I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski

GoodReads Summary:
Nineteen-year-old Sydney has the perfect summer mapped out. She’s spending the next four and half weeks traveling through Europe with her childhood best friend, Leela. Their plans include Eiffel-Tower selfies, eating cocco gelato, and making out with très hot strangers. Her plans do not include Leela’s cheating ex-boyfriend showing up on the flight to London, falling for the cheating ex-boyfriend’s très hot friend, monitoring her mother’s spiraling mental health via texts, or feeling like the rope in a friendship tug-of-war.
As Sydney zigzags through Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy, and France, she must learn when to hold on, when to keep moving, and when to jump into the Riviera…wearing only her polka-dot underpants.
I See London, I See France (I See London, I See France, #1)Review:
This story was so fun. I needed a book that had a heart in the title or on the cover for the OWLs Readathon and this book has a cute heart emoji on the cover.
I devoured this story. I loved the traveling adventures. I loved getting to see all the places they went to and the tourist attractions they visited. I thought the settings were really well done and made the story so fun.
The characters were interesting. I thought Sydney was really put out of her comfort zone on her trip to Europe because she doesn’t want to leave her mother who is agoraphobic. So, she’s constantly worrying about her mom and her younger sister having to take care of her mom. I thought this was interesting to include in the story. I loved how much she worried and cared about her family, but it was also nice to see her finally do something just for herself. She’s a person that just cares about the people in her life. Including the friend she’s traveling in Europe with.
Sydney and Leela’s relationship isn’t a perfect one. I liked that. It’s realistic and believable. I think they both had issues they needed to work out, and while I wished they’d addressed said issues sooner, I’m happy with the way that it was handled and resolved.
Overall, this story was fun and full of adventure. But it also included real-life problems and really enjoyed that. I think this was a great novel full of wonderful settings and interesting characters.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The How and the Why by Cynthia Hand

GoodReads Review:
A poignant exploration of family and the ties that bind, perfect for fans of Far From the Tree, from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand.
Today Melly had us writing letters to our babies…
Cassandra McMurtrey has the best parents a girl could ask for. They’ve given Cass a life she wouldn’t trade for the world. She has everything she needs—except maybe the one thing she wants. Like, to know who she is. Where she came from. Questions her adoptive parents can’t answer, no matter how much they love her.
But eighteen years ago, someone wrote Cass a series of letters. And they may just hold the answers Cass has been searching for.
Alternating between Cass’s search for answers and letters from the pregnant teen who gave her up for adoption, this voice-driven narrative is the perfect read for fans of Nina LaCour and Jandy Nelson.
The How and the WhyReview:
How do I put how much I loved this book into words? This story mostly follows Cass throughout her senior year. She’s a lover of theatre and is working on deciding where to college. She also is dealing with her mother being stuck in the hospital waiting for a heart transplant. She’s since turned eighteen and has become curious about her birth mother. No one could replace her parents, but it’s hard not to wonder about the woman who gave birth to her.
In between chapters, we get to read the letter’s that Cass’s birth mother wrote while pregnant. We learn about the relationship between her birth mother and father. I really loved these. It was fascinating to read about a pregnant sixteen-year-old that lived in a school for pregnant teens. Her experiences and thoughts were interesting but also snarky and entertaining. It was realistic and honest. I loved this aspect of the book.
I also loved that we’d read most of the letters by the time that Cass even finds out they exist. I really enjoyed the adoption topic and learning at the end that the author was adopted made it even better. It was clear that this was a really personal subject for her to write about and I loved every page.
There were wonderful friendships. Cass’s best friend, Nyla, was also adopted, but that’s not why their friends. I loved that they support one another and that their friendship was so realistic. They fought and argued, but always apologized and forgave. They were really a great part of this book. I also completely loved Bastien and didn’t pick up on his secret either. I shipped him and Cass so bad.
Overall, I thought this was an incredible book and I really hope others read and love it too. I haven’t seen many people talking about it and I hope that changes. I think it was realistically diverse (not in an obnoxious way). It was a heartbreaking but also heartwarming story. The ending also totally killed me. I think everyone should read this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody

GoodReads Summary:
After Ali’s father passes away, he leaves his one and only prized possession—a 1968 Firebird convertible—to his daughter. But Ali doesn’t plan on keeping it. Not when it reminds her too much of all her father’s unfulfilled promises. So when she finds a buyer three hundred miles up the Pacific coast willing to pay enough money for the car to save her childhood home, Ali can’t wait to get going. Except Ali has no idea how to drive a stick shift. But guess who does?
Ali’s ex-boyfriend, Nico. And Nico has other plans.
He persuades Ali that instead of selling the car, they should “trade up” the items they collect on their trip to eventually reach the monetary amount Ali needs. Agreeing with Nico’s crazy plan, Ali sets off on a unique adventure that is unlike anything she ever could have expected.
And it’s through Ali’s travels, through the strangers she meets and the things that they value—and why they value them—that Ali eventually comes to understand her father and how his life may not have been as easy and carefree as she previously thought. Because just like the seemingly insignificant objects Ali collects, not everything is exactly as it appears.
The Geography of Lost ThingsReview:
This book has been on my TBR for what feels like a million years. I’m glad I finally picked it up because I enjoyed it so much. I also got to read this while relaxing outside in the sunshine and it was the perfect mood.
We follow Ali and Nico as they’re stuck in a car together. Ali’s absentee father has died and left her his car. So, she’s going to sell it to save her house. She’s stuck with her ex, Nico because she doesn’t drive stick.
This book was so sweet and just genuinely funny. They learn about themselves and open up to one another, but they also have fun. Nico teaches her how to ‘trade up’ on Craigslist and that was definitely my favorite part of the story. They meet some really interesting people.
I loved that Ali learned so much about herself and managed to vulnerable enough to let these realizations change her perspective. I totally loved their adventures. Nico and Ali were so cute and I adored them. I thought it was wonderfully written and I just loved it. They both grew and opened up and managed to have fun despite the not so good situation they’re in. I think this is a definitely underhyped book and everyone should read it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

GoodReads Summary:
Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.
At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.
As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined…and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.
WindfallReview:
I always love Jennifer E. Smith’s books. But I was hesitant with this one because I’d heard some mixed reviews from people that loved her other books. I ended up really enjoying this one.
Alice is a girl that’s experienced some real tragedy. She lost both her parents in the period of a year. But she moved in with her aunt and uncle and was raised alongside her cousin, Leo. Leo, Alice, and Teddy were inseparable as kids. But when Alice buys Teddy a winning lottery ticket for his birthday, things start to change.
This was a story of healing and growth. These friends are all changing. It’s that time in their lives where change is inevitable. But they each learn things about themselves and help one another find what they need.
Honestly, I enjoyed this but I don’t have all that much to say about it. It was fun, but also sad and real. I love Jennifer Smith’s books and this was no different. So, read it if you like YA contemporary with a smidge of romance.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

What Kind of Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

GoodReads Summary:
The girls at North Bay Academy are taking sides. It all started when Mike Parker’s girlfriend showed up with a bruise on her face. Or, more specifically, when she walked into the principal’s office and said Mike hit her. But the students have questions. Why did she go to the principal and not the police? Why did she stay so long if he was hurting her? Obviously, if it’s true, Mike should be expelled. But is it true?
Some girls want to rally for his expulsion—and some want to rally around Mike. The only thing that the entire student body can agree on? Someone is lying. And the truth has to come out.
What Kind of GirlReview:
I’m going to be writing this review while using The Bookish Chick’s review because I read it after I finished this book and she pretty much summed up my thoughts perfectly. But I will be writing this and trying to put it in my own words. I was excited about this book when I saw the ebook available through my library because I’m trying (and failing amid the virus closures) to not buy all the new releases.
This book starts off with anonymous narrators the chapters are just titled with who the narrator could be classified as. For example, “The Girlfriend, The Burnout, The Popular Girl” which was interesting, at first. But then I reached part two and was left very confused. I didn’t totally understand what the transition to part two meant. But the further I got into the book the more I was sure that I knew what the author was doing. I thought this was interesting, but it only goes on for half of the book. I would have liked for it to go on longer or not at all. While it was an interesting sort of twist, it just left me confused and sort of annoyed.
The other problem I had with this book was the ending. It made me so mad that I forgot most of what happened until I read Alana’s review and remembered. Maya finally stands up and sets straight the rumors that are circulating, she stands her ground and says what she thinks should happen (since something like this isn’t specified in the student handbook). I loved seeing her finally stand up, but then the book just ends. Maya is provided with options to go move with her dad or stay with her mom. But we never find out what happens. We don’t know if her boyfriend even gets in trouble and I’m mad all over again typing this.
Overall, this was a pretty quick read. But not one I was overly pleased with. I know there will be many readers who will love this story, so please take this review with a grain of salt.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

