ARC REVIEW: Proof Of Forever by Lexa Hillyer

18520642Proof Of Forever

Lexa Hillyer

Published June 2nd 2015 by HarperTeen

YA >  Contemporary

352 pages

eARC for Review

 

 ★★★

 

Purchase links: Amazon | Nook

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

Before: It was the perfect summer of first kisses, skinny-dipping, and bonfires by the lake. Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe knew their final summer at Camp Okahatchee would come to an end, but they swore they’d stay friends.

After: Now, two years later, their bond has faded along with those memories.

Then: That is, until the fateful flash of a photo booth camera transports the four of them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen—the summer everything changed.

Now: The girls must recreate the past in order to return to the present. As they live through their second-chance summer, the mystery behind their lost friendship unravels, and a dark secret threatens to tear the girls apart all over again.

Always: Summers end. But this one will change them forever.

REVIEW

Proof Of Forever, on first glance, is Disney material. From the cover to the theme to the entire idea of being thrown back into time courtesy of a Photo Booth. Very idyllic. And that is the frame of mind I went with into this book. And I’m pleased to report, that this book was nothing like the cheese fest or the fluffy cotton candy I expected. It was honest and real and even though it wasn’t perfect, it’s going to be a book I’m going to remember for a long while.

This book is about time travel but it’s not your typical Sci-Fi. This book is also technically about four girls and their (mis)adventures, but it’s about so many more characters. Basically, Proof Of Forever is not your typical Contemporary so DO NOT judge it that way. The book follows four girls, Tali, Luce, Zoe and Joy. They used to be best friends and they’d sworn to remain best friends after their last summer at Camp Okahatchee. But as these things usually go, life got in the way, and they drifted apart, almost becoming strangers to each other. But two years later, when Joy suggests they all meet up at the reunion night of Camp OK, they grudgingly agree, only to be thrown back into time to two years ago, when they were fifteen; their last summer at the camp. There they realise that they have to do everything the way they’d done it before, so as not to alter their futures. But while their bodies might be fifteen years old, each of them have changed and grown. The book is all about how they deal with their growth and reconcile themselves with the people that they’ve grown into (or will grow into) and their attempts to go back to their time again.

The book was rather predictable where it came to plot—I was sure right away about certain things that would happen and I turned to to be right. This is the precise reason I found myself having a so-so opinion where it came to the story itself. Talking about each character is a little easier, because the end result was predictable (to me, at least), the way they went about their days at the camp weren’t. They were not all perfect human beings, and they did a lot of things that I didn’t quite agree with, but I suppose it did enhance the whole learning curve that the girls experienced.

I’ll also admit–the book is rather slow. It’s written as third person POV, in four different POVs, and while I’d like to say that each girl had a different, unique voice, that isn’t completely true. After a certain point, the characters started to blend into one for me, which sucks, and I had to physically make notes trying to remember who is who. It might be just me, but yeah. That happened.

Again, if you do choose to read the book, don’t do it for the story itself, meaning the time-travelling part. I found myself enjoying the symbolism behind each character and what they learnt and how they learnt it, and I think you might too. The writing too was not quite my type, but it was perfect for the mood of the book,and that was amazing. It doesn’t grab you, but it definitely lures you into continuing to read the book. All in all, as far as “coming-of-age” YA goes, Proof of Forever may be something you might want to try if you’re looking for a bitter sweet ending and a couple of cute summer romances!

 

Rhea[1]

2015 AUTHOR BASH: Michelle Falkoff, author of: Playlist For The Dead + Giveaway!!!

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Welcome to my stop for the 2015 Debut Author Bash. I’m so excited to have Michelle  on the blog today. I’m surelots of us have read her novel, Playlist For The Dead, and loved it. Read on to find out more about this amazing novel and get a chance to win a copy!


 

The Book..

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Playlist For The Dead

Published January 27th 2015 by HarperTeen

YA > Contemporary | Music

 

Purchase it: amazon | bn

 

 

About the book..

 

A teenage boy tries to understand his best friend’s suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind in this smart, voice-driven debut novel.

Here’s what Sam knows: There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, his best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs, and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you’ll understand.

