Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Book Review: This Girl

This Girl (Slammed, #3)

This Girl is the final book in the Slammed trilogy by Colleen Hoover.  Slammed told the story of Lake and Will's ill-timed meeting, and Point of Retreat took their relationship to the next level.  So what was left for This Girl?  Well, actually, it's a bit of a rewind.  I've heard This Girl described as "Slammed from Will's point of view."  I've even heard people say that they found it boring or skimmed parts of it because it was just a recap.  So I went into it feeling a little cautious.....

But was very happy to find that it was still overflowing with wonderful Colleen Hoover magic.  This Girl begins as Will and Lake get married.  And then, on their honeymoon (which is just an overnight at a hotel in their town), Will makes Lake swoon by telling her the story of their relationship from his point of view..... beginning as his parents died.  His version of events includes some things that we faithful readers (and Lake) definitely didn't know about before, including some wonderful insights into Lake's mother.  And, of course, more slam poetry.  While I really like Colleen Hoover's other books, I just won't ever love them as much as this series... because, slam poetry.

So while others have been lukewarm about this book, I butterflying loved it.  (Did you get that reference, loyal CoHo fans?  Good.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Book Review: The Boy Most Likely To


When I read Huntley Fitzpatrick's first novel, My Life Next Door, I fell in love. Ms. Fitzpatrick simply did everything right. I thought, "Now here is an author to watch."  I was 100% certain that she was going to be The Next Big Thing in YA Literature.  Move over, Sarah Dessen.  (Who I love, by the way.)  Huntley Fitzpatrick completely captured my heart with the romance of Sam and Jace, and with the entire Garrett family.

So I eagerly awaited her second release, which was What I Thought Was True.  I read it pretty much as soon as it came out, but that occurred during my Black Hole of Blogging, so I didn't review it here.  It was.... meh.  There was nothing wrong with it.  A friend and I discussed it and deemed it to be "a good beach read."  It was a good story with good characters.  Frankly, if I hadn't had such high expectations for it, I probably would have liked it a whole lot more.  But I came away feeling like it could have been any of half a dozen YA novels I read in that time frame.  And I was sad, wondering if the Fitzpatrick magic had just been a one-time fluke.

So it was with great trepidation that I picked up The Boy Most Likely To.  But oh my goodness, the magic is back.  Dare I say... this one *might* even be better than My Life Next Door.  I think I'll have to do a reread of the first book in order to confirm, but that's a challenge I'll willingly take on.  ;)  In any case, The Boy Most Likely To needs to be on your TBR list this year.

The Garrett family is back, and this time we get to see them from their own side of the fence.  While Samantha and Jace were the focus of the first book, they are minor (but still lovable) characters in this book.  The Boy Most Likely To focuses on Tim Mason, the eternal screw-up.  As the book opens, he is issued an ultimatum by his father: get out, and get your life cleaned up by the time you turn 18, or lose your college fund.  He needs somewhere to live, so Jace offers him the apartment over the Garretts' garage.  He moves in and proceeds to attempt to get his life together--in the face of a very unexpected complication.

I loved so many things about this book.  For one, I feel that dual narrators can either make or break a book.  When they are done well, they can be excellent.  And here, they are fantastic.  Tim Mason and Alice Garrett alternate narrations, and their voices are both so distinct and so well done.  I was so drawn into this book that I couldn't put it down for a second, so I did part of it on audio as I was driving my my kids around town, and the narrators were, I kid you not, EXACTLY like what I was imagining in my head.  So, so perfect.  I also love that this book hits that niche market of "new adult," the just-past-YA age group of those entering college and the real world.  There aren't a lot of quality books out there for that group, but this one definitely qualifies.

But mostly, I loved the characters.  I simply adored Sam and Jace in My Life Next Door.  And I have to say that I'm impressed by Fitzpatrick's ability to take characters that I adored and fade them to the background and give me new characters to fall in love with.  Well played, Ms. Fitzpatrick.  I am now 100% in love with Tim and Alice.  And Calvin.  Oh, Calvin.  There were definitely tears shed at the end of this book.  And no, I'm not telling you how it turns out, darn it.

Can I just end by saying that I want to be a Garrett?  They are just the best family ever.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Shhhh..... Quiet in the Library!

So it's been a while.....

In the past 11 months, I have been a very busy lady. I have knocked out a significant amount of library grad courses. I took two courses last spring (January through May), in what I then called my "hardest semester ever." I took another two courses over the summer, each in its own summer session. Then I took another two courses this fall (August through December), in what was ACTUALLY my hardest semester ever. The courses were the most time-intensive, challenging, hands-on that I have ever experienced (in either graduate or undergrad), and I learned more from each of them than I ever have before.

At the same time, I started a new full-time library job. In the last week of July, I returned to school with my kiddos as the school librarian at our local elementary school. In many, many ways, this is the ideal job for me. My background is in education, and although I loved my time as a public librarian, I have always envisioned myself working long-term as a school media specialist. The real surprise has been working at an elementary school, since my entire teaching background has been at the high school level. It's been quite an adjustment to get used to the "little people." I've obviously had some practice with the age group from my own four kiddos (currently 10, 8, 5, and 3), but being a teacher-librarian for a large group of these yahoos is a different ballgame. :)

This process has also involved transitioning myself slowly away from my usually heavy diet of YA literature (my favorite!) and reading more children's literature, both picture books and middle grade selections. I haven't managed to blog about it during this incredibly busy time, but I've been keeping careful notes for both my grad classes and the library, and I'm hoping to get those transferred over to the blog over the next few months.

Through both classes and work, I have learned a HUGE amount about Life in the Library--working with kiddos, reading quality literature, collaborating with teachers, balancing budgets, recruiting volunteers, running book fairs, creating displays, and so much more. So while the primary focus of this blog will still be book reviews, I'm hoping to include some other tidbits of wisdom for posterity as well.

In the meantime, happy reading everyone!