Publisher: HarperTeen


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

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Review: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
Say What You Will
Cammie McGovern
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: June 3rd 2014
by HarperTeen

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John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern's insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about how we can all feel lost until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.

Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can't walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.

When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other's lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.
-A copy was provided by HarperCollins for review-

Say What You Will is a moving story about two people facing incredible challenges that fall in love and find hope in each other. It’s sweet and wonderful, but also sad and frustrating at times. 3rd person is always hard for me to connect to characters in a book, and this is where my inability to love this one stems from. I also found it a tad long which is probably related to the latter. But it’s a book I’m glad I read; the raw honesty of these people’s harsh lives ended up being both eye opening and inspiring.

Told in dual POV, we have Amy who has cerebral palsy, she needs the help of a walker to get around, and she can only speak using a computerized voice box. She’s also extremely intelligent and highly aware of how people see her, not to mention very lonely. I found her characters highly compelling. I enjoyed how brutally honest she was with herself, and how she was bold enough to try and connect with people who simply did not get her. Not everyone would have her high spirits in her situation, and especially not her guts. She even had an amusing sense of humour that made me chuckle with regularity. Then we have Matthew who I didn’t click with as much as I did her. I found him a bit frustrating, to be honest, even offensive at times. It’s like he didn’t even want to try and kept living in the past. I did find it interesting to look into the perspective of someone with OCD, but I simply didn’t find him to be a very likeable character. He does go through a great deal of character growth by the end, however, which helped.

Together is where they shine. They help each other overcome their fears and end up connecting in a way neither of them expected. This made for a sweet romance that is both cute and believable. I appreciated the true depiction of a first-love romance. It’s filled with anxiety, confusion and insecurities, but also with excitement, anticipation, and forgiveness. There’s a twist in the story that’s heartbreaking, but gives the book that much more depth. I liked how realistically and delicately that was handled, as well.

If only the book wasn’t written in 3rd person, I would have felt much closer to the characters. As it lay, I was kept at a distance due to the narrative choice. My emotional attachment was not as strong as it could have been. I understood that it was a beautiful, heartbreaking journey, I understood the importance in the book’s message, but I didn’t exactly feel it, if you know what I mean. Similarly, the characters’ personalities were not as well defined as they could have been – especially the supporting cast – and I didn’t feel I got to really know them. Still, the power of this novel lays in its message of being the absolute best you can be, no matter how people see you, and no matter the hand life dealt you. Also, be kind to those who look different on the outside, because on the inside they’re just the same as you!

3 Stars
3 Hot Espressos

Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Posted by on 05/13/2014 • 21 Comments

The Art of Lainey is a cute, heartwarming book with a genuine love story that gives the finger to insta-love. This is just a happy-making kind of read that leaves you with a smile on your face and butterflies in your stomach!

Lainey’s boyfriend just broke up with her, and like any teenage girl she feels as if it was the end of the world. She takes on her friend’s advice to follow The Art of War strategies and get him back. It’s a fun premise and being familiar somewhat with The Art of War I thought it was interesting to have that be a part of the story. It gave it this extra layer of depth that I appreciated. As for Lainey herself, though, she could be very frustrating…

Review: Royally Lost by Angie Stanton

Review: Royally Lost by Angie Stanton

Posted by on 05/05/2014 • 21 Comments

Well so freaking adorable! While perusing reviews it seems like more than a few of my friends disliked this one, and I admit that it’s not perfect by any means so I get it, but it’s exactly the kind of fluffy fairy-tale-esque read I was in the mood for on a rainy weekend. It’s the type of romantic adventure that is both idealistic and exotic; perfect for fans of Jennifer E. Smith.

What I didn’t like: -Insta-love ruined some of its charm for me. It was unnecessary and did more harm than good on how I felt about the book. There was not even a built-up to it, suddenly they were just declaring their love. Well okay then!

-These kids are both 18 years old – legal adults –…

Review: After the End by Amy Plum

Review: After the End by Amy Plum

Posted by on 05/01/2014 • 25 Comments

With an incredibly exciting premise and a unique magical twist, After the End could have swooped me off my feet, but instead I found myself getting increasingly bored as the book went on. What started as a fun adventure involving a girl who finds out that her whole life is based on a lie, ended up being nothing but a dull road trip with flat characters and an artificial romance.

I admit to being compelled at first, however. It begins on a high note when we learn all about Juneau’s way of life as a “survivor” after WWIII – or so she thought. Even though it only lasted a few pages, the survivalist lifestyle they had been living was intriguing, and the inclusion of a magical aspect made it…

Review: The Taking by Kimberly Derting

Review: The Taking by Kimberly Derting

Posted by on 04/25/2014 • 17 Comments

This is another of those books that are fun and entertaining, but just don’t have that spark that could have made them truly memorable. At least I have plenty of fun during the ride.

With an engaging start, The Taking pulls you right into its plot full of mystery and wonderment. Imagine being blinded by a light, and the next thing you know your world and everyone you know is 5 years older… except you. You’re still sporting a bruise left from a game just that week, your phone is still fully charged, your clothes and appearance are exactly the same, yet 5 years have apparently passed. This is what happened to Kyra as she brings us along into her baffling story that leaves you dying for answers on every…

Review: Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

Review: Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

Posted by on 04/18/2014 • 16 Comments

Sleep No More has some good entertaining content and an interesting Oracle premise, but there were many eye-rolling parts as well. I had mixed feelings even before I started this one. The mention of both Inception which I loved, and the Wake trilogy which I loathed made for an odd combination of expectations. Still, I was intrigued and it was fun while it lasted, but it’s not without a list of flaws.

The Oracle lore is what kept my interest the most. It takes a while to get a clear picture of the Oracle abilities and the history is weak at best, but the concept is fascinating and, in many ways, thought provoking. Changing someone’s fate does not come without consequences, thus giving the ability a very bittersweet feel….

Review: Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley

Review: Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley

Posted by on 04/16/2014 • 19 Comments

Oooh boy, this book and I did not get along very well at all.  Upon starting it I got really nervous because the first thought I had was that it all felt really juvenile.  Now that I am finished I can safely say that this novel will probably appeal much more to middle grade readers than young adult ones.  Though to be completely honest, I won’t be recommending this book to anyone at anytime.

In Don’t Call Me Baby we are Imogene, a girl who has grown up being blogged about daily by her mother.  Her mom goes by the online monicker Mommylicious and Imogene by Babylicious.  First of all let me talk about this blog of her mother’s, if I was the adult writer of that blog I would…

Review: House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

Review: House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

Posted by on 03/25/2014 • 23 Comments

You know those dogs that are so ugly they’re cute? This book is kind of like that. It was so ridiculous, that it became entertaining in its absurdity. I went into this expecting a more Gothic kind of witch read, and what I got was more Sabrina the Teenage Witch kind of fantastical (except Sabrina did it well!). I mean, if you go into this with the right mindset maybe you’d like it better?

The witch lore starts out intriguing with some interesting aspects. I liked how there’s no good vs evil or white vs dark, it’s all black magic and the way you use it is what matters. That’s how far my liking of this book went, unfortunately, as the more pages I turned, the more nonsensical it…