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.
In 99 Days we find out early on that Molly’s mom has done the unthinkable – used the love triangle of her own daughter’s (disastrous?) adventures in love – as the plot for her best-selling novel. Because who isn’t going to read about the sweet girl betraying the boy she grew up with, her first love Patrick, by getting together with his older brother Gabe? Dramatic, I know. So what does Molly do when this story lands itself on the cover of People magazine? Run off to boarding school out of state, of course. Even with a year hiatus from the town holding the secrets of her past, she can’t stay away forever. So, the summer before going off to college in Boston she finds herself back at her mom’s place. Of course, Molly does what any teenager practicing avoidance and any kind of social interaction would do – lays in bed eating Red Vines and watching Netflix documentaries. Not surprisingly, though that’s a comforting activity, it gets old fast. So, Molly unexpectedly finds herself with a new job to busy her self, (helping with the re-opening of a restaurant at the country club,) and slowly tries to mend the pieces of her broken friendships.
Cotugno tells Molly’s story of learning forgiveness (extending it to others, like her mom and looking for it with her friends by owning up to mistakes she’s made.) We all know I’m a sap, but I felt Molly’s struggle of trying to listen to her heart screaming to her about someone she knew like the back of her hand, and someone new who was fun and present and real, and seemed open. Cotugno also delved into the meaning of family – with Molly’s relationship with her mom but also her relationship with Patrick’s family – she used to be like one of their own.
While yes, this has a great pace for an indulgent read by the pool or at the beach – don’t dismiss it as a fluff read. 99 Days is heartfelt, emotional, funny at times, and it’s true to life. Maybe you see yourself in Molly, or one of her friends. It’s a refreshing take on coming into your own from the throws of teenage-hood, and growing up.
If you haven’t read this one yet, check it out!
I guess you could say I’ve taken a bit of a break from young adult novels in the past few weeks, (well, in terms of usual ratio,) but I saw the movie trailer for Nicola Yoon’s Everything Everything, and thought to myself “why the heck haven’t I read this yet?” Too impatient to wait on the library’s hold list, I picked up a copy at Sam’s Club, and dove right in. Maybe I’m off my game, but I was thrown by the plot twist. And I LOVE that. I genuinely love when I’m surprised by the words on a page, and am so overwhelmed absorbing the information I didn’t expect to see, I have to pause. Everything Everything tells the story of teenager Madeline who has lived her whole life in the same house, breathing filtered air, with only in-person contact with her mom and her nurse (who takes her stats and vitals all day,) and a time or two a visit from a teacher – because she is allergic to everything. Can you imagine? Though, maybe it’s like some things in life – when you haven’t experienced them yet, you don’t know to miss them. You can’t miss the smell of the ocean, if the salty air has never wafted below your nose, and you can’t miss the taste of a steaming hot slice of pizza burning the roof of your mouth, if those ingredients have never touched your tongue. You probably won’t daydream all day about holding hands with a boy, if you haven’t interacted with one in real life. Maddy lives life vicariously through the pages of the books she devours, and is entertained by movie nights, and made-up board games with her mom. Life as Maddy knows it, changes when cute, mysterious, Olly and his family move in next door. How convenient their bedroom windows face one another. What starts with hand gestures, and condensation notes on window panes, leads to e-mails and the ole trusty instant messenger, and then opens to a whole other world of experiences beyond what Maddy could have imagined on her dreamiest days. Armed with a credit card, and a mischievous streak of braveness not to let her life pass her by, Maddy makes some huge decisions – taking her life and all of it’s possibilities into her own hands. Everything, Everything is a story of love and friendship, trust and betrayal, adventure and risk, and listening to your gut. I know I’m late to the game, but this was a fantastic read, and I found it refreshing. If you haven’t yet, check out this great novel. (I have to admit, I’m excited to see what they’ve done with the movie adaptation!)
Once again, I found myself in the rabbit hole of suggested movie picks on Netflix, based off what I’d watched recently and Comet came up multiple times. Justin Long and Emmy Rossum star in this endearing flick, that’s got a little bit of everything. The comedic timing is fantastic, but the tangled web of a love story can pull on your heart strings a little. It totally forgoes any sort of linear time line, and I think that leaves a lot of room for audience interpretation (especially in the final scene sequence.) Think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Science of Sleep. I’m a fan of both of those films, and I’d say this one nestles in that category of blurred lines of reality pretty nicely. For fans of star crossed love stories – here’s a film for you. It doesn’t hurt that Dell and Kimberly’s relationship starts off with a chance meeting while standing in line to watch a meteor shower in Hollywood Forever Cemetery. That encounter leads to a relationship that is tumultuous and beautiful and at times painstakingly heart wrenching as the two stumble through struggles and pitfalls, tearing away from one another only to find each other again later on. The cinematography is spellbinding, with a gorgeous soundtrack to match. If you haven’t checked out Comet yet, I encourage you to go ahead and watch it now. For those of you who’ve seen it, what did you think? Too reminiscent of similar tales, or original enough to win you over? Share your thoughts in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!
I lucked out on a recent trip to the public library last Friday and was able to pick up three new titles I’ve been excited to read! Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian’s Fire with Fire (follow up to Burn for Burn,) Sarah Dessen’s The Moon and More and Tera Elan McVoy’s Criminal. As I mentioned earlier this week, I haven’t been reading for pleasure in a while. Actually, if you check out my reading log on my Tumblr account, it’s been quite some time. (Let me add though, that list is for books I finish reading. I can’t tell you the number of books I’ve picked up and read fifty or so pages of, but my attention span just couldn’t last this summer.) From these three choices I picked Fire with Fire to start. It’s pretty lengthy, (which is exciting when you’re a bit addicted to the author team – these BFFs to do great work together!) but I’m sure you’ll fly through it because it’s a great page-turner, leaving you on the edge of your seat, dying to find out what happens next!
Honestly, if you haven’t read Burn for Burn go ahead, do yourself a favor and start there. Then when that’s finished, go ahead and read this one. Fire with Fire had some twists and turns I wasn’t expecting, and some I was anticipating. The psychological game, and how easy it is to get wrapped up in the story reminds me of my (perhaps a little bit unhealthy) fascination with Pretty Little Liars.
If you’re looking for a fun, intense, suspenseful, maybe even a little bit super-natural on top of the regular perils of high school friendship and romance? Definitely give Fire with Fire a read! Lillia, Kat, and Mary are back at it again…now having to deal with the consequences of the plot twist of their plan from the first in this trilogy. But just wait until you find out what happens next…