Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Favorites: Favorite Books

For the last week of 2011, I'm not posting any of my normal reviews, etc. but do some lists of my favorite books of 2011. You can check out the earlier posts in the series here.

For the last post in the series I'm making a list of my absolute favorites of the year. I tried to shorten it as much as possible, but it's still too long - I just read too many amazing books this year!

The links will take you to my reviews.

Hold Still by Nina LaCour

I often don't even know yet how amazing a book is when I finish it, and only when I see I'm still thinking about it a week later do I see how great the book is. That's what happened with Hold Still - for some reason, I only gave it four stars, even though it's a five-star-book if I ever saw one. It's amazingly raw and honest and one of my favorites of the year!

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

The DUFF isn't as emotional as some of the other books on this list, but it's so, so much fun. The characters, the idea and the writing are amazing and made me fall in love with this book.

Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff

This book is... just wow. It's impossible to explain how great this book is. It's subtle and beautiful - also the kind of book whose greatness you can't even see until after you've turned the last page.

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

I have the worst memory ever, and I often don't remember a thing about a book I read two years ago. That's probably why a lot of the books on these lists are books I read towards the end of 2011 - I just don't remember what I loved so much about the ones I read in the beginning. But My Sister's Keeper is the first book I read this year, and I still remember exactly what made me love it so much, and that's saying something. Emotional and beautiful, this is probably my favorite non-YA book ever.

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Five Flavors of Dumb is one of the most life-affirming books I've ever read. It's just so much fun and made me want to get up and dance and just go crazy.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I know, everyone has already read this one, but it's too amazing not to mention. I love the idea of merging Clay's and Hannah's stories. Thirteen Reasons Why is hauntingly beautiful.

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Twenty Boy Summer is just so beautiful. I know, that word is totally overused, but that's exactly what this book is. It's the perfect mixture of a sweet summer romance and an emotional depiction of grief. I want to hug this book and never let it go.

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

This book has one of the best, most honest and beautiful portrayals of grief ever. I bawled while reading The Sky Is Everywhere - the feelings are just so real. It's not all giref and depressing, though - there's also some nice romance and a hopeful tone. An all-around amazing book!

Dear Bully

This is the only non-fiction I read this year, so maybe I'm not the one who should judge whether it's good or bad, but wow... The feelings are so raw and honest and inspiring. There's a story in this book for everyone!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

My favorite romance of the year! I loved Anna and St. Clair - they're just so adorable! I loved how realistic everything about this book is and how it makes you feel like you're a part of the story.

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

I don't even know how to describe this book. Sara Zarr's writing is so, so amazing, and she's now one of my favorite authors. The atmosphere in Sweethearts is incredibly well-done, and the story is just so sweet.

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

I love books about road trips, I love books about grief, and I love books about romance, and Saving June has all three of those things. Harper is such an amazing character and made me fall in love with this book.

It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Despite the serious topic, this book is so much fun. It's so full of beauty and hope and life and makes you want to make the most of every day.

So these are my favorites books of 2011! If you've read some of them, did you love them as much as I did? What are your favorite books of the year?

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Favorites: Favorite Underrated Books

For the last week of 2011, I'm not posting any of my normal reviews, etc. but do some lists of my favorite books of 2011. You can check out the earlier posts in the series here.

Today, I'm making a list of my favorite underrated books - as in, books that I loved but haven't gotten the attention they'd deserve. Since I read a lot of popular books, this list isn't all that long, but I wanted to showcase the few underrated but amazing books I did read this year.

The links will take you to my reviews.

It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

This is an amazing book - one of the most hopeful, life-affirming messages I've ever read. It definitely hasn't gotten the attention it deserves - seriosly, read this book.

Inconvenient by Margie Gelbwasser

Inconvenient tells such a beautiful story. The writing is great; really, really impressing for a debut. More people need to read this one, too!

Teenie by Christopher Grant

Teenie doesn't really have one set topic that will immediately have people add it to their wishlists, but really, that's what makes it so amazing - Teenie can be whatever you make of it. It's one of my favorite coming-of-age stories.

Positively by Courtey Sheinmel

The whole story of Positively is heartbreaking and beautiful - a twelve-year-old girl whose mother died of AIDS and who's struggling with HIV herself. The strong, innocent MC makes this a tragic but hopeful novel.

I know, it's kind of pointless to make one of these lists for just four books, but I wanted to make sure these books got some more attention.

