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

ARC Book Review: Far From Normal by Becky Wallace

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 240 pages
Author: Becky Wallace
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: September 22nd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From Stealing Home author Becky Wallace comes a Devil Wears Prada-inspired YA romance, in which “normal girl” Maddie must repair the image of Major League Soccer’s bad boy to ace her internship. A perfect read for fans of Morgan Matson and Miranda Kenneally.

Maddie McPherson is sick of Normal—both her hometown of Normal, Illinois and being the ‘normal’ sibling. But when she lands a summer internship with a sports marketing firm, she finally has a chance to crawl out of her genius brother’s shadow. Not to mention, a glowing letter of recommendation could secure her admission to her dream college.

But Maddie’s nickname is “CalaMaddie” for a reason, and when the company tasks her with repairing the image of teen soccer phenom Gabriel Fortunato, she wonders if she’s set herself up for embarrassment. Gabriel is a tabloid magnet, who’s best-known for flubbing Italy’s World Cup hopes. As Maddie works with him to develop “pleasant and friendly” content for social media, she also learns he’s thoughtful, multi-talented, and fiercely loyal—maybe even to a fault. Falling for a footballer is exactly how CalaMaddie would botch this internship, but with the firm pressuring her to get the job done, perhaps her heart is worth risking?

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

UTTERLY ADORABLE.

I basically read this in one sitting because of how flippin’ precious it was. I was completely smitten with this book and am going to sing its praises in this review.

Originally concerned about the length (under 300 pages), I didn’t know what to expect for my first book by Wallace. BLOWN AWAY sounds about right now. I found this quick, fast-paced young adult rom-com exactly what I needed at the time and had me grinning and laughing throughout. Don’t let the length deter you, this is an absolute gem.

Madeline was a great main character. She was under some intense pressure from multiple forces in her life and at only 17! I liked the way she handled herself, but also still felt like a teenager. It was a great combination that made me feel for and understand Madeline’s motives.

Now the precious soccer player, Gabe? I am SO HERE FOR bad boys with a heart of gold. I’m easy to please when it comes to books with this nature. Gabe and Madeline’s relationship moved well and the pace was steady and absolutely sweet. I love the little dates they went on and the support they were both giving each other.

I love the Devil Wears Prada aspects and started to see them more after I finished it when I sat there unable to think about anything else. There’s plenty of allusions that are fun and quirky that make me think this should be a movie, and that I also need to re-watch TDWP.

AH. I am just in love with this book. Think its the perfect, sweet, YA rom-com you should definitely read if you’re even the tiny bit curious. I can’t wait to read more books from her!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: bike crash

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Book Review

Book Review: Moment of Truth (Love, Life and the List #3) by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: March 3rd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

At sixteen, Hadley Moore knows exactly who she is—a swimmer who will earn a scholarship to college. Totally worth all the hard work, even if her aching shoulders don’t agree. So when a guy dressed as Hollywood’s latest action hero, Heath Hall, crashes her swim meet, she isn’t amused. Instead, she’s determined to make sure he doesn’t bother her again. Only she’s not sure exactly who he is.

The swim meet isn’t the first event the imposter has interrupted, but a little digging turns up a surprising number of people who could be Heath Hall, including Hadley’s ex-boyfriend and her best friend’s crush. She soon finds herself getting caught up in the mysterious world of the fake Heath Hall.

As Hadley gets closer to uncovering the masked boy’s identity she also discovers some uncomfortable truths about herself—like she might resent the long shadow her late brother has cast over her family, that she isn’t as happy as she pretends to be with her life choices… and that she is falling for the last guy she ever thought she would like. 

ADDED TO THE LIST OF FAVS.

P.S. I Like You is without a doubt, my favorite book of Kasie Wests’. I’ve already accepted I don’t think any of her other ones are going to come close. Moment of Truth is the closest I’ve read so far.

I connected a lot better with this MC, Hadley. I sometimes find Wests’s main characters to be way to naive and *high school* for me. Hadley, while definitely not perfect, was much easier to appreciate and enjoy as her character grew over the book. Her selfish, very competitive nature gave way to letting some walls down and understanding why she was struggling. Not to mention, Hadley’s best friend Amelia. I am always excited when I see a strong female friendship in a book. One that doesn’t need unnecessary drama. It was about being a good friend in tough times and lightening the mood when needed. Amelia brought that ten-fold.

There was yet again, another great bookish boy. Jackson Hall was utterly adorable. I looooved his personality, his go with the flow nature, and the deep heartache he felt for not knowing what he wants to do with his life (and I felt that because, dang, if we’re not the same person). The chemistry between Hadley and Jackson was cute. The best kind of high school rom-com. Not immediate attraction, but a gradual progression of just being there as a friend gave way to a dynamite ending.

This hit one some hard subjects, and I’m glad a resolution was made for Hadley’s parents. I can’t speak to that kind of pain, but letting grief take over is hard to recognize, and sometimes harder to overcome. As usual, Kasie West delivers an adorable story while hitting on some tougher subject matter.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger warnings: loss of a loved one

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