Book Review: Noggin by John Corey Whaley

18049084Genre: 

Young Adult, treat Contemporary, visit this site Light Sci-Fi

Pages: 

356

Part of a Series?:

No

Release Date: 

April 8th, 2012

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.

Now he’s alive again.

Simple as that.

The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice.

My Review:

Look, its hard for me to give a 5 out of a 5 on a book. I used to just hand it out like it was free candy or something. But once I became a blogger, and really started reading books, not just for pleasure, but to really see what books were good, I started handing them out less. You have to earn that five out of five. You have to show me you deserve it.

John Corey Whaley did just that. I had seen him at a panel at the Festival of Books with Andrew Smith (literary god), Rainbow Rowell (the FEEEELS), E. Lockhart (I gotta get my hands on her new book) and Aaron Hartzler (can he be my best friend?). He was funny, his book sounded amazing and I was like, I gotta do this. I developed a massive crush on him that day.

And okay, he’s awesomely gay and has a boyfriend and whatnot, but whatever, people. I can so have a crush on him. I have a best friend crush on him. Or something. Moving on.

I saw him again at Ontario Teen Book Fest, and since I was the resident blogger for that, I was able to spend a bit of time with him, and he was just awesome. He was SO funny, and he told me that Godzilla was his fictional crush, and that Grasshopper Jungle would be the book he wished he had as a teen and I was like, this man is beautiful and I need to read his books.

So when my sister brought home Noggin from the library, I grabbed it from her, and proceeded to read it. She was angry because she’s the one that got it, but I told her I’d finish it before she would even crack it open and I was right.

This book is BRILLIANT. The whole time that I was in Travis’ head, I was a mess of emotions. This kid has it totally rough and I was on his side the whole time. So many people were getting angry and mad at him, getting upset at the way he was acting but they didn’t understand. He was pushing best friend and his girlfriend for things that seemed strange and wrong to them but it felt right to him. Imagine going to sleep tonight, and waking up, and everyone you knew was five years older, and had moved on without you. That’s pretty much exactly what happens with Travis. He never expects to wake up, and if he does, its going to be long after the people he’s known has been gone. He never expects to feel like it was a nap. He still wants his best friend in his life, he still loves his girlfriend incredibly and to have them moved on without him is so hard and I was on Travis’ side the whole time.

When you first read the synopsis, you’re thinking its a sort of science fiction book but its definitely not. Travis’ head is frozen, and they figure out a way to reawaken it on another body just a mere five years after his “death”. That’s where the science fiction ends. The story is of Travis struggling to find his place in the world where he is a rare thing, and where the world has moved on without him. He literally has to tackle this, without the people he’s always relied on, and they’ve done it already, they know who they are, they’ve moved past and its incredible and real. Corey writes this book so well, and there are parts when I want to laugh, and there are parts where I want to cry and there’s more than one part where I’m like, I would hate to be him. I would both love that idea of a second chance at life but hate that everyone had moved on without me. How hard, how emotional for anyone.

John Corey Whaley is an incredible author, and I have his first novel in my TBR pile, waiting for me to come and dive in soon. I can’t wait to read more by him because he tells a great story, and he has a way of balancing humor and romance and basic human emotion in one gigantic beautiful story.

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

16081202Genre: 

Young Adult, ask  Romance

Pages: 

342

Part of a Series?:

No

Release Date: 

May 6th, what is ed 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, page Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

My Review:

The first time I had ever heard about this book was just about a month ago, while attending the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Emery Lord was on panel with Stephanie Perkins and she was absolutely adorable. She made me laugh, talked about Sarah Dessen and had a really cute shirt on (don’t ask me how I remember that). She talked about her book and I immediately went home to add it to be “To Be Read” list. I kept seeing it at the bookstores, calling out my name and finally, I caved into the pressure and bought it.

And I am so incredibly glad that I did.

