Tuesday Top Ten-Books I’d Give to Readers Who Don’t Read Contemporary YA

So there are two inspirations for today’s Tuesday Top Ten. One of them is that its the actual Top Ten Tuesday post over at The Broke and Bookish. So there’s that. Normally I stick to my own, sildenafil but because I’ve been running out of ideas, approved I’ve been borrowing from that meme lately.

But I also decided to use it because it reminded me of my friend Alena. We work together and we spend most of our time (when we’re not working hard, visit this of course), talking about books. We recommend books to each other, exchange books and basically fangirl every moment that we can. I lent her the Lunar Chronicles recently and she loved it. I love doing that.

Anyway, she mentioned recently that she tends to stick to fantasy-dystopian-science fiction, with a heavy hand in fantasy. Now while this is incredibly true of me as well, I also read a ton of contemporary YA. With authors like the ones in this list…it would be stupid to avoid contemporary.

But in reality, a lot of people are actually avoiding it. The supernatural, the science fiction, the fantasy is the most appealing right now and besides authors like John Green and Rainbow Rowell (who does appear on this list, haha), you don’t see much actual fandom for the contemporary YA. People stick to the “out of this world” sort of books.

So that’s why this week, I’m recommending 10 contemporary YA books to those of you who might be a bit hesitate to jump in. Trust me, if you read these five, you won’t regret it :)

Honorable Mention: The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

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She’s just a New York City girl living with her artist mom…

News Flash: Dad is prince of Genovia. (So that’s why a limo meets her at the airport!)

Downer: Dad can’t have any more kids. (So no heir to the throne.)

Shock of the Century: Like it or not, Mia Thermopolis is prime princess material.

Mia must take princess lessons from her dreaded grandmére, the dowager princess of Genovia, who thinks Mia has a thing or two to learn before she steps up to the throne.

Well, her father can lecture her until he’s royal-blue in the face about her princessly duty–no way is she moving to Genovia and leaving Manhattan behind. But what’s a girl to do when her name is Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo?

See, this book would officially be on the list and much higher but for one reason: the topic is recommending books to those who are hesitant about reading contemporary novels. This is the first book in a ten book series so its not an easy one to recommend. But its easily one of my favorite books ever. If you’ve ever seen the movie (which I love), you’re going to love the book more. Told in literal diary form, you fall in love with Mia over and over because of her honesty, her awkwardness and her journey to figure out who she is in the sprawling mess of high school, as a princess. They’re funny and sweet, and easy reads and they meant a lot to me during my teen years and I will always love them. The fact that an adult book of this series is being released next year is so exciting to me, I can’t even handle it. 

10. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han 

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

I had never been massively impressed with Jenny Han until I read this book. Especially since I found out it was based partially on the truth that Jenny wrote letters like this to the boys she had loved before. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting in this book but I felt I got so much more. There was humor, I laughed so much. There was a romance story, but in the least expecting way. There was family, especially the bond between the three sisters. I zipped through this book easily because everything in the book felt so familiar and yet new and it all made me bubbly and happy inside.

9. 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody 

Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Blvd either.

Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteen birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.

In a hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and, regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have 52 reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.

I would have probably loved this book anyway because its Jessica Brody and I absolutely adore her but let’s back off the fact that I’m a huge JB fan, and just talk about the book itself. Its FUN. Its funny. Lexi is just a mess and you alternately want to hug her and strangle her at the same time. Its lighthearted, cute, and fun, and its a book that definitely makes you smile. That’s a huge thing about contemporary: I need a break from disease, and dying, and power hungry rulers and all of that. I want lighthearted and I want to laugh and this book will definitely make you laugh. And it’ll probably make you want to go hug your dad too.

8. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend. 

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Trust me, I know. I’m definitely guilty of judging a book by its title and cover. So I steered VERY clear away from this book for a VERY long time, and I’m so sad that I did this. I’m very slowly trying to avoid my judgements because they often times lead me astray. This book looks like it is too romantic, cheesy, probably not written very well. But then you open the pages and you realize: this novel is incredible. Sure, yes, it has the romance and it tells the story of first love but there is so much more to that. Its not your typical love story. It’s a story of finding yourself and making mistakes and growing up and getting things wrong again and again. There’s so much more to Anna’s story than just being kissed by a boy. She struggles with living in Paris and she struggles with her feelings for a boy that she can’t have. Its beautiful and its companion novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door is equally as great!

7. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

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For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

What I think makes this a great novel is that its just an incredible story. I put it in the contemporary because that is what it is, despite its Groundhog Day sort of storyline. Sam is forced to relive the last day of her life seven times, and each day is a roller coaster of mistakes, getting things right, emotions, fixing things and breaking things and trying to figure out why she keeps living this day. What I think really gets you about this is that you start off absolutely hating her. Literally hating her. She’s a mean girl, and she’s definitely not a person that you can relate to. You kind of don’t hate too much that she died, to be honest. But as the book goes on, and she relives the day again and again and again, Sam learns more and more about herself and the mistakes she makes and you begin to like her, just in time to remember that she’s dead. Definitely Lauren Oliver’s best novel.

