Crash Into You by Katie McGarry ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: 11/26/2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: parents, cars, foster children
Format read: ARC borrowed from Cassie. (Thanks!)
RBR reviews of Katie McGarry books: Pushing the Limits | Dare You To
Summary: With Noah doing his own thing and Beth pretty much out of the picture, Isaiah needs to get his stuff together. With a job opportunity on the horizon, he decides to jump into car racing so he doesn’t have to go back to living with his foster parents. That decision brings good along with the bad. Good? Rachel. Pretty Rachel who knows how to speak car. Bad? A debt they both have to pay back and only six weeks to do it. A strange partnership for sure, peppered with attraction, a certain level of defiance on Rachel’s end, and a lot of unknowns.
I love that Katie McGarry is an author who makes almost 500 pages go by in a snap.
Because I can never just stop reading. Forget the bookmarks; her character development and the chemistry, time and time again, suck me in and keep me invested until the very end. Her latest, Crash Into You, is no different and the most unbelievable thing? I never feel too connected to the supporting characters that she shifts to the limelight in each of her volumes. But she changed my mind with Beth in Dare You To, and I swear I will never doubt her again because I really enjoyed getting to know the ins and outs of Isaiah.
With Noah preoccupied with Echo and Beth’s non-reciprocated feelings, he’s sort of on his own all of a sudden except his life is actually brimming with possibilities. He just doesn’t know what to do with them. For the first time ever Isaiah has the chance to learn about his past from the biological mom who is making an effort to be a part of his life; on the flip side, he can also secure a future! With a test and an internship. But with all this new territory becomes securing where he lives so he doesn’t have to move back in with his foster parents, and this is were drag racing comes in. Security!
Yet another reason why I love McGarry. Her characters have so much dimension, especially when you are willing to look past how they look or how much money they may or may not have. This is a lesson that the characters within the story have to learn too. Isaiah isn’t a hoodlum just because he has tattoos and works with cars, and in turn, our sparkly new character, Rachel, doesn’t have a perfect life despite her supportive family, gorgeous house, and private education.
Instead she is totally anxiety ridden, smothered by her brothers, and the poster child for the dead sister she never got to meet. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a character who suffered panic attacks quite like Rachel did in Crash. They were full on terrifying, but when they are caused by your family… how do you find the strength to stand up for yourself?
Isaiah and Rachel are each at their own strange crossroads when they meet, and become an unlikely team when a night of car racing results in a huge debt that the two must pay off in six weeks.
Here’s the thing: I don’t know an inkling about cars but I loved this was a passion that Rachel and Isaiah shared. I loved that it brought them together, and put them in a position to help out and improve the messy areas of each other’s lives. Sure, there is a push and pull here. (Mostly from Isaiah who doesn’t want to “corrupt” Rachel.) But I liked this wariness between them. Rachel was less experienced than Isaiah and neither of them felt pressured to move too fast with one another. I respected their restraint, and the baby steps it took for them to trust and support one another.
More than anything, I love that McGarry once again drives home how the strength of a family is not measured by blood. She brings so much to light when it comes to children in the foster system, as well as the indestructible bonds and loyalty that tie these “brothers” and “sisters” together.
Even though Crash Into You falls into third place as far as this series goes (Dare You To is still number 1) for me, this volume had the guaranteed combination of intrigue, self-discovery, romance, and friendship that I’ve come to expect from McGarry’s work and I can’t wait for more.
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Hiya! No v-log today… I have the worst cough in the universe and I wouldn’t want you guys to experience that. (My husband and my cat are just about my limit.) I’m sitting here in my pjs and there are 50 mph winds going on outside — and in a few days? Thanksgiving! I just can’t believe that the holiday season is upon us already. SO EXCITING. As you may remember, I’m sort of obsessed with the holidays and Magan and I have been very psyched about our December posts. So be on the look out for something totally different than what we have been doing for the past 11 months!
