Monday, April 29, 2013

Review: Jane by April Lindner

Title: Jane
Author: April Lindner
Publisher: Poppy
Release date: September 23rd 2010
Pages: 373
Genre: new adult contemporary romance, retelling
Source: Bought

Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance.
But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

I was so excited to finally read Jane - a contemporary new adult novel with mystery and romance sounds perfect for me, and I'd heard great things about the book. Sadly, though, I didn't end up loving it - I couldn't get myself to want to keep reading and had to force myself to finish it.

From the beginning on, I was bored by the characters; they're flat and stereotypical. Jane is just so... plain. She's the typical quiet, shy girl, and it's just so overdone that it got annoying. Nico Rathburn is... I couldn't get myself to like him, at all. And the secondary characters are not even real characters; they're more like plot tools. None of them have a real personality, and I couldn't get myself to care about any of them.

What bugged me even more, though, than the characters, is the romance. Jane's relationship with Nico frustrated me to no end. The two of them have absolutely no chemistry, and I have no idea how they even developed feelings for each other - one minute he's just her boss, and on the next page, she's totally in love with him. And I just didn't see it. Once they get together, their relationship gets even more unrealistic - it moves way too fast, it's way too melodramatic, and it  just had me rolling my eyes the entire time.

The mystery aspect is really strange. I don't even know what to make of that storyline, or what else to say. Just... strange.

Maybe I can't properly judge Jane because I haven't read the original - maybe, if I could see all the parallels between April Lindner's retelling and the original, I could appreciate this book more. But without knowing the original, there was really nothing redeeming about the novel - the flat characters and unrealistic romance storyline made it hard for me to even finish this book.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Title: Speechless
Author: Hannah Harrington
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Release date: August 28th 2012
Pages: 288
Genre: Conteporary Young Adult
Source: Bought
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Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret.
Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast--and nearly got someone killed.
Now Chelsea's has taken a vow of silence--to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting everyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets if hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.
But there's strength in silence, and in new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way. People she never noticed before. A boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Like everyone else, I loved Hannah Harrington's debut, Saving June, so I was very excited for another one of her novels. Speechless is a much lighter read than Saving June, so her style is very different in her second book. And even though it can't compare to my love for Saving June, I still really enjoyed Speechless.

Chelsea should be a hard character to like. At least in the beginning, she's the kind of person that I wouldn't be able to stand in real life - obnoxious and self-righteous. But, for some reason, I still felt for her - I always love when living in someone's mind makes us like someone we wouldn't normally have a connection with. Over the course of the novel, as expected, Chelsea grows a lot, and I really enjoyed being there alongside her.

The secondary characters are fully developed, too, for the most part. I loved Chelsea's relationship with Sam, the boy she meets once she's exiled from her usual crowd - subtle, slow, understated, and perfect. I still wish her friendship with Asha would have gotten a little more attention, though, because she seems like a really interesting character as well. Even Kristen, Chelsea's ex-best friend and antagonist of the story, has some depth - I especially enjoyed reading about Chelsea's dynamic view of Kristen.

The whole vow of silence thing is strange, at first. I was worried about how Hannah Harrington would pull off this story without any real dialogue, or at least without the main character being able to say anything, but she makes it work. The only problem I had was at the beginning of her vow of silence - I wish we could have seen Chelsea struggle a bit more with not speaking. There are plenty of times when it's hard for her to hold back, not to talk back to someone, but I mean the smaller things she would've struggled with. I don't think any of us could imagine how hard it would be not to speak for a month, just because we're so used to it - honestly, I think there'd be a couple of times where I would simply forget and accidentally start talking. Chelsea didn't struggle with that at all, which I found kind of unrealistic.

I don't want to give too much away about this because I appreciate that the summary stays vague, but I really liked reading about the secret Chelsea spilled. I wish we could have gotten to know more about the boy whose secret she spilled, how all of this affected him. I wanted to know more about everyone's reaction to all of this, too - Chelsea's high school reacts as one big mass, but I would imagine an issue like this to spark some kind of controversy, maybe divide people into two sides, something like that. I wish that whole issue could have been explored more.

