Seventeen-year-old Rhea Farrell carries the scars of a childhood accident in which she lost her arm. But she also carries scars that aren’t so visible–the loss of a mother she hardly remembers, the impact of her father’s drinking, and her confusion and pain around accepting her sexuality.
When Rhea runs away, she turns to the person she always wished she could confide in–her mother. And just like she used to do as a little girl, Rhea starts to write her letters–to tell her things she can’t tell anyone else, to share her fears, to ask for help. Rhea’s journey on the streets of New York brings her deeper into her mother’s past where she uncovers buried family secrets. And as she finds out more about the woman her mother truly was, Rhea also discovers just what kind of woman she wants to be.
Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be a homeless teen living on the streets of NYC in the years before the internet? What about a queer homeless teen? Or maybe a queer homeless teen with one arm? And she’s an orphan?
There’s a lot to think about in this book, as the main character Rhea has been through some major hardships. Her childhood was not exactly perfect, but when she has to give it up to live with her Aunt in Florida, she does not adapt well. She resents . . . well . . . almost everyone. When conflict erupts in her Aunt’s Florida home, Rhea sets out for NYC in search of answers and independence. Continue reading Book Review: How Many Letters Are in Goodbye? by Yvonne Cassidy
In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.
When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.
Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they’d never, ever do in high school.
Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never die your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he’s broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It’s either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember.
Title:Everything, Everything Author: Nicola Yoon Publisher: Delacorte Books Pub Date: September 1, 2015 Pages: 320 Format: ARC Paperback Source: provided by publisher Synopsis: This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
Title:What We See When We Read Author:Peter Mendelsund Publisher: Vintage Books Pub Date: August 2014 Pages: 425 Format: Paperback Source: Purchased Synopsis:
A gorgeously unique, fully illustrated exploration into the phenomenology of reading-how we visualize images from reading works of literature, from one of our very best book jacket designers, himself a passionate reader. A VINTAGE ORIGINAL.
Title: Only Ever Yours Author: Louise O’Neill Publisher: Quercus Pub Date:July 3, 2014 Pages:392 Format: Paperback Source:Purchased Synopsis: frieda and isabel have been best friends their whole lives.
Now, aged sixteen and in their final year at the School, they expect to be selected as companions – wives to wealthy and powerful men. The alternative – life as a concubine – is too horrible to contemplate.
But as the intensity of the final year takes hold, the pressure to remain perfect becomes almost unbearable. isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty – her only asset – in peril.
And then, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.
frieda must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known…
This book was really intense. Don’t expect it to beat around the bush, Only Ever Yours plunges directly into the terrible world O’Neill has created. And the characters’ flaws are certainly not sugarcoated either. Here’s an excerpt from O’Neill’s website, explaining the inspiration behind Only Ever Yours:
I first had the idea for ‘Only Ever Yours’ in January, 2011. It was terrible weather, and the subways weren’t running because of the snow. I was stranded in a Starbucks, nursing a grande green tea until I could get back on the train to make it to work. I was starving, and I kept looking at the cakes, desperately wanting one, but not feeling able to. Continue reading Book Review: Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill
I don’t think I’ve ever written a bad review before. Not because I like every book I have ever read, but because it sits in that grey area between acceptable and unacceptable. I came across this piece from the New York Times, and I decided to do a review post for this book anyway; it’s part of my “job” as a book blogger to think critically about the things I read, and I’d like to think of this post as a review of a book I read that I just happened not to like.
Title:Penelope Author:Rebecca Harrington Publisher: Virago/Vintage Pub Date: August 1, 2012 Pages: 304 Format: Paperback Source: Purchased Synopsis:
When Penelope O’Shaughnessy arrives on the Harvard campus she is amazed: she has never seen such a vast and majestic Au Bon Pain. She has also never met anyone like her fellow freshmen. Everyone is overwhelmed and overworked, striving to get into the right social clubs and frantically pulling all-nighters at the library – and classes haven’t even begun. Continue reading Book Review: Penelope by Rebecca Harrington
PUBLISH DATE: March 17, 2015 (pre-order here) PUBLISHER: Random House PAGES: 336 FORMAT: Paperback ARC SOURCE: Goodreads Giveaway SYNOPSIS: Anna was a good wife, mostly. For readers of The Girl on the Train and The Woman Upstairs comes a striking debut novel of marriage, fidelity, sex, and morality, featuring a fascinating heroine who struggles to live a life with meaning—“a modern-day Anna Karenina tale.”
So earlier today, after posting my latest BookTube vlog on tumblr and tagging the authors and books I reviewed, a cool thing happened. Hannah Hart (creator of the My Drunk Kitchen webseries and book of the same name) saw it and reposted it to her blog. What a sweetheart!
In her words, “I love book reviews! Thanks for reading!”
… and just like that I’m completely starstruck. And thankful that I look pretty good in the video thumbnail.
There you have it, folks.
The books I talk about are My Drunk Kitchen by Hannah Hart, Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, and Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. Let me know if you’ve read any of them!