Book Review: Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

under rose-tainted skies via paper trail diary

Perfection is a feeling; you’ll know it if you’ve ever questioned the competency of your penmanship before writing on the first page of a new notebook.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall, via Clarion Books, out now.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies is one of my favourite books of 2017 so far. When I first heard of it, I was hesitant, because it sounded a lot like Everything, Everything and Finding Audrey, but I’m glad I was proven wrong. While the main characters of all three books are girls who are stuck in their homes for some illness reason, only this one explains mental illness so beautifully.

Norah’s body won’t let her outside the house. When she has a therapy appointment, her mother has to drag her down the driveway to the car because she’ll collapse. Between anxiety, OCD, and agoraphobia, Norah’s hit a thousand times, every day, pretty hard. You’d be exhausted too. But she takes it, she’s grown used to it.

They, the geeks that deal in brain stuff, they’re the one who christened what I have an invisible illness, but I often wonder if they’re really looking. Beyond the science stuff. It doesn’t bleed or swell, itch or crack, but I see it, right there on my face. It’s like decay, this icky green color, as if my life were being filmed through a gray filter. I lack light, am an entire surface area that the sun can’t touch.

She knows how to handle herself, as much as she misses having a life and being outside of her house. She’s been getting by just fine until she notices that the boy who just moved in next door, Luke, has noticed her through the window. But things get a lot worse when Norah’s mom was in a car accident and has to stay at the hospital, leaving Norah all alone without any help. When groceries are delivered to the house but left on the porch, Norah tries to reach them with a broom from the front door, but thankfully, Luke comes to the rescue. From there, Norah learns how to let Luke in, and Luke learns what it’s like for Norah. Of course, it’s pretty hard to date when one person can’t leave their house without passing out. But their relationship blossoms nonetheless. And it’s friggin adorable.

What I loved most about this book is Louise’s writing, how she describes what Norah goes through. I felt like I was riding along Norah’s thought processes, feeling what it would feel like to have OCD and anxiety like hers. I was fascinated, and I’d recommend this as a way for people to learn how to understand those disorders.

Here are some of my favourite gorgeous quotes:

“I miss the days when I could have a panic attack in peace.”

“I’m more thought than flesh; a thousand questions flop down with me and make the room shake like an earthquake is running right through it.”

“See, anxiety doesn’t just stop. You can have nice moments, minutes where it shrinks, but it doesn’t leave. It lurks in the background like a shadow, like that important assignment you have to do but keep putting off or the dull ache that follows a three-day migraine. The best you can hope for is to contain it, make it as small as possible so it stops being intrusive. Am I coping? Yes, but it’s taking a monumental amount of effort to keep the dynamite inside my stomach from exploding.”

“Whether I like to admit it or not, anxiety has become my best friend. It’s a crutch that helps me hobble through life. It’s the brassy bitch at school that I don’t like, but being her BFF makes me popular. Or the school bully that I don’t really want to be around, but being his friend means I don’t want to get beat up. I don’t know how to be safe without it. We’re buddies. It’s like they say: keep your friends close, your enemies closer.”

It’s not included in the final copy, but in the ARC, there was a note from Louise explaining her background to the story. She wrote about how it stemmed from her own issues with anxiety, and how Norah emerged from her notes of what was going on in her head. She also wrote how she believes passionately in talking about mental health, which is obviously something I really admire.

But while Norah was so strong, there were a few things in the story that could have used more fleshing out, like why Norah’s mom had to be mysteriously in the hospital for so long besides being an excuse for Norah and Luke to become closer, and maybe a bit more about Norah’s past. I also have an issue with the ending, but I can see why it went the way it did. Overall, I feel so warm and loving towards this book and Norah and I hope more people pick it up. I’m definitely interested in reading more from Louise.

[I received this book from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review; this did not affect my opinion of the book whatsoever.]

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Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

the hate u give, via paper trail diary

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, via Balzer + Bray, out now.

