Category Archives: contemporary

When Life Gives You Lemons Instead of Lattes – Book Review and Giveaway

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Summary

Title: When Life Gives You Lemons Instead of Lattes

Author: Rayna York

Pages: 316

Genre: Contemporary, YA

Publisher: Toad Tree Press

Pub Date: July 2, 2020

What if losing everything you have is exactly what you need?

Kylie’s summer after high school graduation was supposed to be celebrated in Europe, not some podunk town in Ohio. But when the FBI shows up at her parents’ California beach house looking for her father, the life she’s known, suddenly disintegrates.

With the family assets frozen and her father on the run, the only place left to go is a dilapidated house that once belonged to her great-grandmother. Now her family is broke, her social status is in ruins, and the only internet access is at a café where a nerdy barista boy wants to be her new best friend.

But life has a funny way of teaching its lessons, and being catapulted into this new reality might be the help she needs to learn that sometimes you have to let go of everything you know to discover what is real.

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Rules for Being a Girl – Book Review

Summary

Title: Rules for Being a Girl

Author: Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno

Pages: 304

Genre: Contemporary, YA

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

It starts before you can even remember: You learn the rules for being a girl. . . .

Marin has always been good at navigating these unspoken guidelines. A star student and editor of the school paper, she dreams of getting into Brown University. Marin’s future seems bright―and her young, charismatic English teacher, Mr. Beckett, is always quick to admire her writing and talk books with her.

But when “Bex” takes things too far and comes on to Marin, she’s shocked and horrified. Had she somehow led him on? Was it her fault?

When Marin works up the courage to tell the administration what happened, no one believes her. She’s forced to face Bex in class every day. Except now, he has an ax to grind.

But Marin isn’t about to back down. She uses the school newspaper to fight back and she starts a feminist book club at school. She finds allies in the most unexpected people, like “slutty” Gray Kendall, who she’d always dismissed as just another lacrosse bro. As things heat up at school and in her personal life, Marin must figure out how to take back the power and write her own rules.

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Review

Take two of my favorite authors, team them up for a novel together and what do you get? An amazing, thought provoking, rage inducing book, that’s what! Add the cherry on top that our main character is a student journalist, and they’ve created the perfect novel for me. It’s like they’ve written a cooler version of me from high school.

Rules for Being a Girl touches on all of the things that bothered me about the school system when I was in high school. Sexist dress codes, incompetent school officials, double standards, etc. Marin is a bright young girl, with dreams of going to Brown University upon graduation.

Things get challenging for Marin when her favorite teacher, the one most of the female students have a crush on, Bex, kisses Marin. Granted, some sketchy things happened leading up to this, i.e. Marin lets Bex drive her home, Marin hangs out with Bex at a coffee shop, but all of that aside, Marin is clearly not okay with what happened. Bex lets it go, but starts being extremely antagonistic towards Marin, causing a whole lot of drama at school.

The rage Marin feels at being treated this way causes her to see many things in a new light, including how all of the school’s reading list is written by men. She starts a feminist book club, and is surprised by some of the people who join—and by those who don’t.

Rules for Being a Girl is absolutely one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. Marin goes through many challenges and has a lot of ups and downs, which she doesn’t always handle gracefully. Her emotions and actions feel authentic, and she will not sit by while people tell her how a girl should behave. I give it 5/5 stars.

Foul is Fair – Book Review

Summary

Title: Foul is Fair

Author: Hannah Capin

Pages: 336

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pub Date: February 18, 2020

Jade and her friends Jenny, Mads, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Jade’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Jade as their next target.

They picked the wrong girl.

Sworn to vengeance, Jade transfers to St. Andrew’s Prep. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.

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Deadly Little Scandals – Book Review and Giveaway

Summary

Title: Deadly Little Scandals

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Pages: 352

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery

Publisher: Freeform

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

“Think of the White Gloves like the Junior League-by way of Skull and Bones?”

Reluctant debutante Sawyer Taft joined Southern high society for one reason and one reason alone: to identify and locate her biological father. But the answers Sawyer found during her debutante year only left her with more questions and one potentially life-ruining secret. When her cousin Lily ropes her into pledging a mysterious, elite, and all-female secret society called the White Gloves, Sawyer soon discovers that someone in the group’s ranks may have the answers she’s looking for. Things are looking up… until Sawyer and the White Gloves make a disturbing discover near the family’s summer home–and uncover a twisted secret, decades in the making.


No one is quite who they seem to be in this twisty, soapy, gasp-inducing sequel to Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ unputdownable Little White Lies. 

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Scars Like Wings – Book Review and Giveaway

Summary

Title: Scars Like Wings

Author: Erin Stewart

Pages: 352

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pub. Date: October 1, 2019

Before, I was a million things. Now I’m only one. The Burned Girl.