6. The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti

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Jade DeLuna is too young to die. She knows this, and yet she can’t quite believe it, especially when the terrifying thoughts, loss of breath, and dizzy feelings come. Since being diagnosed with Panic Disorder, she’s trying her best to stay calm, and visiting the elephants at the nearby zoo seems to help. That’s why Jade keeps the live zoo webcam on in her room, and that’s where she first sees the boy in the red jacket. A boy who stops to watch the elephants. A boy carrying a baby.


His name is Sebastian, and he is raising his son alone. Jade is drawn into Sebastian’s cozy life with his son and his activist grandmother on their Seattle houseboat, and before she knows it, she’s in love. With this boy who has lived through harder times than anyone she knows. This boy with a past.

Jade knows the situation is beyond complicated, but she hasn’t felt this safe in a long time. She owes it all to Sebastian, her boy with the great heart. Her boy who is hiding a terrible secret. A secret that will force Jade to decide between what is right, and what feels right.

First off, I apologize for the abnormally long synopsis. For real. Why is it so long? Sigh. Moving on…Deb Caletti is one of the most amazing and inspiring authors that has come into my life. She’s got this way of completely capturing people, their lives, their emotions, their flaws and their strengths and her books feel so real, that you feel like every single character and situation has happened in real life. This one has always stuck to me because I feel like Jade is the character I’ve felt the closest too. She’s afraid, and she has these anxieties and fears that she just sometimes can’t control. This is all too real for me, and it’s also incredibly real in the story. When she begins to build a relationship with Sebastian and his son, and the elephants at the zoo, you just completely sucked into this story. Its a very human story, that has more than just a love story. Your emotions are tugged very hard in this one but in all the best ways.

5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Okay, this is legit the longest synopsis ever. Sorry :( The reason this is five and not lower (because legit this is one of my favorite books ever) is because while this book connects to me in so many ways, it may not for everyone. Fangirl is a great book for fangirls and boys. This is why I put it on the list. Because Cath is obsessed with a fantasy book series, obsessed to the point that she writes fan fiction and has posters plastered on her wall. She reminds me of every fangirl on Tumblr and I think that’s what makes it so good. If you’re obsessed with reading fantasy books, then you’re probably going to identify with Cath so easily. Plus, I think its one of the best new adult books out there, though its technically considered YA. It explores all the uncertainties of moving out, growing up, going to college, figuring out what you want to do with your life. Its hilarious and so familiar. But if you’re not feeling this one, I recommend Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Anything Rainbow is honestly the good way to go. 

4. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

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Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.

Morgan Matson is easily one of my favorite authors and it was this book, her debut novel, that remains my favorite, because of how much it captured me. Morgan Matson writes this perfect summer book, full of romance and the fun and spontaneity of a road trip but there’s more to it as well. Both of the characters are struggling to let go of something and it takes this road trip for them to open up about it and accept it and move on. Plus its just fun. Morgan Matson is such a great writer. I love that she has a travel diary in it, and includes pictures and receipts and things like that, to make it look like a road trip scrapbook. I love that there are playlists sprinkled through out the novel, because there is so much good music on it. This book makes you laugh and makes you cry and makes you want to pack up your car and take a road trip, if only to try all the delicious food they try in the book.

3. Just One Day by Gayle Forman

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Allyson Healey’s life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

What could potentially be a cliche and cheesy novel is actually one of the most thoughtful and beautiful novels that I’ve read. Allyson Healey was on a European tour, ready to finally experience something outside of the completely planned life she has, but its not what she expects. Its planned tours and an itinerary. When she meets Willem on her last day, and he promises her a day of adventure in Paris, she breaks her routine and says yes and it turns into the best day of her life. She experiences things she’s never experienced before. When something tears them apart, you get to see how this day changes Allyson and the path that it takes her on. Its a fun adventure but it reaches to every person who wishes they could just skip everything for a day, leave school and work and all of that behind and just be spontaneous for a day and have an adventure and I think that’s what can appeal to every person.

2. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

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A long, hot summer…

That’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father.

But sometimes, unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?

Sarah Dessen is easily one of the best contemporary YA authors out there, and she’s been writing for quite some time. I honestly recommend any book written by her, but this one is definitely one. While its not my personal favorite, its definitely the fan favorite of the group. There’s something about this book that reaches out to everyone who reads it and I think its because of the characters. Every single one of the characters is so unique and well thought out and familiar. Everyone has a story, everyone is well developed and sometimes you can’t decide which one you like more. But the story of Macy and Wes is what gets you. Its a beautiful romance story that is subtle and perfect and takes time to develop and by the end, you’re in tears, both from happiness and heartbreak. Definitely definitely definitely read this book.