If you've read any of these books, did you like them as much as I did? What are some books you'd recommend people probably haven't heard of?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Favorites: Favorite Couples

For the last week of 2011, I'm not going to post any of my normal reviews, etc. but do some lists of my favorite books of 2011. You can check out the earlier posts in the series here.

Today, I'm making a list of my favorite couples.

The links will take you to my reviews.

Anna and St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Even though everyone's already read it, I just had to put Anna and the French Kiss on this list. Anna and St. Clair are adorable together. The ups and downs are so realistic, and you can't help but root for them to end up together. 

Amy and Roger from Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy and Roger have such amazing chemistry, and their romance is swoonworthy. I thought their romance would have seemed forced, since they only really know each other for a few days, but the development of their relationship is natural and realistic, which is really important to me.

Jenna and Cameron from Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

I'm not sure whether these two belong on this list, since they're not really a couple, but their relationship is too amazing not to mention. Their bond is stronger than any relationship I've read about, and their story is just so honest and beautiful.

Bianca and Wesley from The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Bianca and Wesley's relationship is really different from the typical YA romance, and I absolutely loved it. How their friends-with-benefits relationship slowly develops into something more is so sweet, and I loved how the two of them interact.

Harper and Jake from Saving June by Hannah Harrington

I absolutely loved Harper, and Jake is swoonworthy but flawed enough to be realistic. Their relationship is so realistically slow I kept wanting them to get it over with and kiss, and when I want the relationship to move faster, that means the pacing is just right.

Maya and Lochan from Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

It feels so, so wrong to put this book on the list of my favorite couples because, well, it's incest, but I just loved Maya and Lochan so much. The way they truly care for one another is so sweet, and my heart went out to the both of them. 

Nick and Norah from Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Nick and Norah's chemistry is amazing. These two together are positively swoonworthy. Somehow, even though the book only covers one night, it seems like their romance develops gradually and naturally. I loved the whole idea for Nick & Norah´s Infinite Playlist and the unique beginning and development of their relationship. I can´t even think about these two without smiling - this whole book just made me happy, made me want to hug somebody. These two are just so adorable!

Brittany and Alex from Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Even though the idea is clichéd, Brittany and Alex's relationship is amazing. I love how they're so different on the outside but still have so much in common and are actually really similar, and the way they interact is just so much fun.

Colin and Lindsey from An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

What made me put An Abundance of Katherines on this list isn't really the couple; it's more of the different idea of looking at love - trying to create a theorem to predict how long a relationship will last is such an interesting concept. That's not to say I didn't like the couple, though - Colin and Lindsey are adorable together. And since John Green can make anything work, this is a really fun read.

These are my favorite couples from the books I've read this year. If you've read some of them, did you love them as much as I did? What are some of your favorite book-couples?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Favorites: Favorite Main Characters

For the last week of 2011, I'm not going to post any of my normal reviews, etc. but do some lists of my favorite books of 2011. You can check out the earlier posts in the series here.

Today, I'm making a list of my favorite main characters.

The links will take you to my reviews.

Bianca from The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Bianca is one of my favorite female MCs ever. She's really different from the girls I normally read about, and she's not the kind of girl I think I'd be friends with in real life, but being inside her head and knowing her insecurities made me love her.

Lily from The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff

Even though she's not really the main character, Lily was my favorite part of The Absolute Value of -1. I loved her quirks and her realistic voice, and there's just something about the way she thinks that made me love her.

Tara from North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

Tara is really insecure and self-conscious, which is something that often annoys me in books. There are so many MCs who go on and on about how ugly and unworthy of love they are, and it's gotten pretty old. But Tara, despite her low self-confidence, is different. There's a real reason for her insecurities - her birthmark - and even though she complains about her situation, it's not all she does; she takes charge of her life. Her amazing character growth is what makes her one of my favorite protagonists of 2011.

Anna from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

There's just something special about Anna that makes her so easy to relate to. Her voice and her way of thinking are unique and realistic and just so much fun.

Harper from Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Harper is such a refreshing character. Her older sister just committed suicide, so she has every right to be wallowing in grief, but for the most part, she's sarcastic, quirky and entertaining. Her emotional are realistic too. Harper is what makes Saving June such a hopeful, life-affirming novel.