GoodReads Summary:
Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.
The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.
There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo. Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractedly cute.
Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.
Save the DateReview:
After not totally loving her other books, I was hesitant to pick this one up. But amidst all the virus chaos, I’ve only been able to read fun romance (which I’m certainly not complaining about.) This was exactly what I was looking for.
We follow Charlie, the youngest of the Grant family. She’s trying to help keep everything together for her sister’s wedding. But, with the family and all the other visitors, there’s bound to be problems. I know some people thought the wedding antics were predictable, but I thought it was so fun and funny. Anything that could have gone wrong, did. Seeing Charlie and the wedding planner’s nephew try to scramble for solutions was so entertaining.
My favorite thing about this book though was the siblings. I have a big and crazy family so all the siblings and their games and traditions really hit home with me. It made me miss my family (who live in a different state than me) and I wanted to be fifteen again playing manhunt at my elementary school playground. I loved the family feels, but they weren’t all good and I liked that too. Charlie’s being faced with some hard realizations and that made me love this book even more. She’s learning that her brothers and parents aren’t perfect. They’re just people.
Overall, I adored this story. It was fun and silly. There was such good family dynamics and a smidge of romance. This book was everything I wanted it to be and I will definitely be recommending it. (Antonia, if you’re reading this you will have to borrow this once you move closer to me.)

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

GoodReads Summary:
When “Perfect” Parker Fadley starts drinking at school and failing her classes, all of St. Peter’s High goes on alert. How has the cheerleading captain, girlfriend of the most popular guy in school, consummate teacher’s pet, and future valedictorian fallen so far from grace?
Parker doesn’t want to talk about it. She’d just like to be left alone, to disappear, to be ignored. But her parents have placed her on suicide watch and her counselors are demanding the truth. Worse, there’s a nice guy falling in love with her and he’s making her feel things again when she’d really rather not be feeling anything at all.
Nobody would have guessed she’d turn out like this. But nobody knows the truth.
Something horrible has happened, and it just might be her fault.
Cracked Up to BeReview:
In the new introduction that Courtney Summers added when this book was published again, she mentions that Parker is a hugely unlikeable character. This is so true. She’s self-destructive and beyond unlikeable. She was pretty relatable because I was pretty self-destructive when I was her age. I liked that she had friends (sort of) that were there and tried to keep her accountable.
This book was almost hard to read, but the mystery and suspense of the flashbacks (which led up to why Parker went from head bitch to almost drop out) kept me interested. I really wanted to know what Parker went through to cause this change. I was a little disappointed with the reveal. It was a terrible thing, but really, she did a terrible thing. She didn’t look out for her friend and that just made me mad. It made me angry with an already unlikable character.
Overall, this was a pretty quick read. If you like Courtney Summer’s other books, you’ll probably like this one too.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

