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They Work Hard for the $$ | Dive Into Diversity

Dive Into Diversity Reading Challenge

Welcome to March! It’s been another fantastic month of reads, and I hope you’re feeling the same way. I’m suuuper excited to be back and chatting about a diverse subject near and dear to my heart. As always, I would love to hear your feedback and don’t forget to link up your diverse reads below! – Estelle

When I turned 16, my parents were very adamant about me getting a part-time job. The holiday before, I had worked with my friend at her dad’s store selling cards and learning how to wrap the perfect gift; I always did a lot of volunteering to help out my parents with their projects too. But this was a paycheck, my first foray into independence, because without that paycheck, there would be no extracurriculars or trips to the movies for me. So yes — money was fantastic — but so were the people I met while working at the local drugstore. We were like our own little family and I liked it so much that work never exactly felt like work. (Until I had an exploding bottle of shampoo all over my shirt. So fun.) Yes, I had to say “no” a lot because I was on the clock but even now I never regret having to pass.

Because so many of my favorite high school memories (and maybe the most heartbreaking) stem from the times I roamed the aisles of CVS or stayed up late having heart-to-hearts in the store’s parking lot, I get such a kick out of reading about characters who find themselves splitting their time between a million other things and a job, and who find themselves involved in a whole new crew because of that job. Diversity isn’t only about race or ethnicity but it’s also about economics. We can’t control how the cards are dealt when we are young — there are those who are lucky enough to not have to think about it, those who are buried under the stresses day after day, and others who fall somewhere in the middle — they have the basics but that’s where it ends.

Like must diverse subjects, this is a sensitive one. When I was growing up, both of my parents worked and we took really lovely vacations. But if I needed a haircut or wanted new clothes for school, that was on me. When I went away to college, I had whatever I saved from working that summer (not a lot) and then I was on my own. I’m sure my parents would have obliged if I asked for something but this is just the way I grew up, I never really asked (which didn’t automatically make me a fiscally responsible person, I’ll admit). But I wonder what life would have been like if I was in high school when my dad was laid off from the job he had for 30 years, what my childhood would have been like if my mom was the one working 3 jobs and my dad was the one cooking our dinners. (Role reversal, I’ve seen, is tough for the baby boomers.) I’m consciously looking for the recession to make its way into my reading, but I haven’t seen much of it yet.

As I’m writing this, I realize there are many ideas floating around here: survival, responsibility, and how we relate to the world we are born into, a world that can change in the most surprising ways. The surprises can be tough and they can be wonderful — like how getting a job, learning new skills, and meeting new people was one of the first times I ever felt like a grown up. One in four high school students have a part time job and many great people on Twitter shared their own high school jobs experiences; wouldn’t this stuff make for some great, diverse stories?

For now, I’m sharing a few suggestions that I feel reflect the support and community many high school-ers find at part-time jobs — all from very diverse economic backgrounds. I hope you’ll add these to your reading lists! I’d also love to hear your own picks and your own high school job stories. Dig deep! We want to hear all about it.

Dive Into Diversity Working During High School YA Books

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios | The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds |
Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally | The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Perfectly Good White Boy by Carrie Mesrobian | Like No Other by Una LaMarche
Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo | Reality Boy by A.S. King

Thanks to Molly, Cassie, and Magan for contributing to this list!

And a few more, thanks to the #DiversityDive tag (You guys rock!): Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland | Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin | Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu | Shut Out by Kody Keplinger | My Life Next Door and What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick | Crash Into You and Take Me On by Katie McGarry | Cherry Money Baby by John Cusick | Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas | On the Fence by Kasie West | The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt | How to Love by Katie Cotugno | The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin

March 12, 2015 - 10:04 pm

Crystal - In thinking about MCs with jobs, I thought of some in traditional and some in non-traditional jobs. X (fictional biography), The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano (she works at a 5 and dime), Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery (she cleans a school), The Living (he has a summer job on a cruise ship), The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child (and the books to follow – memoir, but a little fictionalized), The Fire Horse Girl (works for a gang), Marcelo in the Real World (summer job), Tankborn (slaves) and Pig Park (all of the neighborhood young people work together on a project). In the Raven Cycle books by Stiefvate, Lily and one of the boys have jobs. Rickshaw Girl is actually a middle grade book, but really explores this concept of working especially in relation to helping family. Another middle grade that does this is My Life in Pink and Green.

