☕ Book Break ☕ | The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

 

“That was the thing. You never got used to it, the idea of someone being gone. Just when you think it’s reconciled, accepted, someone points it out to you, and it just hits you all over again, that shocking.”

The Truth About Forever

Macy recently lost her father and is trying to recover from her loss and the associated trauma. She attempts to do this by controlling her environment. Then she takes a job with a chaotic catering crew and makes new friends.  

What I loved.

❤️

Characters

Macy had my complete sympathy. 

Her new friends with the catering company were so enjoyable to read about, from the bubbly, flamboyant Kristy to the monosyllabic Monica. 

❤️

Storyline

A mix of grief, love, and life lessons. Complex, though the story moved along quickly for me and felt like an easy read. I love books that tackle the emotional journey and end with growth and the characters coming to terms with each other.

❤️

Tone

The sweetness of this story, perfect. 

❤️

Family

The grief the family experiences complicates their relationships, but they love each other. Well developed characters. The way they interacted was realistic, although in one part I got frustrated with the mom. 

❤️

Emotional

A touching story, beautifully done. The development of the romance was slow and perfect for this character. 

❤️

Art!

One of the important characters, Wade, makes sculptures from found materials. He tends toward angels and hands with a heart in the palm, which I would really like to see now.

I love Sara Dressen’s style.

 

Mentions of teenagers using alcohol. A little language. 

☕ Book Break ☕ | The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

I can’t recommend this historical young adult novel enough.

A 17-year-old Chinese American girl who works as a lady’s maid, moonlights as a columnist, Miss Sweetie, speaking her mind about the issues of the day. I absolutely adored Jo Kuan. She’s a complicated girl living in complicated times. 

The writing is elegant, although the tense and point of view took me a little while to get into.

If you’re looking for historicals to enrich your impressions of American culture, this is one to check out.

All the stars.

☕ Book Break ☕ | Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally

Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally

“But this is who I am: the daughter of two people who could make a band work for a while, but couldn’t make the family work for more than a few years.”

The story alternates between Phoebe, in current day New York visiting her sister Luna, and Meg, Phoebe’s mother and former rock star.

First person present done right. I was halfway into the book before I noticed.

Beautiful, introspective moments do not slow the narrative. Skillfully written. I heard it showed the author was a poet, but to me it simply feels like good writing. The prose is easy to dive into and the story unfolds naturally. Not too literary. It hit the right balance for me.

Girls in The Moon was never boring. When I read this novel, I was sick and kept falling asleep while listening. Normally, when that happens, I try to find where I left off because I hate relistening. I can skip ahead and figure the story out. I am an extremely picky and impatient reader, giving a book a scant four pages at most to draw me in before I move on. With Girls in The Moon I was satisfied to back up, more concerned with missing something than I usually am and happy to go over the chapters again.

I will read anything this author writes and am interested to see what she comes up with next. 

Complicated Family Dynamics 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Dual Timeline

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Lyrical Prose

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Music Culture

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Coming of Age

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thoughtful

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

☕ Book Break ☕ | Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

This book wasn’t what I was expecting from the title. There is a prince, and there’s a love story, but there’s also danger, family loyalty, and friendships.

I loved this story. It had a wonderful fairytale vibe, but felt very grounded. The main character is a spunky, smart, resourceful girl. I love all the positive messages in this book. It was very entertaining. Magical.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would not hesitate to recommend it for all ages.

A great read. Newbery book.

 

Interesting Setting 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

Wonderful Ending 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

Hint of “Magic”

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

Coming of Age

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

Positive Messages 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

☕ Book Break ☕ | Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones

“You’re a teenager. It’s all complicated.”

Where You’ll Find Me

by Jenny B. Jones

Finley is spending part of her school year as an exchange student to Ireland. There she meets teen movie idol Beckett. Formally, Finley had a few escapades, but she cleaned up her act. She does not want to be paired with a heart throb or revisit the party scene.

She has a goal. Her older brother, who passed away, once visited Ireland and she is retracing his steps. Finley has a music competition coming up and feels that she needs to reconnect with her brother’s past in order to finish writing her song.

When I started reading, I did not realize there was an element of an eating disorder. The unfolding of the story line was flawless. Sensitively done. Explores topics of faith, grief, and a slide into eating disorders, as well as forgiveness.

I loved all the layers in this book.

