In her most incisive and insightful book yet, Wendelin Van Draanen, award-winning author of The Running Dream and Flipped, offers a remarkable portrait of a girl who has hit rock bottom, but begins a climb back to herself at a wilderness survival camp in the desert.
3:47 a.m. That's when they come for Wren Clemmens. She's hustled out of her house and into a waiting car, then a plane, and then taken on a forced march into the desert. This is what happens to kids who've gone so far off the rails, their parents don't know what to do with them anymore. This is wilderness therapy camp. Eight weeks of survivalist camping in the desert. Eight weeks to turn your life around. Yeah, right.
The Wren who arrives in the Utah desert is angry and bitter, and blaming everyone but herself. But angry can't put up a tent. And bitter won't start a fire. Wren's going to have to admit she needs help if she's going to survive.
I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour for “Wild Bird” by Wendelin Van Draanen! I went into this book with absolutely zero expectations since I didn’t know much at all about it and ended up absolutely loving it. From the captivating first chapters to the poignant ending, I was totally invested. “Wild Bird” is filled with lots of emotion, quiet moments, moving revelations and even a few laughs. Those readers who enjoy thoughtful and emotional contemporary young adult novels that tackle difficult subjects such as When Reason Breaks, Every Last Word and Bad Romance will want to add this to their shelves right away. As a matter of fact, I may have a little giveaway down below if you keep reading!
We all know by now, how much I love to put together a mood board and I had a blast (as usual) creating this one! I really wanted to make sure I captured the essence of the book so I made sure to include beautiful landscapes mixed with special moments from the book.
Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.
Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape.
Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.
BAD ROMANCE is the kind of book that stays with you long after you’ve finished. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this book from a friend and having finished it last week, I can honestly say, I’ve thought about it every day since then. What Heather Demetrios has done with this novel, is shed a light on a very real and a very dangerous experience for so many people, including teens. Abuse, whether it be physical, sexual, mental or verbal, has touched so many lives and this is the kind of book that so many readers need in their life. Continue reading “Book Feels: Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios”→
Surprises abound and sparks ignite in the highly anticipated, utterly romantic companion to My Life Next Door. Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To:- find the liquor cabinet blindfolded- need a liver transplant- drive his car into a houseAlice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To:- well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard. Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.And Alice is caught in the middle. Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this return to the world of My Life Next Door is a story about failing first, trying again, and having to decide whether to risk it all once more.
Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.
If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off. Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist. Caroline introduces Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.
When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Red Rose Gang for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there's room for love in a heart so full of hate. In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.
I took one look at this cover and my jaw dropped to the floor! I’ve never seen anything like it, and I was immediately intrigued. I mean…how could you not be? The pistols, those wildflowers, and how about those creepy skulls?! What does it all mean??
I don’t know if it’s in my DNA (my grandfather loved Western novels) but I read over the summary of Vengeance Road and I knew I had to read it. As in…as soon as possible. If not sooner! The main character, Kate, sounds like a total bad ass and I want to read all about her…RIGHT NOW!!! YASS!!!!
Are you filled with as much Excitement as I am?? Does this book not sound AMAZING! Let’s all fangirl about it together in the comments below!
About Erin Bowman
Erin grew up in rural Connecticut, where she spent most of her childhood telling stories. It is rumored that her first words were not "Mama" or "Dada," but "Once upon a time." In middle school, when kids were going off to sleep-away camp for the summer, Erin was attending writing camp and penning short stories.
She studied web design (and minored in Creative Writing because she couldn’t stay away from stories) at the Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate New York. After several years working in advertising and designing websites for various brands, she moved from Boston to New Hampshire, where she now lives with her family and writes full-time.
When not writing, Erin can often be found hiking, geeking out over good typography, and obsessing over all things Harry Potter. She drinks a lot of coffee, buys far too many books, and is not terribly skilled at writing about herself in the third person.
She is represented by Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger, and is the author of the Taken Trilogy (available from HarperTeen) and Vengeance Road (HMH Books for Young Readers).
In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything. Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship.
Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma's flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius; she's also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there's something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek -- he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape.
As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa’s pain, it forces him to look beyond the façade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn’t everything—maybe it is just the thing that ties them all together.
What I loved…
Play On is one of those “feel good” books that fills you with warm fuzzies while you’re reading, it’s filled with so many special moments. I absolutely adored that Austin was just a solidly good guy! He struggled with balancing his schoolwork and his dedication to the baseball team, but he’s so good to his momma, is achingly sweet with Marissa, and he’s an amazing teammate and friend to the guys he plays with. It’s such a refreshing change of pace to have the male lead in a book like this be such a good guy. It makes the pain and heartache he’s dealing with in life that much more heartbreaking for the reader. I just wanted to see Austin come to terms with his baggage. Speaking of baggage, Marissa has quite a heavy load of her own, and it was really moving to see how she and Austin navigate the personal struggles they both bring to the relationship.
