Book Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

18879761Genre: 

Young Adult, medications  Contemporary

Pages: 

288

Part of a Series?:

Standalone Novel

Release Date: 

January 27th, purchase 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author’s Website

GoodReads Summary: 

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

My Review:

I am blown away at how absolutely amazing Gayle Forman truly is. I find that the struggle to prove that young adult literature provides thought provoking, incredible, well written novels is all consuming. Its part of why this blog exists in the first place. But when I read books like “I Was Here”, I feel as if all I need to do is take a copy of this book and put it into the hands of those who doubt the entire spectrum of YA. Gayle Forman is an incredible writer, an unbelievable storyteller and a person capable of capturing the most human of emotions in a matter of a few thousand words.

Gayle Forman has managed to tug at my emotions in every single book that she writes and she doesn’t fail to accomplish the same thing with this book. As soon as it starts, I know I’m in trouble. This is a story of friendship, and friends have always meant the absolute world to me, but even more so in the past six months or so. Friends are those people that are even better than family at times, in that even when you’re at the very worst you can be, they still somehow find a way to love. Its incredible. The friendship we see between Cody and Meg takes place in the past, as we follow Cody through her grief and her attempt to understand, but it feels real, and raw, and genuine, and so the grief that Cody feels over losing her best friend, over not knowing that this could happen…its incredibly real.

Meg has committed suicide. I’ve been fortunate in my life to have never experienced something like that. I can’t even begin to imagine what I would feel learning that had happened to someone I loved as much as Cody loved Meg. The thought would be…devastating. Should I have known? Should I have seen? Could I have changed what ultimately had happened to someone I was supposed to know better than anyone? And these are core questions that Cody struggles with, as she fights to wrap up the hidden pieces of her best friend’s life.

Without getting too into spoilers, because I keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible, this is where the core of the story is. Cody struggles so hard with trying to figure out why her friend did this and her personal responsibility for it, that she sort of looks for another avenue. Its not her fault. Its not even Meg’s fault. Its someone else’s fault and she actively looks for someone to blame for it, and it only drives her to further heartbreak. Watching as she breaks apart Meg’s life and the things she struggled with, and the things she didn’t know about her best friend, its incredibly humbling and heartbreaking and just…so real. Gayle Forman manages to write the most real characters I’ve read in a book and that is what makes her stories so great.

I can’t wait for more from Gayle. I can’t imagine that she can get any better but every single time I say that, she manages to produce a book even better than the next. If there is ever a doubt that young adult literature is not good enough, or not producing books of literary value, I know without fail that I can hand this book (amongst so many others) and feel strongly in its excellence. Another total winner, Gayle. I’m mighty impressed :)

Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Revenge, Ice Cream and Other Things Best Served Cold (ARC) by Katie Finn

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This advanced readers copy was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. This in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Thank you Macmillan Teen. 

Genre: 

Young Adult, viagra 100mg  Contemporary

Pages: 

400

Part of a Series?:

The 2nd Novel in the Broken Hearts and Revenge Trilogy

Release Date: 

May 5th, 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author’s Website

GoodReads Summary: 

The war rages on between Gemma and Hallie in the second installment of the Broken Hearts and Revenge series.

After the humiliating events on the 4th of July, Gemma’s trying to handle the fact that Hallie knew who she was all along, and she was the one who stole Teddy from her. Gemma vows revenge, but things get more complicated than she planned. Ford, Gemma’s long-time crush, has arrived in the Hamptons cuter than ever. Josh is refusing to speak to her after she lied to him, and Teddy is playing champion to his beloved Marsh Warbler (in Gemma’s backyard, no less).

Gemma and Hallie find themselves locked in an escalating revenge cycle. Just when Gemma thinks she has the upper hand, the biggest bombshell of all is dropped. And it’s one that threatens to change her life forever.

My Review:

Please keep in mind that while there will be no spoilers for this book, there will be spoilers for Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend. Please check out my review for that here

I adore Morgan Matson, so it goes without saying that I absolutely LOVE Katie Finn as well. Morgan has beautiful stories that usually make me all emotional. Katie Finn, her alter ego, makes me laugh, and have a blast while reading. Its great to get both of these from the same person.

