Rather Be Reading » A Young Adult Book Blog by Two Busy Girls Who Always Find Time For a Book

Masthead header

Estelle: The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie ConnorThe Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor ( web )
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Publisher: Harper/Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 368
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: family, family obligations/traditions, unhealthy relationships, friendship
Format read: ARC from Publisher via Edelweiss. (Thanks!)

Summary: Bettina comes from a very protective family (her father uber embraces their Green traditions) but manages to get her dad to approve of Brady, a basketball player at school who she falls into a sweet summer romance with. Once school starts, Brady’s popularity rises and he’s not who he was during that summer. Bettina feels a little stuck between her father’s expectations and Brady’s demands. When she meets “Cowboy” — a guy working at an auto shop — a friendship that could never be something more blossoms. In this space, she can be herself. Will she ever get to a point she can do that in her real life?

The Things You Kiss Goodbye features lovely prose that managed to leave this reader heartbroken but also hopeful.

For me, the most standout part of this novel were the family dynamics. Bettina’s family is Greek, and her parents subscribe to old school traditions — keep Bettina as close as they can, do not do not give her freedom. (In fact, B’s younger brothers are allowed to do more than she is.) Surprisingly, Bettina’s dad — Bampas — is won over by the polite and sweet, Brady, a boy from B’s school. Suddenly, B has the freedom to go out with her boyfriend and this is the summer she first falls in love.

This is a huge deal. Because of Bampa’s controlling nature, Bettina has quit ballet (something she loved) and with her best girlfriend moving away, this is the first time in a long time that B gets to hang out with other people her age and gain some kind of social life. But Brady’s friends never really warm up to her (she’s too weird for them… sigh) so it’s basically her and Brady — basking in their love and passion for one another. When school starts up again, Brady is suddenly more popular than he’s ever been and little by little, his personality changes. HE also becomes demanding and thinks belittling Bettina is cute and not totally awful.

B is naturally torn. Bampas has been open with his belief that B is too immature for a relationship and here she is, aware that she is in an unhealthy one. An unhealthy one that gets her out of the house. She can’t figure out what to do but she does find solace in her art and also a growing friendship with an older guy she nicknames “Cowboy” who works at the auto-shop near her school. As the reader, we know B is into Cowboy. She brings him coffee, they talk about everything she can’t talk about with Brady and her parents… there’s an intimacy between them that becomes such an important part of her everyday life.

What I like about this is I was never sure if Cowboy thought of her as a cute friend who happened to be a high school student or he actually felt something. I also never knew if and when Brady and B would break up. If B would ever get to a point where she would confide in her parents, forge a connection with them. There are many questions swirling around The Things You Kiss Goodbye, which means there are unexpected surprises too — the realizations you come to about your parent’s marriage, what you are capable of, and the gem of a friend you never thought you would make.

The Things You Kiss Goodbye is quiet and contemplative with vivid detail and memorable characters (the vivacious family friend named Regina); it’s about forgiveness and standing up for yourself and meeting your parents halfway. It’s a story where B is forced to grow up in ways that tug at your heartstrings but only make her relationships with her family, her friends, and herself that much stronger.

Words of advice: don’t rush through this one! Every word is worth savoring.

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy on B&N

June 17, 2014 - 1:01 pm

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - Oh yayyyy! I’m so happy to read such a wonderful review. I’ve been anticipating this one but I hadn’t read much about it yet. It sounds just lovely. Can’t wait to pick it up.
(And auto shop guy? Yes please.)

June 10, 2014 - 10:13 pm

Alexa S. - So, I take it this is going to have to be one that I check out? Alright then. But seriously, when you write a review like this, I find it VERY hard to resist a book! The Things You Kiss Goodbye sounds like it read way better than I thought it would. Interesting characters PLUS I love that there’s a lot of self-realization and growth!

June 9, 2014 - 2:40 pm

Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit - I’ve got an ARC of this one, really must get to it. I’m glad it was so focused on family, and I like that it doesn’t sound like a love triangle, just a realistic relationship. But does every person’s name have to begin with a B? =)

June 9, 2014 - 10:02 am

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - I’ve been interested in this one. I just love the cover (It makes me think of Jennifer E. Smith’s books, in a way), and the summary definitely grabs me.

I’m glad to hear that you liked this.

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email

The Marriage Pact by Linda Lael Miller (Q/A + Giveaway)

The Marriage Pact by Linda Lael MillerThe Marriage Pact by Linda Lael Miller web | tweet )
Previously reviewed: Big Sky Wedding
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 384
Target audience: Adult
Keywords: small towns, Wyoming, friendship, old loves, fathers/sons
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley. (Thanks!)

Summary: Instead of a fairy tale ending at her wedding 10 years ago, Hadleigh was practically dragged out of the church by Tripp, her deceased brother’s best friend. He “saved” her from making a terrible mistake and now, he’s back in Mustang Creek and Hadleigh is overwhelmed with feelings she’s ignored for a long, long time. Will she finally get closure or does Tripp returning to town mean something else entirely?

When I first heard the term “marriage pact”, I was a little nervous.  I thought Hadleigh and her best friends were swearing off men for good, protecting one another from the “perils” of love. I didn’t give them enough credit. The idea of their marriage pact is actually a positive one. Hadleigh and her two best friends are protecting each other from losers, yes, but they are also focused on finding true, healthy love for one another.

I haven’t read a lot of romance novels that feature best friendship, and I loved reading about three strong, independent ladies who knew what they deserved and wouldn’t settle for any less.

Thankfully Hadleigh has her pals on her side because when Tripp, her deceased brother’s best friend and the guy who dragged her away from her wedding 10 years ago, pops up in Mustang Creek again — she literally has no idea what to feel. She’s still angry at him for embarrassing her in front of the whole town, but it’s more than that. How could he announce he was married after making such a huge production and turn around and leave? As you can imagine, the two have a lot of unfinished business between them in addition to some great banter and crackling chemistry right off the bat.

Tripp’s not making a pit stop in Mustang Creek. After years away from the small town he grew up in, he’s ready to settle down and rediscover his inner cowboy. He’s back to see his darling dad ( actually his stepdad), who is ready for a few changes of his own. Their relationship was so utterly sweet, and I loved that Jim is passing down the house and the land to Tripp. You could tell how big of a deal it was to both of them, and Tripp dives right into the reconstruction of the house and the farm with such care and determination.

But all of these CHANGES can’t keep Hadleigh off his mind especially when he realizes they could really do this thing this time. He’s been divorced for a long time; she’s single (as far as he can tell) and despite whatever happened way way back when, he’s willing to take the time to wear her down and get her to agree to a date.

The Marriage Pact gets so romantic and maybe it’s because Tripp is this strapping cowboy and Hadleigh has always had a thing for him — but I loved how Miller gave these two a second chance in more ways than one. They have both been dealt many blows over the years, had so much in common, and I couldn’t wait for them to come to their senses and create a loving family unit. They were sexy and sweet, and their relationship was so naturally paced.

Throw in some small town gossip, great tiny details, and the open and welcoming Wyoming homestead and The Marriage Pact will leave you with a tingly happy feeling and anxiously awaiting the next book in the Brides of Bliss County series!

You know I cannot resist a cowboy…

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy on B&N

Bonus –> Mini Q&A with Linda Lael Miller, author of THE MARRIAGE PACT

Q: The month of June, aka “Marriage Season,” is quickly approaching! If you could redo your wedding, where would you do it and what would it be like? Did you plan for THE MARRIAGE PACT to come out during the most popular wedding month of the year?

A: If I could redo my wedding, I’d marry a different man.  I’d choose a salt-of-the-earth cowboy type, most likely, and hold the ceremony in a country church.  I didn’t actually choose June for the book’s release—my publisher makes those decisions—but I’m awfully glad it landed there. 

