Book Review: After the Game by Abbi Glines

AtG After the Game by Abbi Glines

Published by Simon Pulse on August 22, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 320 – hardcover, 352 – ebook

Format Read: paperback ARC

Rating: 4 stars

Source: Simon & Schuster

Previous Books in Series: Until Friday Night, Under the Lights

PURCHASE LINKS

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Blurb:

Two years ago, Riley Young fled from Lawton, Alabama. After accusing the oldest Lawton son, Rhett, of rape, everyone called her a liar and she had no option but to leave. Now she’s back, but she’s not at Lawton High finishing up her senior year. She’s at home raising the little girl that no one believed was Rhett’s.

Rhett is off at college living the life he was afraid he’d lose with Riley’s accusation, so Riley agrees to move back to Lawton so she and her parents could take care of her grandmother, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. But the town still hasn’t forgotten their hate for her, and she hasn’t forgotten the way they turned on her when she needed them most.

When town golden boy Brady Higgens finds Riley and her daughter, Bryony, stranded on the side of the road in a storm, he pulls over and gives them a ride. Not because he cares about Riley, of course, but because of the kid.

But after the simple car ride, he begins to question everything he thought he knew. Could Brady believe Riley and risk losing everything?


Review:

After Under the Lights, I really really hoped that this book would be better & that my mixed feelings about UtL were just a fluke. I was relieved when — fortunately — I loved this book just as much as the first one. Of course, Until Friday Night will always remain my favorite of the series, but After the Game comes in at a close second!

All the books in this series can be read as standalones, but personally, I think you should read the first two before reading this one. This book is pretty connected to the first 2 books, and for someone who hasn’t read them, that could be confusing. In addition to that, Book 2 sets the stage for this book, so you really don’t want to miss that.

I’ll start off by saying just how much I adored Riley in this book. I’ve always wanted to read more about her; now I’ve finally got the chance to get to know her in this book! I really like how this book doesn’t shy away from the truth. Riley’s just like, “Yeah, he raped me, and I don’t care whether you believe me or not.” She didn’t give a shit about what the rest of the town thought and I loved that.

“Just because others hadn’t accepted me hadn’t made me less of a person.”

I also enjoyed catching up with the other characters, West & Maggie… Gunner & Willa… All their stories are interconnected so seeing everyone interact made me so happy, especially Riley, Maggie, and Willa. Also, can we just take a moment to talk about the real star of this book? Bryony was so adorable! I just wanted to reach out and squeeze her. She was a ray of sunshine amidst all the negativity. Somebody please give her all the cookies!

This book was very family-centered, even more so than the previous books. Riley always makes sure she puts Bryony’s needs first, and Riley herself has such an excellent support system in her family. The book didn’t focus on the rape itself so much as the aftermath. You’d think that I’d be more emotional if Riley was unhappy and depressed, but what got to me was how happy and satisfied she was to have Bryony in her life. It was honestly the sweetest thing ever.

It was also really nice getting a more in depth view of Brady’s character. I’ve always thought of him as one-dimensional and as that “nice guy”. I’m glad this book delved deeper into his character. Also, like Riley, family plays a major role in Brady’s POV. I won’t say more because that would be considered a spoiler; you’ll just have to read the book to find out!

Despite the above, there were a few things that kind of weighed the book down, the first being the pacing. I expected Riley and Brady’s “friendship” to last a little while longer before they started locking lips, but that didn’t happen. I didn’t want a slow burn or anything, but a lil angst sure din’t hurt nobody… which leads me to my next point. This book, overall, was definitely less angsty than the first two. There were a few unexpected turns of events, but not many and they were far too predictable & anticlimactic. Maybe this book was more about wrapping everything up, rather than starting new drama.

Another thing worth mentioning is how Rhett got off practically scot free. I feel like he was forgiven at the end merely as a means to tie off any loose ends. That doesn’t sit well with me. What he did was a crime, so why is no one fighting it? I just find it so sad because it reflects how the world views rape and its victims.

In conclusion, I’d like to say that reading this book was bittersweet. It was like the end of an era. Our characters are all grown up! I can’t wait to see who the next book centers on. My guess is either Asa, Ryker, or Nash. Either way, I’m so pumped to read whatever comes next and follow new (and hopefully old) characters on new journeys!

