Monday, April 30, 2012

Favorite Books of the Month: April

Books mentioned:
This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers (Amazon | Goodreads)
All These Lives by Sarah Wylie (Amazon | Goodreads)
Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian (Amazon | Goodreads)
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King (Amazon | Goodreads)
Divergent by Veronica Roth (Amazon | Goodreads)
The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab (Amazon | Goodreads)
Never Enough by Denise Jaden (Amazon | Goodreads)

Multicharacer Interview with the Cast from Breaking Beautiful (Breaking Beautiful Blog Tour)

Today we have the cast from Breaking Beautiful interview! This post is part of The Teen Book Scene's blog tour for Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf. You can find out all about the tour here. Make sure to visit all the other stops if you'd like to know more about Breaking Beautiful!


Tell us three things about yourself (almost) no one else knows.
1. I still sleep with my silky, a piece from the edge of the blanket I had as a baby.
2. I’ve kept everything Trip ever gave me.
3. Sometimes I wish I lived anywhere else but Pacific Cliffs.
If you had to describe yourself as a color, which color would you be?
Green, vibrant emerald green, like my eyes.
What's a major pet peeve of yours?
People who are fake.
What would you do if you had just one day left lo live?
Gather up everyone I’ve ever wanted to say something to, good or bad and just say it. If I’m going to be gone, what’s the point of keeping it all in?
How has Trip's death affected or changed your life? be?
Trip was my first love, so I was devastated when I found out about the accident. We’ve always had a kind of connection, you know, you never fall out of love because you never stop caring. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about what might have been.

Tell us three things about yourself (almost) no one else knows.
1. I probably know more gossip than anyone else at school. When you’re stuck in a chair all the time, people forget that you can hear.
2. I keep a tell-all blog under an assumed name. (Look at the first question, again. Are you scared?)
3. I’m a pretty good liar, but since I have a hard time talking, I guess lying is easy, because no one asks too many questions. (But knowing I’m a great liar, are you wondering about question one and two now?)
If you had to describe yourself as a color, which color would you be?
Steel grey. Analytical, precise, and useful. Seems like I should throw something warm and fuzzy in their too, but right now that’s all I’ve got.
What's a major pet peeve of yours?
When people look over and around me and won’t look me in the eye. Like they don’t know how to act around me so they pretend I’m not there.

What would you do if you had just one day left lo live?

Say good-bye to everyone I loved and then do something incredibly insane like skydiving, with or without a parachute.
How has Trip's death affected or changed your life?
I don’t have to worry so much about Allie every time she walks out the door, I still worry because mentally she’s kind of a mess, but at least I know she won’t be trying to hide a bruise or something when she gets home. At least I know physically she’s safe.
Mom (Mrs. Davis)

Tell us three things about yourself (almost) no one else knows.
1. Even though I was “popular” I never felt like I fit in when I was in high school.
2. I loved moving around all the time, meeting new people and learning new things, but I wanted more stability for my kids. We moved to Pacific Cliffs for them, not me.
3. I wish I’d gotten some kind of college degree, but getting married so young and all the moving around and then having twins with one very sick little boy, I never got the chance. I feel like I have to be super woman in my job to make up for the fact that I’m not educated.
If you had to describe yourself as a color, which color would you be?
How about dark blue. It’s kind of no nonsense and practical because it hides stains and goes with almost everything.
What would you do if you had just one day left lo live?
My tendency would be to clean the house and make freezer meals for my family and make sure the finances were all in order at home and at work, but I hope I would be willing to let all that go and just spend a day at the beach with my family. (The beach in Hawaii, not Pacific Cliffs, it is my last day after all.)
How has Trip's death affected or changed your life?
I worry about Allie all the time now. His death has completely destroyed her. When Trip was around I felt like she was taken care of. I know moving around was hard on her and that she didn’t have very many close friends. I was so happy that she found him. She and Trip were together all the time and I know he had lots of friends at school. It was nice to see her fitting in around her. The other thing that’s hard is I’m so relieved and grateful that Allie is alive, but I work all day with Trip’s family and I see how them struggling with their loss. Knowing that my child is still alive and theirs isn’t is difficult.
Thanks for the great answers, Jennifer!

