Category Archives: Ya Contemporary

Review: How (Not) to Fall in Love by Lisa Brown Roberts

22392967How (Not) to Fall in Love
By: Lisa Brown Roberts
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: Feb 3, 2015
Genre: Contemporary YA
Rating:
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Seventeen-year-old Darcy Covington never had to worry about money or where her next shopping spree was coming from. Even her dog ate gourmet. Then one day, Darcy’s car is repossessed from the parking lot of her elite private school. As her father’s business hit the skids, Dad didn’t just skip town, he bailed on his family.

Fortunately, Darcy’s uncle owns a thrift shop where she can hide out from the world. There’s also Lucas, the wickedly hot fix-it guy she can’t stop crushing on, even if she’s not sure they’ll ever get out of the friend zone.

But it’s here among the colorful characters of her uncle’s world that Darcy begins to see something more in herself…if she has the courage to follow it.

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Review: Split by Swati Avasthi

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Review: Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter

22818100Every Ugly Word
By: Aimee L. Salter
Publisher: Alloy Entertainment
Published: July 29, 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating:
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When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self.

Her older self has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.

 

1thoughtsThe book starts off with adult Ashley as she recounts the bullying she endured in high school. Because of a lie she told, Ashley has been bullied every moment since then. She’s been picked on both physically and emotionally and her self esteem is pretty much non existent. The only thing that’s constant in her life is the fact that her future self is always there for her in the mirror. Apparently, when Ashely looks in the mirror she doesn’t just see her own reflection but that of her older self as well. Apparently the older Ashley is there to guide her and to make sure she gets through the bullying and comes out on top at the other end.

Let me just start out by saying that I was bullied for two years in high school. I would show up to school and beeline it straight to my class. I was always watching my back because no matter where I turned someone was talking about me. It got to the point where my mom was ready to contact the school about it but considering that would only make my life there even more a living hell I just stuck through it until I graduated. At least I had my small group of friends that I could count on. I had a support group, but Ashley doesn’t. She has her one best friend, Matt, who doesn’t even really know that she’s being bullied or why. Things get even worse for Ashley when Matt starts dating one of her tormenters.

Considering I was bullied by a vast majority of kids from school, I wasn’t really able to fully connect with Ashley. She put herself in some situations that I just didn’t understand. I would never go to one of my attackers houses for a party. Heck, I went to a teen club once and that was a very bad idea. Dark club, loud music… you get the picture. Needless to say, I didn’t make that mistake again. However, that was not the case. Ashley didn’t learn her lesson the first time and instead went back into enemy territory again. I just didn’t get it. If you are outnumbered and going in with a sketchy person that’s already bailed on you… why would you put yourself in that situation? Sometimes it just felt like the author was trying to throw Ashley in situations to make her life more dramatic and miserable.

I liked that we got the two time differences in this story. You have future Ashley from the mirror and young Ashley, and Ashley who’s talking to the therapist. And you never really know if she’s just crazy or if she’s a time traveler who observes her past/future self from mirrors. I seriously have no idea what happened. What happened to the Ashley that was in the therapists office? Is she really the same one that young Ashley was talking to? Or was that a different future Ashley? I’m so confused. There’s one point where “therapist Ashley” talks about having sex on prom night, but that doesn’t happen with young Ashley… which is the Ashley that “therapist Ashley” is recounting from her past. So yeah, I’m confused.

Aside from the ending this was a good read. The author knows how to draw a reader in. I literally sat down to read it and didn’t get back up until I finished it. It’s just so raw, and you want to know what happens next. You want to know if it all works out for her or not. I really wish the ending was more clear. I was on board with the whole future self thing but then I was thrown for a loop and I never fully caught up to what had taken place.

 

1favequote“People you love should always be more important than people who judge you.”

kRISTIN

Review: Everything Changes by Samantha Hale

20702918Everything Changes
By: Samantha Hale
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Published: Sept. 1, 2014
Genre: Contemp. YA
Rating:
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Seventeen-year-old Raven Walker has never had a boyfriend. She’s never really been interested in boys. But she was always too afraid to examine what that might mean. Until she meets Morgan O’Shea and finds herself inexplicably drawn to her.

As their friendship develops, Raven is forced to face the possibility that her interest in Morgan might actually be attraction and that she might be gay.

