Hi, lovelies! I’ve officially moved and unpacked and I’m a little sad to see this feature coming to an end. So, I wanted to come back one last time and introduce you to my new local library system!
Now, I’m not going to give all the details. But this is what I know so far, like my last library they use Libby and Hoopla. They also have a few libraries in the system to visit. I haven’t seen too much for events and activities (my last library was amazing with the activities and stuff they put together).
I decided to visit the branch closest to me with my littlest one to sign up for my library card. The location I visited had an amazing children’s section. There was such a wide selection of children’s books. I’m very excited to try out their story time with both of my kids.
The young adult section looked good, full of new and diverse titles. But there were some high schoolers studying at the table in that area, so I didn’t want to bother them. I’m also not reading as much YA lately. I didn’t end up checking out any books, but I did browse the adult sections. There seems to be a really great selection of books and I’m really hoping to try to use the library for physical books more instead of buying.
Do you visit your local library? What’s your favorite thing about your library?
Summary: If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one. After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close. But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything. Including Ivan Lukov.
Review: From Lukov with Love follows Jasmine, an older ice skater with dreams of winning medals someday. She’s starting to feel like it might finally be time to give up, when she gets an offer from her arch nemesis and his manager. The two begin to work together and they develop an odd sort of friendship. I loved seeing their friendship grow. Their snippy banter with one another didn’t change once they became more than friends and I really appreciated that. Often when things get romantic the relationship changes and that didn’t happen in this book and I really liked that. I especially liked Jasmine’s family. Her mom and her sibling were an absolute riot and II would read a book just about them without the romance. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. It’s one I will be highly recommending in the future. The only complaint that I had was that Ivan often made comments about Jasmine’s weight and I feel like that was never really addressed even though they touched on so many other subjects when becoming friends. I still liked the book and the romance.
Summary: Jake is just starting to enjoy life as his school’s first openly gay kid. While his family and friends are accepting and supportive, the same can’t be said about everyone in their small town of Barton Springs, Ohio. When Jake’s dad hangs a comically large pride flag in their front yard in an overblown show of love, the mayor begins to receive complaints. A few people are even concerned the flag will lead to something truly outlandish: a pride parade. Except Jake doesn’t think that’s a ridiculous idea. Why can’t they hold a pride festival in Barton Springs? The problem is, Jake knows he’ll have to get approval from the town council, and the mayor won’t be on his side. And as Jake and his friends try to find a way to bring Pride to Barton Springs, it seems suspicious that the mayor’s son, Brett, suddenly wants to spend time with Jake. But someone that cute couldn’t possibly be in league with his mayoral mother, could he?
Review: Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Small Town Pride follows Jake who has just come out to his parents. He’s told some friends, but then Jake’s dad raises a rainbow flag in their yard and effectively outs him to the rest of the town. Jake’s parents are overly supportive (it was so nice to see such loving and supportive parents, even if they still get things wrong sometimes), so when Jake floats the idea of having a pride parade in their small town, they’re all over helping him. I really loved this book. It was a wholesome and heartwarming story about a young gay boy that just wants to feel loved and accepted by the small town he lives in and loves. He’s shown that he has more supporters than he realizes in this story and I thought it was absolutely beautiful. Overall, I highly recommend this one. It really touched my heart getting to follow Jake through the ups and downs of creating and organizing an LGBTQIA event in a small town. I will be recommending this one to many in the future.
Summary: Amber McCloud’s dream is to become cheer captain at the end of the year, but it’s an extra-tall order to be joyful and spirited when the quarterback of your team has been killed in a car accident. For both the team and the squad, watching Robbie get replaced by newcomer Jack Walsh is brutal. And when it turns out Jack is actually short for Jaclyn, all hell breaks loose. The players refuse to be led by a girl, the cheerleaders are mad about the changes to their traditions, and the fact that Robbie’s been not only replaced but outshined by a QB who wears a sports bra has more than a few Atherton Alligators in a rage. Amber tries for some semblance of unity, but it quickly becomes clear that she’s only got a future on the squad and with her friends if she helps them take Jack down. Just one problem: Amber and Jack are falling for each other, and if Amber can’t stand up for Jack and figure out how to get everyone to fall in line, her dream may come at the cost of her heart. Dahlia Adler’s Home Field Advantage is a sparkling romance about fighting for what – or who – you truly want.
