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 Female of the Species

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From GoodreadsAlex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

Rarely is there a book that I’ve read lately that I’ve finished and wanted to scream “READ THIS!!!!!” at everyone I see. One that I want to carry with me at work at all times so I can hand it to every single person who asks for a recommendation. Rarely has there been a book that I’ve thought so hard about and has stayed with me for so long after I finished it. And one that is so incredibly timely in light of recent events. But here it is. Seriously. READ THIS.

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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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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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Seven Ways We Lie

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

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Seven students. Seven (deadly) sins. One secret.

Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like at every high school, each student has something to hide– from Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues on stage, to Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the seven unlikely allies at the heart of it all, their ordinary-seeming lives result in extraordinary change.

— From the book jacket of Seven Ways We Lie

Seven high school students, each with their own secrets and sins they hide from the world.

Olivia, the girl that sleeps around, whose mother left her family and never looked back.
Kat, Olivia’s twin sister, who shuts herself away with theater and video games, angry because of it.
Claire, the president of every club in school, who overcompensates for her insecurities.
Lucas, Claire’s ex and star athlete, who has to hide his sexuality in their incredibly conservative town.
Matt, the stoner, who uses weed to escape the turmoil at home.
Valentine, the genius everyone calls a freak, who avoids the social interaction he doesn’t understand.
and Juniper, the girl with everything, who is spiraling out of control because of the biggest secret of all.

Told through all seven points of view, Seven Ways We Lie is a story of how each of us carry secrets that can threaten to destroy us until we let someone else in to help us carry the burden.

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