Posts Tagged: Contemporary

Friday, April 07, 2017

Different in a Good Way: Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon

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Different in a Good Way: Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon
Done Dirt Cheap
Sarah Nicole Lemon
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: March 7th, 2017
by Amulet Books

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Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens.

Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of a local lawyer: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club—and Tourmaline. But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel.
-A copy was provided by Amulet Books for review-

Motorbike clubs is always a good way to get a person’s attention but I honestly did not expect what I got from Done Dirt Cheap. I assumed there would be an element of fluff to the book but instead, what I got was a complex, thoughtfully crafted novel with words that just jumped off the page. There are some books you finish that will oddly make you feel nostalgic for something you don’t even quite remember and Done Dirt Cheap was that book for me. In some ways it was reminiscent of the contemporary YA novels I grew up on.

I think part of the nostalgia for me came from the focus on female friendships in this book. Like both the main characters have their love interests and those relationships are important (and thoughtfully developed) but the way Tourmaline and Virginia interacted WAS the highlight of the novel. It is what breathed life to it and what made it such a compelling piece of work. It kind of reminded me of the powerful female friendships I read about in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants when I was a bb8, growing up.

The romantic relationships ~are~ important in the novel but only so much as how the main characters are defined by them (but also, those boys were both cute and IDK which one I liked more.) I love that they don’t necessarily read like an after thought but the novel doesn’t center around them. It only uses the relationships as a way to further character development.

There are more than just compelling female friendships in the novel though. THERE ARE GOOD FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS. Good in that they are well developed. They are not at the front and center of the novel bu they linger in the background in ways you can tell are important and that the book wouldn’t be the same without them.

Honestly, this book is like a 7 layer bar. Its got subtle details that might not work on their own, but together, ITS A FEAST. But maybe that’s not the best simile. There are just a lot of complex layers to the book that make it what it is. Details that shouldn’t matter but the book wouldn’t be the same without it.

The reason why this book doesn’t get all five stars though is that I felt like the plot was missing something. It is a character driven book and there is nothing wrong with a book being character driven but plots are equally important and I wish I had been able to see more of a definite plot arc.

Overall though, Done Dirt Cheap is a book you will want to have on your TBRs if you love character driven contemporary novels with pretty covers.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

4 Reasons to Read Geekerella by Ashley Poston

4 Reasons to Read Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Posted by on 04/04/2017 • 6 Comments

GEEKERELLA is everything it promises to be. It is incredibly cute and adorably nerdy. Did you grow up kind of obsessed with the Another Cinderella Story movies? Do you want to read a book that is at least the first movie in book form? YOU’VE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE. GEEKERELLA is everything you will ever want from a modern adaptation of a Cinderella retelling. It reminded me so much of why modern retellings of fairy tales are some of my favorite things to read.

Elle grew up watching Starfield (a Star Trek-esque show) with her father. It is one of her few connections to him now that he is gone and it is also one of her only form of escapes. It has allowed her to connect to…

Timely and Important: Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

Timely and Important: Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

Posted by on 03/30/2017 • 1 Comment

Saint Death is one of those books you are going to want to hurl across the room, not because you hate it but because its too painful. Or you could do what Joey does and put scary books in the freezer for another day. The release of the book is so timely and I hope that it will reach the hands of many because it is such an important book. Right now, the conversation surrounding immigration is one of the most politically charged ones. People feel like immigrants are ruining their lives and that the answer is to throw up metaphorical and literal walls between countries. To this I respond with:

I am going slightly off topic and that’s fine because Saint Death is a book that is going to start…

The Infinite Variants of YA: The One Where Caleb Roehrig Chooses b/w an Alpaca and a Pony

The Infinite Variants of YA: The One Where Caleb Roehrig Chooses b/w an Alpaca and a Pony

Posted by on 03/28/2017 • 0 Comments

HELLO and welcome back to this fancy feature that Nick (Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist) and I are collaborating on! This month I have a really fun interview to share with the famously amazing Caleb Roehrig to share with you. He is hilarious and just as much fun to talk to as his book is to read! If you haven’t already read Last Seen Leaving, get on it because its a YA mystery you don’t want to miss. NOW. PLEASE PUT YOUR HANDS UP (or flail around, I don’t have a preference) for Caleb Roehrig!!!

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1. You’ve travelled A LOT. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you want to live and why?

Oh, man. I have definitely done a lot of travel, and I’ve…

The Universe Thanks Whitney Gardner for Writing…: You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

The Universe Thanks Whitney Gardner for Writing…: You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

Posted by on 03/27/2017 • 2 Comments

You’re Welcome, Universe is an incredibly special book and one I count myself lucky to have had the opportunity to read. It’s eye-opening, heartwarming, angsty and just a whole lot of fun. Julia is a main character YA has been waiting for and will be made all the more better by her presence.

Julia is a deaf, Indian graffiti artist. She is incredibly talented but also just tired of graffiti not being taken seriously as an art form. She is tired of all the people who give graffiti a bad name and she is tired of it being seen as vandalism instead of ART that has the ability to make a point and to make people think. She gets kicked out of her school when she covers a slur about her…

One of the Most Important Books: Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

One of the Most Important Books: Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Posted by on 03/23/2017 • 2 Comments

It’s in the title of this review post but I am going to repeat it anyway: Amina’s Voice is one of the most important books published this year and has clearly not gotten the hype it deserves. It’s a middle grade book and I know a lot of people shy away from reading those because reading tastes vary but please don’t overlook this book. Amina’s Voice is such a wonderful, heartfelt book and deserves and infinite amount of love from everybody.

I should take a moment to say I am neither Muslim-American or Pakistani-American but Amina’s Voice still resonated with and I found myself nodding along and feeling Amina’s struggle with her cultural identity on a spiritual level. I grew up feeling similar struggles and even though it wasn’t ~my story~, it felt really…

5 Books Carrie Mac Wishes Were Around When She Was Growing Up

5 Books Carrie Mac Wishes Were Around When She Was Growing Up

Posted by on 03/21/2017 • 1 Comment

Hello and welcome to Xpresso Reads’ tour stop for 10 Things I Can See From Here. Today, author Carrie Mac shares 5 books she wishes were around when she was growing up! Her list is full of many wonderful recs (and some new to me titles) so I am definitely piling up on those books! I hope you’ll check the books and 10 Things I Can See From Here!

PLEASE GIVE IT UP FOR, Carrie Mac!

I’ve picked books aimed at younger readers, say 8-12-years-old or so because that’s when kids need to see the people they are, or will become, represented in books. When they don’t—because the book hasn’t been written or they’re not allowed to read it—that’s when feelings of isolation really set in, just…

Reminicient of Breakfast Club: Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen

Reminicient of Breakfast Club: Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen

Posted by on 02/22/2017 • 4 Comments

My feelings about this novel as about as complex as they get. Optimists Die First does some really great things but also needs a whole lot of work. Keep in mind that this is all based on an ARC version of the book as opposed to the finished copy and ARCs and finished copies can be worlds apart.

For starters, this book is about as cute as it sounds and looks. It is short and sweet and all about friendships and journeys. As one character in the book says, Optimists Die First is a ‘twisted version of the breakfast club.’

There is a complex portrayal of MH without any real labels and that was great. Petula has to go to mandatory art therapy and kind of really hates it. She doesn’t like any…