Many thanks to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacted my views & opinions above.

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Rating: 4 fish!

4 fish

 

 

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Book Review: Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

Stealing Snow by Danielle PaigeImage result for stealing snow

Published by Bloomsbury Childrens on September 20, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling

Pages: 384– hardcover, paperback

Format Read: paperback ARC

Rating: 4 stars

Source: Bloomsbury UK

BUY LINKS

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Blurb: 

Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave …
She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate …


Review:

Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacted my views and opinions below.

I’ve been seeing so many mixed reviews about this, and the hype’s pretty big, too. It’s safe to say that my encounter this book has gone really well! The premise of the book captured my attention from the get-go; I love fairy tale retellings, and I haven’t seen many Snow Queen ones. Danielle Paige manages to weave the fairy tale retelling into the plot wonderfully, resulting in a very magical story. I definitely gobbled up the pages! This book actually helped me stave off an impending reading slump after Empire of Storms. I needed a fantasy, but not a heavy one, and this magical fairy tale retelling was just it!

When I first started reading, I admit I was a bit thrown off by the writing. I expected beautiful imagery & words to match the beautiful cover, but the writing was subpar, to say the least?¿ It confused me at times, but I finally got used to it.

My favorite thing about the book is the protagonist, Snow. She’s a very refreshing protagonist. Most books with Princess MC’s make them selfless and self-sacrificing, which is great, but not realistic. Snow, on the other hand, is selfish, and doesn’t want to be who she is, because honestly, who would want to discover that they are a legendary princess with a psychotic, ruthless father who wants to have utter control of the country? Not Snow, that’s for sure.

The plot of the story is very fast-paced, which actually worked really well. We’re introduced to the world in very small snippets. The world building isn’t a gradual, steady incline, it’s a jigsaw puzzle slowly being pieced together.Most people might think this is messy, but it actually worked really well. This isn’t a regular fantasy story, you have to piece together the world yourself, so keep that in mind while reading. There’s also an aura of mystery around the story. We’re introduced to many characters, and most of the time, it’s a question of “Who can I trust?” It’s very intriguing.

What I see most people being annoyed about is the love square. I do agree that the idea of Snow falling for a guy over the span of a few days is laughable, but that didn’t stop me from feeling all the feels! I really like *the love interests*, and I hope they’re developed more in the next book.

Overall, this book has a very pacy plot with just the right amount of intrigue & mystery. The romance was a bit unnecessary, but enjoyable. Snow is a great, kickass protagonist and the secondary characters are all memorable.This book definitely has it all: heists! magic! potions! beasts! thievery!! I cannot wait for the sequel!

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Rating: 4 fish

4 fish

Book Review: ReMade by Matthew Cody, Kiersten White, E.C. Myers… & more!

So, as you may have already gathered, this review is a bit different from any of my other ones. I was given the opportunity to review a unique YA serial called ReMade. Team-written by some of today’s most popular YA authors, ReMade is brought to you by Matthew Cody (Super), Andrea Phillips (Revision), Kiersten White (And I Darken), Gwenda Bond (Girl on a Wire), Carrie Harris (Bad Taste in Boys), and E. C. Myers (The Silence of Six). ReMade is Serial Box’s first YA serial; it’s like a TV show, with episodes being released every week building up to the season finale. Season One will unfold across 15 episodes beginning September 14th , with a new installment dropping every Wednesday until the season finale on December 21st.


Blurb:

You live. You love. You die. Now RUN. ReMade.

Every minute, 108 people die.
On October 14th, 2016, from 9:31-9:32 p.m. EDT, 23 of those deaths will be teenagers.
Now they are humanity’s last hope for survival.

Awakened in a post-apocalyptic world and hunted by mechanical horrors, these teens search for answers amidst the ruins of civilization. Fate, love, and loyalty face off in this adrenaline -pumping YA adventure.

