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Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin | Estelle Reviews

Rain Reign by Ann M. MartinRain Reign by Ann M. Martin ( facebook )
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 240
Target audience: Middle grade
Keywords: Aspergers, OCD, hurricane, family, dogs
Format read: ARC paperback from Macmillan. (Thanks!)

Summary: When a hurricane hits inland, Rose’s best companion — her dog named Reign — goes missing. What happens when the one stable thing in your life disappears?

I didn’t realize how timely it would be to read Rain Reign, with the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy coming up. Like Rose’s father said more than one time, the storms never catch them! It was so similar to what we were all saying until the storm came and conquered. I may not have lost my dog, but the storm forever changed one of my favorite spots from my childhood so I understood this feeling of disarray and loss in the book.

Ann M. Martin is no stranger to my bookshelf. I’ve been a huge fan of The Baby-Sitters Club series since I was young, I’ve read a ton of her other books so, of course, I jumped at the chance to read her latest. I haven’t read a ton of books about children with Aspergers syndrome (in fact, I can only compare this to the TV portrayal of Max on Parenthood) but she handles it with sensitivity and authenticity. Rose’s dad cannot grasp his daughter’s tendency to discover new homonyms or recite prime numbers. Most importantly, he doesn’t understand that she cannot control her outbursts and it was heartbreaking how frequently he left her to her own devices.

Thankfully, Rose isn’t totally alone. She has her Uncle Weldon, who drives her back and forth to school and has such a soft and patient way of communicating with her. The total opposite of Rose’s father, unfortunately. (Definitely a point of contention between the brothers too but less of a focus in the story because hey it’s written for middle graders.) And then there is Reign, the dog that Rose’s dad found on a rainy night (get it?) and never leaves his friend’s side. Weldon and Reign provide the most stability for Rose, and for someone who needs routine to get through the day, they were as necessary in her life as food or water or shelter. They kept her going.

The hurricane touching down wreaks havoc on more than their town as Reign goes missing and the routine and life Rose has known changes completely. And it’s not over yet. Martin does such an effective job of showing how isolating Rose’s disorder is through her relationship with her dad and the students in her class, but there is the flip side of it too. Rose is smart, thoughtful, and believes in doing the right thing. She is capable of handling a lot even if she does have some difficulties day to day. Furthermore, there are dependable people in her life who help her work through her behaviors. (Kudos to Martin for including Rose’s teacher aide; they rock!)

At any age, we are always scared of the things we don’t know and so much of Rain Reign is about being accepting and understanding we all have hurdles to jump through.

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October 19, 2014 - 3:32 pm

Cassie G - Like you, I’ve got the nostalgia for Ann Martin’s books. I think I read them all when I was younger. I didn’t know she was still writing (though now that I think about it, it doesn’t really make sense that she would stop. I think I just forgot about her as I grew up), but your review makes me want to go find a copy! I love that it explores children with support needs, as that doesn’t seem to be a heavily covered subject.

October 15, 2014 - 4:54 pm

Alexa S. - I really, really enjoyed Rain Reign! There’s just something magical and comforting about Ann M. Martin’s writing. And I adored Rose Howard, who’s spunky and smart and all sorts of wonderful in her way. So glad you liked this one too!

