I don’t know how she does it, but Maurene Goo made me fall in love with this book! In SOMEWHERE ONLY WE KNOW, Lucky is a K-Pop Star who’s risen quickly to the top and is about to debut in America. Jack is a photographer who works as a paparazzo and interns at his father’s bank while trying to put off college. The two meet while Lucky is hunting down a burger one night and is a whirlwind of an adventure/romance from there! It was so much fun! I don’t give five stars out very often, but this book earned every one! I LOVED IT! Very well done! (Cover photo from Goodreads)
In the words of Augustus Waters, "It is an honor to have my heart broken by you" (or something like that.) This is how I feel about The History of Jane Doe.
First and foremost, I need to preface this review by saying two things:
1. This is a story about a girl who commits suicide and leaves her boyfriend, his best friend, and her family behind. The book is the boyfriend (Ray's) way of dealing by creating a history of his memories of her-Jane. You will get all the feels. If that is something you want, read this NOW, if not-steer clear.
2. I stopped loving John Green after Paper Towns failed me, but I will forever love Augustus Waters and Looking for Alaska.
The History of Jane Doe is a heartbreakingly beautiful story of grief, friendship, and first love. If you like John Green, this is a very Green-esque, in a small town with a boy who loves history. Ray is a regular kid, not popular and kind of weird, with a best friend, Simon, who wants to be a vampire. (Who I honestly loved because he is so preciously naive.) Ray recounts his story of Jane from the first time he saw her to a year after she died. The story goes back and forth between a countdown of days BEFORE and days after. Most of the days after being scenes of Ray with his therapist, Rich, and Ray not being able to leave his room and having to deal with his anger from losing Jane. Ray recounts how he slowly fell for Jane, while she learned how to live in a small town after growing up in Brooklyn.
I think my favorite part of the book is when Ray is with his therapist and Rich tells Ray, "'It's not about the people in their lives. Their boyfriends. Parents. Friends. It's something inside. And that's hard for people to get, because it doesn't necessarily relate to anything going on in their lives-it's just there. And someimes, when people don't get the help they need, it grows too strong'" (Belanger, 375).
I love how easy this book was to love. The small town that ray knows all of the history about gives the story a funny setting where you definitely learn that while something major is going on in one person's head, the world is still spinning and how upsetting that can be. I also love how Ray also has to deal with the after of everything and we get to be a witness to his growth and healing process. It is such an important time to learn more about mental health and I think that this book is a great place to start.
Y'all, I absolutely DEVOURED this book. I LOVED the return to Simon's world and how real Leah is. She felt perfect for a movie or even an audiobook; her voice and feelings make her real and relatable. I love how she is trying to find herself as well as coming to terms with her sexual identity. My favorite part of Leah is how she repeats "I love my body.." her body positivity was a breath of fresh air in our body negative world.
If you coudn't already tell, Simon's Spier's best friend, Leah, got her won book, in which she has to navigate her best friend's breakup while falling for the girl that her best friend just broke up with meanwhile worrying about her upcoming graduation and the usual college applicatio process anxiety. Her mom is dating again, so add that to the pile of feels that Leah is dealing with.
I loved every second of this book. Readers should be aware though that Leah is a potty-mouth and if you didn't like Katherine Langford playing her in Love, Simon, then you won't like her in this because she is a wonderful depicition of Leah.
Clara Shin lives with her dad in L.A and is the class clown. She likes to "stay in the shallow end" of feelings and make jokes of everything, but when she and the class president, Rose, get into a fight at prom and almost burn down the school cafeteria, she is forced to work with Rose in her dad's food truck all summer. As the two work together, Clara learns about having to face your feelings and what real friendship and relationships are like.
I loved every second of this book, so much so that I couldn't put it down and finished it in a little under a day. Clara is very real and relatable, her journey from class clown to actual person was easy to follow. I'd love to see a spinoff or novela about her dad and his realtionships being a single dad or her mom's adventures as a social media influencer.
The Way You Make Me Feel is another book that I will be reviewing and booktalking in a Junior Library Guild webcast next month!
My first book sketchnote in a LOONNGG time! THE LOVE LETTERS OF ABELARD AND LILY is a super sweet romance between a boy on the autism spectrum and a girl with ADHD. I LOVED it so much that I finished it in a day! I also really liked that it was set in Austin so I could actually picture where events were taking place! I used the Apple Pencil and the Doodle Art app, which is why there’s an awkward border on the left. 😂😂. I’ll be booktalking this book and a few others in a Junior Library Guild webinar next month-check back for details!