Review: Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. I absolutely loved Adler’s Cool for the Summer, so I was excited to read another one of her books. Home Field Advantage follows Jack and Amber, who both get their own chapters. Amber is a cheerleader in a small town. She has hopes to become captain next year when she’s a senior. Enter Jack, and she transfers in to be the school’s new quarterback. Now as if the fact that she’s a girl isn’t going to make things hard enough, the last quarterback died and their fellow students practically worship his memory. So, obviously, the cheerleader and the quarterback get romantically involved. But Amber’s not out, so there are lots of complications. I liked the characters because they were real. They made mistakes and didn’t always consider possible consequences, but they make amends and they do their best to be better in the future. The friendships were easy to root for. I love small queer friend groups that turn into found family. I’m not super into sports, so that was lost on me. Though I do want to mention that Jack’s love for the game really showed through. She uprooted half her family and changed everything for this thing that she loves. Adler did a great job showing the reader that passion. If you like sports romance, this book is for you. If you like sapphic books, this book is for you. If you like both of those things, then you should definitely add this one to your list.
Summary: Pranking mastermind Doe and her motley band of Weston girls are determined to win the century-long war against Winfield Academy before the clock ticks down on their senior year. But when their headmistress announces that The Weston School will merge with its rival the following year, their longtime feud spirals into chaos. To protect the school that has been her safe haven since her parents’ divorce, Doe puts together a plan to prove once and for all that Winfield boys and Weston girls just don’t mix, starting with a direct hit at Three, Winfield’s boy king and her nemesis. In a desperate move to win, Doe strikes a bargain with Three’s cousin, Wells: If he fake dates her to get under Three’s skin, she’ll help him get back his rightful family heirloom from Three. As the pranks escalate, so do her feelings for her fake boyfriend, and Doe spins lie after lie to keep up her end of the deal. But when a teacher long suspected of inappropriate behavior messes with a younger Weston girl, Doe has to decide what’s more important: winning a rivalry, or joining forces to protect something far more critical than a prank war legacy. This May End Badly is a story about friendship, falling in love, and crossing pretty much every line presented to you—and how to atone when you do.
Review: Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. I ended up reading this book via the finished audiobook instead of the eARC I was provided. I think that This May End Badly was a fun and enjoyable YA contemporary. I liked the prank wars between the schools. I liked the romance between the main couple. I think the fake dating was silly but still made me smile. I liked the main character. Overall, I had a fun time listening to this book. It made me smile a few times. I was really engaged by the audiobook. But this wasn’t a new favorite or one that will likely stick with me.
Summary: Eileen, newly single and about to turn eighty, would like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen. Then in bustling London, Eileen’s twentysomething, overachieving granddaughter Leena is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work. Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen will live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will rest and take care of things in rural Yorkshire. But trading places isn’t as easy as either of them expected. Will swapping lives help Eileen and Leena find themselves…and maybe even find love?
Review: The Switch follows grandmother, Eileen, and granddaughter, Leena. The two are both at tumultuous places in their lives, so they switch places. Leena moves into her grandmother’s house in a small town. Eileen moves into Lena’s London apartment with roommates and all. Both struggle with the change but ultimately figure out something important. I listened to the audiobook and the two narrators did a great job with this story. Leena is going through some stuff with her job and she’s still grieving the death of her sister. She takes time off from her job and takes over her grandmother’s duties around town, like driving some of the residents around town. She slows down from what she’s used to and gets to know the people in this small town. Eileen is doing the opposite and she’s trying new things left and right. She’s signed up for online dating and she’s enjoying it. She has managed to change some things in the apartment building and befriended all the neighbors. I enjoyed both stories individually, but I also really enjoyed them when they intertwined. I thought there was going to be a twist in the story that I really didn’t like, but the author managed to spin it in a way that I didn’t mind. I liked that they both got a happily ever after sort of ending. Overall, I really liked this book and I will definitely be reading more from O’Leary.