Ava Lee has lost everything there is to lose: Her parents. Her best friend. Her home. Even her face. She doesn’t need a mirror to know what she looks like–she can see her reflection in the eyes of everyone around her. 

A year after the fire that destroyed her world, her aunt and uncle have decided she should go back to high school. Be “normal” again. Whatever that is. Ava knows better. There is no normal for someone like her. And forget making friends–no one wants to be seen with the Burned Girl, now or ever. 

But when Ava meets a fellow survivor named Piper, she begins to feel like maybe she doesn’t have to face the nightmare alone. Sarcastic and blunt, Piper isn’t afraid to push Ava out of her comfort zone. Piper introduces Ava to Asad, a boy who loves theater just as much as she does, and slowly, Ava tries to create a life again. Yet Piper is fighting her own battle, and soon Ava must decide if she’s going to fade back into her scars . . . or let the people by her side help her fly.

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Maybe This Time – Book Review

Summary

Title: Maybe This Time

Author: Kasie West

Pages: 368

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult

Publisher: Point

Pub. Date: July 9, 2019

One year. Nine events. Nine chances to . . . fall in love?

Weddings. Funerals. Barbecues. New Year’s Eve parties. Name the occasion, and Sophie Evans will be there. Well, she has to be there. Sophie works for the local florist, so she can be found at every big event in her small hometown, arranging bouquets and managing family dramas.

Enter Andrew Hart. The son of the fancy new chef in town, Andrew is suddenly required to attend all the same events as Sophie. Entitled, arrogant, preppy Andrew. Sophie just wants to get her job done and finish up her sketches so she can apply to design school. But every time she turns around, there is Andrew, getting in her way and making her life more complicated. Until one day she wonders if maybe complicated isn’t so bad after all . . .

Told over the course of one year and following Sophie from event to event, this delightful novel from master of romantic comedy Kasie West shows how love can blossom in unexpected places.

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Hot Dog Girl – Book Review

Summary

Title: Hot Dog Girl

Author: Jennifer Dugan

Pages: 320

Genre: YA, Contemporary, LGBT

Publisher: Putnam

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way:

* She’s landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog.
* Her crush, the dreamy Diving Pirate Nick, already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou’s never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after.
* Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who’s always been up for anything, suddenly isn’t when it comes to Lou’s quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou’s scheme to get close to Nick.
* And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland—ever—unless she can find a way to stop it from closing.

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When the Ground is Hard – Book Review

Summary

Title: When the Ground is Hard

Author: Malla Nunn

Pages: 256

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Publisher: G.P. Putnam

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

Adele Joubert loves being one of the popular girls at Keziah Christian Academy. She knows the upcoming semester at school is going to be great with her best friend Delia at her side. Then Delia dumps her for a new girl with more money, and Adele is forced to share a room with Lottie, the school pariah, who doesn’t pray and defies teachers’ orders. 

     But as they share a copy of Jane Eyre, Lottie’s gruff exterior and honesty grow on Adele, and Lottie learns to be a little sweeter. Together, they take on bullies and protect each other from the vindictive and prejudiced teachers. Then a boy goes missing on campus and Adele and Lottie must rely on each other to solve the mystery and maybe learn the true meaning of friendship.

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This Is Not a Love Scene – Book Review

Summary

Title: This Is Not a Love Scene

Author: S. C. Megale

Pages: 320

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

Lights, camera—all Maeve needs is action. But at eighteen, a rare form of muscular dystrophy usually stands in the way of romance. She’s got her friends, her humor, and a passion for filmmaking to keep her focus off consistent rejection…and the hot older guy starring in her senior film project.

Tall, bearded, and always swaying, Cole Stone is everything Maeve can’t be. And she likes it. Between takes, their chemistry is shockingly electric.

Suddenly Maeve gets a taste of typical teenage dating life, but girls in wheelchairs don’t get the hot guy—right? Cole’s attention challenges everything she once believed about her self-image and hopes for love. But figuring this out, both emotionally and physically, won’t be easy for either of them. Maeve must choose between what she needs and what she wants, while Cole has a tendency to avoid decisions altogether. And her failing lungs might not wait for either.

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The Me I Meant to Be – Book Review

Summary

Book Cover - The Me I Meant to Be

Title: The Me I Meant to Be

Author: Sophie Jordan

Pages: 304

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: HMH Teen

Pub Date: January 1, 2019

Girl Code: Never date a friend’s ex.

Willa Evans has no intention of breaking the code. So what if she’s always secretly loved her next-door neighbor Zach? As her best friend’s boyfriend, he was always off-limits and it needs to stay that way, even though they just broke up. Even though every time she turns around he’s there, tempting her…

No keeping secrets from your bestie.

Flor Hidalgo has a lot on her plate: her breakup with Zach, her dad’s new dating life, and her struggling grades. So why can’t she stop thinking about her hot, know-it-all tutor? At least she’s got Willa, her constant in the chaos.

Breaking the code breaks friendships.

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