Review: Better Off Friends

Review of Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg from thegirlsinplaidskirts.comAuthor: Elizabeth Eulberg

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Released: February 25, 2014

Click here to read summary

Yes, hi, my name is JB and I have a new OTP, thank you very much.

So here’s the story behind how I became aquainted with Levi and Macallan. (You can skip this part if you want and scroll down for just the review. You’ll only hurt my feelings a little bit.)

Before Jules and I went to the North Texas Teen Book Festival, we both read lots of books by authors who were attending the festival. So I read books by Leigh Bardugo and A.G. Howard and Sarah Mlynowski while Jules read all these books. One of those books was Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg.

So Jules gets in my car (30 minutes late, mind you) and at some point once we were finally in an awake state of being (we had to meet at like, 5 so we could drive to Dallas and get to the festival on time), we began discussing the books we had read in preparation for the festival. And the reason Jules had shown up late that morning was because she overslept because she had stayed up all night reading Better Off Friends. She went on and on and on about it and how adorable it was and it was a clean read and I totally needed to read it.

Fast forward to the festival and Elizabeth Eulberg is in the first panel I go to. Now, at the time, I didn’t realize she was the author behind this fantastic book that Jules had been going on and on about. What I did know was that she was hilarious and I wanted to be her best friend. So I text Jules and told her she had to go to a panel that Elizabeth was in. And she did, and also decided that we should make Elizabeth our new bestie.

During the book signings, we pranced ourselves to our new BFF’s table (even though she was unaware of the fact that she was our new BFF—minor issue) and introduced ourselves even though we didn’t have any of her books. She gave us stickers and signed our bags and fangirled over Ally Carter with us. It wasn’t until after we had left her table that we put two and two together—this lady we’d fallen in love with was the author behind THE book. So we found her again and Jules told her how much she loved THE book while I stood there having no idea what was going on.

A week or so after the festival, I downloaded the ebook from my library and read it super fast. I was in love. So in love that I reread the book the next day. As far as I know, I have never done that before. A reread a week later? Yeah, I did that with The Selection. But the next day? That, my friends, is true love.

If you read my entire saga above, bless you. Now on to the actual review.

THE ACTUAL REVIEW

I’m a sucker for an adorable romance. We all know this already, but still.

Better Off Friends tells the story of how Levi and Macallan became best friends. And they’re the most adorable best friends ever. (Okay, second most adorable best friends ever, second only to us and our new BFF.) Their bantering is too cute and they are both obsessed with the British TV show Buggy and Floyd (I was so sad to find out it’s not a real show), and everyone thinks they’d make an adorable couple.  But, hey, they’re just friends.

I really think Macallan and Levi could be tossed into any situation and I’d read about it. Washing the car? Picking up stuff at Wal-Mart? I don’t care what they’re doing. They’re such a fun pair, and I love to read their dialog. Their banter makes the book.

The book takes place over several years, starting with the first time they met in 7th grade and telling the stories of their hardships and new experiences over the next few years. It’s fun to watch how their relationship grows and changes over time as they make new friends and drift away from old ones.

One of my favorite parts of the book is the interstitials. (I only know that word because it was on Elizabeth’s blog.) Between every chapter (which alternates POV between Macallan and Levi) is some banter as they reminisce on their relationship. (For an example of this, read the first page here.)

It’s adorable to see them looking back on old memories. Jules says she pictures them as old grandparents telling their grandkids the story of how they met.

If you’ve read any of my reviews for romance books, you know my big problem with them: the L word. And… this story has it. And… I’m okay with it. WHAT? I know, right? I think the reason it doesn’t bother me is because the story is told over a long period of time, and the reader can really see their love unfold, whether the two realize it or not. Now if their entire relationship were to take place over like, 2 weeks and then they were all I LOVE YOU, then I’d have a problem with it. But these two truly know each other and, I believe, truly love each other. (This is probably one of the few times I’m not going to hate on the use of the L word in a romance book, which is a big deal.)

