Contemporary YA

Quick(ish) Thoughts on Four Recent(ish) YA Novels

Quick(ish) Thoughts on Four Recent(ish) YA Novels

I've been disinclined to write extensively about young adult titles lately, despite that I've been reading quite a few recent releases. I do have a few I want to be sure to write about more extensively (particularly the final novel in Gabrielle Zevin's spectacular Birthright series), but I wanted to share my thoughts on a few I've read recently.

Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

Admittedly, I was nervous about reading Lauren Morrill's new novel, Being Sloane Jacobs. Lauren is one of the few authors I follow on my personal Twitter account and I enjoy her thoughts on publishing and tweets about being an extra on The Originals but I haven't read her debut, Meant to Be, and was worried that I wouldn't like her book. (I've had this happen before, enjoyed someone's online persona and their book didn't work for me--and I always fell badly about it.) 

Fortunately, my worries were completely needless, as I enjoyed Being Sloane Jacobs a bunch. The premise is essentially The Cutting Edge meets The Parent Trap, except without twins. Instead, we have two points-of-view, both girls named Sloane Jacobs. One is a stressed former competitive figure skater from a high-powered Washington, DC political family. The other Sloane Jacobs is a tough hockey player from Philadelphia with a bit of an anger problem.

 

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Uneven, Yet Compelling - Just Like Fate by Suzanne Young and Cat Patrick

Uneven, Yet Compelling - Just Like Fate by Suzanne Young and Cat Patrick
I think about how Simone offered me the choice to stay or go—and how it so easily could have gone the other way. For a moment, I wonder what life would look like had I gone down the other path.

I’m a sucker for “Sliding Doors”-style stories. Even though much of the time, they don’t work for me, the concept of one decision or moment being the tipping point for a series of divergent events intrigues me. I guess, philosophically-speaking, I believe there’s something to that notion. 

Because of that, I was excited to learn that Suzanne Young—who’s novel The Program was a real surprise for me this summer—co-wrote a novel with Cat Patrick, Just Like Fate, examining this very concept. 

The novel introduces Caroline, a teenager who’s beloved grandmother, with whom she lives, is hospitalized with a stroke. She’s been at her bedside, panicky when she discovers that Gram won’t recover. All she can think of is escape, and her best friend provides just the chance by inviting her out to a party. At this point, the story diverges into two paths: “Stay” and “Go.”

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Podcast #9 - YA, Adult Readers + Audience with Author Trish Doller

Welcome to our favorite episode of the Clear Eyes, Full Shelves podcast yet! Why is it our favorite? Because we're joined by one of our very favorite authors, Trish Doller. 

Trish wrote Something Like Normal, which was one of our favorites last year, and the upcoming Where the Stars Still Shine, which we both absolutely adored. She joins us to discuss the complicated issue of the influence of adult readers on teen fiction. How do the two audiences read differently? Do adults see teen characters through a different lens than teen readers?

We also discuss some of our favorite misunderstood YA characters and why their stories resonate with teens. And, Trish gives us the scoop on her current works in projects and whether or not she's ever been involved in a love triangle. You can't get dirt like this anywhere else, y'all!

We kinda, sorta talked for a really long time--but it was just too fun!

Visit Trish's website and make sure to follow her awesome Tumblr, too. She's also on Twitter @TrishDoller

As always, you can listen to the podcast by streaming on this page, downloading the MP3 below or by subscribing in iTunes. If you're an iTuner, we very much appreciate your rating the podcast, as it helps us to show up in iTunes searches. We're also now on Stitcher Radio, so if you prefer that app, you can subscribe there.  

MP3 Download (21 MB) 

Books Discussed

(Click on the cover image for more information about each book.) 

Something Like Normal
By Trish Doller
The Spectacular Now
By Tim Tharp
Things I Can't Forget
By Miranda Kenneally
The Moon and More
By Sarah Dessen
The Reece Malcolm List
By Amy Spalding
Cracked Up to Be
By Courtney Summers
Jersey Angel
By Beth Ann Bauman
Just Like Fate
By Cat Patrick, Suzanne Young
Stealing Parker
By Miranda Kenneally
Small Town Sinners
By Melissa Walker
Burning
By Elana K. Arnold
Winger
By Smith Andrew
Unraveling
By Elizabeth Norris
All Our Yesterdays
By Cristin Terrill

Happy listening!

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Four Quickie Reviews

Four Quickie Reviews

I don't review all the books I read--that seems like a daunting, and kind of stressful task, to be frank. However, I wanted to spotlight a few books that I've read recently which I think are worth discussing and recommending, albeit with more brevity than in my usual reviews. 

Because it is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin

Because it is My Blood is the second in Gabrielle Zevin's unusual dystopian mafia series, the first of which is All These Things I've Done. The narrative style of this series is one that will either work for people or not--the memoir-like reflective style is definitely different and I really love it. This second novel in the series sends Anya to Mexico, and this shift from New York makes for a a quieter, slower installment in contrast with the first novel in the series (which I reviewed here and where I detailed the premise of the series). I also really enjoyed the new characters introduced in this installment, especially Anya's new friend Theo, who brings some interesting perspective to her life.

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