I was looking for a theme that tied all these mini-reviews together and I realized all these books feature characters who have to travel to unknown places, overcome obstacles and come through the other side changed forever.…
7 hours 33 mins | Scholastic Audio | Contemporary | 7/06/2021
Content warnings: parental loss, panic attacks, gun violence and nonconsensual picture sharing
You Should See Me In A Crown was one of my favorite reads last year and I was excited to see what Johnson had in store for her sophomore novel. The one was a little more of an emotional heavy hitter with an ambitious plot structure that left me wanting more.…
7 Hours 3 Mins | Harper Audio | Contemporary | 5/04/2021
In this book, the titular Meet Cute Diary is a wildly popular Tumblr blog of supposedly true meet-cutes from transgender couples. In reality, all the posts are from the imagination of 16-year-old Noah Ramirez–who has only ever dreamed of having his own meet-cute.
When an anonymous troll tries to discredit the blog, Noah and a handsome bookseller stage a social media love story inspired by Noah’s fake posts.
The Meet Cute Diary is a refreshing take on the coming of age YA love story that creates room for queer and imperfect teens but… its main romance left me wanting more.
*mild spoilers below*…
8 hours 19 minutes | Harper Audio | Contemporary | 9/15/2020
CW (from publisher): mention of sexual abuse, rape, assault, child abuse, kidnapping and addiction to opioids
28-year-old superstar Korey Fields promised to make 17-year-old Enchanted Jones singing dreams come true. Instead he lures her into an abusive relationship she can’t escape from. Part contemporary novel and part literary thriller, Grown is a brilliantly modern addition to the canon of YA books about abusive relationships.…
Underlined | Contemporary | Release Date: 03/02/21
This YA Romance is from a new imprint called Underlined, a genre-focused collaboration between Delacorte and the Underlined teen writing community. The books are described as “highly-commercial and compulsively-readable” which is why I think this book hits the ground running. Within the first few pages, we are quickly introduced to all our characters, their backstories and then we dive into the plot as this group of New York City teens enter a short film competition.
Fifteen-year-old Emma has big ideas for the group’s short film, she loves romance and wants to make the queer rom-com of her dreams. That is until Sophia, her anti-romance frenemy objects, so they decide to split up their friend group and make two opposing films. Cue enemies-to-lovers.
I thought this was a great book for the younger YA set if they can handle the language. It’s very plotty and earnest but allows the teens to talk and act like actual teenagers. Desombre is a teacher and I feel like she narrowed in on what is important to teenagers. The romance between Emma and Sophia felt natural and they both have to put the work in for their HEA.
This cover confounds me because this book clearly takes place in an idealized New York City so why are there palm trees on the cover? Yes, the prize for winning is a trip to California but that is the only California reference.
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen was one of my favorite YA authors as a teen but I haven’t read much outside of my old faves. This is a quasi-reread because I started this book years ago but never finished it. l picked it up again because I noticed the audiobook had been re-recorded by Rebecca Soler, one of my faves. I’m not sure why this book and Someone Like You have new audiobooks but I’m not complaining because Soler is a great narrator!
I can see why this book is a fan favorite, it’s about a straight laced teen who learns it’s okay to have a little bit of chaos in life. I think there is a certain freedom in learning that if something goes wrong it’s not the end of the world. Plus there is the attractive, artsy, reformed bad boy with a heart of gold.
But I thought this book was a little twee and overly earnest at times, particularly the reveal of the birthday present. I mean….wouldn’t Wes have known about it? Speaking of Wes, he really wasn’t giving me much. I didn’t understand what exactly he saw in Macy.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
It’s been almost a decade (how???) since I read this and, for the most part, it holds up well to re-reading. I mean, there is definitely some phrasing around Romani people and disabilities we may not use today. Going into the book knowing how it ends was a fun experience, I noticed reveals in the text I hadn’t noticed the first time around. In the interview at the end Taylor says she didn’t see herself as a storyteller before this book and I literally don’t see how. The way she weaves this story together is incredible. I hadn’t remembered that the Akiva/Madrigal backstory is told completely out of order but it all comes together perfectly in the end.
This time around I found myself imagining Karou looking a little like Anna Taylor Joy because of her big doe-like eyes. I also sort of saw the chimera as being like the animals in Bojack Horseman, I had such a hard time imagining them and like, how their mouths moved when I first read it.
And look, at the end of the day this book is a colonizer romance and there is a bunch of Fantastical Racism but I think Taylor meets the challenge. There isn’t a lot of both side-ism and it’s clear in the text that the seraphim are colonizers and colonizers are always in the wrong.
I think this is the perfect series to binge, I am so amped to finish this series! I can’t believe I waited 3 years for the next one….it’s also occurring to me that I haven’t listened to another Hvam audiobook since this one. I need to change that….it looks like she recorded new versions of the Vampire Academy audiobooks
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
This book has had one of the longest hype trains I’ve ever seen in modern YA. I read it 3 years after the initial hype and now, 3 years after that, it’s all over TikTok and social media thanks to the TV adaptation.
I think what draws readers to this book is Bardguo’s compelling character work. Kaz gets talked about a lot as a myth maker but all of our protagonists have had to mythmake themselves to survive their individual trauma. Bardugo creates stakes for each character (well, except Wylan) on how the mission is their chance at breaking free from what haunts them.
The audiobook holds up well to a re-listen, I could listen while working because I knew the contours of the character and plot. I don’t think I gave Fred Berman enough praise the first time around. When it came to voicing Kaz he understood the assignment. Kaz’s rough voice is such a predominant feature of his character and I think that’s why Freddy Carter’s Kaz felt like he was missing an edge in the television show. Speaking of Kaz, in my original review I said he was a Draco In Leather Pants, but he’s not. I read this before I’d read the original trilogy and the Darkling is the Draco In Leather Pants