Blog Tour & Giveaway: Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni

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Title: 
Things I’m Seeing Without You
Author: Peter Bognanni
Publication date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: Dial Books
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary

Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Tess Fowler has just dropped out of high school. She can barely function after learning of Jonah’s death. Jonah, the boy she’d traded banter with over texts and heartfelt e-mails.

Jonah, the first boy she’d told she loved and the first boy to say it back.

Jonah, the boy whose suicide she never saw coming.

Tess continues to write to Jonah, as a way of processing her grief and confusion. But for now she finds solace in perhaps the unlikeliest of ways: by helping her father with his new alternative funeral business, where his biggest client is . . . a prized racehorse?

As Tess’s involvement in her father’s business grows, both find comfort in the clients they serve and in each other. But love, loss, and life are so much more complicated than Tess ever thought. Especially after she receives a message that turns her life upside down.

LINKS:   Goodreads Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository


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I think that writing about grief and trying put all that pain into words is one of the hardest emotions to explain. However, in Things I’m Seeing Without You, the author executed this emotion so well—with love, heartache, and sorrow. Through snapshots of the main character’s emotional turmoil of losing the first guy she ever loved, Tess walks us through her emotional state to grasp the reality of death and all the lows that come with it. 

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As Tess is facing anxiety and depression, she is often stagnant and rarely opens up to the few people around her. She’s not angsty but with her “take no BS” attitude she comes off very sarcastic, while she internally bottles up her grief. I kept wishing that she would open up more to people about her depression, but I think she realistically portrays an adolescent that oftentimes keeps their feelings within themselves. Tess is quirky and smart, but she definitely has a thick shell that’s hard for people to crack. 

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Overall, Things I’m Seeing Without You, is a quick read but throughout the novel I felt like I lingered with Tess. I felt as though I was part of her mourning process. Even though this novel focuses on first loves and loss, it also unfolds into a novel about maturing, trying to move on, and second chances. Death is a hard topic and situation to grasp, and Peter Bognanni’s writing is a honest portrayal of the struggles that come with it: loss and heartache. 

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Enter for a chance to be one (1) of three (3) winners to receive a hardcover copy of Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni. (ARV: $17.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on September 25, 2017 and 12:00 AM on October 16, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about October 18, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

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Peter Bognanni
 
Peter Bognanni is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His debut novel, The House of Tomorrow, won the LA Times award for first fiction and the ALA Alex Award and has been adapted into a feature film.  He teaches creative writing at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
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Week One:
September 25 – Arctic Books – Author Q&A
September 26 – Fiktshun – Review
September 27 – Adventures of a Book Junkie – Reasons to Read TISWY
September 28 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Author Guest Post
September 29 – BookCrushin – Review
 
Week Two:
October 2 – The Young Folks – Author Q&A
October 3 – Dazzled by Books – Review
October 4 – In Wonderland – Beyond the Pages
October 5 – YA and Wine – Review & Mood Board
October 6 – Fiction Fare – Author Guest Post
 
Week Three:
October 9 – Rants & Raves of a Bibliophile – Review & Favorite Quotes
October 10 – Margie’s Must Reads – Author Guest Post
October 11 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Author Q&A
October 12 – Once Upon a Twilight – Guess the Story in GIFs
October 13 – Twinning for Books
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If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

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Title:
Moxie
Author: Jennifer Mathieu

Publication date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press/ Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Feminism

About the Book:

An unlikely teenager starts a feminist revolution at a small-town Texan high school in the new novel from Jennifer Matheiu, author of The Truth About Alice.

MOXIE GIRLS FIGHT BACK!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with a school administration at her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Moxie is a book about high school life that will make you wanna riot!

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository


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WHOA! You guys, Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu is so powerful, straight-forward, and the type of book we need in this fist-gripping-teeth-clenching year that we call 2017. I’m not going to lie, I came into this book for a feminist read AND I left the book invigorated, energized, and ready to take on the world. 