Faith is woven throughout as are the doubts and the complicated feelings of a teenager. There are no pat answers in this book. It doesn’t shy away from difficult to write about topics.

Christian fiction.

Recommend 

Carol Award Winner

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Relevant

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Compelling Characters

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

☕ Book Break ☕ | Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Caden Bosch is a high school student who loves art. He is also schizophrenic. 

Caden’s story alternates between his journey on a ship, and his time in the familiar world. He has to choose which to stay in and who to trust.

Wow. Just, wow.

In the beginning, the book starts out in a disjointed way, illustrating the narrator’s difficulty with reality as he begins to struggle with the symptoms of schizophrenia. I have a tendency to not read book descriptions or reviews before I crack open a new story, so  it left me off balanced, which I think was the point of the book being written this way. Even so, it didn’t take me long to catch on, although I didn’t know exactly what mental health issues he was dealing with.

This is a character driven book and very emotional. Heartbreaking, sensitive, and frightening, this is an enlightening novel. A must read.

It reminded me a little bit of I Am the Cheese, one of my favorite books when I was in junior high.

There is one statement about God that struck me wrong, yet fits in with the internal dialogue of the narrator. 

National Book Award and Golden Kite Winner

The author drew on his experience with his son to write this novel.

Recommended

All the stars.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

☕ Book Break ☕ | The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais

The Silence Between Us

by Alison Gervais

This was a quick read for me. 

Be forewarned! This is a hard book to put down. 

Deaf teenager Maya is starting a new school. It’s the first time she’s gone to a hearing school. She must adjust to this new environment. 

I chose this one because I was looking for a clean, young adult romance. This novel has a romantic element, but it’s also a coming of age. Maya is challenged to consider her identity and her attitudes. 

I love this story. 

Go get it!

Good Storytelling 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Satisfying Ending

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Engaging 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Great Character

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

☕ Book Break ☕ | Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman

Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman

A must read for all teens and preteens. This one knocked my socks off. My emotions took ever, the strongest of which was anger. The story ends satisfactorily, although I wanted harsher revenge on one particular character. Rarely do I have a character I love to hate, but the mother of the bully is on my short list of fictional characters I despise. Told from multiple points of view, all aspects of the situations arising from an incident of cyberbullying are put under the microscope. My kindle did not read the headings, and yet I was easily able to tell which character’s POV the story was in. That’s good writing.

Relevant

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Must Read

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Complex

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Engrossing

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

☕ Book Break ☕ | The Thing With Feathers by McCall Hoyle

The Thing With Feathers by McCall Hoyle

“Some people see the liquid and think half full. Others only see the air and think half empty. Sometimes I get the sense Chatham sees it all, which is kind of terrifying. I don’t know if I want him to see me–the real me.”

This book caught my eye because I love the Emily Dickinson quote and I loved the cover. It’s been on my list for quite some time.

Emilie is struggling with the loss of her father, who died from a terminal illness four years ago. She also has epilepsy.

I had loads of sympathy for the main character and liked her right away. It is an easy to read, sweet, heartwarming type story. Emilie must navigate a new environment and learns that she has been wrong about many of her assumptions. It has a bit of romance, a bit of mother/daughter relationship (y’all know I love a good mother/daughter story), and, of course, it is a hopeful book as the title indicates. I love a book that is about hope.

I will confess, I got a little teary sometimes. I found myself chuckling every now and then, as well.

Emily Dickinson is given quite a few nods, which I appreciate. I learned something about her that I did not know. 

The story ties everything together nicely.

I liked it.

 

☕ Book Break ☕ | Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

“In fact, I was glad to know something not everyone did: that there are better bonds than blood.”

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

Gorgeous story. 

Twelve year old Crow lives in a small isolated community. She lives with Osh, who is raising her, although he is no blood relation. Crow washed up on shore one day. The other inhabitants of the small Massachusetts island have shunned her for the most part, except for Miss Maggie, a neighbor.

Mysteries abound in this coming of age that explores what the true meaning of family is. There was a certain type of sweet sadness infused in this story that made it achingly beautiful.

I was sad when the story was over because I wanted to stay a little bit longer with the characters. If you like historical coming of age stories with a dash of mystery and striking pose, get this one. 

Good for all ages.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Major Book Love

Characters 

Historical Fiction with Heart

Appropriate for all young readers and adults.