Meet Cute is a super cute anthology of YA authors writing short stories about the lead up to meeting someone. Actual Rating: 3.8/5 stars
Siege Etiquette by Katie Cotugno: 3 stars
The story of two people who haven't seen each other in a long time and end up trapped together in a bathroom when a house party is being raided. It reminded me of the movie "Can't Hardly Wait" from the 90s. This story was cute, nothing amazing. I would be interested if it became a full novel.
Print Shop by Nina LaCour: 4 stars
I immediately enjoyed the diversity in this one. The main character, Evie, starts working in a print shop where everything is made by an artist instead of computers and machines. An angry customer voices her unpleasant opinion of the shop on Twitter and begins a love interest. Interesting concept.
Hourglass by Ibi Zoboi: 2 stars
Honestly, I didn't care for Cherish's POV in this one. She came off as very whiny and "woe is me" because her best friend starts dating the guy who teased her for her size, thankfully she comes to term with who she is.
Click by Katharine McGee: 4 stars
I really liked the idea behind Click. Katharine McGee introduces a futuristic dating app where your entire social media presence and online footprint are analyzed and match you with another person. While the thought of this overwhelmed me, I really enjoyed the fast pace of the story and wit and banter between the characters. It also was a great peek into how love can be unexpected even when you're looking for it.
The Intern by Sara Shepard: 4.5 stars
SO CUTE! Clara interns for her dad's record label and has to show around one of the artists and unexpectedly falls for him-cheesy, I know, but so cute. The beauty is really in the details in this one.
Somewhere That’s Green by Meredith Russo: 4.5 stars
Another WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS story revealing a transgender girl's fears and fight with a school board about which restroom she is allowed to use while a gay student who isn't out yet deals with her own issues. It was a little slow, but a great, quick, look into a world I'm not familiar with.
The Way We Love Here by Dhonielle Clayton: 4 stars
Very interesting concept. On a remote island, the people are born with a ring mark on their finger that reveals when they'll meet their soul mate. When two teens find a way to "hack the system" they see how their lives will play out and how they will live and fall in love with. Another interesting concept. I wouldn't read it as a whole novel, but it was a perfect short story.
Oomph by Emery Lord: 5 stars
Oomph was one of my favorites in this anthology! A super cute unexpected romance in an airport where mystery is in the air. Two girls meet in an airport pretending to be Marvel characters and hit it off. Loved it!
The Dictionary of You and Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout: 4.75 stars
It might be the librarian in me, but I loved this story. It was a bit predictable, but worth it. Moss has to track down an overdue dictionary from the library that she works at and finds more than just a book. Sometimes books reveal people for us. ;)
The Unlikely Likelihood of Falling in Love by Jocelyn Davies: 5 stars
Again, it might be that I was a math teacher in one of my past lives (before I became a librarian) but I loved this one. The main character writes her semester statistics project on the odds of her seeing a mystery boy from the subway again.
259 Million Miles by Kass Morgan: 3 stars
Meh. It felt more like the main character was running away from his problems rather than facing them head on, which *spoilers* he ends up doing. Blythe and Philip are two finalists for a mission to Mars and only one of them will be chosen. They have to spend 24 hours in an isolation chamber together to see how they will interact and work as a team-of course the predictability is obvious-but they make it through the test. A beautiful display of how sometimes we meet someone at the wrong time.
Something Real by Julie Murphy: 4 stars
Julie Murphy wrote a perfect show story on how meeting your celebrity crush can sometimes be a disappointment, but you can meet someone in the process that makes up for it.
Say Everything by Huntley Fitzpatrick: 0 stars
Just no. I didn't care at all for the POV, the main character was unmemorable and it was honestly just slow and boring.
The Department of Dead Love by Nicola Yoon: 6 (out of 5) stars
When is it socially acceptable to dub Nicola as the queen of romance? I mean really, this short story was perfect and made up for the crappy one before it. Thomas goes to the Department of Dead Love to find out what happened that caused an end to his last relationship and ends up finding a way to heal his heart. So many good quotes come from this story. LOVED IT!
Overall, I really enjoyed this anthology. Each story brought something different and it will appeal to all sorts of readers.