As he listens to song after song, Sam tries to face up to what happened the night Hayden killed himself. But it’s only by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he will finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.

Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Tim Tharp’sThe Spectacular Now, Playlist for the Dead is an honest and gut-wrenching first novel about loss, rage, what it feels like to outgrow a friendship that’s always defined you—and the struggle to redefine yourself. But above all, it’s about finding hope when hope seems like the hardest thing to find.

 

The author..

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connect: twitter | website | goodreads page | facebook

Michelle Falkoff’s fiction and reviews have been published in ZYZZYVA, DoubleTake, and the Harvard Review, among other places. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently serves as Director of Communication and Legal Reasoning at Northwestern University School of Law. This is her first novel.

 

The Interview..

 

Hi Michelle!! Thanks for stopping by on the blog!! We’re so excited! To start off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 🙂

I’m so excited to be here! I’m a New England native who’s moved all over the country, most recently to Chicago. I used to be a lawyer, and for my day job I teach legal writing, as well as some fiction writing on the side.

Your debut novel, Playlist for the Dead has a very interesting synopsis,, we’re really curious on how did this idea came to you. Can you share how did the whole concept of the book materialized in your head? 🙂

I was inspired a lot by Jay Asher’s 13 REASONS WHY and John Green’s LOOKING FOR ALASKA. Both were books about boys who’d lost girls they were interested in to suicide; I started thinking a lot about boys losing friends, which struck me as a different kind of thing. I’ve also always been really into music–I used to make lots of mixes when I was younger, and I gave a lot of thought to what kinds of messages go into into them and how it’s both easy and hard to teach people about how we’re feeling through music.

How would you introduce your main character, Sam, to us? Did you have a particular muse for him?

No muse in particular. He’s just a character who seemed very genuine and lovable to me, but in some ways kind of clueless–he starts out the book assuming that he knows everything about the people around him, especially his best friend, and part of his journey is learning that sometimes people are struggling with much more than he realizes.

Is this the genre you originally want to write? What other genre would you like to try in the future?

When I think of genre, I think of mysteries versus fantasies versus literary fiction, that sort of thing. I’ve always written literary fiction, and I’m very into mysteries, so I’ve always written hybrids of those things. In terms of category, I started out writing for adults (or at least I thought I did), but I’m finding that I enjoy writing for teenagers more at the moment, so I’m going to stick with this for as long as the teenagers will have me.

The title and the cover of the book is really eye catching, how did you decide it? And will you change anything if you could?

I wish I could take credit, but I had help with both of those things–I’m terrible at titles, and I’m not very visual. I love both, and I’m super grateful for the help I got with them. I wouldn’t change a thing.

What is the hardest thing you ever did while writing Playlist for the Dead? Can you share a bit of your experience?

At first, the hardest thing was getting in the mindset of someone who’d experienced what Sam was experiencing. I’d never lost someone that way, and you have to go to a pretty dark place to try and imagine it. While I was writing, a good friend of mine passed away very suddenly, and then the hardest thing became actually dealing with that. The writing, in a weird way, helped.

What will readers expect from the romance aspect in this book?

Um, disappointment? 😉

I tend to think relationships are really hard, no matter how old you are. And a relationship that starts under the kinds of circumstances the characters are dealing with here has a lot of pressure put on it that might be more than that relationship can bear. What Sam and Astrid have is complicated, and the book grapples with that in a number of different ways.

Are you working on something new already? Do you have a WIP that you can tell us about? 🙂

I am! It’s called PUSHING PERFECT, and it’s about a high school valedictorian who gets blackmailed into being part of a prescription drug ring. It should be out next fall, and I’m really excited about it.

Lastly, what’s your three current YA favorites?

Oh, that’s so hard! There are just so many good books out there. Three I loved recently were E. Lockhart’s WE WERE LIARS, Becky Albertalli’s SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA, and Amanda Panitch’s DAMAGE DONE.

Thanks again, Michelle for the Q&A!  

 

Here’s the Spotify playlist: 



 

  

Thanks again, Michelle for the Q&A! I REALLY cannot wait to get my hands on a physical copy of your book! You’re so awesome 🙂

 

The Giveaway..

