Wanderlost Review

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Title: Wanderlost

Author: Jen Malone

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe.

Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe.

Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan unravels, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story.

But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.

Source: Bought at Indigo

How I Found Out About It: Blogging

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I haven’t yet had the opportunity to do too much travelling, so I rely on books such as this one to *briefly* rid me of all my wanderlust. It is always so much fun to explore and visualize countries through books, and I adore feeling like I’m actually there, experiencing all of the events.

Let me just say that I loved travelling through Europe with the characters of this cleverly written novel! In spite of some minor flaws, I absolutely loved this book and I can see myself remembering it for weeks, months, and maybe even years to come.

Wanderlost basically follows a teenage protagonist named Aubree. Her sister Elizabeth was supposed to lead a tour bus in Europe one summer, but unforeseen circumstances cause her to have to quit. Hence, she secretly gives her job to Aubree, making her borrow her name. Aubree herself has barely done any travelling, and especially since she accidentally left her phone and all of her sister’s travel notes on the plane, she is very skeptical about the job. Will she be able to face it and as well not be revealed as really being Aubree instead of Elizabeth?

Aubree, although she made some decisions I didn’t really appreciate, was still a likeable character. She was flawed, and that’s what I value the most because just like real life people, no character can be perfect. She did an amazing and courageous deed to support her sister when she needed it the most, and I know it wasn’t necessarily right to lie about who she was, but what mattered is that she was able to amuse the senior citizens on the tour bus and make them feel good. She did all of this without anything to guide her, which is spectacular! Sometimes she did complain, which I can completely understand, but pushing that aside, she was overall a great protagonist.

In addition to Aubree, I loved getting to know the people on the tour bus. All of them were so unique and had the wackiest stories to share, and that was one of my absolute favourite things about this book! There was also a tad of romance between Aubree and this guy named Sam, and though I deemed it cute, I found it to be a bit unnecessary. But, to each their own.

The story’s plot moved quickly and it was easy to follow, and to add on, its many events are entertaining and it was especially fun getting to travel along with Aubree and her newly found crew. I learned a lot about Europe and some of its most famous landmarks, and I am now more eager to visit some of its hottest spots in the future.

To sum everything up, Wanderlost was an incredibly fun read. The characters were unique but flawed, it was super awesome to “travel” and learn about Europe, and I loved the writing style. For anyone wishing to pack their bags and immediately travel to Europe, then pick up this novel and lose all your wanderlust- well, at least for the few hours you spend reading it.

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ARC Review: There’s Someone Inside Your House

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Title: There’s Someone Inside Your House

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, horror, thriller, mystery, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.

Source: Thanks so much to Indigo Books & Music Inc. for providing me with a physical ARC of this book!

How I Found Out About It: Blogging

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If Stephanie Perkins wasn’t the author of this book, then I doubt I would have even considered picking it up in the first place- I am usually not such a huge fan of dark horror novels like this. Because I adored her Anna and the French Kiss trilogy, I knew I could trust her writing to get me to try out a whole new genre.

I was right! There’s Someone Inside Your House was quite the awesome, fun read. I honestly had a spectacular time with it and now since having enjoyed this book, I can see myself eager to pick up more books of this type in the future.

 

For a brief plot summary, this novel focuses on a teenage protagonist named Makani. During the course of the story, Makani observes students from her high school being killed by a mysterious murderer. Soon enough, Makani will be involved, and this will cause her to have to uncover some of her deepest secrets, as well.

To be completely honest, I thought that the characters were the weakest point of this book. Makani was a bit bland, as were all of her counterparts including Ollie. Since this is technically a mystery book, it’s not surprising to me that the plot moves things along more than the characters do- in fact, it is kind of expected that it focuses less on the characters and more on the pace.

Continuing on with my last statement, the plot of this story had me completely reeled in! I found it very hard to set this book down as I was so immersed into everything. This book was very fast-paced and intriguing, and things took unexpected turns every couple chapters or so. In spite of all this, though, I was pretty indifferent about the ending, but that’s just my opinion. I didn’t love the turnout, but I didn’t despise it, either.