When Broken Hearts left off, we had a cliffhanger. A pretty major one. Hallie had revealed some crazy things. She had known who Gemma was all along and had spent the summer doing everything she could to get revenge of what Gemma did to her family years ago. It literally blew my mind and I remember closing the book and thinking, ” I need the next one. Now.”

Which is precisely how I feel about this book as well!

Katie serves up a delicious story just like she did the first time around. We enter the book with Gemma feeling the sting of what happened with Hallie and Josh and all of that. She’s not sure what to do until…well, things keep going wrong. Her and Hallie, their fight isn’t over yet and Gemma is determined to get her revenge on what Hallie did to her this summer. And the results are pure hilarity. This book reminds me of a primetime teen drama, like something you’d see on Disney Channel or The CW and I mean that as a total compliment. When there isn’t massive drama, there’s laughter and revenge and hilarity and I sped through this book because its just so fun. At every turn, you think Hallie or Gemma has the upper hand and then the other one comes back with a WHAM and the story spins off in a completely different direction. Its a roller coaster ride of fun, and I’m on it for the long haul.

I was also really excited to meet the new characters in the novel: Ford, Gwyneth, and Darcy especially. They all added flavor and color to the novel and I was glad to have them aboard for this story. Especially Ford. I think some great things are coming ahead for us in Ford. And I also think there was a secret revealed about Gwyn toward the end that might just cause some problems in the future a little.

All in all, I LOVED this book. It was fun and juicy and the perfect beach read, which means its going to be the perfect book to pick up in May. And that cliffhanger! I thought Katie had left us hanging in the first book but she reveals another shocking secret right on the last page and leaves me hanging in the balance, ready for the next book. I, for one, can’t wait to see how things continue to unfold for these teens in the Hamptons and am anxiously awaiting that conclusion!

Rating: 

4 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

8709528Genre: 

Young Adult, cure Paranormal

Pages: 

348

Part of a Series?:

The finale to the Bloodlines series

Release Date: 

February 10th, stomach 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author’s Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, about it one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.

My Review:

Please keep in mind, while there will be NO spoilers for The Ruby Circle, there might be spoilers for previous books. Please check out my past reviews for those books!

I feel like I have been waiting for this book to come out forever, and really, it hasn’t been that long. But I WHIPPED through this thing and I’m so completely satisfied.

I love this story and I love that Richelle Mead was able to take the world that she built in the Vampire Academy series and continue it so well in this series. The relationship that she builds between Sydney and Adrian, especially after their marriage in Silver Shadows, is so real, and feels like it was just meant to happen all along. Who knows? Maybe it was haha. But I love the continuation of their relationship in this book. Now that they’ve got the chance to be honest about their relationship…they have the struggle of getting everyone else on board with it. But they also have the struggle of figuring it out themselves. What they are willing to do for each other, how they fight together, how they trust each other. Its a beautiful, real relationship and I enjoyed every single minute of it while reading this book. The love that Sydney and Adrian have for each other…its just beautiful.

But what I really love about this book is how it concluded the series. It was GREAT. I’ve had such wariness with authors lately on how they conclude series. They’ve been sloppy or rushed, all kinds of things. This ending was great. From the beginning, they’re on the hunt for Jill and the hunt for Jill takes a lot of time, effort, hard work  and a lot of super fun fight scenes. What I love about this is that everyone has their piece in it. We get to see Sydney using her magic, Adrian using his spirit magic, the guardians fighting their way. I love every bit of it. In Vampire Academy, it was centered on the fighting of the dhampirs and a few Moroi but in this book, we get such a hodge podge of people working together: Moroi, dhampir, alchemist, human witches, the Warriors of Light, etc. Its amazing.

We also get to explore and discover more. We see a commune of dhampir women who have chosen a life different from a guardian. We have new revelations about dhampirs and Strigoi and spirit magic. We have a super fun revelation about Dimitri and Adrian that I won’t go into because SPOILERS. We get to meet new characters and revisit old characters and I just loved every single minute of it. It was action and romance and drama and it was a great ending. I loved seeing Adrian and Sydney’s story conclude and I loved seeing new things happen but I also loved seeing Rose and Dimitri together. ESPECIALLY after the epilogue!