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What do you guys think of Playlist For The Dead? Will you be reading it? Share your thoughts!

Paula

ARC REVIEW: Future Perfect by Jen Larsen

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Future Perfect

Jen Larsen

Expected publication: October 6th 2015 by HarperTeen

YA >Contemporary | Realistic Fiction

 

 

 

3 ★★★

 

 

Purchase links:

Amazon | B&N  | TBD | iTunes | Kobo 

 

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.

Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks, but no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is.
But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University—in exchange for undergoing weight loss surgery.

As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her?

Through her indecisions and doubts, Ashley’s story is a liberating one—a tale of one girl, who knows that weight is just a number, and that no one is completely perfect.

 

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REVIEW:

 

 

 

 

“I am the sum of my parts. Everything I’ve ever done and everything I’ve ever achieved and everything I have ever been. Fat and smart and afraid and fierce and angry and brave all together right here, and every piece of the puzzle fits the way it’s supposed to and I can’t pretend anymore. It’s always been true, no matter what I’ve told myself or hoped or tried to believe.”

 

That was a surprise. Future Perfect is such an empowering read! First of all, I wanna banish the thought that books that are about fat protagonists is meant for people who are experiencing the same thing only. NO! I actually think that books like this are meant for everyone! Every gender, age group or whether you’re experiencing the same thing or not. Everyone will finish this book with a powerful message received. And that is simply being happy and finding acceptance. That may seem very simple but Jen Larsen written it all in the most beautiful way.

Ashley is very refreshing. Its great to be inside the head of a fat protagonist that is not unhappy or not feeling bad about the way she look. Ashley is smart, driven and most of all, she’s real. She’s like an eye opener to everyone who thinks that all fat people are miserable or sad about their life. Ashley tends to ramble though which is my least favorite thing because it makes the book slower for me to read. But other than that, Ashley is nothing but inspiring. She’s admirable in every way and her character growth is just superb!

Other characters are completely well done as well and their subplots played a huge role in the story. Her grandmother which seems mean and the villain of the story is one of my favorite character. She’s just so complex. I am really impressed by Jen Larsen’s characterization and her writing. The story was set in a pace where you feel like you’re jut there… with Ashley. You will sympathize, you will feel and you will also learn.

Romance wasn’t a huge part of the story but it was still there. I can’t really say anything anymore except that it was not cliche and that it was just all…real.

Overall, I highly recommend Future Perfect. It doesn’t matter what kind of reader you are or that you feel like you’ve already read books like this before, YOU NEED THIS BOOK in your life.

 

 

AUTHOR:

 

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Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr 

 

Jen Larsen is the author of Future Perfect and Stranger Here: How Weight Loss Surgery Transformed My Body and Messed With My Head. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of San Francisco and currently lives in Madison, WI. Find her at jenlarsen.net.

 

 

 

 
   

GIVEAWAY:

 

FP giveaway

Win a signed hardcopy of FUTURE PERFECT, a FUTURE PERFECT SHIRT and FUTURE PERFECT button and magnet (US Only)

 

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TOUR HOST:

FFBC TOURS

Paula

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: A Step Towards Falling by Cammie McGovern

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A Step Towards Falling

Cammie McGovern

Expected publication: October 6th 2015 by HarperTeen

YA >Contemporary | Realistic Fiction

 

 

 

 

Purchase links:

Amazon | B&N

 

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

Cammie McGovern follows up her breakout young adult debut, Say What You Will, with this powerful and unforgettable novel about learning from your mistakes, and learning to forgive. Told in alternating points of view, A Step Toward Falling is a poignant, hopeful, and altogether stunning work that will appeal to fans of Jennifer Nevin, Robyn Schneider, and Jandy Nelson.

Emily has always been the kind of girl who tries to do the right thing—until one night when she does the worst thing possible. She sees Belinda, a classmate with developmental disabilities, being attacked. Inexplicably, she does nothing at all.