March 10, 2015 - 4:22 pm

Molly | wrapped up in books - I love this post! Thanks for sharing your personal experiences. I have such nostalgia for my part-time job, as I shared briefly on twitter when I happened to see your tweet. But, reading your comments on survival and responsibility forces me to look at it with less rose-colored glasses. I did love working at my parent’s restaurant in high school, and most of my friends worked there part-time as well. After my dad died, my mom wasn’t as up on the business side of things, and I did take on a lot more responsibility than I was ready for, and it was hard to just have fun with my friends sometime when the restaurant was my family’s livelihood. In fact, there probably is a YA novel in there somewhere, complete with the older guy who bought us liquor, workplace romance, and lots of pizza.

As far as favorite books, I suggested Love and Other Perishable Items, but I also recently read I’ll Take You There and The Boy in the Black Suit, and both were fantastic.

March 10, 2015 - 2:25 pm

Alexa S. - I love how your post was part thoughtful personal reflection and part invitation for us to join you! You really balanced both well. Plus, it’s a great topic to tackle for Dive into Diversity, too! Really liked this post + the recs.

March 10, 2015 - 12:16 pm

Katie @ The Logonauts - Thanks again for the diversity push! Really enjoying reading more diverse books and finding out about even more.

March 10, 2015 - 9:31 am

Lauren @ Bookmark Lit - I always love when books feature MCs who have a job! I worked at a local grocery store through high school (and whenever I came home during college) and it was so much fun. I got so close with my coworkers and definitely had a lot of parking lot heart-to-hearts. Those experiences were great and taught me a lot!

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In Some Other World, Maybe by S. Goldhagen | E Reviews

In Some Other World Maybe by Shari GoldhaganIn Some Other World, Maybe by Shari Goldhagen ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 288
Target Audience: Adult
Keywords: Pop culture, missed connections, growing up, 90s
Format read: Copy from Publisher. (Thanks!)

Summary: It all starts with a movie based on a popular comic. That’s the only thing tying these characters from different places together in December 1992 but as these individuals go off to college and to pursue their “dreams” their lives connect and reconnect in unexpected, heartbreaking, and happy ways.

What if? What IF? I’ve been muttering these two words to myself like a semi-crazy person since I finished In Some Other World, Maybe last night. How many times do we say this phrase during our lives? Wish we said or did something we didn’t, knowing it could have made the difference or maybe not knowing and noticing years later that it could have. It’s frustrating and it hurts but if we didn’t make choices (whether it means letting it all out or keeping something to ourselves), we’d never move anywhere. We’d always be bolted in place.

There are a lot of characters in ISOWM. They all share a common thread: they have an affection for a sci-fi comic turned movie and throughout their lives, it still seems to pop up. (It’s kind of amazing but in this world of recycling material for nostalgia sake — so familiar.) Eons & Empires is that one thing that takes these characters back to a time when their life was on the brink, everything was just beginning. Adam leaving his single mother in Florida to go to NYU; Phoebe leaving her lovable boyfriend to try her luck in Hollywood; Sharon living in New York and still  haunted by her own “what if” when she skipped high school to see E&E.

In a world similar to Love Actually, the lives of these characters begin to intertwine — in Los Angeles, in New York, on a plane ride to Chicago — in really surprising ways. All I could think was: this was hard work on the author’s part. How did she make this work, and so believably? But she did. We see these people affecting each other momentously — relationships, sex, friendships — and then in smaller ones too. Bringing to life the bigger picture: we have no idea what small tiny thing is going to motivate and affect us.

It’s both amazing and scary to think about, isn’t it?

