November 8, 2017

Mini-reviews: Here We Are Now +
Everything Must Go

pub 11/7/17 by Balzer + Bray
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received from pub via Edelweiss
Here We Are Now is about Taliah Abdallat suspecting that rockstar Julian Oliver is her father, finds out it’s actually true when he unexpectedly shows up on her doorstep one day and he asks if she’ll go with him to his hometown of Oak Falls, Indiana to meet his dying father (aka her grandfather). Like Taliah, we’re dumped right into this and I admittedly had my qualms about this rocky start. I mean, who goes off with a stranger, without telling their mother who is currently in Paris and has never actually confirmed the identity of your father, brings their best friend along and doesn’t pack a single thing. I really had to suspend my disbelief. But the main reason I decided to was because Warga portrays the emotions between the characters so vividly. There’s conflict in Taliah as she juggles yearning, disbelief and anger at this situation alone. She’s getting to know not only her father but this whole other side of the family she didn’t know existed. And you know me, I am a sucker for poignant family moments and I was moved by all these little scenes and details that were captured perfectly. But at the same time, we also find out the story of her father and mother’s romance and I was just as invested in that as the present-day ongoings. There’s also sub-plots dealing with growing up, friendships changing as you do and even a bit of romance. It sounds like a lot but it really, really worked together. This is definitely my favorite Warga book to date.

Do I recommend? For sure! I was pleasantly surprised and moved by this story and that is always a great feeling.

pub 10/3/17 by Wednesday Books
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received ARC from DJ
I’m typically not a huge fan of epistolary format novel but when a friend gives you a book to read (hi DJ!), you give it a chance and I’m glad I did. The book is actually a mix of blog posts, journal entries, emails and regular prose/narration from our quirky, sometimes crazy, protagonist Flora Goldwasser. Flora falls in love with older student Elijah Huck. She loves his photography (and him), he her appreciation of vintage clothing. So she gets it in her mind that she should drop everything and attend Quare Academy, a hippie Quaker school he once attended and plans to teach at next year. (Mind you, our girl is from a prep school on the UES.) Unsurprisingly, Elijah never shows up and Flora immediately doesn’t fit in, especially with her love of fashion. But what I loved about her is that she refused to be deterred. She stuck it out even when everyone told her she should give up. And along the way she makes friends, learns a lot about herself, goes outside her comfort zone and still keeps in touch with her two best friends back home (minor detail but one that I appreciated!). It’s always gratifying to see a character just own who she is, even her mistakes, and that was the #1 thing I enjoyed about this book.

Do I recommend? I do! If you're in the mood for a quick read or enjoy epistolary novels, I'd check this one out from the library.

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