Emery Lord is absolutely fantastic at creating a super fun and addicting story. From the very first moment that I met Reagan, I knew that I’d want to be her best friend, even though she sounds like it would also be incredibly hard to be her best friend as well. She’s fun and full of life but also kind of wild and troublesome. Even though she’s kind of a messy character, I loved her from the very first moment that I met her and I was rooting for her the whole way, even though there were moments that I wanted to shake her so hard.

Plus, she’s best friends with a celebrity and this world of traveling in this epic tour bus and going to all these concerts where her best friend is headlining and listening to famous musicians make music…it sounds like worlds away from anything I’ve ever done and that’s another reason that I got hooked so fast. It was addicting and compelling and so easy to get through. I went through this book so fast, dreaming of living on a tour bus and watching someone I love rock out on stage every night and being the subject of a super cool song like “Open Road Summer.”

Oh, and thank you, Emery Lord, for introducing me to Matt Finch. Because, you know, I have a ridiculous weakness to musicians and what I really need in my life is yet another book boyfriend. Not. In all honesty though, Emery writes a beautiful boy character reminiscent of Dexter, Owen, Wes and all the other great boys of the Dessen novels. Any boy that can remind me of those boys is perfect in my book. Doesn’t every girl want a boy to write a song about her? Or two? Or three? ;)

All in all, I was so glad that I discovered Emery at the Festival of Books and that I convinced myself to buy the book. Its a great summer read. I can see myself reading this, curled up on a great summer day, reading about two best friends on an epic road trip, finding love and breaking hearts. Its fun and has a great love story, something that I’ve really been looking for lately. I recommend it highly and I honestly can’t wait to see what else Emery comes up with in the future!

Rating:

4.5 out of 5 Stars

Book of the Week-Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

Hey guys! How’s everyone’s week so far? I hope its good. Everything is going pretty well over here in WhatANerdGirlSays corner! Its nice and sunny and beautiful in California right now and I hope that means summer is nearing because I am SO ready for it! So many exciting things to look forward to this summer. 

So today is the Book of the Week, this and I haven’t read anything NEW this week. I re-read Divergent because I was a little bit on a Divergent high from meeting Veronica Roth and I’m giving away a signed copy of Divergent, decease so I was rereading that. Now, story I’m in the middle of re-reading Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and I remembered again, what a great book this is and what a great summer read it is too. 

And with the sun shining and summer quickly approaching, what better a book to pick for this week’s review. 

And I’ll be seeing Morgan Matson at a couple events this month!

 

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson 

7664334

 

Genre:
young adult, contemporary

Part of a Series?:
Nope 

You May Like if You Liked:
anything by Sarah Dessen 

Plot Summary:

An ALA Top Ten Pick for Young Readers Winner :) 

Amy Curry’s dad has just died, in a car accident, and no one wants to talk about her, especially her. Her brother pushes himself further into partying and drugs and ends up in rehab. Her mom picks up everything they have and moves them to Connecticut, from California. Amy is allowed to finish her school year but then she must come join her mom in their new home. There’s a catch though; they need their car and the only way to get it is to drive it all the way across the country. Amy isn’t driving anymore, not since her dad’s death, so the son of her mom’s friend, Roger, is picked for the job, and they embark on a cross country trip. 

Quickly, the two of them ditch the itinerary provided by Amy’s mother, and start picking their own destinations. Both of them are on a mission: Amy is avoiding her past and Roger keeps holding onto his. As they travel across the country, Amy becomes more and more able to deal with her past, to talk about it and to talk to others about. Roger is able to face his past head on and let it go. And they two of them have fun adventures, listen to great music and become friends along the way. 

The Bad:

I don’t say this often about a book. Usually there’s always something, even if its just a little something. But there’s nothing about this book that I don’t like. I picked up this book on a whim. I needed something new to read, and it was on the shelf next to Sarah Dessen, who is one of my absolute favorite authors, and decided to buy it. And probably consumed it in a couple hours. Its just so good. There’s nothing bad, in my opinion, about this book. 

