Friends with ARCs | You Say It First + Seasons of the Storm

pub 6/16/20 by Balzer + Bray
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received ARC from pub for review
I am so here for Katie Cotugno’s depictions of messy, complicated romances and friendships. In You Say It First, Meg seems to have it all – perfect boyfriend, plans to attend Cornell, and a volunteer job at a voter registration call center aptly suited to her love of activism. But within the first few chapters, we start to see cracks. Then she calls Colby, a stranger from Ohio who is dealing with personal tragedy, to encourage him to register. You can just imagine how this goes. Her elevator pitch quickly becomes a heated debate between the two but when neither can shake the conversation after they hang up, this call becomes the first of many. It's funny, as magical as the whole “I noticed you across the room” romantic trope may be, seeing two people connect over a deep conversation is what resonates with me most. There was something special about watching Meg and Colby, two people on entirely different paths, connect through a long distance friendship over phone and text. But as the conversations became more intimate, it wasn't surprising when the friendship started to feel like more. And of course, that’s when it really got interesting! Can they make this work? How do they juggle introducing the outside world, like friends and family, to the little safe bubble they’ve created? Cotugno always manages to touch upon something so honest and real in every single one of her stories and this was no exception as they waded through their complicated relationship.

Who is someone you connected with online before you met them in person? | Estelle and I met online back in 1998 over a mutual love of Dawson's Creek because we both had fan sites. We talked online for years and then randomly discovered we lived in the same town, less than 10 mins from each other! We ended up meeting in person for the first time at my high school graduation and the rest was history.

pub 6/23/20 by HarperTeen
Young Adult - Fantasy
Received e-ARC from pub for review
Seasons of the Storm was one of those books where I really liked the idea of it in theory but didn’t quite love the execution. To be fair, the lore and origin story was fascinating. An ancient being named Gaia approached humans on the brink of death and gave them a second chance to live (forever!), in return for being a physical embodiment of one of the four Seasons. Jack Sommers became a Winter and every year, he must kill the Season who came before him. He kills Autumn, Autumn kills Summer, Summer kills Spring, and Spring kills Winter. The problem is, Jack and Fleur, who is a Spring, fall in love, which is against the rules. But they’re willing to defy the system to be together and they find others who want to escape with them. Once all the pieces were in place, the pacing of the story was nonstop but because of that, it also lacked the character and relationship development needed to feel invested. A lot of the feelings between the main and secondary characters had already happened before we met them so there’s this expectation to just buy into their plight immediately. That personally doesn’t work for me as a reader. Especially now that I know it’s a series (I thought it was a standalone at first), I think the first book should’ve started much earlier to get that backstory. I would’ve enjoyed this book overall much more if it had.

Which season and region would you pick? | Summer (of course!) and Provence. I've never been you all know I'm a sucker for France. Normally I would've said Paris but something about summer in the Parisian countryside just appealed to me.


Collaborative feature with Alexa. We read ARCs together and post our reviews on the same date.

1 comment

  1. Honestly, Seasons of the Storm makes me so sad to think about! The concept is so darn interesting, and I could really see us both falling in love with the story if it were executed differently. At least You Say It First was wonderful! I do love how Katie always tackles complex, interesting relationships.


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