meg says read this, Read This

Read This: The Last Boy and Girl In the World

designed_by_expanded_gallery2Happy Friday, friends! Today I’m going to re-share an entry from last year about one of my favorite reads of 2016. Siobhan Vivian’s The Last Boy and Girl In the World was on my top favorites list of all time before I even finished reading. I live in Florida, and we have no shortage of summer storms. This past week the skies were dark and gray and it seemed to just rain and rain all day, every day. Whenever those days roll around I feel like I’m the “last girl in the world,” and my mind always wanders back to this incredible novel. That mixed with the news that Vivian’s next novel Stay Sweet will be released next spring has had this heavy on my mind. TLBAGITW is an amazing summer read, late night stay up and turn the pages instead of going to sleep read, beach read, poolside read, airplane read, snuggled up in your covers on the weekend read – basically it’s an anytime, anywhere, you have to read this book – read. Here’s my original post gushing about this book, I’ll admit my mild obsession peeks through a bit, but that should just be a testament to what a wonderful story it is. If you didn’t read it after my first urging, what are you waiting for?!

“Be still my heart” should basically be my mantra after reading Siobhan Vivian’s latest, The Last Boy and Girl in the World. Pure genius, I’m telling you – well, more like sweetly yelling at you with an excited urgency. See, if you’ve been reading my blog for long you know I have an intense love affair with young adult fiction but since I read Mosquitoland back in December, there hadn’t been a YA title that truly captured my attention. Then a few weeks ago Siobhan Vivian tweeted a link to the first six chapters of TLBAGITW, and I was absolutely captivated. I honestly had trouble sleeping that night because I couldn’t wait to read the rest – that’s how hooked I was. There is a particular quality of magic in this book. Something that makes it sparkle and shine and stand out among the rest. Truly, Keeley and Morgan, Jesse and Levi – all of these characters really found a little home in my heart. I had the library put the book on hold for me and when I saw it was in transit, I ducked out from work for a minute on Friday to pick it up before they closed. By Saturday afternoon, I was finished. Even though I tried to space out my reading binge a little because I didn’t want the story to be over yet. Also, I had to take a few breaks near the end because I was in tears.

Now, I’ve given myself a bit of time to really absorb it all, and sort out my thoughts.  I don’t think this has really aided in watering down my obsession, though. I still want to tell everyone I know to go ahead and read this book. My friends who are in the camp of “I just can’t relate to high schoolers” – get over yourselves for a second, right? Because it’d be a shame to miss such an enchanting story.

The premise of an unknown weather related disaster reminded me slightly of The Age of Miracles. I’m not complaining because I loved that book too! But other than that The Last Boy and Girl in the World really set itself into a world of it’s own. Vivian really hit it out of the park with this one. I know these are all vague descriptions, but I’ll tell you this: If you were one of those girls who grew up with an overwhelming crush on one particular guy – you will love to read what unfolds between Keeley Hewitt and Jesse Ford. Some of the scenes and the lines, are enough to make you swoon – but not overboard cheesy where you’re thinking “gag me” as you dive into all of the romantic details. I think many of us can relate to the idea that sometimes, regardless of what catastrophic disaster is happening around us, it’s nice to be selfish for a second and be distracted by our own grand stroke of luck in the scheme of things. That’s kind of what happens here when Aberdeen seems to be suffering from frigid temperatures and never ending rain that causes the town to flood and leads to even bigger problems.

