Archives For Book Reviews

missfortuneMiss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Format: eBook, 288 pages
Source: copy received from Crossroad Tours

The Blurb

Meet Erin. Smart student, great daughter, better friend. Secretly the mastermind behind the popular advice blog Miss Fortune Cookie. Totally unaware that her carefully constructed life is about to get crazy.

It all begins when her ex-best friend sends a letter to her blog—and then acts on her advice. Erin’s efforts to undo the mess will plunge her into adventure, minor felonies, and possibly her very first romance.

What’s a likely fortune for someone no longer completely in control of her fate? Hopefully nothing like: You will become a crispy noodle in the salad of life.

Add it to your shelf: GoodreadsLibrary ThingShelfari
Buy it: AmazonChapters/IndigoBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed reading this book…it’s true “young adult” without all the gimmicks that the genre brings. 3 girls are about to graduate from high school, they’re worried about their grades, which universities they will be accepted to and, of course, boys.

I loved Erin’s character – she was a little bit sweet, a little bit sassy and VERY funny. She’s the kind of girl that I’d actually want to be friends with if she wasn’t a character in a book. Mei and Linny were a good addition to the story, most of the drama revolved around them more than Erin, actually, but it was pretty true-to-life in that way. I also loved Lincoln, he was so spunky I just wanted to hug him!

I thought the parts with the advice column (Dear Miss Fortune Cookie) were great – Erin’s responses to some of the letters (even ones she didn’t post, but wrote out anyway) were too funny. I also liked the “fortunes” posted at the top of each chapter – they weren’t what you’d hope to find in a fortune cookie! The Chinese theme is explained early in the book, and made me love the book just a little more, since it’s something different than most YA books.

Overall, I thought the book was well-written, so if you’re in the mood for a true YA book with quite a bit of humor in it, you need to check this one out.

My Rating: 4 stars


lucidLucid by Adrienne Stoltz & Ron Bass

Release Date: October 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 343 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Source: purchased from Chapters
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult, Romance

The Blurb
What if you could dream your way into a different life? What if you could choose to live that life forever?

Sloane and Maggie have never met. Sloane is a straight-A student with a big and loving family. Maggie lives a glamorously independent life as an up-and-coming actress in New York. The two girls couldn’t be more different–except for one thing. They share a secret that they can’t tell a soul. At night, they dream that they’re each other.

The deeper they’re pulled into the promise of their own lives, the more their worlds begin to blur dangerously together. Before long, Sloane and Maggie can no longer tell which life is real and which is just a dream. They realize that eventually they will have to choose one life to wake up to, or risk spiraling into insanity. But that means giving up one world, one love, and one self, forever.

This is a dazzling debut that will steal readers’ hearts.

Add it to your shelf: GoodreadsLibrary ThingShelfari
Buy it: AmazonChapters/IndigoBarnes & Noble

My Thoughts

Maggie and Sloane are two girls living completely different lives who, when they fall asleep, dream of the other person’s day. This concept is never fully explained, but talked about often from each girls perspective. Both girls are going through similar things at the same time – Maggie has lost her father, while Sloane lost her best friend. Suddenly both girls meet THE BOY and both are drawn into love triangles that neither of them see but is apparent to everyone else around them. I loved both of the girls for their completely separate identities and found the supporting characters to be really likeable, if not loveable (I loved Maggie’s little sister, Jude) and well developed.

It was thoroughly engrossing right up until the end, when it got even better. The end was fast-paced and confusing (for both the girls and the reader) but in a good way, I felt the confusion built up the anticipation. And then it was over. Just like that. Which girl won in the end, who was real and who was imaginary? Even though many questions are left unanswered, the book was chilling and real at the same time – it made me wonder if there are people out there right now just like this. It was written honestly, as if these were real girls with real stories. There were holes but the whole read was completely entertaining for me. This is one of those books that I will be thinking about for a long, long time. But then again, I’m the type of person that LOVES it when a book blows my mind at the very end and I’m sitting there wondering what the heck just happened.

My Rating: 5 stars

loveanthonyLove Anthony by Lisa Genova

Release Date: September 25, 2012
Format: Audiobook, 9h 11m
Narrated By: Debra Messing
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Source: purchased from

The Blurb

From the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice and Left Neglected, comes a heartfelt novel about an accidental friendship that gives a grieving mother a priceless gift: the ability to understand the thoughts of her eight-year-old autistic son and make sense of his brief life.

