It’s another Bookanista Thursday!  This week I’m talking about The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp.

Synopsis:

10866624So, my girlfriend, Cassidy, is threatening to kick me to the curb again, my best friend suddenly wants to put the brakes on our lives of fabulous fun, my mom and big sister are plotting a future in which I turn into an atomic vampire, and my dad, well, my dad is a big fat question mark that I’m not sure I want the answer to.

Some people would let a senior year like this get them down. Not me. I’m Sutter Keely, master of the party. But don’t mistake a midnight philosopher like me for nothing more than a shallow party boy. Just ask Aimee, the new girl in my life. She saw the depth in the Sutterman from that first moment when she found me passed out on the front lawn. Okay, so she’s a social disaster, but that’s where I come in.

Yes, life is weird, but I embrace the weird. Let everyone else go marching off into their great shining futures if they want. Me, I’ve always been more than content to tip my whisky bottle and take a ride straight into the heart of the spectacular now.

What I Loved:

  • The voice. I tend to love male POV, especially in YA. Sutter’s voice was crystal clear – jaded and sarcastic, but honest and raw at the same time. You wanted to hate Sutter at times, but you always believed him.
  • The characters. Sutter and Aimee and Cassidy and Ricky and … the list goes on. I felt all the characters in this book were extremely well developed. Sure, there were some clichés, but they were there for a purpose.
  • The romance. Sutter and Aimee don’t have the typical YA romance. There’s no insta-love and she’s not immediately drawn to his piercing dark eyes and wind-swept hair. It’s a quiet love, on the fringes, instead of so “in your face.”

Sites:

Add The Spectacular Now to Goodreads | Check out Tim’s website

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It’s another Bookanista Thursday!  This week I’m talking about Blythewood by Carol Goodman. This YA paranormal was full of character and interesting paranormal twists. 

Synopsis:

10866624At seventeen, Avaline Hall has already buried her mother, survived a horrific factory fire, and escaped from an insane asylum. Now she’s on her way to Blythewood Academy, the elite boarding school in New York’s mist-shrouded Hudson Valley that her mother attended—and was expelled from. Though she’s afraid her high society classmates won’t accept a factory girl in their midst, Ava is desperate to unravel her family’s murky past, discover the identity of the father she’s never known, and perhaps finally understand her mother’s abrupt suicide. She’s also on the hunt for the identity of the mysterious boy who rescued her from the fire. And she suspects the answers she seeks lie at Blythewood.

But nothing could have prepared her for the dark secret of what Blythewood is, and what its students are being trained to do. Haunted by dreams of a winged boy and pursued by visions of a sinister man who breathes smoke, Ava isn’t sure if she’s losing her mind or getting closer to the truth. And the more rigorously Ava digs into the past, the more dangerous her present becomes.

Vivid and atmospheric, full of mystery and magic, this romantic page-turner by bestselling author Carol Goodman tells the story of a world on the brink of change and the girl who is the catalyst for it all.

What I Loved:

I could swoon over the setting and historical aspects of this book. It’s set in the early 1900s – which is my favorite era ever!  I loved how the paranormal elements were twisted with real history – women’s suffrage, the Titanic, etc. And the setting is lush and heavy and a character unto itself.

Ava is a strong character, with much tragedy in her past. I really enjoyed watching her journey, and the secondary characters are believable and complex as well. I also loved the story behind Blythewood and the bells – it added a new element to the paranormal and twists and characters.

This novel was definitely on the long side, but it was definitely worth immersing myself into the world of Blythewood. Definitely pick it up!

Sites:

Add Blythewood to Goodreads | Check out Carol’s website | Follow her on Twitter

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It’s another Bookanista Thursday!  This week I’m talking about Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn, which was very intriguing and powerful. And of course, I adore Stephanie in real life!

Synopsis:

10866624No one really knows who Andrew Winston Winters is. Least of all himself. He is part Win, a lonely teenager exiled to a remote boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts the whole world out, no matter the cost, because his darkest fear is of himself …of the wolfish predator within. But he’s also part Drew, the angry boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who, one fateful summer, was part of something so terrible it came close to destroying him. A deftly woven, elegant, unnerving psychological thriller about a boy at war with himself. Charm and Strange is a masterful exploration of one of the greatest taboos.

What I Loved:

This book has a wealth of twists and surprises. You think you’re headed in one direction and then it’s a big detour into something else altogether. Suffice it to say you have a bit of an unreliable narrator! Specifically, I loved:

  • Characters. I absolutely was enthralled with Win/Drew. He is flawed (and rightly so) but very relatable. Lex and Jordan are detailed as well, giving constant support to Win. 
  • Pacing.  I know some people have a problem with the pacing of this novel, but I’m not one of them. As the book progresses you see the layers of Andrew Winston Winters peeled away – alternating between past and present. With each chapter you learn more, until finally the full story is revealed.

Sites:

Add Charm and Strange to Goodreads | Check out Stephanie’s website | Follow her on Twitter

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It’s another Bookanista Thursday!  This week I’m talking about Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan, which I absolutely adored.

Synopsis:

10866624Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him

What I Loved:

Oh my goodness, I loved nearly everything!

  • Characters. Each character was nuanced and layered with a wealth of flaws. Kami was adorable and witty, Jared was sullen but swoon-worthy, Ash was charming, the entire Lynborn family were spooky in their own ways, Angela was hilarious despite all her laziness. 
  • Setting. Sorry-in-the-Vale was a character unto itself. Lush and sweeping, humid with its own pulse. I loved getting to know the town and the outskirts.
  • Relationships. I was swept up in the dynamic of Kami and Jared, right from the start. They have a multi-layered backstory that unfolds as the book progresses, coming to a crescendo at the end of the novel. I’m dying to know what happens to them!

Sites:

Add Unspoken to Goodreads | Check out Sarah’s website | Follow her on Twitter

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