You’ve probably seen this book everywhere on the internet in the last few weeks, maybe even months. Good. It’s an incredibly important book. I wouldn’t say it’s the first YA book on Black Lives Matter (just because I don’t have anything to back that up, but I haven’t seen anything else) but it definitely is the first to make such a big impact. And a good thing is there are more books like this coming in the next few years, at least, such as Nic Stone’s Dear Martin. The Hate U Give was in such high demand that the publisher pushed its pub date up by half a year, also having it come out on the last day of Black History Month, and five years since Trayvon Martin’s death, marking the start of the Black Lives Matter movement. I think that was a good idea, because the hunger for this book was REAL, and the book itself honours these important moments in history. And now we get to wait for the movie!

I loved The Hate U Give. I gave it 5 stars. I have a good feeling it’ll end up on my end-of-year list. There’s so much about this book that gives it strength. There’s the fact that it’s a YA book about Black Lives Matter, obviously. The main character, a sixteen-year-old girl named Starr, is so loveable and her family dynamics are heartwarming. You’ll be missing them once you’re done reading. I finished the book a month or two ago and I still miss them. And Angie Thomas definitely shines as a debut writer who’s going to have a huge following awaiting for her next book! She wrote with such emotion, pure love, and power.

Here’s a quick plot gist: Starr is on her way home from a party with an old friend, Kamil, when they get pulled over by a cop, who says their tail light is broken. When he doesn’t like the way Kamil answers him, who really is just asking for the cop to give him his ticket, he makes Kamil stand outside the car, and not to move. When the cop turns his back, Kamil shifts to check on Starr, and that’s when he’s shot. He dies, looking at Starr, stunned. Starr is then jolted into a part of life she wants no part of. Her parents shield her from the press and the public from finding out that she was the witness for as long as they can. Starr’s in more danger than she would have thought. But eventually, someone needs to speak up, someone needs to be there for Kamil, someone needs to acknowledge what happened. Starr has to find her voice, her place in the world, and closure over such a horrible death … it’s a lot for a teenage girl.

I feel like I don’t need to say much else to convince you to read one of the biggest YA books of 2017. It may look big, but you’ll speed through it. You may cry when Starr’s friend Kamil is shot. You will feel Starr’s anger as she is left to cope with the uprising, riots, and ignorance that follows. You will feel her confusion as she is fast-forwarded into the real world. You will feel protective over her and her family, just as they do. And still, you’ll be able to laugh, because Starr has her way of making things brighter.

[I received an advanced reading copy of this book from HarperCollins Canada in exchange for an honest review; this did not affect my opinion of the book whatsoever.]

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Review: Before I Fall (book and movie!)

before i fall via paper trail diary

If today was your last day alive, and you had the chance to keep living it, what would you do differently? What would you say to the people you love? What would you learn about yourself? How long would it take for you to go a little bit nuts?

Lauren Oliver’s 2010 YA novel Before I Fall has just been turned into a movie, and it’s out this week. I had the pleasure of seeing a screening thanks to HarperCollins and Indigo. I really loved Replica so I was instantly interested. I bought the book a few weeks ago and finished it on Monday, just in time. So I want to share my thoughts on both with you guys!

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Book Review: Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

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Love and First Sight, by Josh Sundquist, via Little, Brown, out now.

If there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s people feeling sorry for me.

Love and First Sight ticked a lot of good boxes for me. Cute YA love story? Check. Great characters? Check. An opportunity to learn about how life is for someone unlike me? Check. Funny, heartwarming, smart? Check, check, check.

Will is starting at a new high school, which is hard enough as it is, but it’s 10x harder when you’re blind and have to be led around by the vice principal, who shouts at everyone to ‘clear the path! Blind student coming through!’ Will decided to leave his high school for blind students to try and have a more normal life, as normal as it can get for a blind kid in a high school. On his first day, he accidentally grabs a girl’s boob, sits in a guy’s lap, and somehow made a classmate cry because she thought he was staring at her.

