Spontaneous

And as long as the world spins on, we can still dance. No matter who we are, we can always dance.

Title: Spontaneous

Author: Aaron Starmer

Series: Standalone

Publication: August 23rd 2016 by Dutton Books for Young Readers

Pages: 368

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

Mara Carlyle’s senior year is going as normally as could be expected, until—wa-bam!—fellow senior Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period pre-calc.

Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last teenager to blow up without warning or explanation. As the seniors continue to pop like balloons and the national eye turns to Mara’s suburban New Jersey hometown, the FBI rolls in and the search for a reason is on.

Whip-smart and blunt, Mara narrates the end of their world as she knows it while trying to make it to graduation in one piece. It’s an explosive year punctuated by romance, quarantine, lifelong friendship, hallucinogenic mushrooms, bloggers, ice cream trucks, “Snooze Button™,” Bon Jovi, and the filthiest language you’ve ever heard from the President of the United States.

Aaron Starmer rewrites the rulebook with Spontaneous. But beneath the outrageous is a ridiculously funny, super honest, and truly moving exemplar of the absurd and raw truths of being a teenager in the 21st century . . . and the heartache of saying goodbye.


Thoughts and Things:

Basically, and it was fantastic. Spontaneous was a surprise for me, I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. Generally, when things are promoted as being outrageously funny, they tend to disappoint in some way. Spontaneous, thankfully, was not one of those cases. It was wholly original, perfectly ridiculous, and the perfect emotional kickstart after midterms.

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How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You

Notions of “expected” first moves confuse the male mind, and no matter how clear a stay-away-from-me vibe a girl tries to give out, the majority of the species will make an ill-judged lunge for the lips.

Title: How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You

Author: Tara Eglington

Series: Standalone

Publication: October 25th 2016 by A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 320

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

Sweet sixteen and never been kissed . . .

That’s Aurora Skye’s big secret. And the way she wants it to stay. She’s not going to give away her first kiss to just anyone. Busy dodging suitors and matchmaking for her best friends, Aurora (not so) patiently awaits her prince.


But everything changes when Aurora is coerced into a lead role in the school production of Much Ado about Nothing. Which means she’ll have to lock lips with her co-star Hayden Paris—the smart and funny boy next door who also happens to be the bane of her existence, always around to see her at her worst.

Now Aurora is more determined than ever to have her first kiss with the one who’s truly worthy of it. But first she’ll have to figure out just who that person is.

Romantic and funny, Tara Eglington’s How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You is a feel-good tale of finding love where you least expect it.


My Thoughts:

Goodness gracious, the contemporaries are fighting back. How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You is not only a hilarious, poignant, and rom-com-esque adventure, it is a brilliant statement about expectations pressuring both young men and women. It’s all about first kisses. Should I kiss on the first date? What if I want to save my first kiss for someone special and it’s required in a role? Not to mention there was a crack up of a list on kiss avoidance tactics – which was amazing. Long story short, How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You is the most adorable, chick flick of a contemporary book that’s subliminal (not really) message is especially important.

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Moon Chosen

Title: Moon Chosen

Author: P.C Cast

Series: Tales of a New World # 1

Publication: October 18th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 608

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan; but she has cast her duties aside, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating clan strays across her path, that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…

Now, darkness is coming, and with it, a force, more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By forming a tumultuous alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny…and obliterate the forces that threaten to destroy them all.


The Writing:

Mari:

Nik:

Overall Feelings at the End:


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My Unscripted Life

I may not have a best friend, and my future may still be in question, but I may have just solved the summer-plans problem.

Title: My Unscripted Life

Author: Lauren Morrill

Series: Standalone

Publication: October 11th 2016 by Delacorte

Pages: 288

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Sometimes love stories go off script.

Another sultry Georgia summer is about to get a lot hotter. Dee Wilkie is still licking her wounds after getting rejected by the precollege fine arts program of her dreams. But if she’d gone away, she wouldn’t have been around to say yes to an unbelievable opportunity: working on the set of a movie filming in her small Southern town that just happens to be starring Milo Ritter, the famous pop star Dee (along with the rest of the world) has had a crush since eighth grade.

It’s not like Dee will be sharing any screen time with Milo—she’s just a lowly PA. And Milo is so disappointingly rude that Dee is eager to stay far away from him. Except after a few chance meetings, she begins to wonder if just maybe there’s a reason for his offensive attitude, and if there’s more to Milo than his good looks and above-it-all Hollywood pedigree. Can a relationship with a guy like Milo ever work out for a girl like Dee? Never say never.

My Thoughts:

My Unscripted Life was adorable, fluffy, goodness. Honestly. If you are looking for a cute contemporary to fill your soul with rainbows, this is definitely it. While, like every novel, it has its ups and downs, the overall experience of reading My Unscripted Life is one of pure enjoyment.