All in all, There’s Someone Inside Your House was the gripping book I needed to read in between all of the fluffy contemporaries that I’d been devouring. Although the characters weren’t as strongly developed as they could have been, the story as a whole was an incredibly fun ride. If you are new to the genre of YA horror or mystery, then this novel would be the perfect starting point for you. It incorporates all the fun of a contemporary book complete with a trusted author’s writing, but it also includes several new elements for you to explore.

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*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review.*

ARC Review: How to Disappear

Title: How to Disappear

Author: Sharon Huss Roat

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Vicky Decker has perfected the art of hiding in plain sight, quietly navigating the halls of her high school undetected except by her best (and only) friend, Jenna. But when Jenna moves away, Vicky’s isolation becomes unbearable.

So she decides to invent a social life by Photoshopping herself into other people’s pictures, posting them on Instagram under the screen name Vicurious. Instantly, she begins to get followers, so she adds herself to more photos from all over the world with all types of people. And as Vicurious’s online followers multiply, Vicky realizes she can make a whole life for herself without ever leaving her bedroom. But the more followers she finds online, the clearer it becomes that there are a lot of people out there who feel like her— #alone and #ignored in real life.

To help them, and herself, Vicky must find the courage to face her fear of being “seen,” because only then can she stop living vicariously and truly bring the magic of Vicurious to life.

In this beautiful and illuminating narrative, Sharon Huss Roat shines a light on our love of social media and how sometimes being the person you think you want to be isn’t as great as being the person you truly are.

Source: Thanks so much to Indigo Books & Music Inc. for providing me with a physical ARC of this book!

How I Found Out About It: Indigo newsletter

I am your typical teenager that can tend to spend hours on end using social media such as Snapchat and Instagram. It’s where all the teens hang out these days, and I like keeping up with all of my friends and acquaintances on these sites. For this reason, books centring around social media have a soft spot in my heart. 

I almost always end up devouring all books of the sort, and now I most especially adored How to Disappear. It was so touchingly real and I adored every millisecond of my time reading it.

For a quick summary, this novel follows high schooler Vicky Decker. She is a tad socially awkward, so when her best friend moves away, she is left with no one to count on. To make herself feel happier, she decides to create an Instagram account entitled @Vicurious on which she photoshops her head into others’ images, making them look as real as possible. As her account goes viral, she finds out that she is not the only one who feels the way she feels- hundreds upon thousands of others feel the same way.

It was obvious that Vicky was having some trouble feeling comfortable in her own shoes, but nonetheless, she was an amazing and inspiring character that all readers can look up to with ease. She was very intuitive and understood people’s feelings, which is often what I look for in an awesome protagonist. Although photoshopping your head onto others’ pictures isn’t necessarily the most ethical thing to do in the type of situation that Vicky was in, she made it seem so real- and this was what made her followers fall in love with @Vicurious.

I must say that the super intriguing premise is what got me hooked in the first place. As I said earlier, books about social media always perk me up, and this one was a no-brainer. Contrary to many other contemporaries I’ve been reading lately, this one, in no way, shape, or form, left me confused or bored. Instead, every second excited me and left me wanting more and more. I never wanted it to come to an end!

To recap, How to Disappear was a raw, authentic novel that teaches us that no one is ever alone, and it as well proves that social media can in fact be helpful over harmful sometimes, with the latter being more emphasized in many books. If you are a regular social media user who experiences “FOMO” and other struggles regarding social life in high school, then this book is for you. It was so moving and inspiring that I think I may just have to grant it 5 stars!

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review.*

The Fashion Committee Review

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Title: The Fashion Committee

Author: Susan Juby

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

What if one contest could change the course of your entire life?

Charlie Dean is a style-obsessed girl who eats, sleeps, and breathes fashion.

John Thomas-Smith is a boy who forges metal sculptures in his garage and couldn’t care less about clothes.

Both are gunning for a scholarship to the private art high school that could make all their dreams come true. And whoever wins the fashion competition will win the scholarship.

Source: Public library

How I Found Out About It: Blogging

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Upon hearing that the awesome Susan Juby was about to release a new book, I was all in. About a year and a half ago, I devoured one of her other books, The Truth Commissionpraising it for its unique writing style and premise. Remembering the fun ride I had with that book, I was ecstatic to get around to this one.

