Review: This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender

This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender
Genre: YA Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, LGBTQIA+
Publication: October 30th 2018 by Balzer + Bray
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 304 pages
Format: ARC from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★★

Amazon || Book Depository

A fresh, charming rom-com perfect for fans of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Boy Meets Boy about Nathan Bird, who has sworn off happy endings but is sorely tested when his former best friend, Ollie, moves back to town.

Nathan Bird doesn’t believe in happy endings.

Although he’s the ultimate film buff and an aspiring screenwriter, Nate’s seen the demise of too many relationships to believe that happy endings exist in real life.

Playing it safe to avoid a broken heart has been his MO ever since his father died and left his mom to unravel—but this strategy is not without fault. His best-friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-best-friend-again, Florence, is set on making sure Nate finds someone else. And in a twist that is rom-com-worthy, someone does come along: Oliver James Hernández, his childhood best friend.

After a painful mix-up when they were little, Nate finally has the chance to tell Ollie the truth about his feelings. But can Nate find the courage to pursue his own happily ever after?

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Review: Surviving Adam Meade by Shannon Klare

Surviving Adam Meade by Shannon Klare
Genre: YA Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Sports Contemporary
Publication: August 14th 2018 by Swoon Reads
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 256pages
Format: ARC from publisher
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon || Book Depository

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.

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Review + Playlist: Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West
Genre: YA Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Publication: May 29th 2018 by Point
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 336 pages
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★.5

Amazon || Book Depository

Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West’s adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere.

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Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
Genre: YA Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, LGBTQIA+
Publication: April 24th 2018 by HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray
Series: Creekwood #2.
Length: 338 pages
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★.5

Amazon || Book Depository
National Bookstore

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

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Review: Say You’ll Remember Me by Katie McGarry

Say You’ll Remember Me by Katie McGarry
Genre: YA Contemporary, Romance, Social Issues: Juvenile Fiction
Publication: January 30th 2018 by Harlequin Teen
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 452pages
Format: ARC from HarperCollins International
Rating: ★★★★.5

Amazon || Book Depository

When Drix was convicted of a crime–one he didn’t commit–he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the new Second Chance Program, the governor’s newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while.

Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor’s daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn’t may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.

When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle’s parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix’s messy life.

But sometimes love can breach all barriers.

Fighting against a society that can’t imagine them together, Drix and Elle must push themselves–Drix to confront the truth of the robbery, and Elle to assert her independence–and each other to finally get what they deserve.

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Review: How to Disappear by Sharon Huss Roat

How to Disappear by Sharon Huss Roat
Genre: YA Contemporary, Mental Illness, Romance, Self-love
Publication: August 15, 2017 from HarperTeen
Series: N/A
Length: 384 pages
Format: ARC provided by blog tour host
Rating: ★★★★★

Vicky Decker has perfected the art of hiding in plain sight, quietly navigating the halls of her high school undetected except by her best (and only) friend, Jenna. But when Jenna moves away, Vicky’s isolation becomes unbearable.

So she decides to invent a social life by Photoshopping herself into other people’s pictures, posting them on Instagram under the screen name Vicurious. Instantly, she begins to get followers, so she adds herself to more photos from all over the world with all types of people. And as Vicurious’s online followers multiply, Vicky realizes she can make a whole life for herself without ever leaving her bedroom. But the more followers she finds online, the clearer it becomes that there are a lot of people out there who feel like her— #alone and #ignored in real life.

To help them, and herself, Vicky must find the courage to face her fear of being “seen,” because only then can she stop living vicariously and truly bring the magic of Vicurious to life.

In this beautiful and illuminating narrative, Sharon Huss Roat shines a light on our love of social media and how sometimes being the person you think you want to be isn’t as great as being the person you truly are.

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Review: Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn

Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn
Genre: YA Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Hate to Love
Publication: July 18, 2017 from Swoon Reads
Series: N/A
Length: 256 pages
Format: ARC
Rating: ★★★★☆

Sixteen-year-old Quinn Hardwick’s having a rough summer. Her beloved grandmother has been put into a home, her dad’s gambling addiction has flared back up and now her worst enemy is back in town: Wesley James, former childhood friend—until he ruined her life, that is.

So when Wesley is hired to work with her at Tudor Tymes, a medieval England themed restaurant, the last thing Quinn’s going to do is forgive and forget. She’s determined to remove him from her life and even the score all at once—by getting him fired.

But getting rid of Wesley isn’t as easy as she’d hoped. When Quinn finds herself falling for him, she has to decide what she wants more: to get even, or to just get over it.

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ARC Review: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen

Genre: YA Contemporary, Romance
Publication: June 7th 2016 by Macmillan/Swoon Reads
Series: n/a
Length: 336 pages
Format: eARC from publisher

Taylor Simmons is screwed.

Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip.

Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they’re in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it’s better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard.

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ARC Review: Wanderlost by Jen Malone

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Wanderlost by Jen Malone
Genre:
 YA Contemporary, Romance
Published May 31st 2016 by HarperTeen
Format: eARC
Length: 352 pages

Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe.

Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe.

Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan unravels, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story.

But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.

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