This is why I Don’t Get the Flu Shot: Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski Book Review

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Don’t Even Think About It

By: Sarah Mlynowski

Released: March 11th, 2014 by Delacorte Press

Length: 336 Pages

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal-ESP

Rating: 3 Stars

Acquired: via publisher

Getting a flu shot was never rewarding…until 22 sophomores get ESP as a side effect. The results: funny, witty, and down right amusing. But, they already know that.

When the students of homeroom 10b at Bloomberg High School lined up to get their flu shots, none of them expected to get super powers. Sure, there was Pi who had the second highest GPA in her class; and, always wanted to be extraordinary. But, to get ESP after the shot a day later, now that was something. Told as a collective we, Don’t Even Think About It takes place over a week with around 22 floating main characters all trying to deal with their new ability to hear people’s thoughts.

There’s Olivia, who is constantly sick or afraid of getting sick out of habit living with a hypochondriac OCD mother. She now knows the school nurse used to be a stripper and has sex. A lot. Like go on a condom run doing school a lot. Olivia is also afraid of public speaking of any kind; even talking to Lazar, the cute boy who likes her until she can read his mind.

Then there’s Tess and Mackenzie, best friends forever. Until, Mackenzie forgets Tess can read her mind and let’s her thoughts slip to Tess needing to lose weight. And that Mackenzie cheated on Cooper, another ESP, the last one to get it.

There’s also BJ, who hits on Tess in every way possible– through ESP, in person, through text. Sadie, who is the center of Teddy’s mind who is not an ESP but the center of Tess’s mind. Plus, a pair of twins, a guy named Levi, and too many more.

The whole homeroom became a we. They would talk to each other through their thoughts. Cheat in class. Know more secrets, like about Mackenzie cheating on Cooper. Hear everything. And comment on everything. There were italics throughout the whole novel; so many scattered thoughts from too many voices.

Pi takes charge in this novel, but it is Olivia who shines for me. I just adored her. She had her issues with public speaking; maybe even a character flaw or two. But there was so much in her that was likable. She was quirky, adorable, and funny. Kind, considerate, and without even realizing she could, she could stand up for herself.

This novel was a cute and quick read. I’ll be honest. When I first got it, I thought it would be cheesy. The cover wasn’t very promising. The title gives too much away. But, this cynic liked it. Not a lot, but enough. It was funny, witty, and although had way too many featured characters, some of them, when given the time to develop, developed rather nicely; like Olivia, Tess, Pi, and Cooper. When they were given their own time, they showed maturity in situations and choices that were made. The side characters were good. The concept was original. The writing wasn’t juvenile. Although I believe it deserves a three star rating because I simply just liked it, it is a strong three stars. I think if I was at the targeted age, which I am not, I would give it a four, or higher star rating. For an author that writes a lot of series, or has written series in this past, this was a good standalone novel in my opinion.

Nora Ephron would be pleased: What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin Book Review

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What Nora Knew

By: Linda Yellin

Released January 21, 2014 by Gallery Books

Length: 336 Pages

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Rating: Four Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 

One Assignment to write about love, channeling Nora Ephron. One cynic journalist. One love-enthused crime writer who kills all his main character’s girlfriends.  One story Nora Ephron would give her stamp of approval

 

Molly Hallberg is a thirty-nine year old cynic, but don’t tell her that. Divorced from a high powered divorce lawyer, Molly knows she hasn’t found “the one”. Instead, she is dating Russel, the chiropractor. Russell is stable, a pragmatist, and lacks romance. Molly feels settled. When she is assigned to write about soul mates in the tone of Nora Ephron, Molly knows she is the last person who should be assigned the article; and the truth is, she was the last choice. When she tries to create a romantic dinner for Russell, it fizzles. They settle into each other, both knowing neither are the romantic types, but that’s OK.

