Every Exquisite Thing

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From Goodreads: Star athlete and straight-A student Nanette O’Hare has played the role of dutiful daughter for as long as she can remember. But one day, a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bubblegum Reaper– a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic– and the rebel within Nanette awakens.

As the new and outspoken Nanette attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, she befriends the reclusive author and falls in love with a young, troubled poet. Forced to make some hard choices that bring devastating consequences, Nanette learns the hard way that rebellion can sometimes come at a high price.

This is honestly the hardest book I’ve ever tried to review. I read this book months ago. This review has been sitting in my drafts forever. I’ve written and deleted paragraph after paragraph, not quite coming up with the words I really want to use. I’m not sure why. The more I think about it, the more conflicted I am with what I want to say. I liked this book. Or at least parts of it. I remember thinking as I read and as I finished that there was so much within this book that was relatable and important. But attempting to write about the book has been a lot harder than I thought.

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As I read through, I found myself saying, “Wow! This is an amazing quote! This is such an important theme!” But when it came time to write about it… Nothing.

But I keep coming back to this review, still trying to write something about it, because I still feel like there are words in there somewhere.

(*Note– By the end, I found a lot of words. For having nothing to say, this is probably the longest review I’ve written. Be warned.

Also, there are some minor spoilers, but no major plot line reveals. So it’s semi-spoiler free?)

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The Last Boy and Girl in the World

The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian

What if your town was sliding underwater and everyone was ordered to pack up and leave? How would you and your friends spend your last days together?

While the adults plan for the future, box up their possessions, and find new places to live, Keeley Hewitt and her friends decide to go out with a bang. There are parties in abandoned houses. Canoe races down Main Street. The goal is to make the most of every minute they still have together.

And for Keeley, that means taking one last shot at the boy she’s loved forever.

There’s a weird sort of bravery that comes from knowing there’s nothing left to lose. You might do things you normally wouldn’t. Or say things you shouldn’t. The reward almost outweighs the risk.

Almost.

— From the book jacket of The Last Boy and Girl in the World 

Aberdeen, a small town on the banks of a river, has been home to Keeley Hewitt’s family for generations. When constant rain threatens to flood the town, Aberdeen’s residents are faced with only one choice– pack up and leave the town they’ve called home or lose it all. But as everyone around her is leaving, Keeley’s family is fighting for their town, and Keeley is determined to make the most of what little time they all have left together. With the help of her longtime crush, she’s going to make sure that none of them will ever forget the last days of Aberdeen.
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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – SPOILER FREE!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

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It’s always been difficult being Harry Potter, and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and a father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: Sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

— From the book jacket of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Normally, this is where I would give another brief synopsis of the plot before going into what I thought of the book. But I’m not. The book has only been out for 2 days, and there are a lot who still haven’t read it. So in order to #keepthesecrets, I’m not going to recap.

Honestly, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to do a review for this one, especially one so soon after the book’s release. I didn’t want to give anything away within my review. But I feel like I should. I devoured this book within a day. (Even though it’s a hefty hardcover, it’s pretty easy to do. There’s not a lot on each page.) This is a book we’ve all waited for, and what kind of blogger and Harry Potter fan would I be to not share my thoughts on it. So I’ll just do a very brief, no spoilers, reaction post for now and possibly revisit the idea of a full review later. Continue reading

A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal but Tamlin–one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As Feyre dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility to a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin– and his world– forever.

— From the book jacket of A Court of Thorns and Roses

In the harsh winter, it’s up to Feyre to provide for her family. When she comes across a deer in the woods, she realizes she’s not the only hunter looking for a kill. A wolf stands across from her, leaving her with 2 choices– allow the wolf to take her only food source and let her family go hungry, or kill the beast as well. With one shot, her fate is sealed. The wolf she has killed is no wolf at all–he’s a faery– and Feyre has broken a centuries old peace treaty between the human and faerie realms. A treaty that calls for a human life in exchange for the faery life she has taken. Feyre has to choose between being killed or taken captive by the beast that breaks down her door. To save her family she chooses captivity in the magical realm she thought was just a myth.

Upon arriving at the Spring Court, Feyre learns that there are more frightening things within the faery world than the beast named Tamlin. Terrifying creatures stalk the forest surrounding the estate, and a magical disease has stricken the faery realm, draining its magic and threatening to spill over into the mortal world. As Tamlin and his court fight against the rising threats, he also begins to get closer to Feyre. As open hostility between the two turns to romance, they realize there is much more to fight for. When the source of the magical disease is revealed, it seems that only Feyre can save Tamlin and the entire faery realm.

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If I Was Your Girl

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

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Amanda Hardy is the new girl in Lambertville, Tennessee. Like any other girl, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret. There’s a reason why she transferred schools for her senior year, and why she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.

And then she meets Grant Everett. Grant is unlike anyone she’s ever met– open, honest, and kind– and Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she finds herself yearning to share everything about herself… including her past. But she’s terrified that once she tells Grant the truth, he won’t be able to see past it.

Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that she used to be Andrew.

— From the book jacket of If I Was Your Girl

Amanda Hardy is starting her senior year at a new school in a new town– a hard task for anyone. After leaving her home, her mother, and her old life behind to move in with her father, Amanda is determined to keep her head down and simply make it through until graduation, when she can move to New York and live her own life.

Despite her efforts to keep to herself, she meets a boy named Grant who quickly wins her heart. Soon she is going on her first date. Having her first kiss. Feeling the flutter of a first love. But through it all, Amanda is keeping a secret. One that could threaten her relationship with Grant. The secret of why she had to move to Lambertville this year. The secret of who she once was. The secret– she’s transgender.

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This is the Story of You

This is the Story of You by Beth Kephart

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On Haven, a six-mile-wide stretch of barrier island, Mira Banul and her Year-Rounder friends have proudly risen to every challenge. But when a superstorm defies all predictions and devastates the island, when it strands Mira’s mother and brother on the mainland and upends all logic, nothing will ever be as it was. A stranger appears in the wreck of Mira’s home. A friend obsessed with vanishing is gone. As the mysteries deepen, Mira must find the strength to carry on– to somehow hold her memories in place while learning to trust a radically reinvented future.

— From the book jacket of This is the Story of You

Six miles long. One-half mile wide. One school in what was once a bank. 14 kids in the class of 2016. One bridge in and out. One letter short of Heaven. One superstorm to change it all forever.

Mira has lived in Haven, a small island off the coast of New Jersey, her whole life. Living in the attic of the seaside cottage she shares with her mother and her brother, Mira enjoys the slow pace of being a Year-Rounder. Hanging out with her friends Eva and Deni, riding their “modes” from one end of the island to the other (Mira’s mode of choice– a pair of roller skates), and watching over her little brother Jasper Lee, Mira’s life on Haven is pretty normal.

When snippets of news float in about a storm out at sea, no one seems overly concerned. Haven is prepared for weather. They pride themselves on it. They’d be ready if it hits.

In the beginning it was just the beginning. The storm had no name. It was far away and nothing big, mere vapors and degrees. It was the middle-ish of September. Empty tables in restaurants, naked spaces in parking lots, cool stairs in the lighthouse shaft.

You could watch the sky, and it was yours. You could stand on the south end of the barrier beach and see Atlantic City blinking on and off like a video game. You could ride your wheels home, and the splat splat on the wide asphalt was your sweet siren song.

Everything calm. Nothing headed toward crumble.

— From the back cover of This is the Story of You

When Mira’s mother, Mickey, takes Jasper Lee to the mainland for his weekly treatments for the rare disease he was born with, Mira is left on her own. That night a mysterious stranger shows up at her door, looking for a way in. But soon the stranger is the least of her worries. The storm has also arrived, and it’s brought all its unimaginable fury with it.

In the light of morning, the devastation is clear. Mira’s home is flooded. Other homes are simply gone. Debris fills the beach and floats out to sea. People are missing, including Mira’s best friend Eva. And the bridge to the mainland–washed away. With no way to even contact the mainland, Mira has no idea how her family has fared. She’s on her own. But she’s not alone. She’s part of Haven, a community that watches out for each other.

In the days that follow the storm, there will be traedgy. There will be loss. There will be heartbreak and horror. But there will also be hope. Haven will rebuild, as it always has.

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Dreamers Often Lie

Dreamers Often Lie by Jacqueline West

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Jaye wakes up from a skiing accident with a fractured skull, a blinding headache, and her grip on reality sliding into delusion. Determined to get back to her starring role in the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jaye lies to her sister, her mom, and her doctors. She’s fine, she says. She’s fine. If anyone knew the truth– that hallucinations of Shakespeare and his characters followed her from her hospital bed to the high school halls– it would all be over. She’s almost managing to pull off the act when Romeo shows up in her anatomy class. And it turns out that he’s 100 percent real. Suddenly Jaye has to choose between lying to everyone else and lying to herself.

— From the book jacket of Dreamers Often Lie

While her family loves to spend time outdoors, Jaye would rather be on stage performing– her true passion– despite her family’s disapproval. She is not comfortable with outdoor activities, and she’s downright terrified of skiing. And that’s even before she wakes up in the hospital with a brain injury after an accident– a injury that has left her with hallucinations… of Shakespeare.

But she won’t let a little thing like hearing and seeing the Bard and his characters all around her stop her from performing. She’s back at school a week later, hallucinations in tow. She tries her best to ignore them until she realizes that the Romeo she’s been dreaming about isn’t just a figment of her imagination. He’s actually real and his name is Rob. To make things even more complicated, an old friend comes back into her life, and now she’s torn between blossoming feelings for the new guy and lingering feelings for someone she’s known her whole life. When dreams of a bloody battle between the boys starts to cross over into real life, can Jaye keep her life from playing out like a Shakespearean tragedy?

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