I ate so much toast while reading this book | The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

The Rest of the StoryEmma Saylor has never really spent time with her mom’s family (except for that one Summer when she was four, but she doesn’t really remember that). But when all other options fall through, Emma finds herself heading to Calvander’s–the motel on the lake that her mom’s family owns and operates. As she arrives and the Summer progresses, Emma (or Saylor as her mom’s family calls her) finds out things she never knew about her mother and herself.

TL;DR – Another great Summer read from Sarah Dessen. It doesn’t blow your socks off, but it’s comfortable and the new setting of the lake is fun and I can’t wait to see what else she does with it in the future.

Purchase: Kindle | Hardcover

While this book isn’t going to break into my top five Sarah Dessen books, I still found it enjoyable. Saylor (or Emma) is a likable character even if she’s quite similar to past Dessen protagonists. She battles with identity in the form of her name throughout the book (reminiscent of McLean in What Happened to Goodbye) but I’ll refer to her just as Saylor throughout the rest of the review. I liked the cast of secondary characters even if some felt mildly superfluous (Taylor, April, and Vincent). I might be wrong, but I think this is our first Dessen protagonist who has a large extended family? That we get to see anyway. And I liked that dynamic. I’m someone who comes from large extended families on both sides, so I enjoyed seeing the cousin interactions. I didn’t always love Bailey (she’s pretty self-centered) and we don’t see a ton of Jack, but I loved Trinity. I thought she was a really fun and dynamic character and I would have loved more interactions between her and Saylor. I also thought Gordon was extremely precious and I wanted more of her as well.

As for the characters on the Emma side of things, her friends Bridget and Ryan, again, seemed mildly superfluous. I love that Dessen’s characters usually have strong female friendships, but this time that was mostly shown through the cousins instead of Saylor’s school friends. Tracy was nice enough and I like that she didn’t try to insert herself into things. Nana rocked. I thought she was going to be stuffy and annoying, but she’s actually the best. Saylor’s dad however…I had such a hard time with him for 95% of the book. I never felt like I totally understood his perspective and some of his actions completely enraged me. That being said, I still felt like he was a good guy and I was glad that Saylor had a good father in her life.

I’m realizing now that this is like three paragraphs on characters when I usually just do one, but there were a ton of characters and this book was seriously character driven. Anyway, here we go: Roo. I liked Roo as a person–I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love how almost all of Dessen’s romantic leads are GOOD GUYS. Like seriously, just nice boys. So from that perspective, I really liked Roo and I liked that Roo and Saylor had history. However, I don’t feel like we got to see Roo and Saylor spend much time with each other. In contrast, in The Truth About Forever (my ultimate Sarah Dessen fave), Macy and Wes spend a TON of time together and the reader gets to see it. But because of how busy Roo always was among the other things that Saylor was dealing with, they didn’t spend that much time together. So while I still bought their relationship, I didn’t feel super invested in it.

Lastly, I’ll just go over a few minor things that bugged or didn’t make sense. There was a lot of reflecting and introspection in this book. Like, Saylor would be out on the porch reflecting on an experience she’d had earlier with Mimi or something. But like…why not just write the scene? Why have it be a flashback? With all of the reflecting and such, the timeline seemed really screwy. I would be reading and think that an entire week had passed only to find out that it had been like…two days. Another thing is that I don’t understand why Calvander’s is so short staffed? I mean, it’s the Summer so it seems like they’d have at least two seasonal hires (which they’ve had in the past). I think maybe that should have been explained. Even if Mimi was just like, “Oh, we couldn’t get anybody this year!” Something like that. Another random thing is that I felt really confused by the Sergeant. Like, why did he even “exist” as a character? We literally never see anything from him but that dang toaster! Anyway, I just found him to be very confusing. The last thing is that I was EXTREMELY disappointed in the number of cameos in this book. I know that none of our previous characters have visited the lake before, but that doesn’t mean they can’t visit it now!

In the end, I still really enjoyed this book even if it’s not quite a top five for me. It’s still a solid Dessen book and I really enjoyed the new setting that she’s created with the lake. I’m excited to see what she does with it in the future. Definitely would recommend!

