A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares

“People got tired of mental illness when they found out they couldn’t fix it.”

Title: A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares

Author: Krystal Sutherland

Series: Standalone

Publication: September 5th 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 256

Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

Ever since Esther Solar’s grandfather was cursed by Death, everyone in her family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime. Esther’s father is agoraphobic and hasn’t left the basement in six years, her twin brother can t be in the dark without a light on, and her mother is terrified of bad luck.

The Solars are consumed by their fears and, according to the legend of the curse, destined to die from them. 

Esther doesn’t know what her great fear is yet (nor does she want to), a feat achieved by avoiding pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces, and crowds are all off-limits. So are haircuts, spiders, dolls, mirrors and three dozen other phobias she keeps a record of in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares. 

Then Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, an old elementary school classmate. Along with her phone, money and a fruit roll-up she d been saving, Jonah also steals her list of fears. Despite the theft, Esther and Jonah become friends, and he sets a challenge for them: in an effort to break the curse that has crippled her family, they will meet every Sunday of senior year to work their way through the list, facing one terrifying fear at a time, including one that Esther hadn’t counted on: love.


A Listical of Thoughts:

  • This book is unexpected, in a great way. It’s long for a contemporary, but also worth it? It sort of just… catches you by surprise.
  • It’s cute and also has its ups and downs. It’s more than a romance – it remains true to itself. A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares is a detailed story about mental illness without sacrificing the quirks that make it more than just another YA contemporary about mental illness.
  • I really love bucket list based books. There is something so fascinating about planning out your worst fears or deepest desires and then trying to follow through with them in some way. Plus, there is always another addition for the plot.
  • My favorite part of the book had to be Esther and Eugene’s relationship and her discourse on depression. It was simple, yet profound and accurate and it was refreshing to read.
  • The fantasy elements provided an eerie sense of magical realism to the novel – readers are left unsure of what is fact and what is made up… and it’s quite disconcerting in the best way possible for a book of this type.
  • One downside is the lack of concrete setting till about halfway through the book. I was very confused, which might have been intentional but I’m not really sure. I had a hard time placing the characters in the real world, or any world, really.
  • The characters and the exploration of mental illness, and the different kinds and ways it affects people on an individual type basis was handled well. It was detailed, informative, but not nuanced. Most issues were given the time and space they deserved.
  • The romance was super cute, enough said, right? CUTE! Just Jonah is precious and I love him and I kind of want one.


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The Book Jumper

“The paper slid smoothly over my cheeks and along the bridge of my nose until it covered my eyes. The letters were far too close up to read. They swam before my eyes, melting into an inky whirlpool. They swirled around each other; they changed shape. Words flexed and twisted apart to form bushes and foliage. And then they came pattering down like raindrops: a shower of words raining down on me.”

Title: The Book Jumper

Author: Mechthild Gläser

Series: Standalone

Publication:  January 3rd 2017 by Feiwel & Friends

Pages: 371

Source: Library

Summary from Goodreads:

Amy Lennox doesn’t know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother’s childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.


Amy’s grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House—but not in the usual way. Amy learns that she is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy’s new power is, it also brings danger: someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life. Teaming up with fellow book jumper Will, Amy vows to get to the bottom of the thefts—at whatever the cost.
 


My Thoughts:

The above gif is a representation of me while I was reading this masterpiece/trainwreck/ amazing/ dissapointing adventure of a book. I have such a love hate relationship with this book right now. I WANTED to fall head over heels in love with The Book Jumper. I mean, the whole premise is a girl who can jump into the stories she reads. HOW COOL IS THAT?! I want to jump into my favorite books and meet my heroes, though I probably wouldn’t last a week. However, the amazing premise and original idea and execution couldn’t make up for the severe lack of character and world building.

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Kalahari

 

People are like stars, but it’s stories that turn us into constellations. If we don’t tell our stories, we burn alone in the dark.

Title: Kalahari

Author: Jessica Khoury

Series: Corpus # 3 (Can be a standalone)

Publication: January 19th 2016 by Razorbill

Pages: 384

Source: Library

Summary from Goodreads:

When an educational safari goes wrong, five teens find themselves stranded in the Kalahari Desert without a guide. It’s up to Sarah, the daughter of zoologists, to keep them alive and lead them to safety, calling on survival know-how from years of growing up in remote and exotic locales. Battling dehydration, starvation and the pangs of first love, she does her best to hold it together, even as their circumstances grow increasingly desperate.
 
But soon a terrifying encounter makes Sarah question everything she’s ever known about the natural world. A silver lion, as though made of mercury, makes a vicious, unprovoked attack on the group. After a narrow escape, they uncover the chilling truth behind the lion’s silver sheen: a highly contagious and deadly virus that threatens to ravage the entire area—and eliminate life as they know it.