Moxie‘s main character, Viv is relate-able on so many levels. She is a good student that never falls out of line and always does what she is told. But she also has a knack for being an alert listener and keen observer. I love that she turns to music for escapism and courage. I love that her mom is her role model. And what I really liked about Viv’s character is how determined and courageous she is, even if she is cautious and over-analyzes all her choices and decisions (because who does not do this?). Viv is stealthy, determined, fiesty, funny, and overall, a kickass character.

And I cannot forget about one of my favorite Moxie characters, Seth. As Viv’s crush and a guy that treats her with respect, I was silently shouting in my head, “this is what a male feminist looks like.” His actions and words never fail to positively impact the book and Viv, herself. Seth is still trying to understand the world around him and he knows he has a lot to learn when it comes to feminism. I love that he opens up his mind and world to question authority, male privilege, and social viewpoints. Seth is not perfect but he never fails to take the steps to understand social injustices–he observes, questions, and reacts. 

In Moxie, Mathieu’s words not only heighten the awareness of sexism, sexual harassment, and rape in a high school setting, but she also provides a outlet for her female characters to  speak out about injustice, take charge, and push against those who downplay equality and social rights. Moxie is more than a “feminist” book. It is a story about maturity, making hard choices, and discovering who you and how you would act in certain situations. This book is equal parts funny and inspiring and awesome and empowering. It is definitely a book that you do not want to pass over this year (or ever).

star rating

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

NOTE: Thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan for providing me an e-galley/e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn

Title: Wesley James Ruined My Life
Author: Jennifer Honeybourn
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: July 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis: 

Sixteen-year-old Quinn Hardwick’s having a rough summer. Her beloved grandmother has been put into a home, her dad’s gambling addiction has flared back up and now her worst enemy is back in town: Wesley James, former childhood friend—until he ruined her life, that is.

So when Wesley is hired to work with her at Tudor Tymes, a medieval England themed restaurant, the last thing Quinn’s going to do is forgive and forget. She’s determined to remove him from her life and even the score all at once—by getting him fired.

But getting rid of Wesley isn’t as easy as she’d hoped. When Quinn finds herself falling for him, she has to decide what she wants more: to get even, or to just get over it.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo


First, how adorable and perfect is the cover? Wesley James Ruined My Life is definitely the definition of COVER LOVE. And like the cover, this book also has it’s adorable moments. The main character may be over-dramatic in some scenes of the novel, but overall this story is quick-paced and the perfect summer read. 

In reference to the main character, I found Quinn sometimes irrational and quick to judge. By the title, we acknowledge that Quinn has something against Wesley. Communication, or the lack of communication, definitely plays a high role in Quinn’s reasoning of why Wesley ruined her life. Even though I may not 100% agree with Quinn’s dislike for Wesley, I understand why she needed someone to blame for the unfair circumstances that happened in her life years ago. But you guys, this book gets more funny and swoony as the story unfolds. And I could not put this book down once Quinn started opening herself up to truth, honesty, and forgiveness.

In a nutshell, this is a story about revenge, but it’s so much more. In the end, Wesley James Ruined My Life is a story about maturing, accepting the past, and moving forward. It definitely has it’s swoony moments and a romance that I kept rooting for. I enjoyed the historical references often portrayed in the restaurant scenes, but most of all I really loved how positive, lively, and approachable Wesley was throughout the novel. Wesley was definitely my favorite part of the book, and I highly enjoyed his determination and fun-loving personality. I think I might have a new book boyfriend. *swoons*

About the author Pearl Thief

Jennifer Honeybourn works in corporate communications in Vancouver, British Columbia. She’s a fan of British accents, Broadway musicals, and epic, happily-ever-after love stories. If she could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, she’d have high tea with Walt Disney, JK Rowling, and her nana. She lives with her husband, daughter and cat in a house filled with books. Wesley James Ruined My Life is her first novel.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Giveaway Pearl Thief

