Category: Contemporary

Book Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers

Summary: A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

Release Date: September 2018
Age Group:Contemporary, True Crime, Podcast, YA (but I think more New Adult content)
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Reviewed By: Nat

Review:

Sadie was raw, gritty and relevant.

I listened to Sadie as an audiobook and I couldn’t be happier in that decision. Summers has an exceptional writing style that delivered a story partly as a podcast that bounced between past and present events- the reporter present day and Sadie’s POV.
It was an absolute treat to listen to all the different characters come to life! I felt like I was a part of a true crime story and was actively searching for Sadie.
The plot was so darn good. The imagery was both incredible and tormenting. With every word that Sadie stuttered or thought, I felt it. This story makes you feel so many different emotions: love, loss, hate, disgust, shock, empathy, anger and resolve. I was emotionally drained by the end, that is a clear sign of great writing.
Sadie, herself, hit me pretty hard. From her stutter to her internal monologue, I just loved her. I cheered with each triumph of justice she felt and mourned with each tragic revelation. Her story and character were executed in such a way that you were left punched in the gut and gasping for air as you cheered “keep going!”.
As I finished the last page, my first thought was this could be someone’s real story. That hurt. And I think that is was supposed too.
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I would not recommend this to a teen due to the language and nature of the violent crimes. I felt Sadie read more as New Adult lit versus YA.

I would recommend this read as an audiobook and for fans of Making a Murder and True Crime stories. It’s not pretty and a solid reminder that there are ugly people who appear innocent– the true monsters in the dark.

 

Book Review: Love and Other Secrets (The First Kiss Hypothesis #2) by Christina Mandelski

Summary: Star lacrosse player Alex “Kov” Koviak has it all. Or so everyone thinks. He’s real good at pretending his life is perfect…until he meets Bailey. The girl challenges him and pushes him and makes him laugh like he’s never laughed before. Their friendship is their little secret, and he’s happy to keep her to himself.

Between school, two jobs, and trying to get into NYU film school, Bailey Banfield has zero time for a social life. But then she meets Alex in her express lane at the grocery store, and their secret friendship becomes the only place she can breathe. She refuses to complicate that with more. No matter how charming Alex can be.

When Bailey decides to film outrageous promposals for her NYU application, she enlists Alex’s help to plan an over-the-top, epic promposal to someone else. Too bad the only prom date Alex wants anywhere near Bailey is him.

For a guy who seems to have it all, he’s about to lose the only thing he’s ever wanted.

Release Date:
Age Group: YA, Contemporary (clean), Sports Romance
Source: Review Copy from Publisher (Entangled Teen Crush)
Reviewed By: Nat

Review:
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Entangled Crush reads and Mandelski’s style of writing. It’s fun, fast and a little predictable. If you like Sweet Valley High style books then you have found  new author and a new publisher! Stand tall friends, don’t let people dim your light for SVH!

Promposals. 🤔

I feel confident that if promposals existed when I was in high school, I would have been the girl watching on the side, turning beet red just witnessing the entire scene unfold, all while secretly hoping I had it happen to me (but NEVER revealing such a girly secret).
 
I’ve seen these proposals range from simple & sweet to holy-crap-that-was-more-expensive-than-my wedding. It really gives a new meaning to go big or go home. Love and Other Secrets really tapped into what it’s like to be in high school right now. Secret crushes, promposals, popularity and coming of age pains all tied into public displays of {affection}.  Are promposals affectionate or a show?? 🙄

Teens will easily relate to the plot and teenage angst. Bailey and Kov were relatable and terrible at communicating. 👈🏽 C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N kids! It really can solve world problems.

Love and Other Secrets is sure to be loved by YA contemporary fans. It’s fast, funny, relatable and like everything else, it’s all caught on film. You poor YouTube generation… I’m so glad all my teen fails were not recorded and archived for all of time. 

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Book Review: Courting Carlyn by Melissa Chambers

Summary: Vaughn Yarborough is ready to trade the fame and glory of the international junior pro tennis circuit for college and a more settled life. First stop: spearhead a summer camp for underprivileged kids. The girl who’s agreed to run it with him has Vaughn more intrigued by the minute, but with the strict no-fraternizing rules, he’s got to figure out how not to fall for her.