I received ARCs of the first 3 episodes, so below, I will be giving my thoughts on each episode as I read it followed by my overall review at the end. Here we go!


remade-1 ReMade [Season 1 Episode 1]: Shadows and Dreams

Rating: 4 stars

Thoughts: I think the first episode of ReMade really started out with a bang. It managed to grab my attention from the beginning ’till the very end. I was so curious to find out what’s going on, so A+ for the intrigue!This sure is a great start to the rest of the season! Also, I can totally picture the characters and imagine the descriptions realllly well. The succinct writing style helped with that. I can totally picture this as an actual TV show!

 

 



remade-2ReMade [Season 1 Episode 2]: Hungry

Rating: 4 stars

Thoughts: Just finished another episode of ReMade and it was just as engaging as the first! We’re introduced to another POV character, May, and get to know her and her backstory better. This just made me even more excited to continue on with the series. There are soo many possible explanations and theories about what’s going on! The story’s concept is very interesting. So far, this is actually slightly reminiscent of The 100, which BTW is my fave TV show ever! Y’know, a bunch of teenagers dropping down from space with no idea why, and trying to survive in the wilderness by themselves. Also, since this is probably going to be told from the POVs of many narrators, I’m really excited to learn more about the other teenagers!


remade-3ReMade [Season 1 Episode 3]: Home, Perilous Home

Rating: 4 stars

Thoughts: So, this episode is from yet another author and yet another narrator, and boy do I love her! I think Nevaeh is my favorite character so far! I love the inclusion of diverse characters and how all the POV characters we got so far are extremely relatable! I’m still really curious to know what the hell happened, but unfortunately I only have ARCs for the first 3 episodes, haha.

 


Review:

Everything about this digital serial is interesting. The fact that it’s basically a TV show in book format with new “episodes” being released every week? Uh, sign me right up! Each episode takes about 30-40 minutes to read, just like an actual TV show. At first, I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to get into the story in such a short amount of pages, but by the time I started reading, all my worries were forgotten!

The story starts out with a very intriguing premise. A bunch of teenagers wake up in an abandoned post-apocalyptic civilization, with no idea how they got there. What they all have in common? They’re all pretty sure they died in their “past life”. Hunted by metal spider creature thingies, they must figure out a way to survive in this world and find out what the hell is going on.

Now, this may sound like a typical YA post-apocalyptic/dystopian story, but it didn’t feel like it to me. It was refreshing, and not once did it feel like a cliché. Each episode introduces us to a new character, while at the same time furthering the plot and world-building. I genuinely enjoyed reading this! Since each book is so short, there’s a lot of pressure to make it engaging and interesting, and it definitely did not fail in that. My attention was captured in the pilot from the very beginning!

The pacing of the story is also great; it matches the story’s theme and tone. From what I’ve read so far, there’s a lot of mystery in the tone, which really pulls you in to keep reading in order to find out what’s going on. The writing’s vivid, but succinct, enabling you to easily picture what’s happening.

In short, I think the episodic nature of this serial definitely works for me. The premise is compelling, and the plot so far sets a high bar for the remaining episodes. The writing quality is superb, which makes the story even easier to get into. Each POV character we are introduced to has a distinct voice, making them very relatable. I would buy a subscription to the series, for sure!

Jump into this digital serial, available in both text and audio, and find out what the future of fiction holds.

You can purchase a subscription to the series, and have each episode downloaded automatically, or buy each episode individually. Episodes are available on the Serial Box App, at www.serialbox.com/remade, or wherever ebooks are sold.

Rating: 4 fish!

4 fish

 

 

Book Review: One by Sarah Crossan

one One by Sarah Crossan

Published by Greenwillow Books on September 15, 2015

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Pages: 448 – hardcover & paperback, 400 – ebook

Format Read: paperback

Rating: 4 stars

Source: Bloomsbury UK

BUY LINKS

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Blurb:

Grace and Tippi are twins – conjoined twins.

And their lives are about to change.

No longer able to afford homeschooling, they must venture into the world – a world of stares, sneers and cruelty. Will they find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love?

But what neither Grace or Tippi realises is that a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead. A decision that could tear them apart. One that will change their lives even more than they ever imagined…

From Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this moving and beautifully crafted novel about identity, sisterhood and love ultimately asks one question: what does it mean to want and have a soulmate?