Q: It’s often said that choosing whom you’ll marry is the most important decision of your life. Do you believe that? Do you think your characters believe that? 

A: I absolutely believe choosing a marriage partner is incredibly important, and so do my characters.  Marriage is essentially a sacred promise two people make to each other, and should be honored as such.

Q: What is your favorite scene from the book?

A: I love the opening scene, when Tripp Galloway, the hero, ‘kidnaps’ the heroine, Hadleigh Stevens, seconds before she can say “I do” to the wrong man.

Q: If you could give one piece to newlyweds for a happy life together, what would it be?

A: Tell the truth, no matter what.  Trust is everything in a relationship, and love will not survive long without it.

Q: Can you give us a sneak peak on what is next to come? We’ve heard there are two more Bliss County books after THE MARRIAGE PACT.

A: The next two books are: THE MARRIAGE CHARM, featuring Melody Nolan, Hadleigh’s friend and a participant in the marriage pact, and Spencer “Spence” Hogan, the local police chief.  They were deeply in love at one time, but things fell apart and they went their separate ways.  Now, the attraction remains, but both Spence and Melody are convinced they’re wrong for each other.

This will be followed by THE MARRIAGE SEASON, the story of Becca “Bex” Stuart, the third member of the marriage-pact bunch, and a newcomer to Mustang Creek, sexy widower Tate Calder with two beguiling children and a singular determination to remain single.

Big thanks to Little Bird Publicity for providing one paperback copy of THE MARRIAGE PACT to a reader in the U.S.
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

June 8, 2014 - 3:33 pm

Alexa S. - Oh, you and your cowboys, Estelle :) But really, this book sounds like a fun read! I really love a good romance novel, but it’s even better that this one has three best friends in it too :)

June 7, 2014 - 12:55 pm

Ann - It would definitely be the food. haha

June 7, 2014 - 11:51 am

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - I’ve been wanting to try out Linda Lael Miller’s books for awhile now, I just haven’t gotten around to it. I LOVE romances that have main characters having really strong friendships. I think Nora Roberts is really good at that.

Glad you liked The Marriage Plot. I’ll have to add it to my TBR list.

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email

Big Kids Table: I MAY Be Late But… Book Bloggers Rock

big kids

It’s June. Yep. But it’s been a busy May and last week was absolutely crazy. So fun because people were in town but I literally didn’t open up my laptop for 5 days. If you know me, that’s something that never happens in my life. But perhaps the unplugging was exactly what I needed. It’s nice to take a break now & then. But here I am, back with May’s Big Kids’ Table.

For the record, I did come up with the subject of this BKT a few weeks ago. So that must count for something, right?:)

If you are reading this post and visiting RBR today, it’s fair to say you probably get a lot of your book recommendations from bloggers. I know that I definitely do. Whether its something as simple as a tweet or a full-blown review on a blog, I am always curious about what bloggers are fawning over these days.

Today is your lucky day because I’m sharing some of the latest titles I’ve discovered through other bloggers with YOU. I know you are as pumped as I am!

First up: Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom from Leah @ The Pretty Good Gatsby

No joke after reading this review, Rachel & I were in a bookstore searching for this title that same evening and they didn’t have it. SIGH. A five-star review cannot be missed from an imprint a blogger trusts.

Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom

There’s this: “Steal the North is beautiful. It’s heartbreaking. It’s emotional, raw, real. The story is set in the late ’90s and, in the easiest way to get to my heart, features numerous points of view.”

And also: “Steal the North was filled to the brim with emotion: heavy subjects like loss and race were handled with grace and the love coursing through these pages hit home.”

If this title might not float your boat, be sure to check out Leah’s blog. She’s been dishing out high ratings to so many of her reads lately and contributing to my crazy to-be-read list. (Add it to Goodreads!)

