Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

The Sea of TranquilityTitle: The Sea of Tranquility

Author: Katja Millay

Publisher: Atria Books

Release Date: June 4th, 2013 (paperback)

Interest: ALA Alex Award Winner / Contemp

Source: Publisher

Summary (From Goodreads):

I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Full of rage and without a purpose, former pianist Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone discovering her past and to make the boy who took everything from her pay.

All 17 year-old Josh Bennett wants is to build furniture and be left alone, and everyone allows it because it’s easier to pretend he doesn’t exist. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, a hot mess of a girl who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. The more he gets to know her, the more of a mystery she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he may ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

OhMyGosh. I’m sorry (well, not sorry) that I’m going to gush all over this review because this book is absolutely fantastic. The publisher approved The Sea of Tranquility for me over the summer via NetGalley and for some reason I started it but didn’t finish it. I’m so glad the librarian in my building asked me to read some of the Alex Award winners to help her decide which ones to add to the library. I was in one of my moody reader moods on Friday and decided to pick up Katja Millay’s debut again to see if it would perk me up and also to help out our librarian. It did that and more.

Since I found out I was pregnant in January, I haven’t been able to read a book in one sitting without falling asleep. The Sea of Tranquility is 448 pages long and I read the entire book in almost one sitting without falling asleep. It’s incredibly engaging and engrossing. I can hardly explain how attached I am to the characters in this book. I woke up in the morning thinking about Josh and Nastya wondering how their story would end. Some reviewers say that the story starts out slow, but I disagree. I really can’t remember why I set it down over the summer, but I know it wasn’t because it’s slow.

But speaking of slow, Josh and Nastya’s relationship grows slowly–there’s no insta-love. Instead we really get to know Josh and Nastya as they get to know each other. I loved watching them navigate their feelings for each other since they’re both very guarded and hesitant to let anyone into their lives. I don’t know if this is weird to say, but I felt myself falling in love with them as I read their story. We get to read from both of their point of views, but I still wanted to know more about Nastya just like Josh did. Katja Millay wrote such real characters that I felt their emotions with them. She gave them depth and emotion and so much heart that I teared up multiple times while reading.

I do want to mention a warning that’s placed at the end of the Goodreads summary that I chose to eliminate from my review. It warns the reader about the mature content in the story. I know that’s one of the reasons why my librarian asked me to read The Sea of Tranquility before she added it to the circulation. I really don’t think the warning is necessary. Yes, there’s profanity, but I don’t think there’s an excess of it. There’s a lot of sexual innuendo and joking, but there isn’t anything graphic included in terms of sex. There’s a scene which includes drugs, but again, it’s nothing that really shocked or alarmed me. All of it fit the characters and the situations in the novel. I always recommend reading a novel before handing it to students and this is no different. I did, however, order myself a copy for my students when I was only 40% through because I felt that confident about it.

I really hope Katja Millay writes another book soon. I’d even be happy if she chose to write a sequel. ;) I’m so impressed with her debut that I’ll automatically add her next book to my TBR list. The Sea of Tranquility is a new favorite and has been added to my limited list of books that I would happily read more than once.

The Sea of Tranquility read alikes (titles & authors): Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Fall for Anything & Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers, Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez, Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

This post is actually difficult to write because despite my list, many of the books I read this year are written by authors I’ve read before. I consider that a good thing because it means former debut authors and new-to-me authors have continued to impress me. I’d love to know which authors are on your list! Hopefully we’ll share some similarities. Hopefully I’ll discover even more authors!

Top Debut Authors:

Hilary T. Smith–Wild Awake has engaging characters and beautiful writing. I hope she writes another book soon!

Rainbow Rowell–Eleanor & Park is Rowell’s debut YA release which rocked my world. Seriously. I LOVE that book.

Hollis Seamon–Somebody Up There Hates You surprised me in a great way. It was fun to read despite being a “cancer” book.

