Category Archives: Contemporary

My So Called Afterlife series by Jamie Ayres

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18 Things

18 Things (My So Called Afterlife #1)
Jamie Ayres
Published: 24th January, 2012
Curiosity Quills Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance
Age: Young Adult
From: The Fantastic Flying Book Club

Summary:

Olga Gay Worontzoff thinks her biggest problems are an awful name and not attending prom with Conner, her best friend and secret crush since kindergarten.

Then, Conner is killed in a freak boating accident and Olga feels responsible for his death.

When she downs an entire bottle of pills to deal with the emotional pain, her parents force her into counseling. There, her therapist writes a prescription in the form of a life list titled “18 Things”: eighteen quests to complete the year of her eighteenth birthday.

But there’s more to Olga’s quests than meets the eye and when her therapist reveals a terrifying secret, her world is shaken.

There’s only one thing she knows for certain: her choices won’t just affect her future, but all eternity.

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Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Book Reviews

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Becky Albertalli
Published: 7th April, 2015
Balzer + Bray
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Age: Young Adut
From: Publisher ARC won via YA Romantics Freebie Friday giveaway; copy from NetGalley

Summary:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Content warning: minor sexual mentions Continue reading

Confessions of a Virgin Sex Columnist! by Kay Marie

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Confessions of a Virgin Sex Columnist

Confessions of a Virgin Sex Columnist!
Kay Marie
Published: 18th May, 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Age: New Adult
From: YA Bound Book Tours

Summary:

From bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis, writing as Kay Marie, comes a new adult romantic comedy about a girl who’ll soon discover that some secrets can’t be kept forever, especially those of the heart.

My name is Skylar Quinn. I just moved to New York with my best friend Bridget, and I have a confession. Well, more than one. Okay, quite a few really. Fine, here goes!

Confession #1: I’m a sex columnist. Hold on, that’s not really the confession. You see, I’m sort of a virgin…sex columnist.

Confession #2: I’m kind of in love with Bridget’s older brother, Oliver. No, I was. No, I am. Wait, was? Am? Crap.

Confession #3: I’ve been avoiding Oliver for four years. Or I was until today, because he just moved in. Yes, you read that correctly. He’s my new roommate. So that night we’ve both been pretending never happened, well, we might not be able to keep it a secret any longer.

And trust me, this is only the beginning.

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Talon by Julie Kagawa

Book Reviews

Talon

Talon (Talon #1)
Julie Kagawa
Published: 28th October, 2014
Harlequin Teen
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance
Age: Young Adult
From: NetGalley

Summary:

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

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Dreamscape: Saving Alex by Kirstin Pulioff

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Dreamscape; Saving Alex

Dreamscape: Saving Alex
Kirstin Pulioff
Published: 15th April, 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy
Age: Young Adult
From: CBB Book Promotions

Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Alexis Stone is used to getting away from life’s frustration with Dreamscape, a video game she’s loved since childhood. As her family prepares to move, a sleepy night of gaming pulls her into the world like never before. Trapped in Dreamscape’s realm, Alex is about to learn that being a hero has consequences… and this time, the stakes are deadly. Will helping the rebellion cost her everything she knows and loves? Or will she betray them to save her own life?

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None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio

Book Reviews

None of the Above

None of the Above
I. W. Gregorio
Published: 7th April, 2015
Balzer + Bray
Genre: Contemporary
Age: Young Adult
From: Edelweiss

Summary:

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

Content warning: very undescriptive sex scenes (2); underage drinking; bullying

What I liked: This is a big, eye-opening novel about the struggles someone who is intersex can go through. It was touching, and at times an emotional read for me because of what Kristin was going through when she found out that she isn’t who she thought she was biologically. This book even showed how having boxes to check “male” and “female” can be hurtful to the person because they’re simply “none of the above” (which was an actual line a couple of times in the book and I applaud that). Yet it also showed how someone views their gender can be different. That what gender you identify as is not always the same as your biological gender. Honestly I think that was a great thing to put in this book since it is part of Kristin’s journey to understand who she really is. The way the school reacted to the news about her being intersex also showed how not knowing the facts about something that sounds bad on the surface can have a huge negative backlash. It made me think of one thing when I was reading each part where she was getting negative backlash about her “real biological gender” since she was intersex, and that was “ignorance breeds hate” because a lot of the time it does. It was really important to see that too, because for each person we saw accept her for who she was it was a really touching thing. I also loved her father, he was the most supportive and was really there for her and did his best in trying to help her in the only way he knew how. One of the most touching parts in the novel to me, came from her dad and one of the things he learned while researching what it meant for his only daughter to be intersex.

What I didn’t like: I don’t think we really saw Kristin truly accept who she is before the end of the novel. Yes, we get that in a way she accepts her AIS (Androgen Insufficiency Syndrome) but at the same time, I don’t think we really saw her accept herself as who she is, a chromosomal male but a physical female. However, given the circumstances and how far she still has to go, I think just coming to terms with who she is and not yet fully accepting who she is is good.