The girl who cried is Cecily, and despite the bad start, her and Will become very close once they’re partnered together in journalism class. Will is the writer, Cecily is the photographer. One of my favourite scenes is when they go to an art gallery and Cecily has to figure out how to explain the point of painting to someone who has never seen anything before.

“Um, let me think of an example.” She pauses. “Okay, it’s like how you can be looking at something, a person or a beautiful landscape like, I don’t know, the Grand Canyon, but then you take a photo with a cell phone camera and it doesn’t look the same. It takes skill even to create photos that represent what the eye sees.”

Sigh. Will people never learn? “Still doesn’t mean much to me.”

“Oh, right, sorry. I guess it’s like… You know what my voice sounds like, right?”

“Yeah.” I ponder her voice for a moment. It’s controlled and pressurized, like the water flowing through a turbine in a dam. But dams don’t just generate power. They are a barricade. They hold back a flood.

“And the sound of my voice is very clear coming through your ears?”

The question interrupts my thoughts about hydro-power. “Sure.”

“Can you imitate it?”

“How do you mean?”

“Like, can you re-create the sound of my voice using your own vocal cords?”

“Oh… I think I get it now.”

Will easily falls into a group of friends (after he sits on that guy’s lap), which happen to be Cecily’s friends, too. As the pair grows closer and closer, even daring each other to try out for the school’s news anchor team, something is still going unsaid. Cecily drops hints about how she’s been bullied and left out of things, but never explains why (and Will is too much of a dude to realize he could ask). And then comes a bombshell: Will is eligible for a surgery that could give him eyesight, and he decides to go through with it, even at such a risk. He’s so excited, but Cecily seems hesitant, and he doesn’t get why. The idea the book plays with is what could be up with Cecily’s appearance? Why’d she cry when she thought Will was staring at her? Have people been lying to Will about what she looks like? Does it matter what she looks like?

While reading, I drew a few comparisons to Holding Up the Universe. Both play with the idea of appearances and how we can fall for people for who they really are. But while the other book felt a bit more obvious in that regard, somehow this book played out in a more subtle manner, even though it actually seems like it should be the other way around. It felt more innocent and cute, I guess, while Holding Up the Universe is a bit darker and more rooted in trauma. I think the way that I read the two comes into this opinion, though!

I loved Will’s voice. Josh Sundquist is a vlogger and motivational speaker (after surviving cancer and a leg amputation), and has written books about such called We Should Hang Out Sometime and Just Don’t Fall. He’s a happy, loving presence who puts himself out there. So he gets voice. I fell for how Will perceived the world, and learned about what it’s like for blind people in certain regards along the way. He can be a bit snarky at times, and I don’t blame him, but he can also be very sweet and clever. I also adored Cecily and can realize how excited she would be that she could have someone around that can’t see what everyone else sees and judges her for. So even though the characters don’t exactly have any edginess to them, this is the kind of book you read when you feel like you need to hug a book. I had a lot of fun with it, and wished I hadn’t read through it so quickly! I hope Josh continues to write YA fiction.

[I received this book from Hachette Book Group Canada in exchange for an honest review; this did not affect my opinion of the book whatsoever.]

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MinaLima reimagines Beauty and the Beast to all of our hearts content

beauty and the beast by minalima via paper trail diary

Happy release day to the GORGEOUS new edition of Beauty and the Beast, illustrated by the people behind the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films! You may recognize the book to look a lot like their previous offerings of Peter Pan and The Jungle Book, but always see them in the store as shrink-wrapped. You’ve had no clue what’s inside. They’re shrink-wrapped for a reason: THERE ARE TREASURES IN THERE. Literally maps and trinkets of TREASURE. And if it wasn’t for trusty bloggers and vloggers, you wouldn’t know! So, you’re welcome.

