Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell


Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from library; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?


Review: I've owned a copy of Rowell's YA novel, Eleanor and Park, for awhile now, but Attachments was the first book I've actually read by this author. Attachments has a premise that might not suit every reader. I know a friend of mine read this and thought it was a bit creepy that Lincoln read Beth and Jennifer's emails and then found himself falling for Beth through these notes before he ever meets her in real life. I get why some would find this difficult to believe or bit awkward, even creepy, but it worked for me. Throughout the book Lincoln constantly makes it known that he's aware of how strange this scenario is and that he should have sent a warning to the girls in the very beginning instead of continually reading their emails. He can't help it though; he's in a rut in his life and reading Beth and Jennifer's emails add a little lightness to his otherwise boring job.

The only point of views you get from Beth and Jennifer are through their emails, but it felt like enough. We get to know these ladies as Lincoln does and it's easy to see why he falls for Beth. She's funny, loves movies, has a boyfriend that doesn't treat her how he should, and she's a genuinely decent person and good friend.

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The emails are spread throughout the book, in between Lincoln's everyday story, and I loved this. We get enough back and forth in the book so you aren't left with too much or too little from the girls. While Lincoln is falling for Beth, these emails also allow you to meet Jennifer, who is dealing with her own problems. It's great to see how her and Beth are there for each other, even if they aren't always completely supportive of each others' decisions.

Overall, I thought this was a really fun and sweet novel. It takes place in late 1999, early 2000, so Lincoln has to deal with the anxiety of Y2K as he works with computers. I thought that aspect was interesting. Plus, placing the story a little in the past makes it more natural for these girls to be emailing each other at work instead of using text. Attachments is a quick read and it would be perfect for a girls-only book club. I can't wait to read more by Rainbow Rowell.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Nobody's Hero by J. Leigh Bailey



Nobody's Hero by J. Leigh Bailey

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Bradley Greene's family all but discarded him when his brother caught him fooling around with another boy. Now Bradley has seventeen dollars and a gas card, and he's sleeping in his car. He's an emotional mess and if he doesn't land a job soon, he's up the proverbial creek.

Danny Ortega can take care of himself…most of the time. When what started as a date turns into sexual assault in a dark parking lot, he's grateful for Brad's help—and an instant admirer of Brad's military school-honed muscles. He certainly doesn't expect to see him again, and definitely not as the newest hire at Ortega Construction.

As Brad and Danny's quiet attraction turns into more, things start to go sour before they've even started. Danny grows frustrated that Brad won't open up emotionally. And Brad is terrified of being responsible for someone else's feelings. When Brad's family makes one last attempt to turn him into an "acceptable" son, all bets are off—he and Danny will need to decide if they're in this together…or apart.

Review: Nobody's Hero is one of those books where family plays a large part in the novel. For Bradley, his family isn't really around much and when they are, they are not accepting of his sexuality. However, Danny's family is loving and more than willing to welcome people into the fold, like Bradley, who ends up working for the family over the summer.

Bradley is hiding a rough past and he's scared to get into another relationship, so he's desperate to avoid Danny as much as he can. This is difficult when both boys work for Danny's father doing construction work, and it's not too long before Bradley starts to let down some of his guard.

The past can't stay hidden though and what Bradley dealt with when living at home soon comes to shake up his and Danny's new relationship. The two of them have to come to terms with the past and see if they have a chance of a future.

Nobody's Hero is essentially a New Adult book about two boys growing up and falling in love. I thought both characters were well-developed and I loved that Danny's family played a large part in the novel. Besides Bradley's past, there are other issues occurring throughout the book that cause suspense and tension. It provides another reason for you to flip through the pages as quick as you can, wanting to desperately know how things turn out.

Nobody's Hero is released today!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Look Back at Blog World (9)

A Look Back at Blog World (9)

It's been awhile since I posted one of these, so I figured it was about time! Hope everyone is enjoying their April. It's been a mix of sunny and rainy days, but today isn't too bad. I'm just happy I only have a couple weeks or so until my summer break from school. I could really use a breather!