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Three Dark Crowns

“Three dark queens
Are born in a glen,
Sweet little triplets
Will never be friends

Three dark sisters
All fair to be seen,
Two to devour
And one to be Queen”

Title: Three Dark Crowns

Author: Kendare Blake

Series: Three Dark Crowns # 1

Publication: September 20th 2016 by HarperTeen

Pages: 416

Source: OwlCrate

Summary from Goodreads:

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.


My Thoughts:

I’m dead. Yupp, I’m dead – or I am dying. I can’t quite tell yet. All I know right now is that my mind is spinning, my heart hurts, and I just got the crap kicked out of me by this amazing book. Three Dark Crowns, wow. I expected it to be good, but I didn’t expect it to completely turn my world upside down with nothing more than a few sentences and  single revelation. Three Dark Crowns is fantastic, there is no other word for it. Well, maybe that’s not true. It is mesmerizing, terrifying, and uniquely fascinating.

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Speed of Life

“What I promised is to help you, but you can’t abandon her like this. Goddammit Crystal, you’re her mother! It’s time you stop pretending that she dropped out of the fucking sky when the stork flew over our house by accident!”

Title: Speed of Life

Author: J.M Kelly

Series: Standalone

Publication: October 11th 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Pages: 352

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

Twins Crystal and Amber have the same goal: to be the first in their family to graduate high school and make something of their lives. When one gets pregnant during their junior year, they promise to raise the baby together. It’s not easy, but between their after-school jobs, they’re scraping by.

Crystal’s grades catch the attention of the new guidance counselor, who tells her about a college that offers a degree in automotive restoration, perfect for the car buff she is. When she secretly applies—and gets in—new opportunities threaten their once-certain plans, and Crystal must make a choice: follow her dreams or stay behind and honor the promise she made to her sister.

A Listical of Things:

  • The story is a brilliant showcase of a heartbreakingly realistic sisterhood.
  • There is a set of twins that want completely different things and don’t hate each other for it.
  • FAMILY! Family is everything in this book. It’s amazing.

  • The cutest child ever to grace a YA novel is an active member of the chaos.
  • The narrative is genuine, thoughtful, and unique.
  • Vivid story telling gives way to an equally vivid and impactful plot.
  • Raw, heartfelt, and honest.
  • Any one who has ever had a sibling will relate to a majority of this book in ten seconds flat.

  • You should read this simply because I said so. (It’s amazing. Seriously)

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When the Moon was Ours

“But there was everything else. The idea of being called Miss or Ms. or, worse, Mrs. The thought of being grouped in when someone called out girls or ladies. The endless, echoing use of she and her, miss and ma’am. Yes, they were words. They were all just words. But each of them was wrong, and they stuck to him. Each one was a golden fire ant, and they were biting his arms and his neck and his bound flat chest, leaving him bleeding and burning.”

Title: When the Moon was Ours

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore

Series: Standalone

Publication: October 4th 2016 by Thomas Dunne

Pages: 288

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

When the Moon Was Ours follows two characters through a story that has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themes—a transgender boy, the best friend he’s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves.

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.

But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.


My Thoughts:

If you don’t know this already, I adored Anna-Marie McLemore’s first novel, The Weight of Feathers. I mean, I have an obsessive love over this book. So, of course, when I was offered the chance to read her new novel, When the Moon was Ours, I jumped ten feet high at the chance. I am happy to tell you that yes, When the Moon was Ours is just as astounding, if not better than, The Weight of Feathers.

One of the most beautiful things about McLemore’s novels is the effortlessly lyrical quality the language possesses. It sucks you in, enchants you, and weaves a passionately poignant tale. The magical qualities of the writing only adds to the overall sense of other-worldliness the novel carries throughout. It highlights the ups and downs, the inner thoughts and feelings of the characters, and it makes for such a vivid setting you’ll forget it’s not real.

When the Moon was Ours is a powerful tale and an unforgettable experience. It is full of love, struggle, magic, and discovery. The veil of mystery surrounding certain characters and objects cloaks the plot in the softest velvet. It simply makes it possible to burrow deeper within the mysticism.

Love and family pervade this novel. Much like in The Weight of Feathers, falling in love and internal struggles with family and beliefs provide much of the central conflict. It works. Part of the beauty of McLemore’s writing is that she takes such care with the smallest of details. Everything is important in some way, even if the meaning doesn’t come to light till the end. As a whole, the most hard hitting aspect of When the Moon was Ours is that it ultimately deals with accepting and loving oneself. We are our harshest critics in every sense of the word, and McLemore highlights that beautifully.

The whole of When the Moon was Ours is unique. I have never read anything like it, and I probably never will again. When the Moon was Ours is a singular and emotionally agonizing exploration of some of our deepest fears – mostly the ones pertaining to ourselves that we bury so deep we have forgotten they existed at all. McLemore has created something wonderful once again, and I am so privileged to have been a part of the adventure.


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