Review: The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

The Boyfriend List (Ruby Oliver #1)

Ruby Oliver is fifteen and has a shrink. But before you make up your mind about her, you should know that she has had a pretty awful (and eventful) past ten days. She has:
* lost her boyfriend
* lost her best friend (Kim)
* lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket)
* did something suspicious with a boy
* did something advanced with a boy
* had an argument with a boy
* drank her first beer (someone handed it to her)
* got caught by her mom (ag!)
* had a panic attack (scary)
* lost a lacrosse game (she's the goalie)
* failed a math test (she'll make it up)
* hurt Meghan's feelings (even though they aren't really friends)
* became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)
* and had graffiti written about her in the girls' bathroom (who knows what was in the boys'!?!).

But don't worry, Ruby lives to tell the tale. Through a special assignment to list all the boys she's ever had the slightest, little, any-kind-of-anything with, comes an unfortunate series of events that would be enough to send any girl in a panic.

A book this cute and happy-making and forgettable is completely unexpected, after reading We Were Liars by the same author. Note that above I used the word 'forgettable' which would usually be an insult, but it's actually a compliment here.

I've found that over the last few years my genres of choice have moved from paranormal and dystopian to cutesy contemporary reads and I find myself craving superficial, basic books. Now, whilst The Boyfriend List undeniably has a meaning and some depth, this is exactly the type of book I have been craving - a funny, messed up, totally awkward teenager, some hilarious and horrifying mishaps and boys (lots of boys) - so I used the word forgettable in the best possible way. It served it's purpose, gave me escapism and didn't rest on me so hard that I kept thinking about it and mulling things over in my head.

Ruby is exactly the type of main character I love to see. She is utterly relatable in a painful way and her friends and family and acquaintances are as well. It feels like Lockhart is writing from a real teenage girl's brain and I totally appreciate that in teen fiction.

On the surface, this book may seem a little aimless - like a casual romp with no direction but through this not completely linear storytelling, we really get to see Ruby develop as well, so it does have direction and I am already chomping at the bit to get the next book in the series.

Overall, The Boyfriend List was cute, simple and fun read which I think is undeniably relatable. Definitely one for any teen or young adult to read for a bit of escapism.

Book released July 14th 2016 by Hot Key Books
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Three Truths and a Lie by Brent Hartinger

Three Truths and a Lie

Deep in the forest, four friends gather for a weekend of fun.

Truth #1: Rob is thrilled about the weekend trip. It’s the perfect time for him to break out of his shell…to be the person he really, really wants to be.

Truth #2: Liam, Rob’s boyfriend, is nothing short of perfect. He’s everything Rob could have wanted. They’re perfect together. Perfect.

Truth #3: Mia has been Liam’s best friend for years…long before Rob came along. They get each other in a way Rob could never, will never, understand.

Truth #4: Galen, Mia’s boyfriend, is sweet, handsome, and incredibly charming. He’s the definition of a Golden Boy…even with the secrets up his sleeve.

One of these truths is a lie…and not everyone will live to find out which one it is.

This isn't usually the type of book I would read, it sounds okay from the blurb but I'm not a massive horror fan. Considering that I really enjoyed The Elephant of Surprise a few years ago when Hartinger contacted me for review, I decided to give it a go.

The first thing that I have to say is that Three Truths and a Lie kept my interest from start until finish - from the first scene in the tattoo parlor to the absolutely final scene, I was hooked. I was hooked on Mia and Galen and Rob and Liam and the dynamics of their friendship, and from when the book started to get more atmospheric, I expected the characters too as well. I just don't feel like they developed as well as I had hoped and it's hard to care about a characters wellbeing when you don't really care.

That being said, I was still completely absorbed into the mystery of this book and the storyline.  I had no idea where it was going but that didn't stop me from guessing, however I do have to mention that the ending whilst shocking didn't really have as much impact as I had been hoping. Personally, I know that Hartinger can write extremely well, but I don't think this book shows the best of him - I think the ending seemed a bit knocked on and gimmicky and it would have done better if it showed through a bit more.

All being said, I still enjoyed this book and I was still hooked from start to finish. I think some bits could have been executed better and some characters developed more, but I still would recommend this to someone wanting something atmospheric and dark to read.