October 14, 2014 - 11:26 pm

candy - Thanks for the wonderful review. While I don’t know if I would read it because I usually read upper YA,I am considering it. However I am pretty sure my son would read it. He had to read Mockingbird a in 7th grade (he’s now in 9th) and loved it.Though I don’t think he has Asperger’s though he may be very high on the spectrum but not enough for a diagnosis he did come home after the teacher introduced the book and explained Asperger’s to them and told me what she described sounded like him and it was always a thought imy head that he could be but I never told him that,but my twin sister’s son does have Asperger’s and my son isn’t quite like him.My son does have social issues that he seems to be growing out of this year and slightly ODD on a few things he would always have just one thing he played with in each stage of his life and only be able to play with one friend at a time again that is finally changing this year and both my kids don’t know when and what is appropriate or inappropriate to say in public but growing up I had that issue too.Anyway like I said thanks for the review I will pass this information to my son and may read it myself.And oh,I totally get the hurricane thing I live in South Central Louisiana and we’ve seen our share of hurricanes hitting us or near hits.I would be happy to not ever have another one but I guess it comes with the territory. My kids and my family laugh at me bc I’m terrified of anything Cat 3 or higher bc I was traumatized by Hurricane Andrew. My 2 siblings and mom slept through the worst of it I however clawed my dad’s arm all night in fear bc I couldn’t sleep it was too loud and then we were following it on the radio and it spawning tornadoes like crazy just south of us then they lost it bc it unexpectedly turned east right before hitting us head on unfortunately where it turned put it in the path of my grandparents and cousins but thank God they were ok.Yes I’m rambling so I tend to do that.

October 14, 2014 - 12:12 pm

Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) - I loved this book! I think you hit the nail on the head with all of your points on this review. I love that Rose is the one telling her story and that we are able to see the heartbreaking side of things and also how she is far more able to deal with things than people assume. I did have to read this one in small doses to begin with because Rose is such a BIG character – eventually that is what I grew to love about her, but it took me a little bit to adjust to that (:

October 14, 2014 - 10:49 am

Brianna - I loved the BSC when I was a kid. I got to meet Ann M. Martin once and didn’t know what to do with myself. This sounds a bit like the MG version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in Nighttime. Thanks for sharing your review.

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Blog Tour: Ally Condie on Naming Characters in Atlantia

book cover for atlantia by ally condie

Atlantia by Ally Condie (website | twitter)
See also my review of Crossed by Ally Condie
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Dutton Children’s
Pages: 368
Target Audience: Young Adult Fiction
Keywords: underwater city, dystopia, broken world, young adult fantasy
Format Read: Arc received from the Publisher. (Thank you!

Summary (from Goodreads):Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.

Author Ally Condie is hanging out on Rather Be Reading today to discuss the importance of the names she selected in ATLANTIA. I don’t know about you guys, but I always, always want more information about an author’s thought process. Ally so carefully chose each of the names and it really makes my heart sing to learn these details. The whole world just comes alive a little bit more! I’ll be posting my official review later this week, but for now, I want you guys to say hello to Ally and get swept away by a few details in her upcoming release, ATLANTIA!

AllyCondie_credit Erin SummerillWriting Atlantia was a little different from writing my other books. While I always like the names to have meaning (Cassia, Ky, and Xander’s names are all significant to their characters), this time, I wanted the names to connect with water somehow. Because the city of Atlantia is underwater, I felt sure that this connection would occur to the people naming their children Below.

I came up with Rio and Bay’s names very early on in the process—I have to know my main character’s name, or I have a hard time writing. I knew that Rio and Bay’s mother would have thought very carefully and given them names with great meaning. And, since they are twins, I wanted their names to tie together in a significant way but also sound/look very different. Rio is Spanish for river, and a bay is a body of water forming an indentation of the shoreline (and yes, I just got that definition from the dictionary).;)Without being too spoiler-y, I think Rio’s mother knew very much what she was doing (and what she hoped for) when she named her daughters after bodies of water that touch both the land and the sea.

The next set of sister names I chose were those of Rio and Bay’s mother, Oceana, and her sister, Maire. Since Oceana was the leader of Atlantia, I wanted her to have a grand, encompassing, womanly name. Oceana means from the sea, and I loved the sound of it. For Maire, I wanted something a bit sharper, a little different. I looked for other names that meant ocean or water, and when I found Maire—which has two meanings (of the sea or bitter), I knew that I’d found the right fit for this particular character. The dual meanings reflect well the dual nature of Maire’s character.