Truthfully, I haven’t felt this engrossed in a novel’s world in a long time. If I could have put my entire world on pause to read it, I would have. (Nonetheless, I finished in a little over a day.) It’s both lovely and heartbreaking how the lives of these characters click together and crack; the missed connections weighed on me so much. As an overthinker, I can’t help but retrace conversations and moments in an effort to find the sense in them, find out where the situation may have gone south. The intensity of that emotional rollercoaster was utterly palpable here; you would have thought I was living it myself.

This is one of those rare books I want to dive right back into, and stock up on copies to hand out to friends and family as gifts. The concept of connection and disconnect is so relatable — from the barista you see everyday to the person you’ve known your whole life and not to mention bonds constantly formed and fractured through social media platforms. We’re always one step, one decision away from our choose-your-own-adventure life. Do you go left or do you go right? In Some Other World, Maybe explores these complexities in the best, most thoughtful way.

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March 10, 2015 - 3:51 pm

Bridget @ Dog-Eared & Dog-Tagged - I’m excited to read this one, and the cover is just SO PRETTY. Glad you liked it!

March 10, 2015 - 2:08 pm

Alexa S. - Your review of In Some Other World, Maybe is lovely, E! I’ve had my eye on this one for a while, but I definitely want it even more after seeing what you thought of it. It’s definitely interesting to ponder all of the “what ifs” in life, and I like that it’s a part of the novel in a big way.

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Can I Be So Blunt | Pub Date

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So. I’m not much of a St. Patrick’s Day fan. It seems like most of the people here use St. P’s as a day to bring a lot of beer and get tipsy and well, I drink beer because I like the taste so there’s really nothing exciting in me taking part in a day like that. Also, I wear green all the time. (Well, sort of. I don’t own a lot of it.) I’m also not Irish? Okay. I’m armed with many excuses today. To be honest, my grocery store wasn’t even stocking Sam Adams Irish Red this year so I was forced to get a little creative.

(Am I turning into a Grinch about all holidays that aren’t Christmas? Maybe…)

Oskar Blues Brewery — the Colorado/North Carolina brewery that kicked off the craft beer in a can phenomenon — was actually IN my grocery store. I loved the “Can I Be So Blunt” quip around the rim of the can because I knew I would have some opinions about St. P’s Day and all of this could easily tie into a sort of loudmouthed, say-what-you feel-character in a great book.

Even as recent as a year ago, Pinner’s Throwback IPA would not be a first choice for me. I’m not an IPA fan; I don’t like my beers too hoppy but I’m trying to be all adult and open-minded about life now. (HA) Citrus, spicy, bready… I went for it and it scored big. I wish there wasn’t 6 inches of snow on the ground in New York because this would make a great spring beer. It was a little bubbly but not so heavy in taste that I wouldn’t want to have more than one — two would be perfect.

Let’s talk about a good read…

Pinner Throwback IPA and Love and Other Foreign Words

Love and Foreign Words by Erin McCahon: main character Josie is a total trip. When her sister shows up unexpectedly engaged, Josie is quick to grill her sister’s future husband. She isn’t shy with her 37-question survey she wants him to fill out nor is she quiet about how unbelievable their pairing is. I know she sounds a little bratty but I think it’s exactly how many loyal sister would act when life is about to change. This book is laugh-out-loud funny but also very heartfelt. Love with a capital L.

Now don’t forget to enjoy your weekend — whether you are sipping a craft beer, an iced tea, or some hot cocoa.

(Who knows — maybe my grocery store will get with the program and supply some better options for next time. Stay tuned…)

Thanks for checking out #PubDate!

The crew: The Book Addict’s Guide | Andi ABCs | Just a Couple More Pages

March 11, 2015 - 11:21 am

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - I still can’t believe I’m friends with someone who isn’t an IPA fan. I’ve never seen this beer before but I’m going to try to hunt it down somewhere on Long Island. Oddly I requested this book from the library the other day after kind of forgetting back it for a few months. Yay!

