Tag Archives: Contemporary

I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way affects my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

what we left behindWhat We Left Behind by Robin Talley (Mira Ink, 22 October 2015)

Full starFull starFull starFull starNo star

WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND is one of the truest love stories I've ever read in YA.

Tony and Gretchen met each other in high school and fell in love. They're the perfect couple and they've been together for almost two years when they leave for different universities – Tony to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU. They think they'll survive the long distance, but it's much easier said than done. Tony, who identifies as genderqueer, befriends a group of trans guys at Harvard and feels like this is where he belongs. He slowly figures out more about his gender identity, but he doesn't feel like he can talk to Gretchen about it anymore, as she won't understand him the way his trans guy friends do. Gretchen, on the other hand, is starting to wonder who she is outside of her relationship with Tony. Tony is too busy for Gretchen to visit often, and they begin to drift apart. Can they save their relationship – or more importantly, should they?

NB: Tony is written 'Toni' in the official blurb. When he and Gretchen first meet, Tony is presenting as female and has not yet started identifying as genderqueer, and he and Gretchen were known to everyone as a lesbian couple. However, over the course of the book Tony begins to identify as more on the male end of the spectrum than the female end and decides to adopt he/him pronouns and spell his name with a y instead of an i. Thus I believe it best to call him Tony and use male pronouns for him.

Keep reading »

I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way affects my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ANOTHER DAY.inddAnother Day by David Levithan (Companion novel to Every Day) (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 25 August 2015)

Full starFull starFull starFull starNo star

ANOTHER DAY is the companion novel to EVERY DAY, which details the story of A, who wakes up every morning in a different body, living every day in a different life. ANOTHER DAY is told from the perspective of Rhiannon, a girl whom A meets while in the body of Rhiannon's boyfriend, Justin. Justin isn't very good to Rhiannon, and all of Rhiannon's friends see this, but Rhiannon convinces herself that they don't really know. She loves Justin and she can't leave him. But one day, Justin is completely different. He skips school with her to go to the beach, and they have the most amazing day together. Soon, Rhiannon learns that it wasn't really Justin that day – it was someone else wearing Justin's body, and that someone else has fallen in love with her. As A keeps meeting Rhiannon in different bodies, Rhiannon can't help but feel their connection too. In ANOTHER DAY, we see Rhiannon struggling with her feelings for Justin and A at the same time, and fighting the difficulties of loving someone whose physical appearance changes every day and who can never stay in the same life for more than one day.

I've read EVERY DAY by David Levithan, but that was when it came out in 2012, and my book memory has always been terrible. (I honestly thought it came out like, five years ago, I remember so little about it.) So I am pretty much judging ANOTHER DAY entirely by its own merits, and I can't really tell you how well this book works as a companion novel, per se. But as a novel, I think it works pretty brilliantly.

Keep reading »

I received this book for free via Netgalley. This in no way affects my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

about a girlAbout a Girl by Sarah McCarry (#3 in the Metamorphoses series) (St Martin's Griffin, 14 July 2015)

Full starFull starFull starFull starHalf star

About a Girl is phenomenal.

I haven't actually read the previous two books in the trilogy; this third book stands fantastically on its own. Well, I've read maybe a third or half of the first book, and while I was enjoying it and I certainly intend to go back and finish it at some point, I don't think it was as captivating as About a Girl was. I picked up About a Girl in the middle of a long plane flight, and four hours later I was coming to the end of the book and crying silently into a bunch of tissues.

About a Girl is... well, about a girl. A girl called Atalanta, or Tally for short. Her mother abandoned her when she was only a baby and she's grown up in the care of her mother's best friend. Tally's into science – astronomy, to be precise. She's a rational person who likes knowledge and order. But she doesn't know much about her mother – and nothing at all about her father. In the summer before she goes off to college, she travels from her home in Brooklyn to a sleepy island near Seattle on her own, on a quest to find out more about her mother and to discover who her father was. But the island is a strange place, and when Tally meets Maddy, a beautiful girl with lion-coloured eyes, she starts to discover knowledge like nothing she's ever known.

Keep reading »

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher via Edelweiss. This in no way affects my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Fans of the Impossible LifeFans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa (Balzer + Bray, 8 September 2015)

Full starFull starFull starFull starNo star

FANS OF THE IMPOSSIBLE LIFE is gorgeously written and depicts something curiously new in YA: instead of your standard love triangle, we have three people who all have romantic and/or sexual feelings for each other in some way. And Scelsa handles this so deftly and beautifully.

Jeremy goes to St Francis Prep; an incident at school the year before has made him a loner who avoids talking to anybody else. But Jeremy loves art, and when he's encouraged by his favourite teacher to start an art club, he has to get ten signatures from other students. Mira's is the first one he gets. She's a new student at St Francis who suffers from depression. Her best friend is Sebby, a gay boy who lives in a foster home and doesn't go to school at all; the two of them met in the psych ward in hospital ten months ago, each with their own demons to battle. When Jeremy talks to Mira and Sebby for the first time, he feels instantly drawn to the two of them. Together, the three of them form an intense friendship and aim to live the impossible life: a defiant life of magic and magnificence in an otherwise sad and terrifying world.

Keep reading »

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher via Edelweiss. This in no way affects my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Cut Both WaysCut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian (Harper Teen, 1 September 2015)

Full starFull starNo starNo starNo star

I hate to say this, but CUT BOTH WAYS was probably one of the biggest disappointments of the year so far for me. From its gorgeous cover to its bisexual protag, I thought this book would be perfect for me. And I adored Mesrobian's first book, so I thought I would love this too. But I really, really did not.

Will Caynes still hasn't had his first kiss at seventeen. When it happens, it's not what he expected at all. It's with his best friend, Angus, who is gay. But Will can't be gay, right? Then he runs into Brandy, a cute sophomore at his high school, who's babysitting next door. They get talking, and soon, Will and Brandy are making out and having sex. Will likes her a lot. He definitely isn't gay. But even as he and Brandy start going out, Will still can't stop hooking up with Angus. Will's divorced parents are complicating the situation even more as he doesn't feel like he can talk to either of them, and his dad has started drinking again. And whichever way you look at it, all this can only end badly for Will.

Keep reading »