Basically, you need to read this book. Especially if you love romances with fun characters and banter. Like, seriously. Go read this now. Five out of five stars!

Content Advisory:

Language: 2 I think there was one or two curse words. (For some reason, I didn’t take notes when I read this book, so I don’t have it marked!)

Sexual: 2 Some kissing, a few innuendos

Violence: 2 *minor spoiler alert* She punches a guy because he makes fun of her mentally retarded uncle. (In my opinion, the guy totally deserved it.)

>>>If you like fun couples with fantastic banter, you might also like

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West (read our review)

>>>Other books by this author

Prom and Prejudice

The Lonely Hearts Club

Take a Bow

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.

Review: I Love Him, I Love Him Not

23129506Author: Ella Martin

Age: YA

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Released: September 29, 2015

Click here to read summary.

This is the second book in the Westgate Prep series. For the release of the first book, we held a super fun Westgate Spirit Week! Check out those posts here.

Review:

I’m still binging YA contemporary romance books like there’s no tomorrow, so I was super excited when Ella Martin emailed us an e-ARC of the newest Westgate Prep book! I had included it in my Top Ten Sequels I Want to Read, so I couldn’t help but read it immediately!

Here’s some things I love about Ella Martin’s books:

  1. They are CLEAN! Oh, how we love clean reads! The Westgate Prep series is published by Clean Reads (previously Astraea Press), and they have strict guidelines that authors must meet. This means there is no cursing and no sex. (I don’t know the guideline specifics, but Ella mentioned that they are fairly strict.)
  2. They are ADORABLE! All the warm fuzzies, all the cute boys, all the adorable romances that make you want to squee. (I will elaborate on this later.)
  3. They are RELATABLE! One of my favorite things about both Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up? (book 1) and I Love Him, I Love Him Not is that there are some very serious, yet very real and relatable situations.

So onto why I loved I Love Him, I Love Him Not!

The “very real, very serious, relatable” issue in this book is the fact that Talia’s mom gets remarried! As a daughter of divorced parents, I feel like this is an issue that a lot of kids deal with, and Ella makes it incredibly realistic. It’s hard when someone new pops into your life and you aren’t sure if you want them to be a part of it. That’s how Talia feels about her mom’s new husband as she struggles with a new father-figure in her life.

Then, we have the adorable-ness. It was incredibly obvious to me by page five that Jake liked Talia because he programmed her phone to play “I Want You to Want Me” when he called. Isn’t that so cute? And aren’t teenage girls so oblivious? (The answer to both is “yes”, and I am entirely guilty of that last one.) Jake is a musician, and I’m a sucker for a cute guitarist, so I found myself all smiley when he was around.

Another thing I love about this series is how the characters appear in each others’ books. We met Talia in WTRPCPSU, but we really get to know her in ILHILHN since we’re seeing things from her perspective. She’s such a spunky, fun character. It’s really fun to see Bianca (the narrator of book one) from Talia’s view, and see how her story pans out after WTRPCPSU.

I Love Him, I Love Him Not has a fantastic cast of characters, an adorable romance story, and some twists and turns that hit me out of nowhere. If you’re a fan of cute romances, this is a must-read! Five out of five stars!

Content Advisory:

Language: 0 None!

Sexual: 2 Nothing more than basic kissing, but there are a few comments such as “What do you think would happen if a roach had sex with a lobster?” (All of these comments came from a stupid teenage boy, so.)

>>> OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR<<<

Will The Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up

>>>SIMILAR BOOKS<<<

If you’re in the mood for some adorable romance books, check out our Ultimate Guide to the Cutest YA Love Stories.

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.

Summer Reading recap

So you may remember that summer reading list I posted a few weeks ago… Well I’ve been working on it.  However it’s been a little harder than I thought.  I’ve been out of town a lot and I would put them on order.  They would get to the library, then I would run out of time before I would got back and I had to request them again!   And then I read Wish You Were Italian instead of Fool Me Twice.  They’re from the same collection so the covers are similar.  But WYWI was really good so I’m swapping it for FMT.

