Friday, December 27, 2013

Badass Books: Fangirl

Guys. Guys. This book. This is why I don't read a lot of contemporary. It just breaks into me every damn time. But Fangirl was so worth it.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Why I Read It: Honestly? Tumblr. As I mentioned above, I don't read a lot of contemporary YA, for the same reason that I don't write it. I'm an adult now, but I still struggle with thinking through my teenage years, my own time as a young adult. A lot of the best contemporaries hit too close to home, especially when they deal with sisters. But this book just kept showing up on my Tumblr feed, so I went for it.

ZOMG Yes! There was a lot going on this story--the dynamics with the sisters, dealing with their father's bipolar disorder, Cath's own anxiety disorder, the writing of the fanfic, the romance, the mommy issues. There's just a lot. It was all woven so well together, and I'm a sucker for sister stories.

So, of course, Cath and Wren's part of the story was my favorite--including their very different ways of dealing with their mother. 

Levi was a close second. As was Cath's roommate Reagan. The characters in this story felt very real. I love when a story does that.

Fangirl is more accurately New Adult--since the girls are in their first year of college, but that's fine. It made a lot of the pieces and parts that much more interesting and made me want to read more New Adult. And more Rainbow Rowell.

kthxbai: I definitely recommend this book. I read it in two days and would have read it faster if I'd given in and stayed up last night. This is by far one of my favorite reads of the year. Five chiweenies to Rainbow Rowell!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

YA Superlatives: Best in Show

Today wraps up this year's YA Superlatives. If you've missed the rest of them, it's not too late to jump in! Click the image below for more information, and check out the lovely ladies hosting this bookstravaganza: Katy UppermanJessica LoveTracey Neithercott, and Alison Miller.

And here we go!

Favorite Cover: This was really tough for me, but I did actually narrow this category down to one. This cover is so so so beautiful.

Cutest Couple: I really like Em and Finn in All Our Yesterdays, but I'm still holding out for Blue and Gansey in The Dream Thieves.

Most Likely To Succeed: Nobody But Us  by Kristin Halbrook.

Most Likely To Make You Miss Your Bedtime: Most of the books I read this year did this to me. Scarlet did it the most.

Best Repeat Performance: Very torn between Siege and Storm and The Dream Thieve. Of course, Asunder was really good, too.

Favorite Finale: Requiem by Lauren Oliver.

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath: Morpheus and Alyssa in Splintered.

Breakout Novel: Torn here between Splintered and All Our Yesterdays.

Best Old-Timer: Easy. The Fault in Our Stars.

Book Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry: Nobody But Us

Most Pleasant Surprise: The Madman's Daughter

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle: Splintered

Sleeper Hit: Splintered

I really never know what do for my own category, so I'll leave it at that!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

YA Superlatives: Elements of Fiction

Time for more superlatives! Click the image below for more information, and check out the lovely ladies hosting this bookstravaganza: Katy UppermanJessica LoveTracey Neithercott, and Alison Miller.

I loved this day last year, and I'm excited to see it again--thanks for bringing it back, ladies.

Most Envy-Inducing Plot (The Plot You Wish You Thought Of Yourself): The Dream Thieves

Most Formidable World (Setting You Definitely Would NOT Want to Visit): Zoe's home in Nobody But Us. Real-world settings with that sort of darkness are so hard.

Wanderlust-Inducing (Setting You'd Gladly Travel To): Wonderland in Splintered. I would love to see this gothic world up close an personal, as terrifying as it would be.

Loveliest Prose: This is a toss up for me. One of these three: Splintered, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, or The Dream Thieves.

Best First Line:
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea You stop fearing the devil when you're holding his hand.
Splintered I've been collecting bugs since I was ten; it's the only way I can stop their whispers.
A Darkness Strange and Lovely Can't share this one or it would spoil the first in that series.

Most Dynamic Main Character: I'm going to give this to Em from All Our Yesterdays. Because of the way the book was written, you really got to see her growth. Runner-up for this is Eleanor from A Darkness Strange and Lovely.

Most Jaw-Dropping Ending: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea with an honorable mention to Allegiant.

Best Performance In a Supporting Role: I really enjoyed Thorne in Scarlet as well as Finn in All Our Yesterdays.

Best Use of Theme:  A Darkness Strange and Lovely did an excellent job with darkness vs. light.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

YA Superlatives: Popularity Contest

Today marks day 2 of the YA Superlative Blog Fest. Click the image below for more information, and check out the lovely ladies hosting this bookstravaganza: Katy UppermanJessica LoveTracey Neithercott, and Alison Miller.

Let's get this popularity contest started: and the winners are...

