Wednesday, January 9, 2019

3 YA Reads That Tackle Friendship: Famous In A Small Town by Emma Mills, The Me I Meant to Be by Sophie Jordan & The Truth About Leaving by Natalie Blitt


by Emma Mills
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: January 15th 2018
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★★
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷✷
Amazon - The Book Depository

Emma Mills has yet to disappoint me with her books. Every book of hers manages to charm me in every way and Famous in a Small Town was no different. Mills' biggest writing strength is friendship. I have adored one of her main characters so far, but for me, what take her books to the next level are the depictions of friendships. Sophie and her group of friends were a joyous and interesting bunch, who were all so well-developed. As we get to know Sophie, we also get to know her friends and their impacts on her life. I also love how true Emma Mills' books ring true. I may no longer be a teenager, but the natural chemistry between the characters, the ups and downs they go through and just the flow of their conversations was very reminiscent of my teen days. I love that even though I'm moving further away from my teen years now, I can still very much relate to the characters and their circumstances. Sophie herself as the main character was a delight. She had me smiling at her sarcasm and had my heartwarming with the love that she had for her small town. I feel like in a lot of these books that take place in small towns, the characters can't wait to get out, so it was sweet and refreshing to see Sophie speak about how much she loved her town and how far she was willing to go for it. As with Emma Mills' other books, we have another great slow-burning romance between Sophie and the new boy next door, August. He was quiet and shy, but so adorably precious. I loved watching him and Sophie interact and become close to each other. It was 100% one of the sweetest teen romances I have ever read. There was also a thread about a country star and her secrets that Emma and her friends slowly discover throughout the book, but I won't delve too much into that as I have to leave something for you all to look forward to! :) All in all, Famous in a Small Town was a book that had me compulsively turning the pages, which isn't something that hasn't happened to me in a long time. Fans of Emma Mills will not be disappointed with this read!

by Sophie Jordan
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Publisher: HMH Teen
Publication Date: January 1st 2019
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★1/2
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷1/2

Sophie Jordan's books have this incredible addictive quality to them, so I'm always pulled towards her stories. I was in the mood for a dramatic type of contemporary YA when I stumbled upon The Me I Meant to Be. My interest was only heightened when I discovered the book is the story of two friends. As with Jordan's previous novels, this book was easy to dive into. The book told the story of Flor and Willa, two best friends and the emotional upheaval they face in their senior year of high school. Flor and Zach used to be an item, only now they are broken up and Willa's feelings for him, that she had kept hidden for ages, were beginning to surface all over again. Willa, however, wants to stick by the girl code and not go after her best friend's ex, especially because the best friend wants Zach back. Obviously, that does not work out the way she wants to and things get even more muddled as she realizes that Zach might like her back too. On the other side of the story, Flor was dealing with some changes in her home with the introduction of her father's young new girlfriend just as she's trying to get over her breakup with Zach. The only positive in her life was the hot new secretive tutor helping her out, Grayson. I thought both of the romances were enjoyable. Jordan writes great chemistry between her couples and that was very much prevalent here. I was engaged enough in both of their stories, though I'll admit that there were moments of incredulity here and there. What I thought was lacking here though was a thorough exploration of Willa and Flora's friendship. With all that was going in the girls' lives, the focus was more on all the individual issues and I thought more attention should have been given to them, their history and their present. The Me I Meant to Be was a very compulsively readable novel and I recommend it if you're in the mood for something light, dramatic and has all the teenage angst.


by Natalie Blitt
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Publication Date: January 22nd 2018
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★★
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷✷
Amazon - The Book Depository

I have been eagerly awaiting a new YA read from Natalie Blitt ever since I fell for The Distance from A to Z. This book was so different from her debut but in a powerful and emotional way. I adored the characters, the story and the heart of The Truth About Leaving. At the heart of it, The Truth About Leaving is the tale of how two lovely teenagers find each other and grow. It made my poor little ache and swell with emotions and it was all thanks to the characters. Lucy was the shining star of this book. Her voice was fresh and relatable. What struck me was Lucy sense of loyalty to her family. In her senior year, her mom decides to accept a job in a different state, leaving Lucy and her dad to fend off for themselves and for her brothers. Instead of spending her time doing teenage things, she would spend her free time looking after her little brothers and she would do it without complaining. Throughout the book, we see how she discovers new parts of herself and learns to stand up for what she wants. I especially the storyline of her making decisions on where to go to college and what she wanted to do with her life. It was thought-provoking and I think many teens will relate to that. Dov comes into Lucy's life as a transfer student from Israel. At first, I wasn't quite sure what to make of him. He had this intense quietness to him that took a while to figure out. Soon, we realize the grief that he was going through and it just about broke me. Dov was a sweet boy who deserved nothing but happiness. The friendship that he formed with Lucy was one of the highlights of the book. The two of them discover their shared love for poetry and their Jewish identities. What followed was a friendship that had both its ups and its downs, but that slowly forced them to grow while also falling in love. There was something very peaceful about their relationship that's hard to put into words. As you can imagine, family is also a big part of The Truth About Leaving and it was executed so perfectly. Lucy's grandmother, especially, was insightful, clever and just the funniest. I loved this woman! I also have to give a shout out to Lucy's best friend who was just one of the most supportive girlfriends I have ever come across in a book. The Truth About Leaving was a touching tale of love, family, and decisions. This one needs to be on your to-read lists.

Are you interested in any of these books?
Let me know in the comments below!

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