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Moderate
Violence: None
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: None

Teenage Girl Obsesses Over Siblings Who May or May Not Be Witches | The Graces by Laura Eve [ARC]

The GracesRiver is new to town and is trying to find her place at her new high school. She watches the Grace siblings from afar and plots how she might be able to become a part of their crowd. They never keep the same friends for long, but River is determined to show them that she is the one they’ve been waiting for. When Summer Grace finally notices her, River knows that she will do whatever it takes to keep the Graces from dropping her like they’ve dropped so many of their peers. She wants the Graces to teach her about magic and how to be a witch. In particular, she wants Fenrin Grace to notice her and (ideally) to fall in love with her. As River gets deeper in with the Graces, she starts to learn some of the family secrets. As it turns out, the Graces lives aren’t as charmed as everyone seems to think they are.

This book was strange for so many reasons. First of all, let me just say that I quite liked the writing. I thought it was beautiful and gripping and I was drawn into the story from the very first chapter. The setting descriptions were also incredible. Even though we didn’t get that much of a description of the town, I still feel like I can picture it. Then, when we get to the Graces’ house and the rooms are described…seriously. AMAZING. The writing also did a good job of creating this kind of creepy/unsettling atmosphere. There’s obviously something wrong. Something weird happened to River and her mom before they came to town, but we only get bits and pieces of what it was as the book progresses. The writing was kind of the book’s one redeeming quality that kept it from being a 2/5 for me.

First of all, some of these characters definitely sound familiar (*cough* Twilight *cough*). But seriously! River’s so obsessed with this unnaturally beautiful, confident, and alluring group of siblings and the parents are just as beautiful and the kids never really interact with any of their peers and they’re so mysterious and BLAH BLAH BLAH. PLEASE. Spare me. I honestly would LOVE to read a book where the main character just completely sees through all of that BS. And don’t even get me started on River drooling over Fenrin. But okay, I’ll get into it. There comes a point where River is worried that Summer will think River only wanted to become friends with her to get close to Fenrin which she protests is not the case. But actually…that’s exactly what happened! I mean, it’s true that River wanted to be noticed by any of the Graces–she just wanted to be part of their group. But the whole time her main focus is completely on Fenrin. And he doesn’t even sound that great! Aside from being a Grace and being extremely good-looking (allegedly) what does this guy have going for him? I’m sure he has other qualities, but the reader is not told about any of them. Every time River sees him she’s just drooling over his good looks. That, my friends, is not what I want to read about.

River as a main character is not very likable, though I’m not sure that she’s supposed to be. The Graces were fine if not very three-dimensional. I couldn’t help but try to imagine the Graces as real teenagers in a real high school and, I’m sorry, I’m just not buying it. Maybe in Europe, but in the United States, NOBODY IS LIKE THAT. Then there’s River’s mom who is another unbelievable character. Talk about taking the absent parent bit to the max.

Plotwise…there wasn’t really a plot. Like there kind of was…but not REALLY. Mainly we’re just watching River try to make herself indispensable to the Graces the whole book. Then there are a couple of twists near the end, but I honestly saw them both coming. I wanted so badly for the book to take an UNEXPECTED turn, but I was to be disappointed. Then the book just kind of ends? But then there’s going to be a sequel…I’ll be honest, I was not expecting a sequel. I have no idea what could possibly happen in the next book and I’m not entirely sure that I care.

Overall, I think this author has a lot of potential. I would definitely read another book by her as long as there were different characters and a better plot, etc. Some people may end up really liking this book, but I just don’t fall into that camp.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: Heavy
Violence: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Heavy
Sexual Content: Moderate

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

”Perfect” Girl Realizes That Being Perfect is Boring (The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen)

The Truth About ForeverMacy is fine, just fine. That’s what she’s been telling everyone since her dad died. While this doesn’t always feel true, Macy wants everyone around her to believe it and her boyfriend Jason makes things a little bit easier. Jason is perfect. He’s organized, smart, and most of all he makes Macy feel normal–not like that girl whose dad died. But Jason is going to “Brain Camp” and Macy knows that she has a long summer ahead of her until she meets the Wish Catering crew. They take Macy in and make her feel normal even if she’s not always perfect.

This is my absolute favorite Sarah Dessen book of all time. I feel like I relate to Macy in a lot of ways. There have been times in the past when I’ve disagreed with some of the choices that Dessen’s protagonists are making, but I really feel like I get Macy. Her decisions make sense to me. Deep down she’s just a really good girl who is genuinely trying to help others around her–especially her mother. She’s realistically flawed and most of all, she’s someone who you can cheer for.