Summary: While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue! Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…
Review: I read P.S. I Like You at the recommendation of a friend for the 12 Challenge that went around social media in January. I hadn’t previously read anything by West and I will definitely be reading more by her in the future. This book follows Lily, who loves music and playing the guitar, and writing songs. She writes one of her favorite song lyrics on a desk at school and a few days later notices that someone has continued the song. She’s surprised because she doesn’t know many people that know her favorite band. This leads to the pair passing notes back and forth, hidden under the desk they share in the same class, but during different periods. I liked Lily. She comes from a big family and I really liked her family. I have lots of siblings, so I could really relate to her in this aspect. Having lots of siblings brings many challenges, but there’s also something great about coming from a big family. I really loved the different dynamics with the siblings and I loved all of the family antics. Now, I will say that I absolutely predicted the identity of this mysterious person that she was passing notes with. But I’m very pleased to say that things didn’t play out how I anticipated. I was rolling my eyes at what I thought was going to happen with the romance, but I’m happy that West really surprised me. Overall, I ended up really enjoying this book. I loved that the friendship between Lily and her best friend didn’t suffer because of the romance. I also loved the way that the romance played out despite the challenges set up for them. I will definitely be reading more books by West.
Summary: For seventeen-year-old Denver, music is everything. Writing, performing, and her ultimate goal: escaping her very small, very white hometown. So Denver is more than ready on the day she and her best friends Dali and Shak sing their way into the orbit of the biggest R&B star in the world, Sean “Mercury” Ellis. Merc gives them everything: parties, perks, wild nights — plus hours and hours in the recording studio. Even the painful sacrifices and the lies the girls have to tell are all worth it. Until they’re not. Denver begins to realize that she’s trapped in Merc’s world, struggling to hold on to her own voice. As the dream turns into a nightmare, she must make a choice: lose her big break, or get broken. Inspired by true events, Muted is a fearless exploration of the dark side of the music industry, the business of exploitation, how a girl’s dreams can be used against her — and what it takes to fight back.
Review: Muted follows Denver and her two best friends as they dive headfirst into the music industry, trying to become the next popular singing group. This is a novel written in verse, so I chose the audiobook because I always enjoy novels in verse more via audio. This was a quick book to listen to even though the story wasn’t action-packed or anything. Things go from everything that these teens dreamed of to an absolute nightmare. I think Charles did an amazing job drawing out this story. It was incredibly obvious that Merc (the musician that Denver gets involved with to hopefully make their big break) is bad news to everyone except for Denver. It was like watching a car crash, but in slow motion, because you know something bad is going to happen, it’s just a matter of when and how. But the author did a good job keeping me interested in the journey of getting to that point and still surprising me when things are revealed and we learn how bad things really are. I liked Denver and her friends. They were a bit naive, but I couldn’t help but root for them to reach their dreams anyway. I think the friendships were the best part of this book. I loved the relationship between Denver and Dali even though it was complicated and not always happy. Despite these friends making super poor choices, I was impressed by their drive to make their dreams come true. But I also wasn’t at all surprised when everything went wrong because these were, in fact, teen girls making very poor and dangerous choices. Overall, I had a good time listening to this book. It was a wild ride and I was mildly horrified and, at the same time, not surprised to learn that this book was inspired by true events. This was a tough book, at times, but definitely, one that I recommend for audiobook listeners.
Summary: Up and coming fanfic author Kaylee Beaumont is internally screaming at the chance to finally meet her fandom friends in real life and spend a weekend at GreatCon. She also has a side quest for the weekend: Try out they/them pronouns to see how it feels Wear more masculine-presenting cosplay Kiss a girl for the first time It’s… a lot, and Kay mostly wants to lie face down on the hotel floor. Especially when her hometown bully, Miss North Carolina, shows up in the very same hotel. But there’s this con-sponsored publishing contest, and the chance to meet her fandom idols… and then, there’s Teagan. Pageant queen Teagan Miller (Miss Virginia) has her eye on the much-needed prize: the $25,000 scholarship awarded to the winner of the Miss Cosmic Teen USA pageant. She also has secrets: She loves the dresses but hates the tiaras She’s a giant nerd for everything GreatCon She’s gay af If Teagan can just keep herself wrapped up tight for one more weekend, she can claim the scholarship and go off to college out and proud. If she’s caught, she could lose everything she’s worked for. If her rival, Miss North Carolina, has anything to do with it, that’s exactly how it’ll go down. When Teagan and Kay bump into one another the first night, sparks fly. Their connection is intense—as is their shared enemy. If they’re spotted, the safe space of the con will be shattered, and all their secrets will follow them home. The risks are great… but could the reward of embracing their true selves be worth it?