Other than that, though, Speechless is a great read. It's poignant and the perfect balance of sweet and heartbreaking. I loved it, and I can't wait for even more from Hannah Harrington!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Review: Wintertown by Steve Emond

Title: Wintertown
Author: Steve Emond
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release date: December 5th 2011
Pages: 331
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Source: Bought
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Every winter, straight-laced, Ivy League bound Evan looks forward to a visit from Lucy, a childhood pal who moved away after her parent's divorce. But when Lucy arrives this year, she's changed. The former "girl next door" now has chopped dyed black hair, a nose stud, and a scowl. But Evan knows that somewhere beneath the Goth, "Old Lucy" still exists, and he's determined to find her... even if it means pissing her off.
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

To be honest, I bought this book because of the cover. I mean, just look at it - it's the epitome of what I wish all YA covers could be. I'd heard less-than-stellar things about Wintertown, but I couldn't resist buying it, just to own a book with that beautiful cover. Sadly, what I'd heard was right - the actual book does not live up to the awesomeness of the cover, and I ended up very disappointed by Wintertown.

The whole story just didn't work for me. Really, the description isn't even accurate. Yes, Lucy has changed from when Evan last saw her, but trying to get back to their old friendship is not the main part - that happens within the first 30 pages. What Wintertown is really about is how this childhood friendship develops into romance. Or maybe not romance, but some kind of relationship, even if it's one that's not exactly functional. And I honestly would have preferred the story that the description depicts; I love romance, too, but I didn't like how their issues were reduced to unnecessary romance-related drama.

Either way, focused on friendship or romance, this should have been a character-driven novel. And sadly, I found the character development to be lacking; both Evan and Lucy stay one-dimensional. Evan  is the typical repressed-artist type of character, doing whatever his dad tells him to get into a good college and become a lawyer just like daddy while secretly wanting to break free from the control of his family and work on his art. I don't always mind characters like that; if you add something new to it, that can be a great character scope. But there was nothing about Evan that really struck me as new, nothing that hasn't been done a million times before. Still, Evan's character disappointed me less than Lucy's. Lucy is supposed to be completely changed and oh so troubled, but... I just didn't see it. She died her hair black and got her nose pierced, and that's it - that's what makes her so different and such a "bad girl." Oh, and she had sex with her boyfriend, and she fights with her mom. So, basically, she's a teenager. There's nothing to her character that made me believe she actually is troubled, that the "Old Lucy" needs to be saved; nothing in Lucy's life is that big of a deal, really. I was expecting strong character development and lots of character growth, but these characters stayed cliched and one-dimensional.

These issues with the character development made it hard for me to get emotionally invested in the story. And that's the real problem here - I just couldn't get myself to care about what happened to the characters. I was just reading to read, not because I had any real interest in the characters' lives. When I don't love the characters, I can rarely relate to the story, which made it hard for me to get anything out of this read.

One thing I did like were the illustrations. The illustrations are quirky and add a lot to the story, and I love when authors do something different like that. The illustrations were probably my favorite part of the novel.

Still, that wasn't enough to save the novel for me. The underdeveloped characters made it impossible for me to get emotionally invested in the story, so I never really got into it. But I guess I'll be keeping the book on my shelf for the beautiful cover alone.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cover Reveal: Touching Melody by RaShelle Workman

Today is the cover reveal for Touching Melody by RaShelle Workman!

Touching Melody will be released this June. Here's what it's all about:
Maddie Martin's first weekend at college is nothing like she's used to. It's wild, like the wilderness on which the University of Bellam Springs sits. Roped into going to a frat party, she literally runs into Kyle Hadley. The boy she's loved since she was nine. The boy she promised all of her firsts to. But that was before his father killed her parents.
Determined to stay away from him, she throws herself into her music. Practicing piano eases her heavy heart, calms the sadness, and pushes away images of Kyle's face. Until it doesn't.
Her music professor asks her to play a duet for their annual Graduation Gala. Doing so means she'll be assured another full ride scholarship. It's an opportunity she can't pass up. But Kyle is the other half of the duet. And that means hours and hours of practicing. Days and months of seclusion - just the two of them. And it's more than just music. It's passion like Maddie never believed was possible.
The inevitable happens. She falls in love with him all over again. But, will loving him be enough to erase all the hate in her heart for his father? Can she look at him, and not see the evil in his family tree?
And maybe it's all a set up. Maybe Kyle is only pretending to care so he can finish what his father started, and kill her too.
This book sounds perfect for me - new adult with romance and mystery! You can add it on Goodreads and stalk the author on her Website, Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

What do you think of the cover?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Review: The Sharp Time by Mary O'Connell

Title: The Sharp Time
Author: Mary O'Connell
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release date: November 8th 2011
Pages: 228
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Source: Bought
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Sandinista Jones is a high school senior with a punk rock name and a broken heart. The death of her single mother has left Sandinista alone in the world, subject to the random vulnerability of everyday life. When the school system lets her down, her grief and instability intensify, and she ponders a violent act of revenge.
Still, in the midst of her crisis, she gets a job at The Pale Circus, a funky vintage clothing shop, and finds friendship and camaraderie with her coworker, a boy struggling with his own secrets.
Even as Sandinista sees the failures of those with power and authority, she's offered the chance to survive through the redemptive power of friendship. Now she must choose between faith and forgiveness or violence and vengeance.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I've been staring at the screen trying to figure out how to explain this book for way too long already. I still don't know what to make of it. The Sharp Time is strange, and it kept going back and forth between being too weird for me and being amazing in a very unique way. But ultimately, while there are things I didn't understand, I couldn't help but marvel at the beauty of the weirdness of it all.