This Train is Being Held by Ismee Amiel Williams

GoodReads Summary:
When private school student Isabelle Warren first meets Dominican-American Alex Rosario on the downtown 1 train, she remembers his green eyes and his gentlemanly behavior. He remembers her untroubled happiness, something he feels all rich kids must possess. That, and her long dancer legs. Over the course of multiple subway encounters spanning the next three years, Isabelle learns of Alex’s struggle with his father, who is hell-bent on Alex being a contender for the major leagues, despite Alex’s desire to go to college and become a poet. Alex learns about Isabelle’s unstable mother, a woman with a prejudice against Latino men. But fate—and the 1 train—throw them together when Isabelle needs Alex most. Heartfelt and evocative, this romantic drama will appeal to readers of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen.
This Train Is Being HeldReview:
Another book I read for NoVaTeen, this one was a good one. I immediately liked it. The concept of a love story that started on the train was so meet cute and I loved it. But it fell prey to the secret-keeping trope which is one that I hate. I hate characters keeping secrets when telling the truth would literally solve all the conflict that arises.
Despite this, I really enjoyed the characters. Alex was interesting and complicated. He’s a baseball player that’s Dominican and pushed hard by his dad to aim to become a pro ballplayer. Alex, however, has a newly discovered love for writing poetry and is considering going to college before trying to get drafted for baseball. I liked Alex a lot. He clearly loved his mom. It wasn’t clear How he felt about his stepmom but he totally adores his younger brother and spends time with him training him to get better at baseball. With all of this Alex doesn’t want a relationship, but he can’t help his attraction to Isa. I thought their relationship formed naturally and I loved all the meetings on the train.
Isa was a little annoying. She’s the one keeping secrets. She’s embarrassed by her family. Her mom and brother both have mental health issues. Instead of confiding in Alex about this, she keeps it a secret and it causes several problems. I liked her passion for dance despite her mother wanting her to become a doctor. She seems to see the world through rose-colored glasses because though she is Cuban, she looks white, so she hasn’t dealt with the same things that Alex has and doesn’t understand his reactions to certain things (like the police.)
This book covers some heavy topics like racism, gangs, police brutality, in a way that really made me feel for the characters. There’s also a bit of inequality between Isa and Alex. Isa lives on Park Ave and goes to private school and Alex does not. This causes conflict too, but this was a more realistic conflict (I hate secrets that cause conflict. It just pisses me off.)
Overall, I thought this book was good. I enjoyed it and the characters. Thought the chapters are marked with the changing days and dates, so sometimes there was a week or more in between some chapters and that was a bit jarring at first. I definitely think this will be a well-loved book, but the secret-keeping really lowered my enjoyment.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

 

We Regret To Inform You by Ariel Kaplan

GoodReads Summary:
Mischa Abramavicius is a walking, talking, top-scoring, perfectly well-rounded college application in human form. So when she’s rejected not only by the Ivies, but her loathsome safety school, she is shocked and devastated. All the sacrifices her mother made to send her to prep school, the late nights cramming for tests, the blatantly resume-padding extracurriculars (read: Students for Sober Driving) … all that for nothing.
As Mischa grapples with the prospect of an increasingly uncertain future, she questions how this could have happened in the first place. Is it possible that her transcript was hacked? With the help of her best friend and sometimes crush, Nate, and a group of eccentric techies known as “The Ophelia Syndicate,” Mischa launches an investigation that will shake the quiet community of Blanchard Prep to its stately brick foundations.
We Regret to Inform YouReview:
This was so much fun. This book was another I got from my local library because the author is going to be at a book event I’m planning to go to. I’ve read her first book (Grendel’s Guide to Love and War) and really enjoyed it. So I thought I’d like this one too, which I did. Misha was a bit stuck in her feelings, but having dealt with the stress of college applications, I could understand. I liked her friends but wished she was a better friend to Caroline and that there was some reconciliation there for them. Misha was kind of shitty to her and there wasn’t any resolution to that. But I loved Nate and their friendship. I also loved the hacker girls. They were my favorite. They were all so sassy and pushed the limits of what might be morally okay. Definitely my favorite.
The one complaint I have about this book was the miscommunication trope. Or rather, the “I’m not going to share this important information because I’m scared” which is something that drives me crazy in books. I just want the characters to tell the truth and get help from adults.
Overall, I liked this book. Misha and her mom have a pretty good relationship. With normal bumps. But I liked it. I thought the relationships and character growth were done well. I think contemporary fans will enjoy this one.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

