Tag Archives: the novl

ARC Review – Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

26030682Title: Girl in the Blue Coat

Author:  Monica Hesse

Rating:  ★★★★★

Synopsis: Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person–a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.

HUGE thank you to The Novl for sending me an ARC for review!

River’s Review:

Omg I LOVED THIS BOOK! This year I’ve been trying to mix up my genre’s and I’ve been reading a lot more WWII fiction. As I’ve said in a previous review, I generally don’t read WWII stuff because it’s usually about someone in a camp. Not that those stories aren’t important and powerful in their own, they are just WAY. TOO. SAD. for me to read that often. So I like that I’m seeing books that have different angles on the war and what it was like to live in Nazi occupied Europe.

This book takes place in The Netherlands and it’s about a non-Jewish girl who works for the black market. She finds things and sells them, but she’s not a formal member of the resistance. Hanneke, our MC, takes care of her family and keeps her head down. But when one of her customer’s asks her to help find a missing Jewish girl Hanneke can’t help getting involved and one thing leads to another and before she knows it she’s entrenched in the resistance and risking her life for a girl she’s never met.

I loved the history of this, but I also loved the accessibility. There were times that the writing felt rather modern, but by the end I actually liked that. It’s easy to read and doesn’t feel too dense, which is another reasons I generally steer clear of historical fiction. I also loved that I learned so much! So often the focus of WWII stories is on Germany. The setting in this was refreshing and I loved the author’s note!

The end of this book really got me and I was in tears by the end of it. SEE SAD. But also hopeful. The twists and turns at the end I did NOT see coming and I was breathless with them.

Make sure to pick this book up even if you aren’t a huge fan of historical or WWII stories! You wont regret it!


ARC Review – The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding

23232950Title: The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions)

Author: Amy Spalding

Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: Filled with tons of romance, rivalry, and passive-aggressive dog walking, Amy Spalding delivers a hilariously relatable high school story that’s sure to have you falling for The New Guy.

Huge thanks to The Novl for sending me an ARC for review!

River’s Review:

So last year I read and LOOOOOVED Kissing Ted Callahan and when I heard that Spalding had a new book coming out I was SO EXCITED!

Sadly this book didn’t quite live up to my love for KTC, but I did enjoy it!

The New Guy is a story about Jules and how she deals with her senior year of high school. She’s an overachiever and spends a lot of her time doing whatever she can to get herself into Brown. She’s the editor of her school paper, she walks dogs at the local shelter, and she’s a top student. She also volunteers to show new kids around on their first day of school. Enter Alex, the new guy, who was also an ex-viral boy band sensation. He’s not really famous anymore, and in LA your 15 minutes of fame is usually quickly forgotten. The students at their school spend a few minutes freaking out about Alex, but then he just becomes another student.

He does fall for Jules pretty quickly (too quickly…) and they start to date. Only for about a week though until he starts to work for their schools new broadcast news club… which Jules takes as a personal attack on her and the school newspaper.

Jules and her crew set out to destroy the broadcast news club and in doing so she ends up hurting a lot of people… Alex, her best friend and herself included.

Overall this is a good story about first love, friendship, and family. I enjoyed Jules’ relationships with her two moms, her best friend Sadie, and even Alex. Jules is a very honest, hardworking, but sometimes naive girl, and this gets her into trouble. But this book didn’t quite have the wit and quirk in it that I’d been hoping for after having loved KTC so much.

ARC Review – Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

22701879Title:  Not If I See You First

Author: Eric Lindstrom

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there’s only one way to react-shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that’s right, her eyes don’t work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened–both with Scott, and her dad–the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.

Huge thank you to The Novl for sending me a finished copy of this book!

River’s Review:

Guys, let’s be honest. I had an eARC of this and probably wouldn’t have read it but then I got a copy from The Novl and decided that I should give it a shot. I know, I know, the cover isn’t anything special… unless you have a finished copy! IT HAS BRAILLE ON IT! And if you can find a pair of those red and blue 3-D glasses (yes I had a pair laying around, my husband is taking a computer vision class and he got them idek) THE COVER IS IN 3-D AND LOOKS SO COOL! So please don’t judge this cover too harshly (I know it’s very different from the norm in YA covers).

Originally I was drawn to this book (and going to read it at some point) because the MC is blind. If you know me, you know that I have struggled with an eye disease since 2004 and there were times I thought I was going to go blind (and could still possibly go blind in the future if things ever get really bad real fast and take a turn for the worse). I spent the first few years after my diagnosis dealing with treatments and the fear that they weren’t going to work. THANKFULLY at my last eye doctor appointment I was deemed the healthiest I’ve been since 2002 and that things will probably remain steady. SO YEAH. But eye issues and blindness are close to my heart.

Parker, our MC, has been blind since she was seven years old. Her mother crashed the car she was driving and Parker was injured and lost her sight. She grows up with her father, who suddenly dies the June before Parker’s junior year of high school. Parker’s Aunt, Uncle and two cousins move across the country to live with her and take care of her so she doesn’t have to move and re-learn a school/home/city.

Parker is one tough cookie. She’s sassy and honest and a bit brutal at times. She doesn’t let people treat her special or delicate and I loved that. I’ve read a lot about blindness and how blind people usually HATE being restricted. Yes, they can’t see, but they’re still living people who can function! Sight isn’t always what we need to live our lives the best we can… so Parker makes up The Rules; a set of rules that she lives by and makes others respect if they’re going to be around her. Sadly her best friend turned boyfriend breaks one of the rules (one of the MOST IMPORTANT rules) and she freezes him out of her life.

I was able to relate with Parker on so many levels. I’ve always been small and sickly and I’ve always hated it when people would treat me like a delicate flower that’s going to break. I’ve overcome a lot of that and I always feared that if I DID go blind how I’d lose a lot of what I have now. I also understood Parker’s take on relationships and how if you burned her once then you were done. I’m sadly very much like that and have trouble forgiving people and moving on and making amends.

The friendship’s in this book were really well done. I felt like they were very real. Parker has a best friend and then a few other close friends who orbit high school in different cliques. She makes new friends and even goes on a date with a new boy and she learns a lot about herself when she has some problems and comes to realize that she doesn’t always listen to people like she should.

I liked how messy and complicated the relationships in this book were. I really liked the themes of sight and seeing things and hearing and listening. And I loved how not only Parker grew, but her friends did too. And sometimes you don’t really see a lot of character growth in secondary characters.

Overall I am SO glad that I read this book and I REALLY hope others will give it a try. I feel like it’s realistic and well written and respectful towards blind people and the struggles they face.