This material may be protected by copyright.
I read this novel in two chunks, before and after my trip of a lifetime on the West Coast Trail, but it is simple enough that I don’t think the week off in between made much difference. The fact that I didn’t miss the book at all does factor in to my rating though!
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has the stated premise of what would you do if your goodbye love letters accidentally got sent, but most of the novel is actually about a love quadrangle. Lara Jean has secretly loved her sister Margot’s boyfriend Josh for a long time. When Josh and Margot break up Lara Jean begins fake dating Peter in part to hopefully make Josh jealous. What ends up happening is expected and therefore believable teen drama. There is an interesting familial layer to the novel as well—the Covey sisters, including the youngest Kitty, live with their dad after their mom passed away when they were little, as well as some subtle notes on racism faced by the Korean American family.
I’m trying to talk up more backlist YA on the Tumblr parts since it seems like the right place to do so.
This weekend, buy yourself Hilary T. Martin’s Wild Awake if you want a great contemporary YA book about mental illness. It’s pulsing and manic and honest, with a mystery and romance that is, at heart, a novel about grief and overwhelming loss. It is $1.99 at all e-book retailers.
This is worth far more than $2.00. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re in for a huge treat.
For frugal readers who still like quality…
While it took me a little while to get into this novel, once I got going I didn’t really want to stop. It was a pleasant surprise to enjoy yet another book set in a boarding school, but Frankie is bright and determined so I definitely wanted her to succeed. I would have hoped for some longer lasting changes from her efforts, but based on the prevailing patriarchy and stiff social expectations what ended up happening is probably pretty accurate. There was also technically a love triangle but thankfully Frankie spends more time on the Bassett Hounds then on her love life! Worth a read ( and a few chuckles or eye rolls depending on how you feel about her vocabulary and Matthew’s editing).
Love Letters to the Dead is a lovely novel about the complexities of grief, friendship, love, family, and adolescence. I really appreciate how the various situations (including new love, quiet lesbians, sexual abuse, the loss of a sibling…) were all done in what felt to be a true rather than contrived way. Yes, certain issues circle around allowing for nice closure at the end, but it still felt right. It didn’t take me long to get wrapped up in Laurel’s story and hope for happier times for her. My one issue is the actual letters themselves. While I really liked the connection between the people she chooses to write to and her journey, the letters themselves didn’t feel very real…it could have been a novel of diary entries with some smaller letters to famous dead people because they didn’t feel like true letters to me. Nonetheless, it is a solid story with a lot of heart and I definitely recommend it.
Fault Line is not enjoyable, but it is important. There are several reasons why I am recommending this provocative YA novel:
1) I like that it considers the aftermath of a sexual assault from the viewpoint of the survivor’s boyfriend. It seems rare to here about the challenges of coping with the aftermath of a trauma that occurred to someone close to you.
2) I like that the main female, Ani, is strong, yet clearly vulnerable right from the beginning and that her way of coping with the assault is realistic and devastating.
3) I think it would be interesting for students to read this alongside Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
4) 50% of the proceeds go to www.voicesandfaces.org
I really liked this novel, perhaps because I’m a sucker for romantic ghost stories! My only complaint is that the relationship between Liv and Malcolm moves really quickly—from zero to I love you in a very short amount of time. I don’t want to give anything away, but it involves a boarding school, ghosts, a secret society and murder.
Hysteria is okay. I really liked the concept, but I think there was an issue with follow through. I wouldn’t describe this novel as a psychological thriller, more a cross between a murder mystery and a YA boarding school tale. That being said, I didn’t know what really happened to Mallory and I wanted to find out so I kept reading. Were there some really cliche parts? Yes. Did I still enjoy the novel? Yes. I plan to read the sequel to her first novel, Fracture, and then I will decide where I’d rate Megan Miranda as a YA author.
10 Recent Contemporary LGBTQ YA Books
In honor of Pride month, here are 10 YA books about contemporary LGBT experiences just published this year. If you haven’t had a chance to check them out yet, now’s a great time!
We only have a few of these, but I can always buy more :-)
This is a quick novel to read and even though it deals with some bigger issues such as bullying, coming out, and parents who are separated, it doesn’t really delve all that deeply into any of them. It’s an okay novel, and I did like the two main characters, but I was left wishing that it held a bit more gravitas. I liked how Drake talked about coming out and how honest his first kiss was,and I liked that it all took place during the first month of grade 9, but I just wanted more.