REVIEW! - YOUNG ADULT BOOKS
After last week’s Teen Romance Reviews, I kind of got sucked into the Young Adult genre — and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!
So this week I have some more teen stories, and while not all of them are classified as “romances,” they all do have a little bit of teenage love in the air, on the field, and under the water. 😉
This week’s reviews are of:
📚Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin’s I Hate Everyone But You (2017 YA LGBT)
📚Vicky Skinner’s How to Breathe Underwater (2018 YA Romance)
📚Alice Kuipers’ Me & Me (2018 YA Contemporary Fiction)
📚Shannon Klare’s Surviving Adam Meade (2018 YA Sports Romance)
From one bookaholic to another, I hope I’ve helped you find your next fix.
I Hate Everyone But You
(I Hate Everyone But You #1)
By Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, LGBT
Dear Best Friend,
I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.
(that brunette who won’t leave you alone)
We're still in the same room, you weirdo.
So begins a series of texts and emails sent between two best friends, Ava and Gen, as they head off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. From first loves to weird roommates, heartbreak, self-discovery, coming out and mental health, the two of them document every wild and awkward moment to each other. But as each changes and grows into her new life, will their friendship be able to survive the distance?
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I Hate Everyone But You (IHEBY) gave me so many different feels!
I felt incredibly close to Ava. She and I could almost be the same person.
I had a difficult time reading IHEBY though due to being so old - apparently - that I just flat out don’t understand “text speak.” Give me an “LOL” or even a “ROFL” and I gotcha, much more than that and I look like a grandma with grey hair and no teeth. The following is a Tweet I sent within the first 50 pages:
Must be incredibly old because I'm having to look up every other line. Someone please get me an internetslang dictionary, STAT!@JBUshow #itwonthurtmyreview #Promise #ihateeveryonebutyou #notasyoungasilook #butimonly32 #currentlyreading #Old #slangdictionaryneeded pic.twitter.com/WxK8R1eoJH— Dani Winland 🍷🏋️♀️ 📚 (@DaniWinland) February 6, 2019
Usually this style of writing - Texts and emails only - drives me crazy! I have a really difficult time reading this style when it comes to a book (real life, that’s another story!) So when I began this book I thought to myself Oh no! How on earth am I going to read this?! Did I not realize this was how the book was written before I picked it up?! Am I going to be able to get through this, or am I just wasting my time? Well, it turns out that once I got over the initial shock of the style and was 30 pages in, I realized that I didn’t even realize that it was written in this style. So, if you’re like me and this kind of writing style drives you crazy, give it a chance - or at least with this book, because I think you’ll change your mind and end up really enjoying the story!
IHEBY gives the reader a chance to look into the worlds of a girl with OCD and depression as well as a girl who didn’t grow up with the best parents for role models and is now across the country, making life choices (that are now always the best ones) all while realizing that she is gay?... Bisexual?... Queer? Even she doesn’t know, just like most of us oldies out there didn’t know who or what we were at their age. Heck! I’m still trying to figure out who I am! (On a personal level, not sexual. 😳)
I cried at the end. I’ve been through a similar situation with my childhood best friend. Unfortunately for me, my BFF and I did not have an ending like Ava and Gen.
IHEBY is definitely a book that I feel any teenage girl will relate to and completely connect with. If you have a granddaughter with a birthday coming up and you don’t know what to get her, I highly suggest this book. It’s written in a style that they can relate to. It deals with the heartache of leaving home and going off to college, being separated from your BFF, and learning how to begin real life on your own.
Dani's Score out of 5: 📚📚📚📚🔖
How to Breathe Underwater
By Vicky Skinner
Publication Date: August 14, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Kate’s father has been pressuring her to be perfect for her whole life, pushing her to be the best swimmer she can be. But when Kate finds her dad cheating on her mom, Kate’s perfect world comes crashing down, and Kate is forced to leave home and the swim team she's been a part of her whole life.
Now in a new home, new school, and faced with the prospect of starting over, Kate isn't so sure that swimming is what she wants anymore. But when she decides to quit, her whole world seems to fall apart. But when Kate gets to know Michael, the cute boy that lives across the hall, she starts to think that starting over might not be so bad. There's only one problem: Michael has a girlfriend.
As the pressures of love, family, and success press down on her, can Kate keep her head above water?
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Vicky Skinner’s How to Breathe Underwater is a coming of age story that deals with a little bit of everything, and it has Kate, a super strong 16-year-old girl to walk you through them all.
I really enjoyed this book. It dealt with everyday adult problems from a teenager’s perspective, and what its like for them to go through these issues too. How to Breathe Underwater deals with lies, divorce, anxiety, depression, love, and death on the surface of the story, but it’s what’s below the surface that makes it a great story: growing up, life-changing decisions, and being strong enough to become who you are and want to be.
While this is a young adult romance, there’s more to it than just kisses and angst between a couple of hormonal teenagers. Kate learns to stand up for herself and do what she thinks is right, while Michael deals with growing up way too fast due to an ailing parent.
How to Breathe Underwater has its fun-teen moments, and real-life events that make it a good read for any age group.
Dani's Score out of 5: 📚📚📚📚
Me & Me
By Alice Kuipers
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Magical Realism, Death
It’s Lark’s seventeenth birthday, and although she’s hated to be reminded of the day ever since her mom’s death three years ago, it’s off to a great start. Lark has written a killer song to perform with her band, the weather is stunning and she’s got a date with gorgeous Alec. The two take a canoe out on the lake, and everything is perfect—until Lark hears the screams. Annabelle, a little girl she used to babysit, is drowning in the nearby reeds while Annabelle’s mom tries desperately to reach her. Lark and Alec are closer, and they both dive in. But Alec hits his head on a rock in the water and begins to flail.
Alec and Annabelle are drowning. And Lark can save only one of them.
Lark chooses, and in that moment her world splits into two distinct lives. She must live with the consequences of both choices. As Lark finds herself going down more than one path, she has to decide: Which life is the right one?
Amazon / Kobo / IndieBound
Alice Kuipers’ YA novel, Me & Me, is a story about Lark, a girl who finds herself living parallel lives: in one, she saves her boyfriend, Alec from drowning, leaving the child, Annabelle, to drown and end up in a coma; while in the other she saves Annabelle, leaving Alec to drown and end up in a coma. The question in both lives being: did she make the right choice.
I have to say, if I had been in Lark’s position that warm summer day, I’m not sure which I would have done either. And I find the concept of the story to be very interesting: your choices can have a very powerful impact on the world.
However, this is where my liking of the story ended. Once the sci-fi/supernatural aspect of the parallel lives trying to communicate and connect with one another came into play, I lost all attention for the story. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good sci-fi novel, because I do, but I felt the sci-fi aspect of the story line actually cheapened the overall story and message.
Kuipers did a good job at tying the two story lines together, but overall the story wasn’t for me. I feel that it could have really been something special had the sci-fi aspect been left out.
Dani's Score out of 5: 📚📚📚
Surviving Adam Meade
(Surviving Adam Meade #1)
By Shannon Klare
Publication Date: August 14, 2018
Genre: Teen & YA, Sports, Fiction, Romance
Seventeen-year-old Claire Collins has a plan: get into college and leave North Carolina behind. What she doesn’t have is an idea for how to get rid of the local football star and womanizer extraordinaire—Adam Meade, who she can’t even avoid (despite many efforts), because Claire’s dad is the high school football coach.
Seventeen-year-old Adam Meade never fails. He always gets what he wants… until he meets Claire, the new girl who leaves him unnerved, pissed off, and confused. But there’s something about her that he just can’t resist…
With the bite of lemon meringue pie and the sugar of sweet tea, Surviving Adam Meade is a sexy and compelling young adult novel about two strong-willed people who think they know what they want but have no idea what they need.
Surviving Adam Meade is a cute teen sports romance. It points out all of the hard and heavy questions every teenager in their senior year of high school has to ask themselves: why is so-and-so making life difficult for me; do they like me; do I have feelings for them; will we last if we don’t go to the same college; should I choose them over my dream school… and so on and so forth. I found myself asking these same questions once upon a time, and that’s something that I think most people (young adult or not) will find themselves connecting to with this story.
With that being said, I did find the characters to be a bit much: Claire is a bit of a b#*$%, while Adam is supposed to be this arrogant high school football player, but is really just a sappy love struck puppy. And while it was kind of nice to see these gender roles reversed, they were just too over the top for me.
One thing that I found to be interesting is that this is the first in the Surviving Adam Meade series. I thought this first installment ended quite well and cleanly, so I’d be a little curious to see what happens in the next one.
I don’t have a lot to say on this book. It’s not one that really stands out in my mind when I think about something to recommend. If you like cheesy-yet-swoony high school romances, then yes, I would say give this one a shot. If not, then I would move on. There isn’t a lot of depth to this story other than what you would get with a week long high school fling.
Dani's Score out of 5: 📚📚📚🔖
Pair Them All With: Martin Códax Albariño
A refreshing food friendly white wine, Albariño is crisp, elegant and dry. On the palate, flavors of pear, passion fruit, ripe apple, peach and lemon zest are framed by bright minerality and hints of spice. Attractive floral aromatics and brisk acidity make this a versatile, food-friendly wine. Pair with seafood, white meats, rice and fresh cheeses.
Have a book you’d like to suggest or one you’d like me to review? Please feel free to leave your comments down below.