Saturday, December 30, 2017

WE COME APART by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

Dual POV novel-in-verse... I look forward to Sarah's latest projects each time. If you haven't checked her out, you should! Much deserved hype.


Last year or the year before, I chose her debut THE ACCIDENT SEASON as my favourite, and this one has made it into my top three this year. Moira's books are firmly an insta-buy.


This book is so many things that it's hard to put into words. So glad that I picked it up and, in a way, it's still doing its story-thing in my mind like it's stuck on a loop in the background of my other brain processes. I don't love this book like other books. It's not feel-good or romantic. I love it because it's a truth discovered and it's all the good and the bad mixed up. I love it because it's powerful and sharply beautiful. Truth is beauty.


Darker and even more clever than Bardugo's first trilogy, but set in the same Grisha universe, these two books are about a group of young criminals who take on an impossible heist. In addition to wondering whether or not they would be able to pull off the job -- and if so, HOW -- I also completely fell in love with the characters, particularly Nina, Mattias, and Inej. What a perfect mix of humor and heart, tragedy and triumph.

FAR FROM THE TREE by Robin Benway

I zipped through this emotional family drama about three siblings adopted into different families. It feels a bit like a show you might watch on ABC Family (now called Freeform), or maybe sort of a YA version of This Is Us. I'm a sucker for stories about family secrets, and I also have a soft spot these days for stories about pregnancy and motherhood; those are just a couple of the many issues that Far From the Tree manages to touch on.

SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys 

Another amazing read by one of my favorite authors. The story is told in alternating first-person accounts by four refugees whose paths cross in late WWII. They end up on a ship together, fleeing for safety from encroaching Russian forces. Their stories, told with poignancy and lyricism, don't shy away from the brutalities of war and the desperation that causes people to do both the unthinkable and the heroic.

GEM AND DIXIE by Sara Zarr

S​ara Zarr's latest release centers on two sisters who find their dad's bag of drug money and must decide what to do with it. This book has everything I love--family drama, emotional tension, characters trying to find and accept themselves, an amazing setting (Greater Seattle), and a satisfying but realistic ending. Bravo!


I dove into this book not really knowing much about it. Well, it was brutal and savage and utterly amazing. Alex Craft is the MC who takes down anyone who hurts the innocent. She calls herself vengeance, and that's pretty fitting. FOTS is not an easy read; it tackles issues like rape, violence, and revenge in an unflinching and complex way. It's an important book, but one that isn't preachy. You can't help but feel everything when lurking inside these pages. 

CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber

I am so in love with this world. This book captured my imagination more than any story has in a long time. Every twist and turn caught me by surprise, and I loved not being able to guess what was coming next.


I wanted to live in Lazlo’s dreamscape. Laini is so good at merging the strange and the beautiful. And the cultures were so rich and vivid.

LIESL AND PO by Lauren Oliver

So creepy and magical. This explored the foggy space between life and death, and I loved that.

Book that we are ALL most looking forward to in 2018

ALL OUT OF PRETTY by Ingrid Palmer

Dude, one of our own is getting published. Of COURSE we're all on the edge of our seats, eagerly awaiting the day we can get our hands on a copy! We have read AOOP -- many times, many versions -- and every time, we find something new to love.

Ing, you're so talented, and we're so proud of you. <3
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Autumn passes us by way too fast, and we seem to get less of it every year. Despite the brevity of the season, we still managed to fit some fall reads.

Here is everything we read in September, October, and November:


This month I read Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor, which involved time travel and the Scottish highlands, and I loved it. Then I finally finished off The School for Good and Evil series with The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani. Then I read Foxheart by Claire Legrand. I actually read two nonfiction books (unusual for me): The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondō (twice) and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.


I'm in the middle of TO STAY ALIVE, a gripping novel in verse about the mid-1800s journey west to California in search of a better life. Specifically, it is a fictionalized account of the infamous Donner party, although the story is told from the point of view of a different family. To be honest, I don't have a particular interest in the subject, but I loved Skila Brown's previous novel in verse, CAMINAR. (And, full disclosure, she and I share an agent.) Halfway through, I've flagged several poems and lines that struck me, and I'm haunted by the hardship these pioneers are enduring. And I haven't even gotten to the cannibalism yet! So far it's just the beauty and brutality of Mother Nature.