My Thoughts:

I finished this a few days ago, but it’s taken me until this moment to figure out what I have to say. I’m, in all honesty, still not one hundred percent sure that I love this book. I like it, I like it a lot – to be exact. It was fun, entertaining, nerve wracking, heart pounding, and thought provoking. However, despite how much I loved everything about this book, one small thing is holding me back – characterization.

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The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash

 

When the song ends, we hold on to this moment that, in the space between, feels like a million electrodes have be- gun to rattle and vibrate. I feel it fuse to my bones. It connects us together, grounds us, right here, right now.

 

Title: The Inevitable Collision of Birdie and Bash

Author: Candace Ganger

Series: Standalone

Publication:  July 25th 2017 by St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 320

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

Birdie never meant to be at the party. Bash should have been long gone. But when they meet, a collision course is set off they may never recover from.

Sebastian Alvaréz is just trying to hold the pieces together: to not flunk out, to keep his sort-of-best friend Wild Kyle from doing something really bad, and to see his beloved Ma through chemo. But when he meets Birdie Paxton, a near-Valedictorian who doesn’t realize she’s smoking hot in her science pun T-shirt, at a party, an undeniable attraction sparks. And suddenly he’s not worried about anything. But before they are able to exchange numbers, they are pulled apart. A horrifying tragedy soon links Birdie and Bash together—but neither knows it. When they finally reconnect, and are starting to fall—hard—the events of the tragedy unfold, changing both their lives in ways they can never undo. Told in alternating perspectives, The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash by Candace Ganger is a beautiful, complex, and ultimately hopeful teen novel that will move you to the very last page.

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Avenged

Everyone ran from her now. People whispered her name, as that man had. They said it with fear.
It was what she had always wanted.
It did not feel as good as she had expected.

Title: Avenged

Author: Amy Tintera

Series: Ruined # 2

Publication: May 2nd 2017 by HarperTeen

Pages: 416

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

Emelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister, Olivia, from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together vow to rebuild Ruina to its former glory.

But just because Em and Olivia are out of Lera doesn’t mean they are safe. Their actions over the past year have had consequences, and they are now targets of retaliation. Olivia will destroy everyone who acts against Ruina. Em isn’t as sure.

Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in Lera, she’s started to see another side to this war. Lera may have destroyed the Ruined for decades, but Em knows that Cas is different. And now that he’s taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em’s romantic feelings for Cas are just coloring her judgement.

Em is determined to bring peace to her home. But when winning the war could mean betraying her family, she faces an impossible choice between loyalty and love. Em must stay one step ahead of her enemies—and her blood—before she’s the next victim in this battle for sovereignty.


Basically Me After Reading This Book:

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Song of the Current

“You respect people who take care of other people. People who are bold. And brave. I couldn’t figure it out at first. Why you thought more of common wherrymen than you did of me. You respect people because of the things they do. You were different from everyone I’d ever met. You knew what I did not – that it’s the things we do that make us who we are.”

Title: Song of the Current

Author: Sarah Tolcser

Series: Song of the Current # 1

Publication:  June 6th 2017 by Bloomsbury Childrens Books

Pages:373

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.

Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.


Thoughts:

I had no idea what to expect when walking into this book. I knew almost nothing about it – only that it sounded interesting and I had the time to spare. Song of the Current was much more than I expected it to be. It was fun, entertaining, and an anxiety inducing cat/mouse adventure. However, Song of the Current suffered from a lack of world building and an abundance of infodumping. Overall, it could have been better, but it also good have been a lot worse. I still found myself smiling, laughing, and thoroughly enjoying this thrill ride of a book.

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Trusting You & Other Lies

Title: Trusting You & Other Lies

Author: Nicole Williams

Series: Standalone

Publication:  June 20th 2017 by Crown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 304

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Phoenix can’t imagine anything worse than being shipped off to family summer camp. Her parents have been fighting for the past two years—do they seriously think being crammed in a cabin with Phoenix and her little brother, Harry, will make things better?

On top of that, Phoenix is stuck training with Callum—the head counselor who is seriously cute but a complete know-it-all. His hot-cold attitude means he’s impossible to figure out—and even harder to rely on. But despite her better judgment, Phoenix is attracted to Callum. And he’s promising Phoenix a summer she’ll never forget. Can she trust him? Or is this just another lie?


My Thoughts:

I am blown away by how thoroughly I enjoyed this book. I expected to like it. I expected to smile and laugh and swoon a bit. I did not expect the randomly laughing out loud in public, grinning like an idiot, and swooning so hard I reached space type experience from this book. Trusting You & Other Lies is one of the best contemporary romances I’ve read yet this year. It handles romance, sure, but it also covers family and trust and building relationships from the ground up. It’s heartfelt, funny, and surprisingly heart wrenching at times. Trusting You & Other Lies is one of those books I am damn sure happy I found and picked up.

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