But I’ll also say this…I love the things that Richelle did with this book. She concluded the story, left us with a satisfying ending, all the loose ends tied up. For the most part. She opened up some new ideas, left us hanging a little, left us wondering. I think that means we just might get some more VA stories soon and I’m ALWAYS okay with that.

Rating: 

5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday Top Ten – Most Anticipated Winter Releases!

Welcome to the new year everyone! Its a brand new beginning and all of that sort of thing. But the best part of the new year is this: NEW STUFF. All that stuff that was “next year” is now THIS year. And that includes books.

Now its time to talk about the top ten books that I’m getting excited for this winter! Check them out, troche and let me know what books YOU’RE excited about!

10. The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

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The third installment of the series, price and I’ve been waiting for it for so long. I feel like I’ve been waiting for so so so long for this book that I absolutely need to reread the first two books to remember what the hell is supposed to be going on in the third book.

Release Date: February 10th, 2015 

9. Dead to Me by Mary McCoy

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I am so excited for this debut novel…I think its my most anticipated debut novel of the year. I absolutely adore Mary, she’s a librarian for the Los Angeles Public Library and has always been a dear friend and supporter of me and this blog, and I can’t wait for her book. Its set in the 1940s, amidst the glitz and glamour of the film age and it sounds deliciously thrilling. I can’t WAIT.

Release Date: March 3rd, 2015 

8. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

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I am so so excited for this new novel by Emery Lord. I had NO idea who she was until she was on a panel with…I think Stephanie Perkins at the Festival of Books and I just loved everything about her. Plus she was so cute and I don’t know haha, I wanted to read her book. I absolutely LOVED Open Road Summer. She has a fresh teen voice and a total knack for addicting romance and I can’t wait for this one. Max sounds amazing.

Release Date: March 31st, 2015

7. I Was Here by Gayle Forman 

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Gayle Forman is a QUEEN of contemporary YA lit. She blows my mind with everything that she writes, especially Just One Day/Just One Year (which were optioned for film!!). I’m VERY excited for a brand new release from her, especially since the synopsis makes it sound like another emotional roller coaster. Oh Gayle.

Release Date: January 27th, 2015 

6. Salt and Stone by Victoria Scott

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This one would be much lower on the list but I’m spoiled as hell and I already read it and know how absolutely amazing it is. But now that I know its great, I’m dying to get that book with that beautiful cover in my hands, and for everyone else who loves the first one, you’re going to love the second one even more. Its a truly heartbreaking.

Releases: February 24th, 2015

5. Fairest by Marissa Meyer

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I know! A novella on the list. For those that don’t know me, I’m usually not a massive fan of novellas, and find most of them are unnecessary. But…but…I think Fairest is going to be spectacular. One, because Marissa Meyer is a fantastic writer. Two, Levana is SUCH a mystery and maybe some of this will shed a little light, and maybe it’ll open up new possibilities for Winter. Either way, I’m excited for it.

Release Date: January 27th, 2015

4. Invaded by Melissa Landers

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This is another winter release that I’ve already read. And one that I totally absolutely love. But I think I’m really excited about this because I KNOW how good it is and I get to meet her this year! Plus, if I can have more Aelyx and Cara in my life, I’m totally okay with that! And maybe if we all show love to Invaded and buy it, we WILL get more!

Release Date: February 3rd, 2015

3. The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith  

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I mean. Duh. I want my hands on this book so badly. I’ve been trying to get my hands on an ARC of this thing for MONTHS and have not been able to do that. I am dying for this book. Every single thing about this book sounds amazing and Andrew is an incredible author. When I interviewed him last year and he described the book as “It’s about a ship that gets stuck in ice, a fifteen-year-old kid, a schizophrenic who thinks he can speak to Joseph Stalin, a summer camp for kids who are addicted to technology, the de-extinction of a species of crow, and there’s a bigfoot in there, too. You know…the typical stuff.” Come on. I’m sold.