The writing is what carries the novel. Even when I was confused and didn't know what was going on, I always marveled at the pure beauty of the words. The author's words are mesmerizing, they did something to my mind, because I honestly couldn't stop reading. Mary O'Connell's style won't work for everyone - it's mainly stream of consciousness, and I know that wouldn't work for some readers. But I for one loved it; Sandinista's pain is presented in a raw and honest way, making her a character that I grew to feel for and love. There were parts where I felt kind of removed from the story and our main character, but I didn't mind - that helped emphasize the guarded, hardened aspect of Sandinista's character. And like I said, even when I couldn't relate to the story, I still enjoyed the writing, which is simply gorgeous.

I loved the secondary characters, too. Each of them has their own story that we only get a tiny glimpse of. I can see how this might disappoint some readers, and I, too, would have loved to get to know some of them more, but I loved the little bit of insight we got into their lives. The portrayal of the secondary characters contributes to the overall feeling that this is less a story with beginning and ending and more just a portrayal of one week in real people's lives.

If you need a fully-developed plot, The Sharp Time probably isn't for you because, to be honest, I have no idea what happens in the novel. There really isn't much of a plot - the novel is just Sandinista's thoughts, going around and around and around. Sandinista ponders the same things over and over again, which sounds boring but somehow works - that's just the obsessive way she thinks, and I loved being inside a mind like that.

The Sharp Time is not your typical YA novel. There's no romance, no real coming-of-age; we just spend a week inside the mind of a deeply disturbed girl. There's no action; we simply get raw, honest feelings. It's a strange story, but it's somehow fascinating, mesmerizing - I couldn't stop reading. If you like literary YA and want a unique, original novel, The Sharp Time is definitely for you.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Review: Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

Title: Meant to Be
Author: Lauren Morrill
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release date: November 13th 2012
Pages: 304
Genre: Young Adult contemporary romance
Source: Bought

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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.

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

The cover of Meant to Be is adorable. With the cute couple, the radiant colors, and the cool London skyline, I'd figured I'd love this book; I was expecting fun travelling experiences and heartwarming romance. But sadly, the actual book can't keep what the cover promised, and I ended up being very disappointed by Meant to Be.

What bugged me most about this novel is the main character Julia. She is just so annoying! She's an uptight, rigid pushover who thinks she's better and smarter than everyone around her. I'm a rule-follower, too, and not exactly spontaneous, but she just takes it way too far. Everything about Julia frustrated me throughout the novel, especially because I didn't see the character growth I'd been hoping for.

I didn't like our other main character, Jason, either. If there's one thing I can agree on with Julia, it's how she sees Jason in the beginning - he's an annoying, obnoxious, immature jerk. Seeing as how I didn't like either of the main characters, I obviously did not like the romance between them, either. It especially bugged me how the only character growth was for Julia to change from her obnoxious self to become more like also-obnoxious-Jason.

The plot is predictable and unoriginal - after reading the description, you can already know everything that's going to happen. That's true until the very end, when we get some more original revelations. But those revelations, I didn't enjoy either - they just made me go... WTF? There were way too many random surprises, it felt like the author was trying too hard to make it unpredictable, and a lot of it didn't even make sense. The phone thing, for example, I found very unrealistic.

The only attempt at depth is the topic of Julia's dad's death, but I found the whole family storyline to be underdeveloped. That doesn't necessarily mean I needed more development of that aspect - I think it could have just been left out. Since the novel is just about Julia's class trip to London, we don't get to see a lot of interactions with her family, and the way it is, the dad's death didn't really add much to the story.

One more thing that bugged me is the portrayal of love and romance. Julia thinks there is one Meant to Be (MTB) for each person, who you'll stay with for the rest of your life. The idea that the first person you love - or even just have a crush on, like in Julia's and Mark's case - has to be the person you stay with for the rest of the life frustrated me, especially with the way Julia talks about how doing something with another person would ruin her chances with her MTB forever. And Julia's views don't really change over the course of the novel - she has a different MTB now, but she still assumes they'll be together forever, and such an unrealistic portrayal of love just bugs me.

