The Impossible Vastness of Us

The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young

5 stars!!! 

How do you begin to gush about a book you loved so so much? Samantha Young is one of my all-time favorite authors, I’ll read anything the woman writes. So when she published a YA I was intrigued, and decided to give it a shot. I was completely blown away!!!! Young delivers a heartfelt and beautiful story, filled with angst, friendship, love and family.

India Maxwell is alarmed when her flight attendant mother tells her she’s been seeing a man on the other side of the country. Pretty soon her mother is engaged, and she’s whisked away to Boston to live with her soon to be step father, Theo, and step sister, Eloise. India and her mother have never been well off, so she’s in for a world of shock when she finds her new family insanely rich. And because of trust issues from her past, India has no desire to get close to her new family.

While India is adjusting, Eloise is not cruel but also not kind. Eloise’s boyfriend Finn appears to dislike India as well. All India wants is to be on top, and to get enough extracurricular’s to get into a good college. But as time goes by, feelings thaw between the two girls and a tentative relationship forms.

This book wasn’t anything like I expected in the best possible way. India had such a presence on the page, I absolutely adored her, flaws and all. There’s something about a girl trying so hard to be strong that I find endearing, and I felt for her and wished for her to succeed the entire time I was reading.

While this is a young adult romance, my favorite part of the book was the themes of friendship and family. People need more than just romantic love to feel supported in life, and I loved being on India’s journey to find her forever friendships and her way to a new family.

I cannot recommend this book enough, it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. So if you find yourself curious about this book, just do yourself a favor and buy it and read it. You won’t regret it.

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Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

3.5 stars

I all but ran to the bookstore on release day for this book I was dying to read it so bad. A surprise third book in the Lara Jean series? I WAS ON IT. And while I didn’t love it, I have to admire Jenny Han for bringing out that reaction in me. When purchasing this book the nice teller at Barnes and Noble recommended to me other books by this author she enjoyed, and I’ll be sure to bump them up my tbr asap!

This started out strong and about midway through lost its luster for me. By the end I was questioning why we even got a third book when not much really happened. What I remember most is mason jars, chocolate chip cookies, and Kitty. Peter redeemed himself a lot since the last book, but again, by the end I was just left wondering, why? You could say I was a bit underwhelmed with this book.

I love that Jenny Han is writing romance for teens that isn’t white washed and covering real issues they deal with on a day to day basis. I know I’ll be recommending this series a lot in the future (in fact, I already have!)

The Upside of Unrequited

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertelli

4.5 stars!

“I’m on the toilet at the 9:30 Club and I’m wondering how mermaids pee.”

And with that opening line comes one of the cutest most relatable YA books I’ve read in a LONG time.

Molly has had several crushes over the years, but no kisses and no boyfriend. Molly is afraid of rejection and doesn’t want to put herself out there to be hurt, especially with the fact that she’s heavier than other girls. Her twin sister Cassie finds new love with a new girlfriend and leaves Molly feeling out of sorts. When Molly gets a new job at a cutesy store, she makes fast friends with a boy there named Reid. But Reid is kind of nerdy, and not at all the type to cause butterflies in the stomach. There’s no way Molly could have a crush on him too, right?

“I can’t seem to shake this perpetual awareness of being Molly.”

I friggin loved this book. Like, Molly is me when I was in high school!! Minus the Zoloft. I remember I thought I was so fat then, I always wore sweatshirts to hide my body. What I didn’t understand at the time was I had BOOBS and wasn’t fat at all, but I felt that way (if only I could go back to my HS body). Anyways, the point of sharing this is I feel Molly is easy for readers to relate to. Haven’t we all been afraid of rejection in some form or another? Molly just had trouble putting herself out there and needed to find strength within herself. And we don’t often get “chubby” female protagonists, and if we do the story is all about her losing weight, which wasn’t the case here and I loved it.

I also loved that her romantic interest didn’t fit traditional stereotypes, Reid was nerdy, not a gym rat and he accepted it. He owned it. I think this book portrays to its readers that you fall for the person and not always the pretty picture. I want my own real life Reid to come and sweep me away with his bright white sneakers and fondness of Queen Elizabeth I.

Molly’s interest in pinterest crafts made my fingers twitch to do the same, even though I am not super crafty. But I will be researching about putting cookie dough in mason jars because that’s just too good not to look up.

This book was very fast paced, I devoured it so so quickly. I loved this author’s first book Simon, and this one lived up to my expectations which rarely if ever happens. I cannot wait to read more from Albertelli.

My favorite quote from this book? (because it’s ME):

I read an advanced copy of this book

Tell Me Three Things

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

3.75 stars!

“Just because you’re strong doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for help sometimes. Remember that.”

This book is the straight version of Simon Vs. the Homo-sapiens Agenda, and while they are very similar, it actually didn’t bother me that much. I enjoyed each book for different reasons.

Tell Me Three Things is about a girl named Jessie whose mother died a couple years ago and now her father has found new love. This means selling her childhood home and moving to LA to live with her new stepmother and stepbrother and leaving everything she knows behind. A few days into her new school and Jessie gets an anonymous message, reaching out to her to help her, but never divulging their identity.

Jessie begins to rely more and more on SN, and as time goes by adjusting to her new school gets easier.

“Perfect days are for people with small, realizable dreams. Or maybe for all of us, they just happen in retrospect; they’re only now perfect because they contain something irrevocably and irretrievably lost.”

I think this is a book a lot of teens (and adults) can relate to because it’s all about coping in new environments and feeling like you’re alone. Jessie is a very relatable character, trying to navigate a new school and a whole new family when she feels no one is on her side.