So here are the books I’ve gotten to so far!

(Click titles for links to goodreads summaries)

{CA = Content Advisory = Language, Sexual, Other}

My Faire Lady – Laura Wetterson

My Faire Lady coverCA: L- 3, S- 3, O-0

Overall Recommendation : 3

So the premise of the story is pretty cute and innocent, and you know it’s going to have it’s little adventures.  Rowena, aka Ro, is running from her broken heart, and lands in the welcoming arms of a Renaissance faire.  She’s looking for something to keep her hands busy and her mind off her cheating ex, and maybe a little fling thrown in for fun.  What she get is so much more than she expected or barganed for.

It’s hard to really get into the story and talk about it without spoiling the surprises!

There were a few loose ends that I would have liked to see tied, but the end wasn’t really the end, Wetterson left it open enough that this chapter of Ro’s life has enough closure, but the story keeps going.  Similarly, some of the characters I would have liked to see a little more of, but that’s just personal, IRL Ro wouldn’t have had much more interaction with them than what is written.

This book is a total bait-and-switch in the best way.  Up until about chapter 14 it was pretty much what, judging from the cover* and the premise, I thought it would be.  Cute, predictable, full of humor and charm.  And then along come chapter 15.  Oh my goodness you guys, things got real.  It was as if someone had turned the book on it’s end and shook all the feels all down to the bottom.  After setting everything up for the whole first portion of Ro’s summer, with about a week left of her time at the Faire, Wetterson brings it home, evoking all the feels, like not just the ones to do with the sweet guy, but the forgiveness ones and the friendship ones and the family ones, and yall.. I cried!!  Like, three times in the last 40 pages!

*I know we all say “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, but it’s like the guy we love to hate, it’s the rule we love to break.

Royally Lost – Angie Stanton

royally lost cover

CA: L- 3, S- 2, O-3

Overall Recommendation :2

All in all it’s pretty cute in an every girl’s fantasy kind of way. I mean who wouldn’t want to fall for a prince-in-hiding while on vacay?!?

About halfway through I was wishing he could have held onto his secret a little longer, that she could have fallen for him as an average guy.   Some of the situations were a bit cheesy and/or improbable, but adorable all the same.  Character-wise all the main players felt good interacted well with each other and the minor characters (which were just enough and well placed).

I’m rather a fan of the brother of the Becca (the MC), Darren.  They are comrades in rebellion, and although they constantly pick and tease, you can tell they actually care about each other.  After their mother’s death and being closed off by their father, they because each other’s solace and strength.

The relationship between Becca and Nikolai I feel developed nicely, not too fast, not boring, and without being too mushy. I really appreciated both of their personal sense of where their line is. There was kissing (of course) and spooning, and swimming, but nothing beyond that.  Both of them were very respectful of the other, and yes he’s a prince so he was trained that way, but he could have been “I’m free now, no boundaries!”

While I don’t recommend the scenario of swimming in your undies on a secluded beach, or really anywhere, a good point was made of the fact that her undies offered more coverage than her bikini would have.

As we may well suspect, there’s the problem of the ending, royal+commoner problem.  Stanton created really nice last chapter that is hopeful and happy. But I won’t give too much away 🙂

She is quite abrasive to her father and stepmother.  They patch things up in the end, but I don’t take kindly to disrespecting, and lying to, one’s parents.  And she did both often, and in very big ways.

Wish You Were Italian – Kristin Rae

Wish you were italian cover

CA: L- 1, S- 1, O-1

Overall Recommendation :3

Ah, tales of summer travel and romance, and how sometimes it’s better that things don’t go a planned.  Pippa started her summer trip to Italy headed to an elite art program, a journal with a list of challenges, and a heart full of wishes.  After ditching the art program (but keeping up the charade of being there) Pippa gets carried away, literally, by someone she wasn’t looking for, and puts her heart on the line for what she think she wants.  On the journey from unsure and haphazard, to still unsure but much more thoughtful of head and heart, Pippa finds fast friends, and that love and kindness are generously given in the ancient streets of Italy.