Books I'm Now Curious to Read:


The Qwillery introduced me to The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco, a cozy mystery and the first in a new series. I've been wanting to read more cozy mysteries and I love the books that deal with book clubs or book related themes.


Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah and Skye Chatham was reviewed on the blog BookNAround and it sounds fantastic! Definitely click over to learn more.

Interesting Posts:



Following My Bliss shows us how to make a Creative Quote Scrapbook. I used to have a notebook of quotes I loved, but I really like the style of scrapbooking, so this is something I do hope to make sometime soon. It would be a great way to save favorite book quotes too.



Must Have Mom shares a fun Guest "Book" Idea where guests sign and write little messages on Jenga blocks. This way the recipient can simply keep the game and have all the well-wishes. Cute right?

Questions Answered from ShootingStarsMag:

I had a question on my Touring Local: March 2015 post-

Q. In regards to the soy candles I made " I've never tried to make my own, is it something you'd make at home yourself?"

A. Yes, you can make these at home. We got a printout with directions, but I'm sure it's something you could find online. The lady who ran the workshop sells the ingredients at her shop but I think a lot of craft places or even places online would get you what you need to make soy candles at home!

I had a question on my American Born Chinese graphic novel book review-

Q. I'm curious to know if it actually reads like a comic book? Also, is it a children's book?

A. Essentially, graphic novels are long comic books so I'd say it does read like one. There are panels with pictures and text. It's just one long story. Also, this book is placed in the YA section so I'd recommend it for the teenage group.

Swap Reveal:

I took part in the Books and Bloggers swap from Chaotic Goddess Swaps for the first time, and I really enjoyed it!

My partner was Cynthia from the blog Bingeing on Books. It was great getting to know her and I found a really cool blog out of it too. If you want to see what I got Cynthia, please head over to her post.

Now, these are the three books I got from Cynthia:



We were supposed to send a book from our swap partner's wish list, a book we read and thought they would love, and a book we have not read but thought our partner would like. This is what Cynthia wrote about her choices:

Love, Rosie (by Cecelia Ahern) is the one I chose that was on your wish list.

Sea of Tranquility (by Katja Miller) is the book I chose that I have read and loved. This is one of my favorite contemporary novels. I really hope you love this one!

Teach Me (by Sloan Johnson) is the one I chose that I found very interesting, but haven't read. And yes, it was on your wish list as well. I have to say that my TBR has grown by quite a few books thanks to your wish list. :) Enjoy!

All of these look amazing, and I loved hearing a bit about why Cynthia chose the novels she did. I can't wait to read them!

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Sculptor by Scott McCloud


The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

Review by Lauren

Source: copy for review; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: David Smith is giving his life for his art--literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding what to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the 11th hour isn't making it any easier!

Review: When I was in undergrad, I took a course on Graphic Novels and our textbook of sorts was a book all about comics by Scott McCloud, so I was really excited to finally read a graphic novel by him. In this book, David Smith is desperate to create an extraordinary sculpture. Therefore, he makes a deal with Death (who looks like David's late Uncle Harry) to give up his life in 200 days if he is given the power to sculpt anything he likes with his hands. This means he can take concrete and easily shape it into whatever shape he wishes.

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Despite having this gift, it is still difficult for David to truly create an amazing piece. He's not sure what to do and Ollie, his best friend who works in the art world, is hoping that David can find a focus for his gift. Ollie knows David is talented, but he never learns about David's gift and therefore cannot understand the desperate nature of David's work. After all, he will die in 200 days.

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As the summary states, David's new life is shaken when he meets and falls in love with a girl named Meg. He wants to spend his entire life with her, but he's not sure how to do that when he knows he will die so soon. He doesn't want to hurt her, so he tries to push her away, but he can't. Meg was very much her own character in this book, and I loved that. She's different from David, but it's obvious that they both need each other.