1. Winger by Andrew Smith

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Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Easily one of my favorite books of all time, and easily one of the best contemporary novels out there. The reason that its number one is because I’ve talked to boys, girls, adults, teens, preteens, people from different walks of life, and everyone who reads this book absolutely enjoys it. Its written so well, and the story is so good. Its SO funny. I’ve never read a book that captures the voice of a teenage boy as well as this one does. Andrew Smith gives his character the intelligence, the voice and the opinions of a real teenager, and gives them the credit they deserve but he also doesn’t forget that they’re teenagers and they’re stupid and they think about sex a lot. Its one of the funniest books I’ve read but it’s also one of the truest books I’ve read. Andrew captures high school, puberty, growing up, uncertainties and insecurities, family, friends, first love, loss and so much more in one book, and I honestly think that anyone and everyone will love this book.

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Tuesday Top Ten-Best Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

Today I have stolen my topic idea from The Broke and Bookish blog, sales which hosts the Top Ten Tuesday meme. I usually get ideas from them, tadalafil but I call mine something different…honestly because I didn’t know theirs existed when I started mine haha. And I do more than books, physician so there is that.

Today’s topic though…its June, near half way June, so we are basically at the halfway mark for the year of 2014. So what a perfect time to talk about the best books that I have read so far this year.

Let’s get to it.

And yes, I did a top 15…don’t attack me haha. It was SO hard to narrow it down!

Remember, clicking the title will take you to the book’s GoodReads page and clicking the author name will take you to their webpage!

15. Rebel by Amy Tintera

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Amy’s conclusion to her novel, Reboot, was incredible. I was so excited that I managed to get my hands on an e-galley of it, and I whipped through it so fast. Reboot is a major influence for The Awakened. Though they’re totally different spectrums of sci-fi, I love her writing, her style and the fact that she accomplished it in two books. I LOVED this book and my friend Mina just got me a signed copy so yay!

14. All Lined Up by Cora Carmack  

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I was massively impressed by this release of Cora Carmack. I think she’s a great writer but her stories honestly haven’t caught me quite yet but this one totally did. Football, hot boys and romance? You have me totally sold on that one. I can’t wait to read more in the Rusk University series.

13. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins 

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This book kept popping up on my radar and the cover was so pretty that I am so glad I finally buckled down and bought this and read it. Harper is such a fun main character, all sass and attitude and hilarity, with these new, almost superhero like powers, and its just a great book. I loved every single bit of this novel.

12. Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

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I honestly don’t think that there has been a book yet that I’ve been disappointed in when it comes to Jennifer L. Armentrout. This book was so different from others that I’ve read from her in the past but it was just so good. It was scary! Every time the main character saw something in the mirror or got a note tucked into her backpack or something like that, I was just so scared. Such a great book.

11. Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn 

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Katie Finn is awesome, basically because its a lighter version of Morgan Matson, who I love…and its the same person. LOL. But I absolutely loved seeing a lighter, summer-y version of Morgan as Katie Finn and this book was SO much fun, and so delicious and…it just literally made me so excited for summer. Its the perfect summer read.

10. A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka 

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What a beautiful, beautiful debut novel. I love it for so many reasons. Catherine Linka is SUCH a doll, and I love that its set in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. I love the main character, and I love the bad guys for being so creepy and scary. I love what she brings up in this novel. I love that it reminds you that girls have to fight for their rights, every day, in every single country. Its just SUCH a great book.

9. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

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Look, yes, I was massively disappointed in the end of this book. I honestly thought it was way too incredibly safe and that Cassie could have made much bigger sacrifices than she did. That being said…I still liked the book a lot. I wasn’t a fan of the “second” trilogy of TMI to be honest, but this book really brought it to a close and I was pleased with many parts of it. So it definitely makes the list.

8. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira 

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YES! This book is so absolutely beautiful. Thank you Stephen Chbosky and Emma Watson for talking this book up, because then I got my hands on it and loved it. And I’ve met Ava several times, and become friends with her and she’s just the sweetest. This book is beautiful and wonderfully written and just heartbreaking. I absolutely love this book. Its a MUST read. And its going to be a movie, penned by Ava herself!

7. Cress by Marissa Meyer 

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The Lunar Chronicles blows my mind and they honestly get better with every single book. I LOVED CRESS. I feel bad because it took me so long to read it but I was in a massive slump back then and it was awful. But when I got caught up in this book, I couldn’t put it down and I just love it so much. I even wear a “Thorne is my captain” pin on my apron at work every single day. Such a great book and leaves me panting for Winter!

6. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

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Jenny Han is awesome. And yes, it took me reading this book to figure that out, but that’s okay. This is the book that made me a fan of Jenny Han. It was fun, and written so well, and I love the main character, and I love all the boys that make an appearance in this novel and I’m so excited for the sequel because this book was just so good. Jenny Han has contemporary YA romance in the palm of her hand, and she does it so well.