How the Light Gets In by Katy Upperman

GoodReads Summary:
Since her sister’s tragic death, seventeen-year-old Callie Ryan has basically given up. Her grades have plummeted, she’s quit her swim team, and she barely recognizes the people her parents have become.
When she returns to her aunt’s run-down coastal Victorian one year after Chloe’s death, Callie resigns herself to a summer of guilt and home renovations. She doesn’t expect to be charmed by the tiny coastal town or by Tucker Morgan, a local boy brimming with sunshine.
But even as her days begin to brighten, Callie’s nights are crowded with chilling dreams, unanswered questions, and eerie phenomenon that have her convinced she’s being haunted. Will Callie be able to figure out what her sister is trying to communicate before it’s too late?
How the Light Gets InReview:
I read this book because the author will be at the NoVaTeen book festival this year and I try to read as many of the authors that I know will be there. Katy Upperman is one of them. I didn’t manage to read any of her books last year but I found this one at my local library.
I’m glad I picked this up because I was surprised by how much I really enjoyed it. I liked Callie immediately. The book opens with her being caught smoking weed which was honestly so relatable I laughed a little. She’s dealing with the death of her sister, and not so well. So, she goes to spend the summer with her aunt. I loved the little town she goes to spend the summer in. She makes new friends and heals old wounds. She grew so much and her growth was so well done.
The part that surprised me about this book what the paranormal aspect. There are ghosts and I loved it. It was a little spooky here and there but in the best way.
Overall, I was happy to be surprised to enjoy this book so much. I didn’t have many expectations, probably because I’d not heard much about it. But I find that I enjoy books more when I try to go into them without expectations. This is one I’d definitely recommend for contemporary lovers.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

No Place Like Here by Christina June

GoodReads Summary:
Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She’s just spent a year at boarding school and can’t wait to get home. But when Ashlyn’s father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for “exhaustion,” a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down.
The cherry on top? Ashlyn’s father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn’t even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” not even Ash’s habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes—inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere—can help her cope.
With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad’s marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.
No Place Like HereReview:
No Place Like Here really hit me right in the heart. I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. We started off with Ashlyn as a kind of an unlikable character. She won’t tell her mom and dad what she wants and instead lets them make plans for her and just goes along with it, even if it’s something she doesn’t want.
So this is how she ends up staying with her aunt and uncle she barely knows and working with her cousin at a corporate camping retreat. My favorite thing was Ashlyn’s growth. She starts off not making great choices, but the further into the book the better choices she makes. She gets closer to her cousin and the two of them are a great team.
While this is going on, she’s struggling with her dad being in jail and her mom being in rehab working on managing her depression better. I thought these topics were handled really well. My mom did some time in jail and it was really hard on me. I thought this aspect of the book was portrayed thoughtfully and I could relate to the things that Ashlyn was feeling and going through.
I loved the way things ended in this story. Hopeful for better things, with Ashlyn and her mom reunited and trying to be more of a team. I loved the friendships and familial relationships. I will definitely be reading more of this author’s work.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Echoes Between Us by Katie McGarry

GoodReads Summary:
Veronica sees ghosts. More specifically, her mother’s ghost. The afterimages of blinding migraines caused by the brain tumor that keeps her on the fringes and consumes her whole life haunt her, even as she wonders if it’s something more…
Golden boy Sawyer is handsome and popular, a state champion swimmer, but his adrenaline addiction draws him to Veronica.
A girl with nothing to live for and a boy with everything to lose–can they conquer their demons together?
Echoes Between UsReview:
What to say about Echoes Between Us? We follow two characters, Veronica and Sawyer. I really liked that both of them showed us that what others think does not dictate who we really are. Both have secrets and both are more than their reputations.
I honestly don’t know how to explain the characters. Veronica is feisty and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. She is unapologetically herself and dares others to say something about it. She has a loyal group of friends, though they sadly aren’t in school with her. I loved her and her friend group.
Then there’s sawyer who is seen as the rich popular kid, but there’s so much more to his story. He’s an adrenaline junkie but is filled with so much guilt when he gives in. He takes care of his sister and his mother in more ways than he ever should have to. I really felt for him because I have family members that struggle with drinking.
This book was filled with tough topics and strong emotions. I think the author covered these topics, addiction, illness, and the like, so well. She really succeeded in making me feel all the things. I definitely will be picking up more books by this author in the future.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