Oooh, I'm intrigued by the book Kristan is reading. Minus the cannibalism, I've always loved pioneer stories. Hmm, perhaps that's why I ended up migrating west, too! While compiling my own Fall reading list, I realized I'm still listening to a ton of audio books--in fact, almost all of them are from audible :). Over the past few months, I've consumed the following: BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate, EMERALD GREEN: THE RUBY RED SERIES by Kerstin Gier, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE by Cynthia Hand, UNDER ROSE-TAINTED SKIES by Louise Gornall, and THE ORPHAN'S TALE by Pam Jenoff. I'm currently listening to THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE'S HOUSES by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (and loving it!) and am also reading fellow debut 18-er Demetra Brodsky's ARC of DIVE SMACK, which so far is incredibly smart and intense ... I can't wait to find out how it ends!


Ooh, THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE'S HOUSES is one of my picks for the Book-A-Day Advent Calendar that I put together for the school where I teach. Can't wait to read it! At the moment, I'm reading MOXIE by Jennifer Mathieu and THE ODYSSEY translated by Emily Wilson (who is the first woman to do so, by the way) but this autumn I've read THE FIFTH SEASON by NK Jemisin, THE LONELIEST GIRL IN THE UNIVERSE, THUG, NOUGHTS AND CROSSES and A CHRISTMAS CAROL.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


This month I read Caraval by Stephanie Garber, which was amazing!!!! It's my favorite thing that I've read so far this year. I entirely loved it. And then I read Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser, and I loved that too. It had a great atmosphere. I've also started The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova.


I'm currently reading about German circus performers during WWII (fascinating!) in The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff. Earlier this month I read The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis (haunting and fabulous and un-put-down-able) and When Dimple Met Rishi, which I loved from the first paragraph. Also, bonus: I got to meet Sandhya Menon at a book event in Denver and chat with her about Dimple and all things writing!


I'm so jealous of you guys, with all your reading, and especially Ingrid meeting Sandhya Menon! I'm still working my way through Becky Wallace's SKYLIGHTER, the sequel to STORYSPINNER, which I loved. My August was super busy, though, with extended travel, so I'm hopeful and excited to do more reading in September!


This month I finished THE GIRL OF INK AND STARS by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, which was so lovely and enjoyable. I would have devoured this book as a pre-teen so get thee to a bookstore, oh young of heart. I also read a couple of addictive contemporaries UNCONVENTIONAL by Maggie Harcourt and WING JONES by Katherine Webber. I'm still meditating on the latter because I've started running. If you don't know me, this is one giant leap for lazy-kind. At present, I am stuck in to THE FIFTH SEASON and bowing down to its genius.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Here's what we've been reading while trying to beat the summer heat!


This month I finished The Star Thief by Lindsey Becker, though most of it got read in June. I LOVED it. I also read The Magic Words by Cheryl Klein, about writing for children and young adults, and it had some good reminders in it. I read Out of the Silent Planet by CS Lewis, which I've been meaning to get to for years, and The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, and I'm excited to continue the series.


This month I've read WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI, A MONSTER CALLS, LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE, TRUTH OR DARE, LORD OF SHADOWS and re-read THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST. I have re-read this book more than any other apart from ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. I don't quite understand my compulsion, but some things are best not to be questioned. Now that I think about it, I'm overdue for a re-read of DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE...


I've been on an audio book kick for a while, mostly because I'm always in the car, and that trend has continued this summer, though I did manage to squeeze in one actual hold-in-your-hands-smell-the-pages book. Ahhhh, heaven! I recently read/listened to:

GEM AND DIXIE by Sara Zarr-- a moving, emotional story about family and sisterhood by one of my favorite authors; HOW TO START A FIRE AND WHY: A NOVEL by Jesse Ball-- intelligent and raw, the MC's voice reminds me of Holden Caulfield; MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES by Jasmine Warga, who explores a difficult topic with a delicate and authentic hand; ONCE AND FOR ALL by Sarah Dessen--a story about loss and love, delivered in Dessen's solid, heartwarming style.


Not quite finished, although I will be soon: I've been reading the sweeping family saga HOMEGOING by Yaa Gyasi. (Not YA, just FYI.) I don't want to give too much way, so I will just say that I love the structure, which manages to make small, personal stories feel very epic.

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Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.



on the shelf

The Bitter Kingdom
Wild Awake
The Raven Boys
Mind Games
Eleanor and Park
The Shattered Mountain
The Shadow Cats
Froi of the Exiles
Days of Blood & Starlight
Every Day
Jellicoe Road
Finnikin of the Rock
Guitar Notes
The Dead-Tossed Waves
The Crown of Embers
New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
The Fault in Our Stars

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