Cue You’ve Got Mail. During Memorial Day weekend at the Hamptons, Molly meets her match in fellow writer Cameron Duncan. A famous crime writer, Cameron kills off every girlfriend in his Mike Bing novels; while still managing to make every woman reader swoon. Molly doesn’t believe he’s sincere as he says Sleepless in Seattle his one of his favorite films. Like Joe Fox, Cameron Duncan starts to appear everywhere, infuriating Molly; but slowly waking her up in the perfect Nora Ephron way. 

Does the article turn out great? Does she even write it? Well, you’ll just have to read the book because there may be some predictable surprises. I could definitely see this book being adapted to film. It’s a great homage to Nora Ephron, but it’s the characters that are so great. Molly is so much like Kathleen from You’ve Got Mail. The cynicism is spot on. The references to the movies. The way the plot moves; even the slight character growth. I read this book surprisingly in one day. I laughed a lot. And, I admit, cried at two spots. Cameron Duncan was a great character. And, so was Dr. Russell. How boring and simple. There is a scene in the book, a realization between Molly and Russell that I think many couples who have felt stagnant in their relationship can relate to. It is a very relatable book that truly reads like a romantic comedy movie. I will see it in theaters if it gets adapted into film. I hope it does. It would be a pity if it didn’t. The material is all there.

If you are a fan of romantic comedies; or, looking for a light, fun read this book is it. Spring is near. Summer, too. It’d be a great beach read. Yellin really nails the romance aspect. What it’s like to feel stuck in a relationship, in life. To meet that one person who drives you crazy.  To be closed then open. I hope you give this book a once over. It’s worth a read. 

The Invisible Queen of Nowhere: The Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson Book Review

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The Tyrant’s Daughter

By: J.C. Carleson

Released February 11th, 2014 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Coming of Age

Length: 304 Pages

Rating: Three Stars

Acquired: via Random House

Two Worlds:  

There- The Middle East: Fifteen year old Laila believes her father is the King before he is killed in a coup orchestrated by his brother, the general; and her family is sent away to a country so different from their own, leaving behind more than just material things

Here: Living in exile in Washington D.C. where the discovery hits: her father wasn’t the king. She was never a queen. He was a dictator. Her family story is a lie. She is the “Invisible Queen of Nowhere”

Throughout the novel, Laila is torn between her two different, complex worlds: the There and Here. There, although war torn, she believed her family was royalty. The only friends she had were crafted by her mother; the countless gatherings of women and girls screened. There was no proper schooling. Here: she has friends she doesn’t know how to keep or be around, one of whom is the bearer of bad news that tells her the truth about her father; or, how other countries viewed her father’s rule. There are boys. Internet access. It is a life she can’t get used to.

There are countless difficulties she faces; including near poverty as her mother refuses to get a job. When she starts to work with the CIA, there are still times there is no money for food or rent. There are men the mother has to do business with from their country that are slightly sketchy and hostile, but with reason. Laila is front and center as she sees her mother try to get her and her family back into power. All the power plays and conniving ways she tries to get her way.

As Laila watches her new life grow and fall in front of her;  her mother tries for one more power play; and, her brother constantly says he’s the King. The relationship between mother and daughter gets challenged as Laila’s mother starts to pull Laila into her plan in a subtle, conniving way that makes Laila sick and torn. In the end, this is a book worth looking at.

Written by a former CIA agent, The Tyrant’s Daughter portrays what it is like for a young teenager in political exile. This isn’t a topic you typically see in young adult fiction. Sure, there are books about immigrants, but none that tackle what it is like being in political exile, learning what you thought you knew about your life was a lie through a technology that was very limited and control in your birth country.

A relatively quick read, Carleson wrote a fresh take on what it’s like to live in the war torn Middle East, but on the inside and outside of it all. Laila’s struggles seemed very realistic to me. I could feel her pain, missing her home; even though she realized how suffocating her life was, she missed the structure. When she told the Middle Eastern version of Cinderella to her friends, I felt her pain when she didn’t understand why her American friends only saw the brutality of it. There was something so raw and true about this story; truly, only someone like Carleson could write.