Make sure to check out all the other stops of the tour, and keep your eye out for Breaking Beautiful, which has already been released!

Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf
Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a tragic car accident—including her memory of the event. All she has left are the scars and a sneaking suspicion that the crash wasn’t an accident after all. When the police reopen the investigation, it quickly turns on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around their small town. As the threats begin and the survivor’s guilt sets in, Allie’s memories collide with a dark secret about Trip she’s kept for too long. Caught somewhere between her past and her future, Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

My New Treasures #1 (Book Haul)

My New Treasures is a new weekly feature here at Paperback Treasures to showcase all the books I received over the previous week. I do not take credit for this idea.

Won (thanks to MaryAnn at Chapter by Chapter):

Spoiled by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan (Amazon | Goodreads)


Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz (Amazon | Goodreads)
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday (Amazon | Goodreads)
Waves by Sharon Dogar (Amazon | Goodreads)
When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle (Amazon | Goodreads)
Liar by Justine Larbalestier (Amazon | Goodreads)
Stay by Deb Caletti (Amazon | Goodreads)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Review: Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach

Title: Nothing Special (Stupid Fast #2)
Author: Geoff Herbach
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release date: May 1st 2012
Pages: 304
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: NetGalley - thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for providing a free eGalley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Find out more: Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads description:
Felton Reinstein thought he had it all-a great girlfriend, an athletic scholarship in the bag, and football friends he could totally count on. Wrong! Like an elephant storming a house of cards, it all comes crashing down. And it's Felton's fault. Turns out his little brother has taken an impromptu road trip to Florida (aka desperate flight from all the talented people) to make a bid for stardom (aka fronting a hotel rock band with escapees from a retirement community). What's a big brother to do but help pick up the pieces, even if it means giving up all the status, all the glory and once again facing a life of nothing special.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I loved Stupid Fast, so I was really excited to read Nothing Special. But I honestly didn't remember all that much about Stupid Fast (not the book's fault, I just have the worst memory - which is why I'm not a huge fan of series), so I was still a little wary about reading Nothing Special. But not remembering all that much didn't turn out to be a problem - I think you could even read this book without having read Stupid Fast, since it works as a stand-alone. Not that I'd advise you to read a series out of order, but still.

Nothing Special was a little hard for me to get into, because of the unusual format. The whole novel is written as a letter from Felton to Aleah, Felton telling Aleah everything that happened this summer and also what is happening to him right now, while he's writing the letter. I found that whole idea kind of strange, at first, since I didn't get why this book would be written in letter format when the first one in the series isn't, and because it's confusing at times, switching back and forth between past and present. After a while, though, I really liked the format - it's unique and gives a different perspective to Felton's character.

I loved the humor in Stupid Fast, and it's just as good in Nothing Special. Felton's character is hilarious - his voice is so real, and his self-deprecating style just makes everything funny. The whole style and setup are hilarious - for example, when Felton is telling Aleah/readers about something that happened this summer, he'll just start talking about what's happening right now, how someone is reading over his shoulder what he's writing, and they sort of have a conversation like that. I can't explain it, but the setup causes for some seriously funny situations.

What I loved most about Stupid Fast, though, was how incorporates both humor and tragedy so well - how it's both funny and heartbreaking. And sadly, I found the emotional intensity I enjoyed in Stupid Fast lacking in Nothing Special. I just didn't feel it as much, and Nothing Special didn't make me cry like Stupid Fast did.

As for the plot, I really liked all the original ideas in Nothing Special. Andrew is an interesting character, and I'm glad we got to know more about him. I like how much of the story focuses on the unique family dynamics - I just love when family plays an important role in a YA book. I liked the romance, too - it's not mentioned directly all that often and isn't really part of the story, but since Felton is writing to Aleah, we got to know more about their relationship, too. I liked all the subtleties about Felton's feelings for Aleah.

Also, there's a quote from my review of Stupid Fast on the back of Nothing Special, which made me ridiculously happy - I feel so important!

