A fun, romantic read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti!Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.In alternating then and now chapters, debut author Lauren Gibaldi crafts a charming, romantic story of first loves, lifelong friendships, uncovered secrets, and, ultimately, finding out how to be brave.
New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.
Some girls will always have your back, and some girls can’t help but stab you in it.Junior year, the suburbs of Philadelphia. Alex, Mollie and Veronica are those girls: they’re the best of friends and the party girls of the school. But how well does everybody know them–and really, how well do they know one another? Alex is secretly in love with the boy next door and has joined a band–without telling anyone. Mollie suffers from a popular (and possibly sociopathic) boyfriend, as well as a serious mean streak. And Veronica just wants to be loved–literally, figuratively, physically….she’s not particular. Will this be the year that bonds them forever….or tears them apart for good?Lauren Saft masterfully conveys what goes on in the mind of a teenage girl, and her debut novel is raw, honest, hilarious, and thought-provoking, with a healthy dose of heart.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Thank you to Novl and NetGalley for the review copy! Receiving one did not affect my views of the novel.
It was a Sunday and as a habit, I always sample books on my Kindle before I go to sleep. I checked the books publishing this June and remembered that Those Girls was publishing a week from then. I started Those Girls by Lauren Saft, thinking I’ll just check it out and see if it’s any good so I can read it next. But when I started it, I COULDN’T STOP! I ended up finishing it at 3AM and I ended up sleeping at 4AM because I had to re-read some ~key scenes~. This happened even though I had work at 8AM. Oops. BUT IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!
I was like, hey, I want to check out this book then I finished it. WHAT HAPPENED? A HECK OF A GREAT, ENTERTAINING BOOK IS WHAT HAPPENED. Sarah Mlynowski said it best when she blurbed Those Girls as:
“I read Those Girls the way you accidentally binge-watch a great TV show – I always had to know what happened next. Lauren Saft’s debut novel is smart, funny, and raw, and I can’t wait for more people to read it so we can talk about it.”
That was EXACTLY how it felt when I read Those Girls. I devoured it. I couldn’t stop. I’ve never watched Gossip Girl (fine, I watched the first ten episodes and all of the Dair scenes on Youtube I AM A PROUD DAIR SHIPPER) because I had no interest in seeing catfights and a group of friends backstabbing each other but IS THIS HOW GOSSIP GIRL was? Because I just might binge it. I APPARENTLY LOVE GIRLS BEING HORRIBLE TO EACH OTHER.
Those Girls was raw and real. I’m all for reading about awesome friendships but I love how the author did not shy away from writing about the toxic ones. Horrible girls in YA are far in between and it was such a breath of fresh air to me that here’s this book that focuses on them. Alex isn’t really horrible and I think majority of the readers will relate to her the most. Mollie is positively insanely scary and I LOVE IT. I feel like she will eat a person alive and her scheming? Oh gods, I love how I’m kind of afraid to cross her. Veronica, oh, Veronica. Veronica is that character in most novels that’s just one surface: the girl labeled as a slut. But I love how Veronica was written, with her own insecurities, being sex-positive, and the reasons why she acts like that.
You know all the secrets they’re keeping from each other will just be another wedge in their friendship but WHO CARES, KEEP YOUR SECRETS. LET THEM PILE UP. Some girls just want to see the world crash and burn and with this novel, I was like: OH YES, LET THE WORLD CRASH AND BURN. These girls are complex and Lauren Saft bravely wrote every gritty and shameful thoughts that crosses these girls’ minds.
I’m interviewing Lauren tomorrow (Don’t forget to check that out!) and I love what she said about how she wanted to write about the rarely-seen teenagers in YA (as protagonists, at least!): “the binge-drinking, sex-having, chain-smoking, foul-mouthed hooligans”. Lauren Saft certainly did not put on any brakes in writing these characters and the things they do. Those Girls features drugs, alcohol, and sex A LOT so it certainly isn’t for younger readers and for those with delicate sensibilities. It wasn’t pretty, not at all, but it was true. Because these characters are people that exist in real life and these things happen.
Those Girls is mercilessly honest and unflinching in its portrayal of the toxic side of a friendship among high school girlfriends and spot-on with the characterization of these complex, sometimes-horrible (but ultimately representative of the collective embarrassingly insecure high school self) characters. It was unputdownable and such an entertaining read. I will definitely be reading more books by Lauren Saft in the future!
An affecting and hope-filled posthumous collection of essays and stories from the talented young Yale graduate whose title essay captured the world’s attention in 2012 and turned her into an icon for her generation.Marina Keegan’s star was on the rise when she graduated magna cum laude from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash.As her family, friends, and classmates, deep in grief, joined to create a memorial service for Marina, her unforgettable last essay for the Yale Daily News, “The Opposite of Loneliness” went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. She had struck a chord.Even though she was just twenty-two when she died, Marina left behind a rich, expansive trove of prose that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty, and possibility of her generation. The Opposite of Loneliness is an assemblage of Marina’s essays and stories that, like The Last Lecture, articulates the universal struggle that all of us face as we figure out what we aspire to be and how we can harness our talents to make an impact on the world.
Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?
“A brilliantly conceived page-turner.” -Kirkus Reviews, starred review.
“Vividly written and intricately plotted.”-Publishers Weekly, starred review.