Keek from And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky

Keek is one of the realest characters I've ever read. I felt like I was reading about my best friend, not just a fictional character. She's unique, blunt and quirky, and so much fun to read about. The honest way she sees herself is refreshing.

Kiara from Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Even though I liked Perfect Chemistry a little better than Rules of Attraction, I really loved Kiara. There are definitely not enough tomboys in YA, and how different Kiara is from the characters I normally read about is what made me love her so much.

So these are my favorite characters of 2011. If you've read these books, did you love the protagonists as much as I did? What are some of your favorite MCs?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Favorites: Most Emotional Reads

For the last week of 2011, I'm not going to post any of my normal reviews, etc. but do some lists of my favorite books of 2011. You can check out the first in this series, my post on favorite book covers, here.

Today, I'm making a list of my most emotional reads.

The links will take you to my reviews.

Hold Still by Nina LaCour

The emotion in Hold Still is incredibly raw. There's no holding back, and that really made me feel both Caitlin's grief and Ingrid's hopelessness.

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

This is the kind of book where you're just crying the entire time. And that ending - I must have cried for half an hour after finishing My Sister's Keeper. It's just so sad and beautiful!

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

This book almost killed me. It's incredible how the author manages to make me want Lochan and Maya to end up together, despite the fact that incest is so widely seen as wrong. I bawled while reading the ending. Scuh a powerful book!

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Unlike the last two, The Sky Is Everywhere doesn't have an ending that broke my heart; in this one, every single word broke my heart. Lennie's grief is so real, you can't help but feel it too.

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

The atmosphere in Sweethearts is so well-done. Even though the plot isn't the saddest one I've read, the writing makes this one a really emotional read. That counts for Story of a Girl and Once Was Lost, too, but I decided to go with Sweethearts because I liked it a little better than the other two Sara Zarr books I've read.

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

Unlike the rest of the books on this list, Living Dead Girl isn't just sad - it's completely horrifying. What Alice has to go through is so, so terrible, and Living Dead Girl is unlike any other book I know.

Dear Bully

What makes this book so sad is that every single story is true. Thinking about how real people had to go through all of this makes Dear Bully one of the most emotional books I've ever read.

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

While all of the sad books on this list are great, I wanted to have something happy, too, and that's exactly what Five Flavors of Dumb is. It's so much fun and  made me want to get up and dance and scream and laugh all at the same time.

It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Since this is a book about depression, It's Kind of a Funny Story should be on this list because it's so sad, but it's really on here because it made me so happy. Despite the heavy topic, this is one of the funniest, most life-affirming books I know.

Have you read any of my most emotional reads of 2011, and did you love them as much as I did? What are some of your most emotional reads of the year?

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 Favorites: Favorite Book Covers

For the last week of 2011, I'm not going to post any of my normal reviews and posts, but do some lists of my favorite books of 2011. These are going to be sort of like top ten lists, but I can't promise there'll always be exactly ten books on each list. These lists have nothing to do with books that were published in 2011; they're just books I read this year.

So, for my first of these posts, I'm going to be talking about my favorite covers of the books I read in 2011! I know, you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but, well, I do - I love book covers. This is mainly about the covers, but I won't put a book on this list if I love the cover but hated the actual book.

The links will take you to my reviews.

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

I love the whole idea of the heart made out of seaglass, and the colors of the heart are so beautiful! It's great how the cover ties into the actual story, with the meaning of the seaglass and the red one and everything - I love when book covers tell you something about the actual book, or when you can only really understand the cover once you've read the book.

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

I'm not usually a fan of covers with just a model's face, but for this one, it totally works. How the girl's hair covers her right cheek to hide her birthmark fits the story so well, and I love the compass, which also plays an important role in this book. (I don't know how well you can see the compass like this, but it looks really cool on the real book.)

Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr

This cover is so sad and beautiful at the same time! The flower is gorgeous, and that one petal falling down... I just love it! It portrays the atmosphere in the book perfectly.

But I Love Him by Amanda Grace

I didn't want to put this one on the list along with Twenty Boy Summer since the ideas are so similar, but I love both covers so I just put them both on the list. And this one is kind of different, with the black background and all. Again, I love how the cover ties into the story here, with the heart Ann gives Connor and what it means. That, and it's just so pretty!

Hold Still by Nina LaCour

This cover is plain gorgeous - it's even more beuatiful in real life than just on a picture. I love the colors, and I love how the model is running, making part of the picture look out of focus because of the title - I just love it!