I liked this book. I didn’t love it. I read it in a couple of sittings, maybe three; but, there wasn’t a lot that truly drew me in. I found it as a good source to understanding the Middle Eastern culture more, and Middle Eastern immigrants especially; regardless if their father was a dictator or not. Would I suggest it as a required reading book in a High School history/world culture class, I have thought about it. There was some love interest in it that makes the book a little more contemporary and less educational. But, I think there is such a disconnect between citizens and immigrants, especially from the Middle East. Their culture is so different from ours. The Cinderella-esque story alone is a good enough reason why I think teachers should think about teaching this book.

There were some technical problems I found, like character development; but, none that were very distracting that I wouldn’t recommend this book. I hope you give this book a once over, at least.

Happy Reading!

 

Greetings from Lost Lake: Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen Book Review

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Lost Lake

By: Sarah Addison Allen

Released January 21st, 2014 by St. Martin Press

Length: 302 pages

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Magical Realism

Rating: Five Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 

You can never the beginning. But you can always change the end.

That one sentence, said by a somewhat minor character staying for one last summer at Lost Lake echoes throughout the entire novel; although it is said closer to the end, it is true throughout the hole book. Each main character, newly widowed Kate, her daughter Devin, Kate’s estranged, great Aunt Eby, Kate’s old childhood friend she spent one good summer with, Wes, they all are stuck and looking to change their ending–they just don’t know it yet. Even the rather minor characters like Selma, who wears a charm bracelet that allows her to marry eight already married men and she’s on her last charm. And, Bulahdeen, who said that heavy statement; her husband has Alzheimer’s, and as many times as she has read novels, she has tried to change her endings.

This novel isn’t just about Eby selling Lost Lake; or Kate “waking up” after a year since her husband died; or Devin befriended an alligator no one thought was on the property, that could only be seen by her, leaving clues; or, each of the three guests at the lake; or, Wes who never stopped loving Kate. It is about creating your own ending that isn’t an ending after all. It’s more of a “in the mean time”.  A “happily ever right now”. Allen creates characters that are somewhat more than broken in many ways and puts them back together in only ways that she can.

Allen still has her Southern charm. And that magical realism that got me when I read my first Sarah Addison Allen book; and, never stopped. I loved the allegory of the alligator. I won’t give away the reason behind him, but the reason is touching, sweet, and really special. Brings the book together. I loved the theme and idea of creating a new ending for yourself. Not really rejecting the one you had, but doing a do-over. A second chance on our own terms. Allen proved, to me, once again, why she is one of my favorite authors. Her voice is so unique and offers something I don’t normally get from other contemporary authors.

I would highly recommend reading any of Allen’s fabulous books. She is so talented. This book is no exception.

When two heartbeats get each other: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

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Heartbeat

By Elizabeth Scott

Released: February, 2014 by Harlequin Teen

Length: 240 Pages

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction

Rating: Five Stars

Acquired: Via netgalley

Everything can change in one…

That’s what happened for seventeen year old Emma. Before she went to school her mother was pregnant..and alive.  Now, angry and living with her step dad, Dan, she once loved as her biological, Emma visits her mother everyday in  the hospital as she is brain dead and struggling to keep the baby she struggled two years to conceive alive. At a loss, Emma struggles every day with the fact that her step dad chose her soon to be born brother over her brain dead mother.  Didn’t he know how scared her mom was all the time about being over forty and pregnant? These thoughts constantly run through her head as her grades drop, her anger rises, and she begins to form an unlikely friendship with a druggie and car thief from school, Caleb Harrison. But they share something Emma and her best friend don’t at the moment and won’t for a long time: grief and losing someone you love prematurely and in a bad way.

This was the first Elizabeth Scott book I have read and I absolutely loved it. I mean completely, absolutely, head over heels fan girl loved it. I read it in one sitting until 2:30 in the morning. There was something about Emma that I really related to. My mom may not be brain dead with a baby in her body, but I have lost someone. And have felt this overwhelming grief that some of  my friends haven’t in their life yet.  I see Emma in myself. And, she is wise beyond her years. She’s smart, very feisty, loyal, and beyond everything loving. I would want her by my bedside any day.