I was happy to see that the MC had an active hobby, photography, and that it actually was part of the story.  The fact that she lied to her parents ALL SUMMER was kind of a big deal, not a fan of that.  Because of that Pippa suffers some unfortunate consequences.

It’s full of adorable scenes, and a cute read, forgetting the totally unlikeliness of the entire story, but hey, a girl can dream!

Hope your summer is spectacular!

We’d love to have you join us in our Gallagher Girls Read-A-Thon!

Review: Since You’ve Been Gone

since you've been goneAuthor: Morgan Matson

Age: YA

Genre: Contemporary; Friendship-based; Contemporary Romance

Released: May 6, 2014

Click here to read summary

Friendship. Summer. Cute guys. Do I need to continue? I mean, don’t you already want to read this book?

Emily’s best friend Sloane disappears without a trace, leaving behind only a list of crazy things for Emily to do. Things like: Steal something, pick an apple at night, and… go skinny dipping. Thing is, Emily isn’t all that outgoing, and now she’s having to figure out who she is without Sloane by her side to encourage her to do these things. But if completing the list is the only way to find Sloane, Emily will muster up every ounce of courage she has.

Since You’ve Been Gone is a super adorable book and I love that it focuses on friendship. In some ways, Sloane reminds me of Jules—super confident in herself, fun style, master thrifter, and she sometimes disappears. But seriously, I can’t keep up with where Jules is most of the time. Texas? New York? London? Africa? All of those are possible answers. I can also see Jules breaking into her own house like Sloane. (In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s done it before.) So I immediately loved Sloane because of some of her similarities to my own best friend.

I also love Emily because I can relate to her. Not in the fact that she likes running (which I hate), but I understand what it’s like to feel uncomfortable being by myself when I’m used to having someone by my side. I’m a total introvert, so making myself talk to people is hard. However, if I have my husband or my best friend next to me, it boosts my confidence level and I can totally conquer the world (or at least the people in front of me). And that’s how Emily is. She’s gotten so used to Sloane taking charge and being there that she doesn’t really know how to be just Emily. Through the challenges that Sloane has given her, Emily learns who she is and meets new people along the way that help her realize she’s fun to be around, even if Sloane isn’t there.

“There were two types of people—they type who could talk to anyone and make friends with them, and they type who spent parties hiding and sitting against trees.”

There are lots of different types of relationships in this book: friendship, maybe a little more than friendship, siblings, marriages. Some good, some bad. Some being worked on, some failing miserably. It’s really real. Emily makes new friends, not necessarily forgetting Sloane, but making room in her heart for more people. She befriends a really cute boy. *insert smiley face* And he doesn’t like running. (I can totally relate!)

The details in Since You’ve Been Gone are always spot-on. I love the little things like how the sunroof in Emily’s car is missing, or the description of the sign at the apple orchard. I love how her little brother is basically a monkey who climbs everything, that her parents are eccentric playwriters. I love that Sloane always carries a disposable camera and the spot where she hides her special treasures. I love the flashbacks to Sloane and Emily’s friendship. These small things and small moments create an altogether beautiful book and story, sure to be enjoyed by anyone who loves a good friendship book.

“She was my heart, she was half of me, and nothing… was ever going to change that.”

Four out of five stars!

Content Advisory:

Language: 2 I counted one use of d and one of h

Sexual: 3 Some guy tries to feel her up; skinny dipping, and there are boys (nothing is described and no touchy-feely or anything); sleeping in a tent with a boy to “share a pillow” (nothing happens except for sleeping and eye-rolling) (the eye-rolling is mine)

Other:  drinking (at parties; she gets tipsy; she and Sloane drink wine at Sloane’s house and her parents don’t care)

>>> OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR <<<

morgan matson books

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Chance Summer

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

>>> OTHER GREAT SUMMER READS <<<

Young Adult summer reads

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

So Not Happening by Jenny B. Jones

Fool Me Twice by Mandy Hubbard

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.

