Tag Archives: harperteen

ARC Review – This Is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang

24039424Title: This Is Where the World Ends

Author:  Amy Zhang

Rating:  ★★★★

Synopsis: The heart-wrenching new novel about best friends on a collision course with the real world, from the author of Falling into Place.

Janie and Micah, Micah and Janie. That’s how it’s been ever since elementary school, when Janie Vivian moved next door. Janie says Micah is everything she is not. Where Micah is shy, Janie is outgoing. Where Micah loves music, Janie loves art. It’s the perfect friendship, as long as no one finds out about it.

Huge thank you to HarperTeen/Harper Collins Canada for these ARCs!

River’s Review:

I really loved Zhang’s first book and I was so excited for this. I actually didn’t read the synopsis that is here on GR until right now… the synopsis on the back of the ARC is very, very short and doesn’t give away anything that the synopsis on here does. It also doesn’t really match the way that Micah deals with what happened to Janie… so I guess if you can, don’t try to match the synopsis to the book too much?

Anyway, I think that it’s very refreshing to have an actual teen voice in YA. So often we talk about authenticity in the diversity of the characters and that we should have books written by diverse authors… but what about diversity in age? That’s something I haven’t really heard much of. So I really enjoy Zhang’s books because I feel like they give us an even deeper look into what actual teens go through? I’m also hella impressed with her writing. I know that when I was her age-ish my writing wasn’t anything like this.

So, I liked this book. I liked the writing and the way the story wast told. I like that Janie kinda knows she’s a manicpixiedreamgirl and that she wants to be one because it’s high school and bitch please you can do whatever you want in high school because when you graduate and leave your shit small town home town then you can actually be you’re real self. At least that’s what Janie does to justify her actions a lot of the time. Especially when it comes to boys. She knows that Micah is in love with her and she knows that she’ll end up with him in he long run, but she wants to have fun before settling down. Makes sense. I was actually in a similar situation (tho I was in Micah’s position) for my senior year of high school and all of college.

Yes this book is about a manipulative friendship. They exist. In teens in adults, in high school, college, work… they are out there. Sometimes they turn around and sometimes they don’t.

Yes there is rape in this book. It’s not the central topic (the friendship is) but it does lead to the final events in this book. I think that it was handled well, but that the full extent that the synopsis of this book leads you to believe isn’t quite shown. And while Micah never really fully figures out what happened, through not wanting to, being blind, and not believing, it doesn’t really feel like it’s this huge wedge in their friendship. I guess I would have liked a little more exploration within that.

Overall I think this book is very good, but maybe not as solid as Zhang’s debut. It is compelling and I couldn’t put it down (read it in a day) and fans of contemporary YA should really enjoy this.

Sam’s Review:

I adored Amy Zhang’s debut Falling Into Place. It was one of those books I couldn’t get out of my head the moment I finished it. The writing was gorgous, and she provided me with what felt like an authentic teen voice. I admit though — I have a thing about pretty-ugly people, and This Is Where the World Ends continues this loves. If only Goodreads hadn’t posted the major spoiler of this book as the blurb!

Janie and Micah are inseperable, and it’s to the point where they have this disturbing toxic relationship built upon co-dependency. When janie goes missing, Micah spends a lot of the novel contemplating his relationship with her, while also potentially believing that he may have been the cause. In the before segments of the novel, we are looking at Janie and her need to feel wanted by others. It’s also about her “relationship” with both Micah and Anders, and the personal apocalyse that she creates. She is raped, feels as though no one will believe her, and questions if anyone really gives a crap about her. At the same time, however, Janie is someone who emotionally manipulates others, and has no problem bringing people down a peg. She’s not a nice person in the slightest, but rape is not something you wish upon someone either.

I felt for both characters in the story, even though I was so frusrated and angry by their actions. A lot of the characters in this book are unlikable, mean, ugly, but they feel so realistic and important. There’s no kindness nor justice in the world that Zhang illusrates, and you get this dire sense that human decency is a dead art form. There’s so much victim blaming, aggression, and it made me so sad. Especially when we learn what the metaphors mean… it really affected me.

