Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Weekly Wrap-Up + [sort of] Stacking the Shelves (5)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews
This will be my last Stacking the Shelves for awhile - not only do I have a ton of NetGalley titles to catch up on but after ALA and the books I received there, I have absolutely no intention of acquiring more soon. Maybe I'll do a monthly StS if I have anything to merit it, but as of now I don't foresee that.

So! Excluding ALA books, this is the only thing I received in the last 2 weeks:
BETA by Rachel Cohn [signed/personalized]
Thank you so much Rachel!

(thank you Harlequin Teen!)
Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett

Since I was gone last week, these are links from the past 2 weeks!

Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Dollar.
This book spoke directly to my personal life and soul. 5+ stars.

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBR list
Lots of fun contemporary titles!

Midsummer's Eve Giveaway - now over, and congrats to
Lexie @ The Book Bug!
The List is on the way to her :)

Waiting on Wednesday: Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Sounds amazing, and truthfully I just want that gorgeous cover on my shelf!
(Super excited because I met her and picked up this book at ALA!)

ALA Excitement!
I gave a guide how to spot me + checked in with a small teaser of the books from Day 1

Review: Storybound by Marissa Burt
Middle Grade with a fun twist on storybooks. Can't wait for Book 2! 3.5 Stars

Review: Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer
Took me by surprise how much I loved it! One of the cutest I've read this year. 4.5 Stars

Friday Memes: 2012 Favourites for TGIF and the book characters we want in our birthday cake for FF.
The Magic Mike trailer played while choosing who would jump out of my birthday cake. Influence noticeable.

Coming up next week...

ALA recap, a NetGalley Knock Down challenge, and a review of The Selection!

What's stacking your shelf?
Leave your link in the comments and I'll hop by!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Friday Memes: TGIF (15) & Follow Friday (14)

TGIF is hosted by Ginger at Greads!

Best I've Read So Far
We're half way through the year (crazy how time flies!), which top 3 books are the best you've read so far this year?

I kind of answered this for Armchair BEA (read the post here!), but that was definitely more than a Top 3 haha. This was DIFFICULT, you guys.'s baffling how much I debated about this for the week. But as of this very moment, I've settled with these:

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

(just don't ask me tomorrow, it'll probably change by then!)

What's your best of 2012?
Leave me your link and I'll come check it out!
Follow Friday is hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee's View, meant to spotlight two blogs and allows bloggers to link up and meet other fabulous bookish friends and share the Following love!

This week's spotlight blogs are: Novel Sounds (love this blog!) & Fighting Dreamer

And the question of the week is:
Birthday Wishes -- Blow out the candles and imagine what character could pop out of your cake...who is it and what book are they from?

Well, seeing as how I've just seen a commercial for Magic Mike, we all know where my head is at. Men poppin' out of cakes for me? Sure! Let's get it on!

Peregrine from the Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi.
I adore him, and have you seen him on the cover of Through the Ever Night? He's got that perfect True Blood Stephen Moyer/Bill Compton style rockin' and...I mean. Yes please.

Joe from The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. 
As long as he pops out playing his saxophone. Shirtless. And then he recites poetry.

Prince Maxon from The Selection by Kiera Cass
...just as long as it's actually Ethan Peck.

Who would jump out of your cake?
Leave me your link and I'll hop by!
And of course I'd love to return a follow if you are kind enough to follow me :)

PS. Have you entered the giveaway to win a copy of The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D? Ends tomorrow night!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Review: Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer (ARC)

Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer
Balzar + Bray, 352 Pages
US Release Date: June 26, 2012
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher, via GoodReads Giveaways (thank you!)

Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are best friends and total overachievers. Even if they aren’t the most popular girls in school, they aren’t too worried. They know their real lives will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. There will be ivy, and there will be cute guys in the libraries (hopefully with English accents)! But when an unexpected event shows them they’re missing out on the full high school experience, it’s time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. They make a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge—and they will totally rock it.

Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she’ll have to get over her fear of public speaking—and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed. It could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but always stayed behind the scenes—until now.

