If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.
Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.– Goodreads
In I’ll Meet You There, Demetrios tells the story of Skylar who hates her life. Her BFF and her have decided to get out of town and all they have to do is survive the last summer before college and then they are out of Creek View. That is all Sklyar wants. To be out of Creek View, away from a town full of memories she doesn’t want to deal with. The town where her father died, her mother found the bottle and lost her own job and where Skylar wants to scream from uncomfortableness and the fact she doesn’t feel like she belongs.
All of that helped this book has a permanent place in my heart. This book contained real, flawed, relateable characters that when the book ended I was sad because I wanted more from the characters, even the ones I didn’t like. The thing is, Skylar wants nothing more than to leave Creek View, she doesn’t want to be the girl who stays, until it’s time to go and she seems to freeze. And one of her BFFs, Chris, calls her out on it.
…it almost feels like…you’re looking for an excuse to stay.–ARC, pg 234
This of course enrages Sky, because she doesn’t want to stay. Really she doesn’t, because who wants to be a typical Creek View girl, until it dawns on her, her other BFF, Dylan is. And the great thing about I’ll Meet You There, is that Demetrios, also wrote a real, fleshed out book that includes female friendships! MY HEART FOR FEMALE TEENAGE FRIENDSHIPS. Demetrios had the characters call each other out when they do shitty things (like accidentally looking down on the other) but they still love each other at the end of the day..you know like real teenage girls.
Then, of course there was Josh. While Sky was figuring out herself, she was also figuring out Josh. The bad boy from town who went to war and came back completely different. He’s a shell of who he was, he’s missing a leg and he has some extreme PTSD. Through snippets of his worldview, we understand Josh and what pain he went to and how no matter what does he seems to fuck it up and that includes Sky. He just wants to be good for her.
That Josh I grew up around, with two legs and an ego that couldn’t fit through the door? I didn’t love him. I didn’t even always like him. –ARC, pg 361
Nothing I say will be perfect for this book, because it’s just one of those you have to read. It’s so good and part of me wishes I could go back and read it for the first time. While this is my first Demetrios’ book, I can tell that this won’t be my last. While I’ll Meet You There is not a light and fluffy novel, it’s a real novel that touches on things that affects everyday people. PTSD, a small town and trying to get out of it, friendships, parents, love
Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances… a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.
So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life… and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.
It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last… – Goodreads
My first Sarah Ockler book did not work out for me well for various reasons, but after seeing how many of my friends enjoyed Bittersweet I was willing to give her a second chance. What I was not expecting was Bittersweet to start out with a C-Cup lacy bra that did not belong to Hudson, or her mother, or how much pain I would feel because Hudson, in the middle of an ice-skating competition was dying. Not literally, but she caught her father cheating and her family is breaking apart.
Three years later, Hudson has left competitive skating and is making custom made cupcakes for her mother. She’s harder though, she’s not the girl she was in the prologue. Through bits and pieces of information we learn what has happened to her parents. They got divorced (obviously), her mom went through a deep depression (but is better now!), her father moved to Las Vegas (and is currently with lady of the month as Hudson tells us). Life isn’t exactly easy for Hudson, her mom, and her family, but it is what it is and she’s accepted her new..harder life. Because of this, the last thing Hudson expects is a letter in the mail telling her about a competition. She wants to stay the “cupcake queen” and behind the counter, but not everything works out how you want it to and Bittersweet shows that.
My heart went out for Hudson throughout Bittersweet. As a fully formed, flawed teen girl, I couldn’t help but want to hug her. She isn’t sure who she is supposed to be. Is she the Hudson that her family and friends expect her to be, or the one she wants to be. Does she let go of the past or hold on to it a little more? Does she speak up? Or just hide behind the counter making cupcakes? Of course there are no obvious answers because Hudson has to do her growth herself.
What she also didn’t expect was Josh to collide with her on the ice and start talking to her. Because she’s Hudson and she stays behind the counter. Hudson’s BFF, Dani, however won’t let Hudson get away with this. In part because she reads a lot of paperback romances and wants Hudson to be happy. My heart went out to Hudson a lot, because Hudson just wants to survive. She wants to survive high school, and her job and she really wants her mom to get out of as much debt as she is currently in. It’s honestly impressive that Hudson is able to keep her shit together as long as she did. I would have lost it probably on page one.
Through helping the high school hockey team, we see more about Hudson and the adorable Josh and how they work together. What was unexpected was how Will was also featured throughout the book, which shouldn’t have shocked me as Will is co-captain of the hockey team and Ockler was able to write a realistic story where things aren’t as neat and straight forward as you expect them to be. Because the mundane that so many authors fear writing about are the little, realistic things that are relate-able.