I also appreciate the protrayal of friendship in this novel, as it’s the main focus. While it’s not the kind fo friendship one wants to have, it makes so much sense in the relationship that Zhang has painted for Micah and Janie. It’s disturbing, raw, playful, and I loved all those elements about it. While I can’t say I enjoyed this book as much as Falling Into Place, I still feel like this novel offers an autheentic voice that we need more of in YA. This book is definitely recommended for those who love diverse relationships and screwed up friendships.

ARC Review – Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

17571215Title: The Things We Know By Heart

Author: Jessi Kirby

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.

Huge thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for this ARC!

River’s Review:

Oh Jessi Kirby, how your books just worm into my heart and make me feel so warm. There is just something so perfect about her books, and they make me feel at home. I love her writing, I love her characters and I love the settings of her books.

When I first read the synopsis for this book I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I actually thought that a lot of the book was going to be about Quinn meeting the recipients of her boyfriend’s organs, but that was only a small part. This is largely a love story and a story about forgiving yourself, living life and moving forward. Quinn makes A LOT of mistakes but her heart is in the right place.

I loved the message about living your life and getting out there and doing what you love. I think that’s one of the best part of Jessi Kirby’s books… that they always leave me feeling inspired.

Now what am I going to do until she writes another book?!

If you love contemporary, Kirby’s prior books, or Sarah Dessen then you need to pick this up and read it ASAP!

ARC Review – Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff

23121946Title: Playlist for the Dead

Author: Michelle Falkoff

Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: A teenage boy tries to understand his best friend’s suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind in this smart, voice-driven debut novel.

Here’s what Sam knows: There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, his best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs, and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you’ll understand.

As he listens to song after song, Sam tries to face up to what happened the night Hayden killed himself. But it’s only by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he will finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.

Huge thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for this ARC!

River’s Review: 

I went into this book with SUCH high expectations and it kinda just fell flat for me. Which sucks. It had all of the things that I love in a contemporary novel: suicide, male narrator, music & teen angst. There was all that but it didn’t really mesh well.

From the synopsis it seems that this is going to be the story of Sam trying to figure out why his best friend, Hayden, killed himself. There’s an allusion to a party, something happened at the party, and then a “suicide note” in the form of a playlist. I thought that Sam was going to spend the entire book trying to unravel the playlist and that we’d get this HUGE does of music and bands and lyrics and that he’d finally put the pieces together and that that playlist was going to be a REALLY big part of the novel…


The playlist is in there, but it’s SO not a focus. Sam listens to it, tries to figure some stuff out, but it was NOT the main part of the plot. And that disappointed me SO much.

Instead there’s a sudden romance (don’t get me wrong, I liked Astrid and what she did for Sam, but they hung out like three times and then she was like ‘put the moves on!) that didn’t really seem to happen the way I’d assume (and have experienced) a romance would go down post-losing someone you’re close to.

There was also these weird episodes where Sam thought he was talking to his dead best friend and I won’t say what it turns out to be, but it was incredibly weird and kinda tossed to the side at the end and idk, it just was like why is that happening?

I don’t know, it wasn’t an awful book, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for. The writing is nice, and the emotions are there. But it’s a bit lacking.

ARC Review – A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

20877332Title: A Thousand Pieces of You

Author: Claudia Gray 

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

Huge thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for this ARC!

River’s Review:

Well that was a wild ride! I actually wasn’t expecting too much out of this because I wasn’t the biggest fan of Gray’s vampire books, but this was quite well done. There’s always the chance that things will just sound wayyyyy too ‘made up’ when it comes to books like this that have a lot of, well, made up tech, but this didn’t seem too out there. I kept picturing ‘Fringe’ (miss that show!) and just letting things flow. I LOVED all the science-y stuff (if you don’t know, my husband is a scientist –AI / computer science– and it was really fun and easy for me to connect to that part of the story.

I really liked the worlds that we got to visit in this and in those parts it did feel a bit Cloud Atlas-y (at least the movie, I never read the book) and I LOVED the worlds. Super high-tech London, super low-tech Russia, UNDER THE FREAKING SEA… they were all really fun.

The romance was okay for me, but I’m never a huge fan of love triangles and I found Paul to be kinda boring at times. I didn’t see the twist coming though, so that was nice. And the writing was really pretty. I also loved the themes of family and friends in here.

Overall a pretty solid book, just not enough UMPH in it to make me have ALL the feels so that’s why it’s at a nice 4 instead of a 5.