Overall Review: This is not just an honest tale of what life for someone who is intersex deals with, but a brutally honest one that shows just how hard it can be to come to terms with who you really are when you’re intersex. Over the course of the novel Kristin questions what it really means in this day in age to be male or female, or even none of the above. Her conclusion? Well, that is something you’ll have to find out when you read the book. Its a powerful story that shows how far we still have to go to become more accepting of people just because they don’t fit the social “norm.” This is a story about learning to come to terms with who you really are, and I think I speak for some people when I say that coming to terms with who you really are is harder than it sounds, much less fully accepting something you never expected about yourself.

Recommend?: I highly recommend everyone read this book. Its very informative and realistic about what something like this can do to a person, but its a fantastic read and one that I will undoubtedly read again in the future!

Goodreads: 4.1/5 Amazon: 4.7/5 Barnes&Noble: 4.7/5 BookDepository: /5

US Harcover | Audible | UK Hardcover | Kobo | iBooks | Publisher

My Rating: 4.6/5

Rated Materials:
Cover: 4.6
Idea: 4.7
Story: 4.5
Characters: 4.8

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About the Author

I. W. Gregorio is a practicing surgeon by day, masked avenging YA writer by night. A graduate of the Yale School of Medicine, she studied creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University. While a surgical resident, she published in the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News and Washington Post. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. NONE OF THE ABOVE (Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins, Spring of 2015) is her first novel. She is represented by Jessica Regel of Foundry + Media.

Links:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Facebook | Instagram

Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Book Reviews

Solitaire

Solitaire
Alice Oseman
Published: 30th March, 2015
HarperTeen
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Age: Young Adult
From: Edelweiss

Summary:

In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.

Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.

I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden.

I really don’t.

Content warning: bullying; mental health issues; Continue reading

Life Unaware by Cole Gibsen

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life unaware

Life Unaware
Cole Gibsen
Published: 28th April, 2015
Entangled Teen
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Age: Young Adult
From: YA Bound Books Tours

Summary:

Regan Flay has been talking about you.

Regan Flay is on the cusp of achieving her control-freak mother’s “plan” for high school success―cheerleading, student council, the Honor Society—until her life gets turned horribly, horribly upside down. Every bitchy text. Every bitchy email. Every lie, manipulation, and insult she’s ever said have been printed out and taped to all the lockers in school.

Now Regan has gone from popular princess to total pariah.

The only person who even speaks to her is her former best friend’s hot but socially miscreant brother, Nolan Letner. Nolan thinks he knows what Regan’s going through, but what nobody knows is that Regan isn’t really Little Miss Perfect. In fact, she’s barely holding it together under her mom’s pressure. But the consequences of Regan’s fall from grace are only just beginning. Once the chain reaction starts, no one will remain untouched…

Content warning: bullying; thoughts of suicide Continue reading

Just Pru by Anne Pfeffer

Book Reviews

Just Pru

Just Pru
Anne Pfeffer
Published: 2nd March, 2015
Genre: Contemporary
Age: New Adult
From: CBB Book Promtions

Summary:

“My mother once joked that my dad had wanted to name me Obedience. As if Prudence wasn’t bad enough. I was not a Prudence and I never would be.”

When twenty-five-year-old Pru Anderson—braless, pajama-clad, and clutching her cat, Chuck—is rescued from her burning Los Angeles apartment, the thing that scares her most is meeting the neighbors. New people make her hide in the bathroom, counting by sevens, but when her home is destroyed, she must turn strangers into friends … or crawl back to the controlling parents she only recently escaped.

What would her idol, Pepper Hathaway, do? That’s a no brainer: the detective-slash-supermodel heroine from Pru’s favorite TV series would take no prisoners while looking fierce in a tankini and stilettos. So when the chance comes to live with her upstairs neighbor, Ellen, a playwright, Pru goes for it.

Thus begin the adventures of Pru, who’s never had a job, a friend, or a first kiss. Swept into Ellen’s whirlwind life, Pru begins to build her own, as director’s assistant for a new play, muse to brooding actor Blake, and possible love interest to adorably neurotic neighbor, Adam.

Only one thing can derail Pru’s exhilarating ride. Well, actually, it’s two things—and they’re in a car headed straight for LA to torpedo her life. When the past that nearly destroyed her comes calling, who will she be: a Prudence or a Pepper?

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Every Last Promise by Kristin Halbrook

Book Reviews

Every Last Promise

Every Last Promise
Kristin Halbrook
Published: 21st April, 2015
HarperTeen
Genre: Contemporary
Age: Young Adult
From: Edelweiss

Summary:

Kayla saw something at the party that she wasn’t supposed to. But she hasn’t told anyone. No one knows the real story about what happened that night—about why Kayla was driving the car that ran into a ditch after the party, about what she saw in the hours leading up to the accident, and about the promise she made to her friend Bean before she left for the summer.

Now Kayla’s coming home for her senior year. If Kayla keeps quiet, she might be able to get her old life back. If she tells the truth, she risks losing everything—and everyone—she ever cared about.

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