I didn't like Nothing Special quite as much as Stupid Fast, but I did enjoy it, and I think it's a good addition to Felton's story. With an authentic voice, unique family dynamics, and subtle, fresh humor, this is a series I think will appeal to a wide range of readers - maybe even some reluctant boy readers! (I think I might make my brother read these books in a year or two!)

If you've read this book, what did you think?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Interview with Jessi Kirby (In Honor Blog Tour)

Today we have Jessi Kirby here for an author interview! This post is part of The Teen Book Scene's blog tour for In Honor by Jessi Kirby. You can find out all about the tour here. Make sure to visit all the other stops if you'd like to know more about In Honor!

1. There are a lot of contemporary YA books with military backgrounds coming out this year! What made you want to write about this topic?
I have tremendous respect for members of the military and their families, and I wanted to be able to convey that through Finn's character.  
2. I love books about road trips! Have you had any road trip experience of your own?
Yes!  I have!  I actually took a "research" road trip for this book, and it was fantastic.  My mom, my sister and I visited Sedona and Flagstaff, and got to see many of the real places that made their way into the story. 
3. Another road trip question! If you were to go on a road trip along with some other YA authors, who would you go with? Any bookish places you'd like to visit?
Ooh, this is a fun one!  I think I'd make it a YA Contemp road trip, and bring ALL THE AUTHORS!  It'd be too hard just to choose a few.  
4. Without spoiling anything, can you tell us which of the scenes in In Honor was your favorite to write?
There is one scene that involves scuba diving in the middle of the New Mexico desert (for real!).  That was definitely one of my favorites to write!
5. How do you go about naming your characters?
I usually have a sense of the character before I have a name, and from there I try and find one that fits that character's personality.  Sometimes I get names from people I know.  Others, I just happen to stumble across and decide it fits.
Thanks for the great interview answers, Jessi!

Check out all the other stops of the tour, and keep your eye out for In Honor, which will be released on May 8th.

In Honor by Jessi Kirby
(Amazon | Goodreads)
Honor receives her brother's last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn's celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her.
Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn's last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn's best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn't seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn. . . and ruggedly good looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn't. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn--but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review: The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland

Title: The Summer My Life Began
Author: Shannon Greenland
Publisher: Speak
Release date: May 10th 2012
Pages: 224
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: NetGalley - thank you to NetGalley and Penguin for providing a free eGalley of this book in exchange for a review.
Find out more: Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads description:
Elizabeth Margaret—better known as Em—has always known what life would contain: an internship at her father’s firm, a degree from Harvard and a career as a lawyer. The only problem is that it’s not what she wants. When she gets the opportunity to get away from it all and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, Em pursues her secret dream of being a chef, and she also learns that her family has kept some significant secrets from her, too. And then there’s Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn't. Naturally, she can’t resist him, and as their romance blossoms, Em feels she is living on her own terms for the first time.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

These kinds of reviews are the hardest to write. You know those books you don't really have any feelings about, neither positive nor negative? That's this book for me. There's nothing I loved, nothing I hated, everything is just okay. I can't recommend The Summer My Life Began, but I can't not recommend it either.

When I first started reading The Summer My Life Began, I did not like it at all. The book starts out describing Em's life at home with her super-strict parents. And honestly, I just thought the whole thing was overdone - I get that the parents have to be strict and controlling in order for the story to work, but... their ideals are, like, from medieval times! How extremely strict the parents are didn't make me feel for Em, it just made me roll my eyes because the whole thing is so melodramatic.

When Em arrives at her aunt's place, the book gets a little better, but I still didn't love it. My main problem is that each storyline is cliched, overused and predictable. Each storyline seperately, I probably could have liked, if it had been a part of a more unique set-up, but since every storyline is overused, the book was just kind of boring, for me. There's Em's relationship with her aunt - Aunt Tilly is the crazy, free spirit you'd expect her to be. The storyline is sweet but nothing special. Aunt Tilly's son, Frederick, is very, very bland - I don't really know anything about him. Then there's the romance. I actually liked the romance and thought Em and Cade were pretty cute together. But again, it's nothing special - it's just the girl-falls-for-the-mysterious-guy-who-somehow-always-happens-to-be-there storyline. One aspect I really liked is Em's relationship with her little sister - their phone calls and texts always brought a smile to my face.

