Monday, April 27, 2015

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.


Another day, another AWESOME ARC to talk about. I had read a small blurp in a library magazine about this book and went to see if I could get an ARC to review. Lucky for me, my request was granted. 

Let me begin this review saying that when I finished this book, I went to work and insisted the YA book buyer get this book. I could easily see this book being the next big thing for both teens and parents to read. The story has a great overreaching life lesson for both teens and parents. Both can get something out of this story. I, personally, had a lot of inner reflection after finishing this one.

What would you do as a parent if you kid's best friend was kidnapped by his father? How would you handle the grief of your own friend and neighbor, the parents of said kidnap child? How on earth could you not place a GPS tracking device in your own kid? Trust me, I asked my husband if we could do that and I got a funny look.

This book examines what happens when parents try to hold of too tight for fear of everything and teens who lived with the loss of a good friend almost every day. What happens when he returns and how would he fit back into that fold? The book also gives us a great look at the adjustment period. It's not a happy I'm home but the emotions of a teen who just discovered his mother isn't dead and his father is considered the bad guy? How would you handle that knowing your dad was there for you and took care of everything for you?

A lot of questions and inner reflection for all of the characters that gave this book a good amount of "meat and bones" for the reader. Of course we get typical high school drama, best friend crazies, and love as well but the bigger issues really made this book. It made me pause and say, "I can't put my kid in a bubble and will have to let her find her own path." 

"Emmy & Oliver" is due out June 23, 2015. Make sure to stop by your local library to request a copy to read. This one could be the next John Green...that one book that was always on a hold and never on the shelf at the library. It was that good!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines

To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.

Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.

As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.

West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…


About two weeks ago, I received an email from a co-worker at the library letting me know that "Until Friday Night" by Abbi Glines was available for an ARC request. After screaming like a fan girl for 5 minutes and waving my hands around, I requested the ARC. I was lucky enough to be granted a viewing of this wonderful book.

"Until Friday Night" is set in high school and listed under YA. Glines creates a whole new setting with all new characters centered around their families and football. As always, I'm a huge fan of football books. What I like most about this was reading about the relationships and not a play-by-play of the games. Sure, we heard about people scoring touchdowns and being at the games but it was the right amount of football to the book.

What I loved was the two main characters. I felt like I was really, truly, reading about high schooler's. I loved the thought process of both characters. I loved that Glines didn't shy away from how West thought about girls. Knowing he was using them to escape and his honestly to himself about that. I also LOVED his relationship with his parents. 

Most times you don't get that kind of honestly about a guy in a book, even in the YA universe. You always read about Mr. Prefect who makes every guy pale in comparison and then messes up beyond belief. At least, that's what I've been reading lately and maybe this is where my book slump and lack of posting came from. Glines gives us a real character with meat to him that shows many facets of good and bad. Someone who is struggling with their present situation while trying to balance everything else.

With the ending, I had to go out and see if more books are coming. Yes they are but focused on different characters. We're left with a question or two but I think that will carry over into other stories with the other boys helping each other out.

Glines is a popular author at our library and we hardly keep her books on our shelves. When someone is in a book slump I always suggest one of her books because they always seem to have the perfect mixture of character development, drama, and setting. I can easily say this book is one of her best yet.

My only concern is the YA rating. Yes, it's high school and less steamy compared to her NA novels but her frank characterization of sex, relationships, and teenage activity (drinking) might turn some off. Do we get details or descriptions on the smexy times? No. But it is discussed frankly and openly in the characters minds. I appreciated that it was honest with its characters throughout the book. However, I could see some libraries placing this in Fiction to be safe. I would place it in YA knowing it's for an older YA. But that's just me ;)

"Until Friday Night" is due out August 25, 2015. Just in time for football season!