Acknowledging the possibility opens Raven’s world to the excitement of her first romance, but it also leaves her struggling to come to terms with her sexuality and the impact it will have on her relationships with her family and friends.

1thoughtsRaven is your average seventeen year old. She’s gone on dates, she hangs out with her friends, but she’s never enjoyed those dates, and she’s always felt slightly different from her friends. She never knew why she couldn’t connect with any guys. She thought it was because she grew up with them, watching them eat paste in kindergarten and grow through puberty. That is, until she meets Morgan. Just one look at Morgan and Raven is entranced. What does this mean for Raven though. Is she gay? Is it just some weird draw to Morgan because Morgan IS gay and Raven’s never met a gay person before? What if Raven is in fact gay, what does she do? What will her parents think? What will her friends think? Will they still want to be her friend?

This was a very sweet and light read. Sure it revolves around a 17 years old but for the content that is inside the book, Raven could’ve been 13. There is no swearing, no hanky panky, and nothing inappropriate taking place in the book. It was very wholesome of a story. So this is actually a great story for all ages, both young teen and adult.

I did feel like the story was a bit robotic at times. Like it was just a catalog of events instead of a story. We would go from one event with Raven hanging out with Morgan to Raven hanging out with her friends with no real story between events. It just didn’t flow well for me. Which in the end kept me from fully getting into the story.

In the end though, this is a good story. The author didn’t add unnecessary drama or crazy plot twists. She kept it clean, simple and very realistic. She also left things kind of open because not everything is resolved in the end. However, there is hope of things will get better. I liked that the author didn’t just write that everyone accepted Raven’s sexuality *YAY* the end. Because the truth is, not everyone is okay with things/people that are different from them. So I liked that even though these people knew Raven her whole life, they struggled with her sexuality. Like being gay changed who she was.

1favequote“It hadn’t been the most enthusiastic of acceptance. While she was grateful Chloe hadn’t freaked out or taken off, she couldn’t help but think that a true friend wouldn’t have to make an effort to be her friend. She wouldn’t have to try not to treat her differently, or not feel awkward around her. This one piece of information shouldn’t affect a decade of friendship.
Except it did.”
kRISTIN

Review: Played by Liz Fichera

16177036Played
(Hooked, #2)
By: Liz Fichera
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Genre: Contemp. YA
Rating:
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This Game Is Getting All Too Real

He said: I like to keep under the radar and mostly hang out with my friends from the rez. But when I saved Riley Berenger from falling off a mountain, that rich suburban princess decided to try to save me.

She said: If I can help Sam Tracy win the heart of the girl he can’t get over, I’ll pay him back for helping me. I promised him I would, no matter what it takes.

 

1thoughtsIt’s not that this book is a roll over from the previous book in the series. However, the two main characters in this story were also in the last story. Plus, Fred and Ryan from Hooked are in this story a lot. So even though it’s not 100% necessary to read the first book, I highly suggest it.

Sam and Riley live on two separate ends of the teen sceene. Sam is a boy from the Reservation who keeps to himself. Riley is Ryan’s (the popular boy in school) younger sister. However, when on a camping trip, the two get paired up for a scavenger hunt and find themselves stranded in the middle of a thunderstorm. With Sam’s quick thinking, he’s able to get them through the freezing wet night. Sam tell’s Riley about is love for Fred (Riley’s brother’s girlfriend) and Riley gets it in her head that she’s going to cause a rift between the two love birds and find a way to get Fred to fall madly, deeply in love with Sam instead.

I will admit that even though the premise of the story is rather juvenile, the content of the story is not. Not only was the story interesting with the two becoming friends and getting into all sorts of trouble, but there some heart stopping moments as well. I like that the author could’ve just made the store one dimensional and had it based on only the romance the entire time, but she added little surprises that kept me flipping pages faster and faster to see what would happen next.

Even though the story is predictable, the author added in a few twist and turns to keep the reader glued to the book. I hope that in the future books we get more Sam, Riley, Fred and Ryan. I wonder who Liz will bring to the forefront next.

 

1favequote“In all the chaos of the past few weeks, I had come to realize that he had been the only constant. He saw me and that crazy ninja alternate-personality who lived inside of me and didn’t run away – well, not totally. He saw me at my worst and found a reason to still be my friend.”