By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters

This one isn't as obviously beautiful as the rest of these covers, but it's so, so startling. The black and white picture with the red rose petals catches your attention, and the look in the model's eyes tells you everything you need to know about this book.

I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler

I kind of have a thing for Sourcebooks Fire covers - they're all gorgeous, and this one's no exception. I love the colors, the idea with the flower, and the title in the bubble. It's not just the cover, though - Sourcebooks Fire's entire design is so pretty. I don't even know what it is about them, their style is just perfect for my taste.

What do you think of all of these covers - do you love them as much as I do? What are some of your favorite covers of 2011?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

In My Mailbox #39

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where you can talk about the books you bought or received this week.

Merry Christmay to all of you who celebrate! I got some really awesome books for Christmas:

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart. She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition. Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

I absolutely loved Sarah Ockler's debut, Twenty Boy Summer (review), and I'm excited to finally read Fixing Delilah!

When the Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer
(Amazon | Goodreads)

A dancer driven to succeed. A musical prodigy attempting to escape his past. The summer they share. And the moment it all goes wrong. 

Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has before. But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad's affections appears: Taz, a member of an all-star Spanish soccer team. One explosive encounter later Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened, but her entire future as a professional dancer.

I haven't heard much about When the Stars Go Blue, but after Maggie from Maggie's Bookshelf talked about how amazing it is in her review, I had to give it a shot. Plus, that cover is gorgeous!

Roadside Assistance by Amy Clipston
(Amazon | Goodreads)

Emily Curtis is used to dealing with her problems while under the hood of an old Chevy, but when her mom dies, Emily's world seems shaken beyond repair. Driven from home by hospital bills they can't pay, Emily and her dad move in with his wealthy sister, who intends to make her niece more feminine---in other words, just like Whitney, Emily's perfect cousin. But when Emily hears the engine of a 1970 Dodge Challenger, and sees the cute gearhead, Zander, next door, things seem to be looking up. But even working alongside Zander can't completely fix the hole in Emily's life. Ever since her mom died, Emily hasn't been able to pray, and no one---not even Zander---seems to understand. But sometimes the help you need can come from the person you least expect.

I haven't heard much about this one either, but it sounds right up my alley!

Crash Into Me by Albert Borris
(Amazon | Goodreads)

Owen, Frank, Audrey, and Jin-Ae have one thing in common: they all want to die. When they meet online after each attempts suicide and fails, the four teens make a deadly pact: they will escape together on a summer road trip to visit the sites of celebrity suicides...and at their final destination, they will all end their lives. As they drive cross-country, bonding over their dark impulses, sharing their deepest secrets and desires, living it up, hooking up, and becoming true friends, each must decide whether life is worth living—or if there's no turning back.

I know, the cover looks like a Perfect Chemistry rip-off, but the description sounds amazing - tragic, but amazing.

I also got a finished copy of dancergirl by Carol M. Tanzman, which I already read and really enjoyed.

And I got an Amazon gift card, and since anything that can be turned into books has a very short life-expectancy with me, you'll probably get to see what I bought with it in next week's IMM.

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Review: Dear Bully

Title: Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories
Author: N/A
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: September 1st 2011
Pages: 352
Genre: YA; non-fiction
Source: Bought
Find out more: Amazon ; Goodreads

Goodreads description:
You are not alone.
Discover how Lauren Kate transformed the feeling of that one mean girl getting under her skin into her first novel, how Lauren Oliver learned to celebrate ambiguity in her classmates and in herself, and how R.L. Stine turned being the “funny guy” into the best defense against the bullies in his class.
Today’s top authors for teens come together to share their stories about bullying—as silent observers on the sidelines of high school, as victims, and as perpetrators—in a collection at turns moving and self-effacing, but always deeply personal.

First sentence:
I know bullying.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a hard book to review. I can't talk about writing, characters, plot, or any of the things I normally talk about in reviews, since those are different in each part of the anthology. I don't even think I can really judge the book, since it's so personal - how can you say a story is good or bad, when it's something that actually happened, to an actual person?

But at the same time, how personal each of the stories is is one of my favorite aspects of Dear Bully. This is so much more personal than a regular novel, and I felt like I was getting to know all of these authors in a completely different way than if I'd be reading one of their fiction books. I especially liked reading contributions by authors whose work I know - it's interestng to see how their past and their experiences with bullying shaped their writing.