Vivian also found a way to touch on friendship in one of the most beautiful ways I’ve seen written about to date. For anyone who has had a friend from a very  young age, and seen your friendship change as you get older – you know that this isn’t always easy. We’re not the same at eighteen as we were at eight (and for that matter twenty-eight). Some bonds don’t survive the tumultuous ride of life, and that pain is one that can cut the deepest. Love in a friendship though, can sometimes make it transcend anything. I think that happens here. We’re reminded how sometimes, even though you can’t replicate what you had in the past, you can learn a way for the friendship to be a part of your present and future, just in a different capacity.
In a few hundred pages Siobhan Vivian successfully covered topics from friendship, relationship, all different kinds of love, family drama, growing up, and transitional periods in life with so much reality and heart, I find it impossible not to keep this book in one of those esteemed spots for avid readers. The kind of spot on your favorite books list, that it will always be one of the first you recommend when people ask for suggestions. There’s adventure and angst and such vivid storytelling that when I recall the chapters, I feel like I can still see the scenes in my head.All of this to say, if you haven’t gotten your hands on a copy of this yet – what are you waiting for?!
(Image borrowed from official site.)
Friday Five, meg says listen to this, meg says read this, meg says watch this

Meg Says: Friday Five

 

Switching it up a little on this Friday. Here are five things I found super exciting about this week, still all relating to my latest read this, listen to this, and watch this obsessions:

  1. Sarah Dessen’s Once and For All and Paula Hawkins Into the Water are both available for me to pick up at the library. I foresee some pool or beach side reading in my weekend plans (pending this rain storm passes, otherwise it’ll probably be snuggled up.)
  2. I re-watched About Alex for (I think) the third time, a few days ago and was reminded why I was obsessed with this film in the first place. If I ever made a movie, this is the tone, vibe, soundtrack feel, cast chemistry I’d be going for.
  3. This anthology video Maren Morris released:

  4. HOW HAVE I NOT MENTIONED IT HERE?! (But across various other social media platforms.) JOHN GREEN’s NEW BOOK! Set to release in October Turtles All the Way Down. Go ahead and pre-order your signed copy now. (Literally can’t wait!)
  5. Speaking of awesome things happening in October…Stranger Things SEASON TWO!

meg says read this, Read This

Read This: The Serpent King

For those of you looking for book recommendations, I just finished The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner this weekend. It was on my list for a while, but I had to work myself up to this one. Astonishingly beautiful, even though I had to wait for the tears to pass to finish it. That being said, most definitely check it out!
Dillard, Travis, and Lydia are high school seniors in small town Forrestville, Tennessee. They’re kind of a misfit band of three musketeers in a school that doesn’t have too many open minded students. Lydia has a fashion blog (appropriately named Dollywood,) and has big dreams of leaving their town for the city. Lydia’s dad is a dentist, her mom is in real estate, and they live a comfortable life together. They’re supportive and caring parents, and they try to be inclusive of her friends when they can. Dillard shares a name with his father, and grandfather, who were both snake handlers in their church. Dillard’s father is in prison for child pornography, and it seems Dill is carrying his father’s shame on his own back. Even Dillard’s mom harbors hard feelings as if it’s her son’s fault for the hardships they’ve fallen on. Dillard doesn’t let himself dream big, feeling he has a responsibility to take care of his mother, but he has huge talent lurking below the surface and a calling to honor his musical ability. Travis is the quiet one of the bunch. Most of the time he’s lost in thought related to the fantasy world science fiction series he loves. He makes worlds of his own in his head, and imagines himself a knight to escape the brunt of his father’s drunken rages. Each of them has their own demons to escape, whether it’s fear of being found out that your reputation of “being yourself” isn’t so true, if you’re hiding the biggest part of your life, or the fear of succumbing to inherited darkness, or the fear of not being able to stand up for yourself in the way you most badly want to, be the defender of the people who matter most.
This is Zentner’s debut novel, and it is so astonishingly beautiful. The way he phrases such delicately crafted details is incredible. Zentner weaves a story of friendship, coming of age, love, faith, what it means to be a family, and taking risks because the outcome has to be better than being stagnant. I found it painful, but also refreshing how realistic he was about each character’s home life and background. Everyone has a story, even the people closest to you, you think you already know. There are battles everyone faces each day, to rise above circumstance, to outlast the struggles inside. I stayed up late into the night, tears steaming down my face, shoulders shaking as I cried for these kids and their stories. Each time I thought I was ready to continue, I’d turn the page and the next passage would make me start all over. That said, it’s totally worth the heart wrenching roller coaster it takes you on. The Serpent King flows the way life does with its ups and downs and times of uncertainty, but usually you come out alright on the other side. This is one of those stories that is so realistically balanced in truth, that I dare say it should be required reading – it enables you to get such a well rounded view from many perspectives. It’s a reminder to treasure the little things, and that stepping out on a limb is the real way to get the greatest reward. I knew this book was gonna be a shake up, the kind that turns you inside out a little with all of the feelings to process, but I’m so glad Ifinally read it. The book was so dang great, I can’t even be mad it felt like somebody reached into my chest and pulled my heart out. What are you waiting for? Dive in!