Review:

So, I read this book a while ago and wanted to write this review then, but unfortunately, I never had the chance to get around to it. So when I received a complimentary copy from Bloomsbury Publishing, it was practically fate! I reread the book again and wrote this review and it’s just as amazing as the last time I read it.

From the moment I heard about the idea of One, I knew I had to read it. I’ve always been so intrigued about the psychological aspect of being conjoined twins and the emotions that come with it, which this book managed to portray VERY well. You have no idea how many emotions I went through as I read this book.

Added bonus: it’s written in free verse! Usually, I find that books written in verse lack the ability to make me connect with the characters or the plot or the story in general. However, One managed to pull that off flawlessly! The writing style really made the pages go by. One sitting is all it took to devour this story.

This book is told from the POV of Grace, not Tippi. I didn’t mind that it wasn’t in dual POV because we still get to see both sides of the coin. Grace is the quiet, shy one and Tippi is the stubborn, outgoing one. They’re so different, yet they’re so in sync with each other — it’s beautiful! Sarah Crossan did a phenomenal job of providing insight into their lives; it’s obvious a lot of meticulous research went into this.

The story explores a variety of different problems. One example is the daily struggle of being conjoined twins and the difficulty they face in fitting in with others. Another example is Grace and Tippi’s dysfunctional family – they aren’t the only ones with problems – and their struggle to manage the medical bills. I also found many underlying themes such as love, friendship, and family.

Also, can we talk about THAT ENDING. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, but boy did I cry my eyes out. WHY IS LIFE SO CRUEL *sob*

So, in short, One is a very thought-provoking and insightful read into the lives of two girls bound together. The free verse writing style and the topic of the book itself makes for a very unique read. Grace & Tippi were such complex, flawed characters and their dynamic with their family and friends was just so well-written. The way this book addressed everything was extraordinary and I just- *hugs book*.

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Rating: 4 fish

4 fish

Book Review: Winning by Lara Deloza

winning  Winning by Lara Deloza

Published by HarperTeen on June 28, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Pages: 336 – paperback, 304 – ebook

Format Read: paperback ARC

Rating: 4 stars

Source: HarperCollins

BUY LINKS

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Blurb:

Whoever said being nice would get you to the top?

Certainly not Alexandra Miles. She isn’t nice, but she’s more than skilled at playing the part. She floats through the halls of Spencer High, effortlessly orchestrating the actions of everyone around her, making people bend to her whim without even noticing they’re doing it. She is the queen of Spencer High—and it’s time to make it official.

Alexandra has a goal, you see—Homecoming Queen. Her ambitions are far grander than her small town will allow, but homecoming is just the first step to achieving total domination. So when peppy, popular Erin Hewett moves to town and seems to have a real shot at the crown, Alexandra has to take action.

With the help of her trusted friend Sam, she devises her most devious plot yet. She’ll introduce an unexpected third competitor in the mix, one whose meteoric rise—and devastating fall—will destroy Erin’s chances once and for all. Alexandra can run a scheme like this in her sleep. What could possibly go wrong?


Review:

Many thanks to the publisher, HarperCollins, for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way impacted my views & opinions below.

I’ll start off by saying this: If you’re looking for a cute contemporary read about a nice heroine and her charming love interest, and a happy ending for both of them, then this book – my friend – is not for you. Winning will trample over all your hopes and dreams, then ruthlessly crush them into nothing. This book has honestly left me speechless; I can’t even form the words to appropriately articulate my feelings!

*deep breath* Okay, yeah, I’m fine now.

So, our protagonist is Alexandra, and boy is she ruthless and manipulative. Alexandra has a plan: win Homecoming Queen, become Miss Indiana, and then Miss America. Simple & breezy… or is it? From the very beginning of the book, Alexandra is established as the anti-hero who will trample over anyone and anything to get what she wants. We see her resort to manipulation and concocting some really, really messed up schemes. She’s a power-hungry bitch, to say the least.

Despite all that, her POV is framed in such a way that makes the reader actually want her to
succeed. I can’t tell you how many times I found myself defending her in my head. Alexandra’s also been affected by a few outside influences that made her into who she is, like her father’s death and her mother’s subsequent neglect of her. This served to help the reader empathize and relate to her. There’s also the fact that, from the exterior, Alexandra’s not that bad. She’s genuinely a good person, even defending her friend’s sexual orientation when she was being attacked for it.