Each one of these stories is great. Yes, maybe some of them are a little repetitive, but I didn't mind, since it just helped get the point across even clearer, and I think this way everyone will have one or two stories that speak to them personally. My favorites were "The Eulogy of Ivy O'Connor" by Sophie Jordan and "Slivers of Purple Paper" by Cyn Balog - they're just... wow. I've read them over and over again, and they made me cry each time.

I don't want to seem cynical, but I have to say, I liked the stories from the bully's point of view even better than the ones from the victim's. I loved all of them, and I felt for each of the characters, but my favorite chapter would have to be "Regret" - I can't even really explain why, but I loved the contributions where people apologized for being the bully or for doing nothing to stop a bully. I found it fascinating to read about their reasons. That added a different perspective, and I wish there would have been even more stories from that point of view.

I'm not usually a fan of really strong messages and I don't like being preached to, but in Dear Bully, it worked - the message comes from personal experience, and I really like how it feels like the author is speaking to you personally, and asking you personally to do something about bullying. It's a message that needs to be heard.

I don't have all that much to say about Dear Bully because, like I said, this is a hard book to review, but it's still an amazing book. I was kind of reluctant to read this one, since I've never read an anthology before and didn't know whether it'd work, but there was no need to worry. This is an emotional, powerful book, and while I usually hate when people write something like "this book needs to be read by teens everywhere," it's so true in the case of Dear Bully.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cover Reveal for Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker

Today's the cover reveal for Melissa Walker's upcoming novel, Unbreak My Heart!

So that's the cover for Unbreak My Heart - beautiful, right?

Unbreak My Heart will be released on May 22nd 2012. Add it on Goodreads here and check out the description:

Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life. Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now. Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?
Told in alternating chapters that chronicle the year that broke Clem’s heart and the summer that healed it, Unbreak My Heart is a wonderful dual love story that fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Susane Colasanti will flock to.

What do you think of the cover?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Review: Scars by Cheryl Rainfield

Title: Scars
Author: Cheryl Rainfield
Publisher: Westside Books
Release date: March 24th 2010
Pages: 250
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought
Find out more: Amazon ; Goodreads

Goodreads description:
Kendra, fifteen, hasn't felt safe since she began to recall devastating memories of childhood sexual abuse, especially because she still can't remember the most important detail-- her abuser's identity. Frightened, Kendra believes someone is always watching and following her, leaving menacing messages only she understands. If she lets her guard down even for a minute, it could cost Kendra her life. To relieve the pressure, Kendra cuts; aside from her brilliantly expressive artwork, it's her only way of coping. Since her own mother is too self-absorbed to hear her cries for help, Kendra finds support in others instead: from her therapist and her art teacher, from Sandy, the close family friend who encourages her artwork, and from Meghan, the classmate who's becoming a friend and maybe more. But the truth about Kendra's abuse is just waiting to explode, with startling unforeseen consequences. Scars is the unforgettable story of one girl's frightening path to the truth.

First sentence:
"Someone is following me." I gulp air, trying to breathe.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This book was very hard to read. What happens is so terrible, it seems too terrible to be true. And yet, it's inspired by the author's own struggles, and the cover really shows the author's own arm. Thinking about how something so terrible happened to someone in real life makes Scars an utterly heartbreaking read.

The writing, in my opinion is just okay - it's good at times, but some of the dialogue is unrealistic, and there is more than enough melodrama in this book. Kendra is a pretty good character, and easy to relate to, but not my favorite character ever. I really liked the supporting characters Meghan and Sandy.

The writing and characters are just okay, and usually that would mean that, for me, the entire book is just okay, since it's I'm usually pulled in by wrting and characters. Not in Scars, though. In Scars, what really convinced me was the plot. It had me on the edge of my seat throughout the story - there's just so much suspense, and I loved the mystery aspect of not knowing who the abuser is. I felt scared right alongside Kendra.
I loved reading about Kendra's art. It sounds amazing, and I could imagine it perfectly. It told me so much about Kendra as a person.

The cutting aspect was interesting to read about, too. I've read a few books about self-mutilation, but it's portrayed really differently in Scars than in those other books. I don't want to say too much and spoil it for anyone, but Kendra's reasons for cutting and just the way it's described are different and fascinating.

