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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rumble {Ellen Hopkins}

Synopsis: {courtesy of amazon.com}:
Does it get better? The New York Times bestselling author of Crank and Tricks explores the highly charged landscapes of bullying and forgiveness with brilliant sensitivity and emotional resonance.

Matthew Turner knows it doesn’t get better.
His younger brother Luke was bullied mercilessly after one of Matt’s friends outed Luke to the whole school, and when Luke called Matt—on the brink of suicide—Matt was too wrapped up in his new girlfriend to answer the phone. Now Luke is gone, and Matt’s family is falling apart.
No matter what his girlfriend Hayden says about forgiveness, there’s no way Matt’s letting those he blames off the hook—including himself. As Matt spirals further into bitterness, he risks losing Hayden, the love of his life. But when her father begins to pressure the school board into banning books because of their homosexual content, he begins to wonder if he and Hayden ever had anything in common.
With brilliant sensitivity and emotional resonance, bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s Rumble explores bullying and suicide in a story that explores the worth of forgiveness and reconciliation.

{Review}: Ellen Hopkins was my first TRUE YA love.
I’ll set the scene for you: I was in my local B & N a number of years ago {I want to say 2-3 ish?}, and I noticed her book “Crank” on the shelves. It looked intriguing, and I took a peek inside, and knew I’d be through it in no time flat {for those who haven’t had the pleasure, Hopkins does an amazing job of  writing in prose—short, sweet verses, that although don’t rhyme, almost feel like you’re reading a collection of immensely moving short stories, which are all really intertwined. By the end of the weekend, I’d hibernated, and read every one of the series {including Glass & Fallout}. I’ve picked up almost every one since, and I’ve really enjoyed every single one.
Including Rumble.

We meet Matt, a highschooler who has just recently lost his brother to suicide. His brother is a homosexual, and you realize throughout the novel that he was bullied into making the decision to end his life.
Matt also just happens to have an ultra-conservative girlfriend {who is a bit of a Jesus freak}, and who seems supportive at the beginning of this tale, but you have a feeling (even from the first couple of pages), that it’s all going to end badly between them.
Matt’s parents are also mid-relationship breakdown during this story.

I enjoyed this book for so many reasons. Least of all that Ellen Hopkins isn’t afraid of tackling the vital  issues of today’s teens—teenage suicide, depression, divorce, cheating, bullying, PTSD, alcoholism, you name it… it’s in this masterfully created YA novel.

And like most EH stories...this one went from TBR to finished in less than a day {3-4 hours to be exact}. 
I couldn't put it away. 

{Where can I buy this?}:

{What would I rate it?}: 4.9/5. Masterfully done.

{Who would I recommend this book to?}: Anyone who is handling any of the above issues in their own lives, and any/all teens. It’s a great book not only about the issues, but also about forgiveness and acceptance of the hand you’re dealt in life.
I would also suggest ANY of Hopkins' tales for young reluctant readers. She has a way of completely captivating you, and with the short verses...I feel as though this audience would be entranced at first glance.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

How We Fall by Kate Brauning {Review}

{release date: November 3rd at Amazon & B&N: November 11: Nationwide Retailers}
Synopsis: {courtesy of amazon.com}:
Ever since Jackie moved to her uncle's sleepy farming town, she's been flirting way too much--and with her own cousin, Marcus.
Her friendship with him has turned into something she can't control, and he's the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for...no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn't right about this stranger, and Jackie's suspicions about the new girl's secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus--and deepens Jackie's despair.
Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else's lies as the mystery around Ellie's disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?

So, for those of you who don’t know me: I really enjoy my sleep. Being a reading specialist for k-5th grade, takes it out of me during the day, and at night, I really just like to sleep. I try to get in bed BY 8PM, and am usually asleep the minute my head hits the pillows.
I started this e-book {an ARC courtesy of Edelweiss}, last Sunday night at 9:45PM. I finally put it down at 10:40… simply dying to find out what happened next. The next day, I took it to school and read it on my lunch break, and then Monday night, from 9:45-12:57am EXACTLY…I finished it.
Because it’s just that good.
I’m a hoarder of ARC’s. I picked this one because I liked the charm bracelet cover, and I really liked the colors. I very rarely read the synopsis, and in this case, I’m glad I didn’t. I went in not knowing anything but that this “looked” like a great read.

We’re first introduced to the main characters: Jackie and Marcus, at a roadside farm stand, in a very rural backdrop. You can tell off the bat that there is a definite chemistry between the two of them. It becomes BLATANT when they start making out in his pickup truck after they close up shop for the day on a private/dirt-esqe road. You’ll find your fingers start to burn while you’re reading it, because you can tell there is an undeniable heat emanating from the two of them. The masterful way it’s written, you almost feel like a voyeur, looking in on these kids, who are obviously head over heels in love with one another, and can’t contain themselves.

And then, she hits you with it.

As in sucker-punches-you-right-in-the-gut/smacks-you-palm-open-across-the-face with it:

They’re first cousins.

I’ll admit, I may have dropped my kindle and had a little “What the HELL?” moment/fit.
But once I got my bearings, and read about 20% of the way in, I realized that this was way deeper than just a case of “kissing cousins”... even though they had made it clear that they hadn't consummated their love quite yet...

And then…
you just…
When we meet Jackie, she’s incredibly concerned about a friend, Ellie {great name, right?}, who has abruptly gone missing. She moved away last school year, and they really lost touch {and to her defense, it was mainly because she was so enamored and engrossed with her love affair with Marcus that she lost touch with her friend}. She’s incredibly upset over it, and is trying to solve this mystery, while continuing to attempt to maintain this forbidden relationship with her cousin and best friend.
You feel guilty FOR her, because you can tell this fear over her former best friend is so real, you feel incredibly sad when Marcus starts fawning over a new gal in town, and begins dating her (in an attempt to provide an air of normalcy to his life), and if you’re anything like me, you may start to cry because when the love of your life as a teenager starts showing interest in someone else—it breaks your heart. It’s also incredibly sobering because in addition to all of this, you’re getting a first-hand glimpse into the horrible guilt they’re feeling over potentially giving into their desires, and ultimately breaking up their family in the process.
By the end of this amazing tale… {and much to your own surprise}
You find yourself championing for their love.
It was literally about halfway through that I took a hot tea break, and as I’m watching the pot boil and thinking about what I’m reading, I’m thinking to myself: “I really hope this works out for them.”
Does it?
Pick up this PHENOMENAL read, and find out.

{Where can I buy this?}:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/How-We-Fall-Kate-Brauning/dp/1440581797/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414967642&sr=8-1&keywords=how+we+fall

B & N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/how-we-fall-kate-brauning/1119045650?ean=9781440581793
{What would I rate it?}: 
5/5. One of the most masterful story lines since We Were Liars  {according to moi}.

{Who would I recommend this book to?}:
 Grade 8 plus. The make-out sections are steamy, but not too-terrible… I’m just not sure that any kids younger would understand the turmoil that this puts on the shoulders of these young characters.