Winning blurs the lines between the good guys and the bad guys. There’s a kind of moral ambiguity there, because everyone’s pitted against each other. The mean girl. The best friend. The new girl. The wimp. The lackey. They’ve all done cruel things to take down each other. No one is who you think they are. Good vs. bad is clearly a conundrum that this book wrestles with, and it does so excellently.

I’ve seen people describe this as Pretty Little Liars meets Mean Girls, which is a pretty accurate description. There’s a lot of devious plotting and cutthroat competition; everybody wants something. Alexandra wants to be Homecoming Queen and get out of this town, Sam wants Alexandra’s love, Ivy wants to not be an outcast, Sloane wants to take Alexandra down, and Erin just wants to be everyone’s friend.

There’s a lot of backstabbing, sure, but there are light moments, too. The f/f subplot was really adorable, and I loved how even though everyone – including her ‘best friend’ – tried to use Sam’s sexuality against her, she still managed to emerge victorious AND she got the girl. There are tons of witty one-liners, humorous dialogues, and most importantly, girl power!

In short, Winning is a book that is sure to surprise you, taking you on a whirlwind path of devious schemes & cunning plots. Bonus points for anti-hero protagonist, multiple POVs, and f/f subplot! I’d definitely say that there are still loose ends to be resolved; I want to know what happens next, but a sequel? Not so much. Leaving the book as it is would be so much better – it sends a realistic message that not every ending has to be perfectly wrapped up and tied in a bow. If you’re a fan of unconventional contemporaries with anti-hero protagonists, then this is definitely for you!

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Rating: 4 fish

4 fish

Book Review: Wanderlost by Jen Malone

wanderlost  Wanderlost by Jen Malone

Published by HarperTeen on May 31, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 352 – paperback & ebook

Format Read: paperback ARC

Rating: 4 stars

Source: HarperCollins

BUY LINKS

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Blurb:

Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe.

Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe.

Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan unravels, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story.

But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.


Review:

Many thanks to the publisher, HarperCollins, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacted my views and opinions below.

When I first read the premise of this book, my first instinct was to roll my eyes and think “Yeah, totally, that’s so plausible.” A minor leading a senior group on a tour around Europe as a replacement for her older sister who was arrested, and as a result, grounded? Uh, yeah, sureee. I soon realized that if you just roll with it and continue reading, you’ll find that it isn’t much of a deterrent after all. So in this review, I’m going to put aside all my doubts & opinions about the implausibility of the premise just because the rest of the book was enjoyable enough to nullify that flaw.

Let me tell you, Wanderlost was a very adorable, cute, fluffy, charming read. Adorable, cute, fluffy, charming reads are my favorite kind of reads! I flew through this book and I was so sad to see it end. Aubree was an amazing heroine. I loved how she a) stepped out of her comfort zone and b) managed to handle everything that got thrown her way. She didn’t do it perfectly, of course. She fumbled her way through and messed up quite a few times, but in the end she still persevered — with the help of her friends and family. Her relationship with her sister was emphasized in this book, and it was such a pleasure watching them try to reconnect & fix this relationship.

This wouldn’t be a contemporary review if I didn’t talk about the romance. The romance in this book gave me soo many heart palpitations. I could swoon over Sam for hours on end. From the moment we are introduced to him, he is charismatic, charming, and funny. His lines had me grinning widely at the page… like a goof. He’s definitely my favorite character in this book. What bothered me, however, was how Aubree still wouldn’t tell him her secret. He was so nice and charming and an overall good guy that I knew what Aubree was hiding would hurt him very much. I was practically screaming at her to just tell him!!! Still, their relationship was truly something to read. It had its bumps along the road (see what I did there), but in the end, their pull toward each other was just too strong. All the feels, man.

Another thing that I really admired about this book was the way the senior characters were written. I’m so glad they weren’t just a bunch of wise, warmhearted, wool-knitting grandparents, because that’s usually the way old people are written in books. They all had realistic personalities and were extremely dimensional, encompassing all the flaws and shortcomings of a normal person. I was actually able to connect and care about every single one of the group.