The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto — miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can’t forget how he’s grown up poor or how his friends aren’t always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it’s not enough.
Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn’t mind talking about Aaron’s past. But Aaron’s newfound happiness isn’t welcome on his block. Since he’s can’t stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.
Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut novel offers a unique confrontation of race, class and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.
“[A]n engrossing, intense narrative.”-School Library Journal, starred review.
“Thought provoking and imaginative.”-Booklist, starred review.
Purchase from Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Thank you to Soho Teen for the copy I won! Receiving a copy from the publisher did not affect my views of the novel.
I admit, all the acclaim and the hype surrounding More Happy Than Not made me SO afraid to read it. WHAT IF I DON’T LOVE IT? WILL PEOPLE STILL BE FRIENDS WITH ME? But Miel of Bookish and Awesome (Linked is his review. Which is way better than whatever I’ll write because he said EVERYTHING I want to say!) and I decided to buddy-read this one so I had to put my big-girl pants on. And I’m so glad I read this because MY HEART GOT SO FULL OF LOVE FOR AARON SOTO and so sad too because MY HEART WAS PULVERIZED.
It wasn’t love at first sentence, what happened between More Happy Than Not and me. Maybe it was the burden of the hype or my mood when I started reading but I wasn’t invested in MHTN right away. It was bleak! I started reading this last May while I was a bit down so the bleakness of Aaron dropping the bomb right away that his dad committed suicide was a lot to handle. But as I continued reading, I got to know Aaron Soto more. And the more I read about him, the more I got invested in his story. Because Aaron is a character worth knowing. (Infinite brownie points for a diverse character! He’s Puerto Rican! Living in a Bronx housing project!)
We get to know Aaron more (He’s a comic geek and he loves this fantasy series Scorpius Hawthorne and he doesn’t know how to ride a bike [like me].) and his friends. While Aaron was not completely happy with his father’s death and his own attempt to end his life still weighing him down, we can say he’s trying to be happy. He has his ever-loving and ever-patient girlfriend Genevieve and the simple joys of hanging out with his friends. Then Genevieve has to go for a summer art camp and Aaron gets a new friend in Thomas from another housing project. They spend all summer together and because of Thomas, he’s now happy. And Aaron realizes that he’s a dude-liker, as he calls it. But being gay in the Bronx projects makes you a target for hate crime and with Thomas not returning his feelings too, Aaron decides to get the Leteo procedure — fixing his memory so he forgets he’s gay and so he can start anew.
“I don’t want to be me.
I don’t want to second-guess if my friends are going to be okay with me being me, and more importantly, I don’t want to see what happens if they’re not. I don’t want to be someone who can’t be friends with Thomas, because if there’s anything worse than not being able to be with him, it’s knowing our friendship will ultimately have an expiration date if being around him becomes impossible.
I know not being me will be a lie, but I know I’m doing myself a favor in the long run if I can somehow book a Leteo procedure. Because as I stand now, I have so much bullshit to look out for.
Happiness shouldn’t be this hard.”
WHICH JUST MADE ME BAWL. Scene: I was sneak-reading in class and while Aaron was trying not to cry, I was also trying not to cry during class. I needed to stop reading because I cannot break down in public… When I got home, you bet your ass I cried and heaved as freely as I could.
It broke my heart that Aaron wanted to be straight. To not be targeted and to not live through the pain of rejection. I previously read The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi where the protagonist was forced to go to a degayifying camp. That book made me rage because HOW CAN THERE BE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO DE-GAYIFY A PERSON? But with More Happy Than Not? I got so sad. Because it was Aaron HIMSELF who wanted to be straight.
(Can I just say that it’s so damn hard to review this title because I feel like I can’t talk about anything! That everything would be a spoiler! As much as this novel is driven by Aaron, it is also plot-driven so I cannot divulge plot points. You have to read it for yourself!)
I can’t really talk about the latter half of the novel but JUST KNOW THAT IT WILL PULVERIZE YOUR HEART. The twist, GAH, THE TWIST. I couldn’t deal! I was full-on crying, be it from the sibling love, the maternal love, and everything that Aaron went through. I couldn’t even remember the feeling of not being invested in Aaron because all I wanted to do was hug him and take him away from such a homophobic society and shelter him and love him and protect him. NO PERSON SHOULD EXPERIENCE BEING ATTACKED FOR WHO THAT PERSON IS. But alas, our LGBTQIA* friends experience this every day.
I don’t know how to end this review except that everyone should read More Happy Than Not. It’s the kind of book people should read to gain insights and understanding. It tells it as it is, that being gay is not something you decide to be, it just is. With an array of characters you will feel the whole spectrum of emotions for (be it love, pity, understanding, hate, or rage), a plot that will take you through all the crests and troughs of Aaron’s life, and themes always worth discussing and rallied for, Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not will certainly cement itself in the YA landscape as a book that accurately presents how it is to be different in a society that silences and attacks the minority. I cannot wait for more books from Adam Silvera!
About Adam Silvera
Adam was born and raised in the Bronx and is tall for no reason. He was a bookseller before shifting to children’s publishing where he worked at a literary development company, a creative writing website for teens, and as a book reviewer of children’s and young adult novels. He lives in New York City.
More Happy Than Not is his debut novel.
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