Two women, each cast adrift by unforseen events in their lives, meet by accident on a Nantucket beach and are drawn into a friendship.

Olivia is a young mother whose eight-year-old severely autistic son has recently died. Her marriage badly frayed by years of stress, she comes to the island in a trial separation to try and make sense of the tragedy of her Anthony’s short life.

Beth, a stay-at-home mother of three, is also recently separated after discovering her husband’s long-term infidelity. In an attempt to recapture a sense of her pre-married life, she rekindles her passion for writing, determined to find her own voice again. But surprisingly, as she does so, Beth also find herself channeling the voice of an unknown boy, exuberant in his perceptions of the world around him if autistic in his expression—a voice she can share with Olivia—(is it Anthony?)—that brings comfort and meaning to them both.

Add it to your shelf: GoodreadsLibrary ThingShelfari
Buy it: AmazonChapters/IndigoBarnes & Noble

My Thoughts

This was a beautiful story. I instantly loved both Beth and Olivia’s characters and felt fully connected with both of them for different reasons. I could feel both of these women as if they were sitting in the seat next to me. Their stories are told separately through most of the book, in alternating chapters, but they do run into eachother at times. Beth’s perfect family is falling apart when she learns that her husband is having an affair. Olivia’s run to Nantucket to get away from her husband and mourn the loss of her son.  Olivia’s backstory is heartbreaking – as I learned about Anthony and how it affected both her and her marriage, I wanted to reach out and hug her. I loved the way that the author worked Beth’s novel into the book – once she started writing, chapters (or parts of chapters) were from Beth’s book, and it was the most beautiful part of the whole novel. Beth writes from an autistic boy’s point-of-view, explaining what is going on inside his head. I actually believe that this is probably the closest anyone has ever gotten to explaining what it’s like to be living with autism. I’ve only had small dealings with autism, but from what I’ve watched in movies, read in books, and observed in real life, I think that this book has hit the mark about what it’s like being a parent of an autistic child and what just may be going on inside that child’s head. Lisa Genova did an excellent job writing an intricate story about such a delicate matter – this book has become one of my favorite books.

As this was an audiobook, I wanted to mention that Debra Messing did a great job in narrating. At first I had a hard time with her voice because she spoke softly and at points when either Beth or Olivia would mutter, so would Messing, and I wouldn’t be able to hear. Either I got used to it, or she started speaking louder and clearer as the book went on. She put just the right amount of emotion into the characters, just the right inflections so you knew who was speaking without the “Beth said”, “Jimmy said” that other books maintain throughout.

I wanted this book to keep going. I wanted to hear more from Anthony’s point of view. I literally wanted to be friends with these two women. After reading this book and her debut novel, Still Alice, I’ve officially put Lisa Genova on my list of favorite authors.

My Rating: 5 stars

learningtoswimLearning to Swim by Sara J. Henry

Publisher: Crown Publishers (a division of Random House Books)
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 289 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense

The Blurb

“If I’d blinked, I would have missed it. But I didn’t, and I saw something fall from the rear deck of the opposite ferry: a small, wide-eyed human face, in one tiny frozen moment, as it plummeted toward the water.”

When she witnesses a small child tumbling from a ferry into Lake Champlain, Troy Chance dives in without thinking. Harrowing moments later, she bobs to the surface, pulling a terrified little boy with her. As the ferry disappears into the distance, she begins a bone-chilling swim nearly a mile to shore with a tiny passenger on her back.

Surprisingly, he speaks only French. He’ll acknowledge that his name is Paul; otherwise, he’s resolutely mute.

Troy assumes that Paul’s frantic parents will be in touch with the police or the press. But what follows is a shocking and deafening silence. And Troy, a freelance writer, finds herself as fiercely determined to protect Paul as she is to find out what happened to him. What she uncovers will take her into a world of wealth and privilege and heedless self-indulgence—a world in which the murder of a child is not unthinkable. She’ll need skill and courage to survive and protect her charge and herself.

Sara J. Henry’s powerful and compelling Learning to Swim will move and disturb readers right up to its shattering conclusion.

