Tag: romance

Mini Review: I’ll Meet You There (2015) by Heather Demetrios

Mini Review: I’ll Meet You There (2015) by Heather DemetriosI'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Published by Macmillan on February 3rd 2015
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary, Family, Love & Romance, Parents, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Goodreads
four-stars

If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom--that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she's ever worked for is on the line.Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise--a quirky motel off California's dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

Likes:

-Demetrios highlights the effects of PTSD on a soldier, his friends, and the community he returns to, and she doesn’t sugarcoat it. This is a very real and significant condition for many soldiers returning from the Middle East, and I like that the book points out how important it is to support these returning soldiers—male and female. In that sense, this book has a call to action, and I love that. When books motivate the reader to think differently about an issue or to act differently or to do something, I’d say that is a powerful book. And I’ll Meet You There is in that category, in my opinion.

-Sky and Josh! I love the way their friendship develops and evolves into something more. Both of them have their own brokenness, but they are aware that the connection between them is important. Though there are bumps along the way, I think they both understand that some relationships are worth fighting for.

“It felt so good to be full, but there were parts of me that still felt empty and hungry, and I could tell it was the same with Josh.”

-Sky and her art! I like that Sky turns to collage at many points in the story—when she’s happy, and when she’s sad. Art is therapeutic for her, and I can relate to this. Collage is one of my outlets, and I’m always clipping images and words out of magazines for a new creation.

“The mess of my life, of Creek View, of the summer, had been transformed into something beautiful.”

-California references. Since I grew up in California and actually had family living in Fresno, our family took road trips often to the central part of the state. It was cool to read about these places and be able to visualize them easily—in fact, when I started this book I was actually driving on Highway 99 the very next day!

Why I Think You Should Read This Book:

-Heather Demetrios is another author I’m going to watch closely because I think her Contemporary YA is excellent—I recently posted my review of Emery Lord’s The Start of Me and You and I admitted that I don’t read a lot of Contemporary YA. I feel like I’ve lucked out recently because both of these books were beautiful and though they both took me a little longer to read (due to other reading obligations, etc.), I absolutely applauded their conclusions, and I would definitely recommend them.

This book is heartbreaking in parts and raw, but it’s worth it. Her story doesn’t make the world out to be a cheery place all the time, but there is hope embedded in the narrative.

**Be aware that there is quite a bit strong language in this one—if that’s something you’re concerned about, you might want to preview the book first. Of course, I understand why she included the language in the story—it reflects the way Josh and Sky talk and express frustration, etc. But there is quite a bit of it, just to warn you.

I’ll Meet You There is wonderful! It may be difficult to read in parts, because of its content, but you won’t forget these characters soon, and you’ll close the book recognizing that hope and love can win in the end.

Today is the Monthly Classic Middle Grade Discussion at The Midnight Garden for The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I’m excited, and I’ll be heading over there as soon as I finish my reading. Look for a special post from me tomorrow!

four-stars
What Katie Read

YA Contemporary Review: The Start of Me and You (2015) by Emery Lord

YA Contemporary Review: The Start of Me and You (2015) by Emery LordThe Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on March 31st 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Goodreads
five-stars

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it's never too late for second chances. It's been a year since it happened-when Paige Hancock's first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school. . .and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her-the perfect way to convince everyone she's back to normal. Next: Join a club-simple, it's high school after all. But when Ryan's sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

Illuminations:

ATTENTION: Strong recommendation for New Emery Lord YA ahead!!

Was I ever surprised at how much I loved The Start of Me and You…

The book opens after Paige has lost her boyfriend, who was killed in a swimming accident, and she’s still working through her grief. But she determines to put her best foot forward with the new school year, and she wants to open her heart again. Maybe to a new relationship. Ryan Chase shows up, and seems to be the guy Paige hopes to be pursued by. But a surprising decision to get involved with “Quiz Bowl” (trust me—you’ll love it!) introduces Paige to new friendships and faces. What ensues is fantastic—though Paige may not see it at first.

Paige, Max, Ryan, Tessa, Kayleigh, Morgan…these are characters I came to care about, and Lord describes an amazing friendship among the girls. Sure, they have their bumps along the road in their friendship (and that makes it more realistic) but this group of girls has been through thick and thin, and they’re intentional about being there for one another.

“In friendship we are all debtors. We all owe each other for a thousand small kindnesses, for little moments of grace in the chaos.”

Emery Lord’s dialogue: I love it. I can’t remember the last time I read a book where I was so aware of how fantastic the dialogue was between characters. In a way, I felt like I was eavesdropping on a hangout between friends. The banter wasn’t choppy, but authentic and humorous at times. This was definitely a strong point in the book for me.