I have been so excited for the new film version of The Beauty and the Beast (omg that new trailer) and I’ve been trying to find a copy of the text to read for a while. Turns out it’s pretty hard to find. NOT ANYMORE! While this does lean on the pricier side, it’s worth it. I don’t really need to say anything else besides *DROOL*, so just keep scrolling.

beauty and the beast by minalima via paper trail diary beauty and the beast by minalima via paper trail diary beauty and the beast by minalima via paper trail diary beauty and the beast by minalima via paper trail diary beauty and the beast by minalima via paper trail diary beauty and the beast by minalima via paper trail diary beauty and the beast by minalima via paper trail diary beauty and the beast by minalima via paper trail diary beauty and the beast by minalima via paper trail diary beauty and the beast by minalima via paper trail diary beauty and the beast by minalima via paper trail diary beauty and the beast by minalima via paper trail diary

Are you gasping for air? I am just looking at it. I’m so enjoying reading the story and flipping through all of this beautiful magic! Such wonderful pieces of art and joy inside. This book is definitely a good way to escape the world for a little while.

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Book Lover Postcard Swap round 3! Valentine’s Day!

book lover postcard swap valentine's day

It’s time for the third r-r-r-round in the Book Lover Postcard Swap! *said in crazy radio announcer voice*

I’m particularly excited about this one, partly because I love playing with cute paper goodies that are pink and lovey, partly because I know the cards you guys come up with are going to be awesome! And the prompt for this round is to write about the greatest love story you’ve ever read 😍

Barb and I were so pleased with how the first and second rounds went, and we hope you were too! We’d love to hear any feedback or see any photos if you have any.

Check out these amazing posts by fellow bookworms on Instagram!

Interested in sending someone a bookish postcard? Read below for more information and instructions on how to participate!

Check out the 4th Flow Book for Paper Lovers

flow book for paper lovers 4

One of my favourite sets of paper products is the Flow Book for Paper Lovers. The editors of Flow magazine bring together some of the most gorgeous art from their magazines or new work done by their favourite artists, resulting in a gorgeous mish-mash of perforated pages filled with all kinds of cool things like tags, envelopes, pop-up designs, writing paper, posters, bunting, stickers, confetti, projects, etc. These books generally come out once or twice a year.

I’d say the fourth book is my favourite yet. There is not one page in the book that I don’t like! But that means that it’s hard for me to part with them in mail or other crafts, so I have to keep reminding myself it’s better to use them than keep them locked away 😉

Now for products like this, I know I have to see a lot of what’s inside before I make the commitment to buy. I think Flow tapped into that feeling when they finally started doing animation videos, and after I looked up some videos on YouTube I was sold. Now you can do that too, but I’m just gonna say right now it’s worth it. Here are some of my favourite pages!

flow book for paper lovers 4 via paper trail diaryflow book for paper lovers 4 via paper trail diary

flow book for paper lovers 4 via paper trail diaryflow book for paper lovers 4 via paper trail diary flow book for paper lovers 4 via paper trail diaryflow book for paper lovers 4 via paper trail diaryflow book for paper lovers 4 via paper trail diaryflow book for paper lovers 4 via paper trail diaryflow book for paper lovers 4 via paper trail diaryflow book for paper lovers 4 via paper trail diaryflow book for paper lovers 4 via paper trail diary flow book for paper lovers 4 via paper trail diary flow book for paper lovers 4 via paper trail diaryflow book for paper lovers 4 via paper trail diary flow book for paper lovers 4 via paper trail diary flow book for paper lovers 4 via paper trail diary

Want to see more? I didn’t want to upload so many pictures your computer would break, so check out this adorable video flip-through!

I’ve been using the book mostly for making mail so far, but I love daydreaming about what else I could do with all these possibilities!

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Book Review: The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti

hundred lies of lizzie lovett / paper trail diary

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti, out now, via Sourcebooks Fire

I’m honoured to be a part of the blog tour for Chelsea Sedoti’s new YA novel, The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett!