I love the cast of secondary characters in this book and the relationships that they have with each other. The Wish crew is absolutely perfect in every way. Delia, Kristy, Monica, Bert, and Wes have a really fun dynamic and I love that Delia has taken a “mother” role with all of them. Every scene where Wish is working a job is fun to read. Disasters are happening all over the place, but it never feels overwhelmingly chaotic–the reader knows that things are going to work out.

Macy’s family has a really interesting dynamic as well. I like Caroline a lot as a character because I feel like she’s really brave. By renovating the beach house, she’s doing something that the other members of the family don’t have the courage to do. She’s noticed that the family has splintered a bit since her father died and the beach house is her way of bringing the family back together and saving those relationships. I also like that she’s forgiving. It’s not in her to hold grudges.

Wes and Macy’s relationship is just a friendship for most of the book, which I liked. I liked that they really go to know each other well by playing truth before anything remotely romantic happened between them. Wes was definitely my first hardcore book crush. His sculptures sound amazing and I’d really like to see a picture of them or something. Like a lot of Dessen’s other romantic leads, he’s a really good guy. I always appreciate that our main character ends up with a good guy and I like that Wes had a slightly troubled past, but realized he wasn’t heading down the right path and got on the right one.

Overall, this book makes a great beach read while also having depth. Dessen is really good at exploring relationships and this book is no exception. I really only have one critique that holds true for her other books as well. I feel like teenage drinking is handled really casually. Characters are always going to parties and drinking beer–even the “good” characters. I wish Dessen didn’t portray that as so normal because I actually don’t think underage drinking is a good thing. That’s really the only problem I have though. Go read her books!

Overall Rating: 5
Language: Moderate
Violence: None
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Mild

Angsty Teenagers and The Bubblegum Reaper (Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick [ARC])

Every Exquisite ThingNanette is a typical high school girl. She’s co-captain of the soccer team, goes shopping with her mother on the weekends, and sometimes enjoys school. When her favorite teacher, Mr. Graves, gives her an out-of-print cult classic for Christmas, everything changes for Nanette. She develops a friendship with the quirky and reclusive author and starts to rethink all of the choices that she’s made in her life. Soon Nanette has quit the soccer team (with much cursing and bird flipping) and starts talking in the third person (as suggested by her therapist). As Nanette continues to reread The Bubblegum Reaper she will try to figure out what, exactly, she’s supposed to do with the rest of her life.

I’ll admit, I’m surprised that I requested this book on NetGalley as I don’t really feel like it’s my kind of book. But then The NOVL sent me a copy in the mail too and so I had to read it. I thought this book had a lot of really great ideas in it. The whole book within a book is very meta and it added an interesting layer to the overall story. I liked the “quotes” that the characters would mention because you think about them in the  context of what’s happening in the story, but then you also start thinking about them in general too.

The characters were really lacking to me. They all just seemed a little too much–too extreme. I don’t think there were any characters that were just normal. Having a “normal” character isn’t a necessity, but when all of the other characters are so extreme, the “normal” character gives readers the opportunity to catch their breath a bit. All of the relationships in this book were very strange to me too but that might also be due to my overall dislike for the characters.

The plot was okay. I felt like it was really supposed to be reflective of the plot from The Bubblegum Reaper but then at times it was really different. In the end, it really just felt like nothing had happened. Sure, Nanette grew as a character, but not as much as I think she should have.

Overall, I’m not sure how this book compares to his other books. The writing was quirky and had a distinct tone, but everything else about the book was just okay for me. I get the feeling, though, that if you generally like this author, you’ll probably like this book too.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: Heavy
Violence: Moderate. A couple characters are physically bullied.
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Heavy. Talked about a lot, but no really explicit descriptions.

Note: I received this book free from both NetGalley and The NOVL Newsletter in exchange for an honest review.

Whisper to Me by Nick Lake [ARC]

Whisper to MeCassie hears voices. Actually, it’s just one voice. And because of this voice, she ended up breaking a boy’s heart. As Cassie reconciles the events of one fateful summer, she will come to a better understanding of who she is. Even if he doesn’t forgive her, at least she’ll know that she tried.