March 6, 2015 - 4:03 pm

Alexa S. - I love your book choice! Love and Other Foreign Words is an excellent read. Funny too, and the “Can I be so blunt?” statement could apply to Josie if I recall correctly :)

March 6, 2015 - 9:07 am

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - I’m with you! We don’t do anything for St. Patrick’s Day (aside from the corned beef now…) and meh, I don’t need to drink tons of beer. I mean, I drink the beer that I want and beer is for me to enjoy!
The University of Illinois has “Unofficial” every year which is “unofficial St. Patrick’s Day”……. but then they also have St. Patrick’s Day haha. I’ve never understood it because they basically celebrate it twice, but I’ve gone a couple times to visit friends since I was only 45 minutes away when I was in college and it was fun to join in the spirit and drink green beers and wear lots of green.
But now….. EH. We don’t do anything. I’d rather drink a good beer and eat good food ;D Any excuse for those (although we do that anyway).
I think I’m getting grinchy about all the holidays too! I like Halloween. I like Christmas. And my birthday LOL
Hey, I like your choices! And Oskar Blues is a brewery that Shane likes a lot too! He loves Dale’s Pale Ale.

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The Unlikely Start of Me and Him

“Max was just so intimidatingly real.” – The Start of Me and You, Emery Lord

A few weeks ago when I read The Start of Me and You, I stopped myself on the page with the above quote (note: it’s from an ARC so it might not be in the final book but I hope it is) and thought: Hm. This reminds me of something. And then Emery leads into how Max is “not glamorous or idealized or complicated” and a light bulb went off. When I first met James, that was exactly what it was like. I always tell the story that I didn’t like him in college, but then after he graduated and I went off to a different school for my junior year, we reconnected and decided to meet up. We went to school for two years together, had many of the same classes, but never even had a cup of coffee in our cafeteria together. (No, we just shared awkward moments in the newspaper office and later, a grocery store.)

The first meeting didn’t feel right to me. Why? Because he was just so nice. He listened to what I said, he shared stories about his family with me, and he was generally curious. Sure, he smoked and his hair was long and in need of some product but he had a nice laugh and a great smile and didn’t chew loudly or anything embarrassing like that. As far as “first dates” go, I should have had no complaints but I was sure I didn’t want to go out with him again.

Why is it so hard to admit things are actually good?

My heart was confused. When I was forced to switch schools, a part of me thought I would get back together with my serious boyfriend from a few years before. I was sure if I had never gone long distance, we could make our relationship work and now I wasn’t as far. Everything about wanting him, being with him, and feeling disappointed by him was filled with such intensity. It was LOVE. It’s this all-powerful thing and it’s supposed to be loud and conquering and make your heart hurt, right? I was sure he and I were meant to be. This huge passionate love story that would end with a beautiful happily-ever-after. Surely, all the crying and “fighting” for him all happened for that very reason, right?

I think it’s really hard to come down from something like that. Reconcile with yourself that sometimes putting your all into something doesn’t work out. That maybe not all love stories are drowning in drama; that the chase should never seem never-ending. Your heart should not always be bruised. The happy moments should outweigh the difficult ones. And sometimes all the hope and all the effort in the world does not overcome all the cracks.

This is why I can totally relate to Paige’s “a-ha” moment. I invested four years of my life alternating between being a complete puddle vs. silly in love all to end up (kind of where we had started) getting very upset in the aisle of a dollar store. Then I re-meet this guy who I totally misjudged and it felt so easy. Too easy. Is this what love is all about? I’m still not sure but I’m glad I didn’t listen to myself and I went out with him a second time.

James at Coney IslandI never went on another date with anyone else again.

Today we’re celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary and as I write this, I’m realizing the difficult parts of our relationship didn’t pop up until later. Not the difficult kind of moments where I doubted we would make it or anything but moments I never would have predicted based on how easily we fell into a rhythm with one another. Love does not shield you from unexpected surprises or loss. It can’t protect you from hurt, but it can help you heal. It forces you be flexible and compassionate with one another, even when you might not understand it or necessarily want to be. As a couple, we’ve certainly been tested and I know those days are not over. But I can say that I have never loved harder because of those times. I read so much about focusing on your “baby family” before saying “I do” and I stand by that advice. That bond is the foundation of your commitment. You have to believe in it and each other when the going gets tough.

