Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Delightful Summer Read for Your TBR: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

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A Delightful Summer Read for Your TBR: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
The Way You Make Me Feel
Maurene Goo
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: May 8th, 2018
by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers

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From the author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a laugh-out-loud story of love, new friendships, and one unique food truck.

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? 

With Maurene Goo's signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.
-A copy was provided by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers for review-

I Believe in a Thing Called Love was one of my very few five star reads of last year so I was eagerly anticipating the release of The Way You Make Me Feel. While The Way You Make Me Feel was not a five star read for me, it was still absolutely delightful.

Clara Shin is the class clown. Her life revolves arounds making snarky remarks and pranking her enemies. When her prom prank results in the school almost being burned down, both her and her arch nemesis are suspended. Clara’s dad is able to negotiate a deal that may just be worse. She has to spend the entire summer working on her dad’s food truck with her arch nemesis Rose and use her earnings to pay the school back for damages.

Now, I am not necessarily a fan of makeover stories but I don’t know if The Way You Make Me Feel would really count as a ‘personality makeover’ story but honestly, Clara’s character arc is delightful and I loved seeing her bloom into someone who was more driven and aware of her worth while retaining her wit and charm.

The Way You Make Me Feel is a story about family, friendship and first love, but at its heart it is really a love letter to LA and LA food culture. The food truck aspect of the book was definitely something I was intrigued by and was glad that it wasn’t just vaguely in the background but actually a significant part of the book. I really felt like I could imagine not just being in the food truck with Clara and Rose but in LA itself. I know world building isn’t really considered a characteristic(???) of contemporary novels but there is something to be said about how an author brings a real/fictional setting to life in realistic/contemporary novels. If I can imagine breathing the same air as the characters, that’s a good sign right?

Anyway. It’s summer which means there are a truck load of summer reads coming out, and many that might try to grab your attention as you start figuring out all your poolside summer reads. The Way You Make Me Feel is worthy of being on your summer reading list. It is filled with lots of good vibes, good parent(s), new friendships, cute boys and FOOD THAT WILL MAKE YOU HUNGRY.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

Fresh Batch (May 27th – June 2nd)

Fresh Batch (May 27th – June 2nd)

Posted by on 05/26/2018 • 1 Comment

Fresh Batch, posted weekly, keeps you up to date on the hottest releases of the upcoming week.

Flavor of the week:

LIFEL1K3 Jay Kristoff Series: Lifelike #1 Publication date: May 29th 2018by Knopf Books for Young Readers

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On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are…

Great Secondary Characters but Unimpressive Hero: Hot Asset by Lauren Layne

Great Secondary Characters but Unimpressive Hero: Hot Asset by Lauren Layne

Posted by on 05/24/2018 • 0 Comments

Lauren Layne has slowly become one of those romance authors I can count on to deliver a book that will sweep me up by my feet. Her characters tend to have good chemistry, great banter and just generally good personalities. When I read the premise for Hot Asset, I was immediately intrigued but overall, the book wasn’t what I had come to expect from Lauren Layne.

It started off really rough with me wanting to DNF a chapter or two in but I persisted and slowly became more attached to the secondary characters and the general world Layne had built. I finished the book on a much stronger note than I had begun it although I am still not sure if I even really liked it??

My biggest issue with…

A Guide on How to Determine the Audience of a Book: A Discussion

A Guide on How to Determine the Audience of a Book: A Discussion

Posted by on 05/22/2018 • 2 Comments

How do we define the various demographics books are published for? Publishing is split into Adult publishing and Children’s publishing but what determines who a book is published for? This is something I’ve thought about for a long time (especially since my primary focus in undergrad was on Children’s lit) but it recently came up on Twitter and I thought it was worth talking about. 

I think the first answer that always comes at point is the age of the main character but a number of books that would be YA/MG based on the age of the character are often published as Adult. For example, The Girl With All the Gifts. A non-literary example of this is Stranger Things – a show with younger characters that is aimed at an older audience.

So…

Fresh Batch (May 20th – 26th)

Fresh Batch (May 20th – 26th)

Posted by on 05/19/2018 • 1 Comment

Fresh Batch, posted weekly, keeps you up to date on the hottest releases of the upcoming week.

Flavor of the week:

Aftermath Kelley Armstrong Publication date: May 22nd 2018by Crown Books for Young Readers

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Three years after losing her brother Luka in a school shooting, Skye Gilchrist is moving home. But there’s no sympathy for Skye and her family because Luka wasn’t a victim; he was a shooter.

Jesse Mandal knows all too well that the scars of the past don’t heal easily. The shooting cost Jesse his brother and his best friend–Skye.

Ripped apart by tragedy, Jesse and Skye can’t resist reopening the mysteries of their past. But old wounds hide darker secrets. And the closer Skye and Jesse get to…

A Good Exploration of Grief: What We Leave Behind by Allison McGhee

A Good Exploration of Grief: What We Leave Behind by Allison McGhee

Posted by on 05/18/2018 • 3 Comments

I wasn’t entirely sure what I expected when I started What I Leave Behind and while I haven’t made my mind about the actual content of the book, I was pleasantly surprised by the format?? I am not even sure if there a word to describe the style but the story is told in these short snapshots into Will’s mind that are somehow able to paint a bigger picture even though less words are used.

So. What I Leave Behind is the story of Will. It’s been three years since his father committed suicide and he is still processing the trauma while trying to recreate his father’s infamous cornbread. When his friend is raped, he decides that he needs to do something. His need to do something starts to…

Lackluster Poolside Read: Airports, Exes and Other Things I’m Over by Shani Petroff

Lackluster Poolside Read: Airports, Exes and Other Things I’m Over by Shani Petroff

Posted by on 05/17/2018 • 0 Comments

I love a good travel story. I specifically love a good travel story involving airports and things going horribly wrong. Partially because I travel relatively often and because I have a couple of bad travel stories in my own pocket. I don’t think this is really a trend in YA though and it NEEDS TO BE. Jessica Brody’s The Chaos of Standing Still was basically everything I wanted in such a story and I was hoping Airports, Exes and Other Things I am Over would deliver on a similar scale. It didn’t.

The book feels like it’s missing something honestly. It starts with Sari walking in on her boyfriend and his ex kissing. She runs away, doesn’t talk to him and spends an entire week and a half brooding over…