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The Sculptor is a fairly long book for a graphic novel, but at the same time, it goes by fast. The artwork is great, done in shades of black, white, and blue. This is a book that really makes you think about life, love, and art. It's something that should be discussed and thought on during and after one's reading. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Cut Both Ways



Waiting on Wednesday was created by Breaking the Spine



Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian

Out: September 1, 2015

Official Summary: Will Caynes never has been good with girls. At seventeen, he’s still waiting for his first kiss. He’s certainly not expecting it to happen in a drunken make-out session with his best friend, Angus. But it does and now Will’s conflicted—he knows he likes girls, but he didn’t exactly hate kissing a guy.

Then Will meets Brandy, a cute and easy-to-talk-to sophomore. He’s totally into her too—which proves, for sure, that he’s not gay. So why does he keep hooking up with Angus on the sly?

Will knows he can’t keep seeing both of them, but besides his new job in a diner, being with Brandy and Angus are the best parts of his whole messed-up life. His divorced parents just complicate everything. His father, after many half-baked business ventures and endless house renovations, has started drinking again. And his mom is no help—unless loading him up with a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need plus sticking him with his twin half-sisters counts as parenting. He’s been bouncing between both of them for years, and neither one feels like home.

Deciding who to love, who to choose, where to live. Whichever way Will goes, someone will get hurt. Himself, probably the most.


Why I Want to Read: I think this sounds like a really interesting, emotional read. I'm curious what Will ultimately decides will make him happy. Plus, like I've mentioned before, I like LGBT novels or books that have LGBT characters and this sounds like a good one!

Monday, April 20, 2015

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson


I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from library; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Jude and her brother, Noah, are incredibly close twins. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude surfs and cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and divisive ways…until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as an unpredictable new mentor. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

Review: I'll Give You the Sun is a beautifully written novel. I had to read the 2015 Printz Award winner for my YA Literature course and that ended up being this one. I was very excited as I had heard wonderful things and I knew I wanted to read this book. I'm so glad I had the perfect opportunity to do so as it was well worth it.

When I read the summary, I assumed the first half was Noah and the second half was Jude, since Noah tells the story at 13 and Jude tells it at 16. That's not exactly the case though; there are sections back and forth between the twins, giving the reader a chance to really get to know both of them as well as figure out what happened to push them so far apart in just three years.

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At 13, Noah is quiet and wants to desperately attend a local art school. He loves to draw and is desperate to get better. He meets the new kid next door, Brian, and falls in love. As for Jude, she loves to surf and wear bright lipstick and short skirts. She's not entirely sure who she is and she feels very far from her mother, just like Noah feels far from his father.

At 16, Jude is quiet and hides herself in baggy clothes. She's on a ban from boys and she misses her brother. Noah cut his hair, stopped drawing, and hangs out with the 'cool' kids, not telling anyone he is gay.

Both Jude and Noah have secrets. There are things they need to tell each other to truly start to heal and there are aspects of their personalities they need to stop hiding so they can be truly happy.

I'll Give You the Sun is a fantastic book and I would love to have my own copy for the shelves. These characters felt real and I so wanted the story to continue when I came to the end. I know I now need to read Nelson's debut novel!

Friday, April 17, 2015

3 Picture Book Review + Giveaway


I'm here today to share with you three different picture books that are all sorts of adorable and focus on being yourself. Definitely a message you want to share with the little ones in your life. I want to thank Sourcebooks for allowing me to review these items and share a copy of each book with one lucky winner!

You by Sandra Magsamen

This is a really cute book with bright, kid-friendly drawings. Each page reads like a quote that you'd want to put up on the wall and repeat to yourself everyday. One example would be:

Look at life from different points of view. Turn things upside down if it suits you.

This would be a great book for older kids that might be struggling on being themselves, being creative, and having fun. It's also a good, rhyming book for a younger crowd too.


Just One You by Lillian Jaine

This is a really cute Sesame Street novel. It would be perfect for kids graduating from kindergarten or moving up a level at school, since it's that time of the year. It's all about being yourself and enjoying the new adventures that will come your way. It also notes that you might not be at home, but you still have friends that will be there for you if you need them. Can't you see why it's great for graduation?