Did I enjoy this one? Yes, for sure! But was it as spectacular as The Truth Commission was? Not in the least. I had quite high expectations for The Fashion Committee and I think it’s safe to say that I felt a bit let down.

To briefly sum up the plot, it basically follows the perspectives of two teens named Charlie and John. For different reasons, both are vying for a scholarship at a special arts school. In order to achieve this scholarship, applicants must win a fashion contest. For Charlie, this is a dream come true as she loves fashion, but John doesn’t know a thing about it. Who is going to end up taking home the scholarship and thus pursuing their artistic dreams?

First, let’s focus on the characters. Some of them were really interesting to read about, but others were simply bland and unmemorable. Starting with Charlie, although her story was captivating and I loved her fashionable flair and our common love for all things français, I don’t see myself remembering her in, say, two months time.

The same thing goes with John- he was a good protagonist to explore in the moment, but as soon as I closed the book for the last time, my memories of him vanished. I also must say that the changing fonts weren’t enough to distinguish the two POVs as I still got confused at times. May I suggest a really quirky font for Charlie and a really plain one for John?

The plot of this novel started off very strong and eventful and I sensed that this book would be a winner in my eyes, but as it continued, it just went downhill. I would have preferred it if this book started off slow and ended off on a high, but that’s just me. And speaking of endings, I did not expect The Fashion Committee to end the way it did. I was genuinely shocked!

Overall, The Fashion Committee was a fun, funky, and fresh read that is marvellous for pleasant summer reading. Its characters are mostly interesting, the premise is captivating, and the writing style is engaging and unique. This book may not become an absolute favourite of yours, but if you enjoy fashion and art themed stories, then you will dig this one!

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This Song Will Save Your Life Review

Title: This Song Will Save Your Life

Author: Leila Sales

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, This Song Will Save Your Life is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

Source: Public library

How I Found Out About It: Blogging

I just realized that I have been reading so many books centring around music lately. I guess that something about the two of them meshed together perks me up, because each one I read is one that I thoroughly enjoy. 

This Song Will Save Your Life was absolutely no exception to this. I really, really enjoyed reading it! I loved the protagonist and the morals that this book displays, and I can totally see myself recommending this novel to others in the future.

For a brief plot summary, this story follows a teen girl named Elise. All her life, she has been a social misfit and arguably the most ‘unpopular’ student in her school. When she decides to attend a warehouse party one day, she discovers a whole new side of her that allows her to relate to the people there due to a similar interest in music- as well as a new love for being a DJ.

Elise was definitely a character whom I could easily see myself in. Much like me, she was a pure introvert and had some insecurities about fitting in with the crowd and being liked, but I love how she learns that it’s 100% okay to stand out, as well. Her growth by the story’s end is amazing to watch as she finally becomes able to find the people she can call her best friends!

There was one significant flaw in this book that I can’t help but point out, though, and that is the plot. It’s okay to disagree with me, but I felt like it turned in unrealistic directions sometimes, leaving me a tad confused. Although it bothered me a bit, it definitely wasn’t a big deal- the characters and morals made up for it.

To conclude, I really cherished my time reading This Song Will Save Your Life. The morals all about finding yourself and who you really are as well as finding true friends were spectacular, and I believe that many introverted readers would find solace in protagonist Elise. If you’re a hardcore music fan who also adores novels about blossoming friendships, this song book will save your life!

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ARC Review: The Midnight Dance

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Title: The Midnight Dance

Author: Nikki Katz

Genre & Age Group: Historical fiction, paranormal, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

When the music ends, the dance begins.

Penny is a dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and 11 other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate and in the only life Penny has ever known.

When new memories appear, showing a life very different from the one she thought she’d been leading, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With the sweet kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.

Source: Thanks so much to Indigo Books & Music Inc. for providing me with a physical ARC of this book!

How I Found Out About It: Indigo newsletter

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When I was requesting ARCs from Indigo’s weekly newsletter, The Midnight Dance caught my eye right away. It just seemed like the type of book I’d devour, being about dance and mysteries. Unfortunately, it did not meet my expectations, thus leaving me quite disappointed.