While I enjoyed Hudson’s growth throughout the novel, high school, trying to fit in, family, trying to fit in, herself, and trying to be comfortable in her own skin. Of course, because I am predictable, I loved the love story. It was flawed, painful, but it was real and I loved it. What I loved more than the love story was the friendship aspect of the novel. I am very into teenage girl friendships and this was so authentic to me. It wasn’t perfect, and it was often painful when they had their first blow up of the friendship because I wanted them to be back to having each other’s back and enjoying each other. But Dani sees that Hudson is spreading herself far too thin and wants Hudson back. Hudson though has begun to question, if she hadn’t found that bra a few years ago, where would her life be? Would she still have ended up there? Was it worth putting them all second?
The amount of growth and feels that I felt in this novel was honestly amazing. I enjoyed this book so much. Also, Ockler, you’re so hilariously funny with your book chapter titles with delicious cupcakes that I cannot eat because it is in a book and not in front of me.
When Tuesday McGillycuddy and her beloved dog, Baxterr, discover that Tuesday’s mother—the famous author Serendipity Smith—has gone missing, they set out on a magical adventure. In their quest to find Serendipity, they discover the mysterious and unpredictable place that stories come from. Here, Tuesday befriends the fearless Vivienne Small, learns to sail an enchanted boat, tangles with an evil pirate, and discovers the truth about her remarkable dog. Along the way, she learns what it means to be a writer and how difficult it can sometimes be to get all the way to The End. – Goodreads
Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks is the story of Tuesday McGillycuddy and her dog Baxterr, who go on the search of Tuesday’s mom–the famous children’s book author Serendipity Smith! What Tuesday doesn’t expect is this magical adventure that appears. This is a magical adventure that not only her mom knows about, but her father. They’ve both have been “hiding” this from her essentially for her own safety. What was unexpected is that Tuesday is able to be taken away to this same magical world, that her mother is also able to do when she gets swept away in a story.
While Tuesday is out looking for her mother, her mother comes back home and is in shock that Tuesday was able to leave to this magical adventure, particularly at her age. While on her journey, Tuesday meets a very hilarious group of characters. From the Librarian who Tuesday is unsure of, to Vivienne Smalls that Tuesday realizes is more special than she was aware of. And Baxterr? Oh Baxterr is amazing.
What Finding Serendipity is a cute story about mother daughter bonding and just a little bit of magic. Magic being the power of storytelling and what storytelling can really do.
When you’re the oldest daughter, you don’t get to have any fun!
Witty, orphaned Tess Essex faces her duty: marry well and marry quickly, so she can arrange matches for her three sisters — beautiful Annabel, romantic Imogen and practical Josie. After all, right now they’re under the rather awkward guardianship of the perpetually tipsy Duke of Holbrook. But just when she begins to think that all might end well, one of her sisters bolts with a horse-mad young lord, and her own fiancé just plain runs away.
Which leaves Tess contemplating marriage to the sort of man she wishes to avoid — one of London’s most infamous rakes. Lucius Felton is a rogue whose own mother considers him irredeemable! He’s delicious, Annabel points out. And he’s rich, Josie notes. But although Tess finally consents to marry him, it may be for the worst reason of all. Absurd as she knows it to be, she may have fallen utterly in love . . .
My heart for Eloisa James’ romance novels, it’s strong and full of heart eyes. Much Ado About You is no different in love either. Much Ado About You starts off with Tess, who while under guardianship of a Duke when her father dies, knows she needs to marry quickly for the safety of her three younger sisters. The Duke of Holbrook was happy to take care of the four girls, but under a weird misconception, believes them to be young kids instead of the older ages that they are. This doesn’t stop him though, and he is still happy to care for them. While I expected Tess to find love with the Duke that she is under the care of, who is hilarious and often tipsy, she doesn’t. She actually finds love with Lucius, which is something that I would have known if I would have read the description.
But Lucius, who is friends with Duke of Holbrook, finds Tess beautiful, breathtaking even; but what he finds even more breathtaking is her horse. Yes, her horse, that is also her dowery, because that’s how twisted her father was. Her father was obessed with horses and instead of concentrating on the four girls growing up in a household where they have a chance of being properly married he concentrated on horses. This is understandably something the girls are a bit snarky about. But this horse is important to Lucius and because of this Tess is interesting. Tess of course gives no shits about him and wonders why he wants her so much.
But slowly, in Tess’ mind the worst happens, she has fallen in love with him, a confirm bachelor. Everyone is confused about this match, but their eyes quickly move when Tess’ sister, Imogen, runs away with a lord Imogen has loved forever. Because of this scandal Tess becomes engaged to a completely different man, who is, to put it nicely, an asshole. But because she is the elder sister and the mother figure, she knows this is her duty. Rafe, the Duke of Holbrook, feels horrible about the situation that the girls end up in, because this is not what he signed up for and what he knows is something they have not signed up for. When Tess’ fiance leaves, Lucius volunteers to marry her. When she calls him out on it, the marriage, because she believes it’s only for the horse, he’s shocked that she honestly thought that, because in his own way, he has fallen for her.
What James has done is create a very realistic historical fiction novel that had me swept up in their story wanting more from Lucius and Tess.