The ending is... wow. I kind of saw it coming, I always sort of knew who her abuser was but didn't want it to be true. Even if the ending is somewhat unrealistic and defnitely melodramatic, it was thrilling to read.

I don't have all that much to say about this book, but that doesn't mean I didn't like it -  the writing and characters are pretty good, and the plot is amazing - thrilling and so suspenseful, but also emotional and heartbreaking. I definitely recommend it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday #1: Books I Hope Santa Brings

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish with a different topic for a top-ten list each week. You can find out more about it here.

I've never taken part in this meme before, but it looks like fun, so I thought I'd do one of these posts. I don't think I will be taking part every week, when I like the topic and don't have anything else to post.

The links will take you to the Goodreads pages.

This week's topic is:

 Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

1. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

This one sounds like so much fun, and I've heard great things about it!

2. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Why have I not read this one yet? Everyone loved it, and I enjoyed Lauren Oliver's debut, Before I Fall, so I really need to get my hands on Delirium as fast as possible.

3. Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler

I absolutely loved Sarah Ockler's debut, Twenty Boy Summer (review), and I vowed to read her sophomore novel as soon as possible... I still haven't bought it, but maybe Santa can take care of that!

4. Winter Town by Stephen Emond

This sounds like the perfect winter read, and I love the cover!

5. Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff

I've actually already read Brooklyn, Burning (review) since I got it on NetGalley, but I loved it so much I want a finished copy.

6. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

I was the last person on earth to read Anna and the French Kiss (review), but I loved it and need to get around to reading the companion novel as soon as possible!

7. Clean by Amy Reed

I still haven't read anything by Amy Reed, even though I've heard great things about her books. I hope I'll be able to see how great her writing is for myself soon!

8. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

This sounds like such a heartbreaking read, but I love reading something really depressing every once in a while.

9. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Why why why have I not read anything by A.S. King? She's supposed to 
be so amazing!

10. Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard

Another book that has been on my wishlist forever - it looks so great, and I hope I'll get to read it soon.

So these are the top ten books I'm hoping to get for Christmas this year. If you've read any of them, are they worth wishing for? What books are on your wishlist?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

In My Mailbox #38

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where you can talk about the books you bought or received this week.

Received for review:

Loving Emily by Anne Pfeffer
(Amazon | Goodreads)

Ryan Mills is torn with guilt over the death of his best friend, and it's all because of Emily Weintraub. If Ryan hadn't seen those incredible gray-blue eyes, hadn't pegged her as a Potentially Amazing Woman, he would never have gone looking for her at the party that night. He would have never left his wasted friend Michael alone, when Michael needed him and asked him to stay. And if Ryan hadn't left, Michael would never have driven off, totaled his car, and taken the cosmic ride into death.

As far as Ryan's concerned, when you've done something terrible, you don't deserve to be happy. He tries not to fall for Emily, but he can't help it. Before long, he is "completely, gonzo, out-of-control in love."

Ryan then learns that Michael died with a secret. Still grieving, he feels compelled to take on his friend's unfinished business. When Emily begins to question where his commitments really lie - with her or with Michael's memory - Ryan is forced to examine his choices. What does he owe to Michael, to Emily, and to himself?

I was really excited to get Loving Emily, since it's my first paper review copy! I've gotten some e-books but this is the first time I'm getting a paper copy... I hope I like it!


Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell
(Amazon | Goodreads)

Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend sheds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school's struggling radio station, where the other students don't find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams's mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life. Readers will fall in love with Chloe as she falls in love with the radio station and the misfits who call it home.

This one just looks like so much fun!

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
(Amazon | Goodreads)

Up until senior year, Greg has maintained social total social invisibility. He only has one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time - when not plaing video games and avoiding Earl's terrifying brothers - making movies, their own versions of Coppolaa and Herzog classics. Greg would be the first one to tell you his movies are f*@$ing terrible, but he and Earl don't make them for other people. Until Rachel.

Rachel has leukemia, and Greg's mom gets the genius idea that Greg should befriend her. Against his better judgement and despite his extreme awkwardness, he does. When Rachel decides to stop treatment, Greg and Earl make her a movie, and Greg must abandon invisibility and make a stand. It's a hilarious, outrageous, and truthful look at death and high school by a prodigiously talented debut author.

I have to admit, the cover and title are what won me over with this one. The idea sounds great too, though - kind of like something John Green would write.

What did you get in your mailbox this week?
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