I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this book when I started it but I ended up really liking it. It almost reads like an A.S. King novel, but without the magical realism. Our narrator, Cassie, is very frank and informal with the reader. The whole book is actually an email that she’s writing to this unnamed boy explaining why she did the things that she did. Because of that there’s a lot of, “But you already know this, I just wanted to give you my perspective.” There’s a lot of her talking to “you” which I didn’t find that I minded much, but I could see it being annoying for some people.

I don’t know much about mental illnesses in general, but especially those where the individual hears voices. I thought that the book did a really good job of being educational in that way, though I have no idea how accurate it is. The characters are interesting and flawed and I liked that they all felt like whole people–not just cardboard cut-outs.

The plot itself meanders a bit, but it’s not supposed to be the focus of the story so it was okay. I thought the romance proceeded at a natural pace and never felt like it was being rushed. Cassie’s other relationships throughout the book were equally as natural and genuine.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book but I would save it for more mature teens as it really deals with some heavy (and at times dark) stuff.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Moderate. The narrator usually uses asterisks instead of swear words, but occasionally a swear word would crop up though I’m not sure if that was just because I was reading an ARC instead of a finished copy or if it was intentional.
Violence: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Moderate

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Not Okay, Cupid by Heidi R Kling [ARC]

Hazel has her entire future planned out. She and her boyfriend are going to get into the same college, then the same grad school, and then they’ll have 2.5 kids together and live in a house with a white picket fence. At least that was the plan until he cheated on her with her best friend Kimmy. Now Hazel doesn’t know what to do. Luckily, someone else does. Felix the Player of La Playa (also Kimmy’s older brother) has a plan for revenge.

518w2bi66fml-_sx331_bo1204203200_This book had so much potential. I really mean that. The premise of this book was great, but the execution was not. The whole book is very surfacey. I felt like there was the potential to go in depth several times with the characters (since Hazel’s dad had died and Felix’s was out of the picture) but nothing ever happened. The book just stayed on the surface when it could have been so much deeper. The story really would have benefited from some character development throughout, but I feel like all of the character development (and there wasn’t even very much) was packed into the last few chapters of the book. This made it hard for me to really care too much about the characters. They didn’t seem deserving of my feelings.

Another thing that seriously bugged throughout was the multitude of inconsistencies that this book had. First Felix’s eyes are blue–glacier blue. Then they’re “sweet chocolate brown”. Next they’re green, only to end up turning back to brown by the end of the story. Other inconsistencies: Does Felix have his surfboard or not? When did they get out of the car? Did Hazel see Felix waving from the shore or not? Does Hazel see Felix while he’s standing by the punch bowl or is the first time she sees him out on the dance floor? Just A LOT of inconsistencies that made it hard to lose myself in the story. I ended up having to reread certain pages to make sure that I didn’t miss something that was there. It almost seems like the author had the beginning and the end of a scene planned out, but then forgot about what she had planned while she was writing the middle. Just very frustrating as a reader.

The last thing that I was so confused about was the relationship between Felix and Kimmy. Okay, we know they’re siblings and we find out pretty early on that Felix is older than Kimmy. But at the same time I thought Kimmy and Hazel were the same age and we know Hazel is a senior…so does that make Kimmy and Felix twins? But that’s never mentioned and I feel like if they were twins, that would have been said at least once. Finally we find out (very near the end of the book) that Felix is older than Kimmy, but he was held back a year so they’re in the same grade. I just feel like this should have been explained much earlier in the book. Or Kimmy and Hazel should have just been juniors or something.

Overall, I was not happy with this book. As I said earlier, there was so much untapped potential! Based on their family situations, Kling really had the opportunity to make us care about these characters but she didn’t capitalize on it. I just feel really frustrated as a reader because I can see what this book could have been but wasn’t.

Overall Rating: 2
Language: Moderate
Violence: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: Moderate

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Kissing in America by Margo Rabb

Eva knows who Will is (everyone knows who Will is). When he starts coming to her tutoring sessions, she senses that they have a connection (despite the fact that Will has a girlfriend). School is about to end and finally the timing seems right–Will is single and Eva is confident that he feels something too. Unfortunately, Will is about to move across the country to live with his father and his father’s new wife. What’s a girl supposed to do when she lives in New York and her soulmate is in California?