One thing I really, really adored in this book was the same-sex relationship and the way in which it was handled, not only by the author but also by the friends of the people involved. I really appreciate that gay couples are being featured more in more in Young Adult novels and in this instance it really added so much to the story.
What didn’t work…
I guess the only thing I could say is that there were times when it got a little heavy with the sports talk for me. To be fair, I am not into sports at all. I actually loved that baseball served as a back drop to Play On, but when it got to be a play-by-play of a game or a locker room speech, I tended to tune out. The same thing happened to me with the Rusk University series by Cora Carmack and we all know how much I love that series. Essentially, I would say that it’s just a matter of taste. A true baseball fan will no doubt love the chapters that feature game days, but it just didn’t hold my attention as strongly as the rest of the book did.
My “book feels” moment…
As I mentioned, this book has some pretty heavy moments. There was one scene in particular that really broke my heart and I actually had to stop reading in order to compose my feels. Austin confronts Marissa during a very vulnerable time, and the way in which he handles the situation is just so moving and beautifully written. It was the most intense scene of the book for me, but also the one I loved the most. Yeah…I cried!
Play On has a lot of depth to it but still finds a way to be a lot of fun to read! It’s the perfect balance of swoony romance with a thought-provoking and deeply moving story line.
PSSST…make sure to enter this fantastic giveaway before you go!!
Michelle Smith was born and raised in North Carolina, where she developed a healthy appreciation for college football, sweet tea, front porches, and a well-placed “y’all.” She’s a lover of all things happy, laughs way too much, and fully believes that a little bit of kindness goes a long way.
Michelle lives near the Carolina coast with her family.
Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit. To the humans she lives among, she's just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she's learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny. Mentored by her mother and her Zar "sisters," Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all.
Becoming Jinn was a fun and unique book, that took elements of both contemporary and fantasy genres, mixed them together and created a fresh take on a young woman’s coming of age story. Although it had a slow start, the book did end up clicking with me right around 100 pages. After that initial push, I really started to enjoy how Goldstein blended a contemporary and fantasy together. At its heart, Becoming Jinn is a book about girl struggling to find her identity and make sense of her past, but what really made it unique were the magical elements and the Jinn mythology that Goldstein drew on. It was interesting to see the main character, Azra, navigate the trials and tribulations of young adulthood, while also trying to come to grips with her Jinn heritage.
That being said…I had a difficult time connecting with Azra or feeling any sympathy for her. I totally get that she’s going through a LOT in life and not entirely pleased with the situation she’s been born into, but a lot of times Azra came off as a bit of a brat. I just wish her character could have been a little more forgiving of those around her. She was pretty hard on her mother and extended “family” of women who were (for the most part) there to support her, and I really didn’t like the way she treated a couple of very close friends who wanted nothing but the best for her. I realize that these are purposeful traits created by the author, but they just didn’t work for me.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed Becoming Jinn but I’m hoping that I can come around to having at least a bit of empathy for Azra and that she matures and develops as a character in the next book. I’m eager to see how the story resolves itself, as we’re left with several questions at the endthat have me looking forward to the second book.
P.S. You may be wondering where my mood board/collage is. Have no fear…I did make one and will be debuting it here on the blog on Tuesday, April 14th as part of the Becoming Jinn blog tour. Stay tuned!
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?
Every once in a while you get lucky as a reader and come across a book that, from the moment you start reading, you know it’s going to be special. I had one of those moments when I started reading Emery Lord’s second novel The Start of Me and You, which as it turns out, I loved even more than her debut, Open Road Summer. Which is saying a lot because I really loved that book!
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.
I was provided with a digital review copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Macmillan for the opportunity.
We all have that one book right? Or maybe it’s two or three books. The ones that stick with us long after we’ve read them. That you could start reading all over again the second you reach the end. That special book that speaks to your heart and touches you in a way no other book has in the past. For me, that book is I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios.
I’ll Meet You Thereis the story of two broken hearts, brought together in their shared pain, and how they work together, and sometimes apart, to try to find a new way of life. Both Sky and Josh are so broken and beyond repair when they meet, that you just don’t know how they’re going to get themselves out of the situations they find themselves in. Continue reading “Books Feels: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios”→