Robin Constantine–As soon as I finished reading The Promise of Amazing I wanted to read another one of Robin Constantine’s books. It’s too bad this hasn’t even released yet because that means I have to wait even LONGER for her next book.

Jessica Verdi–She tackles a big issue in My Life After Now without getting preachy. Plus, it’s an issue not enough found in YA. Win, win.

Aaron Hartzler–Rapture Practice is a great example of YA memoir while also being a fabulous and relevant story.

K.A. Barson–45 Pounds is a fun book that many of my readers will relate to. Plus, K.A. Barson is a Michigan author!

Top New-to-Me Authors:

Benjamin Alire Saenz–I can’t begin to explain how beautiful Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is.

Jo Knowles–So technically Jo Knowles isn’t new to me since I read Lessons From a Dead Girl a few years ago. I’m including her on this list because I read three of her other books this year and loved all of them. I feel like I truly discovered her this year.

Amy Reed–I loved reading Over You and now want to read everything Amy Reed writes.

Amazon Kindle Daily Deal: Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne

Sourcebooks Fire is excited to announce that Hannah Jayne’s debut novel Truly, Madly, Deadly is an Amazon Daily Kindle Deal for $1.99! This book sounds really suspenseful and intriguing, so I jumped on this offer.

Today I have for you the summary of Truly, Madly, Deeply and a playlist Hannah Jayne created for her book.

Truly, Madly, DeadlySummary (From Goodreads):

They Said It Was An Accident…

Sawyer Dodd is a star athlete, a straight-A student, and the envy of every other girl who wants to date Kevin Anderson. When Kevin dies in a tragic car crash, Sawyer is stunned. Then she opens her locker to find a note:

You’re welcome.

Someone saw what he did to her. Someone knows that Sawyer and Kevin weren’t the perfect couple they seemed to be. And that someone—a killer—is now shadowing Sawyer’s every move…

A Truly, Madly, Deadly Playlist created by Hannah Jayne

H. Jayne 2012 headshot(1)There is so much emotion in TRULY, MADLY, DEADLY that the playlist had to reflect the same. Love, danger, terror – the book is packed with it and the playlist is, too!

        1.       Aftermath Lifehouse
2.      My Song Knows What You Did in the Dark Fallout Boy
3.      Time-Bomb All Time Low
4.      Fighter The Fray
5.      Ready Set Go Outasight
6.      Nobody Listen Lifehouse
7.      Flagpole Sitta Harvey Danger
8.      Run Don’t Walk Hey Monday
9.      If I Lose Myself Tonight One Republic
10.  Hey Beautiful Seven Foot Wave
11.  Stuck In The Middle Boys Like Girls
12. 
Brave  Sara Bareilles

Aftermath is slow and a little dark; it reminds me of Kevin’s funeral. The lyrics, “If we can make it through the storm/become who we were before/promise me we’ll never look back,” haunt Sawyer as she walks up the Anderson’s stairs.

Besides being the best song title ever, My Song Knows What You Did in the Dark fits Sawyer and Kevin’s dangerous relationship. Sawyer walks down the hill the night of Kevin’s death. His words are drowned out by the pulse of this song – “So light ‘em up, up, up/Light ‘em up, up, up/I’m on fire.”

 Time Bomb – “it was like a time bomb set into motion” – is Maggie’s and Sawyer’s first run-in, that Monday after the funeral.

I imagine Lucas looking so forlorn as he walks down the hall – I hear Fighter playing behind him: “Maybe we were meant to be lonely, lonely/maybe we were meant to be on our own.”

Ready Set Go is upbeat and fun, the perfect getting ready for the game song.

Sawyer’s run in with Mr. Hanson is intense – Nobody Listen – intense. “Everybody talk/Nobody listen/Nobody listen…”

Sawyer runs to the beat of Flagpole Sitta. Can’t you just hear her sneakers pounding out, “paranoia, paranoia/everyone is coming to get me/just say you never met me”?

Sawyer reads the second note with trembling breath, and the song Run Don’t Walk pulses through the hallway.