5. The One by Kiera Cass

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Oh, Kiera Cass. Only you can take something like this and make it so wonderful. She creates basically a story that puts The Hunger Games with the Bachelor, and a bunch of girls fighting over the hand of one prince, and a love triangle (a big one), and just makes it work. It sounds like something I would never read in a million years but this is SUCH a great trilogy and The One is an amazing ending to it. I am so glad I got to meet her and tell her how this blew my mind.

4. Unforgotten by Jessica Brody

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I was SO excited to finally get my hands on the sequel to Unremembered because I had questions that needed to be answered and then…and then! Jessica goes and leaves it on the biggest cliffhanger since Unremembered (haha), and leaves me literally dying for Unchanged. I can’t handle it. But being back with Sera and Zen, and in so many different time periods, and the action and the tension and the kissing…all of it was just so great and I am not kidding when I say I literally can’t wait to get my hands on Unchanged :)

3. Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott  

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Okay, talk about a book that literally came out of left field, and just knocked me down. I watched a live cast of Jessica Brody and Victoria Scott, and I thought Victoria was super cool so I had to get my hands on her book, and I did. I read it in literally about 2 hours. I LOVED it. I seriously…oh, god, don’t get me started. I just loved the whole thing of it. It has this epic survival story going on, and a race full of action and tension, and a hot guy (because we need hot guys and kissing, duh!) and the Pandoras. I won’t reveal what those are but the Pandoras are the coolest things in the entire world. I’m just saying.

2. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson 

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Great summer book. Great book about friendship and breaking out of your shell and going out of the norm and falling in love and making new friends. Just such an amazing, great book. It reminds me that Morgan Matson has yet to disappoint me, and that she remains one of my favorite authors, period. She is just SO great, and I loved this book. I felt so close to the main character, and she felt so familiar. I could re-read this book again and again and again.

1. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith 

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I have never read a book like this in my life before GJ and I doubt I’ll ever read a book like this again. Its literally a book about everything, and it made me laugh and it made me shake my head and raise my eyebrows and so many other things. This book is absolutely incredible because it takes so many bits and pieces and manages to fit them together in such a crazy good book. Every time I see it, I just shake my head and smile because I’m  just reminded of how much it blew my mind, and just…its amazing. Its the weirdest book I’ve ever read but its so good. You need to read this book. You just have to.

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Well, there you have it, folks. The top 15 books I’ve read so far this year. What are some of the best books you’ve read this year? Share in the comments!

Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend Book Challenge!

For those of you who may not know, about it I was lucky enough this year to become part of the Fierce Reads Street Team. I was SO incredibly excited about this because I adore Fierce Reads and all the amazing authors that are a part of it. I was even more excited when I was asked to help promote Katie Finn (aka Morgan Matson) and her new contemporary YA novel, symptoms Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend.

I was sent a challenge to complete for this book, so I definitely want to do it. Check out the synopsis for the book first:

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Summer, boys, and friendships gone sour. This new series has everything that perfect beach reads are made of!

Gemma just got dumped and is devastated. She finds herself back in the Hamptons for the summer—which puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friend that she wronged five years earlier. Do people hold grudges that long? 

When a small case of mistaken identity causes everyone, including Hallie and her dreamy brother Josh, to think she’s someone else, Gemma decides to go along with it.

Gemma’s plan is working (she’s finding it hard to resist Josh), but she’s finding herself in embarrassing situations (how could a bathing suit fall apart like that!?). Is it coincidence or is someone trying to expose her true identity? And how will Josh react if he finds out who she is? 

Katie Finn hits all the right notes in this perfect beginning to a new summer series: A Broken Hearts & Revenge novel.

You can check out my spoiler free review here!

Now on to the challenge!

Gemma or Hallie? 

As much I love both of these characters, and the sort of balancing each other out they do and the antics they get into it, I have to say Gemma. I don’t know if its because we’re in Gemma’s head, but I just adore her. I love that she’s stumbling along, trying to do the right things but not always accomplishing that. I love that she knows she makes mistakes and that she tries to fix them, but sometimes, she also messes that up. She’s a very real character and I adore her.

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Favorite Character? 

Oh that’s so hard! I loved so many of the characters in this book. AGH. How dare you make me pick! This is too hard. Sigh. I think I’d have to choose…Sophie. Sophie doesn’t have a ton of “screen” time because she’s back home while Gemma is in the Hamptons with her father, but when she is, she’s fantastic. She’s the kind of best friend that we would wish to have. She’s fun, and she’s ready to step into her best friend duties at any moment. When Gemma is like “I’m you and you’re me”, she just goes with it. She questions it, like a real best friend, but she gives in and helps in every where she can, and she’s just awesome. She’s so much fun. I love Sophie!

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Gemma Fancast: 

“We still had brown hair and freckles, but Sophie tended to cover hers with make-up, and her hair was cut in a stylish, choppy bob while mine was kind of long and shapeless.”

