Second Look: THE HATERS by Jesse Andrews

Warning, friends: Foul language approacheth.

Ashley and I both read The Haters for the “Forever Young… Adult” Book Group we run at our library (it’s amazing, and if you’re considering starting a book group for adults who read YA, I have two words for you: DO IT.”

But anyway.

This book. To quote the Teen Creeps podcast I often listen to, “OH. MY. GOD. THIS. FUCKING. BOOK.”

What it’s about: Wes, Corey and Ash are all attending a summer jazz camp, which they all really hate despite their love for jazz and music-making. So they ditch camp and and take off on an epic road trip to start a band, play gigs, discover their musical selves, and maybe hit the big time.

I love a road trip as much as the next person. But this road trip is more like being crammed in a station wagon with your childhood best friend, her parents, and three siblings on a 100-degree summer day with no air conditioning. I’ve been on that road trip, and it ain’t fun.

And, honestly, neither is this book.

There are things I loved and things I hated, and we got a lot of interesting perspectives in our book group meeting. So let’s break it down.

What I liked:

  • Jesse Andrews’s writing style. The dude is a beast of a writer. He has an awesome way of capturing authentic teen voices and setting up scenes and locations.
  • The Humor. Some of it was SUPER funny.
  • Maybe Ash is asexual? I saw another book reviewer (my apologies fellow reviewer… I can’t remember who you are but I would love to give you due credit for this observation) suggest that Ash may identify as asexual, even though it’s not directly stated. It’s great to finally have a book that represents that part of the sexuality spectrum.

What I didn’t like:

  • Literally every character is annoying AF. There honestly isn’t one character in this book I liked. Wes isn’t awful, but I still didn’t have any real fondness for him. Corey is a douchey sidekick, and Ash is just a condescending bitch.
  • It felt sooo looooong. It seemed like Andrews used two pages to say something that would’ve taken about a paragraph.

  • All the musical references. If you’re like me and got an “unsatisfactory” in Music Class in 4th grade, you might struggle here. There are lots of music references, including styles, techniques, and artists, most of which I didn’t  understand at all. I felt like I was being left out of a 350-page inside joke.
  • Dick torture. I‘m not kidding. This exists in this book. A LOT. I get that teen guys probably talk about their dicks a lot. That’s cool. My issue is this obsession they seem to have with sado-masochistic dick harm. Like, that’s not healthy guys. I’m a little worried.

The straight up bottom line is: this is definitely a boy book. I’m a 31-year-old woman and this book was written for teen boys. I’m not the intended audience, and NOTHING in this book is relatable for me. AND THAT’S OK. It’s just not the book for me.

Mary (one of our book club gal pals ) is a punk-rocking, obscure-music-loving, hipster roadie wannabe who LOVED LOVED LOVED this book. She thought it was cool that the characters accurately represented the instruments they played in the band. As Mary described it, Wes plays bass and he’s cool being the mellow dude in the background. Corey, as the drummer, is constantly interrupting and wants to be the center of things. And as lead singer, it’s not surprising that Ash would be difficult to get along with, because most lead singers notoriously are.

I never would have picked up on that myself, so Mary’s observation helped me see the characters from a slightly different perspective. So thanks for that Mar! Props to you, babe.

I can’t give this book an official rating because I didn’t finish it (I didn’t even get 1/3 of the way through, tbh). Ashley at least finished it, but I know she didn’t love it either (I think she gave it 2.5/5 on Goodreads).

So basically proceed at your own risk, guys. This book might be your new fave, or you might want to chuck it out the window of that non-air conditioned station wagon.

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Imma let you finish but… BEA2017 was one of the best of all time

*I originally posted a variation of this post on the Easton Area Public Library’s EAPLTeens blog. But I wanted to post it here too, mostly because I can elaborate more and use more colorful language if necessary. :-P

Ok, so I won’t do any hardcore bragging (not a lot, anyway), but there was a TON of fangirling about all the amazing authors and people we met at Book Expo.

On June 1, Ashley and I went to Book Expo America (BEA) in NYC. It’s a huge annual event where librarians, educators, and book bloggers meet up with publishers and authors and basically giggle and flail all day (that might just be the librarians, but whatevs.)

On the bus to NYC at 6:30am. We were excited, but SUPER sleep deprived.

We were prepared to load up on ARCs, publishers’ catalogs, and, of course, tote bags.

Oh, yea. And we also had Bingo cards, just in case we got bored while waiting in the lines.

We got to coss of “Someone is asleep” right away, because I totally passed out on the bus before we even got there.

Our first stop was Emmy Laybourne, author of the Monument 14 trilogy and Sweet. In a very exciting moment, we randomly bumped into her before the signing began. It went a little something like this:

Katie: (to seemingly random person) Excuse me, are you in line?
Seemingly Random Person: No, but I’ll be signing here in just a few minutes!
Katie: OMG ARE YOU EMMY LAYBOURNE?!?!
EL: Yes, I am!
Ashley: (wanders over from publisher’s booth) They didn’t have anything I was looking for.
Katie: ASHLEY, MEET EMMY LAYBOURNE!
Ashley: OMG HI, I’M ASHLEY!

(We definitely do not remain cool and collected when meeting our author heroes.)

The oh-so-wonderful Emmy Laybourne

Ashley I didn’t know what was more exciting: meeting her or getting advanced copies of her upcoming book Berserker (which is scheduled for released on October 10). She also gave us signed book plates to put in all her books at our library, which ohmygoodness, how sweet and awesome is she??!

Next was the booth giving away copies of Maggie Stiefvater’s All the Crooked Saints (also due to be released on October 10). We didn’t get to meet Maggie or bask in the presence of her awesomeness, but we got in a massively long line for an ARC drop and Ashley and I each scored a copy.

