Posts Tagged: YA

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Incredibly Hilarious and Deeply Sad: The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried

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Incredibly Hilarious and Deeply Sad: The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried
The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried
Shaun David Hutchinson
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: February 19th, 2019
by Simon Pulse

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A good friend will bury your body, a best friend will dig you back up.

Dino doesn’t mind spending time with the dead. His parents own a funeral home, and death is literally the family business. He’s just not used to them talking back. Until Dino’s ex-best friend July dies suddenly—and then comes back to life. Except not exactly. Somehow July is not quite alive, and not quite dead.

As Dino and July attempt to figure out what’s happening, they must also confront why and how their friendship ended so badly, and what they have left to understand about themselves, each other, and all those grand mysteries of life.
-A copy was provided by Simon Pulse for review-

So I was going to open this review on a whole tangent about how long I’ve been reading Shaun David Hutchinson but when I went onto Goodreads, I realized I haven’t even READ ALL OF HIS BOOKS because I am a terrible person. But, in some ways, opening an SDH book is so familiar and comfortable even though, including The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried, I’ve read all of three books by Shaun David Hutchinson.

The Past and Other Things That Should Say Buried is more reminiscent of some of Hutchinson’s earlier stuff in that it is more lighthearted but that’s not saying much when even at his most light hearted, Hutchinson never fails to punch you in the feels. The best way to really describe this book is that even though it is so funny (I laughed out loud A LOT), it is also deeply sad. July may have been temporarily brought back to life by some magical forces, but throughout the novel, we as readers are all deeply aware of how temporary this is.

Hutchinson’s work stands out because of how bizarre his books can be. Characters who have powers to perform miracles, alien abductions, universes that shrink, DEAD PEOPLE WHO COME BACK TO LIFE, ALL WEIRD, fascinating stuff. Hutchinson clearly isn’t afraid to venture out into the weird and bizarre but the reason why his books always hit the mark for me is because he is SO GOOD at writing characters. His teens always feel so authentic to me and July & Dino are no different.

July and Dino used to be the best of friends but when Dino started dating Rafi they slowly drifted apart. A lot of things were left unsaid and they slowly became resentful of one another. It’s been approximately a year since they ‘broke up’ when July has an aneurysm and dies. When July suddenly comes back to life, it is like a second chance for their friendship. Of course, they cannot stop bickering and playing the blame game. BUT, EVENTUALLY, they begin to communicate and fix their friendship.

One of the my favorite things about this book is how much we are aware of the fact that July is basically a zombie. There are detailed descriptions about how her body is decaying even though her mind is reanimated. IT IS GROSS but it grounded the book and made it feel all the more real.

While this book really focuses on their friendship, I love that we also get to see both July and Dino grow as people (EVEN IF JULY IS DEAD) as they relearn each other and face what went wrong with their friendship.

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried is full of wit and snark, and also just laugh out loud moments. It is also incredibly thoughtful and respectful. You should definitely pick this book up if you love complex characters, weird scenarios and some good, old snark.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

Old School YA PNR Vibes: Slayer by Kiersten White

Old School YA PNR Vibes: Slayer by Kiersten White

Posted by on 01/31/2019 • 1 Comment

While I’d heard a couple of things about Slayer, they were mostly about Buffy and how the book was set in the same world as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’ve seen less than half an episode of the show so I immediately checked out and assumed it would not appeal to me as someone who does not care about the show. Then I read the synopsis. I got old-school YA feels from the blurb and I’ve been craving old school YA for ages so I was immediately drawn in.

I think the best way to sum up my feelings about Slayer is that the first half was a solid 3 stars and the second half was a solid 4 stars. The first half is sort of slow and takes a…

Mediocre: Immoral Code by Lillian Clark

Mediocre: Immoral Code by Lillian Clark

Posted by on 01/30/2019 • 0 Comments

I love a good heist book and 2019 truly seems to be the year of heist books but unfortunately, Immoral Code was not everything I wanted it to be. It’s the kind of book that has good bones but ultimately, neither the writing style nor the pacing worked for me.

The entire time I was reading the book, the characters voices felt sort of inauthentic? But upon reflection I don’t think the fact that they were all self-aware makes them inauthentic, I am an extremely self-aware human being, but I think self-awareness doesn’t always translate as well in writing. This book is written in a very free, stream-of-consciousness style and yes, human beings constantly think that way but also, I don’t want to hear every single thought an MC…

Amazing Friendships: Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills

Amazing Friendships: Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills

Posted by on 01/11/2019 • 0 Comments

I slept on Emma Mills for AGES but with a little peer pressure, I finally binge read all of her published books last year. I can honestly say that it was life changing. Not necessarily because her books in of themselves changed my life but they were so good and I was so happy to finally have them in my life. WHAT I AM TRYING TO SAY is that if you still have not read a single Emma Mills novel in your life, you need to fix that. If you have, then I am guessing you’re gonna pick this book up regardless of anything I have to say so hope you have a nice life. Here, have some cookies on your way out! I made them myself!

Lately, I feel…

Ridiculously Awesome and Fun: The Disasters by M.K. England

Ridiculously Awesome and Fun: The Disasters by M.K. England

Posted by on 12/24/2018 • 1 Comment

I dove into The Disasters with almost no expectations. I had grabbed it on a whim and only vaguely remembered it had something to do with space. I’d say I regretted doing this but honestly, it was truly the best way to read this book because I ended up being taken completely by surprise by its awesomeness and just, IT WAS SO GOOD and it’s so GREAT to have a book completely surprise you.

There are many space books out there and it’s likely you’ve read and loved some of them. I am here to tell you The Disasters is better (or at least I think it is.) It’s the space book I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW I NEEDED. Are you tired of all those space books that are super…

Summer-y YA for Winter Blues Mini Reviews

Summer-y YA for Winter Blues Mini Reviews

Posted by on 12/19/2018 • 1 Comment

 

Love & Luck Jenna Evans Welch

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Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.

So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds…

Extremely Addicting: Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Extremely Addicting: Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Posted by on 11/19/2018 • 5 Comments

Not to be extremely dramatic or anything but I’d kill to read the sequel to Little White Lies (and to The Long Game but that’s a whole other story.) This is probably an odd sentence to start a review with but honestly, that’s just how J Lynn Barnes’s books make me FEEL. Barnes has a knack for writing addicting novels that you cannot stop reading even if they are over 400 pages long. Little White Lies is not only addicting but it reads like a puzzle, clues dispersed everywhere that you need to connect to form the bigger picture.

Sawyer Taft’s life changes when her grandmother shows up on her doorstep and offers her a deal she is unable to resist. Soon she is drawn into the world of…

Adorable and Emotional: A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Adorable and Emotional: A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Posted by on 10/24/2018 • 2 Comments

A Very Large Expanse of Sea is my first Tahereh Mafi book and I definitely hope it won’t be last. Reviewing this one is particularly hard because it was one of those books I ADORED while reading but a couple hours of reflection definitely allowed me to pick up on several holes within the plot and various arcs of the story.

The book hits on a particularly complex social issue that’s about as relevant today as it was two decades ago – islamophobia. This book is an #ownvoices tale and particularly so in that it is very much inspired by Mafi’s own experiences growing up after 9/11. One of my favorite things about this book is that sometimes, even when the sentences aren’t perfect or I have issues with…