Next: Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore from Hannah @ So Obsessed With

Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

Hannah is another blogger who spotlights both YA and adult (yay!) and her recent review of Bittersweet caught my eye because of the structure of the post (straight to the point) and also? It sounds like a big kids’ version of We Were Liars. (You know, the E. Lockhart book taking the world by storm!) Since that book didn’t totally work for me, I’m curious to check out!

“…the sense of foreboding creates a darker tone from the very beginning of the book. And yet I still really enjoyed reading this story! As unenjoyable as aspects were, Bittersweet was written in a way that had me riveted.”

(Add it to Goodreads!)

And, last but certainly not least: More Like Her by Liza Palmer @ Clear Eyes Full Shelves

More Like Her by Liza Palmer

I’ll be honest… this title isn’t so NEW to me but it just so happens I bought a copy of it on the bargain table at B&N. I adored Liza’s Nowhere But Home and I have two of Liza’s older books waiting for me at home. But I think this post reminds me of how important and amazing a backlist can be. Discover an author after his/her debut and there are a lot of other surprises left for you to uncover. (This is one of my favorite “tactics” for diversifying my book lists.)

“Like most of Liza’s books, there’s a dog (the dog stuff just kills me, because, man, dogs can change your life if you let that love into your heart) and like all of her books, there’s a good guy too. 

And even though much of this story centers around a terrible thing being the catalyst for all of the characters to make changes, to dare to move forward, it’s the little moments that shine.”

(Add to Goodreads!)

Now it’s your turn to spill the beans. Who do you turn to for your big kid lit recommendations?
Have you added to titles to your TBR recently because of a blogger?

June 12, 2014 - 10:42 pm

Ellice Y - Oh E, I HIGHLY recommend Bittersweet. I ended up putting it on my list of Favorite Books of 2014 this week. I found it at work one night when I was flipping through Library Journal, and their description caught my eye because they compared it to Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and Revenge… all shows that I have really loved at one time or another (after reading it, I could see the similarities, although the story is much deeper than any episode of these shows!). Just know that it’s not a happy book, and there are some disturbing secrets revealed about the family in the book, but the storytelling is amazing. I was so impressed with Beverly-Whittemore’s writing (she’s also very nice; she always replies to me on Twitter!). When you get ready to read it, if you’d like to borrow my copy, just let me know!

Of course I’m soo excited about the Liza Palmer book you’ve listed as well. I think it’s time to read another one of her books! :)

June 5, 2014 - 11:45 pm

Alexa S. - Oh, this post! It’s going to get me in trouble at the bookstore again. I’m already very excited to read Bittersweet at some point! And I’m very curious about Steal the North now :)

June 5, 2014 - 10:38 am

Heather Brittain Bergstrom - Hello Magan and Estelle. Thanks so much for featuring my debut novel STEAL THE NORTH on your lovely blog! Leah’s review of my book is stunning, and I am so grateful for it. Reaching readers so deeply is the best reward. Plus she just totally “got it”–all of it! An amazing review, and my favorite thus far! If you read this, Leah, thanks again. Since my book publication, I have become slightly obsessed with book blogs, and my reading list is now a mile long. A recent title I’ve added is Burial Rights by Hannah Kent. I can’t wait to make my way down to it on my last. In fact, I may cheat soon and move it to the top. Thanks, again, Magan and Estelle! Interested readers can find out more about my book at http://www.heatherbrittainbergstrom.com or http://www.facebook.com/hbbergstrom

June 5, 2014 - 10:24 am

Meg - I love a good backlist, too! Finding an author you love only to learn they have, like, four or five other books already out for your binge-buying pleasure is pretty fantastic. I really enjoyed Nowhere But Home, too, and will have to look for more from Liza Palmer!

June 5, 2014 - 9:40 am

Leah - The biggest of hugs & smoochiest of kisses xoxo!
Seriously, Steal the North is incredible and has something for every reader: family relationships, discussion about religion (both good and bad – one character was exiled from the Mormon community while her sister is still very much a part of the faith), diversity (there’s been a lot of talk about diverse books lately & this one features a Native American boy, his family, and even the reservation his tribe lives on), humor, heartbreak. I honestly cannot say enough about it.
ACK I have been giving high ratings lately, haven’t I? Hopefully that’s because I’m being more aware of the books I choose rather than becoming a total softie :)
There’s no question about it: Bittersweet needs to be in my life. Ellice’s glowing review immediately sent me searching for a copy and then I read Hannah’s review and was sold.
My library has a copy of More Like Her! It actually has quite a few of her books…except for Nowhere But Home. I honestly have yet to hear a single bad thing about Palmer and I really have no idea why I haven’t read her stuff yet!

June 5, 2014 - 9:03 am

Jamie - Love this idea! And now I need all of these. THANKS.

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email

Magan: Take Me On by Katie McGarry

book cover for Take Me On by Katie McGarry

Take Me On by Katie McGarry (twitter | website)
Previously ReviewedPushing the Limits // Dare You To // Crash Into You
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Pages: 544
Target Audience: Young Adult
Keywords: mixed martial arts, job loss, family injuries, fighting and kickboxing
Format Read: ARC from Publisher via Netgalley. (Thank you!)

Summary: After swearing she’d never date a fighter again, Haley finds herself in a “relationship” with West, the new guy at school, as she teaches him to become a mix martial arts fighter. She must teach him how to fight or else she puts her cousin and brother’s lives at risk of ongoing, life-threatening fights with her ex-boyfriend.

Take Me On by Katie McGarry was full of all the elements I felt were strengths in Pushing the Limits — great witty banter between Haley and West, real life complications and issues, an interesting setting (a gym with a lot of emphasis on kickboxing and mixed martial arts), and fantastic burning chemistry.

But there were also some setbacks for me, too. It took quite a long time for me to feel like the story was progressing because the tension and constant back and forth dance between Haley and West’s emotions took quite a long time to level out. I desperately wanted them to make a decision. Could Haley accept that West was nothing like her ex-boyfriend and revoke her decision to never date another fighter? Could West settle down and stop feeling like the world was against him?

Haley’s ex brought out the absolute worst side of her and turned her kickboxing passion into something she wanted nothing to do with. Her deteriorating home life leaves Haley constantly feeling like a lesser version of herself. She walks on eggshells around her uncle who disrespects women (and people in general) in the most awful ways. She’s witnessing her father spiral out of control while desperately wanting him to get his act together and protect her. Even one of her closest friends, her grandfather, doesn’t know exactly what Haley’s gone through; she’s completely secluded herself and withdrawn.

West’s home life is the exact opposite of Haley’s by comparison — he has everything money can buy, lives in a sprawling mansion, and attends one of the best private schools. But when you look beyond all the shiny material things, you see that West’s mother is just as detached as Haley’s father, that his father’s expectations are unnecessarily high, and his sister is in the hospital for something he blames himself for.

Seeing these two broken individuals come together as they figure out how to heal and move past their struggles was probably my favorite part of Take Me On. I loved the symbolism behind the fighting that Haley was teaching West to do (and hoped that she would find worth in herself and start fighting for herself, too). Sometimes I felt like the story was dragging along more slowly than would have been ideal, making the whole book feel a little bit too lengthy. I can understand how in a real-world setting, people with West and Haley’s struggles wouldn’t immediately be able to bypass them and embrace the love being extended to them.

Haley and West’s story was an enjoyable experience that took me into another world and really made my day-to-day issues seem meager by comparison. Katie McGarry did a great job branching out to explore this new fighting dynamic and continues to impress with her ability to heal two broken characters.

rather be reading worth it iconAdd Take Me On to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy from Barnes & Noble

June 12, 2014 - 11:17 pm

Ellice Y - Great review, M! I just finished writing my review for Take Me On, and I really found it difficult to explain my thoughts on it! Like you, I felt that the book was a bit too long. Not only did it drag in places, I thought that the dialogue between West and Haley was VERY repetitive. I understand that it’s necessary to prevent an “instalove” situation, but at the same time, it slowed the pace of the story down a little too much.