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TOUR SCHEDULE PEARL THIEF

July 17th
Writing My Own Fairy Tale  >> Excerpt
Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books! >> Review
The Avid Reader >>  Guest post
Fic Central >> Review
Mes Livres >> Review

July 18th
Tales of the Ravenous Reader >> Interview
The Bookish Thought >> Review
Writing Pearls >> Review
Rolling with the Moments >> Review
Here’s to Happy Endings  >> Review

July 19th
Book Briefs >> Review
Girl vs Books >> Review
A Dream Within A Dream >> Excerpt
Beauty and the Bookshelf  >> Review
Never Too Many To Read >> Review

July 20th
blogs and coffee  >> Guest post
The Heart of a Book Blogger  >> Review
Padme’s Library >> Interview
The Reader and the Chef  >> Review

July 21st
Dog-Eared Daydreams >> Review
Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile >> Review
To Be Read  >> Review
The Bookworm Central >> Review
Wonder Struck >> Review

 

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Chasing Eveline by Leslie Hauser

CHASING EVELINE BLOG TOUR

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Title: CHASING EVELINE
Author: Leslie Hauser
Pub. Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Pen Name Publishing
Pages: 300
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Find it: AmazonBarnes & Noble, TBDGoodreads

Sixteen-year-old Ivy Higgins is the only student at Carmel Heights High School who listens to cassettes. And her binder is the only one decorated with album artwork by 80s band Chasing Eveline. Despite being broken-up since 1989, this rock band out of Ireland means everything to Ivy. They’re a reminder of her mom, who abandoned Ivy and her dad two years ago. Now the music of her mom’s favorite band is the only connection she has left.

Even though Ivy wavers between anger and a yearning to reconnect, she’s one-hundred percent certain she’s not ready to lose her mom forever. But the only surefire way to locate her would be at a Chasing Eveline concert. So with help from her lone friend Matt—an equally abandoned soul and indie music enthusiast—Ivy hatches a plan to reunite the band.

The road to Ireland won’t be easy, though. And not just because there is no road. Along the way they’ll have to win over their Lady Gaga-loving peers, tangle with some frisky meerkats, and oh yeah, somehow find and persuade the four members to play a reunion gig. It’s a near-impossible task, but Ivy has to try. If she can’t let go of the past, she’ll never be able to find joy in the present.


My Rants and Raves of Chasing Eveline

WOW, you all, my 1980s loving-heart is fully in love with this book. Chasing Eveline may take place in our world of skyping and cellphones, but this book definitely has all the best elements of a 1980s movie: teen melodrama, an underdog theme, great music, and a feel-good ending. This coming-of-age story will definitely fill your soul with nostalgia, warm fuzzies, and the appreciation of great music.  


As the main character, Ivy, is highly focused on her mother abandoning her family. And instead of accepting that her mom is truly gone, Ivy sulks, which then dominoes into other people in her life fading away. Luckily, Ivy finds a way to keep the memory of her mom anchored to her, which is rediscovering the 80s bands and music that her mom once shared with her. One of these beloved bands is Chasing Eveline. 

As a band with strong and heartfelt lyrics, Chasing Eveline becomes the catalyst and glue to Ivy’s story. They influence Ivy in the most positive ways–leading to new friendships, crazy ways to raise money, and adventurous traveling plans. I love that this band fills Ivy’s grief-filled heart with hope, peace, and willingness to try new things. In Chasing Eveline,  Ivy sometimes comes off as stubborn and naive. But even though she hates letting go of the past, I appreciated that Ivy also has the most heartwarming and hilarious ways of approaching life and moving forward.


Chasing Eveline is littered with 1980s movie references, which made me love Ivy and her story even more. When Ivy thinks she’s being innovative and creative, her love for Chasing Eveline often leads to the most awkward and funny scenes. I love that Ivy is passionate about music, but more importantly that she appreciates lyrics as the blood that keeps the song pumping. If you love a little teenage angst, 1980’s pop culture, and a beautifully executed ending, I highly recommend that you read Chasing Eveline ASAP! 