At first my answer to this question, without thinking was yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. As someone who has a history degree and forever is behind on her TBR list, why not? Then I was logical and I began to think about it. What age would I want to stay?
I’m currently 26 (turning 27 in May) and I still get looked at by people like I’m 12, do I still want that if I’ve been alive for 80+ years? Plus, would I want to continue on without my friends and my family? I understand that I’m a separate entity, but at the same time, that’s my group. My people. My heart. And, when I re-read the novel in preparation for this, the more I changed from my simple “YES” to, “I’m not sure I could drink from it.”
I wouldn’t ever look down on someone who did and I would even support a friend who did. And probably be overly excited for them. But 26-almost-27-year-old Ashley can’t see her doing it. I do remember when the movie came out I was firmly set in my “yes” back then. But being logical about it, I can’t see myself saying yes. Even though I’m rarely logical and mostly paranoid.
Okay, always paranoid. But the more I think about living forever the more I think about the faults: money, family and friends who don’t live forever, where to live, money again.
To celebrate Tuck Everlasting 4oth anniversary, the question has been posed to bloggers: what if you could live forever? Follow along with us on the #Tuck40 tag or better yet: purchase your own copy.
The Little Android (The Lunar Chronicles #0.6) by Marissa Meyer
Release Date: January 27, 2014
Buy It: Wattpad (Another free read!)
The Little Android is a retelling of The Little Mermaid, set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles by New York Times-bestselling author Marissa Meyer.
When android Mech6.0 saves the life of a handsome hardware engineer, her body is destroyed and her mechanics discover a glitch in her programming. Androids aren’t meant to develop impractical reasoning or near-emotional responses…let alone fall in love. – Goodreads
When I was a kid, I watched my VHS tape of The Little Mermaid until it wouldn’t play anymore. My mom told me later that the songs made her want to burn the house down after awhile (sorry, Mom). So I began reading this story with an open, but slightly biased, mind. (Keep that in mind when you see how long this review ended up being…)
I really love how Meyer gives androids personalities. In my early twenties, I dated someone who was really into the Matrix universe, and he really believed we should treat machines respectfully. Not just computers, but like, drill presses and things that only work using hydraulics. He was weird. But this universe sort of reminds me of that and also how caught up humans can get in their own lives and business, to the point that we ignore everything else around us. Sometimes this can lead to carelessness and cruelty, especially when we start thinking of other species as “less.” And to me, androids are their own species in this universe, and it doesn’t matter that they were built by someone else. They’re alive and can think. Just because they can be programmed doesn’t mean they are less. (This might be bias coming from my love of Battlestar Galactica and all things Cylon…)
So, excuse my soapbox moment, there. Mech6.0 appears to be a mechanic android who also identifies as female and definitely has emotions. She is fascinated and excited by her glimpses of the starry skies outside the hangar deck she works on. One day, she finds a card containing the holographic image of Prince Kai, and she falls in love(though not with with the prince. He has enough admirers). Wing Dataran, a young human engineer, has caught Mech6.0’s fancy, even though she doesn’t really understand why at first. Mech6.0’s fascination causes a bit of a scene, one that leads to the decision to dismantle her, so she escapes.
Enter Linh Cinder and the body of an escort-droid. I started really dreading the outcome of this story, because I’d grown to like and sympathize with Mech6.0. There was really no way for this to end well. Basically, prepare for this to be more like Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid and less like Disney. The ending is bittersweet, but, really, that’s the way it had to be.
Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5) by Marissa Meyer
Release Date: December 5, 2011
Buy It: Wattpad (Remember, it’s free!)
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. In Glitches, a short prequel story to Cinder, we see the results of that illness play out, and the emotional toll that takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch… – Goodreads
Glitches is the first short story written in the Lunar Chronicles universe and, fittingly, it’s Cinder’s backstory. It begins with Garan bringing Cinder home from Europe where she was made cyborg and lost her memories of her previous life as a princess of Luna. She is very self-conscious about her new hardware and the changes to both her body and her brain. She believes herself to be less than human, which probably makes it easier to accept the treatment she will get as a cyborg in New Beijing. I felt a lot of sympathy for Cinder, who is led to believe her parents died in a hover crash. She has to make her way in an entirely new world without any safety net of memories behind her. It must have been hard.
Then we meet Garan’s family: Adri, Pearl, and Peony. Adri isn’t quite as villainous as she is in Cinder’s novel, but you can tell she has it in her. Peony is very open to Cinder from the beginning. They play dress-up and Cinder explains her inner workings to Peony. I felt myself get a little frustrated, because while you know Garan has good reasons for not telling Adri Cinder’s secret, you wish he had so Cinder would not have been so ill-treated. Or at the very least, you wish Garan had told someone that the chip dampening Cinder’s Lunar magic worked. Anything. But he gets the plague, and so begins the life Cinder is living when we meet her for the first time. We also see a glimpse of Iko, which made me happy.
This is a nice concise origin story, and I liked the glimpse we got into Cinder’s secretive beginnings.