Review: There You’ll Find Me

Review of There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones from thegirlsinplaidskirts.com; Christian YA book reviewAuthor: Jenny B. Jones

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Christian Romance, Contemporary Romance

Released: October 4, 2011

Click here to read summary.

There You’ll Find Me is a super sweet Christian YA book in which Finley goes to Ireland hoping to find a connection to her brother who was killed in Afghanistan. Finley is such a real character, struggling in not only her relationship with God but also in her relationships with those around her. She tries to find God in the same way her brother did, but eventually comes to terms with the fact that she will have to find Him in her own way.

Here’s the thing: I don’t like a lot of Christian books. I feel like so many of them are really blah with flat characters and religion is pushed like crazy. This book didn’t feel like that. The characters are awesome (I’ll expand further below), Finley has an interesting voice and is easy to connect to, and her relationship with God seems realistic. Finley feels like God abandoned her after her brother was killed in Afghanistan, so she takes her brother’s old journal and traces his steps to Ireland. That’s where he found God, so she hopes she will find Him again there as well. I feel like most of us have been at a point when we wonder where God is and why He’s not stepping in, stopping the horrible things that are happening to us, but that doesn’t mean we give up on Him completely. That’s what I love about Finley—she continues searching for Him and trusting that He is there, even if she can’t see Him and her world feels like it’s crashing down all around her.

As for the other, non-Finley characters: There is a really adorable famous Irish actor and I just really love him. He has his own problems to deal with, but keeps finding himself hanging around Finley, who wants nothing to do with him. (Don’t you just love that I-hate-you tension in a fictional relationship?) The two of them set out to explore the Ireland that Finley’s brother fell in love with.

I also want to give a shout-out to the secondary characters. Most of them are pretty awesome. I love the family that Finley stays with in Ireland, and also the old lady (I can’t remember her name at the moment, sorry) that she is assigned to spend time with as part of a community service project for school. It’s beautiful to see how all the characters’ stories are interwoven, and how they are all able to learn from those around them. Every single character makes their own mistakes, and some of them learn from them, while others don’t.

This book is about many things. Forgiveness. Love. Trust. There are a lot of deep, serious issues addressed while the overall tone of the book is pretty fun and adorable. I absolutely love the end, and I totally needed tissues for it.

Four out of five stars!

Content Advisory:

None! This book gets a star in our review archive for passing our content advisory guidelines!

>>> OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR<<<

Christian books by Jenny B. Jones

In Between (A Katie Parker Production, Book 1) (Currently free for Kindle!)

So Not Happening (The Charmed Life, Book 1)

Save the Date

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.

Review: The Summer I Became A Nerd

the summer i became a nerd by Leah Rae MillerAuthor: Leah Rae Miller

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Click here to read summary.

[NOTE: I wrote this review in November when I was going through a reading slump… I’m currently binging ALL THE BOOKS (still including a lot of contemporary romance) and loving them all.]

Lately, I’ve been binging contemporary romances. A few months ago I would have told you I don’t even like them. Obviously that’s not the case anymore. (Personally, I blame Kasie West.)

I’m also in kind of a weird mood in that it’s been hard for me to find books I can really get into. I was at the library the other day and decided to browse and saw The Summer I Became a Nerd. It was on my Goodreads to-read list, so I decided to sit for a few minutes and see if I could get into it. I loved it so much, I came home and finished it in front of the fire.

There’s just something about a sweet romance novel. You know the characters are going to end up together (or at least that’s how things should end up, of course), but you don’t know how that’s going to happen or what forces will try to keep the couple apart. I think that’s why I’ve been enjoying contemporary romances lately–I can trust in the fact that (usually) the ending will be a happy one. And I like happy endings.

I also like nerds, hence why I picked up this book, and it is so wonderfully nerdy! I’ve never been into comics or Live Action Role Play, but after reading about them, I want to know more. It was so wonderful to immerse myself among fellow nerds. (Even if they are fictional.)