The boys in the story also have names that connect with water. While True’s first name has an obvious meaning (and one that is very connected to his character), it’s his last name, Beck, that reflects the water connection. A beck is a brook, or a swiftly running stream. And that felt right for True and his role in the story. Fen Cardiff, the other main boy in the story, has a name that means marsh—land covered in water. Again, I don’t want to spoil anything, but that has a connection with what happens to Fen in the book as well.

As for naming the city itself, I wanted a name that reflected Atlantis—the lost underwater city of legend—but that sounded more feminine, since the main characters in this book are strong women (I also didn’t want to be tied too tightly to the legends of Atlantis and the preconceptions people have about an Atlantis story). So I changed the ending of the word slightly. I had no idea at the time that we would name the book Atlantia (I always called it Rio, which I knew we couldn’t keep for obvious reasons—the movie, etc.) but I think the fact that it sounded right made my editor think of it as the name for the novel, and I was happy to agree.

Thank you so much, Ally, for stopping by Rather Be Reading!
Friends, ATLANTIA is such a fun read. It was so nice to disappear into a world so
different than what I’ve been reading lately. Add this one to your TBRs!

Add ATLANTIA to Goodreads | Pre-Order from Amazon | Pre-order from Barnes & Noble

team above ally condie atlantia

And join us on Team Above — who would want to live underwater anyway? A few reasons why above is better: SUNSHINE, sand, fresh air, STARS, and um, history. I can’t imagine living below water where — don’t you think it would feel like living in a snow globe?

October 22, 2014 - 10:29 pm

Tomasina - This book just sounds so amazing and the authors explanation of her usage of water based names interest me even further. I can’t wait to give it a read!

October 15, 2014 - 4:50 pm

Alexa S. - I’m pretty curious about the characters after reading all about their names! Names are very important things after all, and I know it’ll sound strange, but I’m predisposed to be more interested in a book if I like a character’s name! Will probably check out Atlantia at some point :)

October 14, 2014 - 9:56 am

Benni @ Benni's Bookbiters - I really can’t wait for this book! I also can’t get the Duran Duran song out of my head, when the main character’s name is Rio…

October 13, 2014 - 10:41 am

Brianna - This is really interesting, and now I’m looking forward to this book even more. Thanks so much for sharing.

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Estelle: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara FarizanTell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: 10/7/2014
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Pages: 304
Target audience: YA
Keywords: LGBT, theatre, culture, identity, friendship, family
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley.

Summary: New friends, old friends, secret feelings, sister “rivalry” and fitting in are all on the mind of high school junior Leila.

Sara Farizan’s latest is just another reminder of all the books I say I want to read, and never get to because after all this time, I still have not read her debut. (Don’t worry; I have it out from the library right now.) So Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel was my first taste of her work and I totally get what all the fuss is about.

Main character Leila is a junior at her high school, a girl with a Persian heritage who is constantly labeled as a Latina. Already feeling on the outskirts of her peers, Leila can’t imagine coming out too. Not at her school and most definitely, not at home. She fears her parents and her perfect older sister will abandon her just like a family in their social circle did to their gay son. Will she ever be able to be her true self?

This is the thing. All of this weighs so much on how Leila sees herself, and how she presents herself to the world, making it pretty massive life changing stuff. But there is such humor in her character; I loved hearing her thoughts, how she wasn’t exactly a fashion plate, and how she struggled with being a good student and wanted to make her parents proud of her nonetheless. There were no airs about her; as readers we were granted the opportunity to know the real Leila and watch as she wiggled through these challenges.

Enter Saskia — the exotic new girl who flirts with anyone who has a pulse, including Leila. Unlike the rest of her school, Saskia doesn’t assume anything about Leila and really appreciates her culture. Their chemistry is apparent in the beginning but it was also a little worrisome. Did you ever meet someone and just fall for them completely, friendship or relationship? It was like a Saskia disease that Leila could not fight, paralleled with the return of an old childhood friend, Lisa, who is going through her own periods of grief and emerging as a brand new person from who Leila used to know. I was so thrilled to see Lisa and Leila rekindle their friendship because they didn’t try to put pressure on each other when it came to anything. Instead they supported each other in this quiet, lovely way.