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett is here to tell you that what you see of a person is not all there is to see, and that people can change, too. It’s a lesson, wrapped up in adventure, curiosity, and hormones. You know those tales of ‘don’t assume someone’s carefully crafted Instagram account means they’re living the perfect life’? This story comes along those lines (though has nothing to do with social media). It comes in the twisted story of the popular girl and the outcast.

Hawthorn has spent her life feeling like the outsider. She’s never really had friends, and the ones she does have, she ends up pushing away. She’s hostile, bitter, rude, and stubborn, and yet doesn’t totally understand why she’s lonely. When she finds out that Lizzie Lovett, the former prom queen of her high school, is missing, her first reaction is “who cares?” She rolls her eyes at how people are so upset and worried, but before she realizes it, she’s been completely sucked in. As someone who spent a lot of time growing up wishing to be popular, I get the fascination with the popular kids lives, especially if you’re in a suburb or small town. They shine and glow and you think you’re the only one who doesn’t like them, and how come nobody else sees it. So Hawthorn ends up becoming obsessed with thinking about how popular Lizzie was and trying to figure out how she went missing. So obsessed that somehow she ends up taking Lizzie’s job as a waitress at a diner and hanging out with Lizzie’s boyfriend, Enzo, who a lot of people suspect of harming Lizzie.

“I wanted to crawl into Lizzie’s head and know her thoughts and feelings and what made her tick. I wanted to slip into her life. I wanted to be the kind of person who made life seem easy.”

Eventually Hawthorn convinces herself that Lizzie is actually a werewolf, and gets Enzo to go on expeditions with her to find evidence in the woods, all the while not admitting to herself that she’s falling for this 25-year-old guy. The more she hangs around Enzo, the more she learns about the person Lizzie became, and it’s not what Hawthorn expected. Her head gets even more muddled.

Hawthorn is vulnerable, angry, and a bit naive. She’s not a romanticized character — you probably won’t like her much, but she’s got an interesting perspective to read, and it’s realistic in terms of how people perceive others. She’s also quite witty. One of my favourite things about this book was how if someone pissed her off, she would wish really odd ill-wills on them. Examples:

“I wished Mychelle and her stupid jock buddy would win the lottery and lose the ticket. I wished they would only ever be able to take cold showers. I wished every glass of lemonade they drank for the rest of their lives would be just a little too sour.”

“I end up spending most of the day wishing horrible things would happen to them. Like every time they try to stream a video, it’s laggy, or that all their important emails get sent to the junk folder.”

“I wanted him to accidentally slam his hand in a car door. I wanted his ice cream to fall off the cone and onto the pavement on a really hot day. I wanted him to read a really great mystery, only to find someone had ripped out the end pages where it was solved.”

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett is an introspective read for the beginning of the year; it will make you think about how you perceive others, your high school self, and who you are now.

I got to ask author Chelsea Sedoti about just that!

The book largely deals with a girl who doesn’t seem to like herself, wishes she was someone else, and envies other’s lives. Stories like this tend to make me think back on how I acted in high school. What were you like in high school, and what would you say to high school you about it?

In high school I was very strange. (Honestly, not much has changed.)

Here’s a thing I did in high school: My friends and I would play “secret agents”. We had walkie talkies and assigned ourselves roles of either special agents or villains, and ran around school between classes playing an elaborate, tag-like game. Let me repeat, this was in high school.

Here’s another thing: I wanted to be a filmmaker, and took my video camera to school with me. Every day. I’d film my classes until my teachers yelled at me to stop. I’d have people act out skits during lunch. I’d film every random conversation my friends and I had.

This probably won’t come as a shock, but I was not popular in high school.

I was the weird kid who was in theater, who was always reading, who was always trying to play pretend to make life more interesting. I wasn’t as much of an outsider as Hawthorn, though. I had (similarly weird) friends. I went to dances and football games. Sure, I got made fun of sometimes by the “cool kids”. But I wasn’t a complete social outcast either.