4 star rating

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

About the author Pearl Thief

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I am a YA writer and middle school teacher. I have a B.A. in English from UCLA and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently reside in Los Angeles, California, with my dog Mr. Darcy.

When I’m not living in fictional worlds inside my head, I run all sorts of distances, torture my body at CrossFit, and DVR entirely too many television shows. I dream of one day returning to the Midwest to live on a farm. Or perhaps owning a cookie delivery service.

My debut novel CHASING EVELINE releases in 2017 from Pen Name Publishing.
Website |Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Giveaway Pearl Thief
3 Winners will receive a finished copy of CHASING EVELINE, US Only.

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TOUR SCHEDULE PEARL THIEFWeek One:

7/17/2017- Novel Novice Excerpt
7/18/2017- Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile Review
7/19/2017- BookHounds YA– Guest Post

7/20/2017- Book Princess Reviews Review
7/21/2017- Bibliobibuli YA– Interview

Week Two:

7/24/2017– Bibliobakes Review
7/25/2017- Wandering Bark Books– Excerpt
7/26/2017- The Pages In-Between– Review
7/27/2017- YA and Wine Interview
7/28/2017- Book Briefs– Review

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Don’t Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray

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Title: Don’t Kiss the Messenger
Author: Katie Ray
Publication date: April 10, 2017
Publisher:  Entangled Teen Crush
Genres: Young Adult, Contempoary, Romance

ABOUT THE BOOK:

For most of her teenage life, CeCe Edmonds has been dealing with the stares and the not-so-polite whispers that follow her around Edgelake High. So she has a large scar on her face—Harry Potter had one on his forehead and people still liked him.

CeCe never cared about her looks—until Emmett Brady, transfer student and football darling, becomes her literature critique partner. The only problem? Emmett is blindsided by Bryn DeNeuville, CeCe’s gorgeous and suddenly shy volleyball teammate.

Bryn asks CeCe to help her compose messages that’ll charm Emmett. CeCe isn’t sure there’s anything in his head worth charming but agrees anyway—she’s a sucker for a good romance. Unfortunately, the more messages she sends and the more they run into each other, the more she realizes there’s plenty in his head, from food to literature. Too bad Emmett seems to be falling for the wrong girl…

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book involves one fiercely scarred girl who wants the new guy in town, the new guy who thinks he wants the new girl, and the new girl who really isn’t sure what she wants, and the misunderstanding that brings them all together. You’ll laugh, you’ll swoon, you’ll fall in love.

Goodreads Amazon |Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo |
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | Entangled Publishing


My Rants and Raves of messenger

Don’t Kiss the Messenger is a gender-reversed, high school retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac. It’s a story about disguise, miscommunication, and hidden crushes. Often I find stories about deception frustrating because I am so impatient for the truth to be revealed, but in this book the use of modern technology to disguise flirtation is creatively thought out and well executed. I thought (and loved) that the book gave off vibes that reminisced the classic independent heroine and witty banter that is portrayed in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You. 

One of my favorite parts of Don’t Kiss the Messenger was the constant references to Shakespeare. You cannot go into a story focused on disguise and deception without Shakespeare’s works making an appearance. And every time Cece, the main character, quoted a Shakespeare play, I would get so excited. It’s not every day you read a character that appreciates the language of the Bard. 

Not only is Cece a Shakespeare fanatic, but she is also likable, sarcastic, confident, and fierce. Although she faces scrutiny every day from strangers who take pity on her or are awe-struck by the scars on her face, Cece keeps her head up high and tries to excel in every way she possibly can. She tries not to let her flaws define her, but it’s hard because she lives in a world that focuses on perfection as a defining factor. Cece has excellent taste in music, she’s fearless, and I love that she knows that sometimes a good cry is the best medicine.