These friends are determined to show that smart girls get what they want—but that could mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for....
----------------------Goodreads summary

Notable Quote
I searched for my favorite authors, women I have trusted to reassure me that not all teenage guys are total ditwads, that the archetype of the noble cute hero who devotes himself to the girl he loves has not gone the way of the rotary phone. That all I had to do was be myself (smart, hardworking, funny) and be patient and kind and he and I would find each other.
As Bea would say, this is why they call it fiction.
You guys. I think this is the CUTEST book I've read this year. And I was not expecting that! I definitely wanted to read it, but I had some reservations about the take on "smart girls" and just didn't really think it would be on the top of my list. But I was so wrong! I thoroughly enjoyed this entire story, from the characters to the hilarious and meaningful moments they find themselves in. This is a fun, funny and quietly strong novel about friendship, boys, and being who you are.

As I say in a lot of books, this was minorly predictable. Pretty much from page 20 I could tell where things would go and who would end up with whom -- but that didn't even really bother me in the end because I enjoyed how they all get there so immensely! It was like a little game, trying to figure out how the character would get from Point A to presumed Point B and figuring out if I was right. Probably a good 99% I was, but it was still all in good fun.

I loved the friendship between Gigi, Bea and Neerja - it reminded me a lot of me and my group of friends. Their dynamic is fun and supportive, but still remaining realistic with some problems and issues with each other; especially the parts about one girl being left out since the other two have boys (...sigh). You never doubt the girls' strong relationship with each other, and I loved getting to see that in a YA book.

Handling the perception of "smart girls" was also done really well; a lot of times writers will over-exaggerate intelligence in a character to emphasize s/he has it, but definitely not so in this. Each girl is obviously smart, but not in a way that makes the reader feel stupid or resentful towards them. I appreciated that the author made her characters actually put effort into being smart, too; they still did homework, they discussed learning devices and tests and studying. It wasn't just assumed they were smart; you could see they worked for it.

Everything felt nice and real and normal in this book. So many books portray the smartest girls in the grades as outcasts, nerds, never spoken to or sneered at by jocks and popular people. I have to assume that's real in some schools, but it never was for me; my school was massive, we just didn't care to have those types of barriers. I loved that even though these girls were honors students, top of their class, people of all different high school "factions" talked to them. They had other friends, interactions with those outside of their group, boy drama and lives. The characters were well-rounded and had interests beyond a 4.5 GPA.

I did think Gigi was a bit slow on the uptake, though maybe it's her character since most of those places had to do with relationships with other people and human interaction. Definite moments I just rolled my eyes and thought just hurry up and read, she'll get there eventually geez. And while I loved the character of Mike and how he's got some great depth to him, I do think he's a bit too perfect. Sure he has his flaws a few times (very little times), but they're just a bit too perfectly placed and convenient. But I would still date in him real life in less than a heartbeat!

Will is such a piece of shit! I had that nagging feeling that he always was throughout the novel, and as his character keeps going, I just wanted to kick him in the balls so much more. What an asshole. I write notes as I read, and my note on him is literally: "UGH. WILL. BOO." However! I do think he's written very well! I know boys who are just like him (unfortunately), and I did question a few times what he was really like. I totally loved him when he first came in, too. I just wish he hadn't been from California =/

What I was most surprised about was the clear message that came across: be yourself. Don't change for anyone. The girls each go through wanting to make their high school experience enjoyable, but they still work within parameters that are usual to themselves. They take risks and do things that scare them, but they never change from who they are. Even though others try to make them, or sometimes they might just a little, it always ends up at that wonderful message of figuring out what's real and what isn't. I love that, and think any teen should have a gentle reminder.

I'm not joking when I tell you I finished this book smiling. The entire story is filled with adorable moments, cute swoon-worthy romances (multiple!), and a wonderful little message wrapped around it all. Sure, maybe it's predictable, and Gigi needs to think a little (for being so smart, she can sure be dumb...definitely applies here!), and Mike may be a bit too perfect, and I want to kick a character in the shins...the fact is, I loved it all.