Book released 2nd August 2016 by Simon Pulse
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

If there was just one book releasing this year that I hoped - prayed even - would not let me down it was Glass Sword. I feel so betrayed because this book is suffering from a plague that I thought I had become immune to - yes, that's right.

Glass Sword has undoubtedly succumbed to 'second book syndrome'. This book tries to keep the pace by throwing us into to action, but without the intrigue and mystery that made Red Queen so gripping and special, this book just becomes bland and uninteresting. I put the book down at 20% and reread the first book to make sure it wasn't just that I had forgotten things, but when I went to pick Glass Sword up again I still couldn't get into it and I ended up DNFing this book at 36%. I then struggled for three months to write this review because I kept thinking 'try again, Jade' because I just did not want to have to write this review. 

But I just couldn't get past the fact that this whole book felt forced, like this was just a filler to get to the big main important bit of the series. Then I decided that the Mare I had previously loved had devolved into some bratty, childish main character - she doesn't even try to make the best of a situation - she has the whole 'why meeeee' thing down as well as the whole 'I'm so spesh!' thing. I couldn't even bear her in this book.

I'm sure that King's Cage is going to be amazing - God knows that Aveyard has it in her, Red Queen was so perfect! But having DNF'd this book, I feel like this is where I'm leaving the Red Queen train. Sorry peeps, but this just did not work.

Overall Rating: DNF

Book released 21st July 2016 by Orion
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid

When Everything Feels Like the Movies by [Reid, Raziel]

Everyone wanted to break me. But stars aren't broken, they explode. And I was the ultimate supernova.

My name was Jude. They called me Judy. I was beautiful either way.

School was basically a movie set. We were all just playing our parts. The Crew, the Extras, the Movie Stars. No one was ever real . . . especially me. I didn't fit any category.

All the girls watched me - I could walk so much better than them in heels, and my make-up was always flawless.

All the boys wanted to, well, you know . . . even if they didn't admit it.

They loved me, they hated me, but they could never ignore me.

I only had eyes for Luke. A red carpet rolled out from my heart towards him and this year, on Valentine'sDay, I was going to walk that carpet and find my mark next to him. It would be like a dream.

But my dream was going to turn into a nightmare.

This is my story.

This is a short book - around 180 pages - but don't be fooled. This is anything but an easy read. This was, in fact, one of the most difficult books that I have ever read for this blog. The protagonist was hard to like and the topic is just a pretty heartbreaking one. This book is written to be shocking, with all of the swears and cusses and references to lewd acts. At first, I didn't think there was much to it other than the shock factor but as I neared the middle of the book I saw where it was going and I was gripped.

Could I put this book in front of my fourteen year old cousin and feel happy with him reading it? Not really? But do I feel that this book is a must read for anyone who can get past the language definitely.

I do feel like the characters did not feel true to me. Jude is bigger than life, but in the most narcissistic and masochistic way - he's practically asking to be bullied. The way he talks and the way he has issues and tackles them does not feel his age (14), and I couldn't get past Jude just not being a nice character to read, he isn't meant to be sympathetic character - he is meant to arouse a reaction. This book is about the shock factor.

What I think is the most striking thing about this book is that the events mirror those that led to the death of Larry King - a gay teen who was murdered by a boy he had asked to a dance.

This is such a confusing book because not everyone is going to like it, and I can't quite decide whether I did as well. I know it's going to stick with me for a long time, but did I enjoy the writing style or the characters? Not really. Would I still recommend this book, quite possibly.

I think this is just one of those books that you have to read to know what I mean.

Book released 2015 by Atom
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review:Order in the Court by Casey Lawrence

After witnessing the murders of her three best friends and having their killer arrested, seventeen-year-old Corey Nguyen is having trouble adjusting to life after high school. As a freshman in college, all she wants is to put her dark past behind her, make some new friends, and keep her head down.

Her new world comes crashing down when the killer changes his plea to not guilty, claiming he was coerced into a confession. Corey must now testify in a murder trial, making the panic attacks and flashbacks to the night of the murders intensify. To top it all off, she's pretty sure her mother is having an affair with the prosecuting attorney. To Corey’s dismay, the story clearly doesn't end with the murder of her friends.