meg says read this, Read This

Read This: The Selection Series

A friend recommended The Selection series by Kiera Cass with the premise of “it’s like a combination of The Hunger Games and The Bachelor.”  Okay, so I don’t watch The Bachelor, but I am a twenty something living in America, so I vaguely know what’s up. Also, as you probably remember I was absolutely obsessed with The Hunger Games. I’ll admit, THG holds a high spot in my heart, so I was a little weary going into this one, but my goodness was I wrong. Cass weaves an intriguing story, mixing romance, friendship, loyalty to self and country all into a web of addicting pages. America Singer is a teenager leaving in a future country long after what we know as America doesn’t exist anymore. Illea is ruled by a monarchy, and it’s time for Prince Maxon to find a wife for him to rule the kingdom in the future with. They use a process called The Selection where women are chosen from each region, to come and live in the castle and go through a dating process very similar to The Bachelor. It was never really part of America’s plan to actually be a contestant in the Selection. She thought she’d continue her life in her caste as a 5, singing at lavish parties, and marry her childhood best friend. Of course, life has its own unexpected twists and turns. I don’t use the word addicting lightly. As soon as I finished The Selection, I went online and saw the e-library had The Elite available and downloaded it immediately. Basically, my obsession continued through the rest of the series, along with the final two of the five that take place after a time jump.Cass writes so vividly that I could easily see this series being adapted for a television show, (which I think it was a while ago.) I would also throw in, if you’re a fan of Reign  you would probably also enjoy these. If you’re looking for something fun to read that will keep you on the edge of your seat, I highly recommend this series.

meg says read this, Read This

Read This: Out of the Easy

If you’ve been reading Meg Says posts for a bit, you probably already know what a fan girl I am of Ruta Sepetys. Between Shades of Grey and Salt to the Sea were both incredible books. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago, that I finally picked up Out of the Easy at the library. Of course, I’m smacking myself wondering why it took me so long. Sepetys always finds a way to beautifully intertwine stories of history, family, coming into one’s own, and friendship,p and she did it again with Josie Moraine in Out of the Easy. Josie lives in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950. Her mom has her own struggles, so Josie has mostly been fending for herself the past several years. Josie works hard, and she has dreams to leave New Orleans – to go to college, to experience a life bigger than the Quarter. Out of the Easy is filled with so many tender moments that tug on your heartstrings, funny moments as  Josie’s genuine character comes to life on the page, and that reminiscent style that reminds you no matter what decade people are living in, young girls experience a lot of similar rollercoaster emotions.  With a mysterious death in this story, I’d say it lingers on a bit of mystery – which is great, it adds to the dimension of the story. This is also a prime example, of not being able to choose the family you’re born into, but the bonds and relationships you create with the people around you are what matter most in life – those people become your family. I basically read Out of the Easy in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what happened, and even when my heart ached for Josie in some chapters, I knew she’d rise above her circumstance. If you’re familiar with New Orleans, it’s fun to imagine the places we see now about 70 years ago, too. I could imagine the busy streets, and hear the hum of the music, and picture the wild parties in those grand southern mansions. If you’re not familiar with Ruta Sepetys work yet, I’d recommend reading all of her books this weekend. If you’ve already read the first two I mentioned, go ahead and dive in to Out of the Easy.