4.5 Stars

Monday, June 25, 2012

Review: Storybound by Marissa Burt

Storybound (Storybound #1) by Marissa Burt
Harper Collins Childrens, 416 Pages
US Release Date: April 3, 2012
Challenges: Local Library Challenge

In the land of Story, children go to school to learn to be characters: a perfect Hero, a trusty Sidekick, even the most dastardly Villain. They take classes on Outdoor Experiential Questing and Backstory, while adults search for full-time character work in stories written just for them.

In our world, twelve-year-old Una Fairchild has always felt invisible. But all that changes when she stumbles upon a mysterious book buried deep in the basement of her school library, opens the cover, and suddenly finds herself transported to the magical land of Story.

But Story is not a perfect fairy tale. Una’s new friend Peter warns her about the grave danger she could face if anyone discovers her true identity. The devious Tale Keeper watches her every move. And there are whispers of a deadly secret that seems to revolve around Una herself....

With the timeless appeal of books like A Wrinkle in Time and the breathtaking action of Inkheart, Storybound has all the makings of a new classic. Brimming with fantastical creatures, magical adventure, and heart-stopping twists, Storybound will leave readers wishing they too could jump through the pages into this enchanting fairy-tale world.
----------------------Goodreads summary
Notable Quote
Truth is one of the most powerful weapons against evil. And wisdom, which enables us to discern how to apply the truth. Without truth and wisdom, how would we be abel to tell the difference between the evil and the good?

I'm not sure I'll ever see storybooks the same. Storybound is such a wonderful mix of whimsical, serious, thoughtful and fun - a perfect Middle Grade novel. The concept is very original, with a great mix of characters so recognizable to any fairy tale lover - but with much more dimension.

I'll be honest and say that the book was a bit of a slow-goer for me; maybe my head just wasn't in it, but I put it down a few times and started other books. I always liked what I was reading and where the story was headed, but I didn't have any problems setting it aside for a bit. I got a bit confused with all the terms and a bit of the plot; there's a ton packed into this novel! Reworking what we know about storybook worlds, and then throwing shenanigans underfoot...well, it's a teensy bit complicated! But it was completely worth it to continue on; and once the last 100 pages or so hit, I was completely riveted. When everything finally comes together, it's a whirlwind ride.

This is also one of the few books that I didn't quite see the twist coming. I knew where a lot of the story would go, but a few of the points took me completely by surprise. I admit that as soon as I knew, everything fit perfectly into pace to the point where I kept thinking, "How did I not see that before!?" - which is just a testament to how well the story is woven.

Una Fairchild, the main character is quite strong. I love her personality and how she's quite driven and independent - any girl reading this story would do well to look up to her. Una is smart and resourceful, but not without her misgivings and mistakes. I loved Indy as well, no matter how small a part he was in the beginning. My favourite would have to be Sam, because he just rounded out the perfect trio with fun snaps of humor and cattiness (see what I did there?!). Even some of the villains, villainesses, and misguided Ladies are great characters with a lot of heart.

Perhaps the only downfall I had for the novel was Peter - he was not my favourite character. I felt he lacked a bit in personality. While I know it must be quite a hit to learn that everything you knew about your home may not quite be as told, he came across a bit surly and unlikeable for me. He perked up to a Hero towards the end, and I really look forward to Book 2 and seeing where he'll end up.

I want to talk more about the future of the characters, but I can't without spoiling things. I definitely have my hunches what will happen, who will end up with who, and how things will go down - but now I have the sad wait until next year for Book 2, Story's End. I'm quite eager for it. If you're looking for a fun twist on fairy tales and what's really between the bindings, I'd highly recommend Storybound.

3.5 Stars

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Checking in from ALA (and my sorry excuse for a Stacking the Shelf post!)

Hi all! Still tucked away in Anaheim enjoying ALA Annual - seriously, if you ever get a chance to make it out to one of these events, I cannot even stress how much I encourage it. To be around all things books and bookish people is an absolute treat.

Obviously I'll type up an entire recap later in the week after I recover from all the excitement (my feet hate me so hard right now!), but I just wanted to say hello! I miss you fellow bloggers! If you've met me the past few days, make sure you say hi, either by leaving a comment or on twitter or facebook or or anything! Comments helpful if you have your own blog so I can make sure to follow you :) If you haven't met me the past few days, and you could have...please say hi today!