I stopped by the booth for Image Comics (you may or may not be aware of my undying love for Image) and freaked out over all the free issues they were giving away. Which reminds me, I have a lot of comic reviews to write…

We didn’t have any other signings until the afternoon, so we wandered a bit and hit up random booths.

There’s Dennis Leary sitting in the middle. So that happened.

People’s booth displays were ON POINT.

We got these awesome WOMEN OF ACTION banners to stick on our badges from Chicago Review Press. The rep we talked to was AWESOME.

Ashley and I both decided this was clearly made for us.

We had lunch, tallied up our Bingo cards (Ashley wiped the floor with me like, 3 times over), counted our tote bags (we each had about 10 for the morning), and examined our haul for the first half of the day.

Ashley’s sheet: Two bingos before noon.

My sheet: No bingos until 4:30.

Not a bad haul for the first half of the day.

There was a pigeon wandering around the convention center while we were eating lunch, which I found hilarious.

The highlight of my day was seeing ADAM SILVERA, author of More Happy Than Not and History is All You Left Me. I was determined to gush at him and get an advanced copy of They Both Die at the End (scheduled release date September 5). I got in line at noon for a 1:00 signing and the line was already at least 20 people deep.

By the time the signing started, the line had easily over 100 people. IT. WAS. BANANAS. Fortunately, not only did I get my advanced copy, I ALSO GOT A PICTURE WITH ADAM!!!

He was adorable and oh-so-sweet and I adore him and his books more than words can say.

I was really excited to grab SMASH by Sara Latta, too. A graphic novel about the Large Hadron Collider? YES, PLEASE!

From there, we got in line to see E. FREAKING LOCKHART, author of the critically acclaimed We Were Liars (and, of course, many others) and a hero among book heroes.

E. Lockhart in all her beautiful glory

Speaking of crazy lines, we had to get in line just to get a ticket to get in line. Seriously. There were DOZENS AND DOZENS of people waiting to see her and get her upcoming book, Genuine Fraud. We got our copies (and gushed at E. Lockhart, obvs.) so we walked away SUPER happy.

Ashley getting her copy of GENUINE FRAUD signed

We were also exhausted. And kind of in pain.

You’ve heard of Tennis Elbow? We call this “Tote Bag Shoulder”

On the bright side, we got lots of other books we were excited about too…

We had about four hours to kill for our bus (one of our bus-mates had tickets to see HRC’s talk for her new book), so we hunkered down and started reading.

As this picture was taken, Hillary Clinton was behind those very doors…

Overall, we were quite satisfied with the day’s haul.

 

We were so excited that we already got a few ARCs read and reviewed! Read our reviews (there are two because Ashley and I each did one) for Genuine Fraud and The Devils You Know! We’ll be adding more as we keep plowing through our piles!

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Second Look: GENUINE FRAUD by E. Lockhart (2017)

I know Katie just reviewed this, but I’m piggy-backing.  I also received a free galley for an honest review.  Thanks, Delacorte for the galley at #BEA2017!

GenuineFraud

Releases September 5, 2017

e. lockhart’s GENUINE FRAUD
Delacorte Press, 2017

Since Katie already posted, I’m just going to dive into my thoughts on this book. =)

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Second Look: GENUINE FRAUD by E. Lockhart

Genuine Fraud
E. Lockhart
Delacorte Press
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book free of charge from Book Expo America. I am not receiving any form of compensation for my honest review.

Summary: Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat. Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete. An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two. A bad romance, or maybe three. Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains. A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her. A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

REVIEW:

It is going to be SO HARD to write a review for this book without giving anything away. As you know, I am totally anti-spoiler so I promise not to reveal any surprises.

Lockhart’s uniquely told story begins at the end with Chapter 18. It’s obvious Jule, our main character, is on the run. She’s calling herself Imogen and is quite skilled at becoming someone else when she needs to. As the story progresses (or regresses?), we go backwards through the last year of Jule’s life and gradually learn how she came to be where (and who) she is.

I loved the way this book was written. The unique format keeps the reader guessing along with the many twists and turns the story takes from beginning to end (or end to beginning? I told you this was going to be hard to write…). I flew through it because I needed to know how Jule’s life came to be. I want to write SO MUCH MORE, but I really don’t want to give anything away. So, like, ya know… someone else read it and hit me up so we can chat.

I was totally prepared to give this a 10/10 rating, but I felt a little let down by  the ending, mostly because I was expecting something different. After the extensive build-up of Jude and Imogen’s characters, the ending seemed a little rushed. I’m not completely dissatisfied, I just wanted more.

E. Lockhart has always been a great writer, including her earlier, light contemporary novels (I particularly loved The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks). But in We Were Liars and Genuine Fraud, Lockhart takes it up another notch with complex, psychologically suspensful, beautifully written, mind-blowing stories.

OFFICIAL RATING: 9/10

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Second Look: MC Atwood’s THE DEVILS YOU KNOW (2017)

devilsyouknow

October 3, 2017

M.C. Atwood’s THE DEVILS YOU KNOW
SohoTeen, 2017

From Goodreads:

Plenty of legends surround the infamous Boulder House in Whispering Bluffs, Wisconsin, but nobody takes them seriously. Certainly nobody believes that the original owner, Maxwell Cartwright Jr., cursed its construction—or that a murder of crows died upon its completion, their carcasses turning the land black. If anyone did believe it all, there’s no way River Red High would offer a field trip there for the senior class.

Five very different seniors on the trip—Violet, Paul, Ashley, Dylan, and Gretchen—have reasons beyond school spirit for not ditching the trip. When they’re separated from the group, they discover that what lies within Boulder House is far more horrifying than any local folklore. To survive, they’ll have to band together in ways they never could have imagined and ultimately confront the truths of their darkest selves.

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