Then, there is Caleb Harrison. Oh, Caleb Harrison. Elizabeth Scott, like Sarah Dessen, knows how to craft a male love interest. He reminds me a little of Macon from Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen (has the good Macon qualities, plus the woundedness). He was a redeemable bad boy. But, not really all that bad. Doing “bad” stuff doesn’t necessarily make the person bad. He made wrong choices, but his heart was hurt and so forth.

Everything about this book was done well. The plot was heart wrenching. It really was. It pulls at you, tugs at your moral consciousness, and shows you what you are made of. I mean, how many books are out there, young adult or otherwise, have a mother on a ventilator solely to keep her baby in her belly alive? A baby that may not even make it? Add in brain dead, a devastated daughter, and a hatred/secret love for the baby and you’ve got a whirlwind of emotions called Heartbeat. There just aren’t many books that tackled this subject, in this way or that. Scott did it in a way that was raw, realistic, emotional, and authentic. I felt Emma break each time she said Hi to her mom knowing she wasn’t “there” anymore. I didn’t want to take away her pain, or take it in, I just wanted to listen. And, I did. Such an emotional, rewarding book. Again, I highly recommend it. If you love Young Adult books, or looking for a book that you think maybe your teenage daughter will like or so on, PICK THIS BOOK UP! You won’t regret it.

 

Searching for an unusual stone: Stones by Polly Johnson Book Review

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Stones

By Polly Johnson

Released December, 2013 by Harper Collins UK Digital 

Length: 300 pages

Genre: YA realistic-alcoholism, coming of age

Rating: four stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 

Coo is like every sixteen year old girl- her friend is a drunken tramp she found by the sea

Corrine “Coo” at just sixteen has already lost her older brother, Sam to alcoholism. Sam wasn’t a fun drunk. He wasn’t the life of the party. On the contrary. He scared her all the time. The story starts off with him abusing her; yet, it turns out he’s been dead for almost a year. He often stole money from her parents, things from her bedroom like a chess set, and was extremely violent towards everyone in the house; but, no one would say anything. Coo’s parents would never stop Sam, just give him money and support his addiction. Almost a year later, and Coo s telling her story: meeting a boy she tries to let in, Joe, who doesn’t let her in, then meeting a mysterious drunken tramp named Banks who becomes the main character in her life. She can’t seem to figure him out or let him go. He reminds her so much of Sam. Although she won’t admit it, she wants to save him; have him be her new Sam although she will stand by her hatred for her older brother by eight years.

The chapters start off with a little random tidbit, or quote that mostly relates to the chapter. Some of them made me smile. There was the definition of a tramp, mince pie, a meaningful quote, and some funny Coo commentaries. There is something so deep and raw in every sentence and thought that is written.  Take the title for example- stones. The “tramp” Banks tells Coo that if she ever has a question all she has to do is stick her hand out for a pebble and if she finds a special, different pebble then she found the right answer. And, that in Heaven there is a new stone waiting for everyone. There is something about those two things that stick with me. The imagery and symbolism. 

There are two quotes I actually added on goodreads.com that I loved so much and couldn’t believe no one else added them: 

 

“Right now he’s like the ocean at night- you know it’s there, but even though the lights are coming on you can’t see it and all you know of it is washing sound somewhere sighing in the back room of a house when they think no one is listening.”

and

“How is it that time can be elastic? Sometimes years seem to go by while you’re looking the other way, and sometimes-when you most long for it to pass-life-times can stretch from a few hours”  

Johnson is a talented writer.  That being said, she did an excellent job of depicting what it is like to be an alcoholic, living with an alcoholic, and the aftermath of it all. I think this was a great story in every way. I really would recommend this, although it is not for everyone. I do sometimes give recommendations lightly because I am a very open minded reader. Some of the parts in this novel is graphic. In my opinion, at least. It is very true to the disease. And, the disease is ugly. There is abuse. Sexual, albeit a tiny bit, and physical. It is not a long book, but it took it’s emotional toll on me. And, it may on you. I don’t want that to deter you though. I do think this is an important topic, and a topic that isn’t looked at much from this perspective, point of view, and format.  