Add it to your shelf: GoodreadsLibrary ThingShelfari
Buy it: Amazon • Chapters/Indigo • Barnes & Noble

My Thoughts

For me, this book was just OK. I went into it hoping for a lot more than it actually delivered. I was expecting a book full of suspense, a thriller – I mean, a little boy is thrown off a ferry, the synopsis hints at a great story, but it completely missed the mark. There wasn’t suspense, and what the synopsis hints at never comes about. I kept anxiously waiting for the big reveal only to be left disappointed. That’s not to say that it wasn’t a good book – it was well-written and the plot was OK, it just misrepresented itself which was a let-down. It was slow in the middle of the book, nothing eventful really happened, but there was a lot of character development done there.

The character of Troy was likeable but I found she made really weird decisions that makes the book as a whole hard to believe. She finds a boy and decides that she loves him so she doesn’t turn him in to the police – then tries to solve the case on her own. She uses Google to find the boy’s father (who has managed to keep a kidnapping out of the media for several months, by the way) and decides to drive up to Ottawa to see if he could kill his own son.  Then moves in with the guy – but not in a romantic sense. She just drops everything and moves in to help with Paul. Because that would be the normal thing to do. I felt the ending was a bit far-fetched but it wrapped up the book nicely, and I suppose in this crazy world it could be plausible.

A small problem I had with the book was all the little asides about Canada and how Canadians live. I felt that it stopped the flow and detracted from the story. The cultural differences between Canada and the USA aren’t that big, so to me it felt unnecessary to stop the story progression in several places to explain to the reader these slight differences. I didn’t have a problem when it was worked into a scene (like Troy’s brother trying poutine for the first time, so Troy had to explain it to him before he tried it), it was the little side comments during narration that annoyed me.

It sounds like I hated this book, lol – I didn’t hate it. I thought it was OK. Enjoyable, even. It was just misrepresented. If you go into it knowing that it’s not going to be a mystery or thriller, and more like contemporary fiction, I think it would be a better read.

My Rating: 3 stars


Sara J. Henry stopped by the blog to give me an updated synopsis, one that I think is a lot truer to the book, so here it is:

When she sees what looks like a child tumbling from a ferry into frigid Lake Champlain, Troy Chance dives in without thinking. When she gets the child to shore she discovers that his name is Paul, he speaks only French—and no one seems to be looking for him. Her determination to protect Paul pulls Troy from her quiet life in a small Adirondack town into an unfamiliar world of wealth and privilege in Canada and then in Vermont. Her attachment to him—and the danger she faces when she tries to unravel the mystery of his abandonment—force her to evaluate everything she thought true about herself. Sara J. Henry’s riveting, award-winning debut will keep readers engrossed right up to its shattering conclusion.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Release Date: Feb 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover (339 pages)
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Source: Borrowed from the library

The Blurb

Oct. 11th, 1943–A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France.

Its pilot and passenger are best friends.

One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

They’ll get the truth out of her. But it won’t be what they expect.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Code Name Verity is the story of an unforgettable friendship forged in the face of the ultimate evil.

Add it to your shelf: GoodreadsLibrary ThingShelfari
Buy it: AmazonChapters/IndigoBarnes & Noble

My Thoughts

All my life I’ve been very interested in stories about wars. I don’t know why. I was *really* bad in history class, except when it came to WWI and WWII, then I was acing essays and tests like you wouldn’t believe. So, whenever I find a fictional book about WWII, I’m all in.

I really liked how this story was told. The book starts with Verity in custody of the Nazis after her and Maddie’s plane crashed in Occupied France. For the first half of the book, readers are told the history of Maddie and Verity’s friendship from Verity’s side. It was mostly light-hearted – even though Verity has been caught by the Nazis and is being somewhat tortured, she writes as if she’s telling a story rather than just plain facts. The part that I found hardest to understand about this half of the book is why the Nazi officers let her get away with the nonsense she was writing, but it was forgivable because it was so entertaining. I loved Verity and Maddie from the beginning because of the way this part of the story was told.

Halfway through the book, the point of view switches to Maddie, and she writes the story about what has happened since they crashed in Nazi-occupied France. Maddie’s tale is more a tale of the Resistance and what it’s like to be hiding from the Nazis, knowing that her friend has been captured and wanting desperately to rescue her. When it all comes together, it’s completely heartbreaking. I had several ideas of how the story would end, but never did I see this one coming.

If you enjoy reading books about WWII, give this one a try. It’s not as serious as some, because these girls are young and lively, the book feels that way too. It’s a good, light-hearted look at friendship during wartime, and an entertaining read.