I also liked Emmett, Cece’s crush. Emmett is not set up as the perfect high school jock. He has a past that is heartbreaking, and a future that needs mending. Emmett might be clueless on a few things, but his interest in literature, music, and defending his friends makes him stand out. 

Cece and Emmett’s friendship and relationship is an emotional roller coaster. And even though they have their twists and turns, the chemistry between these two characters is electric. Their friendship is based on witticism, sarcasm, and laughs. I love how they feed off each other’s energy and their banter is so cute and hilarious. I rooted for them the entire book, even when the disguised messages were grating my last nerve, hahaha.

Although stories that use disguises as a tricking mechanism sometimes frustrate me, the deceiving charade that takes place in Don’t Kiss the Messenger is heartwarming and swoony. Yes, I might have gotten annoyed at times, mainly because I wanted the truth leaked, but deception was perfectly set up as a steady beat throughout the pages and had me hooked to the very end. I highly recommend this book to fans of Shakespeare, literature nerds, music fiends, and anyone who appreciates a good love story. 

star rating

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

♥♥GIVEAWAY♥♥

Win a signed copy of Don’t Kiss the Messenger

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Katie Ray

 

About the Author:

Katie Ray (also known by her previous author name, Katie Kacvinsky) writes teen and new adult fiction novels. Her books have been nominated for YALSA awards, and First Comes Love was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Her screenplay, A High Note, was a semifinalist in the Austin Screenplay Competition in 2015. She currently lives in Ashland, Wisconsin with her husband, two children, and a slightly insane dog.

Author Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Follow the rest of the tour HERE!

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Raves & A Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

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Title: By Your Side
Author: Kasie West
Publication date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: ARC

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?


My Top 5 Raves of By Your Side

1.If you’re already a Kasie West fan, you are going to love By Your Side. It’s fast-paced, swoony, funny, and you will definitely fall in love with the two main characters, Autumn and Dax.

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2. Some of you may already know this about me, especially if you follow me on Twitter, but my brother is my best friend. And in By Your Side, Autumn is also very close to her brother, Owen. Their dialogue is witty and hilarious. I adored when these two were together in a chapter. One of my rants about this book is that there was not enough scenes between these two. GIVE ME MORE AWESOME SISTER-AND-BROTHER SCENES, PLEASE!

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3. Kasie’s books always gives me John Hughes’ movie FEELS, and of course I went into this book hoping for inspired The Breakfast Club library scenes. Now, the library dancing and sprinkling of PixieStix on a sandwich didn’t happen, but I think Autumn and Dax handled being locked in a library for a weekend really well. Being locked in a library is definitely a way to challenge yourself, but in this story, it was also a good start to a new friendship. And although Autumn already has some preconceived notions about Dax having a “bad boy” reputation, she finds out that Dax is very resourceful, honest, and trustworthy.

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4. Autumn is a realistic protagonist worth rooting for. She has her flaws, but don’t we all. One of my favorite things about Autumn is that she is not as angsty as many cliché female leads are portrayed in contemporary books. I found Autumn to be strong-willed, caring, and overconscientious. 

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5. Last, I really enjoyed that By Your Side focuses on a multitude of situations: family, friendships, teenage love, foster children, and anxiety. Kasie West doesn’t shy her characters away from making mistakes or misconstruing situations. Instead, the characters use their cleverness, humor, and courage to conquer the world. Give me a Kasie West book any day, and I will always walk away with fluff in my heart and laughter in my soul.

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4 star rating

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

RELEASE DATE: January 31, 2017

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository

Blog Tour & Giveaway: AUTOFOCUS by Lauren Gibaldi

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Title: Autofocus
By: Lauren Gibaldi
Published by: Harper Teen
Publication date: June 14, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, Fiction

ABOUT AUTOFOCUS:

Family.

It’s always been a loaded word for Maude. And when she is given a senior photography assignment—to create a portfolio that shows the meaning of family—she doesn’t quite know where to begin. But she knows one thing: without the story of her birth mother, who died when Maude was born, her project will be incomplete.