Farizan skillfully balances the distance Leila is feeling from her family as her secret becomes harder and harder to conceal with the changes happening in her social life. She also injects some great moments from the school theatre program (which Leila reluctantly joins) and a teacher who confides in Leila more than she should. Most importantly, I really liked how Leila, who was so aware of people and their beliefs in certain stereotypes, was something she adopted without even noticing it. To me, this drove home the point that we are always works in progress, and are going to be encountering people all the time with no way to know their real story. It’s so important to listen, and to remain open-minded and compassionate.

Tell Me How a Crush Should Feel is a refreshingly authentic story of friendship, heartbreak, family, and acceptance — of yourself and others. If I haven’t sold you yet, there’s a Muppet reference. You are welcome. (Psst. Thanks, Sara.)

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October 11, 2014 - 10:23 am

April Books & Wine - So, I have not commented on any blogs in WEEKS but I had to break the radio silence due to clicking Bloglovin’ and seeing that you reviewed Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel and clicking on your review because it’s of a book that is different from all the other books being reviewed. AND OMG can I just say that it makes me so happy that you loved this book and that you get why it’s so great and ugh, I am just so thrilled right now. Yay for Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel getting some spotlight on Rather Be Reading! I will say, I really enjoyed If You Could Be Mine, however, there were some parts were I was like what even is this. Like, it wasn’t as good as this book. Still worth reading though, because it adds something new and unique to YA, you know? Anyways, awesome review!

October 9, 2014 - 2:25 pm

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - I haven’t read anything by Sara Farizan, but clearly I need to fix that ASAP. There are so many books I want to read, it’s crazy.

I’m glad you really liked it. Leila seems like such an awesome person, and I can’t wait to meet her for myself. :)

October 9, 2014 - 1:53 pm

Alexa S. - I’ve yet to read a Sara Fariza novel! But I love that they sound different from many others I’ve encountered. Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel sounds great, and I definitely will be checking it out ;)

October 9, 2014 - 10:30 am

ashley - This review has me even more excited for this book. I just started it and I’m glad the feel I’m getting on the book is fairly accurate so far.

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Book Report: Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

Well, hello! Welcome back for another Book Report! In the past, we’ve done lots of gushing as we’ve oohed and ahhed over books like ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER, but today’s discussion involves a few differing opinions on our overall opinion of KISS KILL VANISH by Jessica Martinez. Did we love it? Did we agree? How would we rate it? Read our joint review below to see what we thought! Please remember that we try to be as spoiler free as possible, but tread lightly.

Book Cover for Kiss KIll Vanish by Jessica Martinez

Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez (website | twitter)
See Also Virtuosity and The Vow by Jessica Martinez
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 432
Target Audience: Young Adult Fiction
Keywords: runaway teenager, family secrets, young adult thriller
Format Read: We both received copies for review from the publisher. (Thank you!)

Summary (from Goodreads): Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.

Just in case you need a visual reminder of who we are:

– – – –

Magan Magan
Estelle Estelle

♥ ♥ ♥

 