But the good times, man, they are good. Whether we’re splitting a pizza or a dozen cookies, or he’s playing a video game and I’m reading next to him on the couch, I’m so incredibly lucky to be married someone who (mostly) understands my crazy quirks and encourages me to push harder and be better. He also still deals with me when I’m hangry or super exhausted. He will randomly tell me that he is still so crazy about me, I’ll tell him to shut up, but secretly I love it. It’s likely we’ll never foresee who exactly is going to make a huge impact on our lives. Like Max for Paige, or me with James — the newspaper editor I once yelled at and then totally wrote off. Maybe the best things do happen when we place the least amount of pressure on them.

March 10, 2015 - 10:00 pm

Rebecca @ Reading Wishes - Love this! Happy anniversary for last week and thanks for sharing this lovely story with us.

March 9, 2015 - 10:17 am

Topaz @ Six Impossible Things - Oh my goodness, what an absolutely gorgeous tale. My heart is singing. Happy anniversary to both you and your lovely husband – I’m so incredibly glad that you managed to find your happily ever after, even if Prince Charming, wasn’t quite who you expected. <3

March 5, 2015 - 11:27 pm

Brianna - Happy Anniversary! This post is so sweet. I hope I can find my forever person someday. At almost 33, my marriage clock is ticking.

March 5, 2015 - 3:53 pm

Sarah @ What Sarah Read - First of all…HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! My husband and I celebrated four years back in October. Amazing how quickly is goes by right?

I can relate to this post SO much! When I first met my husband I was totally thrown off by how uncomplicated and easy our relationship was. I was always waiting for something bad to happen, so I didn’t really allow myself to fully settle into the relationship until well after we were engaged. Like, literally a month before the wedding I was freaking out. Not cold feet, not at all. I was just still trying to come to terms with the fact that I was in a healthy, loving relationship that didn’t require drama or heartache. My previous relationship was soooo opposite of what I was experiencing with my (then) fiancé and I worked so hard not to project those past experiences on my current relationship. To be honest, I still have to check myself every once in a while. As you can probably guess, my past relationship was pretty horrible. THANKFULLY, I found my current hubby and things are so blissfully normal!

So, thank you so much for opening up about your relationship. This post is so beautiful and I’m so glad you wrote it! xo

March 5, 2015 - 1:15 pm

Tammy - Just lovely Estelle

March 5, 2015 - 11:27 am

Alexa S. - This post is lovely, E! I liked hearing your take on love, and found myself nodding in agreement quite a few times. You’ve captured your feelings so wonderfully, and I’ve got to applaud you for that! (And for making me cry…)

March 5, 2015 - 11:25 am

Elena - ESTELLE!!! HAPPY ANNIVERSARYYYYYY! So much love to you and J! I really loved this post, it made my heart so full. I am so so happy for you! You’re right, it does seem like love should be this outright passionate encompassing thing and sometimes it is but sometimes it’s the nuances and inner strength and ease. I hope you guys have the most wonderful day.

March 5, 2015 - 11:16 am

Meg - So lovely and heartfelt. Happy, happy anniversary!

March 5, 2015 - 9:23 am

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - What a beautiful post, Estelle! And happy anniversary!!!!
I just love reading things like this and hearing other people’s own personal love story. This meant a lot to me: ” Reconcile with yourself that sometimes putting your all into something doesn’t work out.” because YES. I can’t tell you how many times I had a crush — or even outside of a romantic relationship, just thought that if I wanted it enough, it SHOULD work. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you think that’s exactly what should happen in your life because you want it and you FEEL it… But life has a funny way of not letting those things happen because there’s something even MORE perfect that we don’t even know about at the time. It’s the hardest thing to move past because you DON’T know about this something amazing (and again, speaking to more than just romantic relationships but that also happened many times for me (but I was never serious with anyone before Shane so it was a bit easier for me))
Anyway. It makes me so happy to hear how happy you are! It doesn’t have to be grand romantic gestures. I fell in love all over again when my Portuguese version of Harry Potter came in the mail the other day and was SO EXCITED and Shane laughed and said, “You’re SUCH a nerd and I love it.” It was something so silly and simple but it reminded me that we love each other for exactly who we are and yes, we are constantly growing but we have that same foundation that makes our marriage great. I’m sure we’ll have many bumps along the way but I have confidence that we’ll pull through them just fine!
Thanks for sharing your story! It was so lovely to read — and I hope to meet James someday too! :) Happy anniversary to you both! xo!