My Rules for Being a Pretty Princess by Heath McKenzie

This is so adorable! Like the other two books, this one is about being your true self and having fun. What I really liked about the book is that the little girl who wants to be a princess is shown what rules to follow by a "true" princess, except in the end, she learns to follow her own rules. It's a really great message for a slightly older reader, but a younger child would still enjoy the illustrations and overall fun story. My mom read this out loud to my niece, who really enjoyed it. She even wanted my mom to read it again as soon as she finished...which she did!


Now, would you like a copy of each of these books? One winner will get all three!

*U.S. and Canada entrants only
*Giveaway ends Friday, April 24 at 11:59 p.m.
*Copies of the book are coming from Sourcebooks, so once I pass your information along, I have no control over the prize.
*Enter only if you are 13 and older (with parent permission if underage)

To Enter: Answer the question in the comments below- What talent or hobby makes you special?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Fans of the Impossible Life

Waiting on Wednesday comes from Breaking the Spine


Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa

Out: September 8th, 2015

Summary: This is the story of a girl, her gay best friend, and the boy in love with both of them.

Ten months after her recurring depression landed her in the hospital, Mira is starting over as a new student at Saint Francis Prep. She promised her parents she would at least try to act like a normal, functioning human this time around, not a girl who sometimes can’t get out of bed for days on end, who only feels awake when she’s with Sebby.

Jeremy is the painfully shy art nerd at Saint Francis who’s been in self-imposed isolation after an incident that ruined his last year of school. When he sees Sebby for the first time across the school lawn it’s as if he’s been expecting this blond, lanky boy with a mischievous glint in his eye.

Sebby, Mira’s gay best friend, is a boy who seems to carry sunlight around with him like a backlit halo. Even as life in his foster home starts to take its toll, Sebby and Mira together craft a world of magic rituals and secret road trips, designed to fix the broken parts of their lives.

As Jeremy finds himself drawn into Sebby and Mira’s world, he begins to understand the secrets that they hide in order to protect themselves, to keep each other safe from those who don’t understand their quest to live for the impossible.


Why I Want to Read: I like books that have LGBT characters, and the first line of this summary immediately grabbed my attention. Is this boy in love with them both as in friends-love, or love-love? That's my first question. Besides that, I just think this looks like a really thoughtful, character-driven novel.

Monday, April 13, 2015

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang



American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from library; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: American Born Chinese tells the story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he's the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who is ruining his cousin Danny's life with his yearly visits. Their lives and stories come together with an unexpected twist in this action-packed modern fable. American Born Chinese is an amazing ride, all the way up to the astonishing climax.

Review: Reading the above summary and seeing this book stated as a fable, American Born Chinese makes a little more sense to me. I do have to admit though, that I finished this book mostly thinking "what?" I liked Jin Wang and how it's tough for him to be the only Chinese-American student at his school. I was even okay with the Monkey King because I've read other books by Gene Luen Yang, and it seems like a normal aspect of his work. Overall though, this book was a bit too strange for my liking. There is a twist at the end that was interesting...but I'm not entirely sure I could reconcile the twist with the rest of the book. It just didn't really make sense to me.

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I read this book for my YA Literature Course - we had to choose a Printz Award winning book and I'd been curious about this graphic novel, so I thought I'd try it out! In the end, I'm happy to have given this a chance but I'll stick to other works by this author.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Review by Lauren

Source: personal copy; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.


Review: I've heard many great things about this book for years now, and I've been wanting to read it for just as long. It wasn't until my YA Literature course this semester that I finally sat down and did just that. This was a book my professor assigned for everyone to read during our Historical Fiction section. Many of you have probably read this book or heard a lot about it already, so I won't make this a terribly long review. What you really need to know is that this was a beautifully written novel, full of fascinating characters and narrated by an equally intriguing character: Death.