If I Lose Myself Tonight and Hey Beautiful filter out of a house party – calm, sweet lyrics before the storm.

Sawyer’s father drags her home and she’s terrified, looking over the destruction of her new baby sister’s nursery. She hears Stuck In The Middle, the words, “I know things’ll get better/Hold it together/Take your time.”

Finally, during the last few paragraphs, we hear Brave: I wonder what would happen/if you say what you want to say/and let the words fall out/Honestly/I want to see you brave.”

The baby’s nursery
Stuck In the Middle Boys Like Girls
I know things’ll get better
Hold it together
Take your time
Stuck in the middle

The end
Brave Sara Bareilles
I wonder what would happen
If you say what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly, I want to see you be brave
The second note
Nobody Listen Lifehouse

Wipe Your Eyes Maroon Five
Better With You Kris Allen
Shouldn’t Come Back Demi Lovato
I Choose U Timeflies
Ready Set Go Outasight (the football game)
Time-Bomb All Time Low
Run, Don’t Walk Hey Monday
Aftermath

Waiting on Wednesday–More Than This by Patrick Ness

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  It’s designed for bloggers to spotlight the upcoming releases that they simply can’t wait to read.

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Patrick Ness is an auto-buy author.  I love his writing, his stories, and his creativity.  This upcoming release sounds fantastic and like it will be utterly engaging.  I can’t wait to read it!

More Than ThisTitle & Author: More Than This by Patrick Ness

Release Date: September 10th, 2013

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Summary (From Goodreads):

From two-time Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness comes an enthralling and provocative new novel chronicling the life — or perhaps afterlife — of a teen trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world.

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . .

Review: Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Wild AwakeTitle: Wild Awake

Author: Hilary T. Smith

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release Date: May 28th, 2013

Interest: Contemporary / Debut Author

Source: ARC received from the editor

Summary (From Goodreads):

Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away:

1. You will remember to water the azaleas.
2. You will take detailed, accurate messages.
3. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong.
4. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands.
5. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.

Things that actually happen:

1. A stranger calls who says he knew your sister.
2. He says he has her stuff.
3. What stuff? Her stuff.
4. You tell him your parents won’t be able to—
5. Sukey died five years ago; can’t he—
6. You pick up a pen.
7. You scribble down the address.
8. You get on your bike and go.
9. Things . . . get a little crazy after that.*
*also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.

Both exhilarating and wrenching, Hilary T. Smith’s debut novel captures the messy glory of being alive, as seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd discovers love, loss, chaos, and murder woven into a summer of music, madness, piercing heartbreak, and intoxicating joy.

To put it simply, I just loved Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith.

Smith’s writing is lively and beautiful.  I almost never take notes when I’m reading a book because it distracts me, but I had to write down multiple sentences and paragraphs while reading  Wild Awake.  If I didn’t want to stop, I took a picture of what I was reading so I would remember it when writing this review.  Here are a few of the sections I wanted to remember (quotes taken from the ARC):

“His smile is a jar full of fireflies.”

“…I feel more exposed than I ever have before, like I’m climbing a rock face with only a strand of dental floss for a harness. The music we’re playing is a dripline straight from our hearts, a confession of all that we are.”

“…I’ve traded in a jar full of pennies for a bar of gold.  It’s amazing how quickly the things you thought would make you happy seem small once you stumble on something true.”

Hilary T. Smith has lines like those woven throughout her entire novel.  I absolutely love her similes and metaphors.

Along with loving the writing, I adore Kiri Byrd.  She is alive on the page.  I simultaneously worried about Kiri while wanting to be her friend and spend time with her.  I worried for her because she is grieving over her sister and what she discovers about her sister.  I also worried for her because she’s manic and dealing with it all by herself.  (Note–I knew something was mentally wrong with Kiri, but didn’t think of mania–I have no idea why not–until Kelly @ Stacked pointed it out in her review, which is great by the way.)  What’s awesome about Wild Awake is that I never felt like I was reading a novel about grief.  I understood Kiri’s grief and empathized with her, but I never felt down while reading this.  I think the main reason I didn’t feel down is because Kiri is so exuberant.  Even at times that she shouldn’t be, she is full of life and wonder and wanting the best for herself and for Skunk.