My Rating: 4 stars

Enhanced by Zemanta

This is a bit different for me, since this is a series of prequels leading up to the release of the first book in The Grimm Diaries series, Snow White Sorrow. I decided the best way to do it is to group the prequels together in bundles, since they are such short reads, and review them all together. I noticed after downloading the prequels that this book is getting quite a bit of buzz on right now, and not all of the buzz is favorable. I haven’t read the book(s) that this one is being likened to so, without any comparisons, this will be a completely honest review.

What if all you knew about fairy tales was wrong?

Snow White Blood Red by Cameron Jace

The Blurb

I have always wondered why you never asked about my name. Was I so superficial to you? So stereotypical and mundane? Why did you treat me as if I were just the monster of the week? You know what I think? You never had the time to really hate me. You wanted to hate me, long before you even met me. You wanted to scrape my existence and avenge your childhood princess by laying all blame on me. What if they didn’t call me the Evil Queen, what if I told you the real story from my point of view instead of hers, would you ever think of me as an angel? Could I ever make you care? I know that deep inside of you, you adore me,but you’re just scared, afraid to admit how much you love the Snow White Queen.

My Thoughts
This short story just sucked me right in. This one is in the form of a letter from the Snow White Queen to one of the Brothers Grimm, and it pulled me right along. I’m not usually into vampires and paranormal stuff, but for whatever reason, this one grabbed my attention (possibly because I like the idea of how the author is building up anticipation for his book Snow White Sorrow).

Anyhow, back to this short story/prequel. It has a prologue in which we learn the basics of the story – the Brothers Grimm and the fairy tales not being true. And then we read the Snow White Queen’s version of events – which was actually really interesting. The author has managed to stir together several fairy tales, letting on that these characters all know each other. It’s a short little tale, but it’s got my curiosity piqued – and I’m quite excited for the debut of the novel (and now I’m off to read the next of the prequels).

My Rating: 4 stars

Ashes to Ashes and Cinder to Cinder by Cameron Jace

The Blurb

Seventeen-year-old Alice Grimm lives a dangerously enchanted live. Other than being distracted by a Dreamhunter called Loki Blackstar who has a heart of gold but acts like a jerk, she has a job to do. Being a descendant of the Brothers Grimm, she is one of few in the world who can locate the fairy tale characters and remind them of who they are. This time, Alice flies to Venice where an 800 hundred year old witch’s skeleton surrounded with seventeen glass slippers was found by archeologists in the city that invented the art of glassblowing. When Alice and Loki follow the lead, they find one of the fairy tale characters she had been searching for. It’s a famous girl character that you know by name, but never really knew what actually happened to her.

My Thoughts

In this prequel to The Grimm Diaries series, we are introduced to Loki (a Dreamhunter who, I understand, is going to be a big part of the first book, if not the whole series), and Alice Grimm. And we are treated to the usual YA girl-meets-boy-but-doesn’t-want-to-admit-she-likes-him banter between them. It was amusing, albeit slightly over-the-top, and their dialogue made me smile in a couple places. In this one, we learn the story behind Cinderella…or at least the very beginning, mixed in with some historical fact. Jace does a good job of using these prequels to sell the stories he’s about to tell – expertly explaining (without being too obvious) parts that will be important in the series.

My Rating: 3 stars

Beauty Never Dies by Cameron Jace

The Blurb

Peter Pan has a plan. Since it’s been hundred years since his friends were all cursed by the Brothers Grimm, he is about to wake up Sleeping Beauty, his eternal lover. Oops, you didn’t know that. Blame it on the Grimms.

But in the middle of the ceremony, he is visited by the Evil Queen who manipulates him into helping her with information about Snow White. This or she will expose him as he has been secretly kidnapping kids to help him rebuild Neverland in the Dreamworld.

After the deal is made, Peter continues with the ceremony, bringing Sleeping Beauty back into life. What Sleeping Beauty is capable of and who she really is are like nothing ever written in the books.

My Thoughts

Well, this one was a surprise…a big one. Here we reunite with the first prequel, and meet Peter Pan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Count Dracula, and Sleeping Beauty as Jace now weaves characters from other authors into his storytelling, drawing them in on what I hope will be some elaborate plot. It’s told from the point-of-view of Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up…and he acts (and talks) like a kid. I’m not sure yet if that’s annoying or endearing. Now the plot thickens, as the Evil Queen tries to figure out the clues of the Lost Seven (aka The Seven Dwarfs), while Peter Pan is very little help at all. The writing is juvenile in places, but it’s entertaining enough to keep me wanting to read, I’m starting to get high hopes for the plot of the book.