The only redeeming aspect of Meant to Be is the writing. Despite all the things that annoyed me, Lauren Morrill has a light, sweet, humorous style that read really nicely, making Meant to Be a quick read, at least. So I might still give Lauren Morrill's next book a try - maybe, if there's a main character who doesn't make me want to strangle her 99% of the time, I'll be able to make more of her enjoyable writing style.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Review: Live Through This by Mindi Scott

Title: Live Through This
Author: Mindi Scott
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: October 2nd 2012
Pages: 304
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought
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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.
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Live Through This is subtle but stunning, raw and heart-wrenching. I don't even know what to say about it; the more I think about it, the more I realize how amazing this book truly is.

I loved Coley's character; she's so real, her feelings about the abuse are so heartbreakingly honest. I felt her pain and her shame, and how this relationship goes back and forth between pain and hatred and love and loyalty. This concept is something I hadn't read about before, and this different kind of abuse was eye-opening to read about. Live Through This was a shocking read, but it also makes me so happy that Mindi Scott found the strength to write about this topic, which couldn't have been easy, given her own experiences with abuse.

While reading, I didn't like how late we find out about the book's main issue, but the more I think about it, the more I like how the novel is structured. I liked the suspense in the beginning of not knowing who the abuser is, how it made us feel Coley's confusion about the whole situation. I saw it coming, but I kept hoping it wouldn't be him, and when we finally found out, I wanted to hold on to Coley and never let her go. I like how this set-up allowed the reader to also have some happy, light scenes, like when we got to read about the innocent romance between Coley and Reece; Mindi Scott really impressed me with how she layered this dark issue with lighter sub-plots and sweet, fun scenes. Still, I wish we'd gotten some more time at the end to explore the main issue, but maybe that's just because I wanted the book to go on longer.

The secondary characters added a lot to the novel; each of them is fully fleshed-out and has their own story. I loved the cute romance with Reese, the sweet friendship between Coley and Noah, and Alejandra's story as well.

As a huge fan of Mindi Scott's debut, it also made me happy to find out that Live Through This is set in the same town as Freefall, and to see some of Freefall's characters again.

I still can't put my finger on what it is that makes this book so special; it's everything. It's heartbreaking and raw, honest feeling, but at the same time, it's sweet and funny. Mindi Scott tells a stunningly beautiful and powerful story that I know I won't soon forget.

And one more random thing: I love how Coley wears considerable amounts of makeup! It seems to me like YA MCs never wear much makeup, or do anything for their appearance - there are so many scenes where the MC just jumps out of bed and is naturally beautiful. But, well, when is that ever true in real life? If I were about to meet up with my swoony YA love interest, I would definitely take the time, you know, brush my hair. And I love how there's references to Coley needing too long in the bathroom in Live Through This.

Monday, April 01, 2013

New Releases April 2013

New releases:

My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi
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Release date: April 1st 2013

Lucy just had the worst week ever. Seriously, mega bad. And suddenly, it’s all too much—she wants out. Out of her house, out of her head, out of her life. She wants to be a whole new Lucy. So she does something the old Lucy would never dream of.
And now her life will never be the same. Now, how will she be able to have a boyfriend? What will she tell her friends? How will she face her family? Now, every moment is a precious gift. She never thought being positive could be so negative. But now, everything’s different…because now she’s living with HIV.

If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin
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Release date: April 1st 2013

If he had been with me, he wouldn't have died.
Throughout their whole childhood, Finn and Autumn were inseparable—they finished each other's sentences, they knew just what to say when the other person was hurting. But one incident in middle school puts them in separate social worlds come high school, and Autumn has been happily dating James for the last 2 years. But she's always wondered what if...
The night she's about to get the answer is also one of terrible tragedy.

That Time I Joined the Circues by JJ Howard
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Release date: April 1st 2013
Lexi Ryan just ran away to join the circus, but not on purpose.
A music-obsessed, slightly snarky New York City girl, Lexi is on her own. After making a huge mistake--and facing a terrible tragedy--Lexi has no choice but to track down her long-absent mother. Rumor has it that Lexi's mom is somewhere in Florida with a traveling circus.
When Lexi arrives at her new, three-ring reality, her mom isn't there . . . but her destiny might be. Surrounded by tigers, elephants, and trapeze artists, Lexi finds some surprising friends and an even more surprising chance at true love. She even lucks into a spot as the circus's fortune teller, reading tarot cards and making predictions.
But then Lexi's ex-best friend from home shows up, and suddenly it's Lexi's own future that's thrown into question.