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The first person I thought of was Sarah Hyland because, yes, she’s absolutely pretty but she’s also fun, and sort of fun looking. You look at Sarah and you think, she’s going to be so much fun to hang out with. She would be a really great fit for Gemma. The only thing she doesn’t have is the height for Gemma but she has a good look and I think she’d capture her personality so well that it wouldn’t matter :)

Favorite Quote: 

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This just makes me laugh, just thinking about it. It just hints at the absolutely fun hijinks that this book is.

I also like a quote from the beginning of the novel:

“I could never remember the details of the documentaries Teddy wanted to watch. All I knew was that they were never the ones I wanted to see, which were mostly about penguins.” 

And I swear, it has NOTHING to do with my obsession of penguins ;)

Hallie Fancast: 

“She had the same eyes, green and almond-shaped. Her hair was a slightly darker shade of the bright blond I remembered, but it was still long and curly, and it flowed over her shoulders and down her back.”

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I’m not going to lie, I literally googled young blonde actresses because I didn’t quite know who to pick and Maika Monroe popped up. She has this fun, beautiful look to her and she’s how I’d imagine that Hallie looked. I think Hallie has this beauty and confidence about her, something that both intimates and attracts Gemma to her, and you can see that in just this picture alone.

Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend Theme Songs

Here are some songs that I enjoyed listening to during the summer, and they are the ones that immediately came to my mind when reading it. I don’t know that they have anything directly to do with Broken Hearts, but they’re very summer songs, and they are what I thought of. These are  two songs that I listened to when I was about Gemma’s age!

Boys of Summer – The Ataris  

Yellowcard – Ocean Avenue

Josh Fancast

“He had light brown hair, cut short, and eyes that looked greenish, but that might have just been because he was wearing a pale green T-shirt. He had dark eyelashes and eyebrows and though it was hard to tell because I was sitting, but it looked like he was a few inches taller than me, which meant he was pretty tall.”

"X-Men: First Class" New York Premiere

Lucas Till. I think he’s absolutely adorable, you can believe him as the brother of Maika and he would make a really great Josh. He looks like a boy who belongs on the beaches of the Hamptons. Plus I just have a massive crush on him, and its my fancast, so a girl can dream! Haha!

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I hope you enjoyed learning more about Broken Hearts and that you’ll make sure to check it out and grab yourself a copy! Katie Finn is constantly on the road, promoting her books, as either Katie or Morgan, so definitely look out for her, and this awesome book.

And watch out tomorrow for my Top Ten Reasons to Read Broken Hearts!

I Read YA Week: Book Recommendations!

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I LOVE I Read YA Week! I love showing my support for the week and showing the world how many of us read YA, rx and how different we all are. I think people tend to think of the same group of people reading YA but that is so very different from the truth. So I love that this week is a great way to spread the word about YA in general and to show your pride in reading it!

This is Teen is behind the awesome of I Read YA week. You can grab yourself a fancy little button like the one above (though I modified it a bit) and learn about all the awesome happening this week by visiting this link.

You can also get involved by using the hashtag #IReadYa and following This is Teen on their various social media pages:

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Tumblr

They’ll be having fantastic YA giveaways all weekend so definitely stay on top of this!

Today’s topic is YOUR Recommendations.

This is SO hard for me! As you know, I’m a huge young adult book supporter and I could go on for days recommending books for you all. But I decided to narrow it down the best that I can.

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I mean, duh. I have four Harry Potter tattoos. I have a Harry Potter car. Harry Potter = life. I don’t know that it is for everyone but I do believe that every person should try, just to give it a chance. I’ve never met anyone who I pressured to read it that didn’t end up totally loving it. I think people just need to give it a chance. Its an incredible book series and I’m proud that I was part of the Harry Potter generation.

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One of my favorite book series ever. It is definitely not for everyone. I feel like its either a “love it” or “hate it” sort of series but I like to recommend it in hopes of finding more people to love it with me. Plus it has my number one fictional crush, Jace Wayland <3

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You can NEVER go wrong with the Tortall saga by Tamora Pierce. Trickster’s Choice has always been my favorite, and one of my favorite books PERIOD.

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One of the best YA dystopian series out there, and written by someone who is the same age as me. This blows my mind and I easily recommend this series.

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This is one of the best books I have ever read in my life. Andrew Smith has a way of telling a fantastic story while also making it feel like you’re actually in the head of a teenage boy. Its funny and also heartbreaking and its easy to sit down and get lost in this book.

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Such a beautiful book about loving books and being afraid and coming out of your shell…and basically its the story of my life. No, but really, Rainbow Rowell captures the anxiety and fear of the unknown and being able to come out of your shell and experience things you never thought you could before.

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If you’re looking for a great summer read about romance and road trips and family and adventure, this is the perfect book for you. If you aren’t looking for that but are still looking for a fantastic book, this is still the book for you. This book made me fall madly in love with Morgan Matson as a writer, and this book remains one of my favorites.

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To find out the rest of my YA book recommendations, visit my Must Read YA Books link here!

What are some YA books that you love to recommend? Share in the comments! 

Book Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

18189606Genre: 

Young Adult, this site Contemporary

Part of a Series?:

No

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um..