Another thing I found interesting about this book is that it’s set in a town in Louisiana about an hour away from where we live! The town is called Natchitoches, but it’s pronounced like nack-a-dish. It’s an old Indian name. If you read this book and wonder why the radio station is called “The Devil,” it’s a reference to the fact that the local college sports teams are The Demons. It is so weird driving through that town and seeing places with names like “Demon Diner.”

There were a few things that were hilarious to me, like the idea Shreveport has a nerdcon. Oh, I wish. Although, we are having Comic Con here this year for the first time, which is really exciting. [We had it and I missed out, but Jules went!] And supposedly Stan Lee was coming to this nerdcon? I seriously died laughing at that. Our Comic Con line-up is actually pretty lame. And then there was this line:

“If I’d have done all this you guys would have locked me in the basement!”

“That’s ridiculous, Roland. This is Louisiana, we don’t have basements because of the water level.”

Maybe it’s only funny to me, because we really don’t have basements due to the water level.

Oh, and can we mention the fact that Logan’s little sister MADE A PRINCESS BRIDE REFERENCE! I died. No really, I did. (But I was only mostly dead, so all is okay.)

Ultimately, this is a great book if you’re looking for a cute romance and you like nerds. 5 stars!

Content Advisory:
Language: 5
Uses of d, h, s, b, and a scattered throughout
Sexual: 2
basic kissing, plus a few innuendos

>>>Like nerdy characters? Check out these books as well!
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (read our review)
A Girl Named Digit by Annabel Monaghan (read our review)

*Our reviews do contain affiliate links, meaning we could make a very small commission should you buy something using one of those links.

Content Advisory: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Review and Content Advisory for To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Author: Jenny Han

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Click here to read summary from Goodreads.

The idea behind To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is super cute. Lara Jean writes a letter to every boy she’s ever loved, addresses and stamps it, then places it in a box to be sealed away forever. Until one day, all her letters get mailed.

Beyond the fact that the possibility of that happening is unlikely (postage goes up frequently—a letter from a few years ago wouldn’t have the proper amount of postage), it’s a really cute premise for a book. There are lots of boys, and up until the end I wasn’t sure how things were going to go, and I wasn’t even sure HOW I wanted them to go.

Unfortunately for this cute book, sex is a pretty prominent topic. I didn’t even realize how much it was mentioned casually here or there until I referred to my notes and it was all over the place! There are no specifics about sex—more things like people mentioning couples who “did it”, a weekend school trip where people mostly just go to hook up, and nasty rumors get started.

I feel like a lot of it would have been avoided were it not for Lara Jean’s best friend, Chris. Chris is a trouble maker, always breaking the rules. She’s very blunt in everything she says, and she’s also responsible for a lot of the cursing in the book. At one point it’s mentioned that she did a strip tease at a party, and she’s known for hooking up with lots of guys. The entire book I was just like, Lara Jean, dump this girl! You’re better than that!

Ultimately, I was pretty upset with the amount of sexual talk, and was disappointed that it was dispersed through what could have otherwise been a really great book.

Ending this with my favorite line: “I read on a fashion blog that mixing plaids is a thing.” And it actually is! I totally approve.

Content Advisory:
Language: 4
Uses of a, b, d, s, h scattered throughout. Two f-bombs.
Sexual: 3.5
No sex happens on the page, but it’s a prominent topic throughout the book.

She was right. Mixing plaids is a thing!

mixing plaids{source} {source}

Review: The Distance Between Us

Review (and Content Advisory) for The Distance Between Us by Kasie WestAuthor: Kasie West

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Click here to read summary from Goodreads.

This is the second Kasie West book I’ve read, the first being Pivot Point (<— click to read my review), and I’d just like to say that I want ALL OF THE KASIE WEST BOOKS. (I went further in detail about that here.)

Do you want to know how much I loved this book? A WHOLE WHOLE LOT. Seriously, all the notes I took for this book are followed by smiley faces. I’m not even kidding.