The setting of this book was breathtaking. The descriptions of the different countries in Europe the group group visited made me want to go there myself. I can understand why Aubree fell in love with every place she visited. The writing made me easily picture Aubree there with Sam, leading the tour group and having adventures together.

In short — ignoring the plot holes & inconveniences that this story presents — this was an extremely adorable book with excellent writing and lovely themes. The dynamic characters and swoon-worthy romances are an added bonus! Still, there are quite a few flaws, but the story’s overall enjoyableness definitely negates them. A perfect summer read with just the right amount of adorableness!

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Rating: 4 stars

3 fish

Book Review: The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott

twbty

The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott

Published by Katherine Tegen Books on May 3, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 384– hardcover & ebook

Format Read: paperback

Rating: 4 stars

Source: HarperCollins

BUY LINKS

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Blurb:

In this witty, heart-tugging novel, two teens take a spontaneous road trip across the Southwest to meet three strangers who received the life-saving organs of their late best friend—charting a journey of loss, hope, and love along the way.

Six months ago, Ashlyn Montiel died in a bike accident.

Her best friend Cloudy is keeping it together, at least on the outside. Cloudy’s insides are a different story: tangled, confused, heartbroken.

Kyle is falling apart, and everyone can tell. Ashlyn was his girlfriend, and when she died, a part of him went with her. Maybe the only part he cares about anymore.

As the two people who loved Ashlyn best, Cloudy and Kyle should be able to lean on each other. But after a terrible mistake last year, they’re barely speaking. So when Cloudy discovers that Ashlyn’s organs were donated after her death and the Montiel family has been in touch with three of the recipients, she does something a little bit crazy and a lot of out character: she steals the letters and convinces Kyle to go on a winter break road trip with her, from Oregon to California to Arizona to Nevada. Maybe if they see the recipients—the people whose lives were saved by Ashlyn’s death—the world will open up again. Or maybe it will be a huge mistake.

With hundreds of miles in front of them, a stowaway kitten, and a list of people who are alive because of Ashlyn, Cloudy and Kyle just may find their way to back to her…and to each other.


Review:

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacted my views and opinions below.

This book is so much more than just a road trip; it’s an emotional journey of two friends trying to find themselves after a tragedy affects their lives. After Ashlyn died, her organs were donated to others in need, and Ashlyn’s mom starts corresponding with some of the organ recipients. Cloudy, Ashlyn’s best friend, stumbles upon these exchanges and decides to go on a road trip with Ashlyn’s boyfriend Kyle to find closure for both of them. I admit that ever since I read the synopsis, I already predicted what half the book was going to be about. However, that did not make it any less enjoyable. I’m a sucker for road trip books, and this is no different!

There are lots of tangled relationships in this book, making for a very interesting dynamic. I won’t spoil… But it’s definitely complicated. This was a notably light read, considering the fact that this book was centered on someone’s death. I actually felt things while reading this – it’s been such a long time since that happened! This was a sad and sorrowful book, of course, but there were also undertones of humor and hilarity which balanced it out really well. I found this to be the perfect read for me.

This book was told in the alternating POVs of Cloudy & Kyle and I equally enjoyed reading both of them. Cloudy was a really strong and sensible (not in the boring sense of the word) protagonist and Kyle was equally as strong. Their dynamic was my favorite thing to read! Their banter and conversations made me laugh out loud. I loved how they both pulled each other out of the proverbial hole they both fell into after Ashlyn’s death. Of course, Cloudy and Kyle weren’t the only ones affected by her death, there was also Matty – Kyle’s cousin – and Zoe – Cloudy’s sister. They were all in this emotional journey together.

I felt like this book was more character-driven than plot-driven, focusing more on the development of the characters, and I actually didn’t find any problem with that. The book was still as easy to read as ever and it was all just really well-balanced. The writing was very conversational & fun and it totally matched the book’s atmosphere. It’s what made this such an amazing read.

Overall, this was an emotional book with undertones of light humor. The characters were enthralling and their dynamic was just as captivating. This story explored the depth of grief & sorrow and love & happiness beautifully.

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Rating: 4 fish

4 fish