Skip to main content

Shorter Musings: Contemporary YA

Sometimes I read a book, and I even enjoy it, but I don't have much to say about it. I jot down a few thoughts and then I move on. Some of those are starting to pile up so I thought I would put them all together in one post.

Some recent Contemporary YA reads, one of which I LOVED:

The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle 
This is a well written and heart wrenching account of grieving and the process of moving on from tragedy. It is not a happy book to say the least, though it does have its lighter moments and the end is hopeful. It certainly had an effect on my mood when I was reading it, which says a lot for the strength of the writing. It is long and very character driven, there is little excitement in the plot. It is about a girl coming to terms with losing her family, being at peace with the person responsible, and making a new life for herself. I can't say I enjoyed it because it made me seriously gloomy, but I appreciate it what it for what it is. 

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
I really liked Amelia. I think she is genuinely teen in a world where too many YA protags are not. She is also smart and thinks about things. Chris I had a harder time with, and not because he was such a jerk loser sometimes. I love characters who are flawed, and he could have been a bigger jerk. At least he knew he couldn't and shouldn't fool around with Amelia. I guess my problem is I really liked him but wanted to see him realize he could do better for himself? He is getting there by the end of the book, but he has a looooong way to go. I couldn't help feeling he was a lot like Tom in The Piper's Son, but I respected Tom more. Maybe because he chose to face down his demons rather than run from them? One aspect of this book I loved was the discussions on gender roles and feminism. That part was fabulous. This should be required reading for every teenager for that alone.

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
So. Much. Fun. This is a wonderful, light, summer read. I had a hard time connecting with Maddie at first because I never really cared much about the whole popularity thing, and I thought she was a little over the top with her need to suppress what she really loved. Yet I felt sympathetic towards her and I love the whole world of this novel: the comic shop and the role playing. And I adored Logan in all of his nerdy awesomeness. It didn't hurt that he's a DJ. As my husband was an awesomely nerdy DJ when I met him this made me inclined to fall for Logan right along with Maddie. 

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
I really enjoyed The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and was looking forward to this. This is another attempt at the same sort of story: unlikely meeting, relationship that develops through communication rather than physicality, stressful family issues. It didn't work as well with this set up though. There was a little too much going on and at times it goes over the top. It is still a light fun read but not nearly as engrossing or engaging as I was expecting.  



Unknown said…
I agree with you for The Beginning of After! It was really gloomy and I appreciate that, but it didn't WOW me. Love and Other Perishable Items looks so great, I want to read it very much! I'm thrilled that the MC is actually teenager-like because like you said, not a lot are nowadays, unfortunately. The Summer I Became a Nerd certainly looks fun and I've been dying to read it! Great reviews :)
Brandy said…
Amelia is very typical teen, but the book does have mature situations because Chris is 21 and MESSED UP. Amelia is sort of oblivious to it all which emphasizes how young and naive she is. The book uses both points of view though so the reader isn't spared Chris's more questionable behavior.

I LOVED The Summer I Became a Nerd. So much fun.
Anonymous said…
I read the Aussie edition of Laura Buzo's book and I really liked it although I didn't fall head over heels in love with it like with other Aussie titles (like The Piper's Son, which you mentioned). The Summer I Became a Nerd seems like such a fun book, I should check it out. Sorry to hear that This is What Happy Looks Like wasn't as good as The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (what is it with Jennifer Smith and long titles), that makes me less excited to read it.
Brandy said…
I liked Buzo's writing style, but Chris was so messed up I had hard time enjoying the story.

Yeah...This is What Happy Looks Like was more weighed down and less happy, ironically, than Statistical Probability.

Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Favorite Kissing Scenes

When thinking of a favorite things post I could do for February I decided it would have to be kissing. I've already done couples and I was feeling in the mood to do something fluffy and Valentine's related. So kisses it is. I read more MG than YA, and the YA I read tends to not focus on romance so this was actually harder than I expected it to be though a few jumped into my head right away. (And one of my choices does actually come from a MG book. One is adult. Gasp!) The actual scene from the book is quoted followed by my thoughts. The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and a groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day . - The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner Turner doesn't write the


Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a

Jinx's Fire

I have been a big fan of Jinx and company from the very first book, which felt like such a perfect Brandy book. The conclusion of Sage Blackwood's trilogy, Jinx's Fire , finished the story beautifully and is definitely my favorite of the three. Spoilers for first two books abound. Read those first: Jinx Jinx's Magic The Urwald is in danger from more than one direction and has no hope of defending itself if there is not unity amongst the people. Jinx, Sophie, Elfwyn, Wendell, and a dedicated group of others are working to make this happen as quickly as they can. Time is running out. At the same time, they are still dealing with the threat of the Bonemaster from within, and the Urwald's magic is fading. Where is it going? Can it be restored? And where has the Bonemaster put Simon? Jinx is the only one who can find the answers to these questions, and harnass the Urwald's power to save them all, but only if he is willing. Jinx has some serious attitude in this

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein