Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Genre: 

Young Adult, health Fantasy

Pages: 

522 pages

Part of a Series?:

Spinoff of Fangirl

Release Date: 

October 6th, 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.

My Review:

 

You know what I think amuses me the most about this book? This book is literally a fan fiction of a fandom that only exists in another fictional book. Its beautiful, and I love that this is a thing, and that its successful and even more, its SO damn good.

Its no secret that Fangirl literally is one of my favorite books that I’ve ever read. From page one until the last, I connected with Cath so much, and the story. Its just…its me and Harry Potter, easily. Which gave me an emotional attachment to Simon Snow and Baz and the rest of the characters…these characters that don’t even really have a story but Rainbow makes you love them.

And then there’s this book. THIS BOOK. Its just…I love it. Its a fan fiction of a not real story. And its a fan fiction of the finale to the not real series. Its absolutely absurd when you really think about it, but this is exactly what it is and it just WORKS.

I adore Simon. I adore Penelope and Baz and I love them all. My love for Baz is so deep, I can’t even begin to explain it. Even though this isn’t a real story, I guess, Rainbow makes it real. She makes it seem like you’ve been part of this huge Simon Snow for years and that’s exactly how I felt. I was like, HOW IS THIS GOING TO END? IS SIMON GOING TO FULFILL HIS DESTINY? WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN WITH PENNY? AND OH GOD I SHIP SIMON AND BAZ SO MUCH.

Any author that can make me love these fictional characters so much, so easily, totally wins all the marbles in my book. Seriously. Because its just such a fun story. It has everything that I love about Harry Potter, which makes it the perfect fictional stand-in for Cath in Fangirl. Its hilarious and its action packed, but it has that sort of whimsical and magical feel of Harry Potter…and it has this romance that KILLS me in all the good ways, because there is just not enough fantasy out there with a M/M love story and I adore Simon and Baz together SO much.

But I also think that it makes such a great Harry Potter fan fiction as well. Its obvious what Simon Snow is supposed to be but that’s what makes it so great. Its Rainbow’s own little shoutout to this amazing series, and she takes it and writes her own fan fiction and its beautiful, and cheeky and the bad words make me laugh because its a total fan fic thing to do. It literally feels like a Harry Potter fan fiction but one of the best written and it doesn’t feel fake or, like its taking advantage of an already established fandom. Its like, she’s paying it a huge compliment.

It also really makes me want more Simon Snow, which makes NO sense because really, its ONLY the one book. It just makes me laugh at the absurdity and yet its just so freakin perfect.

Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

September Book Wrap Up!

Books Pledged to Read in 2015:

150

Am I On Track: 

9 books behind schedule. I went slump-y again

Books Read So Far: 

103

Total Books For September: 

6

Moving Target

Flamecaster (ARC)

Stand Off

Fangirl – ReRead

Dumplin’ 

The Fifteenth Minute

*********

GoFundMe: Help What A Nerd Girl Says Get to RT Book Lover’s Convention!

I’ve been thinking for awhile now on whether or not to actually make a GoFundMe for this. I felt kind of weird actually asking people for money. But I sat, salve talked to a ton of people who have used it, and decided I would use it. Its used for such a great variety of things and I thought, you know what, why not?

In May, my friends and I will be embarking a road trip to Texas to attend the RT BookLovers Convention. Its an absolutely incredible convention, that changes location every year, and focuses completely on books, the love of reading and the love of writing. I wish I had the funds to do the entire convention but that’s just not in the cards. However, they have a Teen Day, which is focused ALL on YA authors. It is literally heaven on earth for me. Literally. Authors like Meg Cabot, Richelle Mead, Jennifer Armentrout, Susan Ee, Lindsey Cummings, Sara Raasch, Victoria Scott, Cora Carmack, Tammara Webber, Kiera Cass, Bethan Hagen, Tonya Kuper, Marie Lu, Stephanie Perkins, I could literally go on for ages…its an incredible line-up.

And I want to see each and every single one of those authors. But what sold me, what broke my heart about not being able to go last year, was the my favorite author in the entire world (besides good ol JK Rowling), Tamora Pierce, is going to be there. Tamora is a goddess. She has been writing teen fantasy since the early 80s and she’s just absolutely incredible. The mere thought of meeting literally sends tears to my eyes. Literally.

So I knew I had to get there. I had to be there. And I’ve been planning with my friends for awhile now. But we finally made a solid move in our planning: we booked our hotel. We’re doing this. We’re going to drive to Dallas and go to Teen Day at RT and meet a ton of authors and MEET TAMORA PIERCE.

I’m dying.

And here’s the thing: I will make this happen. No matter what I have to do, I will make this happen. One, I’m not bailing out on my friends. Two, I’m not bailing out on such an awesome event.

But life happens, guys. I’m 27 years old and only just about a year and a half ago, I made the decision on exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I dropped out of school to put 100% of my focus on my blog and on writing a novel and getting published. In the process, I’ve also gotten a job at Disneyland, one that I’ve wanted for SO long, and one where I am totally happy. But the thing is, while I’m seriously happy with WHAT I’m doing in my life, it doesn’t pay the bills. It just doesn’t. And it sucks. Its stressful and it makes my anxiety shoot through the roof. But I don’t want to give up the happiness I’ve had so I push forward each and every day to try and make this work because I believe in chasing after my dreams.

So I’m asking for your help. I’m asking for donations from all of you, to help get me to RT. This money will go towards my hotel, my food, books, gas money to get there, etc. It will ALSO go to extra books and stuff for an EPIC giveaway for this blog’s THIRD birthday, which will be celebrated when I return from the trip. You guys like that idea, right?

I hope that you can help out :) Even the smallest bit helps, and I would appreciate it more than you even know. Click the picture below to head to my GoFundMe.

And if you’re heading to RT, make sure to say hi to me :) I’ll be the one in a puddle of tears in front of Tamora Pierce’s table. Legit.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 3.07.13 AM

Thanks guys :)

Tuesday Top Ten: Favorite Fictional Book Couples!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Well, online almost. But its nearly there and to celebrate, price this week’s Tuesday Top Ten is getting a little romantic. Now, I know this is a post that I’ve already done but that was QUITE a long time ago and I’ve read so many books since then…its hard to narrow it down!

However, my poor sentimental heart was finally able to do so and I present to you my top ten favorite fictional book couples!

10. William Herondale and Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices Series

CJ_Will_&_Tessa_01

Will and Tessa have one of those romances that, if it actually existed in real life, you’d be torn between being massively jealous and also massively apt to throwing up all the time. Its incredibly beautiful, tragic, deep, genuine, intense. Its one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve read and what makes it even more beautiful is the love that the two of them share with Jem as well. Its just…amazingly written. It should be a love triangle but it doesn’t feel that way because the three of them love each other so much. Plus, there’s just something amazing about their love of books and how their love of words bring them together, and how they fight alongside each other…sigh.

9. Cara and Aelyx from The Alienated Series

téléchargement

This is one of my newest favorite couples to come into my life, just this past summer. I met Melissa at ALA and got an ARC of Invaded and knew I had to read the first one and I am SO glad I did! This two part series is AWESOME and I’m massively in love with Cara and Aelyx and their story. What makes it so great is how annoyed and disgusted (especially on Aelyx’s part) they are with each other and how it slowly builds to something else. I love how they figure things out. I mean, Aelyx GOOGLES how to kiss. Its silly and sweet and intense and I love every single moment of it.

8. Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games Series

EverlarkBeachScene

DUH. I know its cheesy and so completely unrealistic as far as fictional relationships work out but I still love every minute of it. Because despite everything that their world throws at them, they still make it through. I tend to like Gale more as a character but I love Peeta more for Katniss and I think its because they balance each other out SO much. Plus its kind of bittersweet how they work so hard to protect each other and it always seems to fail but they never ever give up on it. I don’t like the conclusion, so to speak, of their relationship, I don’t think it makes sense with the characters at all but I love their relationship.

7. Four and Tris from the Divergent Series

tris-four-full-page-feature-b

This is one relationship that I love, not just because I’m absolutely obsessed with this series but because it turns out to be completely opposite of what you expect. When you meet Tris, she’s unsure, unconfident, struggling to figure out who she is, while Four seems strong, confident, sure. But the closer they get to each other, the more you realize that its Tris that helps Four, brings him out, makes him a better person. He relies on her, looks into her for strength and I love that. I think its better when a couple is equal but I love seeing that a female character can be seen as the strength in a relationship.

6. Aly and Nawat from The Tricksters Series

Aly_and_Nawat_by_happineff

This is one of my favorite relationships, so easily because it is one of the most unique ones I’ve come across in any book. Aly is a born noble girl, trained in the ways of a noble lady but also the fighting and stealth of a common born spy. She’s kidnapped and sold into slavery for a wealthy family in an enemy kingdom. She meets Nawat, who is a crow turned man. They each have their own journey to take, though they are inevitably intertwined with each other, and what I love is that they each do the things they need to do before they came together. Its beautiful. It really shows…you don’t need a guy to get where you need to be, and that a really great guy will be there, even if you can’t be there yourself.

5. Levi and Cath from Fangirl

5064990

Okay, I love this relationship because I want this relationship. Seriously. I want this relationship so bad. I love 1-4 so badly on this list but if I had to choose a relationship that I genuinely wanted more than anything…it would be this one. I think a lot of that comes from the fact that I feel very connected to Cath. She feels like me in so so many ways and I can understand her fears and her concerns and her anxiety and her struggle to become close with people because she’s afraid they can’t handle who she is. But Levi comes in and just loves her, for every single thing that she is. And he’s a goofball, which I just love, and he just is so genuine and real and I love everything about their relationship. This is relationship goals.

4. Rose Hathaway and Dimitri Belikov from The Vampire Academy Series

Rose_and_Dimitri

I want to be Rose Hathaway. Or I want to be with her. I can’t really figure it out. Maybe both. That’s kind of weird ;) Either way, the Vampire Academy series is one of my favorites ever and I love that it takes legitimately all six books for Rose and Dimitri to get where you finally wish them to be. Their relationship is SO tragic BUT neither one of the characters are tragic. They always focus on their job as dhampirs, as guardians and getting the job done, and that’s why they’re one of my favorite relationships. They are awesome together, but as more than a couple, as a team.

3. Adrian Ivashkov and Sydney Sage from the Bloodlines Series

sydrian

When I first started reading the Bloodlines series, it was clear that the couple that would come out of this series was Adrian and Sydney. Having met and fallen in love with both of those characters in the VA series, I was so confused on how these two would even WORK. But as the series continued and you watched them fall in love with each other, I was panting alongside everyone else. I just finished the finale book, The Ruby Circle, today, release day and I won’t say much because of spoilers but I’m so happy with this relationship. They both changed from book one to book six and they did it together. They were equals from beginning to end and I love that. They rely on each other and they save each other and I ship it so hard.

2. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger from The Harry Potter Series

Deathly-Hallows-ronald-weasley-26912280-1680-1050

All you haters can sit down and shut up. Everyone says that Ron doesn’t deserve Hermione and all that junk. I myself read way too much Dramione fan fiction, admittedly. But this is one of my favorite couples because I think they work together. They are different, but I think that’s what makes them work. Ron loves Hermione, even though she’s much smarter than him and is constantly berating him and all that kind of thing. Hermione loves Ron, even though he can be selfish and unthinking. Love, real love, is about accepting each other’s flaws and still loving each other anyway. Of course there’s a limit to that but I think Ron and Hermione are the example of a perfect imperfect relationship. Relationships aren’t beautiful and amazing and all that. They take work and they don’t always go the way its planned and that’s exactly what this relationship is.

1. Jace Lightwood and Clary Fray from The Mortal Instruments Series

JC1stOfficial

They continue to be my favorite couple and I think that’s because of when I read the book. You want to talk about an overdramatic, tragic story of a relationship? This is it right here. Book One: Jace can’t admit he has feelings. Finally kind of does…oops, him and Clary are brother and sister. Or wait they’re not brother and sister. Oh, wait, he’s being possessed by Lilith, oh, wait, now by the real Jonathan Morgenstern. I mean, seriously. Its the most dramatic relationship that takes place over a period of, like, five months. But I love both of these characters. I love the way they fall in love, I love the way they balance each other out, I love the way they eventually fight together, I love every single bit of them. And that is not going to change.

*      *      *      *      *      *

Who are some of YOUR favorite book couples? Make sure to share in the comments!

Tuesday Top Ten-Fictional Characters I Most Relate To

I am so impressed with myself right now. Mostly because I’m really bad at doing Tuesday Top Tens lately and here I am doing one. Granted its about 3 am, side effects and I’m bored and tired but not sleepy tired and I’m kind of sick so I don’t really wanna sleep, website so hence the Tuesday Top Ten is actually getting done for once. I’m really proud of myself.

I do these questions on my personal facebook page. I have a TON of friends on FB, sick and I don’t mean that as a bragging thing because I realized that I have all these friends and I barely know them. So I try to do these get to know you questions to try and get to know them so they feel more like friends. Anyway, I asked the other day, what fictional character do you think is most like you?

And it got me thinking: this is a GREAT idea for the Tuesday Top Ten. So let’s do this :)

10. Belle from Beauty and the Beast

759_front

I think this one is pretty self explanatory. Belle is probably the first character that really stood out to me, because she loved books and she got so wrapped in the stories and she continued to read them over and over again, and for some reason, people thought this was the weirdest thing in the world. Now, reading is pretty cool now but it wasn’t always like that and so I really identified with Belle, not fitting in and escaping the real world for the adventures in a book. Plus, I was massively determined to being able to walk and read at the same time…and I completely hit that goal.

BOOKSELLER: “That one? But you’ve read it twice!”

BELLE: “Well, it’s my favorite! Far off places, daring swordfights, magic spells, a prince in disguise -“

9. Princess Leia from Star Wars

star-wars-episode-iv---a-new-hope-5229c3b7a902b

Maybe this is just wishful thinking but this is another character that stood out to me as a child and stuck with me for the rest of my life and probably will continue to do so. I think I liked that she was basically the only girl in the movie, which means she had big shoes to fill and even though she wore pretty dresses and was a princess, she could handle a gun, had sarcasm and kept up with the boys. I grew up with mostly boys and I always felt like I had to be loud, and obnoxious and over the top to get their attention and to make them realize I was just as good as them, if not better, and that one day, a Han Solo is going to realize that I’m awesome, even when I’m annoying. Okay moving on because that paragraph was the biggest mess ever.

“I’d just as soon kiss a Wookiee.”

8. Aly from the Daughter of the Lioness

24431

I LOVE ALY! I think the reason that I most related to her was her desire to be something new, something that was unexpected of her, even though everyone was doubting her. The thing about Aly is that everyone believes in her, expects so much of her, knows that she can do so much. But she knows what she wants, and what she wants is not what everyone else wants for her and she meets fight after fight trying to make that happen. What I love about Aly is that she loves her family and knows that they want is best for her, she still fights to live her dreams and to live her life the way she wants to.

“Why, I’m just as true and honest as dirt. And I’m even more charming than dirt.”

7. Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices

Clockwork_Angel_1

The thing that always caught me about Tessa, that made me connect with her, was her ability to love everyone, and to care about everyone, feel responsibility for them. I know that I feel like I have to take care of the world, even though that’s not my responsibility. Tessa gets thrust into a brand new world and falls in love with all of these people that reach out and take care of her. She spreads her love so easily and that is exactly how I am. If someone is nice to me, takes care of me, welcomes me in, I fall in love. I love people fully. Plus she loves books. She says the most wonderful things about books; she quotes them. She’s an early fangirl ;) I wish I could find a boy like Will Herondale that would talk and argue books with me.

“Tessa craned her head back to look at Will. “You know that feeling,” she said, “when you are reading a book, and you know that it is going to be a tragedy; you can feel the cold and darkness coming, see the net drawing tight around the characters who live and breathe on the pages. But you are tied to the story as if being dragged behind a carriage and you cannot let go or turn the course aside.” His blue eyes were dark with understanding — of course Will would understand — and she hurried on. “I feel now as if the same is happening, only not to characters on a page but to my own beloved friends and companions. I do not want to sit by while tragedy comes for us. I would turn it aside, only I struggle to discover how that might be done.”

6. Alec Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments

COB_cover

Why do I relate to Alec Lightwood? How do I not relate to him? There is so much of Alec in me, its kind of crazy. I know that it took a lot of time for others to love him but I loved him from page one. He’s confused, and loyal and determined and confused. He’s so fiercely loyal and protective of his sister and brother and of Jace. I love that about him, especially since he’s often afraid while he’s trying to be protective. We definitely have the same sassy, sarcastic attitude that he gets in the very last book. But the most important thing that we have in common is the journey that we’ve taken to figure out who we are. Alec is shy, confused, and unable to accept parts of himself because of the fear of what others would think. I know what that’s like…to be so unsure of who you are and where you’re going and to watch Alec blossom and figure out who he is and become a stronger and better person because of that. I’d like to see myself in that.

“I did not make a pie,” Alec repeated, gesturing expressively with one hand, “for three reasons. One, because I do not have any pie ingredients. Two, because I don’t actually
know how to make a pie.” He paused, clearly waiting.

Removing his sword and leaning it against the cave wall, Jace said warily, “And three?”

“Because I am not your bitch,” Alec said, clearly pleased with himself.”

5. Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries

princess_diaries_cover

Oh Mia Thermopolis. I immediately fell in love with her when I read the first book when I was 12 years old. She’s insecure and a little paranoid and a total fangirl and constantly trying to do the right thing, and kind of stumbling along. She’s so real. And even when she’s with a boy (Michael Moscovitz) and knows he loves her, she still gets insecure and makes silly mistakes. She overanalyzes everything and worries so much. She literally over worries about everything and its insane. But its totally me. I’m the biggest worrier I know. I worry about the dumbest things and so when I read the book, I really felt close to Mia. Plus she’s a writer. That obviously connects with me a lot. It takes awhile for her to figure out that this is what’s good at and what she wants to do with her life. Gasp. So me.

“But then I remembered something Grandmere had once assured me of: No one has ever died of embarrassment-never, not once in the whole history of time.”

4. Sophie Hatter from Howl’s Moving Castle

untitled

Sophie is also sort of like an Alec Lightwood for me in the whole insecurity thing. Sophie begins the novel and the movie feeling trapped in that hat shop, stuck in a life chosen for her because she thinks its the right thing to do. She’s not special, she’s not pretty, she doesn’t have any particular talents, she doesn’t stand out. She thinks that this is the best path for her because what other path does she have. Her mother is fabulous and constantly traveling and her sister is beautiful and has the attention of all her customers. But it takes Sophie breaking out of the box, going on a crazy adventure and falling in with a totally unexpected crowd to blossom. She figures out who she is and becomes strong and confident. She simply has to find that thing that makes her the person she is. It feels SO familiar to me, to be unsure if I’m on the right path, or if I’m even half as special as the people I’m around.

“They say that the best blaze burns brightest, when circumstances are at their worst.”

3. Ron Weasley from Harry Potter

Harry_Potter_and_the_Sorcerer's_Stone

YES. Ron Weasley. My favorite Harry Potter character, tied with Sirius Black. I like Ron Weasley because he’s the most relatable, the most realistic of the big Three in those books. There are so many reasons I relate to Ron. He feels in the shadow of others: his siblings, his best friends. He doesn’t think he’s as great as them and he’s constantly trying to prove himself. There’s a need to prove himself. But I also love that he’s a great friend but he has faults. He gets mad and jealous and frustrated and he gets in fights with his friends. People don’t always understand that about him because Hermione is seriously SUCH a selfless friend but Ron is real and selfish and he gets jealous and angry, and that feels normal and I know I’m like that. But the one thing that really gets me about Ron is his loyalty to his family, especially his brothers and sister. My immediate family means the absolute world to me. I too come from a large family, a family of six kids and I love my brothers and sisters so much, its amazing.

“You’ve sort of made up for it tonight,’ said Harry. ‘Getting the sword. Finishing off the Horcux. Saving my life.’

‘That makes me sound a lot cooler than I was,’ Ron mumbled.

2. Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy/Bloodlines

81EP-oUzgaL

I’ve always kind of hoped that I was like Rose Hathaway until my parabatai, Sylvia (from Fangirl Feeels) was reading one of the VA books and pointed out that Rose reminded her so much of me, the things she said, the way she acted, and honestly, I took that as a HUGE compliment. She is one of my FAVORITE female characters of ALL time and to be compared to her, to feel like I relate to her and that I’m like her…it almost feels like an honor. I want to be like one of my favorite characters. She’s brave and incredibly loyal and I would hope to be like that. But I love that she’s goofy and sassy, which I think kind of equates to me. I like that she’s constantly making jokes and saying ridiculous things and trying to find the humor in even the worst situations. I really feel similar to her. I don’t know that I am similar to her but I’ve heard it so and I like to believe I am :)

“The other problem in my life is Dimitri. He’s the one who killed Natalie, and he’s a total badass. He’s also pretty good-looking. Okay—more than good-looking. He’s hot—like, the kind of hot that makes you stop walking on the street and get hit by traffic.”

1. Cath from Fangirl

fangirl-rainbow-rowell-cover-677x1024

There is literally never been a character that I’ve related to more in my life than Cath in Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. From the moment that I started the book, I just fell into it. It easily became one of my favorite books and I had to tell Rainbow and she was SUCH a doll and sent me a postcard, thanking me for the letter and for relating to Cath so much. But its really her that I should thank. She literally understands me as a person. Sure, there are things about Cath that aren’t me. But there are so many things that are me. She is so afraid and anxious of the outside world, of making mistakes and venturing away from the things that are safe that she completely loses herself in the worlds of books. And people don’t always understand that about her. They don’t understand that navigating the cafeteria at her new school is seriously frightening and anxiety inducing. They don’t understand how someone could be SO obsessed with fictional characters. But I do. I completely get Cath and she gets me. She IS me.

“No,” Cath said, “Seriously. Look at you. You’ve got your shit together, you’re not scared of anything. I’m scared of everything. And I’m crazy. Like maybe you think I’m a little crazy, but I only ever let people see the tip of my crazy iceberg. Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and socially inept, I’m a complete disaster.”

*       *       *       *       *       *

Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite YA Contemporary Novels

Now this is something that I’ve done before. I did this exact post for the Tuesday Top Ten on April 30th, dosage 2013, so a good year and a half ago. In that nearly two year period, Ive spent a LOT of time reading new books. A TON of time. So, of course, my favorite YA contemporary novel list has changed.

This blog has been around for two and a half years now and so that means that I will be doing repeats of old Tuesday Top Tens because things change, because the beauty of this blog that I’m constantly reading new books and being introduced to new authors so I’m finding new favorites. When you get down to it, this list is probably going to chance in a week or two anyway.

But I digress. Here are my top ten favorite YA contemporary books.

Side Note: Can I just say how proud I am of myself for posting this? Seriously. I rock. Moving on…

10. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

38980

The first time I read this book was back in 2001, when I was 12 years old. I had seen the movie, thought it was cute and immediately went out and bought the book. Now, the book is SO incredibly different from the movie, SO different and I immediately fell in love with it. Mia felt so close to the person that I am: awkward, shy, failing math, in love with my best friend’s brother (it worked out SO much better for her than me), loving writing, etc. She felt awkward for being tall, with no boobs; I felt awkward for being really short with huge boobs. Because this entire series is written in diary format, you are in the mind of Mia the entire time. So it feels real and authentic and like reading a note from your best friend. It feels genuine and it always made me laugh and cry and feel relatively sane. Mia is constantly being paranoid and worrying and doing all these fun teenage things and it makes me feel relatively normal, especially when I was a teen!

9. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

9627755

For the longest time, Lola and the Boy Next Door was my favorite from Stephanie Perkins because I loved the quirkiness of both Lola and Cricket. But as soon as I read Isla, I knew this one had easily passed it up. What I love about this book is …well, a lot of things. First off, Isla felt closer to me than Lola and Anna. She was happy, she got the boy, but she doubted it, she felt insecure, she always felt like she might screw it up. That sort of insecurity has been with me for ages and even after a relationship, I still sometimes feel like that, like anything that I say or do can tip the scale, both with potential boyfriends/girlfriends and with just friends alone. Plus Josh was the dreamiest of the boys in all the books, his graphic novel drawing and writing skills were swoon worthy. But I think what I love about this book is that its not the beautiful happily ever after we always expect. It tells us that relationships and love is wonderful but it doesn’t come without work and struggle, which is SO true. I love everything about this book. Plus Stephanie Perkins is just plain awesome.

8. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

5664985

First off, I love the main character’s name, Auden. I love that this has the love story and the beauty of summer, as does most of her books, but I think I love that it focuses a lot on the relationship between Auden and her parents. I know what its like to be forced to grow up quickly and to have that reality that parents aren’t perfect thrust on you. I’ve dealt with parents who have run from their mistakes instead of facing them head on. I’ve dealt with that fear that things were my fault. I think Sarah really captures a lot here. A lot of her characters are growing up as a teenager, becoming adults, that sort of thing, but in this book, Auden is just growing up, period. She’s experiencing things that you learn from just being a child, like riding a bike and bowling and that sort of thing. And I think that’s beautiful. I think I like Auden transforming from this closed off person to someone who accepts that she’s imperfect, that she makes mistakes and that she can open herself up to new things and new people.

7. Between the Lines by Tammara Webber

11262424

The first time I read this book was quite a few years ago. I had just bought my first e-reader, and I was looking through top sellers, but cheap, and this one caught my eye. It sounded kind of juicy and I liked the premise of it, so I decided to buy it. And I’m so so glad that I did. Tammara writes a four part series following the story of Reid Alexander, an actor who is hot, charming, and totally full of trouble. These books are sexy, and fun, and kind of make me wish that Reid Alexander was real so, 1. He could play Jace Wayland in a City of Bones adaptation and 2. So I could just date him, period. But what surprised me is the emotional depth of these books. The characters were all real to me, and the character development of Reid over the course of the four books just absolutely blows my mind. I love these books SO much, I reread them all the time.

6. The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti

4031193

The Secret Life of Prince Charming was actually the first Deb Caletti book I ever read, and I’m so glad I did because it turned me on to an author that just literally blows my mind every time she releases a new book. She writes so beautifully, against the north west coast of the United States. She captures the setting, the story, the emotions, the people, everything so well that it always sticks out in your mind. I don’t often have a hard time recalling her books because she’s just such a beautiful writer. I thought that this book was so unique in compared with other contemporary romance YA novels. I think that Quinn learns a lot about love, in that, its a great and wonderful and awesome thing but its also complicated and difficult and it has its ups and downs. That’s the beauty of this book. It doesn’t gloss over the hard parts, and it doesn’t glorify the hard parts. Relationships, love, breaking up, moving on, all of that is SO hard and its all in this book and I love every bit of it.

5. Just One Day by Gayle Forman

17623975

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love everything Gayle Forman touches. She’s an absolutely incredible writer and she writes stories that are so unique but real. I love If I Stay and I loved the movie as well. But the minute that I finished Just One Day, I knew I had read something that was amazing and I wouldn’t forget it. Just One Day is about adventure, about that incredibly rare idea of adventure and love and throwing caution to the wind, that sort of thing. And I just loved it. Who wouldn’t want to spend a crazy day around Paris, with a super charming and sexy guy? I know I would. But the book goes beyond that, beyond just the adventure. It follows Allyson for a year after this experience, seeing how it changes her, and her life and the way she views life and I think that’s just…incredible (even though I’ve repeated that word in this post about, oh, about a thousand million times). Its just…beautiful. Its full of SO MANY FEELS. And its nice to think that one day, just one day, could change everything.

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

7664334

I grabbed this book because it was on the shelf next to Sarah Dessen’s current release. I liked the cover, and it was next to Sarah and the back cover sounded pretty interesting. Now Morgan is one of my favorite authors and I love getting to see her as often as possible, because she is just an incredible author. The story follows Amy and Roger, as they go on this road trip across the US to new homes, to places where they don’t really want to go. Its supposed to be a straight shot to the destination until they decide…screw this, let’s have an adventure. Did I mention that I like adventures? I like the possibilities of adventure, the idea that you’re making up every step of the way on a whim, and I think that’s what Amy and Roger love about it, the idea that anything is possible, when things have gone so wrong in both of their lives. Plus, its a road trip books, and road trip books are fun and make me want to get in my car and have a road trip, and Morgan talks about all these cool food places to eat (god I love food) and she has playlists throughout the book and she has a great taste in music. Okay, now I want to go read this book again…

3. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

22205

This is my favorite Sarah Dessen book ever and I think it all boils down to that there was so much about Remy that I wanted to be, especially in high school. She’s beautiful, smart, in control, confident. She knows what she wants, who she wants and when she wants it and she knows how to get it. She’s brilliant. Of course, she has no idea how to love someone, and she has no idea how emotions help not hinder you and hold back. She has to learn that she can trust others and that trusting others is not the end of the world. But I wanted to be her. I wanted to be that confident and to hold my beauty (possibly) as a weapon, and to be as in control as she seems to be. I was always so messy and emotional in high school and I wanted so hard to be in control of all of that and I never felt like that. Plus I just love Dexter, the male lead of the book. He’s a musician and goofy and genuine and just hilarious. I want a boy like Dexter. Can someone find me something like that? haha.

2. Winger by Andrew Smith

11861815

There are so many wonderful things about this book that I am not even sure where to begin. This book made me laugh so hard I cried, and made me cry because I was so sad. It is one of those books that made me stop and think, this is a teen voice. This is completely the voice of the character. There are so many authors that write in the voice of a teenager but none of them ever seem to get it as much as Andrew Smith does when writing in the mind of Ryan Dean West. Andrew is an incredible writer, and I hadn’t heard of him before this book, to be completely honest, so when I did, I was just blown away by this book. I had never really read anything like it before so it has been stuck in my mind since then, and it easily became my favorite book. I’ve read it two or three times since then and it just blows my mind every single time. It makes me laugh so much and I wish I could write a book this good, one that I want to buy a million copies of and shove it into every single person’s hands.

1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

16068905

This has become one of my favorite books in the entire world. When I first heard of it, I thought that the title was super cute because being a fangirl is a huge part of my life, and Cath’s obsession with Simon Snow in the description of the novel sounded so familiar. What I didn’t know is that I would read this book that literally felt like it walked into my very soul and knew it. That sounded really cheesy, wow. Wow. But its true. Cath is exactly the way I have been and the way I still am. She loses herself into these books, escapes into them, because they make her happy, they make the bad things go away. She’s afraid of the world outside of books, she’s anxious about new things, she likes to be alone and fan fiction and the internet are her friends. There’s something about Cath being thrown into these new situations, solo, so outside of her comfort zone that just makes me feel so familiar. It makes me feel happy to know that, even though this is a fictional character, there’s someone who understands how I feel. Cath is so me, its scary. She says things that make me laugh and cry and literally reaches into me and makes me want to say “OHMYGOD YES”. It has become, easily, one of my favorite books ever.

**********

What are some of your favorite contemporary YA novels? Share them in the comments!