Death as the narrator is the aspect of the book that I always thought about when this book was mentioned. I wasn't sure how it would work, but it was pulled off very well. This is the only book I've read by Zusak, but it won't be the last. He's a fantastic writer. This book is full of quotes and moments that leave you breathless and thoughtful.

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The Book Thief is something you want to read again - and share with others in the hopes that they will love it too, or at least find it fascinating enough to discuss with you.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Skyscraping



Waiting on Wednesday was created by Breaking the Spine



Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen

Out: June 2, 2015

Summary: Mira is just beginning her senior year of high school when she discovers her father with his male lover. Her world–and everything she thought she knew about her family–is shattered instantly. Unable to comprehend the lies, betrayal, and secrets that–unbeknownst to Mira–have come to define and keep intact her family’s existence, Mira distances herself from her sister and closest friends as a means of coping. But her father’s sexual orientation isn’t all he's kept hidden. A shocking health scare brings to light his battle with HIV. As Mira struggles to make sense of the many fractures in her family's fabric and redefine her wavering sense of self, she must find a way to reconnect with her dad–while there is still time. 

Told in raw, exposed free verse, Skyscraping reminds us that there is no one way to be a family.


Why I Want to Read: For one thing, I want to read more books written in verse. But beyond that, I just love the sound of this book. It seems like a very powerful contemporary novel and I love books like that. Plus, LOVE the cover.

Monday, April 6, 2015

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang


In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

Review by Lauren

Source: copy for review; all opinions are my own (I do not own any images in this post)

Official Summary: Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It's a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It's a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. Gaming is, for Anda, entirely a good thing.

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer -- a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person's real livelihood is at stake.

Review: While I'm not a gamer myself, I know what it's like to befriend people online and share a common interest. Chances are, if you're reading this, you do too. Therefore, it's easy to understand Anda and how she loves to game and feel like she's part of something. She does have some friends at school, but they do not seem terribly close beyond playing Dungeons and Dragons together. Therefore, it's easy to see the excitement for Anda when she meets Lucy (or Sarge) in the game and they kill gold farmers to make real money.


It's not until Anda actually talks to one of the gold farmers, a boy from China with some ability to speak English, that she finally understands why people like him are selling aspects of the game. Anda wants to help him but that's difficult when they live on different continents, but she does her best to make things right for him. It's not so easy to change someone's life, and aspects of the book might seem a bit too good to be true, but I feel like the book does a good job showcasing the trials that one has to go through to make a difference.


On a different note, one of the things that I really loved about Anda is that she's more plus-size and since this is a graphic novel, you see it without it having to be commented on. There is one moment in the book where her parents talk about her dad being on a diet, but besides that, nothing is ever commented on about weight or how someone looks. Granted, Anda looks different in the game, but she doesn't change her body size in real life to make herself more like the avatar version of herself. I just really loved the realistic nature of Anda's character.


This was a quick, informative read! I would recommend it, especially for girls that love to play video games!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Look Back at Blog World (8)

A Look Back at Blog World (8)

Happy (early) Easter to everyone who is celebrating! I'm not doing too much, but I hope it's a nice, relaxing day nonetheless.

Interesting Posts: 


All That Rocks shares a free printable to track your baby’s milestones 



Polkadot Chair shares a Disney Side Party: Villains Crafternoon




The Resourceful Mama shares Dollar Tree Easter Baskets for kids of all ages (last minute idea?)


Ribbons and Glue shares how to make a Bestie Mini Album using cereal boxes

Questions Answered:

 I got a question on my review of Bittersweet, so I thought I'd share that and my answer below:

How did you find her character overall, and was the romance believable?

The question is about main character, Savannah. Another review had said she was a bit abrasive and rude, so the commenter wanted to know what I thought. Savannah is a character that starts out a bit tough and hard to like. She's not happy about being sent to live with her uncle for the summer and she definitely doesn't want to work at a theme park because she has an aversion to roller coasters. I could understand how Savannah felt, especially as the book goes on, so it made sense that Savannah was upset. However, I do think she gets better and realizes a lot about herself. As for the romance, it did seem believable. He has a past and secrets, like Savannah does, so it makes things between them a bit more equal.