My Rating: 3 stars

Watch for my thoughts on The Grimm Diaries Prequels #4-6, and (once the book is published), my review of Snow White Sorrow. If you’re interested in picking up these prequels, they’re just $0.99 each on Amazon (for Kindle only), you can grab them here.

The Blurb

For seven-year-old Raami, the shattering end of childhood begins with the footsteps of her father returning home in the early dawn hours bringing details of the civil war that has overwhelmed the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital. Soon the family’s world of carefully guarded royal privilege is swept up in the chaos of revolution and forced exodus.

Over the next four years, as she endures the deaths of family members, starvation, and brutal forced labor, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of childhood—the mythical legends and poems told to her by her father. In a climate of systematic violence where memory is sickness and justification for execution, Raami fights for her improbable survival.

Displaying the author’s extraordinary gift for language, In the Shadow of the Banyan is testament to the transcendent power of narrative and a brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience.

Add it to your shelf: GoodreadsLibrary ThingShelfari
Buy it: AmazonChapters/IndigoBarnes & Noble

My Thoughts

It’s so hard to put what I think into words on this one. I have friends (Canadian friends) who moved to Cambodia a few years back, and when they came back to visit after the first year abroad, they told stories about the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot’s regime. It happened just before I was born, so I had no idea – and it’s not taught in school like the World Wars.

A couple years after that, I read First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, in which I read some of the worst treatment on the Cambodians – it was a memoir, after all. That book didn’t really explain the *why* behind it, though.

So this book is a mixture of things for me. It’s a chance to learn more about this terrible regime (albeit a fictional book, it is based off Ratner’s own experiences with the Khmer Rouge at the age of 5). I found it a bit soft compared to other things I’ve heard and read about the genocide – in the sense that the author toned down the violence and somewhat romanticized (it’s the wrong word, I can’t seem to think of the right one) the character’s ordeal. She talks of people “settling in” and as if they went about ordinary lives when in reality they were being carted off and executed, tortured and starved to death. That’s not to say that the characters didn’t go through some extremely hard things – it’s just that the story was softened. The violence is only occasionally mentioned until near the end of the book, when it picks up the pace a little.

One thing this book did do was answer a little bit of the “why” questions I had. It doesn’t fully explain it (although I’m not sure it can be fully explained), but it was a start. The author included many of the rules of the regime in the plot, and some of their way of thinking. It was delusional, too ideological – and that’s why it failed, but it shows something of the human condition, it’s something we see in war after war after war. The way people were treated has happened in war after war after war. It’s sickening.

As for the characters, we start off with a family who is very privileged, and we see them torn apart and their spirits broken throughout the book. I felt a strong connection to Raami and her father, though her mother seemed a bit distant, perhaps because the book is written from Raami’s point of view and that’s how the relationships were developed. I started to see Raami’s mother in a different light as the book goes on, but I still felt disconnected from her – which is weird…I feel that as a mother myself I should have identified with her more.

All in all, the book is beautifully written, and if I hadn’t known a little bit about the more violent parts of the Khmer Rouge regime, I would have completely loved it. It’s probably an excellent book for someone without this knowledge, as an opening to learn about this genocide that doesn’t seem to get the attention it deserves.

My Rating: 4 stars

The Blurb

“You were made for The River . . .”

Gabriel Clarke is mysteriously drawn to The River, a ribbon of frothy white water carving its way through steep canyons high in the Colorado Rockies. The rushing waters beckon him to experience freedom and adventure.

But something holds him back-the memory of the terrible event he witnessed on The River when he was just five years old-something no child should ever see.

Chains of fear and resentment imprison Gabriel, keeping him from discovering the treasures of The River. He’s remains trapped, afraid to take hold of the life awaiting him.

When he returns to The River after years away, his heart knows he is finally home. His destiny is within reach. Claiming that destiny will be the hardest-and most brave-thing he has ever done.

Add it to your shelf: GoodreadsLibrary ThingShelfari
Buy it: AmazonChapters/IndigoBarnes & Noble

My Thoughts

The opening scene of this book is completely heartbreaking – we see what young Gabriel sees at the tender age of 5. The next few chapters we see Gabriel as a broken child, trying to grow up but burdened by the tragedy he suffered. I just wanted to reach through the pages and hug this young boy, since his innocence was wrenched away from him at such an early age.

The book then fast forwards to Gabriel as a 20-year-old, stuck in a rut because of his past. But an adventurous streak comes across him and he goes back to The River and is completely changed by his experiences out there.