I  wasn't initially aware that this book was a sequel, but I found it very easy to read as a standalone.Had I been reading it as a a sequel  I think this book would have been a little less interesting - the real story in this for me was finding out what had happened tha had led to the trial and watching Corey come to terms and move past it. Therefore, had I read the first book andknown wht had happened I'm not entirely sure tha this would have worked fir me. 

Corey was an interesting character, adjusting pretty well considering what she had been through.I loved that she hadn't been this really broken character, she was tough and spunky and I really enjoyed that. The court case was really interesting to follow, and I did feel absorbed as I read the book and finished it.

As a standalone, this book really worked for me. Had I read the first book in the series before I'm not sure it really would have worked as a sequel, which is weird to say,

Overall, Order in the Court was a really absorbing little read with a good main characterI'm not sure it will last in my memory, but I will definitely read the prequel.

Book released August 4th 2016 by Harmony Ink
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling

The Loneliness of Distant Beings

Even though she knows it's impossible, Seren longs to have the sunshine on her skin. It's something she feels she needs to stay sane. But when you're floating through space at thousands of kilometres an hour, sometimes you have to accept there are things you cannot change.

Except that the arrival of Dom in her life changes everything in ways she can barely comprehend. For a while he becomes the Sun for her; and she can't help but stay in his orbit. Being with him flaunts every rule designed to keep their home in order, but to lose him would be like losing herself.

In the end they must decide what is most important: loyalty to the only home they've ever known, or to each other?

I have a problem with books like this, spaceship romance stories. They all seem very similar to me, with a female MC who is different to everyone else, she meets a guy who makes her see the world i a whole new light and they fight back agaisnt the small world which cleary is against them. Really, none of this worked for me.

For me, The Loneliness of Distant Beings was remniscent of Acoss the Universe, but just a lot less enjoyable I hate to say it but despite the fact that the concept was very good and some of the bits such as the controlled environment and the way of living was well done.The problem was just the romance.

Insta-love, ugh. It can't be that hard to write alove story with some development! How can I support a romance and believe in it if there is no development and no reason why these two people like each other. Sure, Selen and Dom were nice enough character but did I really believe in their love? Not even a tiny bit...

And when that love story is such a large part of the book anyway, it just becomes so much harder to enjoy that book, and that is why for me this book just did not work, I am so so so sorry to say it, but there was just a big disconnect there for me...

Book released May19th by Little,Brown Books for Young Readers
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil

I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl
Beatrice Maria Estrella Giovannini has life all figured out. She's starting senior year at the top of her class, she’s a shoo-in for a scholarship to M.I.T., and she’s got a new boyfriend she’s crazy about. The only problem: All through high school Bea and her best friends Spencer and Gabe have been the targets of horrific bullying.

So Bea uses her math skills to come up with The Formula, a 100% mathematically-guaranteed path to social happiness in high school. Now Gabe is on his way to becoming Student Body President, and Spencer is finally getting his art noticed. But when her boyfriend dumps her for Toile, the quirky new girl at school, Bea realizes it's time to use The Formula for herself. She'll be reinvented as the eccentric and lovable Trixie—a quintessential manic pixie dream girl—in order to win her boyfriend back and beat new-girl Toile at her own game.

Unfortunately, being a manic pixie dream girl isn't all it's cracked up to be, and “Trixie” is causing unexpected consequences for her friends. As The Formula begins to break down, can Bea find a way to reclaim her true identity, and fix everything she's messed up? Or will the casualties of her manic pixie experiment go far deeper than she could possibly imagine?

As far as I am aware, Gretchen McNeil is known for one thing - writing absolutely brilliant horror stories. Therefore, when I saw this title I was half expecting to get into it and it have some awful horror twist. It didn't - it was honestly one of the most fluffy, adorable books that I have read in a long time. It's also got some very good messages for teenage girls - oh, and a half-Filipino main character. Who by the way is awesome.

Yep, this book was great.

