Sunday, March 01, 2015

New Releases March 2015

New releases:


Bone Gap by Laura Ruby: March 3rd
Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver: March 3rd


Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz: March 3rd
Little Peach by Peggy Kern: March 10th


The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise by Matthew Crow: March 10th
Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay: March 17th


Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan: March 17th
Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee: March 17th


The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne: March 17th
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma: March 24th


Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes: March 24th
Solitaire by Alice Oseman: March 30th


We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach: March 31st
The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord: March 31st

New in paperback:


The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry: March 1st
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith: March 3rd


Open Road Summer by Emery Lord: March 3rd
This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready: March 17th


The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine: March 24th
Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell: March 31st
The F-It List by Julie Halpern: March 31st

So many exciting releases this semester! Which ones are you most looking forward to?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

My New Treasures #37


My New Treasures is a semi-regular feature here at Paperback Treasures to showcase all the books I received over the previous week (or however long it's been since I've last done one of these). It was inspired by Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

I haven't done one of these in forever, so I figured I would do a round-up of all the galleys I've gotten over the last... I don't even know how long.

NetGalley:


The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler
All the Rage by Courtney Summers
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

Edelweiss:



Get Dirty by Gretchen McNeil
Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel
The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
Paperweight by Meg Haston


Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton
We Can Work It Out (The Lonely Hearts Club #2) by Elizabeth Eulberg
Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
Finding Paris by Joy Preble
Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby


Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu
Lies I Told by Michelle Zink
Solitaire by Alice Oseman

What books did you get this week?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand


Title: The Last Time We Say Goodbye
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: February 10th 2015
Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Source: Edelweiss - I received a free eGalley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
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The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment.
Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be.
As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.
Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on.
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I know Cynthia Hand is kind of a big name in YA, but I hadn't read anything by her before The Last Time We Say Goodbye, since this is her first contemporary and I don't read much paranormal. And because sometimes contemporary debuts by authors who usually write paranormal don't work so well for me, I kept my expectations low. But there was no need for that because Cynthia Hand completely stunned me with The Last Time Goodbye! It's a heartwrenching novel, and I loved everything about it. 

What I loved most about this novel is Lex; she's such a relatable character! In a lot of grief-related books, the main character completely shuns herself, lashes out at everyone trying to help them, and hates her therapist with a passion. And Lex does that too, to some extent, but she does it in a lot more relatable way; her relationship with her friends is very realistic, and she even ends up getting something out of her therapy. I don't even know how to explain it; I just related to her and felt for her so much.

I loved the secondary characters, too. We have a very large cast of secondary characters, so I could see how some people would criticize that they don't have enough depth. But I really appreciated the large cast because we got to see Lex interact with such a great variety of people. And I think that, even though they didn't get much page time, these characters are very well-developed and have their own stories, too, even if they're not as complex as Lexi. All of the characters just felt very real to me; I especially loved Lex's group of nerd friends and Lex's mom, whose relationship with Lex is explored in a really interesting way. I also loved how romance never takes center stage; there's definitely a romance storyline, but most of it is in the past. There are a variety of male characters, but I really appreciated that none of them turned into another love-triangle-y love interest.

Cynthia Hand's writing, and especially her ability to create such poignancy and strong emotions, definitely left me impressed. Throughout the novel, I didn't even think it was that sad, but then the last 10 pages, I was straight-up bawling; the ending is so perfect. Lex's development over the course of the novel is realistic and natural; I especially liked the subtle changes and the non-preachy discussions of guilt, and how all of that contributed to the story. I even liked the ghost element; I was kind of worried about getting too paranormal for me, but it ended up being handled really well and within our world. 

This is just one of many books I've read about this topic, but The Last Time We Say Goodbye definitely stands out. It's incredibly well-written, with complex and realistic characters, and overwhelming emotions and poignancy. If you're looking for a book that will make you fall in love with the characters and break your heart in the best way possible, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is definitely for you!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Review: The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson

Title: The Latte Rebellion
Author: Sarah Jamila Stevenson
Publisher: Flux
Release date: January 8th 2011
Pages: 327
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Source: BEA 2013
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When high school senior Asha Jamison gets called a "towel head" at a pool party, the racist insult gives Asha and her best friend Carey a great money-making idea for a post-graduation trip. They'll sell T-shirts promoting the Latte Rebellion, a club that raises awareness of mixed-race students.
Seemingly overnight, their "cause" goes viral and the T-shirts become a nationwide fad. As new chapters spring up from coast to coast, Asha realizes that her simple marketing plan has taken on a life of its own-and it's starting to ruin hers. Asha's once-stellar grades begin to slip, threatening her Ivy League dreams, and her friendship with Carey is hanging by a thread. And when the peaceful underground movement turns militant, Asha's school launches a disciplinary hearing.Facing expulsion, Asha must decide how much she's willing to risk for something she truly believes in.
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Even though I hadn't heard much about this book, I had high hopes for The Latte Rebellion. YA books don't often address social justice issues in such an explicit way, so I thought I would appreciate that The Latte Rebellion does. And while I really liked the idea, it just doesn't work as well as I'd hoped. I had some issues with how the movement is handled, and the actual story develops didn't really hold my interest, so I was pretty disappointed by this one.

