I’m Glad I Did is a wonderfully written, intriguing example of everything that can be great about YA Historical Fiction. The characters are compelling and realistic, the major cultural issues of the time are front and center, and it’s educational and entertaining. Love, love, love this.
Check out the synopsis below, taken from Goodreads, and find I’m Glad I Did here on Amazon or at your favorite book store.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and songwriting legend Cynthia Weil’s extraordinary YA debut opens the secretive doors of the Brill Building-the hit factory that changed history. Part Mad Men, part Grace of my Heart, part murder mystery, I’m Glad I Did is a coming-of-age story at an unforgettable cultural tipping point: the summer of 1963.
JJ Greene, a gifted 16-year-old songwriter, defies her lawyer parents by secretly applying for a job in the famed Brill Building-the epicenter of songwriting for a new genre called rock-n-roll. But their warnings about the evils of the music industry prove far darker than she imagined when she finds herself at the heart of a cover-up that involves hidden identity, theft, and possibly murder.
Ok, I’m a real fan of British things. Like, not in a creepy way… I just think British comedies and romances and TV (hello, IT Crowd and Sherlock) are fantastic. Geek Girl, the first in a series of books from acclaimed British author Holly Smale, is equally wonderful. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I enjoyed it as much as the first book in Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicholson series (the funniest books I’ve ever read).
Anyway, in Geek Girl we get to know Harriet Manners, a self-proclaimed geek and anti-fashionista, who sort of accidentally gets “discovered” as a model. And not just a little local ad company model, but an international supermodel… which makes you wonder how on earth she thought she could keep it a secret! Serious laugh out loud opportunities and swoony moments with a male model are all through this, along with a good, valuable message in the end.
Because this is the first in a series, I asked Holly Smale if the other books would be coming out quickly here (several are already out in the UK), and she said they’ll be following Geek Girl in the upcoming months. I know that I, for one, can’t wait!
Check out Geek Girl here on Amazon or find it at your favorite book store. It will be out on January 27th, so preorder!
I’ve been a fan of Cassie’s since her very first release, but I think How to Hook a Bookworm has pretty solidly taken its place as my new favorite Cassie Mae book. The book is funny (I LOL’ed several times while reading it this morning – my kids thought I was crazy), it’s swoony (OMG with Jay and Adam), and it’s relevant (Brea is an impossible not to love, realistic, flawed teenager with problems that face many students today).
The whole “How To” series has been really great, and Bookworm is the perfect ending. While you could pick this up and read it as a standalone, you won’t get everything out of it that there is to get, so do yourself a favor and begin with How to Date a Nerd first. Or, be stubborn and start out with How to Hook a Bookworm. It’ll leave you wanting more and more of Cassie’s books!
This one is hard to explain, so I’m pasting the blurb from Goodreads below, but I’ll just say this first. When was not quite like anything I’d ever read before, and I loved it. It’s intriguing and mysterious and does a wonderful job of making you think as you join Maddie for her exciting adventures. It’s definitely one I’d read again! Check it out here on Amazon or at your favorite book store.
Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.
Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client’s young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie.
Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie’s whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it’s too late?
All the Bright Places is the first MUST READ of 2015.
It’s the story or Violet and Finch, who meet each other on the ledge of their school’s bell tower. Finch is a quirky, oddball kind of a guy who’s not well-liked by Violet and her group of friends. He thinks about suicide and often gets right to the brink of an attempt just to see how it feels and if he’ll follow through. Violet is still recovering from a trauma that took her sister’s life the previous year, and sometimes thinks about escaping it all. And so, when they meet on the bell tower ledge, it’s sort of muddy who does the rescuing and who was close to taking their own life.
Now, I know that all sounds pretty serious and depressing, and it is. But I promise, this book is not really depressing. It’s really beautiful. After the bell tower incident, Violet and Finch are assigned to a partner project in which they have to explore local landmarks together and write about them. What results from their assignment is a series of adventures in which we see healing, and friendship, and love… It’s really, truly something special. It wrecked me and filled my heart all at the same time.
I have a feeling that Niven’s book will be talked about a lot throughout 2015 (and beyond). It’s being compared to The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor and Park, and I do see those comparisons, but All the Bright Places is really something new and different and lovely even without the comparisons. In fact, I think it’s even better than the comparisons.
You can find it here on Amazon or at your local book store. Make sure you tweet at Jennifer and welcome her to the world of YA, too – she’s super sweet!
I don’t typically share New Year’s resolutions. Actually, I don’t typically MAKE New Year’s resolutions. To me, it always feels like a promise I make to myself that I’ll probably break within a week, and so it’s easier to just make small changes to my life and lifestyle whenever necessary than to essentially lie to myself for the sake of a holiday.
But, anyway… One of my author friends, Cassie Mae, asked yesterday what my number one goal for 2015 was. I almost just didn’t answer because of what I just explained, but this question felt different. A goal doesn’t feel like a probable lie. It feels like something I’ll work toward throughout 2015.
So, here it is. My ultimate goal for this year is to get signed by a literary agent. In order to do that, though, I need to finish the manuscript I’m working on… I don’t know why, but I have this feeling that it could really be something special. I have to say that this goal feels daunting in light of medical issues I’ve been battling for the past four months, but I’m hoping to be healthy enough to continue the pursuit of my ultimate dream: to become a successful, published author. I want to walk into Barnes and Noble and see my books on the selves. I want to go on book release tours and meet readers. I want to write books that will positively impact the lives of teenagers all over the place. I want to go to book conventions and meet (and fangirl over) the authors that have been my inspiration. I want to see myself on a bestseller list someday.
The journey to get there won’t be easy, and in many ways I ultimately have no control over where my dream ends up, but I sure have the passion to try.
How about you? What big goals are you working toward this year?