I hope you consider reading this book. Like I said about John Green’s Paper Towns, this is one book where I can see it being a benefit for kids to be required to reading it in schools. So many kids drink early on in high school. Coo’s brother was only twenty-three when he died. It’s just an important lesson. Plus, homelessness is a HUGE issue in this novel as well. Something I have also been passionate as a child about. This is one of those universal life lessons books that, if taught, could make a difference, I think. Johnson writes so well I can’t see it not making even a little impact. Alas, I am not a teacher and don’t intend on becoming one.

 

Happy reading!

For fans of Gillian Flynn: Eloise by Judy Finnigan Book review

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Eloise

By Judy Finnigan

Released September, 2013 by Redhook

Length: 384 pages

Genre: British contemporary mystery/ paranormal-ghosts

Rating: 3 and a half Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

A grieving best friend promises her friend’s ghost to save her kids from him

Set in Cromwell, with multiple references to Daphne du Maurier and her book Rebecca, both from Cromwell, comes a book about a woman who is haunted by the ghost of her newly dead best friend.  At forty-five, Eloise had succumbed to a five year battle with breast cancer. At the surface, it was cancer that took her life. But as her spirit remains, sneaking into Cathy’s dreams and pleading, mysteriously, with Cathy to not trust “him” and protect her girls, a mystery novel is born. Already fragile, having suffered from a clinical depression breakdown, Cathy isn’t the most reliable source when it comes to trying to convince those around her that there was something amiss in Eloise’s death and with Eloise’s husband, Ted.

Although Eloise’s ghost often haunts Cathy, I wouldn’t necessarily call this a ghost story. It is more of a mystery fueled by a spirit, if that makes sense. Nonetheless, Cathy is driven by what her best friend is telling her, alienating her from her husband and family. Part mystery novel, part novel on loss, Finnigan’s first novel is a success. I found myself drawn to Cathy; rooting for her when her psychiatrist husband shames her in front of her children, and everyone else; I could relate to her desperation and need to right a wrong, what wrong she doesn’t find out until the end. And, my the ending. I haven’t read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, but know of the twisty, holy hell ending. Let’s just say there was some of that here. I certainly didn’t expect some of what was discovered. Not even just secrets that were kept. It’s events, too.

I am normally not a fan of mysteries. I chose not to read Gone Girl and other similar books. I actually don’t remember what drew me to this book in the first place. I had it on my nook for a while. I picked up at page 30, where I left off two days ago, and promptly finished in one sitting. I’m glad I chose this novel. This wasn’t one of my regrettable choices. This is a solid contemporary mystery debut. The “paranormal” aspect isn’t so much paranormal and aliens are coming after you stuff. It is done in a nice, haunting way that is surprisingly relatable. The novel isn’t just about solving a mysterious case, it is a look at what happens when someone close to us dies; and, sometimes we never feel like they left, and if they did they left with unfinished business. I quite enjoyed this book as a whole. The plot was well-developed; you want to continue demystifying the mystery; Cathy is a great narrator; and the novel is multifaceted.  Well done Mrs. Finnigan on your first novel. I am impressed and look forward to reading another one of your novels.

I hope, my readers, that you will at least take a glance at this novel. It is more than what is at its surface. And, if you liked Gone Girl, I really think you’ll like Eloise.