So Maude decides to visit her best friend, Treena, at college in Tallahassee, Florida, where Maude’s birth mother once lived. But when Maude arrives, she quickly discovers that Treena has changed. With a new boyfriend and a packed social calendar, Treena doesn’t seem to have time for Maude—or helping Maude in her search.

Enter Bennett, a cute guy who lives in Treena’s dorm. He understands Maude’s need to find her mother. And as Bennett helps Maude in her search, she starts to find that her mother’s past doesn’t have to define her own future.

Lauren Gibaldi has crafted a beautiful and timely coming-of-age story that poses the question: Is who we are determined at birth, or can we change as we grow?

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository


 review in photography

Autofocus by Lauren Gibaldi is by far my favorite Young Adult Contemporary book I have read this year. Right from page one, the story smoothly unfolds when the main character, Maude, is given a high school assignment: to use photography as a means to define “family.” But for Maude, “family” is hard to define, because she was adopted and her birth mother died from complications during childbirth. Defining “family” is a true crisis of nature versus nurture in Maude’s eyes, especially when her birth mother left no information about herself or her own family for Maude to discover.

footprintGibaldi does a remarkable job depicting a seventeen-year-old that is lingering between the blurred lines of adolescence and adulthood. Maude is one of the most courageous female protagonists I have read in a long time. I often found myself comparing her to Louisa May Alcott’s Jo March in Little Women—a heroine surrounded by family and friends, yet who often shadows herself in a world of creativity as she pleads for life to remain unchanging. Like Jo March, Maude is creative, stubborn, and overall frustrating, especially when she is enamored with concrete and fixed depictions of people. Throughout Autofocus, Maude is often comparing people to who they are now and who they once were, and this leaves her with a mindset that change is hard to accept.

corkboardI mostly liked Maude because she is very determined and fearless. She does not wallow in self-pity; instead, she travels to her birth mother’s hometown, which happens to be the college town that her best friend Treena is attending. While staying at Florida State University for a week, I love that Maude dares herself to make connections with people that once knew her birth mother. And more importantly, I enjoyed that Maude not only discovers the true meaning of family, but she also discovers herself.

blurryUnsurprisingly, I was not a big fan of Maude’s best friend, Treena. I know Treena is in college and she’s going through her own identity crisis, but for crying out loud, her best friend is only staying with her for one week. But without Treena’s slip-ups, Maude would have never met and received help from Treena’s college friend, Bennett. Bennett is by far my favorite character in the book. He’s dorky, honest, caring, funny, and has an eclectic knowledge of pop culture/references. Honestly, you cannot go wrong with having a friend that loves and references Star Wars, Spider-man, and Toy Story, RIGHT?! Bennett is the perfect friend to help balance out Maude’s uneasy and erratic actions during her one-week journey to find information about her birth mother.

spidermanOverall, I really enjoyed Autofocus, and I can definitely see this coming-of-age story being a re-read for me whenever I’m in need of a reading-slump cure. Maude is a dynamic character, and I love that most of her internal dialogue is framed in self-encouraged philosophies. I really appreciated that Maude uses her photography assignment not only as a means to define “family,” but to essentially define herself. In the end, she portrays maturity and understanding that identity is not always a still-frame, but a collection of snapshots that shape who you are.

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star rating

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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Win a finished copy of AUTOFOCUS (US Only)

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about Lauren

Lauren Gibaldi

Public librarian and author of THE NIGHT WE SAID YES, MATT’S STORY (a Night We Said Yes novella), and AUTOFOCUS (out 6/14/16), all with HarperTeen/ HarperCollins. Fan of dinosaurs and cheesy jokes. And you.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

 

tour schedule

Week 1:
 
Week 2:

 

Note: All photographs were taken by me and edited with an Apple app called Color Card. All quotes featured in the photos are from an e-arc/galley of Autofocus provided by HarperTeen/HarperCollins. A gigantic thank you to Irish Banana Tours for inviting me on this blog tour. 

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