My Review:

Putting aside the fact that I would read anything Morgan Matson writes, even a takeout menu, I immediately felt a connection to Emily just by reading the synopsis alone. For most of my life, I’ve attached myself to best friends who have been so…out there, so unique and outgoing and wild and memorable. Everyone always knew my best friend, everyone always loved her, no matter who she was at the time and I followed in the adventures that were her life, and got used to being “Amanda’s best friend” or “Vanessa’s best friend” or “Allison’s best friend”. It was something I sort of got used to until none of them were there anymore. They didn’t disappear in the way that Sloane does with Emily, but the feelings were incredibly familiar to me and this was a huge part of my desire to read the book.

And the fact that Morgan had written it. Did I mention that part? I would read anything and everything by her.

Moving on though, I fell in love with this book. It’s not short, just about 450 pages and yet I managed to stay up until about 2 am, reading it. I tweeted about it, because I was so overwhelmed with how fast I read it and the emotions that I was so full of, and she had the perfect solution to it all.

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Everything about this books feel so real and that’s why its so easy to get caught up in them. She’s such a beautiful writer, and an incredible storyteller but she’s also such a familiar writer too. All of her characters are memorable and real and genuine and they feel like they could be your best friend. That’s the way Amy felt in Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Taylor in Second Chance Summer and Emily felt such the same way. Whether you’re an Emily or a Sloane or just a you, you can feel so connected with Emily. Its fantastic to go on this journey with her, from where she starts as this incredibly shy and unsure girl and transforms into someone very different.

What really gets me about this book is the connections and the friendships. It starts off with just the friendship between Emily and Frank as they work their way through Sloane’s list but you also get Dawn and Matthew and Emily’s family and its all incredibly beautiful. I love that Emily is able to find friendships in the most unexpected places and I love that summer brings them all together. I love the possibility of summer and how its this vast empty space to fill with adventures and its perfect for Emily’s changes and the friendships she makes. I love the weird way she meets Dawn and how they become friends. I love that the friendship with Frank is incredibly unexpected to Emily but her friendship with Frank’s friend Matthew is even weirder. The story is about friendship and you get so many examples of different friendships and its beautiful.

Plus, I mean, come on. Frank. Frank Porter. One, the name Frank? Not sexy, but totally manages to be so in this book. Also, I knew a boy named Frank Porter in…middle school? Maybe high school? Also, not a very sexy guy. But Morgan manages to get past the name thing and the boy I knew in middle school thing to make another boy that I’m falling ridiculously in love with.

Morgan also brings back something that she did in her first novel that I absolutely loved and that was music playlists. In Amy and Roger’s, there were playlists scattered throughout the book because they were on a road trip and it made sense. Playlists were probably harder to integrate into Second Chance Summer so the return of the playlists in this novel made me incredibly happy. The first time I saw the name “Andrew McMahon” on a playlist, I almost cried in happiness. Andrew McMahon (known for Something Corporate, Jack’s Mannequin and most recently, himself as a solo artist) is my musical spirit animal. I have a Something Corporate tattoo on my ankle and so I found a connection even in just the selection of music.

Lastly, I cried. It was two a.m. and I was overwhelmed with emotions and I just let it all out in sobs. It was not a sad book, not the way that Second Chance Summer was or even Amy and Roger’s but it reaches and grabs your emotions so tightly. I felt so filled up with so many emotions that I can’t even begin to name and I cried. This book makes you feel so much and I absolutely loved it.

I’ve talked enough but the bottom line is this: Morgan Matson is a terrific writer and her third novel does not disappoint. She makes you laugh and cry and want to go skinny dipping on the beach and work in an ice cream parlor and drive a car with a broken sunroof. She writes a memorable, beautiful book and its one that you most DEFINITELY need to go and pick up.

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Tuesday Top Ten-Books to Look Forward to in 2014!

My loves! I am so sorry, sildenafil I apologize over and over for my lack of effort on my blog. I truly do. I would like to blame something legitimate like school or NaNoWriMo or something but truly…I just didn’t have the inspiration to work on it.

But I’m back! I promise! Today I’m stealing the topic of the Broke and Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday post and doing Books to Look Forward to in 2014.

Unfortunately thats kind of hard to narrow down to ten. Really hard. Like, website like this impossibly hard. I read so many authors and so many books that I just look forward to SO many releases.

Even narrowing it down to January to May wasn’t totally helpful. Sigh.

So there are …fourteen books on the list. Sorry :( But hopefully that will get you excited for SO many awesome releases coming in the new year!

Honorable Mentions:

These are honorable mentions because I’ve already read one of them, and I have ARCs of the other! So I want to draw attention to them, since they’ll be releasing in early 2014 BUT I’ll have already read them!