I've met so many amazing bloggers, authors, publishers, publicists, agents, any-and-all bookish people over the last couple days I'm positively overwhelmed and grateful to have even been regarded as one among them. I've never been happier to be a part of the book community. I've been a horrible blogger though because I've taken absolutely ZERO photos :( Day 1 was too crazy for me to even try, and Day 2 my phone was dying. Maybe I can scrounge some up today or from others, but I apologize in advance for a non-photo recap to come!

Since I'm not at home and haven't been since Tuesday, I can't do a real Stacking the Shelf - and I'm too cut on time to make a proper Weekly Wrap-Up. So, that will all be done next week! For now, I wanted to leave you with a teaser photo of Day 1 from ALA :) I'd include everything from the past 2 days but we left the other bags in our car since we didn't want to lug them up to the hotel room haha.
Can you guess what the book behind this first one is?
I've been waffling about making a post with all the books I've acquired since I don't want to come across as greedy/ungrateful/hoarding/rude/othernegativethings, but I'm seriously excited about each and every one I picked up. Are those posts in bad taste? Should I make one anyway? Tell me!

Off to finish packing, then onto my final day at ALA! Hope everyone had a wonderful week and weekend!

PS. If you leave your Stacking the Shelf/Mailbox/weekly haul link in my comments, I'll still hop by when I get home tonight!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

10 Ways to Spot Me at ALA

Please say hello!
I love to meet new people and fellow book lovers. I'm friendly, I promise! I want to know which books you recommend and your favourite book! So, in order for you to easily spot me, here are 10 ways how:

1. I have seriously long, dark brown & black hair. It goes down to my waist. I constantly touch and fidget with it.

2. I've somehow managed to tweak my knee, so I'm currently walking with a limp on my left side. I hope it is gone before ALA (don't think it'll go over well walking an exhibit hall for 8 hours!), but chances are my gait will be a bit wonky.

3. I'm going to be there Friday evening, Saturday, and half of Sunday. So uhh...don't look for me other times?

4. I always look rushed. So I'm told, anyway.

5. I'm 5'3" when I stand tall. So I'll probably be around 5'1" because I'm kinda slouchy. Look down.

6. I wear a gold kartouche necklace that literally shines in sunlight. It says my name in Arabic on one side, and my name in English on the other. I will also be wearing 2 rings on my left hand: a ginormous shield ring on my middle finger (seriously, it's HUGE), and a silver leafing ring on my pointer finger.

7. I'm proooobably going to be at these author signings:

  • Jackson Pearce @ 5:30pm


  • Libba Bray @ 10:30 am
  • David Levithan @ 12pm
  • Jessica Khoury @ 2pm
  • Sarah J. Maas @ 3:30pm


  • Michael Grant @ 1pm
  • Lisa Schroeder @ 1:30pm (this one might not fit...but I'll try!)
  • Gennifer Albin @ 2:30pm

8. I will be at this event!
The Great YA Blogger Meetup
Hosted by YA Highway and Stacked Books
Saturday, June 23 @ 8pm
9. These are my business cards:
Cinder foot not included.
10. And mostly, because I look like this:
If you recognize this, it's my Twitter picture. Seems to work as an identifier!
Will you be there? Leave a comment so I can look out for you!
(and maybe some way I can recognize you, too?)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine
meant to spotlight an upcoming release we're eagerly awaiting!

Crewel (Crewel World #1) by Gennifer Albin
Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 368 Pages
Expected US Release: October 16, 2012

Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.
----------------------Goodreads summary

First off, how much do you love that cover? Because I kind of want to eat it I love it so much. (That's weird, I know - but it's the first thing I could think of.) I want to blow the picture up and wallpaper my room with it.

Second, I can't be the only one who had to read the summary twice to get it, because every time I see Spinster I just think of negativity - so it's definitely unique and interesting to read it as a job that is sought after! This just sounds so interesting and unique, I love the idea of a character not wanting to have that kind of control over other people's lives. 

And lastly, I love the cover with the summary - I think the colours and swirls are perfect to create this lovely, brilliant ethereal illusion of weaving time and matter. Perfection.