In other news:
- I read my last review book this week. It was ROOMIES by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando. Please pre-order. I’ll give you 10 minutes. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Did you do it yet? If you can’t tell, I absolutely loved it. Definitely the perfect way to end my book reviewing this year.
- I also hit my book reading challenge. 150 books under my belt for another year. I’m just happy to have the chance to read through books on my own bookshelves for the last weeks of the year!
- I didn’t see Catching Fire this weekend but I’m hoping I can make it happen this week. It’s so tough with FROZEN coming out next weekend too. Too many movies to see! It seems like everyone I followed on Twitter loved it, though. Is this true?
- I am currently 20 or so days into my book buying ban. I feel like this is the absolute longest I’ve lasted, and I think I’m going to try to continue through December. Every time I look through the multiple books sitting in piles in my apartment, I have forgotten they existed. That’s a bad sign right?
Without buying, I did receive a few books in the mail in the past few weeks:
(Photobomb courtesy of Pepper.)
Scones & Sensibility by Lindsay Eland: A Summer of Sundays was one of my favorite middle grades this year + I got S&S at an event this week. I’m so looking forward to reading it (and probably feeling hungry when I do).
Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne: I was given this copy with the promise that a contemporary reader will enjoy it! Chemical weapons, high school kids, and a superstore? Interesting!
The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher: Scholastic sent me this one & I hadn’t heard of it before. But it’s a thriller about a girl’s dad accused of murdering someone else. It releases in January 2014.
Tales from My Closet by Jennifer Anne Moses: Scholastic also sent me this January release. It’s set in Jersey, which automatically made me excited and a group of friends, making a fashion statement with toilet paper (?) and more. The bright cover is so eye catching!
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach: I won this copy in a Little Brown contest on Twitter. Yay a big kid book about baseball! One thing changes (the mystery!) and it affects five people. Looking forward to this one a ton!
In case you missed it:
Romance review of IF YOU WERE MINE by Bella Andre
Nailed It features two books with strong family backbones!
Review of Amy Spalding’s upcoming release INK IS THICKER THAN WATER
Big Kid review of LIES YOU WANTED TO HEAR by James Whitfield Thomson + GIVEAWAY
That’s the excitement for this week! Let us know what you are reading!
And don’t forget to enter our LIES YOU WANTED TO HEAR giveaway!
Have a super (short) week!! xo
Lies You Wanted to Hear by James Whitfield Thomson ( web | facebook )
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Target audience: Adult
Keywords: marriage, betrayal, regrets, parenthood
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley! (Thanks Sourcebooks!)
Summary: A blind date between Matt (a cop) and Lucy (reeling from a horrible breakup) leads to marriage, and a life of contentment. Or so it seems. Bits of dishonesty crack at the surface as the years go on, leading Matt and Lucy to lives they never imagined.
What is it about those bad boys? They are the hardest to get over, aren’t they?
When we meet Lucy she is still in love with passionate and inconsiderate Griffin, who totally deserted her during a pretty crucial time in their relationship. In an effort to get over him and dig herself out of this rut, she finally listens to her best friend and goes on a blind date with a cop named Matt.
Matt is pretty much everything Griffin isn’t. He’s sweet, he’s caring, he wants commitment. Slowly but surely this first date leads to marriage and two children. While life feels safe and Matt is the poster child for a great husband, Lucy is never truly satisfied. It’s like she has one foot out the door all the time, and when Griffin reemerges in her life, an already rocky marriage crumbles into dust.
Okay, I know this doesn’t sound like the happiest story. It really isn’t. It’s full of mistakes and regret and too many important concerns and emotions left unsaid between a husband and a wife. Thomson’s detailed backstory for both characters (down to their best friends and their parents) is superb and the see-sawing between Matt and Lucy’s perspectives was uncanny. I found myself totally swept up in their stories, in their fight to find happiness for themselves and also for their children, who were bearing the brunt of this off-kilter union.