Belinda, however, manages to save herself. When their high school finds out what happened, Emily and Lucas, a football player who was also there that night, are required to perform community service at a center for disabled people. Soon, Lucas and Emily begin to feel like maybe they’re starting to make a real difference. Like they would be able to do the right thing if they could do that night all over again. But can they do anything that will actually help the one person they hurt the most?

 

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[tour schedule

 

 

 

 

AUTHOR:

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Website

 

Cammie McGovern was born in Evanston, Illinois, but moved to Los Angeles when she was seven years old. She is the author of three adult novels, The Art of Seeing, Eye Contact, and Neighborhood Watch. Say What You Will will be published by HarperTeen in June, 2014. She currently lives in Amherst, MA, with her husband and three sons, the oldest of whom is autistic.

 

 

 


   

GIVEAWAY:

 

One winner will get 2 copies of A STEP TOWARD FALLING by Cammie McGovern, one for themselves and one to give to a friend.
Must be 13+ To Enter |Ships in US only | Winner will be asked to provide contact info for friend so we can gather their shipping info and mail directly.

 

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TOUR HOST:

MMSAI TOURS

Paula

ARC REVIEW: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

Emmy & Oliver
Robin Benway
Published June 23rd 2015 by HarperTeen
YA >  Contemporary
352 pages 
eARC for Review
 

4★★★★

 
 
Purchase links:
Amazon | Nook
 
 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?
Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.
She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.
Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.
He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.
Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?
 

REVIEW:

Emmy & Oliver and its author Robin Benway have ruined me for YA Contemporary.

If you are to continue reading this raving/gushing/fangiry “review,” then know this: I’m a melodramatic reader. Not in the sense that I like drama in my reads—eww no, oh my god, no—but I tend to take everything that happens in a book, to the characters, to heart. And this is especially true for YA. I am a Young Adult, I am a part of the demographic that these books are aimed at, and books like Emmy & Oliver are the reason I get stuck in those bloody book hangovers for days.

Emily and Oliver were best friends in their childhood, up until Oliver was kidnapped by his father when he was seven and taken away. Ten years go by, but Emmy still thinks of Oliver every night just before bed. She thinks of how different it would be if he were here, how their little community would be different and how her parents would be less…controlling of her life. And she wishes Oliver would just come back.

Until one day, he does. And then Emmy is lost, because she’d wished for him to come back but now that he’s here she doesn’t know what to do. Especially since Oliver seems like he doesn’t remember her the way she remembers him. There begins the story of Emmy, who has to learn to reconcile the seven-year old Ollie to the seventeen-year old Oliver Sawyer, and Oliver himself, who has to understand the aftermath of his being taken away.

Once I’d finished reading the book, I found it very difficult to summarise my thoughts about this book—simply because I didn’t know how to. There’s so much about Emmy & Oliver that made me want to cry and laugh and keep this book to myself, not wanting to show it to anyone. Why? Because this book, these characters? They’re me! I felt like this book was custom-made for me and the author had managed to infiltrate my thoughts and dreams and desires and put them on paper, albeit a bit more poetically than they really are.

Without delving too deep into the characters or the story itself, I want to talk about the book as a whole. This book was a work of art simply because it explored the way teenagers think and it succeeded. I’m not saying reading teenagers is difficult (like it was mentioned in the book, we’re people) but there’s always this uproar of how we’re mood-swingy and rebellious and just neurotic. And I’ve never understood it, because I’m pretty sure I go through the same emotions adults go through and I’m being stereotyped for it. But Robin Benway’s writing showed me that maybe, just maybe, adults see us for the people we are. The characters in this book didn’t speak eloquently or dish out words of wisdom or try to be adult-like. They were flawed and they were perfect.

There’s no two ways about it…this book isn’t perfect. There were things I disagreed with like Oliver being a little unkind to his mother on his return, Emmy lying to her parents a lot, but while I didn’t like them, I understood them. They weren’t the right things to do, of course, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out what I would do differently if I were in the place of these characters. This only makes the book more realistic and it became infinitely more easier for me to connect with it.

If you have to read one YA Contemporary this year, then let it be this one. And if there’s one YA MC you have to fall in love with, let it be Emmy.

 

Rhea[1]