 

Previous reviews from Hooked
Hooked

kRISTIN

Review: Where You’ll Find Me by Erin Fletcher

WYFM

 

WYfMWhere You’ll Find Me
By: Erin Fletcher
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Published: Jan. 7, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Rating:
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When Hanley Helton discovers a boy living in her garage, she knows she should kick him out. But Nate is too charming to be dangerous. He just needs a place to get away, which Hanley understands. Her own escape methods (vodka, black hair dye, and pretending the past didn’t happen) are more traditional, but who is she to judge?

Nate doesn’t tell her why he’s in her garage, and she doesn’t tell him what she’s running from. Soon, Hanley’s trading her late-night escapades for all-night conversations and stolen kisses. But when Nate’s recognized as the missing teen from the news, Hanley isn’t sure which is worse: that she’s harboring a fugitive, or that she’s in love with one.

 

1thoughtsWhat would you do if you found a guy living in your garage? First thought is to call the cops and kick him out. Hanley does kick him out but decides to leave it at that. Then a cold front comes through with barely above 0* temperature and she finds herself inviting him back into the garage to stay warm. She doesn’t want another death on her conscious. From there the two talk and find a companionship that they can’t find with others. They may now know each others secrets but they know what it’s like to have them.

The author did a great job with keeping this story believable. It wasn’t so absurd that Hanley would feel the need to help another person by offering the same living quarters that they were using for who know how long before she found out. When I was younger I would sneak stray cats into the house in the middle of the night when my parents were asleep. Well first I’d sneak them into the front hallway to the apartments to get them out of the snow and when the coast was clear, I’d sneak them into the house. Granted, stray cats and stray humans are two different things, I could see the whole saving a stray human thing. HaHa

The romance built up slowly so there was no “love at first sight”. Hanley is weary of Nate (as she should be) but decides to help him out. Over time they find common ground and start to build a relationship. I liked that the two didn’t instantly fall in love. Yeah, there was interest between the two but that was it.

However, the ending I found to be a bit to over the top. I was on board up until that point. I won’t go into detail but the ending is the biggest HEA I’ve ever seen. I just felt like some of the parent’s responses were over the top.

In the end this was a great debut novel for Erin Fletcher. I will be keeping my eye out for more of her work.

 

1favequote“I think sometimes it’s easier to pretend to be okay than it is to admit weakness.”

 
author
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Erin Fletcher is a morning person who does most of her writing before sunrise while drinking excessive quantities of coffee, believes flip-flops qualify as year-round footwear, and would spend every day at the beach if she could. She has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics (which is almost never useful when writing books) and lives in North Carolina.

Website | Twitter

 

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Review: Stolen by Lucy Christopher

6408862Stolen
A Letter to My Captor
By: Lucy Christopher
Publisher: Chicken House Ltd
Published: May 4, 2009
Genre: Young Adult
Rating:
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It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.

This is my story.

A letter from nowhere.

Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?

The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don’t exist – almost.

 

1thoughtsThis was such and interesting an compelling story. I wasn’t even 50 pages in and I was reading excerpts to my co-workers. Which in turn creeped them out, made them question what I was reading, and then they turned around and added it to their book list. This entire story is written as if she were writing a letter to Ty, her kidnapper. She recollects her time in the airport with her parents, meeting Ty at the coffee shop, being drugged and ultimately waking up in the middle of the desert with nothing in sight.

We relive everything that Gemma went through from start to finish. Everything she thinks, feels and experiences all sort of become a jumbled mess towards the end, which in turn confuses not only Gemma but the reader as well. We start to think, yes Ty’s a bad guy for kidnapping her, no one can detest that, but he’s not so bad. You know the author did an amazing job writing the story when the reader starts to develop Stockholm syndrome as well.

There wasn’t really a point where I thought the story to be unbelievable or that Gemma wasn’t trying hard enough to escape. At first she doesn’t eat or drink, then she tries to commit suicide. She even ventures off into the desert twice trying to find civilization only to have Ty come and save her when she would’ve ultimately died out there. Then there’s this sort of hopelessness that this is it. There’s no hope of escaping because they are literally in the middle of the desert with nothing and no one around.

“I’d always kept a small seed of hope alive, hope that I’d be able to escape. But suddenly I realized something. That view of sand and endlessness… that was it, that was my life. Unless you took me back to a town, that was all I’d ever see. No more parents or friends or school. No more London. Only you. Only the desert.”