Class Clown: River West from Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Definitely a performer for sure. I won't say any more than that because--no spoilers!

Most Likely To Start a Riot: Tough one--most any of my dystopian ladies. Tris (Allegiant) or Lena (Requiem). Though with the growth I saw in Ana in Asunder, I think she's a runner up here.

Biggest Flirt: I had a lot of contenders for this role this year, but this one goes to Sunshine from Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Willem from Just One Day is a definite runner up.

Girl You'd Most Want for Your BFF: Why do you do this to me?! Can't I have all of my favorite leading ladies? No? Well, fine. Be that way. Alyssa Gardner from Splintered or Blue from The Dream Thieves. For the record, the boy I'd pick for this is Noah from The Dream Thieves. Em from All Our Yesterdays  is a definite runner up along with Bree from Taken.

Boy You Wish You'd Dated in High School: I have a three-way tie here with Finn from All Our Yesterdays and Thorne from Scarlet and Nikolai from Siege and Storm. Very similar personalities among these fellas. Sorry I'm not sorry for choosing three.

Most Likely to Become President: Gansey wins this for the second year running. I don't know what I'm going to do with my life when The Raven Cycle ends.

Quirkiest Character: Either Persephone (and really all of Blue's family) from 
The Dream Thieves or a character from Scarlet that I can't name because, spoilers. SPOILERY HINTS IN WHITE: She's an android. Runner up is Ollie from A Darkness Strange and Lovely.d.

Villain You Love to Hate: New villain is The Gray Man from The Dream Thieves.  Still loving The Darkling (always loving hating loving hating the Darkling) from Siege and Storm. I guess I have a thing for villains without names. Runner up is the villain from 
All Our Yesterdays.

Favorite Parental Figure: This goes to Maura from The Dream Thieves hands down. Sorry every other parental figure ever.

Coolest Nerd: Cinder from Scarlet

Monday, December 16, 2013

YA Superlatives: Head of The Class

I've been on  blogging hiatus as life has run away with me, but I think that's okay. We do what we can do, and this past month and a half, it was all I could do to squeeze my revisions in. I'm excited to jump back in with none other than the YA Superlatives Blogfest hosted by the ever lovely Katy Upperman, Jessica Love, Tracey Neithercott, and Alison Miller!

I went through all my reviews, and it seems out of the 15 books I read this year, only 13 were published in 2013. At first I was pretty bummed that I only got 15 in, but then I thought about all the amazing and some not-so-amazing things that happened this year and decided to be gracious with and proud of myself for that many. I am a little sad I didn't get to Fangirl and Eleanor and Park in time, but that's okay. I'm sure after reading everyone's posts it will just want to make me read them more.

Let's jump in! Today's topic: Head of the Class. As a note, I didn't include the topics that I didn't read in that genre or didn't have a favorite. I've linked to my reviews if you want more information on any of these great books.

Favorite Dystopian: This one is a little tough as two of my favorite dystopian trilogies ended this year. Both authors took a lot of risks with their characters and their plots, and for that I applaud them. I'm going to have to give this one to Requiem by Lauren Oliver, with an honorable mention to Allegiant by Veronica Roth (which I still need to review!). Another honorable mention to Erin Bowman's debut Taken.

Favorite Science Fiction: This one goes to debut author Cristin Terrill with All Our Yesterdays. I felt like this story was time travel done right. I loved the characters and the twists and the depth. Great read if you haven't yet. Scarlet by Marrissa Meyer gets an honorable mention.

Favorite Fantasy: Another tough, tough category as fantasy is what I read most. I'm going to have to go with Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo with an honorable mention to Asunder by Jodi Meadows--both seconds in their respective trilogies.

Favorite Contemporary: This goes to Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook.

Favorite Action/Adventure: Definitely Taken by Erin Bowman. She had me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

Favorite Historical Fiction: Hands down this one goes to Susan Dennard's A Darkness Strange and Lovely. Not only does it pull you into late 1800s Paris, but it does it with a mix of science fiction and fantasy. This is one of my favorite series right now, so you should definitely check it out.

Favorite Paranormal: This goes to A.G. Howard's Splintered with an honorable mention to Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke. It was hard to decide between these two, but I was more moved by Splintered and really loved how the romance was handled in that story.

Favorite Family Drama: I'm actually going to give this to The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd. While the story was both science fiction and historical fiction, I think above everything it was definitely a family drama with the relationship between Juliet and her misogynist father.

Favorite Genre Bender: This one goes to The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. It's a little bit fantasy a little bit contemporary and a little bit mystery. I love all the characters here, and I'm sure you'll see them throughout the week. If you haven't been sucked into the Raven Cycle series, you really should put your life on hold and do that immediately.