Speaking of Skunk, his character is wonderful.  He and Kiri are both suffering, but they’re life rafts for each other.  He’s her “bicycle boy,” her “love-bison,” and so much more.  Kiri sees his potential and wants to help him heal.  I don’t want to say too much more because I’m afraid I’ll spoil something, but I sure do love Skunk.  Especially Skunk and Kiri together.

A couple people have asked me if Wild Awake would be okay for middle grade readers, and I’m honestly not sure.  There isn’t anything graphically sexual in this novel, but the themes and issues are deep.  I’m not sure if a middle grade reader would grasp what exactly is going on with Kiri and Skunk.  My best advice is to read this–because you’ll hopefully enjoy it anyway–then make your decision based on what you know about your readers.  I feel completely comfortable offering this to new freshmen in the fall, if that helps at all.

Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith is a must-read.  Based on this debut, I know that Hilary T. Smith is going to be an exciting voice in YA literature.  I can’t wait to read what she writes next!

iBookstore Book of the Week–I’m Not Her by Janet Gurtler

Janet Gurtler is a wonderful  YA contemporary author, and Sourcebooks Fire is excited to announce that Janet’s book, I’m Not Her, has been chosen as the iBookstore Book of the Week! (Click the link to get to the book.)  This means that I’m Not Her is FREE to readers right now through the iBookstore.  You can’t be free, right?!  To help promote this exciting event, I have 10 fun facts to share about Janet Gurtler’s book.  Feel free to spread the love by tweeting this post with the hashtag #BookoftheWeek :)

I'm Not Here cover

10 Fun Facts About I’m Not Her by Janet Gurtler

  1. In a hospital scene in I’m Not Her one of the nurses is named Tracey and she takes Kristina’s flowers home to her daughter, Carly.  Tracey is the name of my sister, Carly is her daughter in real life.
  1. Every single one of my books has a character named Carly in it. This is a tribute to my niece, Carly. The characters are not based on her per se, but there has to be a Carly in my books. Like a superstition or good luck charm or something.
  1. This book is dedicated to my sister Tracey.  I was able to keep it a secret until Final Page Proofs came in.
  1. My niece Ciara plays volleyball and her nickname is CEE. She got recruited by a university in the States and is playing there. None of the volleyball players in the book were based on her though. She is a cool like a rock star.
  1. I thought Clark Trent was a funny name because of Superman’s secret identity. The Superman cape Clark wears in a scene cracked me up.
  1. I named a couple of the teachers in I’m Not Her after dogs I’ve had.  Peppsy (Mr. Pepson) and Meeko (Mr. Meekers)
  1. In a scene Tess listens to Hedly on her iPod. I LOVE Jacob, the lead singer for the band. He was on the only season of Canadian Idol I watched.
  1. I named the golf course that Nick works at and Tess’s Dad plays at after my husband. Largurt (Larry Gurtler)
  1. I’m Not Her was originally called The Weight of Bones, but when I first started writing it I titled it Dance Big Sister.
  1. Tess’s love of the Discovery Channel and Myth Busters were inspired by my son

If you didn’t already know, Janet Gurtler’s newest novel, How I Lost You (Goodreads), was just published this month.  She has a fantastic interview with Entertainment Weekly’s Shelf Life blog: http://shelf-life.ew.com/2013/05/05/how-i-lost-you-janet-gurtler/ .   Janet is also hosting a month-long  “YA Authors Talk BFFs” celebration on her blog where she’s posting interviews with other YA authors about their relationships with their best friends from their teen years to today.  It’s actually really fascinating: http://janetgurtler.blogspot.com/

WriteOnCon 2013 Pitch-fest

I’m very excited to help bring attention to the 2013 WriteOnCon pitch-fest!  Read on for details! :)

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We here at WriteOnCon have decided that we sleep too much. To rectify that, we’re organizing a mid-winter “Luck ‘O the Irish” pitch-fest, where agents, book bloggers, and authors will team up to read and vote for the best pitches of 2013.