Clicking on the author’s name will take you to their website, and clicking on the book title will take you to the Amazon Page AND clicking the book cover will take you to the GoodReads page! I’m nothing, if not completely thorough ;)

Afterparty by Ann Stampler 

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Expected Release: January 7th

Ann’s Where It Began blew me away, and I’m eager to dive into this book and be blown away again. She has a way of capturing the teen outlook but also writes an intelligent and compelling novel. Good girl Emma decides that she wants to break free, and gets involved with Siobhan, whose friendship is fun at first, until it takes a turn, and things become intoxicating and dangerous. I can’t wait for it. Afterparty is going to be a blast!

Going Rogue by Robin Benway

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Expected Release: January 14th

The first book of this series, Also Known As, was SUPER funny, and addicting to read. Maggie is part of a spy network with her parents, and her specialty is breaking locks, whether on doors or to safes, etc. Then she gets her own assignment, to go undercover at an upscale high school, and hilarity ensues. Its full of action and fun spy stuff BUT it just makes you laugh so hard, and Maggie is a fun character, AND there’s cute boys. Win!

Panic by Lauren Oliver

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Expected Release: March 4th

This one I’ve already read :) I can’t wait to share my review with you all. A departure from her dystopian series, Delirium, Lauren Oliver takes us into the contemporary world again, with a twist. Heather lives in Carp, where nothing ever happens, except for the game Panic every summer. The kids spend the entire year raising money for a ridiculous prize amount (think in the THOUSANDS) and compete in dangerous, scary and, often times, illegal tasks in order to win the game. Heather didn’t expect to play when it came her turn, but that money could be a way out. Dodge, a fellow classmate, has been looking forward to Panic, and he’s determined to get the right outcome. I think you’ll like this one. If you were disappointed with the end of the Delirium series like I was, I think this will help with Lauren Oliver a bit :)

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Now the actual list of ten, erm, eleven books I’m looking forward to in 2014…up until May, at least!

11. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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Expected Release: May 13th

I just discovered Stephanie this year! Anna and the French Kiss and especially Lola and the Boy Next Door are GREAT YA contemporary novels that I totally recommend, a thousand times. I am full of SO much excitement for this one because of all great the others have been. In this novel, we are going to meet Isla and Josh and I think come to find a new meaning of the phrase “happily ever after”. And of course, we will see Anna, Etienne, Lola and Cricket again, which makes me very happy. I think that Stephanie will tell a great story, as usual with twists and turns and surprises and enough heart pounding and sigh-worthy scenes to keep us all SO happy!

10. Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

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Expected Release: April 15th

I am So excited about this one because honestly, I just discovered JLA in May and she has yet to disappoint me. Her storytelling is fantastic; she makes me laugh, and feel all swooning but she throws in these kickass action scenes, and then she has the most sarcastic and hilarious characters. So I’m really anxious to dive into a new series with her. Don’t Look Back follows Samantha who has it all, until she disappears, and then reappears with no memory of who she is or how she got lost. When she figures out that she was the  “mean girl”, she’s determined to have this second chance. Unfortunately her best friend is still missing…Sounds awesome right? She never disappoints and I can’t wait to read it.

 9. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs 

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Expected Release: January 14th

Okay, I’m totally reading the first book right now, and maybe I won’t like and maybe I’ll have no desire to read this …but I honestly doubt it. So many people I know really liked this book and I just love Ransom as a person. His instagram, tumblr and twitter posts keep me laughing, and he’s super interactive with his fans. And he’s handsome. Not that this has anything to do with his book, it was just a notable fact about him. Moving on, I am looking forward to this release because I’m already enjoying Miss Peregrine’s a lot AND he’ll be touring for this book and will, of course, be signing in Los Angeles so yay! I keep missing him, and I want formally meet him finally!

8. Cress by Marissa Meyer 

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Expected Release: February 4th

I just finished Scarlet, the second book, about a week ago, and I love this series already. I put off reading it FOR so long and I have no idea why. I think it was the cover to be honest. I get turned off on books because of the covers quite often, and I’m often times proven wrong. But I still do it. Anyway, I read Cinder and Scarlet and now I’m very excited for Cress. Marissa Meyer takes the whole science fiction, fairy tale retellings to an incredible level, and her stories and characters are awesome. One minute they’re super badass and sci-fi-ish (that’s a word now) and then the next, they’re totally reminding you of Cinderella and Red Riding Hood. Its awesome. This isn’t the final book, its the climax to the final book, Winter (2015), so you know its going to be SO GOOD.

7. Summer State of Mind by Jen Calonita

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Expected Release: April 22nd  

I absolutely adore Jen Calonita. Her books are quick and easy reads, with laughter, cute boys, but often times, serious teen problems as well. Her standalone novel, Sleepaway Girls, was super cute, about a girl going to camp as a CIT and learning to be independent of her dominant best friend. Of course, rivalries happen, cute boys make the summer interesting and hilarity and disaster ensues. I absolutely LOVED it. Now there’s a sequel, called Summer State of Mind, where they’re returning to Camp Whispering Pines and I’m SO excited. She writes such fun novels and I don’t think I’m alone in that desire to go to camp. I always want to go to camp as a kid and was never able to so I like to live vicariously through this. Definitely one to look forward to.

6. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

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Expected Release: February 4th

When I picked up Shatter Me, I had done so because Tahereh Mafi kept popping up everywhere, at all these events (though I haven’t met her officially either!) and her name just kept popping up to me, and so I decided to check out Shatter Me, even though I was getting kind of tired of dystopian. I’m glad I gave this one a chance because Juliette is an awesome character and we’ve really seen her grow so much in this series, and I hope we continue to see that in Ignite Me. I also think Tahereh Mafi has a way of telling a brand new story in that familiar dystopian archetype that we’ve grown to know so well. She has surprises and twists that keep you hooked til the end.

5. The Last Forever by Deb Caletti 

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Expected Release: April 1st

I adore Deb Caletti and while I absolutely loved He’s Gone, which was her dive into adult fiction, I am glad to see she’s back in YA. All of her books are just so incredibly good. She hits SO many issues of teens, but she never makes her books seem like “issue books”. Her stories are flawless and genuine and each one has captivated me and made me fall in love. She’s gotten so much recognition for her books and its totally deserved. The book is sure to be another emotion wrecker. The main character’s mom has died, and her dad is having a hard time recovering and so is she. Enter a road trip, a new place, and a new boy, and it just spells awesome. Deb Caletti tells beautiful stories and I’m sure this one will be as well.

4. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare 

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Expected Release: May 27th

I think most people would be surprised to see this as #4 and now #1 or 2 or 3. And its true, I love Cassandra Clare and adore her books. I definitely can’t wait to read City of Heavenly Fire and see how the TMI series wraps up. My only thing is…I thought the series was wrapped up perfectly in City of Glass and I didn’t feel like it needed to be continued. I am not a fan of Fallen Angels and I kind of like Lost Souls. So while I do want to read the end and find out who lives and who dies, and where everyone sort of ends up, I also am just not DYING to read it, like I was with the other novels. I still think City of Glass was a great ending. But I digress. I’m a TMI fan, and I will read it because I love Jace and Clary and Alec and Simon and Magnus and Isabelle and all of them.

3. Unforgotten by Jessica Brody 

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Expected Release: February 25th

Another discovery of this year, Jessica Brody has become one of my favorite authors. I read her book, Unremembered, first, and then dove into her contemporary books which seriously make me laugh. They’re fantastic. Definitely check them out. But we’re focusing on Unremembered. Unremembered is about Seraphina, who wakes up in the middle of the ocean, the only survivor of a deadly plane crash. She doesn’t remember who she is, nor does she remember much in general. No one comes forward to claim her, so she’s taken in by foster parents. While Sera remembers the world, she also realizes that she’s different than others, faster, stronger, smarter. Then a boy named Zen comes into the picture, claiming that he knows her, and that they’re in love. Its like Bourne Identity, but with a badass girl instead of Matt Damon. Its seriously awesome, and I can’t say much more because Unforgotten is the sequel, and you just need to read this. This comes out TWO days before my birthday so happy birthday to me!

2. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Expected Release: May 6th 2014

Morgan Matson is one of my absolute favorite authors of all time. She made me fall in love with her, as an author, so fast with Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. Then she released Second Chance Summer, and its just as good. I’ve met Morgan several times this year, but it’ll be two years since her last novel came out when this third novel hits the stands. That’s a LONG time to wait haha, or at least it is to me. The main character Emily meets Sloane, who introduces her to a world of fun, who helps pull her out of her shell. Then Sloane disappears and leaves behind a list of things for Emily to accomplish like “apple picking at night” or “dancing until dawn” or “kiss a stranger”. It sounds like another unique and fun Morgan Matson novel, and I honestly just can’t wait for it.

1. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

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Expected Release: February 11th

Another discovery of this year (I seriously dove into books and blogging in 2013), Andrew Smith’s Winger literally knocked my socks off, blew me away, had my jaw hanging open down to the ground. It seriously just…it was so amazing. Now Andrew has a new book releasing in February (on mine and Jon’s 6 year anniversary!), and I’m DYING to read it. I keep trying to get my hands on an ARC but have been thus far unsuccessful. I may have to wait til February but it’ll be worth the wait. Andrew has a natural humor to his books, I have laughed out loud, uncontrollably with tears, because of his books. In this novel, Andrew is combining his hilarity with his out of this world story telling (giant insects? really? I’m shuddering already), and I’m sure he’s going to get that teen boy spirit, hilarity and coming of age-ness like he has done before. I am DYING to get my hands on this book, especially when everyone is loving it! It WILL happen!

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I hope you enjoyed this Tuesday Top ….Eleven…or something…some number close to Ten. You should definitely add ALL of these books to your “to-read” list, and if you haven’t read their prequels, then get on it! These books and authors are all great, and you’ll definitely enjoy them!

Don’t forget that you can check out previous Tuesday Top Ten lists here!

What are some books that you are looking forward to in the New Year? Share in the comments! 

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