Both Matt and Lucy made mistakes, and it was so intriguing because sometimes these mistakes felt like the right thing to do. Could their problems have been solved in a more logical way? Of course. But both of them felt so strongly one way or another that their dramatic actions really drove the pace of the story and had me finishing this book in one day. I could not sleep without knowing how it all would end.
Lies You Wanted to Hear spans many years, and morphs into this unexpected psychological thriller in some ways. What would be the repercussions of Matt and Lucy’s actions? Would karma come into play at some point, and would it permanently damage their bond with their children? Were their moves propelled by selfishness, desperation, or an extreme need to protect? Or all of the above? The material is so discussion worthy, and I felt like it was possible to root for either side at various points in the novel, making it that much more of an enjoyable experience to gobble up.
I love when a book takes me by surprise, and I was even more shocked to see this was Thomson’s debut novel. It was so clear how much he cared for all of his characters, and worked to tell a well-rounded, detail-oriented story showcasing the grays of commitment and just how far we would go for happiness.
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Thanks to Sourcebooks for providing a copy of Lies You Wanted to Hear to one of our readers! Open to U.S. and Canadian residents only! Good luck!
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Ink is Thicker Than Water by Amy Spalding (website | twitter)
Books Read by This Author: The Reece Malcolm List (Estelle’s Review)
Publication Date: December 3, 2013
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Target Audience: Young Adult
Keywords: diverse families, adopted siblings, newspaper staff, older boyfriends
Format Read: ARC received from the publisher via NetGalley. (Thank you!)
Summary: Kellie’s always been a little uncertain of her place in life — she’s the underachieving sibling and the less attractive friend. When Kellie’s best friend, Kaitlyn, suddenly drops her for the popular crowd, and her older sister connects with her biological mother, she’s forced to discover who she is and what her passions are. And maybe, just maybe, that includes a boy named Oliver.
Yesterday in our Nailed It post, I teased you guys with hints of why I really enjoyed Amy Spalding’s secondary novel, Ink is Thicker Than Water. The family dynamics were absolutely one of my favorite aspects of the entire book. Kellie is a girl who doesn’t really know her place in her diverse family — her older-by-a-year, adopted sister, Sara, is extremely gorgeous and über smart. Kellie is most like her mother, but she’s scared that she won’t figure out who she is until much, much later in life, just as her mom did. And while he has the best intentions, her dad is always pressuring her to apply herself more and comparing her accomplisments to Sara’s. Her step-father Russell is a gem because he seamlessly fits into the family, but doesn’t overstep his bounds. Finn, Sara and Kellie’s half-brother, is this four-year-old ball of adorableness that everyone loves to take care of.
Is this family flawed? Yes. Do they have some issues? Absolutely. Do they fall-to-pieces because of them? Well… not necessarily, but things do get interesting when Sara’s biological mom emerges out of thin air. Everyone tries to give Sara the space to figure out her relationship with her mom without interfering, but just imagine how hard that would be without feeling like you’re being replaced. Kellie’s mom is the biggest proponent of personal space and there not being “gossip” amongst the family — she wants everyone to be open and honest, but when Sara begins distancing herself, no one knows how to navigate this bumpy road.
Aside from the family, there are some pretty strong secondary stories woven into Ink is Thicker Than Water. To make her dad happy and to quit being such a wallflower, Kellie immerses herself in the school newspaper, an activity she finds both a bit nerdy and uncool, but still intriguing. Meanwhile her best friend, Kaitlyn, suddenly transforms into this gorgeous babe that makes Kellie feel a little inferior, especially when Kait decides to try to connect with the popular crowd. There’s so much self-discovery woven into the pages of Ink; how does Kellie find her place amongst her family and how does she deal with the abandonment of two people she’s closest to — Sara and Kaitlyn?
