Annie’s sister—the authentic and fearless Storm—dies in a car accident, leaving behind a devastated family… and a list of things to accomplish. Wanting to honour her sister’s memory and get out of her comfort zone, Annie embarks on a road trip with her childhood friend Cameron in the hopes of checking off every item on the list.
The list is actually the least memorable aspect of this story. What I loved most was seeing Annie and Cameron’s relationship unfold. Because Annie’s parents are grieving and absent, she has quite a lot of freedom to basically do whatever she wishes… as long as Cameron is also okay with it. He is the wisest of the two of them, so she is in good hands and unlikely to get away with too much.
I found Rachel Bateman’s writing very engaging and the storyline to move along nicely without being too predictable. In an interview with the author at the end of this novel, she actually mentions that she is a dedicated story outliner and I could certainly tell. A less than perfect aspect in this novel is the openness and niceness of the people Annie and Cameron meet. It’s not realistic.
Everyone treats them like they’re friends or family: worthy of attention, patience and care and that’s just not realistic. Someone vouches for them at the hotel; strangers hug Annie and show concern. I understand that her sister died and Cameron probably told a lot of people what their circumstances are, but she’s not the only one with a dead family member so I found the amount of love thrown their way to be idealistic.
Other than that, there is a lot of growing up being done and grieving as well. I’m really glad Annie had Cameron to help her; she especially did not deserve to be alone after her parents started physically and emotionally withdrawing from her. Truth is grief messes people up, it does, but it can heal over time, and Bateman captured that well enough.
Thank you Hachette Book Group Canada for the copy in exchange for a review.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars Received: PRH Canada & NetGalley Published: April 30th, 2019 Publisher: Putnam Recommended Age: 12+ Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Romance, LGBTQIA+, Summer, Friendship, Family
This looks like a really fun and fluffy YA summer romance, but believe me when I tell you that it’s more of a soap opera… at an amusement park.
Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was entertaining and I would definitely recommend it to those who enjoy dramatic characters and scenarios as well as reading about different relationships blossoming and dying. Continue reading →
The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars Received: Hachette Book Group Canada Published: March 26th, 2019 Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR Recommended Age: 8+ Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, LGBTQIA+, Family Dynamics, Friendship, Love
I have read and enjoyed everything else Ashley Herring Blake has written so of course I was beyond excited to dive into this copy. I am also so very happy this author is exploring LGBTQIA+ themes because her stories are realistic and important. Continue reading →
My rating: 4 of 5 stars Received: Scholastic Canada Published: May 29th, 2018 Publisher: Point Recommended Age: 11+ Pacing: Normal Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Summer Reads, Contemporary Romance, Friendship
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. Continue reading →
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars Received: Publisher Published: May 8th, 2018 Publisher: Simon Pulse Recommended Age: 11+ Pacing: Fast Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Family, Siblings, Contemporary, Summer, Traveling
Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind. So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism. And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother. That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way. Continue reading →
My rating: 4 of 5 stars Received: Borrowed Published: April 24th, 2018 Publisher: Balzer + Bray Recommended Age: 12+ Pacing: Normal/Fast Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Humor, LGBT, High School, Senior Year, Romance, Friendship
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. Continue reading →
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars Received: Publisher First Published: May 1st, 2018 Publisher: Putnam Recommended Age: 12+ Pacing: Fast Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Royalty, Family Drama, Humor, Summertime, Romance
Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her to join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond. While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself. Continue reading →
My rating: 4 of 5 stars Received: Distributor First Published: April 3rd, 2018 Publisher: Sky Pony Press Recommended Age: 12+ Pacing: Normal Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Romance, LGBT, Fashion, Friendship, Summer, Family Relationships, Food, Work
Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby has stayed focused on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a prized internship at her favorite local boutique, she’s thrilled to take her first step into her dream career. She doesn’t expect to fall for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Abby knows it’s a big no-no to fall for a colleague. She also knows that Jordi documents her whole life in photographs, while Abby would prefer to stay behind the scenes. Then again, nothing is going as expected this summer. She’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win a paid job at the boutique. She’s somehow managed to befriend Jax, a lacrosse-playing bro type who needs help in a project that involves eating burgers across L.A.’s eastside. Suddenly, she doesn’t feel like a sidekick. Is it possible Abby’s finally in her own story? Continue reading →
My rating: 4 of 5 stars Received: Edelweiss Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine Recommended Age: 13+ Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Summer, Animals, Romance, Family, Friendship
Andie had it all planned out.
When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.
Important internship? Check.
Amazing friends? Check.
Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks)
But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.
Because here’s the thing – if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.