The Distance Between Us is a sweet read with a quirky, sarcastic main character (Caymen) and a swoon-worthy love interest (Xander). Xander’s rich, Caymen’s poor, and they struggle with the realization that money doesn’t matter. Or does it?

I found myself shipping Caymen and Xander from the very start, and cheering on their relationship through the ups and downs. Their relationship is adorable, and your face will match my notes as you read this. There will be lots of smiles.

One of my favorite things about the two Kasie West books I’ve read is that I get to put a star next to them in our archives! What does that mean? It means they both got POSITIVE SCORES on our content advisory and we recommend them without hesitation.

5 out of 5 stars all the way. One of my favorite reads of 2014!

Content Advisory:
Language: 0
Sexual: 2
*insert kissy face HERE!*
Other:
Someone offers Caymen a beer (but she turns it down)

Content Advisory: Side Effects May Vary

Side Effects May VaryAuthor: Julie Murphy

Age: YA (though it contains mature content)

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sick-lit

Click here to view synopsis from Goodreads.

I was really excited about reading Side Effects May Vary. I thought the premise was really interesting and was ready to dive in. (A big thanks to On the Same Page ARC tours for letting me be a part of the ARC tour!) But there were red flags all around as soon as I started. I ended up skimming through the book to kind of get an idea of what was going on.

Please note, I did not read the entire book (I simply skimmed through some parts), but gained enough info to do a content advisory for those who are interested in reading it but want to know what to expect. I’m sure I missed some things in my skimming, so this is not a complete list.

Cursing: 5
LOTS of cursing throughout, including a bunch of f-bombs.

Sexual: 5
I didn’t completely read the book, so I’m not entirely sure if they actually had sex, but there was so much blunt talk about sex throughout the book that I would rate it a five. At one point Alice strips in front of Harvey. Also, Alice’s mother is cheating on her father, and Alice catches her mom and boyfriend at home not completely clothed.

Other:
drinking; a teenage girl thinks she’s pregnant; a teenage girl threatens to lie about a teacher touching her inappropriately

For more information on how we rate content advisories, see our guide here.

Content Advisory: Eleanor & Park

This is content advisory, because if I hadn’t been reading this book for school – I would have put it down for content reasons. However, it was a school read…so I did finish the book.

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Author: Rainbow Rowell

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Age: YA       Grade: High School

Lexile: HL580L

Synopsis (Goodreads):

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

Content Adivsory:

Language: 5
At least 8 f-bombs in the 1st chapter. No joke. (This is the “Liz” of the group, so I counted.) If I hadn’t had to write a paper on this, I would have quit reading. That word makes me cringe.

Most of the dirty language is from the bus bully and the stepfather.
Sexual: 3
While it technically is 3, the stepfather emotional abuses Eleanor by calling her all sorts of names, keeping the bathroom door off, and other terrible stuff.
Violence: 3
Park gets in fight over Eleanor.
Emotional abuse from stepfather.
Bullying

Why did we read the book? What qualities does it have that makes teachers and book clubs want to talk about it?

Compared to the 7 Characteristics of YA, its a “good” book – It has 6/7 of them. (Just not appropriate language – wise.)

1) Written from a YA viewpoint.
Actually it alternates from Eleanor and Parks POV, which is cool.
2) The youth solves the problems or becomes the hero of the story and wants independence.
Eleanor carries a lot of responsibility for her family, and Park helps Eleanor emotionally and…well I don’t want to spoil anything.
3)“Optimistic with Characters Making Worth Accomplishments”
4) Hooks, Fast -Paced, Suspense, Cliff-Hangers, and Plot twist
Oh, the plot twist and hanging ending! Gah!
5) “Variety of genres, subjects, and levels of sophistication”
1980’s pop culture is HUGE in this novel.
6) Stories and characters from different cultures and ethnic societies.
Eleanor is an awkward, plump girl with wild red hair from a rough home. Park is a half-asain kid from a happy home.
7) Series books are important.
Sorry, this is a stand alone.

You might also be interested in our content advisory for Fangirl also by Rainbow Rowell.