luckiest girl alive.


this is one of those books that i had to read twice.

on my initial read through i gave it 4/5 stars on goodreads. i’ve changed my review to 5/5 stars after my re-read. this time around i had a little more time to read and enjoy the book. i wasn’t up against a waiting list at the library and i hadn’t just plucked the title off of a must read list.

i think that sometimes when i read a book because it was on list x, y, or z it can alter my expectations or reaction to the book. this was the next “gone girl” – so the expectations were already set pretty high.

i think what i enjoyed most about this book was the understated, quiet way in which we (as a society) talk about rape was addressed and i don’t know that that was her intention. i never felt like it was in my face or glaringly the only focal point of the book. jessica did a really great job of making everything surrounding ani’s rape so much more important than the rape itself. there is hesitation about the rape. was it actually rape? were all parts of it rape? does waking up during a rape and not being coherent enough to say “no” or fight someone off make it less of a rape? the conversation about the rape is quiet and quite realistic. i think that more often than not victims find themselves questioning their rape in a very similar way. the guilt and the assumption that they must have done something to bring it on, that they asked for it.

i think high school english classes should read this book. i think there should be conversations about this book and papers written.

i’m glad i read this book a second time. i highly recommend you read it too!


the darkest corners.


*Netgalley provided an ARC in exchange for an honest review*

i liked this book. i really, really, really liked this book.

i really liked this book until about the 2nd to last chapter.

i would have gladly continued to read this book for several more chapters if the ending could have been given a little more page-time. i felt that this pretty intricate story had been developed and there was good character development and the writing was spot-on for how i think some of these characters would have been in real life. i was invested in this story.

and then all of this build-up is resolved – albeit in a very twisty, dark manner – in just a few pages comparatively.

the 4 stars shown are actually a 4.5/5 star review. i loved this book. there was pressure, and conflict, and really real teenage moments that didn’t feel forced or contrived or after school special-ish. my heart just broke a bit because i feel like i was robbed of a more developed ending.

don’t let that ending deter you though. read all the pages. kara did an excellent job on the whole.

the house by the lake.

27256096i remember looking at photos of the abandoned paris apartment owned by Mme de Florian when it was first discovered and unlocked in 2010. so sad, and tragic, and romantic to think about this apartment that survived for so long undisturbed with all of those amazing treasures untouched for decades. (don’t know what i’m even talking about? go here!)

so take a true life story about a time-capsule apartment in paris, throw in a little romance, and boom – you really can’t go wrong.

i just finished the house by the lake by ella carey. i actually sort of loved this book. anna needs to find something her grandfather left in his childhood home before ww2 and simply by being back in her family’s pre-war home anna has to confront the reality of having family members that were very present for the rise of hitler and the devastation of ww2. this was a pretty good historical fiction with just enough romance.

i feel like after the 50 shades books exploded on the literary scene most genres got a little sexified. i don’t need a sex scene every 2 pages to maintain interest in a book. i appreciated that this book kept it real and didn’t turn the fascinating true aspects of carey’s story into the catalyst for more mommy porn.

i am giving this book a 4 star review on goodreads. it was good. i read it in a night plus a couple hours. i don’t know that i would have stayed up and given myself a book hangover if it had come to that, but it is a nice read and should definitely be in some beach bags this summer!

the duff.


since i began working at the middle school i have read so much YA Fiction. i’m a voracious reader and a fast one at that, so i often times find myself perusing the shelves of the middle school library in hopes of finding something awesome. i have truly been able to find some really amazing books in that library – books i may have never paid any attention to due to their location otherwise.

last thursday i picked up the book the duff (the designated ugly fat friend) for 3 reasons:

  1. i love mae whitman and she was in the movie version and i always read the book before i see the movie and the movie has been on my to watch list. (my feeling on this are below)
  2. several of the lockers outside of my classroom have had the duff cover on their locker to indicate it is what they are currently reading for language arts. if a bunch of 12-14 year old girls are reading it – it must be good.
  3. i’ve often wondered about the idea that many groups of girl friends have that one chubby/fat girl in their group. the idea of a “duff” isn’t a new one, and at one time or another i think that a lot of girls – even the cute/popular ones – have measured themselves against their friends and thought they were the not pretty one in the group.

this was a one-sitting book for me. i stayed up until 2:30 am to finish it because by the  time i realized how late it was i had passed the halfway point and i’m not a quitter. this book is not the first book i’ve stayed up super late to read and it won’t be the last.

the duff was good. the protagonist (B) was someone you wanted things to work out for, and the story actually had multiple antagonists who sometimes individually wreaked havoc for B, sometimes collectively and sometimes the actions of one antagonist allowed one of the others to be a hero, even if only momentarily.

there were parts of this book that made my stomach hurt. keplinger did a really great job of putting me back into the shoes of my 17 year old self. i was not the duff in high school, but i did experience some of the same emotions as B for different reasons. i love a book that i can get lost in and that gives me all the feels. i was stressed out, hopeful, nervous and teary-eyed. i gave this book 4 stars on goodreads.

the duff was good. it was really good. and shame on who ever butchered it whilst making it in to a movie.

monument 14.


perhaps it was that fact that i started monument 14 already aware that there had been parent/student complaints about some mature situations in the book. perhaps it was the fact that i felt it was a mid-level effort at best in the actual mechanics of writing department. perhaps it was the anti-censorship 12 year-old inside of me…

monument 14 drew me in the very typical fashion of most YA books about the end of the world as we know it do. massive destruction, some mild weather related injuries and gore and a couple deaths. the premise of monument 14 is nothing new. it is like the breakfast club (one of the greatest movies EVER) meets the stand (top 5 book of mine) but there are no adults and the characters range in age from elementary school to high school senior and it all takes place in a super awesome multi-purpose store with ALL THE FOOD!

the only reason this book even hit my radar was because one of the media associates at the school where i work knew that i had read the duff and expressed some concern over it being available for 5th and 6th graders to read. i read this book specifically to back-up or refute the concerns about the appropriateness of some questionable situations.

there were some mature situations. were there any situations i would have been uncomfortable discussing with my daughter when she is in junior high? not really. there is some making out, sex talk (boys discussing their sex lives or lack thereof), alcohol & prescription drug use, and an implied rape. and now you’re like, this chick is crazy, on what planet is implied rape appropriate for kids that age!? well, it is a very brief implication of rape and the accused’s defense of himself is very logical and believable given the context of the story, his character, and the other character involved. what was more troubling to me was that the hyper-sexual female character in this book was written as a 13 year old.

monument 14 is an Iowa Teen Choice Award nominee. i do not understand how this book is up for any awards. did i enjoy it, yes. it was an entertaining-ish read, quick to get through and i like the genre. was it written to the standards that i believe award winning books should be written at? absolutely not. it had a very fan fiction feel to it. this book is not a stand out in YA literature even for this end of the world, band of misfits becoming besties to stay alive genre that is all the rage right now.

i didn’t mind the book. i didn’t love the book. i wouldn’t pull this book off of middle school library shelves based on a couple mature situations, but i also wouldn’t put it on any teen award lists either.