I really enjoyed Kelly Fiore’s debut, Taste Test, so when I saw this being talked about on twitter I knew I had to read it.
Fiore does a great job of writing realistic characters. One of the strongest attributes of Just Like the Movies is that the two main characters, Marijke and Lily, truly come from two very different high school worlds – one very popular and the other nearly invisible – but they forge a friendship that becomes one of the main focal points for the book. I think romantic elements in YA are great (and, honestly, what we girls want to see), but it’s nice when that’s not the ONLY big focus int the story, and Fiore did a great job of balancing two sweet romantic elements with this important friendship.
Just Like the Movies is a fun book that only took a few hours to read, and it’s full of references to classic romantic comedy movies. Opening with a scene straight out of Say Anything definitely got me hooked on the story immediately!
Click here to find it on Amazon, or ask about it at your favorite local bookseller!
I’m a sucker for a good YA novel with a pretty cover, but a book with a pretty cover (even gold foil on the paperback! too gorgeous) AND Robert Frost poetry woven in? I’m so there. Golden by Jessi Kirby is a really beautifully written story full of romance, mystery, and adventure. The story is compelling and the characters are realistically flawed with plenty of redeeming value. Parker, the main character, is a protagonist that I rooted for all the way through, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the way her story turned out. You’ll love this one! Click here to find Golden on Amazon!
When I found out that Madelyn would be willing to do a guest post for me, I sent her a long string of rambling questions and thoughts I had after finishing Dream Boy a few months ago. I’m excited to turn the blog over to her today so she can give you more insight into where the idea for Dream Boy came from and how the characters were developed! (AND you still have time to enter the GIVEAWAY for a copy of Dream Boy! Click for a Rafflecopter giveaway! ————————————————————————–
You know the feeling you have when you wake up after a particularly vivid dream? Struggling to decipher between dream and reality because it just seems so real, maybe trying to go back to sleep and enter that dream again, but eventually losing the details as it fades from your memory?
In Dream Boy, Annabelle is having a series of those very vivid dreams all featuring the same guy – she can hardly wait to get back to sleep and see him again – until he walks into her Science class as a new student… And he knows who Annabelle is as if they’ve met before! Talk about blurring the lines between real and imaginary. Of course,
I really enjoyed Dream Boy and loved the way that the authors wove paranormal elements into an otherwise contemporary realistic piece of fiction. It reminded me of Lisa McMann’s books, which I also think are wonderful, in that it’s a very accessible YA form of magical realism. They’ve also done a great job of creating characters with enough depth to handle the twists and turns they throw into the plot as the story goes from a simple “oh hey, my dream came true” to a “oh crap, does that mean nightmares can too?” kind of suspense.
I totally recommend getting a copy and reading right now… and then stopping back by here in a few days, when one of the authors, Madelyn Rosenberg, will be here to answer some questions about how Dream Boy came to be after I sent the following long, rambly e-mail to her:
- I’d love to know more about where the idea came from – it felt familiar in that there are books out there that sort of dance all over that boundary between realistic fiction and paranormal, but it also felt refreshingly new.
- It was impossible to read, too, without thinking of how much I’d be freaking out if I were in Annabelle’s shoes. So where did the idea of a literal dream come true come from? And from the spark of the idea, how did the whole story develop?
- I’d love to hear, too, about the possibility of a sequel or companion novel. What’s next for Annabelle, Will, Martin, and the rest?
Summary from Goodreads:
Nola Sutton has been best friends and neighbors with the Swift boys for practically her whole life. There’s the youngest, Kevin, who never stops talking; the oldest, Brian, who’s always kind and calm; and then there’s Canaan, the ringleader and Nola’s best-best friend. Nola can’t imagine her life without the Swift boys — they’ll always be like this, always be friends.
But then everything changes overnight.
When the Swifts’ daddy leaves without even saying good-bye, it completely destroys the boys, and all Nola can do is watch. Kevin stops talking and Brian is never around. Even Canaan is drifting away from Nola — hanging out with the neighborhood bullies instead of her.
Nola just wants things to go back to the way they were — the way they’ve always been. She tries to pull the boys back to her, only the harder she pulls, the further away they seem. But it’s not just the Swifts whose family is changing, so is Nola’s, and she needs her best friends now more than ever. Can Nola and the Swift boys survive this summer with their friendships intact, or has everything fallen apart for good?
Nola’s struggle to save her friends, her unwavering hope, and her belief in the power of friendship make Kody Keplinger’s middle-grade debut a poignant story of loss and redemption.
This is a really sweet and beautifully written middle grades novel. The only thing keeping me from giving it five stars is that I felt like the ending, while hopeful and complete enough to resolve the book, didn’t quite do Lola and Canaan justice. They were such great characters – there should have been more resolution, both in their relationship and in Canaan’s family life.
I definitely recommend The Swift Boys and Me to kids in the 4th-6th grade range! The adorable cover will no doubt appeal to lots of young girls, but the messages and themes are perfect for boys, too. For my fellow teachers, this would make a great summer reading choice for students coming into 5th and 6th grades!
Find it here on Amazon or at your preferred bookseller. Enjoy!
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Jennifer Echols. She has a way of creating characters you’d want to hang out with in real life – they’re not perfect by any means – they’re full of flaws and rocky lives, which is probably part of their appeal. They’re realistic without being negative jerks. Anyway, Jennifer also has a way of writing a romance that makes it seem more real-life possible than most romance stories.
Biggest Flirts kicks off a new series for Echols, the Superlatives, which will go through other superlatives like perfect couple and more. I can’t say that Biggest Flirts was my favorite of Echols’ books (I think, for me, that will forever be Dirty Little Secret), but I did enjoy it thoroughly and look forward to reading the rest of the series!
Quick content reminder – Echols’ writing is definitely for the upper high school and beyond audience. I think she’s a great storyteller and I always find value in lessons taken from the lives of her characters, but I wouldn’t really want to see them in the hands of my middle school students.
Biggest Flirts came out last month, and the rest of the books in the series look like they’ll follow pretty quickly (January 2015 and August 2015 so far), so we won’t have to wait too long in-between books! Yay for that. :)
Another side note – if you’ve ever had to actually take superlatives pictures for the yearbook (I did my time as yearbook advisor for four years), you can truly appreciate these clovers. I absolutely love them!