Another big difference between me and Hawthorn is that I was fairly secure in my weirdness. I never obsessed with being popular and didn’t mind that there were people who didn’t like me. On the other hand, it was an awkward time, and there were a million other things I was insecure about. It was a weird balance of accepting who I was and simultaneously disliking a million things about myself.

I guess if I traveled back I’d tell high school Chelsea to carry on. Be weird. Play secret agents. It doesn’t matter what other people think. But maybe I’d also tell myself to spend a little more time doing my school work instead of spending class time with my nose in a book.


Thank you to Raincoast Books and Chelsea Sedoti for including me in your blog tour!

hundred lies of lizzie lovett blog tour

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Book Review: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

i see you via paper trail diary

I See You by Clare Mackintosh, via Berkley Books, out now.

Do you ever think about all the people you see on your commute to and from work? Do you ever raise your eyes up while on the subway and look around? Wonder who these people are, where they’re going? Wonder how their day went, if they’re okay? Most of us go about our business on our commutes, staring at the floor or an ad or a book, losing ourselves to a loud album through headphones, or dozing. A lot of people flick through newspapers, whether they picked them up in the station or from the seat they want to sit on, learning what’s going on in the world while they’re so busy doing their jobs. What none of us expect is to flip past the personal pages in that daily paper and suddenly realize we recognize our own face staring back at us.

In her highly anticipated follow-up to I Let You Go (which I still haven’t read, gah!), British author and former police officer Clare Mackintosh plays with the heebie-jeebies of feeling eyes on your back, the mystery of being one fish in a giant sea that is a city, and tackling the danger that women face, often in secret or under scrutiny.

Zoe Walker is that someone who sees her face in the paper — along with a phone number and a listing for a website, FindTheOne.com. The picture is grainy and zoomed in, and she cannot figure out where it came from. Who got her picture, and why is it in this ad? She’s a middle-aged mum of two young adults with a live-in boyfriend, working for a real estate agent, living a boring, normal life. Zoe knows in her gut that this is incredibly fishy, but everyone around her thinks it’s just some weird joke and to let it go. But when Zoe recognizes other faces in more ads for the site and connects them to theft and even murder, she knows that she has to trust her gut on this one. Could she be next?

I See You rotates through three POVs: Zoe, a young policewoman named Kelly Swift, and the unnamed uber-creep that is watching women all over London. One of the biggest themes of the book, abuse of women, sits largely with Kelly, as the cop who desperately wants to cover the case of connecting the dots Zoe has found, as a way to avenge how her twin sister was raped while in university. The rape haunts Kelly more than her sister, which continually confuses and frustrates her, motivating Kelly forward on her hunt for justice. Zoe is kind of a bland character, and we mostly just see her on high alert because who wouldn’t be if they realized they’re being watched! The creeper’s voice is, well, incredibly disturbing.

If you’re as into the grip-lit craze as I am these days, I See You will definitely get your heart-rate up. I was guessing through the whole almost 400-page book of who the murderous creep could be and how they’re administering such horrors. I don’t want to give away much because it’s better to find it out yourself, but this book will give you the shivers because it feels all too-real. Some grip-lits seem too soap-opera-y to be relatable, but this one comes pretty close. You know that what’s going on could really happen and that’s a huge part of why everything is so upsetting. By the end, I was completely taken off-guard, sweating from not being able to turn the pages fast enough, and yet craving more. These days watching Happy Valley is filling that weird fascination (and it plays out a lot like a grip-lit book), but I’m ready to find the next mystery that’ll keep me on my toes.

I See You will leave its mark on you — for a while, you’ll be more aware of yourself and your surroundings as you set out on your commute, and though it might feel uncomfortable, it’s not a bad thing. Just think of what’s out there.

[I received this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review; this did not affect my opinion of the book whatsoever.]

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11 rad YA books coming out in January/February 2017

january and february 2017 YA reads via paper trail diary

2016 isn’t quite dead yet, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from grasping at any kind of good that will come in the new year. If the 2017 books I’ve read so far are any indication, at least YA novels are in for some good shelf and mind space. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s coming out, especially when there is so much discussion happening in the community now about race/diversity, queer stories like more bi voices, etc. So I want to give you guys a little taste of some books that are coming out in January and February for you to use all your holiday gift cards on – just say, hey, these books are making me feel a little bit better about the world!