Paige’s relationship with her grandmother is another connection in the book that is extremely significant for her. It’s lovely to watch how her grandmother encourages her, and helps her to gain insight into those situations and relationships in her life that are a bit tricky to navigate. There’s the situation with Paige’s parents—though divorced, they begin dating! This requires a lot of adjusting for Paige, but in fact, it’s another opportunity for her to grow.

Who Should Read This Book:

Here’s a confession. I haven’t read Open Road Summer. I know! I’m sure you’re shocked—apparently this debut of Lord’s is fabulous and most people became solid fans of the author after they read it. I have every intention of reading this now that I’m finished The Start of Me and You. This is a fantastic YA Contemporary that features endearing characters you can’t get enough of, a storyline that builds gradually into a satisfying resolution, and themes readers can relate to (even if they’re older!).

I don’t read a lot of YA contemporary—you’ll see I tend to stick to fantasy and historical fiction in the YA realm, though in Middle Grade I read more Contemporary. Because of this, there are still a lot of the YA Contemporary “greats” I need to read.

I would say, though, that if you do read this genre, you’re probably already familiar with this author, or you’re going to be. Emery Lord depicts appealing but flawed characters we grow to care about. Her settings are vivid, and at least in this one, there are lots of visits to coffeeshop bookstores! That alone makes me excited…

The Final Illumination:

I have to admit to you—I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this YA read depicting the journey of a girl as she works through the death of her boyfriend, deciding to open her heart to friendship, love, and new experiences. Though the story’s pace is slow at first, I didn’t want to stop reading. And as the narrative progressed, I began to speculate on who would end up with whom, but that didn’t take away from the pleasure I found in watching it all play out.

This book is strong and authentic in its depiction of relationships among friends and between boy and girl. If you’re looking for a story that has drawn refreshing and endearing portraits of relationships in different stages–whether friendships or blossoming romance, this is the book for you.

I grew to really love Paige as a character—to watch her craft her “perfect plan” for the new school year, and to then see how this plan unfolded, bringing surprises and unexpected twists along the way. I have to admit that I was sad when I turned the last page of the story—I had grown to love the trips to the bookstore café, the friends dropping by with coffee, the movie nights with the entire gang. This is a fabulous book, readers—please do pick this one up when it releases on March 31st!

five-stars
What Katie Read

Falling in Love With…The Cubicle Next Door by Siri Mitchell (Daphne from Gone Pecan)

Falling in love with books finalIt’s Day 12, and I’m proud to say that Daphne from Gone Pecan is taking over today. Daphne is part of the 30s and Over Blogger Group I’m a part of, and I love her! I think you will too. She’s sharing a fun, romantic read, but that also features some parts that might break your heart…”in the best way.” Enjoy!

The Cubicle Next Door by Siri Mitchell

cubicle

Siri Mitchell’s insightful, funny chick-lit style shines in this story of putting up walls and tearing them down–all for love.

Jackie Harrison, a computer administrator at the Air Force Academy, is a self-proclaimed geek who must share her cubicle space with the new guy, instructor and former pilot Joe Gallagher. She turns to her online journal to vent and eventually to express growing feelings toward this office neighbor who is everything she is not–fun, happy, and social.

But when her blog is featured as a top pick on primetime news, everyone reads it–including Joe. Will he figure out the words of adoration and confusion are written about him? And will Jackie ever risk expressing her heart offline?

This is one of my all-time favorite books, I’ve read it multiple times.

Jackie Harrison works at the Air Force Academy and lives with her grandmother. She is very socially stunted and awkward. She has very definite feelings about things and does not venture outside of her comfort zone. When she gets a office mate, Joe, a former fighter pilot, she’s pretty angry about it and writes about it in her blog, The Cubicle Next Door. Over the course of the book, Jackie reluctantly becomes friends with Joe because he pretty much inserts himself in her path and won’t move. Then Jackie starts to fall for Joe but does not know how to handle it.

I have a soft spot for socially awkward characters. I don’t know why, but they get me right in the heart. I feel for them on a level that I cannot describe.

Jackie is not only awkward, she’s opinionated, she’s stubborn (oh, is she stubborn) and she’s broken. Joe is tough and smart, and he won’t let Jackie get away with keeping people at a distance.

There’s so much to love about this book and I wish it was more popular.

There are some really fantastic and romantic scenes in this book that I sometimes go back to read because they’re beautiful and they break my heart in the best way.

Thank you, Daphne, for sharing this favorite of yours! I wonder how many other readers are familiar with this one? And guess what? Lindsay discovered that this book is only $3.99 on Kindle.

More books to fall in love with tomorrow–we have Jen from Fefferbooks stopping by!

What Katie Read
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