Review: Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. The One True Me and You follows two queer characters, Teagan who is a lesbian but not out because she also competes in beauty pageants, and Kay who is non-binary. These two meet at a hotel that is hosting both a beauty pageant and a fandom convention. Teagan is secretly also very into the fandom of this convention. So she and Kay meet when she sneaks out of her room to see some of the convention. From there, their romance blossoms. I really liked Teagan. She’s driven and thoughtful. She knows who she is and what she must do to reach her goals. I didn’t love how she was to her friend Jess, who is supposed to be one of her best friends, who she blew off most of the weekend to see Kay. But I really actually enjoyed the behind the scenes of beauty pageant stuff. I felt like we got enough backstory to know who she was a character even though we weren’t seeing her in her day-to-day life. Kay, on the other hand, is still figuring themselves out. They are trying on they/them pronouns for the first time. They want to kiss a girl for the first time. And they feel that this fandom convention is the best place for that. Being a part of the fandom feels like a safe place for them and I can absolutely appreciate this. I enjoyed following Kay as they learned so much about themself. I think there were some really great comments about things that are wrong with beauty pageants. I think it did a great job with that. But I felt like the book was clearly biased in favor of fandom. I think there were some real chances to talk about the ways that fandom can be harmful (the amount of times I see people sending death threats to strangers because of fandoms is gross). But being a part of this fan base is only really ever described as a happy and safe place when I think in reality that isn’t always the case. Overall, I think this was a wonderful story about a girl who competes in pageants to promote charity and win some money for college. And about a person finding themselves in a place where they truly feel safe. I think this book will definitely be well-loved.
Summary: Med school dropout Lena is desperate for a job, any job, to help her parents, who are approaching bankruptcy after her father was injured and laid off nearly simultaneously. So when she is offered a position, against all odds, working for one of Boston’s most elite families, the illustrious and secretive Verdeaus, she knows she must accept it—no matter how bizarre the interview or how vague the job description. By day, she is assistant to the family doctor and his charge, Jonathan, the sickly, poetic, drunken heir to the family empire, who is as difficult as his illness is mysterious. By night, Lena discovers the more sinister side of the family, as she works overtime at their lavish parties, helping to hide their self-destructive tendencies . . . and trying not to fall for Jonathan’s alluring sister, Audrey. But when she stumbles upon the knowledge that the Verdeau patriarch is the one responsible for the ruin of her own family, Lena vows to get revenge—a poison-filled quest that leads her further into this hedonistic world than she ever bargained for, forcing her to decide how much—and who—she’s willing to sacrifice for payback. The perfect next read for fans of Mexican Gothic, Tripping Arcadia is a page-turning and shocking tale with an unforgettable protagonist that explores family legacy and inheritance, the sacrifices we must make to get by in today’s world, and the intoxicating, dangerous power of wealth.
