The Homecoming

Title: The Homecoming

Author: Stacie Ramey

Series: Standalone

Publication: November 1st 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire

Pages: 288

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

Forced to return to his estranged family, John discovers how hard it is to truly go home.

It’s been a year since John lost his girlfriend, Leah, to suicide. Living with his uncle keeps his mind from the tragedy and his screwed up family-until he gets into trouble and a judge sends him back home. With a neglectful mother and abusive brother, John’s homecoming is far from happy.

As he tries to navigate and repair the relationships he abandoned years ago, Emily, the girl next door, is the only bright spot. She’s sweet and smart and makes him think his heart may finally be healing. But tragedy isn’t far away, and John must soon face an impossible decision: save his family or save himself.


My Thoughts:

The Homecoming was a detailed adventure through the downward spiral that often follows grief. It illustrates the vivid reality that “no, everything is not okay”, and it does so in a way that makes it impossible to escape from. Death is horrible. Loosing someone you love is horrible. Despite all the well wishes and counseling you might receive, that hole they loved one now lost leaves in your chest is something nearly impossible to plug – so what happens when that hole threatens to consume you? The Homecoming focuses on what happens when that gap in your heart pulls you too far under to breathe, at least until you find something to keep yourself going again.

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Until I Break

Title: Until I Break

Author: Kara Bietz

Series: Standalone

Publication: November 1st 2016 by Albert Whitman & Company

Pages: 256

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Two boys: One is a star athlete and top student with a deep-seated need to prove himself. The other is a chip-on-his-shoulder quarterback who will never settle for second best. When gunshots echo through the halls of Broadmeadow High School, whose finger is on the trigger? This unforgettable novel counts down the twelve months leading up to an explosive moment. A year before the shooting, Sam North has a bright future as well as a problem that nobody else seems to see Ace Quinn, his neighbor and teammate. For years, Ace has been bullying and harassing Sam, yet he’s managed to deftly conceal his actions and threats from the rest of the world. As Ace’s secret rage intensifies, Sam becomes more desperate to stop him. But how far will he go? And what if Ace takes his threats even farther?


A Listical of Thoughts:

  • A mystery that purposefully witholds information and dangles it in front of your nose – both yay and nay.
  • Well done back and forth format. It’s a seamless blend between past and present

(hold onto your hats because this is where nice Sammi goes bye bye)

  • Characters were awful and one dimensional. Not to mention they had no development or motivation beyond basic banal bullshit.
  • Ace bullying Sam was so unrealistic it made me want to pull my hair out. He was so over the top and ridiculous – it completely took away from his impact on the story. It took away that power he needed to have. Honestly, despite how horrible the things he said to Sam were, it just made me laugh because it was so completely, utterly over the top.
  • The timeline itself is a complete whack job. Besides the blending of past and present, the way the events themselves unfold is neither seamless nor is it easy to understand. It is, quite frankly, a mish-mash of uninteresting, nonsensical events we are supposed to care about – but really don’t. It doesn’t add up.

I don’t really know what to say. All in all, it wasn’t my favorite – but it wasn’t awful. It was just sort of meh and I got dragged along for the ride. I didn’t want to put it down in the hopes it would get better, but it never did. It almost sort of got worse? If that’s even an accurate measurement. It wasn’t horrible, it wasn’t good, it was just there, Kind of a waste of time, in the long run.

The Best Possible Answer

There are so many unknowns, and so many possibilities. Sometimes there are things you can say, and talking makes it better. But sometimes, there are no words.

Title: The Best Possible Answer

Author: E. Katherine Kottaras

Series: Standalone

Publication: November 1st 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 272

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

AP Exams – check
SAT test – check
College Application – check
Date the wrong guy and ruin everything you’ve spent your whole life working for– check

Ultra-high-achiever Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe has always had a plan—and no room to be anything less than perfect. But her quest for perfection comes to a screeching halt when her boyfriend leaks racy pictures of her to the entire school. Making matters worse, her parents are getting divorced and now her perfect family is falling apart. For the first time, Viv feels like a complete and utter failure.

Then she gets a job working at the community pool, where she meets a new group of friends who know nothing about her past. That includes Evan, a gorgeous guy who makes her want to do something she never thought she’d do again: trust. For the first time in her life, Viv realizes she can finally be whoever she wants. But who is that? While she tries to figure it out, she learns something they never covered in her AP courses: that it’s okay to be less than perfect, because it’s our imperfections that make us who we are.


A List of Thoughts:

  1. The book contains an authentic and realistic portrayal of anxiety and the pressure many students face.
  2. It is very easy to relate to. I’m sure we all have tales of being told we have to be perfect, get a better score, be first string on a team, get the buzzer beater, etc.
  3. The book itself embodies the cloaking of one of the larger issues at hand with Viv’s pictures having been leaked. I thought the parallelism between structure and plot was beautifully done and innovative.
  4. The family dynamic was complicated as hell, and I applaud it. It was heart-breaking to see the different ways the family members interacted.
  5. The pressure from the family itself, even unintentional, is another factor that is easy to relate to. Younger sister looking up to an older sibling – check. Mother and father not thinking you’re good enough though you do all you can – check. Thinking you’re not good enough because you got an 94% rather than a 100% – check. We’ve all felt some degree of this.
  6. FRIENDSHIP! One of the biggest emotional impacts in this book is between friends. Viv and Sammie have been friends for years, and it showed. It felt real and believable, and I really wanted to worm my way into their friend group.
  7. Viv’s emotional journey/ development throughout the book is one of the biggest highlights.
  8. Self realization, acceptance, and believing in oneself are all main themes.
  9. The formatting of the chapters was brilliant. Some started off as test questions that Viv answered: essay prompts, actual math questions, physics – it’s mind-blowingly brilliant and fantastic. It only adds more and more layers to the story.

The Best Possible Answer is a must read novel for anyone who has ever felt they weren’t good enough, no matter the circumstances. It is a beautiful story of self-discovery and the strength it takes to believe in yourself.


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Coming Soon: November 2016

Who else is ready for another round of books?

That’s right, this girl!

Books are amazing, unique packages of magic and every month there is a whole slew of new additions to the fold. Here are some of my most anticipated books coming out this upcoming month.

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Owl Crate: October 2016

I’m not screaming, you’re screaming. Actually, we’re all screaming.

 

IT’S OWLCRATE TIME!

In case you don’t know what the glorious OwlCrate is, it’s just like Fandom of the Month only.. better? I don’t know, I love them both. OwlCrate gives you a new release in the Young Adult world and a bunch of bookish stuff centered around a specific theme. It’s a subscription box that is worth every little penny – count on that. (You guys can sign up here)

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