Review: Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie

Summary: Twenty-six and broke, Skye didn’t think twice before selling her eggs and happily pocketing the cash. Now approaching forty, Skye moves through life entirely on her own terms, living out of a suitcase and avoiding all manner of serious relationships. Her personal life might be a mess, and no one would be surprised if she died alone in a hotel room, but at least she’s free to do as she pleases. But then a twelve-year-old girl shows up during one of Skye’s brief visits to her hometown and tells Skye that she’s “her egg.” Skye’s life is thrown into sharp relief and she decides that it might be time to actually try to have a meaningful relationship with another human being. Spoiler alert: It’s not easy.

Told in a fresh, lively voice, this novel is a relentlessly clever, deeply moving portrait of a woman and the relationships she thought she could live without.

Genre: contemporary, romance, lgbt
Rating: 5/5 stars

Most reviews I’ve seen for this book on Goodreads are either four-or-five-star ratings or the reader DNF’d it incredibly early on. The writing style here is so specific and I can understand readers not enjoying the book for that alone (because honestly, otherwise this is a flawless book). As someone who doesn’t read light, fluffy books usually, I felt that this was exactly what I needed. I welcomed the change with open arms and absolutely loved this book.

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Review: The Problem with Forever by Jennifer Armentrout

Summary: Growing up, Mallory Dodge learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. Now, after four years of homeschooling, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at a public high school. But she never imagined she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood. It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded.

Yet soon it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory must make a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants and the truths that need to be heard.

Genre: young adult, romance, contemporary
Rating: 2.5/3 stars

The young-adult contemporary genre is so difficult for me, because it’s often extremely hit or miss. Sometimes I love reading stories of high schoolers with OCD or bipolar disorder who meet a boy who accepts them for who they are. Sometimes I read stories about teenage boys who are battling schizoaffective disorder that made my heart ache. I cried vicious tears during The Hate U Give.

So I really thought I would enjoy a young-adult contemporary about a girl who escapes an abusive foster home and rekindles a relationship with a boy from her past while overcoming that trauma from her childhood. Sadly, I felt like The Problem with Forever focused so heavily on the wrong aspects of this story until the very end, which made it hard to enjoy.

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Review: The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

Summary: When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Grace’s new friends Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.
Genre: young adult, contemporary
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

When I set up my reading challenge for the new year, I thought about what I wanted to read this year. Sure, picks from my physical pile are good. I decided to branch out and read stories from and about BIPOC and LGBT, which I certainly hadn’t been doing enough. But the biggest non-goal I made for myself was to read books that truly challenge the reader. The Nowhere Girls is not the first story of rape that I’ve read, but it’s one of the heaviest hitters and is done in such a way that made me want to jump out of my chair, yell, throw my fist in the air, cause total chaos for all the girls who have been sexually assaulted.

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Review: The Gaps by Leanne Hall

Summary: When sixteen-year-old Yin Mitchell is abducted, the news reverberates through the whole tenth grade class at Balmoral Ladies College. As the hours tick by, the girls know the chance of Yin being found alive is becoming smaller and smaller. Everyone in school is affected by Yin’s disappearance—even scholarship student Chloe, who usually stays out of Balmoral dramas, is drawn into the maelstrom. And when she begins to form an uneasy alliance with Natalia, the queen of Tenth Grade, things start to get even more complicated.
Genre: young adult, contemporary
Rating: 5/5 stars

I walked into this book assuming it would be a young-adult contemporary with a thriller subgenre tagged on to appeal to the masses. What I didn’t expect was to fall absolutely in love with these characters. I didn’t expect to feel their grief with them, to root for them, to encourage their empowerment. There’s something truly magical in Hall’s writing that showcases the struggles and grief that the girls in this story are up against while still being forced to maintain some level of normalcy.

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Review: What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins

Summary: Isaac lives alone, grieving the recent death of his teenage son, Daniel. Next door, Lorrie struggles with a heinous act committed by her own teenage son. Separated by only a silvery stretch of trees, the two parents are emotionally stranded, isolated by their great losses–until an unfamiliar sixteen-year-old girl shows up, bridges the gap, and changes everything. Evangeline’s arrival feels like a blessing, but she is also clearly hiding something. Soon all three characters are forced to examine what really happened in their overlapping pasts, and what it all possibly means for a shared future.
Genre: contemporary
Rating: 5/5 stars

It’s very seldom that books make me cry. Not just a wave of emotional chills or getting a little misty-eyed, but I’m talking full-blown tears streaming down my face, gross guttural sobs. What Comes After absolutely, completely ripped me apart and destroyed me. And for that, I love this book. This might be one of the best books I read this year.

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