The first part of the book was slow, but important…it helped me understand where Gabriel was coming from and why he was acting the way he did in the second part of the book. From the point Gabriel goes back to The River it gets very interesting and picks up the pace. I was expecting it to be more of a suspense type of book, but it wasn’t – it was about a boy coming to his own after suffering throughout his childhood (not because he was denied anything, but because of fear). It’s a very sweet book, it makes your heart happy when you walk away.

The author left the book in a very curious manner, and I’m wondering if we will see a sequel to this book that continues Gabriel’s story. I hope that there is.

My Rating: 4 stars

The Blurb

Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective… but there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

Since its publication, Stephen Chbosky’s haunting debut novel has received critical acclaim, provoked discussion and debate, grown into a cult phenomenon with over a million copies in print, and inspired a major motion picture.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a story about what it’s like to travel that strange course through the uncharted territory of high school. The world of first dates, family dramas, and new friends. of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Of those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

Add it to your shelf: GoodreadsLibrary ThingShelfari
Buy it: AmazonChapters/IndigoBarnes & Noble

My Thoughts

I listened to this one as an audiobook, I’m not sure if that’s what made me absolutely love the book or if it was the writing. Probably a mixture of both. But, I’m going to review the audio version, because…well, it’s what I “read”. 😉

At first I didn’t know what was going on – since I didn’t have the book in front of me, I didn’t realize that it was written entirely in letters. So the first letter had me completely confused. Then I got into it. I think if I was reading it, I would have gotten bored because nothing ever really happens, it’s just this boy going on about his life and all these little random things. But when it’s being read to you, by a narrator that does it *just so*, Charlie is endearing and lovable, and I just wanted to hug him.

The book is set in the 1991/92 school year and follows Charlie’s first year of high school. He’s a very sensitive boy (he cried, a lot), and pretty clueless (as any 15-year-old can be). The things he goes through and the decisions he makes are laugh-out-loud funny and heartbreaking at the same time. There are several “adult” themes in this book – sex, drugs, sexual orientation, rape/molestation, among others.

The ending reveals a shock that I didn’t see coming – even though I’d read quasi-spoilers that had mentioned it, I’d forgotten them because I was so engrossed in the narration of the book.

To me, this book is a heartwarming story of a young boy coming into his own, a must-read for everyone! (But I really recommend the audiobook version…)

My Rating: 5 stars

The Blurb

Falling in love can feel like poetry. Or it can feel like a slam to the heart.

Colleen Hoover’s romantic, emotion-packed debut novel unforgettably captures all the magic and confusion of first love, as two young people forge an unlikely bond before discovering that fate has other plans for them.

Following the unexpected death of her father, eighteen-year-old Layken becomes the rock for both her mother and younger brother. She appears resilient and tenacious, but inside, she’s losing hope. Then she meets her new neighbor Will, a handsome twenty-one-year-old whose mere presence leaves her flustered and whose passion for poetry slams thrills her.

Not long after a heart-stopping first date during which each recognizes something profound and familiar in the other, they are slammed to the core when a shocking discovery brings their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together and the forces that tear them apart. Only through the poetry they share are they able to speak the truth that is in their hearts and imagine a future where love is cause for celebration, not regret.

Add it to your shelf: GoodreadsLibrary ThingShelfari
Buy it: AmazonChapters/IndigoBarnes & Noble

My Thoughts

I was sucked in from the very first page. To be honest, I was quite excited to read this one, for whatever reason the blurb really spoke to me and I *knew* that I needed to read it. It was a very quick read, mostly because once I started, I didn’t want to put it down.

It started off strong, with great character development (for what it’s worth, I love the names in this book, especially Layken). I was immediately drawn to Layken and her family, I felt bad for her situation. I was drawn in with her ups and downs when it came to Will.

And then. The half-way point of the book happened. And I was a goner. My emotions were flying one way and then flipping the other within PAGES. It was an emotional roller coaster. But all in a good way…I felt every little thing that Layken felt (well, almost).

As an added bonus is the little bits of slam poetry that we’re treated to as “written by” a few of the characters in the book: Will, Layken, and Eddie. I loved this unique way to give us an insight into the characters and how they felt and why they felt that way.

This book is a treat in itself and a must-read. I can’t WAIT to read the next in the series (Point of Retreat), and am already anxious for the third book to be written and released!

My Rating: 5 stars