Under Rose Tainted Skies

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall (out January 3)

I’m so pleased that I’ve had the pleasure of reading this already, though I’m already hoping I can read it again soon! For fans of Everything, Everything and Finding AudreyUnder Rose-Tainted Skies takes a fascinating look at OCD and anxiety that I felt sounded genuine and from an interesting perspective. Norah’s OCD/agoraphobia keeps her trapped in her home, she can’t even reach outside for groceries on the porch without distress. She’ll crumble to the ground if she’s taken outside to go to therapy. But then there’s the boy next door, pop-punk sweetheart Luke, who just moved in and instantly was drawn to Norah when he saw her through the window. Besides enjoying how cute their crushes on each other are, I was so interested in Norah’s account of what goes through her mind. Louise Gornall’s writing shoves you right into it. I felt like I learned more about OCD from this book, which I really appreciate. To see so closely how the walls of your mind can keep you between physical walls, to recognize triggers, to see how it affects relationships, it’s all great. Stay tuned for a longer post on the book from me soon!

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (out February 28)

Angie Thomas’ Black Lives Matter-inspired novel is so hyped up right now, and rightfully so. I plan on reading it soon! Starr is stuck between the poor neighbourhood in which she was raised and the posh suburb where she attends high school. The two settings of her life don’t fit together, and it becomes even more of a danger to Starr when she witnesses her best friend, unarmed, killed by a police officer. This novel will be a welcomed powerful force in the YA community, and I hope will inspire discussions and more books that will further raise awareness of the horrible injustice against black people and how much of an impact it makes on younger people. And the movie rights have already been acquired, with Amandla Stenberg in the starr-ing role!

 

A Season of Daring Greatly

A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White (out February 14)

If you guys are as hooked on the tv show Pitch as I am, and are itching for more, you are in for a treat with A Season of Daring Greatly. Eighteen-year-old Jill Cafferty, her high school’s star pitcher, has become the first woman drafted by a major league baseball team. As expected, though talented and deserving of being there, Jill faces the opinion that baseball should be an all-male sport, and has to take on the role of defying conventions. Even though she has support from coaches and some teammates, she’s still trailed by the media and touted as a big role model for young women, all the while struggling with being away from home for the first time and unsure of the direction her life has taken. Now is the perfect time to read this too to get us through this dark non-baseball patch!

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti (out January 3)

Hawthorn doesn’t like herself very much. As a loner who pushes away her friend (yeah, singular), she doesn’t understand why everyone is so upset when her school’s former prom queen, Lizzie Lovett, goes missing. But as she tries to figure out the public’s woe, she falls fast into her own fascination with Lizzie, ending up taking Lizzie’s job at a diner and hanging out with her boyfriend, Enzo. Hawthorn and Enzo are both lonely and sad, and end up depending on each other in unhealthy ways. Plus, Hawthorn’s convinced herself that Lizzie is actually a werewolf. I’ll share more when I’m part of the blog tour for the book in a couple weeks!

 

Life in a Fishbowl

Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos (out January 3)

I read this book this past weekend, and let me tell you, it is one of the weirdest books I’ve read in quite a while! At times it seems so dark for YA, but then I think about The Hunger Games, and I’m like okay, pretty much everything goes. There is so much packed into this novel, but it kept me hooked all the way through. Fifteen-year-old Jackie’s father realizes he has a brain tumor, with only a few months left to live. In his panic about how his family will survive without him, he decides to auction off his life on eBay. And that’s just the start of the bonkers story. You meet the people who are interested in bidding on his life (and boy are they characters), and you even read from the point of the tumor. The winning bid ends up being a television executive, who gets Jared to agree to signing his life away to a reality show. With cameras installed all over the house, quiet Jackie is trapped, with no way to really communicate with her family, all while watching her father wither away. She has to find a way to fight back. I told you it was dark! I really recommend it!

