Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson
Written in a series of journal entries, emails, online messages and texts, Gena/Finn is the story of the emerging friendship of two women brought together by their fangirl love of the same TV show. What starts as the simple back and forth of people getting to know each other evolves into a rollercoaster of complex emotions. I was surprised at the depth of this novel and how it realistically captures so many different feelings in only 287 pages. The format is also a genius choice as the digital prose set up a modern tone that complements the story.
Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer
Gigi, Bea, and Neerja have been best friends and at the top of their class for as long as anyone can remember. They just have to make it through high school and into their Ivy League colleges and their real lives will begin. But after they discover they might just be missing out on the full high school experience, they promise each other to take on a challenge to get them into the spotlight. Gigi, terrified of public speaking, runs for student rep. Bea, who used to be a great skier until her brother had an accident, joins the ski team. And, Neerja, finally tries out for the school play. They are determined to prove that smart girls can get whatever they want. I’ll admit that I picked up this book based on the title and the fact that it was on sale. It turned out to be a nice YA novel. I loved that the center of the story always stayed on the friendship between the girls. They were there for each other, encouraging and strong. The character development was another strength. It happened in a believable way that never felt rushed. Fun read for smart girls everywhere.
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Andie Walker always has a plan. Her plan for this summer was an academic pre-pre-med program at Johns Hopkins but when a political scandal involving her congressman father changes everything, Andie’s life suddenly veers off her carefully controlled course. She finds herself actually living with her dad for the first time in years, working as a dog walker, and flirting with a super cute boy named Clark, who just might break her usual three-week and done rule for dating. The Unexpected Everything makes it official. Morgan Matson has made it on my favorite authors list. After reading this, her fourth great book, in only a day, I am convinced that her YA novels are at least a couple steps above average. Her writing is superb and her characters linger more than most of the other YA books I have read. Case-in-point: Clark is definitely lingering. He’s nerdy and nervous and completely adorable. I especially liked the way that he challenged Andie and helped draw her out of her emotionally guarded comfort zone. If you are in the mood for feel-good yet heartfelt stories about summers, friendship, love, and ice cream, Morgan Matson’s books should definitely be at the top of the list.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
What is described as a book about the unlikely event in which two teenage boys both named Will Grayson meet on a Chicago street corner one cold night, ends up being an enchanting read in the hands of the masterful John Green and David Levithan. These powerhouse YA authors create a wonderfully funny, uplifting, and earnest coming-of-age story about friendship, love, and one epic musical. Written in alternating chapters between the Wills, the voices of the characters are distinct but the plot never feels choppy. I don’t expect anything less from these great writers and you shouldn’t either. Read it.