Review: What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard

What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard

What I Lost is so well done. It’s the story of Elizabeth and her anorexia, which has landed her in rehab. Alexandra Ballard does a great job of explaining anorexia as an illness. I had a friend who struggled with anorexia in high school, and so many of the behaviors included in this book brought that experience back for me. When Elizabeth enters treatment, she is determined to get out as quickly as she can, so she can get right back to her old eating habits. But over time she has experiences and meets friends that help her realize that she is not healthy. There […]

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Review: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into reading Dumplin’. I hated Julie Murphy’s last book, Side Effects May Vary, but I’d heard so many great things about this book. My book club selected this book; otherwise I may not have read it. I am so glad I did. I really enjoyed it. Willowdean (aka Dumplin’, her mom’s nickname for her) is the overweight daughter of a former beauty pageant winner. Her mother now runs the town’s teen pageant. Willowdean has always been more like her aunt, who’s just died. Amidst the usual teen drama – first love and a falling out with her best friend – […]

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Review: The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton, Lisa Steinke

The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

I loved the idea of this book. It sounds light and fun – three friends return to a year where they made some choices, and they try to make things better the second time around. In practice, this book was a lot heavier and a lot less enjoyable than I was hoping. Gabriela, Jessie, and Claire have some major drama in their lives – in both timelines. Fenton and Steinke did a great job of creating diverse characters. I loved Claire. She was practical and loving and fiercely loyal to her friends. Gabriela drove me nuts. She was stubborn to the point of recklessness. And […]

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Review: Ghostboy, Chameleon & the Duke of Graffiti by Olivia Wildenstein

Ghostboy, Chameleon & the Duke of Graffiti by Olivia Wildenstein

This book was a bit of a struggle for me, but I ultimately enjoyed it. I bought this book on Kindle for my phone, and then I ended up purchasing the Audible add on because I couldn’t make myself read the book. The main character Duke is incredibly obnoxious. He’s just too “cool” and guy-ish. I had a hard time reading from his perspective. He develops a crush on the principal’s daughter, the goth girl, despite his better intentions. And then he finds himself involved with her younger brother, who is dying of brain cancer. The story was right up my alley. I enjoy books […]

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Review: The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

I could not put this book down. The Things We Wish Were True follows a group of neighbors over one summer. Everyone is keeping secrets, and they unfold slowly in this character-driven novel. The characters are brought together by a boy’s near-drowning at the neighborhood pool. The book switches between many characters, and that’s what kept my interest since character-driven books aren’t usually my thing. Jencey has recently moved back to Sycamore Glen to live with her parents. She runs into Bryte, her former best friend, at the neighborhood pool. Bryte is now married to Jencey’s first love, Everett. Jencey begins falling for Lance, a father of 2 whose wife […]

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Review: Starflight by Melissa Landers

Starflight by Melissa Landers

Starflight is a mildly sci-fi-y, futuristic novel with great squad goals and a hate turned love romance. Solara has aged out of an orphanage, and she’s desperate to reach the outer realm to start a mechanic job. She convinces Doran, an enemy from school, to take her on as an indentured servant, so she can gain free passage on a huge tourist vessel. With a little trickery and a stun gun, she gets Doran to believe that he is the servant. They join up with an unlikely captain and his crew, thus beginning a wild adventure. The beginning of this book almost reminded me to Titanic […]

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Review: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

One True Loves contains the ultimate love triangle. I usually cannot stand love triangles. I don’t understand how someone can be so indecisive about who love or who they want to be with. But in this book it actually makes sense. Emma fell in love with Jesse in high school. They left their small Massachusetts town together to attend the University of Los Angeles, and they never looked back. They followed their dreams and traveled the world. The night before their one year wedding anniversary, Jesse left for a job in Alaska, and the unthinkable happened, his helicopter crashed into the Pacific Ocean, and he […]

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Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

In A Monster Calls, Conor unwittingly calls a monster to his aid, but he doesn’t really understand why. His mother is dying of cancer, and he thinks perhaps the monster is there to save her. Instead, the monster tells him three tales, meant to illustrate his purpose. Conor doesn’t understand, and I admit that I didn’t quite understand either until it was explained at the end. This story is about grief and fear. It’s heavy but wonderful. Conor is wrestling with emotions we all have faced or will have to face one day. The monster helps him deal with his secret truth – which I was […]

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