I will say I guessed who SN was fairly easily, I won’t tell you how because spoilers. But even pretty much knowing who it was I enjoyed the book. I wish more had been developed in this book, like Jessie’s relationship with her dad and her new family, I felt a lot of that was brushed over or quickly wrapped up. It was a huge part of her life and it seemed second to her issues in high school (which were just as bad, but still).

A quick read if you want to read something cute with a good ending.

“Other people can’t make you feel stupid. Only you can.”

The Unexpected Everything

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

4 stars!

“You have to try. You have to take your chances. Go and attempt and see what happens. And even if you fail – especially if you fail – come back with your experience and your hard-won knowledge and a story you can tell. And then later you can say, without regret or hesitation… ‘Once, I dared to dare greatly”

Morgan Matson has proven once again she is the queen of contemporary young adult novels for girls. This book is the story of Andie, responsible daughter of a politician recently under fire from the press. When her scheduled summer plans fall through, she’s left without a plan for what to do with her life for the summer. Every one of her friends already have plans, and Andie finds a job as a dog walker. What lies ahead is a summer of learning new things, romance and the test of friendship.

“I could do this. If whole galaxies could change, so could I.”

I really enjoyed this book, I think like Matson’s other books it gives teen readers a hint that life isn’t all you plan it to be and to sometimes let things go and see what happens. The beginning was pretty slow, I really had to push to get to a point where the book really flowed. My favorite parts of the book were when Andie and her father spent time together and learning more about the character of Clark. I like that the author brought in a quirky, nerdy hero instead of some kind of life guard stud or something. Yay for the nerd boys!

I was very much enthralled by the book, but once I put it down I noticed some things didn’t match up entirely. There were subplots that seemed to go nowhere, friendship drama that seemed unnecessary except for the sake of drama, and this book was way too long. I had a few moments where I wondered if long paragraphs were important to the plot (spoiler alert, they weren’t). But this is a fantastic teen contemporary read, great for the summer time. Once I got in the flow of things I found it hard to put this book down!

“The idea that you could rethink the thing you’d always thought you wanted and change your plan – it was almost a revolutionary concept. That you could choose what would make you happy, not successful.”

The Problem with Forever

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

3 stars

This book………… it had the right idea, but the execution just wasn’t quite right. JLA is one of my all time favorite authors, many of you know that because I’ve been screaming about her books since I discovered them. I enjoyed this book, and I love the concept of it. I just didn’t like the execution of it.

This is the story of Mallory, a foster kid who doesn’t speak much because of PTSD and conditioning from her previous foster home. Four years later and a nice couple have taken her in and homeschooled her, but now she’s going to fulfill her senior year at a public school. On the first day of school she runs into the boy she never thought she would see again, her protector in her old foster home. They are happy to see each other, but their time in that horrible house has left it’s mark.

I think Mallory’s story was an important one to tell, social anxiety stemming from her issues is a tough subject. I feel teens will be able to relate to her as a character and easily empathize with her. It’s important for teens to have books they can relate to so they don’t feel alone, and this is a perfect one to hand to a teen who has issues with public speaking/ptsd. What I didn’t love was this book was looooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggg. Like, the message could have been executed in 350 pages instead of 470. Because for me, this book dragged big time. I never had that excitement to pick it back up again once I put it down.

I think I am one of the few with this opinion, so please pick it up and try it for yourself. JLA is still one of my favorite authors and I will gladly read anything she publishes in the future, this just wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. And oh! This book has a pretty cover. That’s another bonus 🙂

The Fill-In Boyfriend

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

3.75 super cute stars!!

“Chin up. There are other fish in the sea. It’s a big ocean. Sometimes we need to catch and release a few before we find the keeper.”

First off I mostly read this book because of Chelsea’s review so if you are on the fence about reading this, her review will convince ya.

On prom night Gia is dumped by her boyfriend. In the parking lot beforehand. Faced with telling her friends that he isn’t there, when they already don’t believe Bradley exists having never seen nor met him before. Gia finds a guy in the parking lot and begs him to pretend to be Bradley. He agrees and helps her out, before not telling her his name and disappearing.

But now Gia can’t get Fill-in-Bradley out of her head, and her one connection to him is not thrilled to help out. On top of this, Gia seems to be going through a self realization, and she might not like the person she’s become.

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“We rarely find a depth by looking inside of ourselves for it. Depth is found in what we can learn from the people and things around us. Everyone, everything, has a story, Gia. When you learn those stories, you learn experiences that fill you up, that expand your understanding. You add layers to your soul.”

Kasie West is like Sarah Dessen and Simone Elkeles mashed together, but better. There’s just something about her young adult books that are so much fun and the perfect escape. West adds a level of depth that is missing from most contemporary teen novels. Yes this book was a romance, but it was more. It was a journey of self-discovery. It was a girl discovering that because her parents never held her accountable for her actions, she became a shallow selfish person. It also portrayed what a majority of high school friends are, someone you are friends with out of circumstantial necessity.

Fill-in-Bradley was such a great guy, you really felt for him and his situation with his horrid ex and terrible friends. The friendship and relationship built between FIB and Gia was cute and adorable with a little bit of angst thrown in. The only thing I really didn’t like about this book was the resolution, it felt unresolved.

Highly recommend if you like YA sweet reads. Sweet isn’t normally my thing, so I’m glad I took a chance.

“Hayden?”
“Yes,Gia?”
“Nothing I just wanted to say your name.”

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