Em's character, like the plot, is... okay. I feel like I'm totally overusing that word, but honestly, that's just how I feel about this book. She's nice enough, but there's no quirk or spark to her character that would make me remember her after finishing the book. I liked the idea of Em being into cooking, not being able to do so with her parents and now cooking all the time, but I thought there was just a little too much about the cooking. The descriptions of the food and the way she makes it are looong, and after a while it got annoying. I'm not sure why, since I often like when there's food in books - you know, the kind that makes you need to eat whatever the MC is eating right now - but it didn't work that way in The Summer My Life Began. The paragraphs of descriptions of food bored and annoyed me, and at times even made me dislike Em because she's kind of snobby about it.

Towards the end, the book really picked up and got a lot better. There's a family secret they're always talking about and that Em wants to figure out, and at first I didn't really care, thought it would be no big deal, so Em's obsession with finding out kind of annoyed me. But when we discover the family secret, I was actually surprised, and I ended up liking it! I liked that last part a lot better than the rest, since the pacing is faster and the whole story is a lot more interesting.

So... yeah. I feel like my review is not helpful at all - sorry about that. I just didn't have strong feelings about The Summer My Life Began one way or the other. It's just one of those "meh..." books that are alright but don't do much for you, and that I'm not going to be thinking about anymore as soon as I finish this review. Each storyline is pretty cute but predictable, and altogether, this book is okay but nothing special.

If you've read this book, what did you think?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bookish Anticipation #14

Bookish Anticipation is a feature I do every once in a while to spotlight future releases I'm excited for. It was inspired by Breaking the Spine's Waiting on Wednesday. You can check out more of my Bookish Anticipation posts here.

Live Through This by Mindi Scott
(Amazon | Goodreads)

Release date: October 2nd 2012
Sometimes hiding the truth requires more than a lie . . . From the outside, Coley Sterling’s life seems pretty normal . . . whatever that means. It’s not perfect—her best friend is seriously mad at her and her dance team captains keep giving her a hard time—but Coley’s adorable, sweet crush Reece helps distract her from the annoying drama. Plus, she has a great family to fall back on—with a stepdad and mom who would stop at nothing to keep her and her siblings happy and safe.
But Coley has a lot of secrets. She won’t admit—not even to herself—that her almost-perfect life is her own carefully-crafted façade. That for years she’s been burying the shame and guilt over a relationship that crossed the line. Now, Coley and Reece are getting closer, and as Coley has the chance at her first real boyfriend, a decade’s worth of lies are on the verge of unraveling.

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
(Amazon | Goodreads)

Release date: October 1st 2012

Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.
Now Parker wants a new life.
So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty?
But how far is too far before she loses herself completely?

Out of Reach by Carrie Arcos
(Amazon | Goodreads)

Release date: October 16th 2012
When Micah disappears from home, his sister Rachel decides to secretly take matters into her own hands. Armed with Micah's best friend Tyler, she travels from the hazy, lazy suburbs of Southern California to the seedy side of San Diego's beach communities following the clues that Micah left behind. As each lead arrives at a dead end, she is left to piece together the puzzle that is her brother's life. And the sketchy characters Rachel and Tyler encounter make Rachel wonder if she can reach Micah before it’s too late.

Skinny by Donna Cooner
(Amazon | Goodreads)

Release date: October 1st 2012

About a girl whose obesity and negative thoughts stand in the way of her dreams of becoming a singer and finding love, until she begins a long, hard journey of self-discovery and reinvention culminating in gastric-bypass surgery, only to find that love was never dependent on her size.