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Dove Arising by Karen Bao • Estelle Reviews

Dove Arising by Karen BaoDove Arising by Karen Bao ( web | tweet )
Part of Dove Chronicles.
Publication Date: 2/24/2015
Publisher: Viking (Penguin)
Pages: 336
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: science fiction, Moon, family, bravery
Format read: ARC from Publisher. (Thanks!)

Summary: Phaet does her best to remain incognito as she lives her life on the Moon with her mother and siblings. But when her mom is taken away, she only has one option when it comes to supporting her and her siblings — to join the Militia. Being away from her family and her best friend combined with being the youngest training for a position weighs on Phaet, but unexpected bonds and the future of her family keep her going.

I may not be a huge science fiction reader but I am a big fan of eclectic reading palettes and debut writers — especially when those debut writers wrote their book secretly during their senior year in high school. It’s so darn impressive!

I felt a strong Mulan vibe from the moment I started Dove Arising. Main character Phaet (“fate”) and Mulan have a lot in common — both are willing to go to great lengths for the ones they love, even if it means putting themselves in danger. Phaet is only 15 years old but when her mother is arrested she steps up to the plate in a big way — willing to leave her siblings and her best friend to join the Militia and earn money to pay her mother’s bail and support the household.

It’s bold, it’s crazy, and, with a ton of training, it just might work.

Author Karen Bao isn’t presenting the Moon as a must-see destination by any means. It’s dismal, heavily monitored by the government, and sounds like the kind of place where life is all about going through the motions. Very few of the Moon citizens shake things up, and when/if they do, they become a target. Even Phaet’s tone is filled with defeat through most of the book. She is a product of her environment: extremely quiet and shy but full of observations and emotions she’s never comfortable expressing. Later, I liked how this trait morphed into one of her strengths.

Not only is Phaet making a huge decision about her future, but she struggling to gain her mother’s acceptance, mourning her deceased father, and coming to terms with feelings she has for the most unexpected person. She’s forced to grow up so fast, and I trust the repercussions from that sacrifice are only just beginning. Will it all be worth it? Does she have the power to help change her world?

In series, I find many of the first books focus a ton on world-building and providing readers with a foundation. There were so many great details here (particularly, Phaet’s hair) and the more action packed scenes felt like I was in the middle of a simulator ride. (Even if the urgency wasn’t turned up where it needed to be.) It’s my hope with the next two books, Bao dives deeper into Phaet’s character development and her emotions. In Dove Arising, I admired Phaet for her loyalty but I wished I had connected with her on other levels too.

I did discover something about myself while reading this. I’m really fascinated about the details that lead to Earth’s demise in books like these. Does this make me a sadist? Or maybe a secret sci-fi geek?

One final thing: I can’t tell you much about the ending. I mean, I won’t tell you anything about the ending, but I got a little giddy when I realized just how Bao was challenging Phaet next. It’s going to make for a very interesting second book, that’s for sure.

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March 7, 2015 - 8:11 pm

Brianna - This sounds like an interested read. I’m always curious about books that are set somewhere in space, whether it’s the moon or another planet.

March 4, 2015 - 4:32 pm

Alexa S. - Honestly, it’s your comparison of the main character to Mulan that kind of makes me want to give Dove Arising a shot! I don’t often read sci-fi, mind you, but I like it every now and again. Will have to look this one up the next time I’m at the library :)

March 4, 2015 - 2:34 pm

Melanie Dauterive - I can’t wait to read this, the Mulan comparison has me even more excited for it.