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom (out February 7)

I love a good YA book about mental health, so I hope that I’ll love A Tragic Kind of Wonderful! Sixteen-year-old Mel is diagnosed bi-polar, which makes her life pretty unpredictable. Even though she’s falling into a new relationship, she still feels like she needs to keep everyone at arm’s length away from her. And when a former friend confirms why their friendship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and make things even worse. Mel fears that her friends will abandon her if they learn what she’s hiding. I’ll be reading this one soon so I’ll keep you guys updated! It definitely sounds intriguing.

 

Love and First Sight

Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist (out January 3)

I just finished this book, and I adored it!! It was so innocent, sweet, funny, and raw. Will has grown up blind. He’s never seen anything. It hasn’t exactly been a blast, but he’s smart and able to get by. When he switches to a public high school from a boarding school for blind kids in order to gain some real life experience, he doesn’t expect to make new friends so suddenly, and to find someone who could teach him so much about sight. That someone is Cecily, and Will is drawn to her beautiful voice and love of photography. They develop a lovely friendship, while not admitting they like each other. But everything could change when Will gets a surgery that can give him eyesight. Turns out Cecily’s been hiding something… I will post more about this book soon, but I really, really suggest picking it up!

History is All You Left Me

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (out January 17)

This one sounds like quite the emotional read! When Griffin finds out his first love, his ex, Theo, has drowned, his life is turned upside down. Griffin’s always believed that they would find each other again. And the only one who understands is Jackson, who was Theo’s current boyfriend. But Griffin’s grief and secrets of the past tears him apart, sending him into a downward spiral of submitting to obsessive compulsions and destructive actions. If he wants to move forward, he has to confront his past. This one is my next read, so I’ll share more thoughts soon!

 

To Catch a Killer

To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough (out February 7)

Erin Blake’s name is forever going to be tied to a horrible crime. As a toddler, she survived three days alongside the corpse of her murdered mother, and the case remains unsolved. Though she’s grown up a relatively normal life under the care of her mother’s best friend, Erin once again finds herself in tragedy when she discovers the body of her murdered biology teacher. She doesn’t voice it, but Erin secretly suspects the two homicides are linked, and inspired by her FBI agent uncle, she decides to dive into the investigation herself. But as she comes closer to evidence, somehow the authorities are pointed towards her, and she must figure out what’s happening before it’s too late. This book sounds so dark and along the lines of the grip lit craze, and I’m really excited to read it!

Our Own Private Universe

Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley (out January 31)

Fifteen-year-old Aki knows that she’s bisexual, but up until now has only dated guys. But when she goes on a month-long youth group mission to a small town in Mexico, a girl named Christa catches Aki’s attention. There isn’t much more information on this book out yet, but I’m interested in reading more! I expect it will contribute to the recent discussions of bisexuality that were sparked by Julie Murphy’s Ramona Blue, which will be out later in the year. I say keep that momentum going! It’s important to show teens that being bisexual is more than okay.

 

Rebels Like Us

Rebels Like Us by Liz Reinhardt (out February 28)

I think this book will perk up a lot of people’s ears. Nes has always been a city girl, living comfortably in Brooklyn. But when her mother ends a relationship and moves them to a small Southern town, Nes’ life throws her many changes. Besides being homesick and heartbroken of a boy left behind, Nes finds herself pitted against her new school’s reigning belle and the principal. Good start! And when she starts to fall for ‘the golden boy’ named Doyle, she discovers that her town is actually pretty racist. In fact, her high school holds two proms… a white prom, and a black prom. Nes and Doyle start a group to run an alternative prom, but when the hate crimes start, Nes realizes the danger she’s in and what it takes to stand up for something so important.

So much goodness coming out in just two months!! That’s only the beginning of 2017! What are you guys excited to read next year?

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