Tilt by Ellen Hopkins
(Amazon | Goodreads)

Release date: September 11th 2012
TILT is the story of three teens inter-related through their parents' family relationships and friendships. As their parents pull away, caught up in their own dilemmas, the kids' worlds tilt, through love--good and bad:
Mikayla, almost eighteen, is over-the-top in love with Dylan, who loves her back jealously. But what happens to that love when Mikayla gets pregnant the summer before their senior year, and decides to keep the baby?
Shane turns sixteen that same summer, and falls hard in love with his first boyfriend, Alex, who happens to be HIV positive. Shane has lived for four years with his little sister's impending death. Can he accept Alex's love, knowing his life, too, will be shortened?
Harley is fourteen—a good girl searching for new experiences, especially love from an older boy. She never expects to hurdle toward self-destructive extremes in order to define who she is and who she wants to be.

Meant to Be by Lauren Morril
(Amazon | Goodreads)

Release date: November 13th 2012
It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for - gasp - the wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's the queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her ... well, pocket. Julia also believes in fate, and that Mark, her childhood crush, is her MTB - her meant-to-be.
But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts ... from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to live a little along the way. And thus begins a wild-good chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.
Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.
What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
(Amazon | Goodreads)

Release date: Ocotber 9th 2012
How can you talk about something you can't remember?
When sixteen-year-old cheerleader Cassidy "Sid" Murphy ends up on a ski lift next to handsome college boy, Dax Windsor, she's thrilled; but Dax isn't what he seems. He takes everything from Sid - including a lock of her perfect red curls - and she can't remember any of it. Back home and alienated by her old friends, Sid forms an unlikely friendship with Corey "The Living Stoner" Livingston (slacker, baker, total dreamboat) and finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now if she can just shed the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect... or so Sid thinks.

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
(Amazon | Goodreads)

Release date: October 23rd 2012
Astrid Jones copes with her small town's gossip and narrow-mindedness by staring at the sky and imagining that she's sending love to the passengers in the airplanes flying high over her backyard. Maybe they'll know what to do with it. Maybe it'll make them happy. Maybe they'll need it. Her mother doesn't want it, her father's always stoned, her perfect sister's too busy trying to fit in, and the people in her small town would never allow her to love the person she really wants to: another girl named Dee. There's no one Astrid feels she can talk to about this deep secret or the profound questions that she's trying to answer. But little does she know just how much sending her love--and asking the right questions--will affect the passengers' lives, and her own, for the better.
In this unmistakably original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society's boxes and definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything--and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking and sharing real love.
Survive by Alex Morel
(Amazon | Goodreads)

Release date: August 2nd 2012
Jane is on a plane on her way home to Montclair, New Jersey, from a mental hospital. She is about to kill herself. Just before she can swallow a lethal dose of pills, the plane hits turbulence and everything goes black. Jane wakes up amidst piles of wreckage and charred bodies on a snowy mountaintop. There is only one other survivor: a boy named Paul, who inspires Jane to want to fight for her life for the first time.
Jane and Paul scale icy slopes and huddle together for warmth at night, forging an intense emotional bond. But the wilderness is a vast and lethal force, and only one of them will survive.

Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt
(Amazon | Goodreads)

Release date: October 2nd 2012
Mia’s used to being the perfect teenager: pretty, popular, smart, caring. But that was before she was diagnosed with leukemia. Now, her father has become Captain Cancer Facts and her mother is obsessed with maintaining Mia’s image. Her maybe-more-than-a-friend, Gyver, is judging her decision not to tell the other cheerleaders that she’s sick. Her life’s about to change and she’s terrified by the loss of control.
Mia’s always been superstitious, but as her body starts to feel like it belongs less to her and more to the doctors and their needles, she becomes irrationally dependent on horoscopes, fortune cookies, and good luck charms. As chemotherapy replaces cheerleading and platelets replace parties, Mia just wants normal back. But despite searching for clues in everything from songs on the radio to her Magic 8 Ball, her future is coming up Outlook not so good.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review: How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

Title: How to Say Goodbye in Robot
Author: Natalie Standiford
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release date: October 2st 2009
Pages: 276
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought
Find out more: Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads description:
New to town, Bea is expecting her new best friend to be one of the girls she meets on the first day. But instead, the alphabet conspires to seat her next to Jonah, aka Ghost Boy, a quiet loner who hasn't made a new friend since third grade. Something about him, though, gets to Bea, and soon they form an unexpected friendship. It's not romance, exactly - but it's definitely love. Still, Bea can't quite dispel Jonah's gloom and doom - and as she finds out his family history, she understands why. Can Bea help Jonah? Or is he destined to vanish?