Other than that, I loved Take Me On. It may beat Pushing the Limits as my favorite of McGarry’s books. I especially love the family dynamics in this book despite the few horrible and unlikeable family members that Haley and West have. The relationship between Haley, Kaden, Jax, and John was my absolute favorite– I love that they shared a special bond not only as family but because of MMA, and I really loved that the guys respected Haley’s talent as a fighter! I did get mad at them at first because, like West, I wanted them to beat the hell out of her uncle (he SO deserved it), but I also understood the bad situation that it would put Haley’s family in.

Anyway (I could go on and on about this book!), I really enjoyed your review. We share a lot of the same feelings about Take Me On! :)

June 10, 2014 - 6:47 pm

Danielle @ Love at First Page - I am a huge fan of this series, with Ryan’s book being my favorite, followed by Isaiah’s, but I liked this one a lot too. Katie McGarry is so good at writing complex family issues and swoony romance. Like you, I think this could have been cut shorter and I wish the second half didn’t have so many ups and downs in West and Hayley’s relationship. Otherwise, I thought the build up was perfectly done – the type of slow burn I love, filled with lots of tension – and I’m really hoping we’ll get stories for Abby and now Jax!
Great review, Magan!

June 6, 2014 - 3:21 pm

Alexa - I’m glad you ended up liking this one. This book is a chunky book and I’m sure there are a few parts that drag on in such a long story. I really can’t wait to read this one though because I do like this author and her books.

Thanks for the great review!

June 5, 2014 - 5:02 pm

Alexa S. - My favorite thing about Take Me On? Getting to know West Young. I already found him interesting in Crash Into You. But I totally fell for him because of this book! There’s just something about his personality (and his story) that really wormed its way into my heart. While he hasn’t quite eclipsed Ryan, he’s vying with Noah for second place. Other than that, I thought this was a solid McGarry book. A little long, a little too dramatic, but otherwise, a very good read!

June 5, 2014 - 4:01 am

Sue - I read Pushing the Limits recently and loved it. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

June 4, 2014 - 8:28 pm

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - I am a huge Katie McGarry fan. I’ve read everything she has written and enjoyed all of them. That said, Take Me On is my least favorite. I agree that things seemed slow at times. And I had a difficult time connecting to Haley and West, which is surprising because I’ve been able to connect to McGarry’s other leads so easily. I mean, I did care about Haley and West, but I just didn’t have that amazing connection to them that I usually do with McGarry’s characters.

I’m glad that you ultimately liked this one, though. Have you read McGarry’s other books besides Pushing the Limits?

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email

Estelle: One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

One Man Guy by Michael BarakivaOne Man Guy by Michael Barakiva ( web )
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, Giroux (Macmillan Kids)
Pages: 272
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: Armenian culture, LGBT, summer school, NYC, family
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley

Summary: When Alek’s parents spring summer school attendance on him so he can stay on the honors track next year, he’s totally bummed to be missing out on camp, hanging out with his best friend (the boisterous Becky!),  and the big family vacation. But things get interesting when Ethan, a notorious bad boy/skater kid, shows up in Alek’s algebra class and the two hit it off.

I don’t know if it’s possible for me to convey just how adorable One Man Guy is. But I’m going to try.

Alek is 14 and forced into summer school because his parents want him to stay on the honors track next year at school. He’s not a bad student. He’s had a hard time transitioning from middle school to high school, and can’t seem to get the hang of things. So instead of a summer of freedom & a family vacation, he’s stuck taking classes and doing homework.