I was expecting a main character who is passionate about social justice issues, but Asha did not turn out to be a character I liked. To be honest, she doesn't even seem to care that much. She really just starts this whole thing as a way to make money, which didn't really sit right with me. (And also just doesn't seem like a practical choice.) Even once Asha gets more into the idea of this becoming a real movement, she doesn't seem all that passionate about it; for example, she goes to a couple of social justice activism meetings that sound really cool, but she doesn't seem to care all that much, other than about them selling more T-shirts and about the activism that he guys she likes is interested in. For a novel that I hoped would send a strong message, Asha just isn't a feisty enough main character, in my opinion. She's also really good at slut-shaming and making assumptions about cheerleaders and the members of what she calls the Bimbocracy. 

It also bothered me how the issue of racism against mixed-race individuals is handled. For some reason, the novel focuses mainly on the racism Asha and her friends experience at the hands of other minorities. The main "bad guy," Roger, is an Asian American fellow student who doesn't understand why Asha doesn't just identify as Asian if that is part of her ethnicity. Of course this is a problem, but it bothered me how the novel basically completely ignores the racism all minorities experience from white people. This is especially evident in Asha's criticism of what is basically Affirmative Action - she talks about how minorities are given "special treatment" in college admissions when they can check the "Hispanic" or "black" box and how she doesn't benefit from this because she has to select "Other." I think it's a valid criticism that these categories don't have space for mixed-race individuals, but she completely dismisses the idea that a minority status should be considered in admissions. As someone who believes that Affirmative Action is definitely still necessary, that bothered me - and while Asha doesn't necessarily have to agree with me on this, I don't think this should have been dismissed quite as easily and been discussed in a more meaningful way. In general, it bothered me how the novel pits people of mixed race against minorities of one ethnicity when, really, they are both oppressed by the white power structure, which is basically ignored in The Latte Rebellion.

Asides from the way the issues are handled, I also had some problems with the actual story. I honestly don't know why, but I just couldn't get myself to care all that much about what happened. It might be because I didn't really connect with the characters, or because I thought parts of the story were just unnecessarily melodramatic - for example how snippets from the school board hearing are included in between chapters, when that hearing doesn't even end up being that important. Either way, The Latte Rebellion just wasn't a novel that really sucked me in the way I want books to.

In the end, I was really confused as to what we were supposed to take from this novel because there's no real message or explanation of what happens to the Rebellion. Without a real message at the end, the story didn't really seem to go anywhere. And since I had some issues with the message and the main plot didn't really capture my interest, The Latte Rebellion just didn't work for me. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Review: My Heart & Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga


Title: My Heart & Other Black Holes
Author: Jasmine Warga
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release date: February 10th 2015
Pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Source: Edelweiss - I received a free eGalley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
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Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who seems scared of her, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel’s ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.
There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers the website Smooth Passages and its section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution. Better yet, a boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman), who’s haunted by a family tragedy, is looking for a partner.
But as their suicide pact starts to become more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, Aysel must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

It's only February, but I think My Heart and Other Black Holes is going to be one of my favorite debuts of the year. It sounded right up my alley, but writing is everything for these kinds of stories - and luckily, Jasmine Warga's writing is definitely strong enough to make this story work. I absolutely loved Aysel's story.

Aysel is definitely what impressed me most about My Heart and Other Black Holes. From the very beginning on, I absolutely loved her and felt for her. I was really impressed with how Jasmine Warga's writing makes Aysel's emotions come across as so real. I understood her completely; it sounds bad, but it actually made sense to me why she wanted to die. Jasmine Warga's descriptions of the black slug, as Aysel calls her depression, are honest and raw and really make you understand what it's like to suffer through something like this.

I also loved the whole set-up of this story. The idea of suicide pact is horrible, but it's also very compelling and suspenseful to read about. Because of this, Aysel's and Roman's relationship is very distinct because, at the same time as developing feelings for each other, they have to keep reminding each other not to "flake out" and make sure they will stick to their pact. It's very dark, but I think Jasmine Warga made it work because, again, it totally made sense to me. 

The only part I had an issue with is the ending; it just felt a little bit rushed to me. I found it kind of problematic how the romance is Aysel's main motivation for wanting to live, and how it changed her mind so quickly. After her decision not to commit suicide, I wanted to see more of the uphill battle of how she still struggles with depression, and how she manages to move forward. Especially Roman's development towards the end felt a bit rushed, and a part of his story seemed like it was only there to add drama without being fully explored.

Despite my issues with the rushed ending, I absolutely loved My Heart and Other Black Holes. Jasmine Warga's writing is poignant, raw, and honest, and Aysel is one of the most relatable characters I've read in a while. I definitely recommend My Heart and Other Black Holes, and I can't wait to see what Jasmine Warga comes up with next!
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