First sentence:
Goebbels materialized on the back patio, right before we moved to Baltimore, and started chewing through the wicker love seat.
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I had a feeling I would love this book - I don't what it was, since the description doesn't tell you all that much, but I was just getting really good vibes from this book. And I was right. I loved it from the first sentence to the last.

How to Say Goodbye in Robot reminded me a lot of Sara Zarr's Sweethearts (review). Both are beautifully written and both are about a friendship between a girl-narrator and a male outcast. Bea's and Jonah's connection is the deepest I've read about since Sweethearts, and that's saying something. If you liked Sweethearts, you should definitely read How to Say Goodbye in Robot - if you can take the emotional turmoil again.

The characters are what's best about How to Say Goodbye in Robot. I loved Bea from the first page on - she's the me of the YA book world. I could relate to her so, so easily, and it felt more like I was reading my own thoughts than the ones of a fictional character. (Well, my own thoughts if anything interesting ever happened to me. But still.) Bea is a quirky, one-of-a-kind character. I love the whole robot-thing, since I feel that way sometimes, too.

Jonah is an even more unique and amazing character. I've never read about anyone like him. There's no way to explain him, he's just Jonah. Jonah and Bea's relationship is, God, it's so beautiful. I thought they became friends a little too quickly, considering Jonah's character and his dislike of all things social - after he introduces her to the Night Lights radio show, it seems like they're friends almost immediately, and I would have liked to see some slower development there. But after that... wow. Jonah and Bea's bond is incredibly deep, and it's so amazing to read about. I especially liked reading about all the unique and crazy things they do together. The ups and downs of their relationship are realistic, making me love Jonah one minute and hate him the next, in a good way.

The secondary characters are amazing, too. Bea's situation with her family and the mother's problems added a lot to the story. I like how they're there and a part of what Bea's going through, but I appreciated that that wasn't turned into the main focus of the story. I liked reading about the people at school, too - Tom and Walt and Anne and AWAE. (AWAE stands for Anne-without-an-e, because Ann came to their school later than Anne and therefore doesn't get to be called Ann. It's pronounced "ay-way." Isn't that just the most awesome idea ever?) And of course the people from the radio show - I love the whole idea of the Night Lights show, and the others from the show are all quirky and uinque characters.

Then there's the whole thing with Jonah's family. I don't want to say too much about it, since I really liked not knowing anything prior to reading How to Say Goodbye in Robot and think that's the best way to enjoy it, but wow. The story is amazing, so heartbreaking but beautiful. And let me just say that Jonah's dad is an ass.

I love the whole design of this novel - the cover is unique and fits the story perfectly, and the inside of How to Say Goodbye in Robot is designed beautifully as well.

I also love how much this book talked about college. Why do YA books, even ones that are about seniors, never seem to really address college? Maybe there's one mention of college applications, but that's it. I really liked reading about what colleges Bea applied to and where she and the rest of her class ended up going. Maybe that's just me, since I'm a senior, too, so college is more interesting to me than to someone older or younger, and it was especially interesting to me because a lot of the colleges mentioned are ones I'm applying to or looked at, too. If you're not interested in college, though, don't be discouraged - it's not like Bea talks about college all the time, it's just mentioned every once in a while, and I really liked that.

The ending. Natalie Standiford, you are an evil, cruel person. Yes, it fits the story perfectly, but... How could you do that to my heart? I cried and cried and cried when I finished this book.

With beautiful writing, a unique story, and the quirkiest characters I've read about in a long time, How to Say Goodbye in Robot is a one-in-a-million kind of book. It will make you laugh because of all the quirky ideas and characters, and it will make you cry for the tragedy of it all. Words cannot describe how much I loved this book - just read it for yourself and you'll see.