What makes this story so good is all of the characters that add to it. From the trio of Bea (math girl) and her understated gay friend Gabe and their artsy friend Spencer (who clearly is like madly in love with Bea), to Jesse - Bea's undecisive jerk of an ex and his new girlfriend, disturbingly perk Toile. They all make this story what it is. this isn't just Bea's personal growth, it's everyones. It was so well done, with all of the different interactions and the way everyone just responds so realistically to what is happening around them. I really can't state how much I loved the characters and their dialogue and the way McNeil wrote them.

What on the surface seems like a very superficial book is packed full of messages that I think any teen should learn. That anyone worth your time will take you for you, that people should not be judged by their cover, and that true friends will stand by no matter how nerdy/quiet/weird you really are. I seriously could have used this book at age sixteen, when I tried to make my boyfriend stay with me by trying to be his perfect girl. 

The ending of this book was so well done - I absolutely loved the way everything worked out - yes, it was maybe a little corny and overly-fluffy, but it was feel good.

Overall, I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl was a super cute and very deep read. Written with a witty voice and with a whole cast of true-to-life characters, this book should be on reading lists everywhere. Every teenage girl needs this book.

Book released September 13th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Bounce by Megan Shull


Seventh grader Frannie Hudson wonders what it would be like to trade in her family for a new one. Her big brother ignores her. Her mean older sister can’t stand her. And her parents have just announced they’re going on a last-minute vacation—without her.

When Frannie makes one desperate, crazy wish—BOOM!—she magically bounces into a whole new life, with a totally different family. And. It. Is. Amazing! There’s only one catch: waking up as someone else keeps happening. Plunged into lives and adventures she’s only imagined—from being a pop star to meeting one super-cute boy—Frannie finds courage in the unforgettable friends and families she meets along the way. But as her new life spins out of control, Frannie begins to worry if she’ll ever get back home.

I don't really tend to read a lot of middle grade, but Bounce caught my eye and I couldn't help but request it, and I don't regret it at all. This was a super cute read and despite a few questions that I as an adult have about the mechanics of the plot, I can totally see this being an amazing book for early/preteens going through things.

It was a quick book, without too much depth despite the fact that the book is about coming to terms with your circumstances and making the best of it. It was easy to read and really fun, experiencing all of the lives that Frannie went through before she acme back to her own and adapted a little. I wasn't a fan of Frannie at the start, she was pretty whiny and hard to like, but she became much better through the book. I also wondered what was going on with the girls whose body she ends up in, were they buried, could they experience it? Would they be traumatised by the event? These are things that a younger reader may not think about but as an adult they did kind of distract me.

Overall, Bounce was a quick and cute read for middle grade readers - there were a lot of questions and things which I noticed but I think younger readers would really get along with this.

Book released September 6th 2016 by Katherine Tegen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor, #1)
A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

If I had to describe The Thousandth Floor, it would be Kidulthood meets Gossip Girl meets The 100 meets Pretty Little Liars. It has the sci-fi futuristic feel, the young adults getting involved in illegal substances and such and also the whole classe system thrown in there. I really enjoyed this mix of things, and I will go right ahead right now and say that this book is quite possibly one of the most original and memorable books I've read in quite a while. It may not be one of the best but it was still great and I am super excited that it's being optioned for a TV series.

Firstly, lemme give a shout out to brilliant world building - whilst some of the science didn't add up (the building is like miles high, but the teens can hang out on the roof without getting altitude sickness/any other effects of the height), and yes some of the descriptions of parts of the tower were hard to envision - I still really enjoyed the way that rather than give us any kind of infodump we just get the world as it happens. We are in the tower and we just need to adapt to it. 

The start of this book was perfect. From the first page we know that someone is going to die, the next 400+ pages had me asking who exactly that someone was, and in what circumstances?

I also can't give enough love to all of these intertwining stories that start out separate and then begin to wind around each other until the climax of the book which was absolutely brilliant. My fave characters were Avery, Watt and Eris, but all of them were completely unique and really enjoyable to read about.

The only thing I didn't completely love was the pacing of the book - there were some parts which were really addictive but at times the pace dropped a little and I had to keep pushing myself into it.

Overall, The Thousandth Floor was a super enjoyable read which took teen drama into the 22nd century. I can't wait for the TV show and I totally cannot wait for the sequel.

Book released August 30th by HarperCollins
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review