When two girls change places, nothing can go wrong: Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

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Being Sloane Jacobs

By: Lauren Morrill

To be released in January 7th by Random House Children’s

Length: 352 Pages

Genre: Young Adult Sports and Games

Rating: 4 and a half Stars

Acquired: through Netgalley

Sloane Emily Jacobs is no stranger to the spotlight. She lives the life of a politician’s daughter in Washington D.C.; as well as a top figure skater in her age division. But, after a fall during a competition three years before, she hasn’t been on the ice much. Until she catches Daddy in the act. Whether to keep her hushed or not, she gets sent to an intense summer figure skating camp in Canada to prepare herself for nationals, and to be the top again.

Sloane Devon Jacobs has a habit of being too aggressive on the ice hockey field. Barely scrapping by, Sloane Devon’s only chance at going to college is by getting an ice hockey scholarship. But, when her aggression on the ice gets out of hand, her coach bans her for the next year, her senior year, of high school unless she goes to an ice hockey camp in Canada.

These two  girls may share the same name, but they come from two different backgrounds. Both on and off the ice. When the bump into each other, and discover they share the same name, that’s when it hits Sloane Emily Jacobs. It’s time for a switch. The girls’ adjustments to their new lifestyles won’t be easy. They each have something to prove, but can they pull it all off?

Lauren Morrill’s novel is one of those finds you can’t put down. Told in alternating voices, it’s easy to believe you are in Canada, too, living a double life. The girls were great. Sloane Emily wasn’t a prim and proper ice princess, she had spunk, attitude, and likability to her. I loved when it was her chapter; she was tough, while staying true to herself. Sloane Devon wasn’t an easy character to crack. She was much rougher around the edges than Sloane Emily, and a little bit harder to like. When I finally warmed up to her a little bit less than halfway, I quickly looked forward to her chapters, too.

Neither characters played the “poor girl” or “rich girl” card, proving their different classes didn’t mean anything. Instead it was about believing in themselves; on and off the rink. They had more to prove to themselves than anyone, and it was nice to see them succeed despite of themselves.

I am not a sports fan by any means. I don’t know the rules to ice hockey and need to hold onto bars if I go ice skating. Yet, I loved this book. It was more about believing in yourself, finding strength in the unknown, and taking personal risks than just about the two sports. The sports were prevalent, but used more as a soul searching device rather than a how-to device. I would recommend this book to all the sports loving readers and non-sports loving readers alike. There is something for everyone in it. Love, learning to be your own person, friendship, and sports. It’s all a winning combination in my book.

Some Books can’t be read: Waking Sleep Beauty Freak Book Review

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Waking Sleep Beauty Freak

Released June, 2013 by Winking Buddha Press

Length: 256 pages

Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir

Rating: DNF

Acquired: via netgalley

 

Waking Sleep Beauty Freak is about waking up and realizing you are on the wrong life path and married to the wrong person. Now what? It is a non-fiction inspirational tale about disillusionment, self-discovery and the universal web of pain and growth. Its “Girls-grown-up” style narrative addresses what happens when an ambitious, hard-working, world traveling girl-verging-on-woman wakes up from a seven-year relationship to realize she is on the wrong life path and married to the wrong person. The subsequent unraveling and reweaving is crafted and delivered in a clever conversational tone, sharing ‘just enough’ – in a fun, poetic, modern philosophical way – to hold attention while simultaneously allowing the reader’s mind to wander down its own self-reflective path. While hilarious and bawdy at times, it digs deep and across multiple continents to provide a unique inspirational window into a journey through divorce – parental and her own – and disease (diabetes). This is an ideal summer beach read, especially for women between the ages of 25 and 45 who have lived in New York and/or experienced any of the above. If candid, witty, seemingly gorgeous, ambitious and fun on the surface – she’s imperfect. She’s real. Raw. Rough. A little dirty. Growing. And wanting the reader to grow alongside her..

goodreads.com description

When I was looking through titles on netgalley, this book jumped up at me. I thought the title was creative and witty. Although the description of the book is somewhat lengthy, it is a little vague as well. The description isn’t the only thing that is vague, though. I couldn’t get very far reading this book. There were a couple pages that had funny analogies, or that I thought were insightful, but the majority of the pages fell short for me. Even at page 50, or so, I never got a true feel of what the book was about. Maybe if I tried to keep reading; but, it took me over two weeks just to get to around that page. I might have stopped half way. There just wasn’t enough substance in it.

