Love, Lucas by Chantele Sedgwick
Oakley Nelson just lost her brother, Lucas. She thinks she might never recover. When her mother decides to spend some time in California with Aunt Jo, Oakley jumps at the chance to try something different. In Jo’s beach house Oakley finds some solace and when her mom hands her a notebook full of letters from Lucas. Through the letters and a cute surfer named Carson, Oakley just might start to be able to live without her best friend. Yep, you guessed it. There were tears. Chantele Sedgwick has created an authentic, emotional look at loss and grieving. I would recommend this touching novel.
Swear on This Life by Renée Carlino
When struggling writer Emiline begins to read the debut bestseller from the new writer J. Colby, it only takes her one page to realize that she knows this story. It is hers. The tale of childhood best friends, Jax and Emerson, who fall in love and dream of a world outside their miserable home lives and small town, is the fictionalized account of her own past and she knows that mysterious author J. Colby is really Jason Colbertson, her first love and the boy she hasn’t seen in twelve years. Emiline, furious that Jase has co-opted her painful past into a bestselling novel, she decides to confront him at his book signing in her city. But she isn’t ready for all the feelings she’s hidden for years to suddenly reappear. The plot told through Emiline’s point of view is interspersed with the fictional book as she reads it. It is a clever method of storytelling and done well. Renée Carlino has written an emotionally riveting story of healing and love. It has incredibly complex characters who are immediately memorable.
Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines
Warning: if you read this book, there will be tears. But, please, don’t let that stop you. The first in a new series by Abbi Glines, Until Friday Night, takes readers to a small Alabama town where Friday nights are reserved for football and everyone owns a pickup truck. West Ashby looks like he has it all: popularity, talent on the football field and the kind of good looks that make him cocky. Yet, he’s hiding the enormous pain of watching his father slowly die from cancer. Maggie Carleton knows all about the pain of losing a parent. She had to witness her father kill her mother and since that day she’s been silent. As West finally finds someone who understands his pain, Maggie begins to break her silence and maybe, they can save each other. This book has all the feels. The emotions felt incredibly real and I couldn’t put it down. Told in alternating first person, it is easy to get attached to West and Maggie when you see them so open and raw. Until Friday Night grabbed me and won’t let me go for awhile. Abbi Glines just ensured that I’ll keep reading this series.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Review: Even though this is the third John Green novel I’ve read, I’m still amazed at how real his writing feels. It has an integrity to it that, so far as I know, is uniquely his. Emotional without being sappy; profound without being superior. “Looking for Alaska” is no different. The characters were flawed and believable. The story was engaging, sometimes funny and sometimes sad. Mr. Green certainly knows his way around a coming-of-age story.
BONUS BOOK REVIEW!
Reprint of my review in honor of the movie release this Friday!
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Review: Charming. Painful. Romantic. Real. Heart-wrenching. Smiles. Tears. So. Very. Good.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Review: Can something be both happy and sad at the same time? I feel like this book is a clash of emotions. It was romantic yet antagonistic. It was poignant but unnerving. Moreover, after all the ups and downs, the ending was satisfying but at the same time I wished there was more to it.
Blankets by Craig Thompson
Total Reading Time: 1.5 hours
Review: I haven’t read many graphic novels but this one was definitely a tour de force. It deals with some pretty heavy topics in such an emotionally real way. The graphic novel medium really lends itself to emotional expression. Mr. Thompson created such poetry in both words and art. This novel was incredibly brave, beautiful and heart-rending.