March 4, 2015 - 12:51 pm

Emma @ Miss Print - I admit I was kind of hoping this would be a standalone but I’m excited to hear it was a solid series starter. It’s coming up in my TBR pile very soon.

March 4, 2015 - 11:58 am

Lea @ YA Book Queen - That’s a shame that the author didn’t dive too far into the character’s emotions, but it still sounds like an intriguing book to check out. I’ll have to see if my library gets this one!

Nice review!

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One Wish by Robyn Carr • Why in 5 & Giveaway

One Wish by Robyn CarrOne Wish by Robyn Carr  ( web | tweet )
Part of Thunder Point series.
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Pages: 384
Target audience: Adult
Keywords: small towns, overcoming the path, family conflict, secrets
Format read: ARC provided by Publisher. (Thanks!)
Previously: The Homecoming by Robyn Carr

Summary: Grace owns Thunder Point’s flower shop, she has a great best friend, and she’s truly settling into this small community. When her friend (and top crush) Troy suggests she doesn’t have enough fun, he recruits himself as her “fun” coach. Grace gives in, despite her feelings and the secrets she has been keeping.

I’m a huge fan of the Thunder Point series because, unlike a lot of the other romances I read, Robyn Carr builds her stories beyond the couple, trickling in more personalities from the community and making it feel like you are truly a fly on the wall of the gorgeous (I really want to visit) Pacific Northwest town of Thunder Point. Here are five reasons to check out her latest, ONE WISH, and where I, again, remind you it’s okay to read these out of order:

1. A flower shop. As much as chemistry and love is important in a romance novel, I love great background stories and I thought it was so adorable that Grace owned her own flower shop. She took pride in her work and her business, and was so so great with her customers.

2. Non-drama relationship. It was refreshing that a majority of the “drama” in ONE WISH came from places other than Grace and Troy’s relationship. Sure, the whole thing started as nothing more of a friendship (from Troy’s perspective anyway) but it escalated in this sweet, natural, no hassle way. Sure there were some kinks but for the most part the “push and pull” was never a huge, melodramatic issue.

3. Ginger. Someone new is always moving to Thunder Point, and I’m praying that Ginger is a bigger character in one of the upcoming books. She’s dealing with depressing, and moves to TP to live with her grandmother and hopefully move out of her funk once and for all. I love how TP is such a healing place for so many  and Ginger’s story (her husband leaving her; her young son dying) is one that I want to hear more about. (Great news: we get more hangout time with Ginger in A New Hope!)

4. A true community. I touched on this a little bit in #3 but something about TP always makes me miss living in the suburbs. These neighbors are always around to catch the other, and help out in someway and it’s so so so heartwarming and wonderful. I love these strangers find new connections and find themselves bonding for life with people they never thought they would. (Plus, the views. I want to hear the ocean.)

5. A Valentine’s Day dance. Did your school have one of these? I am pretty sure we didn’t but Troy teaches at the high school and he’s chaperoning one. I couldn’t help but laugh at how his students are in love with him, and just how popular Grace was with the young kids. This was such a fun detail!

It’s time for one of you to read ONE WISH. The lovely people at Little Bird Publicity have provided me with one copy for a U.S. winner. Please enter to win below & good good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

March 8, 2015 - 2:33 pm

Lillian - I’ve never read a romance and I’m excited to get my feet wet in this genre!

March 7, 2015 - 1:26 pm

Christy - I recently finished Once a Marine by Loree Lough. I also enjoyed Burying Water earlier this year by K.A. Tucker. Very different, but both good reads.

March 5, 2015 - 11:43 am

Annie - Thanks for this giveaway

March 3, 2015 - 3:07 pm

Alexa S. - Ooh, I have some catching up to do with the Thunder Point series! One Wish sounds delightful. I’ve always liked Grace and her flower shop, so to get to learn more about her will be fun!

March 2, 2015 - 8:50 am

Tammy - Jojo Moyes Me Before You was a great romance book that I loved and not your typical love story.

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