Romantics, you may be wondering where the love interest comes into play. Oliver is a guy Kellie met several months prior, but didn’t keep in touch with. When they run into each other again at a local diner, the text and chat marathons begin. Except Oliver seems to come on a little too strong; his intensity level is set to high and Kellie’s a little unsure of how to talk with Oliver about his eagerness. While I am typically so invested in the love lives of main characters, I felt like something was askew with Oliver and Kellie’s relationship. I wasn’t fully invested, but maybe that’s purely because I was so concerned about how her family dramatics would work out. It’s really difficult when I’m extremely interested in one storyline and another doesn’t quite capture my attention in the same way. The romance was definitely there, but my heart wasn’t.
Despite the few things I felt needed to be finessed a little more, Ink is Thicker Than Water was an enjoyable read that allowed me to disconnect and relax in exactly the way reading should. And if you haven’t read Amy Spalding’s The Reese Malcolm List, you absolutely should. Both Estelle and I give it our stamps of approval.
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With Thanksgiving Day so so close (we can’t believe it), we’ve decided to change things up once again for NAILED IT and focus on books with great family influences. Sometimes books in YA tend to go heavy on romance and friendships and forget that there are parents at home, but we have always noted to one another when a book HAS GOT IT ALL aka the craziness and awesomeness of family. Today we are sharing some more nail palettes (yay!) and titles that celebrate all the important parts of life.
It’s been really hard for me to stop thinking about the Time Between Us series by Tamara Ireland Stone. It was one of those unexpected reading experiences for me this year, and I can’t wait to read it again. (How many books can you say that about?) Sure this book is rooted in romance, and how a relationship can survive when time travel complicates things but Stone does not forget how much family affects decisions, expectations, and just, life in general. Especially when you are a teenager.
In both books (Book 1 from Anna’s POV, and Book 2 from Bennett’s), concerned yet supportive families take centerstage. They might not necessarily know all the details of Anna and Bennett’s relationship but there’s a certain cause and effect when the families are involved too. I was really glad to see that layer in both of these books. So many times this is just glazed over in young adult fiction.
If you are on the prowl for a well-rounded story with present parents (who are as flawed as our main characters), be sure to check out these two books. For this month’s Nailed It, I decided to focus on the newer release: Time After Time.
I am loving this palette. It reminds me of early Thanksgiving mornings. Right?
Bette | Nadia | Vera ♥ Add Time After Time to Goodreads
I’m in the final 6% of Ink is Thicker Than Water by Amy Spalding. My, oh my, how I love this family. The dynamics are really phenomenal — Kellie’s mom and dad are divorced, but they’re still both very present in her life. They’re two imperfect people that make mistakes, but that’s real life, right? Kellie’s stepfather is really incredible, too, as he balances his role of being her father the majority of the time, but knowing that he shouldn’t interfere and overstep his bounds.
I did some pretty major happy dances over Kellie’s relationship with her older sister, who was adopted. They’re each other’s go-to person, but things do get complicated when Sara turns 18 and her birthmother reaches out to her. Kellie doesn’t exactly understand why there’s distance between them, but she tries to be respectful at the same time. Really, though, I think everyone will fall in love with Kellie’s half-brother, Finn, this four-year-old ball of cuteness. And you’ll definitely love the way the older sisters accept responsibility for (and enjoy their time with) Finn.
Things definitely get a little bit sloppy as Kellie tries to find her place in the family and figure out who she is, but I love that Spalding so heavily focused on family. There’s also friendship and a love interest, but my heart sang with glee when I realized how heavily Kellie was influenced by her family.
I couldn’t find the perfect pop of pink to coordinate with her lipstick so I pulled the slight hint of blue from her scarf instead. I think the blue, white, and yellow translate to a bit more fall-ish than the pink would have anyway. Thoughts?
Millie | Nicolette | Catrina ♥ Add Ink is Thicker Than Water to Goodreads
Tell us, friends, what your favorite family-influenced books are.
Thanks for indulging in our nail polish obsession with another Nailed It!