You read that right! A pitch-fest! At WriteOnCon!

But you won’t need a pot ‘o gold–or a lucky leprechaun–to participate, because our goal is to make sure you’re well prepared. After all, we have bonafide literary agents coming to this thing! Yes, they will be reading the pitches, and yes, they are looking to sign clients. It could be you!

Not a writer? WE STILL NEED YOU! We’re recruiting book bloggers and readers to spread the word and to vote for their favorites. Advocate for the books you want to see published–contact us at writeoncon@gmail.com to become an official WOC 2013 Pitch-Fest Blogger. You’ll even get a special button. Ooooo. Shiny buttons.

The details:
–Pitch-fest runs from March 18-22. Authors, book bloggers, readers, and our fabulous literary agents will be voting on the pitches. The favorites in each category will win prizes, including some great agent feedback or membership in the official WriteOnCon mentorship program!

–There will only be a limited number of pitches accepted. That number is unknown at this time, because it depends on how many agents attend. We’re still recruiting agents and will let you know the final numbers as soon as we do! Pitches will be selected randomly, so it doesn’t matter what time zone you live in.

–The agents have selected their top three genres, and pitches will ONLY be accepted in those genres. Again, all genres are unknown at this time as we’re still finalizing agents, but don’t worry. We will make announcements about genres and numbers as things solidify (sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss a thing!). At this time, we are only focusing on the children’s market, so you can know now that this pitch-fest will focus only on middle grade and young adult genres.

–We’re announcing this now, before all details are finalized, because we’re running a “perfect your pitch” workshop in February. This will take place in the WriteOnCon forums, and will work much the same as the query critique boards do during the annual WOC. You will post your pitch, and your peers will critique it. We will have posts from industry professionals on writing pitches and genre classification.

We’re doing this for a good reason. We want your pitch to be as perfect as possible once the submission window hits in March. We will only be accepting your entry for the pitch-fest one time. We will not change your genre or edit your pitch after it has been submitted. This workshop during February is the time for you to fine-tune your pitch and get feedback about which genre your novel really belongs in.

–Only one pitch per person. Put forth your best work.

–Pitches should be for polished and query-ready novels only. That means if you haven’t finished your novel yet, you shouldn’t pitch. Still revising? Don’t pitch. The agents attending are looking for material, and when they request, you want to be ready to send out your novel. We’re announcing early to give you time to finish!

Dates to know:
February 18-March 10 – Forum peer pitch critiques (Carolin has the forum boards built! Check them out HERE)
March 11-13 – Submission of final pitches (this will be done through a Google form, NOT in the forum–details to come!)
March 14-17 – We build the boards in the forum (they will be hidden until March 18)
March 18-22 – Voting and commenting by literary agents, mentor authors, and book bloggers

We can’t wait to see you at the Luck o’ the Irish Pitch-Fest! Watch the WOC newsletter and site for more updates as we get closer to liftoff. Yeah, that was totally a mixed metaphor.

 

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Waiting on Wednesday–The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  It’s designed for bloggers to spotlight the upcoming releases that they simply can’t wait to read.

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Sarah Ockler is a popular author in my classroom, and with good reason, too.  My students and I love her characters, the plot lines, the romance, etc.  The book club I run chose Fixing Delilah as one of our books two years ago and last year we read Bittersweet.  We chatted with Sarah over the phone after reading Fixing Delilah, and last year we made cupcakes and Skyped with Sarah after reading Bittersweet.  I have a sneaking suspicion we’ll be reading The Book of Broken Hearts together this spring :)

The Book of Broken HeartsTitle & Author: The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Release Date: May 21st, 2013

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Summary (From Goodreads): When all signs point to heartbreak, can love still be a rule of the road? A poignant and romantic novel from the author of Bittersweet and Twenty Boy Summer.

Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

Book Trailer Thursday (94)–Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder

Lisa Schroeder is one of my favorite authors and I adore all of her books.  She’s honestly one of the best verse novel authors out there.  I’m surprised her newest book Falling for You, which just released on January 1st, isn’t written in verse, but I’m also excited to read her prose.  If you love her verse as much as I do, you’ll be happy to know that there’s still some poetry in this book :)

Falling for YouSummary (From Goodreads):

Rae’s always dreamed of dating a guy like Nathan. He’s nothing like her abusive stepfather—in other words, he’s sweet. But the closer they get, the more Nathan wants of her time, of her love, of her…and the less she wants to give.

As Rae’s affection for Nathan turns to fear, she leans on her friend Leo for support. With Leo, she feels lighter, happier. And possessive Nathan becomes jealous.

Then a tragedy lands Rae in the ICU. Now, hovering between life and death, Rae must find the light amid the darkness…and the strength to fight for life and the love she deserves.

Favorite Books of 2012

To be honest, this has been kind of a tough reading year for me.  I finished my Masters, I’ve been working on feeling better and getting healthier, and I’ve been working my butt off in my classroom (new classes, new units, etc.).  I’ve still read a large amount of books, but I’m hoping 2013 will be a smoother, easier reading year.

Putting this list together wasn’t any easier this year than it was last year, but I’m happy with the group of books I’ve decided on.  This is a list of the ten books that have stayed with me this year.  They aren’t numbered in any particular order.

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (Goodreads)–I’ve blogged about this debut quite a few times this year and it’s because it’s just that good.  I love the time period, the romance, the magic, the characters, etc.  The sequel doesn’t release until later in 2013 unfortunately, but it will be worth the wait.

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington (Goodreads)–I still enjoy reading paranormal fantasy, but it’s not as alluring as it used to be.  Jessica Shirvington’s Embrace series, however, has held my interest because it’s exciting, mysterious, and oh-so-swoonworthy.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Goodreads)–Maggie Stiefvater is a rock star.  I love the magical realism in this story and even though I read this over the summer, I’m still thinking about the characters and the awesome ending.

Born WickedEmbraceThe Raven Boys

Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen (Goodreads)–This actually released in 2011, but I didn’t read it until this year.  If you haven’t read it yet, and you can handle a gut-wrenching story about bullying, I highly recommend you get a copy.  It recently released in paperback which helps a book budget.  The characters in this book are sure to stay with you for a long time after you finish reading it.

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King (Goodreads)–I just read this a couple days ago, and I knew it had to go on this list.  There’s a reason A.S. King is one of my absolute favorite authors and Astrid’s story is now one of my top reasons.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio (Goodreads)–This is technically a middle grade title, and I did read it with my ears, but Auggie’s story is for everyone of all ages.  This is an incredibly touching story that begs to be read by everyone.

LeverageAsk the PassengersWonder Book Cover

Easy by Tammara Webber (Goodreads)–If you’re new to the world of New Adult like I am, I suggest starting with Easy.  This book is seriously awesome and one I could not put down.  I love the character growth, the steamy romance, the setting, everything.

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin (Goodreads)–Sometimes I need a lighthearted book that will make me smile and laugh.  This debut did all of that and more.  I love reading it to my YA Lit classes because it works well as a read aloud and it’s that much fun to read over and over again.

Boy21 by Matthew Quick (Goodreads)–I’ve praised this book over and over again and I won’t stop.  It’s a great story about friendship, loyalty, self-discovery, and family.  I hope you read it.

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller (Goodreads)–As soon as I finished this debut I knew it was going to be a 2012 favorite.  But let’s be honest, it’s an all-time favorite.  I’m still thinking about Travis and Harper and I read this back in the spring.  Trish Doller is an author to watch.

easyFreshman Year & Other Unnatural DisastersBoy21Something Like Normal

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