March. A long month full of awesome books! Along with the three manuscripts I beta read, here are the books I added to my Read list…
(As always, covers link to Goodreads pages.)
The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler – I’ve now read all of Sarah Ockler’s novels and this one’s tied with Twenty Boy Summer as my favorite. I enjoyed JuJu’s voice (so spirited and perfectly teen), I adored Emilio (especially the sweet way he treated JuJu and her father), and I loved the family dynamics (Holy Trinity FTW. Also, Pancake!). And, there were several Friday Night Lights references, which automatically increase a book’s awesome quotient. The Book of Broken Hearts is pretty much an ideal Katy Book. Definitely a recommend for fans of contemporary romantic YA with strong family threads.
Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn (June 24th) – I recently read Stephanie’s debut, Charm & Strange, and I absolutely loved it. I signed up for Netgalley specifically so I could read Complicit early and now that I have, I can promise that I’ll be buying a physical copy when it releases in June. It’s amazing. Twisty and mind-bendy, and even though you sort of know where the story’s headed, the ride is bananas and had me swiping pages at an alarming rate. Jamie is a complex character with a sad and complicated past. His strangeness is oddly enchanting, as is his sister, Cate. This story’s conclusion, much like that of Charm & Strange, is staggering. Can’t wait until you’ve all read it so we can discuss!
Nil by Lynne Matson – This is such a cool book. Part survival story, part romance, part adventure, it’s like Survivor set in a parallel dimension, one where escape is not guaranteed. Lynne Matson is ruthless when it comes to challenging her characters, and she very successfully uses the idea of dwindling time to ratchet the tension up, making Nil almost impossible to put down. Charley and Thad’s relationship deepened quickly, a bit of an insta-love situation that might’ve bothered me in another story, but on Nil, time’s limited and a no regrets mindset is the way of life. While Nil requires some suspension of disbelief, it’s a unique story of survival and sacrifice. My Bookanista rec is HERE.
Panic by Lauren Oliver – Honest confession: The synopsis of this novel didn’t do much for me. The fact that there’s no mention of romance had a lot to do with that. Also, talk of the “game” and the danger and the high-stakes… Just not my thing. But the game of Panic turned out to be quite gripping, and the characters are beautifully drawn. This is one of those books that seems absolutely hopeless as you’re reading —how are these people possibly going to solve all of their problems? — so it was hard to put down, particularly as I hit the climax. And the ending… awesome. Pick it up if you like contemporary that’s gritty and unique, and if you’re a fan of stunning, evocative prose. My Bookanista rec is HERE.
The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines – This one’s not going to win any fine literary awards, but I kind of loved it. It’s a perfect read-in-the-sun, guilty-pleasure romance, and it’s pretty darn sexy (as its cover suggests). Beau is totally hot (gotta love the tortured bad boy), and while Ash occasionally grated my nerves, she also struck me as a very genuine, true-to-life teen. The Vincent Boys is another book that seems like it just has to end in tragedy, but Abbi Glines wraps it all up quite satisfyingly. Now, I need to get my hands on The Vincent Brothers. Wait — not literally… Okay, maybe literally. 😉 Next time you’re in the mood for a book that’s sweet and steamy, pick up The Vincent Boys.
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon – Erin Bowman read and reviewed this one a couple years ago and I’ve wanted to read it ever since. I finally bought myself a copy, and I thought it was a great little read. Super quick, and full of awesome thoughts on creativity and how to get the most out of yours. A lot of Austin Kleon’s advice is stuff you’ve probably heard before, but the reminders are excellent and were particularly timely for me, as I’m in a weird between-projects place. Recommend!
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (June 3rd) – Such a fantastic debut. I had a feeling I’d like this book going in, but it turned out to be much more than I was expecting. It’s all about Alice, who supposedly slept with two boys in the same night and then killed one of them by texting him while he was driving. Alice’s story is told by several peripheral characters who — save Kurt — are pretty big jerks. Yet, Jennifer Mathieu manages to humanize each of them in really specific ways, making this story of slut-shaming much more complex than it might’ve been otherwise. Fantastic pacing, fantastic small town setting, FANTASTIC voice. Definitely get your hands on this one when it debuts in June.
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson – A new favorite! I loved this book fiercely, and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to read it. I liked Morgan Matson’s Second Chance Summer a lot, but Amy & Roger… I swooned over every. Single. Page. The slow-burn dynamic between Amy and Roger is executed brilliantly, and the people they meet during their epic road trip are fascinating and fun. There’s just the right amount of conflict, and all kinds of quirky road trip antics. Plus, there are doodles and scrapbook memorabilia and playlists jotted between chapters, which are just so charming. I borrowed the book I read, but upon finishing, I immediately bought a copy of my own, and I can’t wait to reread it. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour is a total experience, and I adored it. Recommend!
What’s the best book you read in March?