What book are you eagerly awaiting?
Leave your link and I'll hop by!

Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop: The List OR Chomp!

**This hop technically starts at midnight but due to a sudden death in my extended family I have to leave for the Bay Area. SO, everyone gets an extra few hours to enter! This way, if there ARE problems with the rafflecopter or anything else, let me know and I should be able to fix it in time. I'm going straight to ALA from the Bay so I will not be back until late Monday. Please let me know if you encounter any issues with the giveaway, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Welcome to the Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop,
hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Uniquely Moi Books!

For this hop, the winner can choose between these two books:

The List (finished hard cover) by Siobhan Vivian
Chomp (ARC) by Carl Hiaasen
(read my review of Chomp here!)

This giveaway ends June 26!
Sorry, but this is US Only as I'll be shipping it from my house.
Please read my giveaway policy before entering, and good luck!
Don't forget to hop around the linky below, there's some awesome prizes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 18, 2012

Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Books On My
Summer To-Be-Read List
Summer means the beach, sunshine, some swoony romance, and a lot of contemporaries for me! Don't get me wrong, I love my Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Dystopians, and those definitely have their own swoon-worthy moments (Aria + Peregrine, anyone?) - but something about summer equals contemporary. I tossed in 3 non-contemps just to mix it up (goin' crazy, I know!) a bit.

I also chose books that I actually own and have in my current possession and reach. While I'm excited for books that are coming out soon or ones I want to get my hands on, my TBR stack is freakin' out of control.

The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long

7 Clues To Winning You by Kristin Walker

Being Friends With Boys by Tera Elan McVoy

Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

The List by Siobhan Vivian

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill
Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson
A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

PS. Were you paying attention? I know it's not 10, but I couldn't help it!
What's on your Summer TBR?
Leave a link and I'll hop by!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller (ARC)

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
Bloomsbury Childrens, 224 Pages
Expected US Release Date: June 19, 2012
Format: eARC / ARC*
Source: NetGalley & Kimberly Sabatini 
(thank you NetGalley & Bloomsbury, and Kim!)
Challenges: Debut Author Challenge, Completely Contemporary Challenge, YA Contemporary Challenge

When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.
---------------------Goodreads summary

Notable Quote
I can't tell them the things they really want to know. How it feels to kill someone. It's different for everyone, but I felt a rush of adrenaline. A fleeting triumph. And later, in the night when it was quiet, the guilt hit like a sucker punch. Because, even though he was trying to kill me, I'd taken someone's life. These are things I've tried to leave in Afghanistan. Otherwise, how am I ever going to live with myself?
I'm going to get all this out of the way at the very beginning. And if I say it quick, maybe it'll hurt less. A very close childhood friend was killed in Iraq on December 13, 2005 by a roadside bomb. It wrecked his humvee and killed him and one other in his platoon. He was like a brother to me as a child, and I miss him every day. In college, a boy I was very close with and meant a lot to me was deployed suddenly to Iraq and Afghanistan - he's fine, home and retired from the Army now, but the fear and worry as I watched him leave, endure, and return linger, and the memories don't fade. One of my best friend's brother went through 2 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and returned without his best friend. As I type, I have 3 friends who are currently in Afghanistan, and I worry about them constantly and consistently.

Something Like Normal was not an easy book for me to read because every thought Travis had, every story he recounted and emotion he went through was projected onto someone I know personally. Charlie could have been my childhood friend, Travis could have been my best friend's brother, memories of nights spent in trenches and crappy food are what my friends are going through right now. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I had a hard time. I had to put it down twice because I started crying too hard, getting majorly overwhelmed with sadness and/or emotions. I finally set aside a day where I was ready to break down, have a good cry and fall in love with Travis and the rest of this story.

And let me tell you, all of it was entirely worth it. Beyond worth it.