For a short summary, this book revolves around Penny, a ballerina whose goal is to become one of the most successful dancers in her home country of Italy. She has been stuck inside her prestigious dance school for basically her entire life, being closely watched over by the Master. But suddenly, Penny starts remembering things that she shouldn’t. Things that could change her entire life. So, with the help of love interest Cricket, she makes plans to escape her school and discover the truth, hoping to slide right by the Master.

Penny was a wise and strong character whose actions I enjoyed in the moment while reading, but once I shut the book, my memories of her went flooding away. I found that she didn’t really stand out in the sea of YA protagonists– rather, she fit in. The Master and Cricket are the only other two characters I can recall upon my writing of this review, but still, all I can remember about them are flirting and kisses with Penny.

The premise of this story was definitely interesting, but I’m not sure if it really followed through. To me, the plot was just thrown all over the place with random characters and events coming in and out of the story, and in short, I couldn’t keep track of anything! I was also quite bored by a large portion of this book and wanted to dose off to sleep. And what the heck was that ending?!

I must say, though, that the writing style of this book was amazing! It was very lyrical and unique, and if there’s anything to remember about this book in a year, it is the writing for sure.

All in all, The Midnight Dance was a mediocre read, and I was not blown away by it in any way. I think it was a little more paranormal and thriller-y than what I was expecting, and it took me a while to get used to that kind of atmosphere. I’d recommend this book to those wanting an interesting paranormal story with a unique premise and beautiful writing style- but don’t expect to be wowed any more than that.

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*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review.*

Audition Review

Title: Audition

Author: Stasia Ward Kehoe

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, poetry, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

When high school junior Sara wins a coveted scholarship to study ballet, she must sacrifice everything for her new life as a professional dancer-in-training. Living in a strange city with a host family, she’s deeply lonely-until she falls into the arms of Remington, a choreographer in his early twenties. At first, she loves being Rem’s muse, but as she discovers a surprising passion for writing, she begins to question whether she’s chosen the right path. Is Rem using her, or is it the other way around? And is dancing still her dream, or does she need something more? This debut novel in verse is as intense and romantic as it is eloquent.

Source: Public library

How I Found Out About It: By browsing through books at my public library

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As I used to participate in dance classes and I love watching the art form unfold, I adore reading stories about dancing. In addition to this, the premise of Audition sort of reminded me of that of a book I really enjoyed called Tiny Pretty Thingsand thus I was tempted to try it.

Audition, despite its Goodreads average rating of 3.32 stars, was a fun and fast read. For those who do not mind reading stories in verse, you will breeze through it and adore its lyrical writing just as I did, but if you despise poetry, then consider yourself warned.

To briefly summarize the story, it follows a teen girl named Sara who earns a ballet scholarship in a completely new city- and lifestyle. Soon enough, she meets and gets to know her choreographer Remington, and figures out that she has become romantically attracted to him. But then she decides to take up writing as her new passion- is she about to throw away her dreams of dance? Or will Remington step in and save it all- or will he be thrown away as well?

If you want complete honesty, the characters weren’t the strongest point of this book. They could have been a lot more developed if the writing wasn’t as emphasized. I liked reading about Sara in the moment, but as I write this, it has been almost 3 weeks since I’ve completed the book, so she no longer sticks out. Rem was cute though; I’m not going to lie, but still unmemorable.

The plot is easy, breezy, and amusing to follow. The writing, as I touched on before, is in verse, allowing readers to flip its pages quickly and absorb happenings with ease. This may be a tome of around 450 pages, but I was able to complete it at the speed I would with a book of 250 pages.

To sum everything up, I had quite a good time with AuditionAlthough its characters were notably forgettable, I appreciated the romance, plot, and writing style. Would this book pass an audition for my favourite book of 2017? Unlikely, but I’d still recommend that readers looking for books about the legendary art of dance paired with daring romance give this one a spin.

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Tone Deaf Review

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Title: Tone Deaf

Author: Olivia Rivers

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

His world is music. Her world is silent.

Ali Collins was a child prodigy destined to become one of the greatest musicians of the twenty-first century—until she was diagnosed with a life-changing brain tumor. Now, at seventeen, Ali lives in a soundless world where she gets by with American Sign Language and lip-reading. She’s a constant disappointment to her father, a retired cop fighting his own demons, and the bruises are getting harder to hide.