This was a thriller and then it wasn’t. At first I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would become of Gemma, then I started to understand that Ty just wanted company in his lonely isolated life and wasn’t going to hurt Gemma but in the back of my mind I knew my softness towards Ty was completely wrong and there was nothing I could really do to think of him as the monster that he was when he showed the softer side of him. And that right there is why this story is amazing. This story was a complete mind game for me. Kudos to the author for writing an awesome story.

 

1favequote“People should love what needs loving.” -Ty

kRISTIN

Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

17233800Crash Into You
(Pushing the Limits, #3)
By: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: Nov. 26, 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA
Rating:
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The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that’s who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers…and she’s just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can’t get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they’ll go to save each other.

 

1thoughtsIn the first book we read about Noah, Isaiah’s roommate/best friend. Then we got Beth’s story who was staying with her aunt and uncle who just so happened to be Isaiah’s foster parents and also where Noah lived. This time we finally got Isaiah’s story and it was well worth the wait.

In the previous two books it was no secret how Isaiah felt about Beth. However she broke his heart in the last book and he’s still pretty pissed over the whole thing. So he’s not looking to hand his heart over to some rich chick who doesn’t even know how deep she’s in when she shows up to do street racing. But when they find themselves in really hot waters over that night, that’s exactly what ends up happening.

I’m really excited that we finally got Isaiah’s story. I felt so bad for him in the last book. He still has it really rough in this book and you dive more into his time in child services but he finds someone to help him through the pain. I really liked getting an inside look at his character because he’s very loyal to those around him even though he’s been through some horrific situations.

“‘Did you really meet her inside a dumpster?’
When he doesn’t answer immediately, I sneak a peek out of the corner of my eye. His hands are on his hips as he stares at the floor. ‘Yeah. We were both looking for food.’
I close my eyes as my heart aches. I can’t imagine what his life has been like.”

I even enjoyed Rachel’s character. At first when the story starts off with a rich girl who wants to race her car, I thought to myself that she was going to be one of those high and mighty chicks. However, she likes to get down and dirty with cars. She hides this side of herself from her family since they want her to be someone who she isn’t but deep down she’s a really cool chick and was a pleasure to read.

I think the family drama that the author introduced to the readers on Rachel’s side was a bit bizarre. I mean, who has a replacement child for one that they’ve lost? And the fact that everyone plays along with it was weird. I suppose that in the end it added an extra layer to the story but it was just weird.

I will say that the drama aspect between Isaiah and Rachel trying to come up with $5,000 within a couple of weeks was a huge plus. There were times where my heart was racing wondering if they’d ever make the money in time before the head honcho street thug, Eric, came to collect. Whether is was money or bodies, he was going to collect in the end. Yup, that part definitely loomed over my head the entire book and the author made sure that you never forgot about the impending doom.

“On her own? She’ll get herself killed, and that’ll take my already-serious problems with Eric into the realm of lethal. If he hurts her, he’ll die. And then his boys will hunt me like a dog and take me down. My goal is to get us the fuck out of this situation without all that Romeo and Juliet bullshit.”

I wish there was more hashed out in the end since there’s still more left to their story in my opinion. Hopefully since the next book deals with Rachel’s brother, West, we will get more Isaiah and Rachel and I will get more closure with them. Or the author could write a follow-up story on them. I’d be totally cool with that too.

 

1favequote“Maybe this is what happens when you fall in love. On the outside a lighter is nothing amazing, but it holds all the ingredients that can create something wonderful. With a few pushes in the right direction, you can inspire something so brilliant that it pushes back the darkness.”

kRISTIN

Review: Falling Hard by Megan Sparks

17888623Falling Hard
(Roller Girls , #1)
By: Megan Sparks
Publisher: Capstone Press
Published: July 1, 2013
Genre: Contemp. Young Adult
Rating:
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When Annie moves from London to a small town in the midwest, she struggles to fit in. She gets off to a bad start when she makes an enemy of her school’s queen bee, Kelsey. But she discovers a new passion, the exciting sport of roller derby, and makes friends with the cool and quirky girls on her team, the Liberty Belles. She also meets Jesse, the friendly boy who works at the roller rink, and Tyler, a cute, all-American sports star.