Who doesn’t love a good road trip book? I, personally, LOVE THEM (see Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour). This book grabbed me right from the beginning and did not let go. Eva and Annie are both such great characters. I loved reading about smart girls who are also just fun, normal people. They’re focused, but not myopic. They have goals, but they’re not unrealistically narrow-minded. They have this great friendship and a natural understanding of each other that only comes from years of quality time spent together. I also loved that, in this case, our main character is kind of the sidekick. I thought Will was a really well-written character too. We’re seeing him mostly from Eva’s perspective and I felt all of the same feelings that she did when they finally see each other again. My only complaint about characters was that they seemed a tad too mature for their age, but at the same time they have experienced things that would naturally mature them…so maybe it is realistic.

The adult characters were also extremely well-written. I loved just how present they are throughout the story and not in the typical way. They’re humorous and embarrassing and well-meaning and just so real. I loved that. In this book, we’re given such a good portrayal of the imperfect relationship that can exist between mother and daughter–it’s not always a buddy/buddy relationship like you see in other YA books. Overall, the adults in this book really add another layer to the story and gave me one more reason to fall in love with it.

I thought this book also had really great character development. Throughout the journey, Eva learns things about herself and about her various relationships with other characters. I really feel that by the end of the book, Eva has grown a lot as a person and has come to some really important conclusions. The ending was real and so perfect.

From my description and review, this book may seem like a lightweight, but I assure you it is not. It deals with death and loss in a couple of different ways and perspectives. Overall, I would highly recommend this book. It’s not going to be about what you think it is. I won’t elaborate much more beyond that, but it took me by surprise.

Overall Rating: 5
Language: Moderate
Violence: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Mild. Some mention of underage smoking.
Sexual Content: Moderate. Nothing crude or too explicit (our main character loves romance novels so there are some brief, non-explicit “quotes”).

On the Fence by Kasie West

Charlie has grown up in a house with three brothers (and an honorary fourth) so it’s no wonder that she’s such a tom boy. She can hold her own in any pickup basketball or backyard football game, but when it comes to girly stuff, she’s out of her depth.


First off, I have a big issue with the cover. Even at the end of the book, I don’t think Charlie would be comfortable in a dress. So…that cover is pretty inaccurate in my opinion. It just gives the reader a different perception of who the main character is going to be.

Anyway, this book was just okay for me. I really liked some of Kasie West’s other books (The Distance Between Us and the Pivot Point duology) so I just felt a little let down by this one. The main character, Charlie, isn’t as likable to me as some of West’s other main characters. Granted, I did not grow up with three older brothers, but I felt like Charlie was a little unrealistic in how callous/clueless she was at times. Even just having some girl teammates, it seems like she should be a little more aware of some things than she actually was.

I liked that Charlie’s brothers had pretty distinct and separate personalities, but the family feels a little off-balance to me. I think that Charlie should have had a younger brother. Either a fourth brother, or Gage should have been younger. I think that would have made the family feel more complete. The other secondary characters were a little one-note to me. They didn’t have much depth and some minor characters seemed completely unnecessary to the story. For example, Charlie’s roommate at basketball camp was only there so that Charlie could talk about her feelings instead of just thinking through them for the reader.

Lastly, I thought the ending moved way too fast. And the repeated use of the word “love” made me cringe every time. In the end, this book is just okay as far as YA contemporary romances go. I enjoyed it, but probably wouldn’t choose to read it again.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: None
Violence: Mild
Sexual Content: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Mild

BLOG TOUR: This Ordinary Life by Jennifer Walkup (GIVEAWAY)

ThisOrdinaryLife_FCThis Ordinary Life
by Jennifer Walkup
Publisher: Luminis Books, Inc.
Release Date: October 1st 2015

Goodreads|Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Pinterest

Sometimes Hope is the Most Extraordinary Gift of All.

High-school radio host Jasmine Torres’s life is full of family dysfunction, but if she can score the internship of her dreams with a New York City radio station, she knows she can turn things around.

That is, until her brother Danny’s latest seizure forces her to miss the interview, and she’s back to the endless loop of missing school for his doctor appointments, picking up the pieces of her mother’s booze-soaked life, and stressing about Danny’s future.

Then she meets Wes. He’s the perfect combination of smart, cute, and funny. He also happens to have epilepsy like her brother. Wes is living a normal life despite his medical issues, which gives Jasmine hope for Danny. But memories of her cheating ex-boyfriend keep her from going on a real date with Wes, no matter how many times he asks her.