When Ali accidentally wins a backstage tour with the chart-topping band Tone Deaf, she’s swept back into the world of music. Jace Beckett, the nineteen-year-old lead singer of the band, has a reputation. He’s a jerk and a player, and Ali wants nothing to do with him. But there’s more to Jace than the tabloids let on. When Jace notices Ali’s bruises and offers to help her escape to New York, Ali can’t turn down the chance at freedom and a fresh start. Soon she’s traveling cross-country, hidden away in Jace’s RV as the band finishes their nationwide tour. With the help of Jace, Ali sets out to reboot her life and rediscover the music she once loved.

Source: Public library

How I Found Out About It: Goodreads

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In addition to reading books, I love listening to music. I find that both activities make me happy and I can thus never pass up on seeing the two of them together. A fluffy romance book all about music that is full of diversity? Please count me in!

Just like I anticipated, I loved Tone Deaf! Although at times it got more serious, it was happy and lighthearted enough to transmit those positive vibes to me. I am exuberant to read more from the amazing Olivia Rivers!

To synopsize, this story revolves around two teens named Ali and Jace. Because of a brain tumour, Ali has gone deaf, and this stops her from being passionate about music. She ends up winning a backstage pass to see a popular band called Tone Deaf, which Jace is a part of. Admittedly, his reputation isn’t the most positive, and Ali is turned off by him from the start. But Jace understands where she’s coming from, and so he decides to take her with him during the rest of the band’s tour. Will Ali warm up to Jace and learn to love music again?

The two protagonists of this story were very pleasant to read about, and they made the novel the gem that it honestly is. Ali was such a sweetheart! I felt so bad for her regarding all the obstacles that she’d had to go through at only 17 years old, but in retrospect, she was actually extremely lucky. How many average joe people get to meet and form relationships with celebrities? Not many, and even though at first she was notably reluctant to meet Jace, I loved how the two meshed. Speaking of Jace, he was super cool and hip and I just loved him, even in spite of all the controversy that there was regarding him in the novel.

I also feel like raving about this book’s premise and plot- both were amazingly crafted! I could hardly put this book down while reading; I was literally so mesmerized. The premise itself was also very unique and unlike that of most books in the world, and I really, really appreciated that.

If I were to compare Tone Deaf to one other book, then it would be Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. Both books are full of awesome music, friendship, cute romance, and great characters, so if you liked one of the two, you’ll for sure devour the other. To sum it all up, I loved pretty much everything about this book, and I can almost guarantee that anyone who gives it a try will have a lot of fun with it!

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ARC Review: Top Ten

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Title: Top Ten

Author: Katie Cotugno

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of friends. Introverted, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ryan is a star hockey player who can get any girl he wants—and does, frequently. But against all odds, they became not only friends, but each other’s favorite person. Now, as they face high school graduation, they can’t help but take a moment to reminisce and, in their signature tradition, make a top ten list—counting down the top ten moments of their friendship:

10. Where to begin? Maybe the night we met.
9. Then there was our awkward phase.
8. When you were in love with me but never told me…
7. Those five months we stopped talking were the hardest of my life.
6. Through terrible fights…
5. And emotional makeups.
4. You were there for me when I got my heart broken.
3. …but at times, you were also the one breaking it.
2. Above all, you helped me make sense of the world.
1. Now, as we head off to college—how am I possibly going to live without you?

Source: Thanks so much to Indigo Books & Music Inc. for providing me with a physical ARC of this book!

How I Found Out About It: Indigo newsletter

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Prior to sinking into this book, I had heard a lot about Katie Cotugno and her light, fun books. Eager to find out what makes everyone rave about her stories, I requested Top Ten right away when I saw it on Indigo’s ARC newsletter.

After having read this, I can totally see why people love her writing so much. I adored this book! Although it may not have been the most original of story topics, the two protagonists were fantastically written and the plot sailed very smoothly.

To summarize the plot of this story, Top Ten follows the perspectives of two very different teens named Gabby and Ryan. Despite how different they are from each other, they still found each other and became best friends- going no further than that. Since they are about to graduate and their time together is running out, the two decide to look back on their friendship using a list of the top ten things that represent it.