Review: Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced review copy in exchange for an honest review. The story follows Lena as she’s just arriving back in Boston. She took a break from medical school and went to work with her Aunt in Italy working with plants that have medicinal purposes. But she’s returned to help her parents who are having financial issues. This leads to Lena getting a job as a doctors assistant for a very wealthy family. Lena finds herself entirely too involved with the family, and that’s she’s in completely over her head. But when she realizes the connections between the family she’s employed by and the downfall of her own family, she decides to take things into her own hands and seek revenge. I really liked Lena right from the start. You could tell that she was super smart and passionate about certain things (like the work with plants she was doing with her Aunt). Her sudden idea and decision to position the man that employed her seemed a little rash for what bwe were shown was an otherwise thoughtful character. Lena seemed to try to think things through before making reckless choices, but the choice to attempt to poison Martin was a snap decision that felt like it took hold of her rather than her actually making the decision. Aside from that, I liked Lena. I didn’t totally understand why she was so enamored by Audrey and Jonathan, as neither of them were very likable characters. Overall, this was an absolutely wild ride and I really enjoyed it. While I didn’t like all of the characters, I liked Lena. The writing of this story was absolutely beautiful. Mayquist’s prose was lyrical and mysterious, with beautifully described settings. I will be looking forward to whatever work Mayquist writes in the future.
Summary: Life in a small Appalachian town is not easy. Cash lost his mother to an opioid addiction and his Papaw is dying slowly from emphysema. Dodging drug dealers and watching out for his best friend, Delaney, is second nature. He’s been spending his summer mowing lawns while she works at Dairy Queen. But when Delaney manages to secure both of them full rides to an elite prep school in Connecticut, Cash will have to grapple with his need to protect and love Delaney, and his love for the grandparents who saved him and the town he would have to leave behind.
Review: In the Wild Light is an emotional story that follows Cash as he tries to find his place in the world. Cash and his best friend, Delaney, have been a dynamic duo for years. So, when Delaney makes a scientific discovery and she’s offered a spot at a prestigious school in Connecticut, she asks that Cash be considered for a place as well. They’re both accepted and Cash must make the difficult choice of whether to leave his sick grandfather and go off to school. Once at school, Cash faces obstacles that he’d never considered before. This was very much a slice of life story of a boy who is, for the most part, on his own for the very first time. I liked Cash most of the time. It was easy to empathize with his feelings about leaving his grandparents and his feelings of inadequacy. He’s a kind and caring human being that I liked. His friendship with Delaney dominated this story. I didn’t always like Delaney. I don’t think she always treated him very nicely. Sometimes she treated him poorly in an attempt to tell him to get his shit together, but I think she absolutely could have been nicer about it sometimes. I really enjoyed seeing Cash flourish at his new school and I especially enjoyed seeing his new love for reading and writing poetry. It was a little funny to me at times because we’re reading the story from Cash’s point of view, so it’s all supposed to be his thoughts and feelings. Some of the writing where he’s talking about the setting and the new places he’s seeing are incredibly poetically and lyrically described, but he really struggled writing his own poetry. It made me chuckle a few times that his inner thoughts were so beautiful and full of imagery but that wasn’t always translated into the poetry he was attempting to write. Overall, this was a beautiful story of a boy that’s doing new things, things that will be good for his future, and getting out of the small town he’s lived in his whole life. It’s a story of making new friendships and trying new things, even though those new things might be scary. Zentner has once again written a a beautiful and sad story that somehow leaves you feeling hopeful.
Summary: Since the loss of her fiancé, Anna has spent the last year foundering on land, shipwrecked by her grief and inability to move on. But when a reminder goes off about a trip they were supposed to take, she impulsively sets off in their sailboat, intending to complete the planned voyage around the Caribbean that Ben had mapped out for them. But after a treacherous night’s sail and a brush with an ocean tanker, she decides she can’t do it alone, and hires a professional sailor to help her get to Puerto Rico. Much like her, Keane is struggling with a very different future than the one he had planned, and he can’t refuse her offer. Together they find a way to rebuild their lives and the possibility of new love.