Release Date: March 10th, 2015

2. Unchanged by Jessica Brody

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I’M DYING TO READ THIS BOOK. I need to know what happens next. Unforgotten left on such a crazy, heartbreaking, emotional note and I’m dying to see what happens next for Sera and Zen and Kaelen. It hurts just to even think about it because of allllll the crap that went down in the second book and I need this book in my hands. You hear me, Jessica? Give me the book and no one gets hurt ;)

Release Date: February 24th, 2015

1. The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead 

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Yes. Please. More Adrian Ivashkov. Oh and of course Sydney too. But definitely Adrian. And after that ending in Silver Shadows, I basically wanted to scream, get in a car and drive up to Richelle’s house and demand that she tell me everything that was going to happen next. Luckily, I’m a patient girl (ha!) and its nearly upon us to find out the ending to this fantastic series! AND I’m finally going to meet Richelle! AGH

Release Date: February 10th, 2015

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What are some the books that you’re looking forward to releasing in January, February and March? Make sure to share them in the comments!

Book Review: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

13138734Genre: 

Young Adult, more about  Science Fiction, store Romance

Pages: 

390

Part of a Series?:

The second in the Starbound Trilogy

Release Date: 

December 23rd, order 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Amie’s Website / Meagan’s Website 

GoodReads Summary: 

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

My Review:

While there will be no spoilers for This Shattered World, I cannot guarantee there will NOT be spoilers for These Broken Stars. You can read the review for that book here

When I read Amie and Meagan’s novel, These Broken Stars, I thought, this is incredible. This is an incredible mix of science fiction and romance and it blew my mind. It ended up being one of my favorites of the year, and I honestly held it in such high esteem when it comes to YA sci-fi. I seriously love it and I was highly looking forward to This Shattered World. I wasn’t able to buy it until this last week because, you know, holidays at Disneyland kept me quite busy. But once I bought this book and started it, I was completely hooked.

Because, honestly, I think this book is even better than the first. Amie and Meagan are absolutely fantastic authors. Such beautiful writing. I honestly had to pause a couple times and just marvel at how incredibly talented the two of them are and how they can collaborate on such a fantastic novel. The descriptions, the way the story flows and the characters they create all flow together in this perfect sequel to These Broken Stars. The world building is so impressive and its easy to forget that this world is fictional because it feels so real.

This is what really gets me about this book: it continues the story that we see in These Broken Stars but it also feels like a completely new story as well. While we do get to see Lilac and Tarver, the main focus is on Jubilee and Flynn and the struggle between the soldiers and rebels of Avon. While this connects to the story that was built in the first book, it feels like a story in its own right and you get so caught up in it that when the connection finally is made, it surprises you. This world is so vast and complicated, which is so great of a science fiction but its also so familiar and small at the same time. It feels new and exciting but you connect with the story so easily.

Which brings me to the characters of Jubilee and Flynn. I adored Lilac and Tarver for sure, but something about Jubilee and Flynn makes me love them more. I loved being in both of their heads, seeing their struggles to help each other out while also being loyal to their “families” so to speak. You felt for both of them, trying to do the right thing, especially when the right thing wasn’t very clear. Their dislike for each other to eventual alliance and later, romance, was natural and it flowed and I was on that painful journey with them the whole way through. A beautiful set of main characters that I definitely won’t forget.

Bottom line, if you’ve read These Broken Stars, you’re going to love This Shattered World. If you haven’t, get your ass off the computer and go buy both of these books. They are absolutely fantastic science fiction romances and you should DEFINITELY read them!

Rating: 

5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday Top Ten – Favorite New Releases of 2014!

I seriously hate writing these lists. Seriously. Because the segment is called the Tuesday Top Ten. I’ve read 120-something books this year and, sale yeah, sick sure, a good number of them were either re-reads or books that were released previous to the year 2014. But I would say a majority of those books were brand new releases.

And I’m just supposed to narrow them down to the ones that I liked the most. I mean, come on. That’s just mean. And hard. I’ve read so MANY great and fantastic books this year. It just blows my mind how authors can just continue to write amazing stories over and over and over again.

And yes, I’m the brains of this operation which means, technically, I could make a whole huge list of books that came out this year that I loved but they legit would all make the list and the point of this is to highlight the ones that really stood out to me this year.

So that’s just what I’m going to do! Check it out :)

10. All Lined Up by Cora Carmack

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I was looking forward to this book because it has three of my favorite things in the world: romance, hot boys with abs and football. I hadn’t been massively impressed with Cora so far but this book completely changed my mind and I loved the second one as well. I definitely could use more Rusk boys in my life.

9. Cress by Marissa Meyer

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I was DYING for this book and when I finally got my hands on it, I was in the worst slump ever. Took me about a week and a half to read this book, but when I finally did, I was just blown away. Cress is an incredible character and I absolutely love this book. I couldn’t believe how long I had to wait (and am still waiting) for the final book.

8. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Oh Morgan  Matson. Please never stop writing. The closeness I felt to this book, the inability to remember how to do things, live life, make friends, have fun without your best friend…I totally understand that. Plus she’s just such a fun writer. Reading her books is easy, you just get sucked in and suddenly you realized hours have passed and you haven’t even moved.

7. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

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This book completely blew my mind. I needed a really good fantasy book in my life and this one completely and totally delivered. I was just blown away by the incredible world building that Sara created in this novel and I loved every character that we meet, even the villains because I can appreciate a really well written villain. And I loved the surprises. I love when I’m reading and I feel like I have a handle on the story and something completely throws me off. Its beautiful and I absolutely love it. Get this book.

6. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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I LOVE Anna and the French Kiss. I LOVE Lola and the Boy Next Door. I literally ADORE and am OBSESSED with Isla and Josh and this story. I read this just a week before I broke up with my boyfriend and when I knew things weren’t good, and that’s kind of why I like this novel. This book is about romance, about how we get caught up in it and we forget that it can be hard work and that things aren’t always easy and they aren’t always sunshine and rainbows. That hit me hard, and the beautiful reality of love in this story just broke my heart. I love love love this book. It has a happy ending, which is fantastic, but I loved seeing the struggle to get there.

5. Alienated by Melissa Landers

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I am sure you are all so tired of me putting this in your face but guess what? Nope. Not at all. Because I truly love this book. I seriously seriously love this book. I am so glad I ran into Melissa at ALA and brought this book into my life! Its so beautiful. Great science fiction, awesome humor and the romance is just…ugh, I’m fangirling.

4. Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

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Dear Richelle Mead, Can I be your daughter? Love, Sara. I really liked The Fiery Heart but The Indigo Spell is my favorite so it was hard to follow that. Silver Shadows is now just below The Indigo Spell, because it just blew my mind. I loved the dual point of view and I loved the build up to the incredible climax and omg that cliffhanger broke my heart. A month until the end of it all!

3. The One by Kiera Cass

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I am so glad I got into Kiera Cass this year. I read The Selection at the very beginning of the year, at the urging of…someone. I can’t remember who. But I hadn’t really had a desire to. And now, I’m just stoked that I did because its such a good book. The Elite is a bit of a struggle to get through BUT The One was just a beautiful book. I was so emotional and I cried and when I met Kiera, I fangirled way too hard.

2. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

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Dear Leigh Bardugo, please teach everyone in the world how to end a series. Seriously. So many series enders have been so disappointing, so lacking but this book just blew my mind. I sat down and just consumed it. It was absolutely fantastic. Everything came to an end, and it was heartbreaking, utterly heartbreaking and surprising and just…ugh. It made me so happy. I wish I could have even just a fraction of the talent that Leigh has.

1. Grasshopper Jungle and 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

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I cheated ;) I put two books for my number one but that’s just because I legit could not choose between these two. They are both so different but so unique and just brilliant. Andrew Smith is such a one of a kind author that just blows my mind. 100 Sideways Miles was incredible and Grasshopper Jungle was unlike anything I’ve ever read in my life. I literally have never read a book like GJ and it just was….it was about everything and it was bizarre and funny and all of that. He’s truly brilliant. He might just end up on my top ten at the end of every year haha!

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What were some of your favorite new releases of 2014? Share in the comments