It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys and invites bloggers to recap what they’ve read this week while planning ahead on what to read next! Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers added their own twist by focusing on kidlit, from picture books up to YA.
Click on the covers for an in depth synopsis and others’ reviews
I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Contemporary YA Fiction, Release Date: 2/3/15
Alcoholism, Death of a Parent, War, PTSD, College, Romance
400 Pages, My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
I was lucky enough to read I’ll Meet You There through Netgalley, and I loved it! The main character, and recent graduate, Skylar Evans, is ready to leave the miserable, soul sucking town of Creek View for bigger and much better things at art school in San Fransisco. Freedom is right around the corner, but first she has to survive through the summer. With 3 minimum wage jobs, a scary home situation, strained friendships, and the return of hometown hero Josh Mitchell, Skylar is going to have her hands full. Josh Mitchell, on the other hand, is back from fighting in Afghanistan, and is barely holding on. His life is nothing of what it used to be and he is struggling physically and mentally. The only thing keeping him going right now is going to support meetings with other vets and working at The Paradise with Skylar. This book is so much more than a summer romance!
Such a great story and the differing perspectives of Josh and Sklyar are really powerful! I loved all the characters in the book, the setting, and really wish we could have more stories about those who have served and the struggles they have when they return home.
The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1) by Jenny Han
Contemporary YA Fiction, 2009
Cancer, Divorce, Growing Up
276 Pages, My Goodreads Rating:4/5 Stars
The main character of The Summer… is Belly. Fifteen year old Belly (short for Isabelle) spends her summers with her mother, brother, her mother’s best friend and her two sons, Jeremiah and Conrad, at the beach. Belly has essentially grown up at the beach with these boys – through all the swims, feasts, pranks, trips to the boardwalk, and while this summer is more of the same, it’s also a summer that changes everything.
I enjoy Jenny Han’s writing, and this story was pretty good. At times I found the narrator, Belly, a little annoying, but the flashbacks and storyline were ok. I would be interested in reading #2, especially after reading the first chapter excerpt and thinking “Wait, how did THAT happen?!” From reading these few pages of book 2 it seems there will have to be a lot of flashbacks to clue readers in on what happened between the two books.
Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
265 pages, My Goodreads rating 3/5 Stars
Disclaimer: I purchased this book in the midst of a 7 minute ebook buying frenzy. I have never seen Dunham’s HBO show Girls and don’t really know that much about her. You know where this review is going, don’t you? While I thought a lot of the book was interesting and somewhat humorous, I will be the first to admit that the majority of the book was way over my head and I didn’t get a lot of the references. While I’m happy I stuck with it, I honestly think I probably should have spent the couple extra dollars on Amy Poehler’s book instead.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Contemporary YA Fiction, Release Date: 1/6/15
Mental Illness, YA romance
384 Pages, My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
This book is being advertised as a cross between The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor and Park. Yep. That tagline definitely does All the Bright Places justice. The first pages happen on top of a school bell tower with outsider Theodore Finch contemplating if this will be the day he ends his life. He is interrupted by the beautiful Violet, who is also on the bell tower trying to figure things out. Their stories will intertwine in complicated swirls and readers will get sucked into their love story very quickly. You’ll be thinking about these two characters long after you finish the last page. This book is amazing. Funny, sad and very, very powerful. It gutted me and I still think about it. So glad I got to read this through NetGalley. Highly recommend!
The Dumbest Idea Ever! by Jimmy Gownley
Graphic Novel Memoir, 2014
Art, School life, Achieving Dreams
240 Pages, My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
I picked up this graphic novel at the Scholastic sale solely on the title. I read it the next day and while I don’t think it’s the best graphic novel I’ve ever read, it does has potential in my classroom library. The author tells the story of how his first graphic novel was published when he was in high school and how dreams do come true with hard work. While this message sometimes gets lost in some slow sub plots, I think if the right reader comes along, this book will make a big impact on his or her life. It just so happens I have a student this year who loves graphic novels and is obsessed with drawing. You can bet that this book will be on his desk Monday morning with a “READ ME!” note. I’m pretty excited to see what he things about it!
Happy Reading, everyone!