 

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Review: Barbie World by Heidi Acosta

Barbie World
(Baby Doll, #2)
By: Heidi Acosta
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: ? Summer 2013
Genre: YA
Rating:
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Goodreads

“One Night is all it took to change everything between Barbie and me. One night to potentially lose the girl of my dreams forever. How do I prove to her that she can trust me? That all I want to do is protect her carefully guarded heart. I need to prove to her that I want to be a part of her world. But How? ”

Dylan lost Barbie once before, now he is determined more than ever to win her heart and trust back. Easier said than done, especially with the new hot guy in town who is in a rock band and is the complete opposite of Dylan.

Barbie has been hurt beyond repair or so she thinks. It would be easier for heart to decide if she didn’t have to protect her little brother. And if Dylan would just put on a shirt! Dylan is not making this easy on her. It helps to have the distraction of the new guy in town cute bad boy Kai. But even though her heart is damaged it still knows what it wants.

When Barbie learns she has a family and with the help of Roxie and Kai, oh and Third and Dylan. They embark on a journey to help bring Barbie closer to a past she never knew existed.
Heidi Acosta brings you the heart felt story of friendship, love and heartbreak in the second book in of the Baby doll series Barbie World.

We pick up shortly where Barbie Girl ends. Barbie is now under the Guardianship of Dylan’s parents. She’s moving on with her life and trying to forget about Dylan, which is kind of hard since they live under the same roof. Dylan on the other hand is hell bent on winning Barbie back, regardless of the fact that he has a girlfriend.

I fell in love with these characters in Barbie Girl. I liked the rawness of Barbie and how she opened up Dylan’s eyes as far as not always fitting in the mold when it comes to the cliques at school. So I was really disappointed in Dylan for going after Barbie while he has a girl friend. He would grab Barbie and start making out with her while his girl friend was in the next room. It just left a sour taste in my mouth. He hated being around his girl friend. Made fun of her and her friends when with Third and really didn’t care for her feelings. He kept asking Barbie what he had to do to get her back. However, he wouldn’t break up with his girl friend because 1) his parent’s liked her and expected him to date someone like her and 2) he wasn’t sure if Barbie would take him back. How about this Dylan? You do the right thing, and break up with the girl that you’re stringing along and then maybe approach Barbie! The fact that this takes place throughout the entirety of the story really drove me nuts.

However, I still really enjoyed Barbie’s character. She’s really torn up over everything that took place in the previous book. The person she though she could trust, broke that trust and continues to hurt her every day. Not to mention the new situation she’s in with living with a family who actually cares about her well being.

“I know that this is a fake sense of security that I am in. I’m not going to fall for it anymore. No one loves me. I was abandoned by my mother. The one boy I loved never really loved me back.”

We also get more time with Roxie and Third. Third really steps it up in this book. He seems to take Barbie’s side in the whole matter (as he should) and is there to protect her but at the same time, if there is a chance he can help Dylan out, he does. Aside from Dylan, the other characters in this book were a pleasure to read. Not to mention the added bonus of Kai which is a potential love interest for Barbie.

One other thing that detracted a point for me was the ending. It seems a bit rushed and then the epilogue comes at you out of left field. I felt like a lot of the back and forth between Barbie and Dylan could have been cut out to make room for the ending.

All in all, Barbie’s story was a good one. She fought her way through life and survived.

 

 

“I want to see girls in bikinis just as bad as you, but while you are only lugging around a six pack, I have a whole keg to get up this hill.” -Third

Previous reviews from Baby Doll series
Barbie Girl

 

 

 Heidi Acosta was born on Long Island, New York. Moving around a lot when she was younger, she has lived in New York, Arizona, New York (again), Washington, Georgia, and Florida, in that order. Each place offered her something special, but she will always consider New York her home.

Heidi started writing as soon as she could spell. When she was three, Heidi’s mother gave her a copy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods; thus beginning her lifelong love affair with literature.

Writing soon also became a form of therapy for Heidi, when she realized that no matter what was happening in her life, she could find emotional escape while writing. Some of her earliest stories featured her as a princess who explored new worlds with her horse Buttercup. If it sounds romantic, it wasn’t, there was no prince charming in those fairy lands (boys where yucky).

Heidi now resides in Florida with her husband, very active daughter, one hyper Chihuahua, two sweet cats, and one very fat moody cat.