A few people told me maybe I shouldn't read it if it was wrecking me too much - and I concede that maybe that would have been easier. But I loved the premise, and the fact that I could relate to this so much was a driving reason why I wanted to read it. That's one of the reasons why I love books; to connect, to feel and find myself in every page. There were also a few who told me to try not to get so personally attached to it; to which I say 1) that's also big reason why I read it, and 2) WAY easier said than done. If someone told you his personal account of moving through trenches while bombs were going off behind him, bullets were soaring towards him, and how he experienced auditory silence because of it...that's not something you can just disconnect from.

From strictly a reader's point of view, this book is absolutely amazing. Travis is such a strong character with an even stronger voice that just leaps off the pages. Half the day I think I may run into him at the grocery store he's so real. Harper is equally as strong, the perfect woman to take on Travis and all his issues. I loved their relationship together and how they slowly grow to trust each other and have this amazing give-and-take between them. Each secondary character is also done so well, making you love or hate them for very direct and dimensional reasons. Every person has their own unique and nuanced personality, no matter if it's being discussed the entire book, three chapters, or half a page.

The story itself is also phenomenal; sad and happy and difficult and raw, with real emotions and struggles. Kimberly Sabatini (hi Kim!) said in her review of it on Goodreads that this book had "endless depth and layers," which is just the PERFECT way to describe it. Everything Travis has to deal with just made my insides hurt for him, from family problems to reacclimatizing to "normal" life, to the death of his best friend right in front of his eyes. His PTSD was terrifying and made my heart hurt for him, written so thoroughly and well that I just want to hug every soldier I see in the hopes to ease any lingering effects. Travis's struggle with admitting it and then what to do with his nightmares was so heart wrenching; and I have to say that one of my favourite things was his struggle with it because of how it may affect his career with the Marines. Dealing with it is an emotional issue, but I rarely see the truth of how it would be viewed in the military and with other soldiers mentioned. I quite loved the mention/use of photos within the plot too - a perfect example of how what's photographed and printed about War may not be quite what it's framed to be.

I can't not mention Trish Doller's writing, too - it's so strong and fabulous. There's just the right amount of detail to break your heart or make you fall in love all over again; I seriously had a breakdown reading the line "Rock-paper-scissors was the way we decided everything, and it's only now I realize Charlie almost always thew rock." - because after all we know about Travis, Charlie and their relationship, it just struck me as so wonderfully heartbreaking. How she wrote his life, Travis's thoughts, the memories and all feels so REAL. It flows perfectly, and I flew through the pages.

As someone who read this book with so many personal ties, I fell in love, shed tears, and wondered how someone could get everything on the pages so right. Every emotion was spot on, from Travis's mom worrying, to the stress of why someone enlisted, to making life work when someone is gone, to figuring out how to mesh Past Life with Enlisted Life and's brilliant. While I myself am not in the Marines so my own experiences can only extend so far, I recognize a lot of things told to me from friends, soldiers and others who went through or are going through this. I want to give this book to everyone: military men to know they're not alone, friends with military friends so they know what they may face, anyone who's ever seen a soldier so they can just understand. Even someone who has no ties, no experience, no ANYTHING to do with this should read it, because it's just that beautiful.

This is probably the longest review I've ever written, and there are still SO many things I want to say. Every time I try to end it, I think of something else I want to talk about! While I will spare your reading eyes, just trust me when I say this book will take you through one of the rawest, roughest journeys in contemporary YA today - and you will feel so grateful to have experienced it. The story works its way through your heart and soul, leaving little touches everywhere - and I feel so lucky to have it with me.

There will never be enough medals for this book, but the best I can do is stars:
5 Stars / 5
PS. As an aside, I want to thank Trish for being such a wonderful person; she saw the struggle I was having with it on Twitter and was absolutely incredible about it. I mean, she told me to stop reading if it was triggering too many things! Not only does that mean she really understands the subject matter of her book, but you have to be a commendable person at heart to be an author telling a reader not to read her book. Few people have that much care and compassion, and I'm grateful Trish is one of them. Ms. Doller, you have my endless support.

*I was given an eARC from NetGalley, but my iPad decided not to cooperate ~40 pages in. Luckily, almost directly after that the wonderful Kimberly Sabatini had a contest for her ARC and I won - so I finished out the novel from the ARC. Sorry for confusion, but big thanks to Kim, NetGalley and Bloomsbury!
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