If you've read this book, what did you think?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: Being Friends With Boys by Terra Elan McVoy

Title: Being Friends with Boys
Author: Terra Elan McVoy
Pulisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: May 1st 2012
Pages: 320
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: GalleyGrab - thank you to Simon & Schuster GalleyGrab for providing a free eGalley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Find out more: Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads description:
Charlotte and Oliver have been friends forever. She knows that he, Abe, and Trip consider her to be one of the guys, and she likes it that way. She likes being the friend who keeps them all together. Likes offering a girl's perspective on their love lives. Likes being the behind-the-scenes wordsmith who writes all the lyrics for the boys' band. Char has a house full of stepsisters and a past full of backstabbing (female) ex-best friends, so for her, being friends with boys is refreshingly drama-free...until it isn't any more.
When a new boy enters the scene and makes Char feel like, well, a total girl...and two of her other friends have a falling out that may or may not be related to one of them deciding he possibly wants to be more than friends with Char...being friends with all these boys suddenly becomes a lot more complicated.
First sentence:
I'm on my way up the stairs to my locker Monday morning when Abe comes down the other direction.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Why did I wait so long to read a Terra Elan McVoy book? I'd heard great things about her writing, but for some reason I never got around to buying one of her books. So I was excited to see Being Friends With Boys on GalleyGrab, and made use of the opportunity to finally read a Terra Elan McVoy book. And I ended up loving it!

I love the topic of boy-girl-friendships - why aren't there more of them in YA? The topic is interesting, and the relationships are handled really well in Being Friends With Boys - I liked seeing how Charlotte being friends with boys influences way other girls treat her, and her assessment of the way boys think is lots of fun to read about.

I also loved the musical aspect - I didn't know it was going to be such an important part of the novel from reading the description, but I like that it did. I loved reading about the dynamics in the band, and  Char's songs sound amazing - I wish Sad Jackal was a real band! I like how the plot is music-focused, but doesn't require much knowledge about any particular music scene, the way many music-focused books I've read do. There aren't many references to other bands or music that some people won't get; it's mainly about their original music, and I appreciated that.

The writing is good, it flows nicely and reads very quickly. There's something about Terra Elan McVoy's style that just makes it easy to get lost in the words - I generally don't like reading ebooks all that much, so when I do, I'm usually checking how many more pages I still have to go every few minutes. Being Friends With Boys is the first book that sucked me in so much I didn't feel the need to check at all, and I managed to be completely absorbed in the story despite the format.

I love Charlotte. Again, I can't put my finger on what makes her special, but she definitely is special. She's easy to relate to, so likeable, and even though we're not all that similar, I just clicked with her. I loved reading about her life - even when there's not much going on, I wanted to be there alongside Charlotte in her everyday life. Her voice is great, so real.

The secondary characters are okay. I feel like maybe there were a little too many - at times, it's hard to keep track of who's who, and not all of them have fully-developed personalities. But, somehow, I didn't even mind - the characters that are fully-developed make up for it! I loved Trip, Oliver, Fabian and Benji - each of them is adorable in his own way, and Char's relationship with each one is unique and complex. Reading about all the different relationships is probably what I liked most about Being Friends With Boys - it's nice to see such a wide variety of what friendship can look like.

The family storyline is pretty good - the set-up is unique and interesting to read about, but I would have liked to know more about the situation, the relationships between each of the family members, their past, and how all of that affects Charlotte.

I think the ending is a little too abrupt. Actually, I really like the ending, but I wanted there to be more. The romance doesn't start until the end of the story, which works with the story, but still - it's adorable, and I wanted to know more about how the relationship goes! I don't want to say too much about the romance aspect, since I liked not knowing who ends up being more than a friend to Charlotte, but it's so, so cute, and I wish we could have seen even more of that relationship. I also would have liked to know more about Charlotte's future, and whether she decides to go to college or not.

I feel like I'm not doing a good job at all of explaining what makes Being Friends With Boys so great. The novel isn't flawless, but it just works - I can't put my finger on what it is, but everything about this book is just the way I like it. With beautiful writing, and diverse, complex characters and relationships, Being Friends With Boys is a captivating story of all types of love and friendship, finding yourself, and, well, being friends with boys! I loved it, and I'm going to need to buy Terra Elan McVoy's earlier books!

If you've read this book, what did you think?
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