet, it was when Eden came into her life, that things shifted once again. Stevie found Eden intoxicating. Josh also was captivated by her. Stevie feels jealous that Josh and Eden were involved. Stevie develops feelings for Eden, which complicates things between her and Josh.

When first started at the treatment center, she was very against just being there. She looks at the girls who’ve made progress and ridicules them for not having willpower. This was the thing that irked me. I mean I understand why she would think that given where she was in her recovery, but I really didn’t like her in the beginning.

It wasn’t until I was halfway through the book, that Stevie really started to grow on me. I liked how she was warming up to Ashlee, Cate and Tegen by the ending. I loved her story arc. It was inspiring and emotional. I wasn’t sure if I would ever end up liking her, but I did end up loving her.

Watching Stevie become more aware of how toxic Eden was, was totally awesome and unexpected. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but she came to the realization that Eden never really cared about her and that Eden wan’t good for her in any way. Someone who would not inquire as to how someone was doing, was not a friend. Knowing that Eden hadn’t even asked how Stevie was doing with Josh’s death or even the eating disorder.

I fell in love with this book unexpectedly, but damn this book is so, so important. I cannot wait to own a finished copy of this gorgeous book with great character development. I am giving this book 5 stars and I recommend this book very highly.

Review: The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher

Book Title: The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak
Author: Brian Katcher
Published Date: May 19th, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak is Stonewall Book Award-winning author Brian Katcher’s hilarious he said/she said romance about two teens recovering from heartbreak and discovering themselves on an out-of-this-world accidental first date.

It all begins when Ana Watson’s little brother, Clayton, secretly ditches the quiz bowl semifinals to go to the Washingcon sci-fi convention on what should have been a normal, résumé-building school trip.

If slacker Zak Duquette hadn’t talked up the geek fan fest so much, maybe Clayton wouldn’t have broken nearly every school rule or jeopardized Ana’s last shot at freedom from her uptight parents.

Now, teaming up with Duquette is the only way for Ana to chase down Clayton in the sea of orcs, zombies, bikini-clad princesses, Trekkies, and Smurfs. After all, one does not simply walk into Washingcon.

But in spite of Zak’s devil-may-care attitude, he has his own reasons for being as lost as Ana-and Ana may have more in common with him than she thinks. Ana and Zak certainly don’t expect the long crazy night, which begins as a nerdfighter manhunt, to transform into so much more…
Disclaimer: I received this book from Katherine Tegen Books via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

I was excited for this book. It looked nerdy and cute and fun. I was thinking that I’d enjoy this book, that it would be a treat for me and that I’d love the characters.
Well I was wrong, and really wrong.
I have no patience for characters who are doormats, who blindly agree with whatever their parents say or tell them. So Ana was utterly maddening to me. She was practically under lock & key ever since her sister Nichole had defied their parents. Nichole is now married, with a little boy of her own. Yet, neither Ana nor her parents have seen Nichole since she left. Ana was even invited to Nichole’s wedding, but she didn’t go. She didn’t want to disappoint her parents.
Eye roll.
Please, this girl had no backbone. She had no guts. She lived in fear of disappointing her folks. She felt like she had to be this perfect daughter because Nichole had disappointed her parents so badly. She kept saying that she didn’t have a sister, and that right there, infuriated me because she DID have a sister, she was just too afraid to stand up to her parents and demand to see her sister’s family.
On the other hand, we had Zak. Zak’s mom got married to a guy she had only known for 2 months. Zak disliked him for no other reason than the fact that he was not his real father. Zak’s father hadn’t run off, he had died. Yet, as the book unfolds, we learn Roger, Zak’s stepfather is actually a decent guy. 
Zak really doesn’t give a crap about anything, especially his schoolwork.
How the hell did he think it was okay to hand in a plagiarized paper? I don’t even get how that was okay. That pissed me off considerably. The only punishment he got was joining the quiz bowl. 
Are you kidding me?
That is such a crappy punishment and I don’t even understand why this was okay. It made absolutely no sense to me. My intense dislike of Zak only increased when he complained that he was going to miss Washingcon. 
Seriously, dude? Stop being a pain in the ass. He was lucky he wasn’t expelled.
The majority of the book surrounded around trying to find Ana’s brother Clayton at Washingcon. That’s when things really started getting boring. I cared about finding Clayton, but I didn’t care about Ana or Zak. Or the romance. Or really anything else about this book. I was hoping to love the romance in the book, but I did not like the romance at all. I felt no chemistry between these two.
I had a lot of hope for this book, but unfortunately this book did not work for me at all. I was so excited to be done with this book. I am giving it 2 stars. Unfortunately, I will not be recommending this book to anyone. 

Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

Book Title: Emmy & Oliver
Author: Robin Benway
Published Date: June 23rd, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story. 

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

I was taking a bit of a risk with this book as it looked fairly fluffy and I don’t usually go for fluffy. The premise looked promising and I thought there was a good chance of me enjoying the book. And I was right, for the most part. The beginning started off really well and I was pulled into the story almost effortlessly. Within the first 3% of the book I was full on sobbing, and I did in fact tweet the author about this very thing.

As the book went on though, I started to feel a little bored. I didn’t love Oliver right away and I wasn’t excited to pick the book back up at night. I trudged through it because while it wasn’t a bad book, I just wasn’t invested for a good chunk of the time. Now, as I look back on it, I’m about 95% sure that my mood was affecting my reading.

Right around the 60% mark in the book was where my feelings about the book improved significantly. I gobbled up the last 40% of the book in on sitting. I smiled, I cried, I even got a bit rage-y in certain parts. But I fell in love with Oliver and Emmy as a couple during this portion. I rooted for them, I grinned like crazy every time there was kissing.

The friendships were so solid and they had stayed that way the entire time Oliver was gone. Caro and Drew were awesome and I absolutely adored them. There was a time that I was frustrated with Emmy and how she put her new relationship with Oliver before her friendship with Caro. I could see why Caro was so hurt and I hurt for her.

The ending was emotional in the best possible way. I’m so glad that I stuck with this book. I ended up really enjoying it. I am giving this book 4 stars and I absolutely recommend it to everyone.

Review: The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen

Book Title: The Revenge Playbook
Author: Rachael Allen 
Published Date: June 16th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In this poignant and hilarious novel, Rachael Allen brilliantly explores the nuances of high school hierarchies, the traumas sustained on the path to finding true love, and the joy of discovering a friend where you least expect.

Don’t get mad, get even!

In the small town of Ranburne, high school football rules and the players are treated like kings. How they treat the girls they go to school with? That’s a completely different story. Liv, Peyton, Melanie Jane, and Ana each have their own reason for wanting to teach the team a lesson—but it’s only when circumstances bring them together that they come up with the plan to steal the one thing the boys hold sacred. All they have to do is beat them at their own game.

Brimming with sharp observations and pitch-perfect teen voices, fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Mlynowski are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sharp tale—by the author of 17 First Kisses—about the unexpected roads that can lead you to finding yourself.

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

I loved Allen’s first book, 17 First Kisses, and I wasn’t sure if this book would live up to it, but it did. In a really big way. Like with 17 First Kisses, I was expecting something light and fluffy, but what I got was a book chock full of girl power, and some hard topics of conversation.

It has always been a big complaint of mine that high school athletes get special treatment. They get a pass on bad behavior, they get extensions on homework assignments, even when the non-athletes have asked for them for a legitimate reason and they don’t get them. It’s like they get privileges that other students don’t get. 

Like they are the “golden boys”

Out of the four girls, Ana, Melanie Jane, Liv and Peyton, I think I liked Peyton the most. I related to her in a way that I couldn’t relate to to the other three. She had special considerations due to her ADHD and she constantly tried to alert the teachers and the rest of the staff that she needed the boys (the football players) to stop bothering her so she could concentrate.

Did they punish the football players? Of course not.

Did they punish her by making her move so she wouldn’t be so distracted? Absolutely.

I don’t think I’ve been this angry over a book in a very long time. I was livid, actually more than livid if there is such a thing. It was the treatment of Peyton that enraged me the most.

Then we move on to Liv who has not had sex with her boyfriend, but she’s still called a slut by a lot of the boys.

We have Melanie Jane who has sworn to remain a virgin until her wedding night. She used to be best friends with Ana until something changed between them.

Ana is hiding a secret. A secret that will devastate her family. She’s choosing to keep it from them because when she tried to report it to the school & the law enforcement officers, she was told that she needed to keep it to herself or else one of the boys would lose his football scholarship.