Chaotic Goddess Swaps is hosting a Books and Bloggers swap, where you send another book lover three different books-

  • A book from your partner's wishlist.
  • A book you have read and loved.
  • A book you haven't read, but think looks interesting
I love this site's swaps but I haven't done their book swap before, so I figured it was about time! I can't wait to see who I'm paired with and what we get each other.


  • Sign-Ups Close on April 6th, 2015
  • Partners Assigned by April 8th, 2015
  • Packages Ship by April 18th, 2015
  • Swap Show-Off Post/Linky goes live on April 22nd, 2015

Thursday, April 2, 2015

When You Leave by Monica Ropal + Make it a Gift


When You Leave by Monica Ropal

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from publisher; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Cass has a theory: everyone eventually leaves. Her father walked out, her mother is starting a new family, and she almost lost her best friend to cancer.


When Cass transfers to a preppy new private school, her plan is to stay anonymous by hiding her skater girl veneer beneath plaid skirts and knee socks. But when her cute locker neighbor, Cooper, takes an interest in Cass, keeping a safe distance isn't easy. And once Cass lets her guard down, the unthinkable happens: Cooper is mysteriously murdered.

As the investigation unfolds, Cass's close friend, Gav, is suspected as the killer. Determined to find answers, she must go through her list one by one until somebody cracks. However, will uncovering the truth really give Cass what she is looking for?

Review: I loved that this book was so much more than just a murder mystery. You really got to know these various characters, especially Cass. She's a girl that loves to skate and has always had male friends, but she's never really dated anyone serious. At her new private school, she doesn't expect or even want to make new friends, until Cooper starts to take an interest. He's cute, popular, and not someone Cass would normally look twice at, but he's intent on them getting to know each other. He wants to look past labels and take Cass away from her idea that everyone at her new school are just a bunch of rich snobs. Their relationship isn't long, but it does start to change Cass...and suddenly, Cooper has been murdered and her friend Gav is the prime suspect.

This book casually includes diverse characters and I loved that. Gav is Russian and gay, another friend named Franklin is American Indian, and Cass's best friend Mattie is mute. He had cancer as a child and it left him without a voice. Cass can hear him though. She understands his looks and gestures and she hears his words in her head. It's just part of her life, and again, I thought that was excellent. Despite some rude comments from other people, most of these diverse character aspects aren't really focused on. It's more about the idea of Us vs. Them and how that's a terrible way to see the world.

As for the murder mystery aspect, Cass is desperate to find answers, not only because she cared about Cooper but because she cannot allow herself to believe that Gav would ever murder someone. She  makes a list of possible suspects, and with the help of Brady - a guy at her new school- she starts to go through them, finding herself hitting roadblocks and threats along the way. More than one person tries to tell Cass to knock it off and that she could get herself hurt by digging too deep, but she's not sure if these are true threats or a way of protecting her, and as the book goes on, it's not clear to the reader either.

The ultimate criminal is someone I started to suspect more as the book went on, but without giving too much away, this is not a problem. I still found it a bit shocking and I wish I knew more about the motives behind things, though we are given an answer. I also wish I knew more about Gav and his life because he's in jail most of the book, still seen as a suspect, and you aren't able to truly get to know him beyond his various secrets being revealed throughout the book.

When You Leave is a really great book and it's one that I read entirely in one day, if that doesn't say something. I loved the characters, I had to know who the real culprit was, and I generally just couldn't wait for the end - in a good way.

This book is released on April 7th. Order your copy now.

Make it a Gift


Cass has a bracelet that is quite important in the novel, so I thought combining the bracelet idea and her love for skateboarding might make a great companion gift for this book. Therefore, I found this really adorable bracelet (the locket holds carvings from a skateboard) on Etsy. 

The shop is called Seshnotstigma and you can buy this bracelet for $13.57. The shop sells other skateboard jewelry too!