When the boy Carlyn Sadowski has crushed on for years asks her to work with him for the summer, she has to pinch herself. When his world-famed coach offers her training for free, she can’t believe her luck. He could actually help her follow in her mother’s footsteps by playing college tennis. But when she finds out the catch is she’s got to convince Vaughn to go pro, Carlyn will have to decide between her dreams and the boy currently stealing her heart.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book features a super-hot sports star, the shy girl looking to grow her confidence on and off the court, and late-night shenanigans that would make your camp counselor blush.

Release Date: August 2018
Age Group: YA, Contemporary (clean), Sports Romance
Source: Review Copy from Publisher (Entangled Teen Crush)
Reviewed By: Nat

Review:
What can I say, I’m a sucker for contemporary YA sports fiction, who knew! I wish I had this niche of fiction when I was in high school. Maybe it would have made all the broody athletes more tolerable… probably not but I would have enjoyed looking at them a bit more. Ah nostalgia. You seriously couldn’t pay me to repeat high school but I do love reading a good coming of age story and Entangled Crush book always deliver! 💯

I was a little hesitant with this one because I have absolutely no interest in tennis. None. Although, I do think the outfits a freaking adorable and I have serious leg envy. But Courting Carlyn was an adorable, sweet romance without being cliche, plus who doesn’t love a summer camp romance?

The alternating POV’s between Vaughn and Carlyn were entertaining and humorous. I think high school girls will really enjoy the flirtatious banter between the two. Carlyn and Vaughn were really relatable for a teen audience but especially for senior athletes who have to make big choices that will begin to shape their future paths.

I also enjoyed exploring the history that drove each one toward their goals. And of course one of my favorite plot points to fall upon, neither one gave up a dream for love! 🎉🎉🎉 Points for both love & life goals!

Basically, this is a total swoon worthy YA read and it doesn’t matter if you know anything about tennis or not. If you need a sweet coming of age romance with a little teen angst and a tennis ball, then grab Courting Carlyn!

X🎾X🎾X🎾X🎾

Book Review: Surviving Adam Meade by Shannon Klare

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Claire Collins has a plan: get into college and leave North Carolina behind. What she doesn’t have is an idea for how to get rid of the local football star and womanizer extraordinaire—Adam Meade, who she can’t even avoid (despite many efforts), because Claire’s dad is the high school football coach.

Seventeen-year-old Adam Meade never fails. He always gets what he wants… until he meets Claire, the new girl who leaves him unnerved, pissed off, and confused. But there’s something about her that he just can’t resist…

With the bite of lemon meringue pie and the sugar of sweet tea, Surviving Adam Meade is a sexy and compelling young adult novel about two strong-willed people who think they know what they want but have no idea what they need.

Release Date: August 2018
Age Group: YA, Contemporary
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Reviewed By: Nat

Biased Texan Clause:
Okay, so this book will be loved by all Texans/Natives simply because it is based on our states mandatory Friday night activity, HS Football or termed FNL= Friday Night Lights.

My kids had 28 tardies at the close of last year. I am chronically late to church each Sunday (which starts at 12:30pm). But this past week I got up at 5am sharp to get in line for our HS football season tickets… I was third in line.

Do I have a kid in HS? No. Can I name anyone on the team? Yes, one. Do I have a child in football? Nope. But I got my tickets (and a few extra because I require extra butt room)! See, we are a strange breed but honest about it.

Review: 
Surviving Adam Meade was a fun, feel good book and a great contribution to YA contemporary but without the standard guarantee of a HEA, which was killer good build-up for book 2. And that is another bonus, a BOOK 2!

Once I started, I read this sucker in one sitting, wanna know why? Because of page 13 and one snarky reply by the MC Claire: “I’d bring him a special water bottle filled with the tears of my enemies.”

I loved Claire! I loved her spunk, her fire and her sassy mouth. She is exactly what I’d expect from a football coaches daughter but with the added bonus of teen heartache.

When Adam was introduced he was the typical jerk-jock and I just knew I was going to hate the guy. But the more he and Claire interacted the more I loved the both of them as a pair. I’m not sure I would have liked them apart, they had a certain fire about them. The kind of fire that screams “I will eat your first born but first KISS ME you fool!

I also really liked how Adam’s story unfolded, his character was the most realistic and endearing. He had real life tragedies and the world on his shoulders (sometimes literally).

The Ex:
The only complaint I have is that I didn’t know enough about Seth, the Ex, to really spew hate-fire at the guy. I mean I know we hate him but I needed more backstory besides a break-up. Give me the dirt!

Surviving Adam Meade is filled with all the challenges of Senior year, the odd year between adolescence and adulthood. It is a fantastic debut novel and I cannot wait to dive into Finding Claire Collins.

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