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
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Release date: April 2nd 2013
Through a series of funny and poignant messages, Graham and Ellie make a true connection, sharing intimate details about their lives, hopes and fears. But they don't tell each other everything; Graham doesn't know the major secret hidden in Ellie's family tree, and Ellie is innocently unaware that Graham is actually a world-famous teen actor living in Los Angeles.
When the location for the shoot of Graham's new film falls through, he sees an opportunity to take their relationship from online to in-person, managing to get the production relocated to picturesque Henley, Maine, where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Graham have a real relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie's mom want her to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
(Amazon | Goodreads)

Release date: April 2nd 2013
A broken-down camper at the Obed Scenic and Wild River National Park - dubbed the Hundred Acre Wood - is the only home fifteen-year-old Carey has ever known.
Sure, coping with a bipolar mother on meth is no picnic, but beneath the sun-dazzled canopies of Hickory and Walnut, Carey's violin transports her from their bare-bones existence in the same way her little sister, Jenessa, finds comfort in her stash of second-hand Pooh books.
Life is dependable that way, until Mama goes into town for supplies and vanishes off the face of Tennessee, sending social services in her wake with a one-way ticket back to their father - a stranger in an even stranger world.

White Lines by Jennifer Banash
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Release date: April 4th 2013
Seventeen-year-old Cat is living every teenager’s dream—she has her own apartment on New York’s Lower East Side and at night she’s club kid royalty, guarding the velvet rope at some of the hottest clubs in the city. The night with its crazy, frenetic, high-inducing energy—the pulsing beat of the music, the radiant, joyful people and those seductive white lines that can ease all pain—is when Cat truly lives. But her daytime, when her real life occurs, is more nightmare than dream.
The sounds of the city grate against Cat’s nerves, she shrinks away from human touch, and can barely think the words “I love you” even when she feels them. Having spent years suffering her mother’s emotional and physical abuse, and abandoned by her father who’s found happiness in another woman, Cat is terrified and alone—unable to connect to anyone or anything. But then someone comes along who makes her want to stop escaping her life and actually live it, only she’ll need to summon the courage to confront her demons and take control of a life already spinning dangerously out of control. Both poignant and raw, White Lines is a gripping tale and the reader won’t want to look away.

The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf
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Release date: April 18th 2013
When you’re a hypochondriac, there are a million different things that could be wrong with you, but for Izzy, focusing on what could be wrong might be keeping her from dealing with what’s really wrong.
I almost raised my hand, but what would I say? “Mr. Bayer, may I please be excused? I’m not totally positive, but I think I might have cancer.” No way. Then everyone at school would know, and they would treat me differently, and I would be known as “Izzy, that poor girl who diagnosed herself with breast cancer during biology.”
But Izzy’s sense of humor can only get her so far when suddenly her best friend appears to have undergone a personality transplant, her mother’s health takes a turn for the worse, and her beautiful maybe-boyfriend is going all hot and cold. Izzy thinks she’s preparing for the worst-case scenario, but when the worst-case scenario actually hits, it’s a different story altogether—and there’s no tidy list of symptoms to help her through the insanity.

New in paperback:

Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown
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Release date: April 6th 2013

Kendra has always felt overshadowed by her older brother, Grayson, whose OCD forces him to live a life of carefully coordinated routines. The only way Kendra can stand out next to Grayson is to be perfect, and she has perfection down to an art -- until a cheating scandal threatens her flawless reputation. Behind the wheel of her car, with Grayson asleep beside her, Kendra decides to drive away from it all -- with enough distance, maybe she'll be able to figure everything out. But eventually, Kendra must stop running and come to terms with herself, her brother, and her past. With undeniable grace and humor, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown explores OCD, the pressure for perfection, and the emotional highs and lows of a complex sibling relationship.

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
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Release date: April 9th 2013

Another town. Another school. Another Mclean. Ever since her parents' bitter divorce, Mclean and her father have been fleeing their unhappy past. And Mclean's become a pro at reinventing herself with each move. But in Lakeview, Mclean finds herself putting down roots and making friends—in part, thanks to Dave, the most real person Mclean's ever met. Dave just may be falling in love with her, but can he see the person she really is? Does Mclean herself know?

Being Friends with Boys by Terra Elan McVoy
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Release date: April 23rd 2013
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.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
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Release date: April 30th 2013

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible. Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

What April releases are you most looking forward to? 
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