The Geography of You and Me by Jen. E. Smith

geography of you and me

I’ve been a big fan of Jen E. Smith’s previous books, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and This is What Happy Looks Like, so when I saw the cover (LOVE) and the blurb for this one, I couldn’t wait.

In The Geography of You and Me, Lucy and Owen meet when they’re stuck together in an elevator during the New York City blackout a few years ago. The story, told in the alternating points of view that Smith is an absolute master of, follows Lucy and Owen on that blackout day and then throughout the next few years as they both end up all over the world but still manage to keep in touch.

Now, I liked this – I really did – but I have to say up front that it didn’t grab me quite the same way that her previous books did. Actually, it’s much more like Statistical Probability in feeling, with a lot of emotional depth and sadness to the characters’ lives, but my absolute favorite of hers is Happy which is, well, happy. For me, while I enjoyed Lucy and Owen as characters and liked the way their stories ultimately played out, there just wasn’t enough at the end to fully lift my spirits and leave me feeling upbeat. I’m still recommending it, of course, or else I wouldn’t post it here, but be prepared for an emotional journey rather than a light, summery fling of a read!

You can find The Geography of You and Me at your favorite local bookseller, or here on Amazon.

Catch A Falling Star by Kim Culbertson

catch a falling star

Kim Culbertson’s Catch a Falling Star is one of the best contemporary YA romances I’ve read so far this year. It has everything I want to see: a strong, relatable, intelligent protagonist, a swoon-worthy boy, great supporting characters (including good parents – YAY!),  a setting I’d like to spend time in, and a cute, cleverly written plot sprinkled with some humor and sweetness.

Carter Moon is happy with her life – she helps out in her parents’ deli, she’s about to graduate high school with some great friends, and she loves the small town of Little, CA. The problem? Well, there are a few. One, she’s so content with her current life that she hasn’t made any plans for beyond high school. Two, she takes on too much responsibility for her brother’s gambling addiction. And three, she’s completely unprepared for the impact the filming of a Hollywood movie in Little will have on her nice, quiet little life.

When Adam Jakes, current teen heartthrob and object of almost every teenage girl’s obsession, comes to Little for his next Hollywood movie, he’s in need of some positive PR. When Adam’s manager sees Carter and her small-town sweetness, he hires her to “date” Adam while he’s in town to build up his public image (Carter only agrees so she can use the money to help her brother).

Adam is not prepared for a girl who speaks her mind and seems immune to his celebrity status, and Carter is not prepared to actually find some depth and humanity behind Adam’s public persona. The result? A really, really cute story reminiscent of Jen E. Smith’s This Is What Happy Looks Like. I devoured this is a day and instantly wanted more of Carter and Adam’s story. I’d love to see these characters reappear in future Culbertson titles.

Also, though these characters are upper high school age, I was really pleased to see that the book was totally clean and appropriate even for my middle schoolers to read. It was also pleasantly surprising to see that Carter’s parents are really good parents, models for the kinds of parents I wish we saw more in YA titles. Culbertson is a refreshing new voice in the YA world – I’d love to see this book on a bestseller list (and it would be perfect for a movie, too).

Catch a Falling Star releases today, so grab your copy now! Find it here on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller.