Everything Everything – Nicola Yoon

Everything Everything
By: Nicola Yoon
Available September 2015

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

This Blonde’s Review:
Madeline has spent all of her life locked away with only her mother and nurse for company. She has a rare condition that makes her deathly allergic to the outside world. When Olly moves in next door something about him draws her.

Olly and Madeline are complete opposites. He is in constant motion, while her life has been very still. He spends his time outside while she is always inside. She can’t help watching him and he can’t contain his curiosity about the mysterious girl next door. Their secret relationship starts slowly, with notes and internet conversations, and soon escalates to making decisions that can change the course of her life. Madeline has to decide what she’s willing to risk for the type of life she wants and how far she’s willing to go to get it. Is she really living if the life she lives locked away in her tower?

I liked seeing the way Madeline slowly comes to realize what she wants for herself. I love that Olly prompted her to look further but her thoughts and decisions weren’t just for a guy. She wants to live life on her own terms, but she cares about her mother and doesn’t want to hurt her.

I enjoyed getting to know Madeline and Olly, I also loved seeing the way their relationship built. If you like books with characters who have insurmountable obstacles to a relationship then you may enjoy this one.


Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Around The World Tours, Book Review


The Anatomical Shape of a Heart – Jenn Bennett

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart
By: Jenn Bennett
Available November 2014

Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Leonardo da Vinci’s footsteps, she’s ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Beatrix’s own family’s closet tear them apart?

This Blonde’s Review:
Beatrix wants access to cadavers to practice drawing real body parts. She believes seeing the real parts and organs will give her a better understanding of how they look over looking at pictures and drawings by others. When the person she needs to talk to about the program stands her up and she misses the last train she has to take a midnight us. That’s where she meets the mysterious Jack.

Jack has secrets, she doesn’t know much about him but she finds him intriguing. As she gets to know him she can’t help but fall for him too. As they learn more about each other they realize that there is baggage on both sides that can make a relationship difficult.

I loved getting to know Beatrix and Jack. They’re great characters that have to figure out how to deal with the issues in their families and juggle getting to know each other. I thought it was great that things weren’t quite what they seem for either of their families. They had plenty to learn about each other and themselves.

I have to say that I loved the description of the art she used for her scholarship submission. It sounded interesting and like something I would have liked to see. I loved the way her art was able to open things up for people around her.

If you enjoy a book about characters struggling to find themselves and deal with family issues while getting to know themselves you’ll enjoy this one.

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Posted by on September 1, 2015 in Book Review


Forget Tomorrow – Pintip Dunn

Forget Tomorrow
By: Pintip Dunn
Forget Tomorrow – Book 1
Available November 2015

“Imagine a world where your destiny has already been decided…by your future self.”

It’s Callie’s seventeenth birthday and, like everyone else, she’s eagerly awaiting her vision―a memory sent back in time to sculpt each citizen into the person they’re meant to be. A world-class swimmer. A renowned scientist.

Or in Callie’s case, a criminal.

In her vision, she sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister. Before she can process what it means, Callie is arrested and placed in Limbo―a hellish prison for those destined to break the law. With the help of her childhood crush, Logan, a boy she hasn’t spoken to in five years, she escapes.

But on the run from her future, as well as the government, Callie sets in motion a chain of events that she hopes will change her fate. If not, she must figure out how to protect her sister from the biggest threat of all—Callie, herself.

This Blonde’s Review:
Callie has waited impatiently for the memory from her future self and can’t imagine seeing anything other than fulfilling her dreams. Instead she sees herself injecting her sister with something and the heart monitors stopping. She adores her little sister and is sure that this must be a mistake, there is no way she would harm her sister. Callie knows that people whose memories show them committing crimes are arrested and placed in Limbo, but what she doesn’t know is how people move from Limbo to prison. She doesn’t realize how serious the agency takes the memories or what they will do to keep their system in place.

Soon Logan, the boy she finds she still has feelings for despite years of not talking, is helping her escape and find a way to a group she never knew existed. He takes her to a group dedicated to living away from the government and believes they can decide their paths even if it takes them away from what the memories send back.

The things that Callie discovers surprise her and make her realize nothing was what she thought. She learns surprising things about the government, the people she cares about, and about herself. She has hard choices to make for herself and for the sake of everyone.

I enjoyed Callie and the people she gets to know in the book. Clearly we’re going to love Logan since he’s the love interest. How could we not like him when he does so much to help Callie. But I also enjoyed getting to know her mother and sister, and the others with the resistance. From the guy who is afraid he’ll hurt someone to the woman who refuses to have a child, they’re all living the best lives they can, determined to prevent tragedy.

If you enjoy books that have you considering what came first and whether the future can be changed then you’ll want to read this one. I’m ready for book two so I can see what happens next and book one isn’t even out yet!


Young Widows Club – Alexandra Coutts

Young Widows Club
By: Alexandra Coutts
Available November 2015

For seventeen-year-old Tam, running off to marry her musician boyfriend is the ideal escape from her claustrophobic high-school life on the island, and the ultimate rebellion against her father and stepmother. But when Tam becomes a widow just weeks later, the shell-shocked teen is forced to find her way forward by going back to the life she thought she’d moved beyond—even as her struggle to deal with her grief is forcing her to reinvent herself and reach out to others in ways she never imagined.

This Blonde’s Review:
Tam never imagined that rushing to start her life early by getting married young could leave her a widow at a young age too. When her husband dies in his sleep unexpectedly she finds herself a widow at 17 with no idea what to do with her life. When most people her age are focusing on graduation and college, she’s dealing with the loss of a spouse and the life she had planned.

I didn’t relate the Tam right away since I was never one to dive in to relationships, but the more we get to know her and her relationship the easier it is to see how her relationship would feel like home to her. In some ways her relationship and the music that made up their lives also brought her closer to the mother she lost at a young age and the lifestyle her father left behind after the loss.

I really loved the people in her widows club. The wacky leader and their crazy stunts were amusing enough to be more interesting than a regular support group that talked, but also seemed like something that could help. When you’re trying not to feel something and have to act it out, it can great and sad all the the same time to finally deal with the feelings that acting it out will bring to the surface. Even if you find yourself giving someone a bloody nose.

I liked that they had her going back to school and reexamining her future, with options she never considered before. When you see yourself focusing on building someone else’s dreams you don’t always see that you might have dreams of your own. And after such a devastating loss it is natural to believe that you won’t ever find anyone else. Especially not someone so different from the one you lost.

I enjoyed this book. I like that Tam wasn’t only dealing with the death of her husband at 17. She was also dealing with unresolved issues over her mother’s death, the way her family changed when her father remarried, and confronting her own changed future.

If you like books with characters who have to confront their feelings and decide whether they can accept new dreams and the disappointments that come with that then you’ll want to read Tam’s story.


For The Record – Charlotte Huang

For The Record
By: Charlotte Huang
Available November 2015

Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like . . . until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything

Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen hearthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.

Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule . . . Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?

There are many people who want to be famous but they don’t always think about how it might happen. What if you were to suddenly replace the lead singer in your favorite band? And what is the rest of the band didn’t have a say on whether you joined the band or not? Chelsea learns that it isn’t easy when you aren’t welcomed with open arms, when you’re joining an established group with their own quirks and problems.

Chelsea can’t seem to win no matter what she tries, she’s often on the wrong foot with the others in the band. The tour is better with her best friend working the merch on tour with her, but they’re both so busy she barely gets to see her. Instead she finds herself involved with a hot actor and trying to keep from getting overrun try his large fan base and the paparazzi that follow him. Melbourne’s fans are still getting used to Chelsea, but the more she lets herself follow her heart instead of worrying about the rest of the band the more they start to notice her.

I enjoyed seeing Chelsea’s journeys as she tries to find her place with their fans and the rest of the band. She starts to have issues with her best friend, her boyfriend, and the rest of the band. It makes her think maybe going home to obscurity would be better, except this time instead of one friend she wouldn’t have any. I really loved Beckett, he was such a great character that we couldn’t help but want good things for him and for he and Chelsea to wind up together. There were so many interesting characters but some were clearly going to be bigger in our hearts than others.

If you want to read a book about a girl who went from being shunned to being part of a famous rock band then you’ll enjoy this one.


This Is Where It Ends – Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It Ends
By: Marieke Nijkamp
Available January 2016

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

The auditorium doors won’t open.

Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

This Blonde’s Review:
It was a normal day, until they couldn’t open the doors. It was normal until the shooting began.

This book shared what happened and the pasts of several people from several viewpoints. We saw what happened people outside of the school who knew their loves ones were inside and the boys inside the school but not in the auditorium who risk it all to try to help get kids out. And we see the viewpoint of the sister of the shooter and her girlfriend.

This book is heartbreaking as we see students make choices to try to survive or save each other. And the one who is broken and ready to destroy everyone, even the people he claims to love. There is no good way for this book to end since the whole tale is a tragedy, but sometimes the best thing we can get from it is to see the way people can love each other and how far they’re willing to go for the ones they love. They’ll keep secrets about things done to them and they’ll put themselves in harms way.

I don’t know that “enjoyed” would be the best word for a book with this kind of topic, but I didn’t want to put the book down. I had to know what would happen and if the characters we were caring for, and their loved ones, would make it out alive. As awful as those situations are we have to know how it ends and hope for the best.

If you find yourself drawn to books where you know your heart will hurt and there’s no way for everything to end happily but have to know anyway then give this book a shot.


Tonight the Streets Are Ours – Leila Sales

Tonight the Streets Are Ours
By: Leila Sales
Available September 2015

Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But she’s tired of being loyal to people who don’t appreciate her—including her needy best friend and her absent mom.

Arden finds comfort in a blog she stumbles upon called “Tonight the Streets Are Ours,” the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him.

During one crazy night out in NYC filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn’t exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn’t exactly who she thought she was, either.

This Blonde’s Review:
Love is a tricky thing. Arden is the kind of person who puts so much of herself into loving the people around her that she doesn’t put enough emphasis on loving herself too. When she finds Peter’s blog “Tonight the Streets Are Ours” during some frustrated googling she finds herself hooked. When things in her life don’t work the way she wants them to she decides to take a spontaneous trip several hours away to New York City with her best friend to find him.

Peter was built up in her mind based on the things he had written. But sometimes a writer will tell their story based on what they want it to be rather than what it is. Throughout an unexpected night Arden faces disappointments with her best friend, Peter, and things she starts to realize about her family as well. And soon Arden finds herself confronting things she hadn’t considered and realizing that her life doesn’t have to be about living up to the stories told about the doll named for her.

I enjoyed this, but what I loved most is that it isn’t about romance with the girl getting the guy. It’s about a girl trying to find someone who understands her, about finding out what you will or won’t accept for yourself.

If you like to read books with characters who love so big that they lose themselves and want to see if Arden can find herself without losing the relationships that matter most then you’ll want to read this one.