The Good:

Okay, one, its the perfect summer read. It just breathes summer. And its such a perfect book to read right now, with summer coming. Who hasn’t, in their entire life, wanted to go on a road trip? I can’t think of anyone who turn down an adventure like that. I know that I always wanted to do one; I still hope that one day I will be able to do a road trip. I had always planned my whole life to do one with my best friends but…circumstances changed and we were never able to. But one day, I’ll convince my boyfriend that we need to have an Amy and Roger type road trip :) I think he’d like that. 

I like that so much of the road trip, the places that Roger and Amy eat at, the hotels they stay at, etc. are real places. It almost makes you want to map out a road trip, following their route as they hit these different spots. Except maybe not the Loneliest Highway…I could totally go without traveling that way haha. But I love all the different restaurant references too. I love food and I love going and trying good places when I go to places I’ve never been before so I really liked that there was so much authenticity and care when writing this book. She just didn’t make it up, you know? She lived it!

I also really, really, really like Amy and Roger. They are both such real characters and you really get to know them as you read the book. They are really the only two characters in the book. Sure, wherever they go, they meet new people or see friends of Roger’s or meet Amy’s twin brother but the focus is on the two of them and the sort of physical and emotional journey that they go through together. And there’s nothing about it that seems forced. You don’t spend the entire book wondering if they’re going to “get together”; you just watch as they become friends, as Amy deals with her father’s death and Roger deals with a hard break up. Honestly, the entire book I was really rooting for their friendship because both of them needed a friend super badly. You root for them the entire way because they’re so real and familiar that they could be your own best friend. 

Oh, and Roger’s obsession with history and explorers and Amy’s obsession with musicals. Again, something that makes them real. I think authors often times, and this includes myself…we forget that these people need to be real. We get so obsessed with our characters and what they are doing inside the story that we forget that they exist outside the story too. We forget that they existed before page one and continue to exist after the last page and so we don’t always build those strong, lasting personalities. I can picture Amy in school musicals, or dancing around her room, listening to Rent or Wicked or whatever. I can picture Roger bent over a textbook, reading about Magellan or Vasco de Gama. Just further work that Matson did to make these characters memorable. 

I love the other characters that pop up as Roger and Amy make their trip. I liked meeting Bron and Leonard at Colorado College, and Drew and Walcott in Kansas, and just the smaller people in between. Its just a great road trip story. Road trips are often told as a double journey. There’s the actual physical journey that they take, and then there’s the internal journey as well, whether its mental or emotional or whatever. And Matson nails that so well. You can see as Roger and Amy hit each stop, and meet new people or rehash with people they already knew, that they are changing. Its very subtle though, not cheesy, not cliche. Its a build up of change and when the changing occurs, its slow and not in your face obvious. Its very subtle which makes it that much more of an enjoyable read. 

Lastly, I like the kind of scrapbook feel that she gives to it. There’s receipts from places, photos, brochures, etc. It really lends more to the road trip feel, like you are there in the car with them, experiencing this at the same time. I also really love the road trip playlists because they are little hints at maybe what the author listened to when she went on the road trip, or what inspired her, or why she wrote about different places, etc. Most authors release book playlists, a list of songs that they listened to while they wrote that particular book but I like this better. More authentic :) And the songs were always a nice little mix of what I like to listen to and what my boyfriend likes to listen to so that always made me laugh to see one of my favorite bands on the same mix as one of his. Those were really fun. In the beginning, they’re all Roger’s playlists too, and as Amy comes more out of her shell, and starts sharing her own music, she has playlists as well, which runs nicely along with the story. Brilliant. 

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Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars 

Recommended or Not? 

Definitely. Go out and pick it up now. You really won’t regret. Stick it in that beach bag and soak in the rays while reading this perfect summer novel. I also definitely recommend her second novel, Second Chance Summer, if you’re looking for a good summer read. 

Morgan Matson will be on tour this month, for the Summer Lovin’ Tour, with fellow YA authors, Jenny Han and Jessi Kirby. Hopefully its in a city near you!