Review: I didn’t really know much about Float Plan before going into it. I’d seen it a bunch online and assumed it was another romance novel, but it isn’t, not really. At the start of this story, we’re following Anna who is deep in her grief over the loss of her fiancé. He committed suicide about a year before this story starts. She’s really struggling and, in an attempt, to move forward, she takes his boat, now hers, on the trip that they had planned to take together. But she soon realized that she’s not at all qualified to take this trip on her own. After a short trip, she puts out an ad for someone to help sail with her. This brings Keane into her life. Keane is dealing with his own struggles. He’s lost a leg and he’s trying to get back into his career in the boating world, but people won’t hire him anymore. The two set sail together and mostly follow the path that Anna’s fiancé had planned. I enjoyed this book. Going into it, I quickly realized that it wasn’t going to be a romance like I’d thought it was. But it was still a beautiful story about moving forward and finding love after loss. I think the author did an excellent job of showing Anna’s grief but also showing her moving forward and slowly being able to take her happiness into her own hands. I loved the way that Anna and Keane’s relationship developed. I think their slow friendship that eventually turned romantic was really well done. They took their time and didn’t rush anything. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I will definitely be reading more from Doller in the future. She did such a great job of showing the characters’ emotions and showing them grow and move on from the struggles of their past. I can absolutely see why so many people loved this book.
Summary: A hilarious and vulnerable coming-of-age story about the thrilling new experience–and missteps–of a girl’s freshman year of college Some students enter their freshman year of college knowing exactly what they want to do with their lives. Elliot McHugh is not one of those people. But picking a major is the last thing on Elliot’s mind when she’s too busy experiencing all that college has to offer–from dancing all night at off-campus parties, to testing her RA Rose’s patience, to making new friends, to having the best sex one can have on a twin-sized dorm room bed. But she may not be ready for the fallout when reality hits. When the sex she’s having isn’t that great. When finals creep up and smack her right in the face. Or when her roommate’s boyfriend turns out to be the biggest a-hole. Elliot may make epic mistakes, but if she’s honest with herself (and with you, dear reader), she may just find the person she wants to be. And maybe even fall in love in the process . . . Well, maybe.
Review: I picked this one up at the Barnes and Noble 50% off hardcovers book sale under the influence of my friend Kelly. She recommended this for the 12 challenge that was going around Instagramand Twitter at the start of the year. All she said was it’s about a bisexual girl in her first year of college and I was immediately sold. Plus, when I saw it in the bookstore that book cover really just shines. It’s so simple and yet so stunning at the same time. I already can’t wait to take pictures of it. Fresh follows Elliot, who is starting her first year of college. She’s from Ohio, but she’s going to Emerson College in Boston. As someone that grew up Boston adjacent, there are so many excellent Boston and Massachusetts references that had me laughing out loud. The thing about this book is that it doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s told in first-person perspective and Elliot “talks” directly to the reader at times. I loved the way this story was told. I think it was incredibly engaging to be following Elliot as if she was sitting next to me, telling me about her experiences. Now, Elliot doesn’t always make the best choices. She’s incredibly flawed and I absolutely loved that about her. She’s bisexual and confident in her sexuality. The first half of the book is mostly (to use Elliot’s phrasing) Elliot being “horny on main.” The second half is Elliot taking the lessons she learned from her first semester of college and making better choices. She learns from her mistakes and doesn’t repeat them. I think that’s a big reason that she was a character I felt I could be invested in. She doesn’t just do stupid things over and over. She learns and makes a point to do better. I absolutely loved all of the side characters, too. Lucy and Micah were excellent friends. I also loved Elliot’s RA, Rose. I think they made this story even better. Elliot really had amazing friends to support her and to tell her to pull her head out of her ass when she needed it. Overall, I loved this book. I said earlier that it doesn’t take itself seriously. I think the author did a wonderful job of balancing that feeling while also covering some serious topics. There are conversations of sexual assault and slut-shaming. But it’s also a really sex-positive book. I feel like any words that I write cannot do this story justice. I will be recommending this book in the future very often.
Summary: Nothing will get in the way of Millie Price’s dream to become a Broadway star. Not her lovable but super-introverted dad, who after raising Millie alone, doesn’t want to watch her leave home to pursue her dream. Not her pesky and ongoing drama club rival, Oliver, who is the very definition of Simmering Romantic Tension. And not the “Millie Moods,” the feelings of intense emotion that threaten to overwhelm, always at maddeningly inconvenient times. Millie needs an ally. And when a left-open browser brings Millie to her dad’s embarrassingly moody LiveJournal from 2003, Millie knows just what to do. She’s going to find her mom. There’s Steph, a still-aspiring stage actress and receptionist at a talent agency. There’s Farrah, ethereal dance teacher who clearly doesn’t have the two left feet Millie has. And Beth, the chipper and sweet stage enthusiast with an equally exuberant fifteen-year-old daughter (A possible sister?! This is getting out of hand). But how can you find a new part of your life and expect it to fit into your old one, without leaving any marks? And why is it that when you go looking for the past, it somehow keeps bringing you back to what you’ve had all along?