I can finally say that there was a multi-POV book that I truly enjoyed! Though the POVs were represented in third-person, they were definitely omniscient and full of depth.

I found myself easily able to see myself in Gabby– like me, she was introverted, intuitive, and shy. She suffered from a bit of social anxiety, but as I am not a doctor, I can’t say much about the way it was represented. The story does come from an author who suffers from it herself, though, so that is a good thing. Oh- and did I mention the fact that she was also bisexual? Two points for diversity!

I absolutely adored Ryan as well! I loved how he stayed positive, triumphant, and eager to always have a good time. He never wanted to stop playing hockey despite all of his concussions, and this makes him a great role model!

I loved the premise of this story as well, even in spite of it not being the most unique. There was almost NO romance between Gabby and Ryan- they stayed as friends and friends only. I am so thankful to have finally read a book with a boy and a girl just remaining friendly without a romantic relationship blooming between them. We really don’t see those enough in the YA genre. I also adored the top ten list format of this book– I myself love writing lists of all kinds of stuff. It was a win-win!

To sum it all up, Top Ten belongs within the top ten books on your TBRs. It was phenomenally written, and the characters and the plot were excellently created as well. The one thing that draws it back from getting 5 stars, though, is the fact that the morals were not very profound, but with that aside, I’d absolutely, 100% recommend this book to readers looking for a refreshing contemporary featuring a boy and a girl as friends and nothing more than that.

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*4.25 Stars*

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book via Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review.*

ARC Review: Protected

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Title: Protected

Author: Claire Zorn

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

I have three months left to call Katie my older sister. Then the gap will close and I will pass her. I will get older. But Katie will always be fifteen, eleven months and twenty-one days old.

Hannah’s world is in pieces and she doesn’t need the school counsellor to tell her she has deep-seated psychological issues. With a seriously depressed mum, an injured dad and a dead sister, who wouldn’t have problems?

Hannah should feel terrible but for the first time in ages, she feels a glimmer of hope and isn’t afraid anymore. Is it because the elusive Josh is taking an interest in her? Or does it run deeper than that?

In a family torn apart by grief and guilt, one girl’s struggle to come to terms with years of torment shows just how long old wounds can take to heal.

Source: Thanks so much to SOURCEBOOKS Fire for providing me with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley!

How I Found Out About It: Netgalley

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I was at first drawn to Protected because I am interested in family-oriented contemporaries that explore the bonds we have with our family members and how they are never truly lost. I have to say that this is a book that showcases that very clearly.

Hence, I enjoyed this story a lot and I am excited to read more from Claire Zorn in the future. Even though the protagonist wasn’t the most likeable, the plot was executed well and the morals given out by the reading of this book are great.

Protected is basically about a teenage girl named Hannah. A while ago, her sister had died in a car crash, leaving her and her parents emotionally wounded. Her family has since drifted away from each other and cannot experience the joy they would if Katie had still been around. When Hannah gets to know Josh, she feels the best she’s ever did since her sister’s death. But is that enough to help her get through her grief?

As stated before, Hannah is very, very far from being the best protagonist I’ve ever read about. To be fair, I saw many good traits in her, but she was for sure flawed as well. She complained and sulked very often, which I understand because of her ongoing grief, but at times she refused to accept help offered to her, and that is what I disliked. In spite of this, Hannah’s character grows immensely by the end of the novel as she becomes much more appreciative of what she has and learns to open up to others and talk to them about her troubles instead of storing it all in. Even so, it was quite evident that she still had a ways to go in developing a bit more afterwards.

As you would expect since this is by all means a contemporary story, there was romance involved. Was it good romance, though? Meh. I just found it to be unnecessary and forced- I feel like if Hannah hadn’t lost her sister, the two would have never bonded like they did in the book. Josh, the love interest, only first showed up at about 2/3s of the book and he was honestly so bland! I am telling you that I did not see many sparks fly between the two.

All in all, I definitely liked Protected and would be willing to try out more books by this author. The characters were a little rusty, but I believe that this book should be read by more people once it comes out because of its messages about appreciating what you have and being able to get help if you need it. It’s not the happiest of contemporaries, I’ll say that, but if you are looking for a book that has powerful messages, I’d recommend this one in a heartbeat.

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*I received a digital ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*