When I read that part, I was furious. This is why so many high school girls are terrified to report any incidence of assault. They know that nothing will happen to the football players and other sports participants because they are athletes and are exempt from punishment. Schools need to stop treating these boys like they are a gift to mankind. Treat them as you would any other student, even if that means *gasp* punishing them.

These four girls have some similarities, but also a lot of differences, but the way they come together to fight back against the sexism and the misogyny surrounding the school, and most specifically the football team. They wanted nothing more than to beat the boys at their own game, even embarrassing them.

The presence of a list was also made known to the girls. This list is written by the BMOC (Big Man On Campus) Chad McAllister. It informs the rest of the football team that certain girls aren’t worthy of them for various reasons (all of which have to do with either their looks or the fact that they haven’t put out)


Basically if you have a girlfriend who is on the list, you need to cut her loose. For the good of the team & its image of course. This was another scene where I had to literally get up and walk away from my Kindle because I was literally shaking with rage.

I loved the friendships that developed in this book. I loved how Melanie Jane wasn’t ridiculed for being a virgin. I loved how despite their different home lives, and interests, they still managed to form a friendship. This entire book was awesome, but the ending was amazing, and I cried buckets because of certain things that happen at the end that I don’t want to spoil for those of you who haven’t read it yet.

Just please read it. I actually feel like this book needs to be in classrooms, especially high school classrooms. It’s a must read for all teenagers and even school faculty. I loved this book for the messages it sent and for the powerful friendships that developed. I’ll be giving it 5 stars and I cannot wait to get a finished copy of this book.

Review: Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu

Book Title: Making Pretty
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Published Date: May 12th, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Montana and her sister, Arizona, are named after the mountainous states their mother left them for. But Montana is a New York City girl through and through, and as the city heats up, she’s stepping into the most intense summer of her life.

With Arizona wrapped up in her college world and their father distracted by yet another divorce, Montana’s been immersing herself in an intoxicating new friendship with a girl from her acting class. Karissa is bold, imperfectly beautiful, and unafraid of being vulnerable. She’s everything Montana would like to become. But the friendship with Karissa is driving a wedge between Montana and her sister, and the more of her own secrets Karissa reveals, the more Montana has to wonder if Karissa’s someone she can really trust.

In the midst of her uncertainty, Montana finds a heady distraction in Bernardo. He’s serious and spontaneous, and he looks at Montana in the way she wants to be seen. For the first time, Montana understands how you can become both lost and found in somebody else. But when that love becomes everything, where does it leave the rest of her imperfect life?

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

How does Corey Ann Haydu do this? 

She creates wonderfully real, flawed characters that you don’ t always love, but you root for them. She creates real life situations that would make most of us ragey, frustrated and sometimes downright angry.

I’ve never been the type of person who needs to love or even like the characters in order to like or even love the book. That was a much needed realization as I dove into this book. Montana did not make the best decisions in her life. She makes questionable decisions throughout the book. Some of her decisions made me want to put my head through a wall. I literally had to remind myself that she was a teenager. Teenagers are pretty much known for making questionable decisions.

She struggles with wanting to belong, and while that is definitely a teenage thing, I think that’s also something that comes with having extremely limited contact with her mom and her dad basically treating marriage as unimportant as he marries them, talks them into a lot of plastic surgery and then eventually divorces them. I understand Montana’s unhealthy approach to relationships and love.

That’s why I didn’t mind her relationship with Bernardo too much. Yes, the guy had red flags all over him, and yes, I didn’t like him very much. However Montana just wanted to be loved for who she was. She wanted someone to want to stick around for her. Bernardo was that guy. He made her feel loved, adored and cherished. 

Yes she had her friend, Roxanne and her older sister Arizona, but there was distance between them. Both Roxanne and Arizona were in college and Montana definitely felt left out.

This was where Karissa came in.

Karissa was one of those “bad decisions” She seemed to use  Montana, drugs & alcohol as a way to deal with her rough life. In toxic friendships, the toxic one usually pulls the other friend into things so quickly and so fully that it takes awhile for the non-toxic person to realize that the toxic person is not all that great.

This book was intoxicating. I was absolutely addicted to this book and I was so curious to see how things would turn out by the end. I wish we had gotten a bit more in the end because I really wanted to see how certain things played out. I did love this book though and will happily give it 5 stars.