Review: Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. When You Get the Chance follows Millie, a theatre kid, who is doing quite a few things. She’s looking for her mom (after narrowing it down to three possible women), trying to convince her dad to let her go to a super-selective theatre program that she’s been accepted to (except it’s across the country), and also, she’s falling in love. I was not a theatre kid. They didn’t have any sort of drama program at my high school, so that aspect of this story went right over my head. Though I could totally feel the energy and excitement and passion that Millie had for acting from this book. My favorite part was the mom drama. I have to say that once you get past a certain point about the mystery moms, I absolutely guessed who Millie’s mom was before it was revealed. Growing up with a single dad, I really liked this aspect of the story. Millie’s family dynamic was an interesting one. I loved Millie’s dad and it was so clear that he loved her. He obviously did his best to raise her and love her and I loved that. But I also could understand Millie’s complicated emotions about her mom. I think this part was really well done. Because it’s not that Millie is unhappy with her dad and her aunt, but there’s nothing really that can replace the mom that birthed you, even if she gave you up. Now, the romance. I was absolutely here for the rivals to friends to lover’s romance between Oliver and Millie. I think they were so fun to follow as they figured out what a great team they can be. I liked learning about the ways that they helped one another and didn’t even know it. I think their journey from grudging respect to friends to lovers was absolutely to die for. I devoured it. Overall, this was a fun and easy to read story about Millie who is just trying to find herself (but what else are we going to do at age seventeen), and instead finds more of a mystery, love, and possibility. I think this will be a hit among YA readers, for sure.
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out—move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes. Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his things, and tries everything to forget him and the tragic way he died. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces back memories. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail. And Sam picks up the phone. In a miraculous turn of events, Julie’s been given a second chance at goodbye. The connection is temporary. But hearing Sam’s voice makes her fall for him all over again, and with each call it becomes harder to let him go. However, keeping her otherworldly calls with Sam a secret isn’t easy, especially when Julie witnesses the suffering Sam’s family is going through. Unable to stand by the sidelines and watch their shared loved ones in pain, Julie is torn between spilling the truth about her calls with Sam and risking their connection and losing him forever.
Review: Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. You’ve Reached Sam follows Julie during her senior year of high school. There are only a few months before graduation and she and her boyfriend, Sam, have made so many exciting plans for their future together. But then Sam dies suddenly in a car accident and Julie’s future has changed forever. But then things get a little weird and Julie calls Sam’s phone one day and he answers. So, instead of trying to move on and figure out what she’s going to do now, she spends all of her time on the phone talking to Sam. I’ve seen basically nothing but rave reviews for this book, so I was pretty excited to read it and be emotionally destroyed by it. But that did happen for me and it’s absolutely because I think Julie was pretty terrible. The story opens with her getting rid of all of Sam’s things less than a week after he’s died. I just couldn’t reason that away in my mind. I wear a ring that belonged to my grandfather every single day and he died ten years ago. I totally understand that everyone grieves differently but that was just the first of many things that Julie did that just made me feel really disconnected from her. I couldn’t reason away her behavior or feel attached to her as a character. I will say that Julie really does the work to make up for her incredibly crappy behavior. She’s hurt most of her friends and it was really good to see her do the work to make it up to them. But my initial reaction to her just stuck with me. I loved the concept of the story. I loved the idea that Julie was talking to Sam on the phone even though he was gone. I liked the cast of characters (except Julie). I think they absolutely made the story better and more enjoyable. Overall, I liked this book but I didn’t love it. It’s entirely Julie’s fault that I didn’t love this book. She was kind of terrible for the beginning of this book and even though she really grew and had some great character development, I just never felt like I could really get invested in her. I can absolutely see why so many people love this book and I will definitely be recommending it in the future.