Jasmine can’t control everything. Not who wins the internship, not her mother’s addiction, not her brother’s health–not even where her heart will lead her. She wishes she could just have an ordinary life, but maybe what she already has is pretty extraordinary after all.

I was really interested in radio when I was in high school, so I was excited to pick up this book where the main character is also interested in radio. Jasmine seems like the kind of girl who really has her head on straight–and for good reason. Her mom has been kind of neglectful, so Jasmine has had to step into the parent role. Even though she’s trying to take care of her family, I liked that she still had time to be sweet with Danny. They seemed to have a really special relationship and it made me think of my own little brother.

Overall, I liked Jasmine quite a bit as a main character, but she had some traits that I disliked. She could be a little vindictive and bratty towards her mom. I understand that her mom isn’t doing what she’s supposed to be doing, but I don’t feel like there’s ever an excuse to be that rude to another human being. Another thing is that I don’t feel that the author showed us why Jasmine is so special. I get that she’s awesome with her brother and is very mature, but if you gave her a different family, what’s special about her? This made it so that I couldn’t quite see what Wes saw in her. It didn’t make sense to me why he was being so persistent with wanting to date her. I will say this about Jasmine though, I’m so glad that she never ONCE thought about taking her ex-boyfriend back. Way to stand up for yourself!

The story line and drama is mostly centered around the radio internship/epilepsy so I was glad that neither Wes nor Frankie added to the drama. There are times when I feel like an author has put too much drama into their book, but in this case I felt that there was a really nice balance. Overall, I liked the ending of the book. It’s not your typical happy ending, but it’s hopeful. Most of all, I love that this book brings attention to a disease that I, personally, did not know a lot about.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: Moderate
Violence: None
Sexual Content: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Heavy (alcoholic adult character).

Note: I received this book free from the author/blog tour in exchange for an honest review.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Jennifer Walkup
Award-winning author Jennifer Walkup is most often found writing, reading, and spending time with her husband and young sons. A member of SCBWI and RWA, Jennifer also works as an editor and creative writing instructor, and is an advocate for Epilepsy awareness. This Ordinary Life is her second novel.

To hear about Jennifer’s upcoming books, sign up for her newsletter here.



Note: I received this book free from the Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review.

Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti

Ruby McQueen never thought that a guy like Travis Becker would notice her. He’s rich, timelessly beautiful, and he has a motorcycle. Travis brings out a side of her that Ruby doesn’t recognize and isn’t 100% sure that she likes. As Ruby gets in deeper with Travis, she starts to pull away from her family and others who love her. She knows Travis is bad for her, but she can’t seem to make herself stay away.

344637I felt like I could really relate to this book. In my case, it was just a friend in high school who wasn’t that great for me. In hindsight, I can definitely see that I should’ve broken the friendship off much sooner than I did, but at the time it was kind of exciting. In this book, we see Ruby make a series of bad decisions. We know they’re bad, she knows they’re bad, but we have to watch her make them anyway. It’s frustrating at times, but because of my past experiences, I feel like I understand why she makes the decisions she does. She knows that her family loves her, but all the same, I think she feels a little neglected by her mom. Ruby’s looking for someone to give her attention and make her feel special–even if that person isn’t doing it in the right away.

“Sometimes we are so convinced someone is throwing us a life preserver that we don’t notice that what they are actually doing is drowning us.”

I thought this book was great. It was messy and the characters are far from perfect. Like I said earlier, I feel like Ruby is very relatable and all of the secondary characters are on point. Chip Jr is definitely my favorite. He’s so smart and I love that he and Ruby are on the same team! He actually reminds me a lot of my little brother so I particularly enjoyed his character. I also love the Casserole Queens. What a riot! I was literally laughing out loud the entire time during the “old folks home breakout” scene. Another character that I want to give a shout out to is the dog, Poe. Poe is seriously indescribable.

This book made me think about things from Travis’ perspective as well as Ruby’s. What did Travis want with Ruby? What drew him to her? Is everything just a game to him or does he really care for her? They’re so different and we’re given a closeup look to what Ruby sees in Travis, but I really wonder about the other way around.

Overall, I really liked this book. Fun characters, real story, awesome community/family moments. It left me so satisfied–a great summer read.

Overall Rating: 5
Violence: Mild
Language: Moderate
Sexual Content: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Mild