If it hadn’t been for his parents’ meddling, he never would have ended up in algebra with Ethan, a kid with a reputation for being a troublemaker and slacker, but who also just saved his ass a few days ago when one of Ethan’s jerk friends tries to pick a fight with Alek. Alek is curious about Ethan, and it’s not until a particularly gutsy move on his part that the two spark a friendship.

Okay. One thing I really liked about One Man Guy is that Alek wasn’t someone who was soul searching about his sexuality. He mentions having girlfriends, and while he is pretty riveted with Ethan, he doesn’t know try to figure out what he means. He just goes with it. Letting go and defying his parents with secret trips to NYC gives him new insight into his feelings and what his relationship with Ethan really means to him.

Everything about Ethan and Alek’s transition from friendship to relationship felt natural. Ethan needed a dose of Alek’s responsibility and, in turn, Alek benefited from Ethan’s sense of adventure. Even if it went against everything his very strict parents trust him to do. But it was kind of fun to see Alek let loose and fall in love with Ethan AND New York City. (Um, their dates were adorable.)

Another great detail of the book was Alek’s family. They are Armenian, and his parents are very quick to dismiss “the silly Americans” who think baking from scratch means using a mix. His mom is also the kind of lady who will need to know all the details of the water served at your restaurant before she agrees to have that water. I loved their dialogue and how all of their personalities popped off the pages. There was this struggle to embrace old school ideals and assimilate to this day in this world. Alek thinks his parents are mostly unreasonable, and for a 14 year old kid, I could see that being true. It’s a whole other layer of pressure to be perfect at yet another thing. (Alek can never compete with his “angelic” older brother either.)

While One Man Guy felt a bit preachy at times and has a good amount of expository passages (a shame because the dialogue was so fresh), I loved watching Alek have this turning point summer. He learned a ton about himself, the people around him, and even got a brand new wardrobe. (I couldn’t help but mention this — I love shopping and mini-makeovers!) It’s also nice to see that while One Man Guy is a book about sexuality that there are so many other plotlines that come into play here. Also a quick shout out to Alek’s best friend, Becky, who loves classic films (and is a supportive and outgoing gal). So fun!

Did I mention this a debut from Barakiva? Can’t wait to see what he does next!

rather be reading worth it icon

Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy on B&N

June 4, 2014 - 12:04 pm

tabithasbookblog - I’m beyond excited for this book!! I’ve heard so many good things about it, and this review just makes me want to read it even more! AND. The author is wicked nice which just makes me want to read it even more!

Glad to hear that you ended up enjoying it!

June 4, 2014 - 12:03 am

Alexa S. - I wasn’t quite sure what to make of One Man Guy, but I’m very happy that you wound up enjoying it! It sounds pretty darn cute. Plus, I’m usually a sucker for books about (a) a turning point summer and (b) set in New York City. Will have to check this out at some point!

June 3, 2014 - 10:38 pm

Rebecca - This sounds adorable! I think I’d like this, especially after your lovely review. Apart from bit of preachiness, it looks great. I wonder if my library will get a copy… Glad you enjoyed it!

June 3, 2014 - 7:45 pm

Amy - This DOES sound adorable! I’m really intrigued by the idea that Ethan doesn’t try to question things or make a huge, complicated, CAPSLOCK deal out of his relationship. (Well, I’m assuming that this is what happens because I haven’t read it yet.) The easygoing attitude is pretty special, I think. Ethan sounds like a great dude, and I always love a relationship that seems organic and not deliberately staged. Lots of promising things in this debut!!

June 2, 2014 - 3:23 pm

Mary @ BookSwarm - This sounds too adorable. I feel like I might want to re-experience NYC through their dates after reading it. And I love that the relationship progression is natural, not forced.

June 2, 2014 - 10:47 am

Rosie - This sounds like a really nice and sweet read. I haven’t read anything like that before but there’s no time like the present. Sounds like a nice summer read :)

Rosie x

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email