GoodReads Summary:
From Morgan Matson, the bestselling author of Since You’ve Been Gone comes a feel-good story of friendship, finding yourself, and all the joys in life that happen while you’re busy making other plans.
Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.
Future? A top-tier medical school.
Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around).
Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.
So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too.
Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all—working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?
The Unexpected EverythingReview:
I picked this book up for the latest round of Tome Topple. I thought this was a fun contemporary but nothing that blew me away. As with any book, there were things I liked and things I didn’t.
I mostly liked Andie. Sometimes she was a little annoying, but mostly I liked her. Once she really started to enjoy dog walking and where summer might take her I liked her more and more. I wanted her to pull her head out of her ass when it comes to relationships though. I didn’t like her serial dating and occasional hookups.
I loved her friends. I thought they were such a fun friend group. I definitely want to have a scavenger hunt now because of this book. I think their dynamic was such fun. I also thought the conflict was realistic, though sucky. I didn’t like that there wasn’t really reconciliation in this area, but we can’t get everything we want in life.
The romance was enjoyable. I loved having a writer as the love interest. It made me want to stop reading and go to work on my own book. I think Clark was my favorite character because he was the one I personally related to the most. I’ve been through the same struggles we see him deal with within this story.
Overall, this book was fun and despite its size, a quick read. I definitely think this would be a good beach read.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Jackpot by Nic Stone

GoodReads Summary:
Meet Rico: high school senior and afternoon-shift cashier at the Gas ‘n’ Go, who after school and work races home to take care of her younger brother. Every. Single. Day. When Rico sells a jackpot-winning lotto ticket, she thinks maybe her luck will finally change, but only if she–with some assistance from her popular and wildly rich classmate Zan–can find the ticket holder who hasn’t claimed the prize. But what happens when have and have-nots collide? Will this investigative duo unite…or divide?
Nic Stone, the New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out, creates two unforgettable characters in one hard-hitting story about class, money–both too little and too much–and how you make your own luck in the world.
JackpotReview:
I loved Stone’s other novel, Dear Martin, so I was excited to read Jackpot when I picked it up at Target. Sadly, I didn’t love it. I liked it well enough, but there were some things that I didn’t enjoy.
Overall, I just really didn’t like Rico. I understand what it’s like to be poor, but she just complained about it and made Zan out to be a bad guy because his parents have money. Sure he doesn’t really get what she’s going through, but there are lots of poor people that don’t automatically dislike people with money just because they have money. She was really judgmental and I just didn’t like her very much.
I did, however, totally adored her little brother. He was so happy all the time despite the fact that his family was poor. He always had a smile on, even when he was sick.
Zan was definitely a little savior-ish, but he had good intentions and that was clear. I liked him right up until the big reveal about the missing lottery ticket. That really made me mad.
I enjoyed reading this book while I was reading it, but there were some things I didn’t like. I did like the diversity in this book. I liked the overarching theme, but Rico annoyed me and so did the ending.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith

GoodReads Summary:
Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.
Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.
At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…
And she isn’t going down without a fight.
Don't Read the CommentsReview:
Thank you to NetGalley for approving me for this ARC. I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. I follow Eric Smith on twitter and he’s just someone I think I’d get along really well with, so I wanted to check out this book.
I loved D1V right from the start. She’s just a girl that streams her games and has ended up getting sponsorships and other sorts of things. She uses these things to support herself and her mom. Her mom’s trying to finish graduate school at night and is almost done. I loved that her motivation was to help her mom. It was so sweet. I also loved that she stood up for what was right and didn’t back down when she started to get attacked by the horrible Vox Populi. I also totally loved her best friend Bekah. I adored Bekah naming things in the game after popular YA books she loved (Like Heart of Iron and This Savage Song).
Then there’s Aaron. I liked that he sort of had a savior complex because it allowed his best friend to stand up and tell him to chill out and take his complex somewhere else. I also liked that he wanted to follow his dreams, even if that might be disappointing his parents. I hated his friends (other than Ryan). They were selfish and horrible.
I thought this book was nerdy and important. It talks about important things. The dangers of having a prominent place online. The things trolls will do and say to people they don’t like or that have a certain gender or skin color. I think it discussed these topics very well.
Overall, this book will be beloved by the nerd community. I can already see it. I loved the characters and their development. I loved the incredibly important topics it covers, from assault to cyber bullying, and it does it well. I think this book is going to be a hit, so, preorder it, request that your library buys it, because you don’t want to miss this one.

Quotes:

“In my opinion, if you associate with trash, you should get thrown out with the rest of the garbage.”

“I think if you’re going to be a monster, you should at least have the courage to tell the world that you are one.” Ryan comments, scratching away at something with a pencil. I look over his arm and notice that he’s working on some king of dragon-type creature. “If you’re so proud to have twisted views that you go out and act on then in public, against people, you should show your face.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.