Book Review

Book Review: Time of Our Lives by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 21st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A boy desperate to hold on, a girl ready to let go.

Fitz Holton waits in fear for the day his single mother’s early-onset Alzheimer’s starts stealing her memory. He’s vowed to stay close to home to care for her in the years to come–never mind the ridiculous college tour she’s forcing him on to visit schools where he knows he’ll never go. Juniper Ramirez is counting down the days until she can leave home, a home crowded with five younger siblings and zero privacy. Against the wishes of her tight-knit family, Juniper plans her own college tour of the East Coast with one goal: get out.

When Fitz and Juniper cross paths on their first college tour in Boston, they’re at odds from the moment they meet– while Juniper’s dying to start a new life apart for her family, Fitz faces the sacrifices he must make for his. Their relationship sparks a deep connection–in each other’s eyes, they glimpse alternate possibilities regarding the first big decision of their adult lives.

Time of Our Lives is a story of home and away, of the wonder and weight of memory, of outgrowing fears and growing into the future.

LOVE A COLLEGE TOUR.

I am a huge fan of books by these authors. I have adored them and was really excited for book three! This one was definitely different than the previous and while good, and had some moments I enjoyed, I didn’t feel it had the same flair as previously.

I did like the journey that both of the characters went on. It was a true journey of learning about yourself and trying to find the best path for YOU. I love how this explored options and plans with Fitz and Juniper. They each had their own personal struggles that were unique, but also had pieces that you can relate to.

The journey was fun. I really enjoyed this trope in this context. I loved seeing different campuses and experiences. It was easy to follow along and the writing as always, is spectacular.

Everything did end abruptly. And I mean, I flipped to the last page, and didn’t realize it was the last page. That confused me and left me with few feelings of resolution. It definitely need an epilogue or something. I don’t mind how the character interactions were left, it made sense to the story, but the rest of it was really open-ended.

The chemistry between Fitz and Juniper was pretty solid. I actually felt the quick connection between them. They moved quickly (and at times, too quickly), and had all the hints at that insta-love/insta-connection you want more from. I would have looooved even more from them.

Another cute and light-hearted, yet with some true moments of childhood-being-over reckoning that I enjoy seeing in young adult books. I’m anxiously awaiting for what they write next!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary + romance
  • Language: occasionally strong
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs; a few closed door scenes, one little detail scene
  • Trigger warnings: a main characters Mother is diagnosed with a terminal illness (early on-set dementia)

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Book Review

Book Review: Every Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 512 pages
Author: Abigail Johnson
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: January 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Can life begin again… every other weekend?

Adam Moynihan’s life used to be awesome. Straight As, close friends and a home life so perfect that it could have been a TV show straight out of the 50s. Then his oldest brother died. Now his fun-loving mom cries constantly, he and his remaining brother can’t talk without fighting, and the father he always admired proved himself a coward by moving out when they needed him most.

Jolene Timber’s life is nothing like the movies she loves—not the happy ones anyway. As an aspiring director, she should know, because she’s been reimagining her life as a film ever since she was a kid. With her divorced parents at each other’s throats and using her as a pawn, no amount of mental reediting will give her the love she’s starving for.

Forced to spend every other weekend in the same apartment building, the boy who thinks forgiveness makes him weak and the girl who thinks love is for fools begin an unlikely friendship. The weekends he dreaded and she endured soon become the best part of their lives. But when one’s life begins to mend while the other’s spirals out of control, they realize that falling in love while surrounded by its demise means nothing is ever guaranteed.

FELT THIS.

I love when you can feel really connected to a book. I felt that way from the very beginning of this. I have divorced parents and had a lot of back and forth growing up. While I didn’t experience everything in this book, many of the emotions and thoughts really hit home.

The bond between Adam and Jolene was so tender and made me want to hug them both. I loved watching their relationship burgeon from friends to lovers in this sweet, and heartening way. It was gorgeous writing that brought you into the story and held you there. I had no problems with motivation to pick this up. I wanted to follow these characters stories and to what I was hoping was a happily ever after.

My only drawback in this one was the length. As a contemporary being 500+ pages, some scenes dragged on. While still enjoying the story I felt it took away from it.

I love how Jolene and Adam just got each other. Going through such a difficult situation and having someone by your side that gets you, oh be still my heart. Absolutely couldn’t get enough. This is definitely a hidden gem in the YA category and one I would highly recommend!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary + romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger warnings: divorced, separated parents; adultery, alcoholism, a mom trying to make her child sick, toxic relationships (a side character friend of Jolene’s)

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Book Review

Book Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 346 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 31st, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

An irresistible story from Kasie West that explores the timeless question: What do you do when you fall for the person you least expect?

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her.

Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye.

As he and Autumn at first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

HARD TIME CONNECTING.

Didn’t see the day coming where I would not be into a Kasie West book. Hopefully this is a one-book case scenario.

I didn’t connect with this story or the characters. The time spent at the library was such a long chunk of the book that it caused the beginning of the story to drag. Then add on an accident I didn’t see coming that threw Autumn into a mess she didn’t plan for was complicated and hard to watch.

The relationship between Autumn and Dax was fine. I did like the way they worked together. Maybe could have had some more positive interactions. It felt like this book was trying to be more heavy in context, but struggled to really hit that note.

The expression of anxiety was a nice change of pace though. That’s not as often depicted in young adult books and as someone with anxiety, I can definitely see Autumn’s struggles. I appreciate how her friends responded, but do wish things were more out in the open in general between them.

Everything mashed in odd ways for this one and while this was a miss, I still plan of reading all of West’s books!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: car wreck (to a side character) resulting in a coma

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Book Review

Book Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 353 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 5th, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

LOVED THIS STORY.

Oh man. This book made me nervous. I wasn’t sure if I could handle Gia. Some characters can really turn you off of a book and make them harder to read. This definitely started out that way. I am so glad I kept going because her character progression was on point.

Her friends made me roll my eyes and get angry more than once. I really couldn’t stand the way any of them were treating each other. I know this can definitely be realistic in high school and I appreciate that we got to see Gia move on from that kind of unnecessary drama.

Totally, absolutely smitten with the romance. The fake-relationship trope is a favorite of mine and this was written beautifully. I like how they found ways back to each other, while helping them work through their own life issues. Gia really won me over with how she learned to have friendships with others she normally wouldn’t. Once again, just happy to see her grow as a person over the book. Bradley and Gia made me melt. I thought Bradley was adorable and he constantly made me smile.

This is a favorite for Kasie West books.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses

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