The author, who does not have her name printed on the cover, gave nicknames to the people mentioned. These nicknames were not helpful, descriptive, or useful at all. There was creative ambition. I don’t know what he really looks like. I can’t tell you a single personality trait of his other than he must have some creative ambition. Then, there is her husband, Ferrari. Given that he is named after a fancy car, I am going to make a hypothesis and assume he is wealthy. Do I know his age? Occupation? Anything special? Not really, other than that he was a poor husband. I think he worked on Wall Street, and was an older gentleman. I didn’t feel anything for him, creative ambition, and the other creative ambition she later added. I didn’t feel much for her, either.

She is a well-traveled woman, used to fancy things, and more than slightly obnoxious in her writing. She seemed selfish, especially when she cheated. I wanted to like her, to feel something, anything, for her. I just didn’t. There was nothing but a slight distaste for her. Maybe she got better, I just didn’t have the patience or desire to learn more about her or her diabetes (I never got to that part).

I guess a good title does not mean the quality and quantity of the writing is on equal footing, or better. I am not one to not finish books, but I couldn’t continue. I needed to wake that sleeping beauty freak up.

What Can Happen in Six Months when you black out: Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards Book Review

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Six Months Later

By: Natalie D. Richards

Released October, 2013 by Sourcebooks Fire

Length: 326 Pages

Genre: YA Thriller

Rating: Five Stars

Acquired by Netgalley

Chloe was not the perfect or ideal anything. She was close to being a delinquent, had sub par grades, and a sub par social life until she woke up six months later from a routine nap to find out she wasn’t the person anymore. But, can’t remember how. 

A lot can happen in six months. Even more can happen when you wake up from a nap to discover you can’t remember the past six months of your life; and, you weren’t in a coma, hospitalized, or Rip Van Winkle. High School Senior Chloe can’t remember the past six months. The much better grades, the boyfriend she only dreamed about, new friends and social life, and her best friend not talking to her. She can’t remember the study group she participated in that changed everything. Or, why she is the only person a fellow student thinks has the answers. Her doctors say she is normal; all tests coming back clear. Her mother doesn’t understand Chloe’s new awareness of not being aware. Chloe is a mess. What starts to develop is even more so.

I have never really read a young adult thriller, or mystery novel. I didn’t realize this one would be it. I am happy to report, I am so happy I was allowed to review this book. There was a new twist, turn, and plot device thrown at me on every page. The end is not what I expected. Nor, the middle truthfully. I was shocked by everything that happened. I loved it! I loved guessing after each page and being wrong. Chloe was a great character. I wanted to be her crime solving sidekick as she slowly pieced her life back together. Back together isn’t entirely true. Her life would never be the same. That was one of the best parts, her character growth. She never just let what happen to her take its toll on her. She fought back. Proved to her mother that something was wrong.

This novel was extremely well-written. Something character growth can be hard, especially in a mystery/thriller setting. But, the way Chloe matured, both internally and with her interpersonal relationships, was really well-written. I didn’t feel confused with each turn and twist. There was nothing expected about this novel at all. I didn’t see certain turns of events coming. It is nice to read a book like this where I am just as surprised as the fictional character. My heart was beating with her.

Six Months Later is a real page turner. Even reading it on my Nook, I kept wanting the next page to come. I couldn’t swipe fast enough. In about two sittings, I finished this book sad it was finished. I couldn’t decide what to read next because this book was just too great to be compared to anything else. If you like suspense, a mini whodunit, or want to discover someone new, this book is for you. It makes you think. And, participate really. I am not a fan of thrillers, I passed on Gone Girl. But, with this book, I’m glad I didn’t. I will definitely keep an eye out for this author. I just enjoyed this book so much. If you read it, there will be no regrets.

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