Magan So today we’re talking about KISS KILL VANISH by Jessica Martinez. We’ve both read books of hers in the past we’ve really enjoyed (Virtuosity and The Vow), but I think it’s safe to say that we have slightly differing opinions on this one. In two sentences, tell me what you thought!
Estelle Kicking off with a toughie, huh? I think Kiss Kill Vanish was sexy, addicting, and heartbreaking. I also thought Martinez did such amazing things with story structure and dialogue; I was in awe. (I kind of cheated.)
Magan You sneak! Ok, so let’s maybe start off with the story structure because I felt SO intrigued in the beginning, that Valentina ran away from her family (not saying why!). I really admired her decision. But I lost a lot of faith in her as the book went on and I liked her less and less.
Estelle You should expand on that because I didn’t feel that way. (And I’ll explain why in the best way I can!)
Magan I thought it took a lot of strength to leave the comfortable life that she had. She was a girl who had absolutely everything, and she basically cast it all aside because she couldn’t support the truths that were revealed to her. I checked out a bit when she returned to settle things because her decisions felt very immature and she seemed to get in the way much more than she helped the situation. Her young age and naivety really became apparent to me. I think if maybe there was a bit more backstory in the beginning of the book, it would have made more sense to me why she needed to return and have closure. But her decision seemed more vengeful, especially the more she learned once she was there.
Estelle For me, the book started off very slowly and I had the opposite reaction. I thought her leaving seemed so unbelievable for a teenager. This book definitely was one where I had to suspend my disbelief or I wouldn’t have been able to get invested. I think she was a scared little girl who had nowhere to turn, and knew nothing about her history. As the story goes on, even the little she does know, gets turned on its head. I can’t pretend to know what I would do in that position.
Magan I do agree that the actual book starts off slowly.
Estelle Her character really played with my head because sometimes I pictured her so much older than she was, and other times, so much younger.
Magan I think that’s really interesting. I feel like it takes a lot of strength to walk away from something. I really enjoyed seeing her try to scrape by, especially when it was doing a job she hated. I really, really wanted to see her make solid friendships and stand on her own two feet. I think that’s really what might have been the biggest letdown for me. Where I expected the story to go isn’t what happened. Let me rephrase that — in a situation like hers, it takes strength and courage. I think it can be seen as cowardly if a person continually ditches everything they do and doesn’t ever commit to see something through, but in Valentina’s specific situation, I feel she demonstrated maturity.
Her sisters, for example, were atrocious.
Estelle I just had a thought. Maybe I’m reading into it too much but Miami vs. Canada, rich vs. poor, even the two brothers she comes across… the whole book feels like a contest between these halves. Good vs. evil. Truth vs. lie.
Magan Oh, for sure. There are SO many contrasts throughout the story.
Estelle When Valentina was in Canada, she tried to be plain Jane. But she really had no FINAL plan like what was she going to do… pose for portraits forever? Sure, her endgame was getting to Spain but in reality? It felt like she was at a total standstill. Like you, I did want her to make solid relationships but I felt like the possibility of that was so small because she would continue to be on the run.
Magan Yes! I think that’s where a bit of implausibility came into play. Ultimately, I feel like this is a Catch-22. Her returning home was the ONLY thing that really allowed her to break free. But it also was my least favorite part of the book because she made some poor decisions. (I think you feel otherwise here.)
Estelle Does a character making poor decisions affect the likability of the book for you? I’m curious about this.
Magan No, I actually just didn’t think a lot of things made sense here. I hated the main character in TEASE, but ultimately really enjoyed that book.
Estelle Do we put too much of ourselves in the characters we are reading? (I’m not even sure I would have run away.) Can we explain what didn’t make sense without telling secrets?
Magan I think a lot of things felt contrived for me. I don’t feel like I can say specifically because I don’t want to ruin the book, but things blew up and escalated so much and there were a few surprises that I didn’t anticipate, but one in particular about a character I didn’t really find believable.
Estelle I hope that paragraph piques the interest of every one of our readers because I read it and I’m like TELL ME I WANT TO KNOW WHAT WHAT. I’ve read a few other thrillers this year, and those experiences really shaped how I felt about this one. While I enjoyed them and I’m not sad I read them, I think Martinez really succeeded in places they didn’t.
Magan That makes a lot of sense to me. You have recent reads to compare it to. There were great surprises too. I really loved that there were times I just did NOT know what to think about a character. IS HE GOOD? Do I trust him?
Estelle YES EXACTLY. She kept surprising me, she made me fall in love with Miami when I should have hated it, and she made me suspicious of every single character we came in contact with. I don’t think many authors can make you laugh in the middle of some crazy tale like this one either. That’s why I keep bringing up the dialogue. It felt so pitch perfect and natural. That’s hard to do.
Magan I think the suspicion of the characters was a definite positive for me. Especially when it came to the brothers, I was curious, but also felt a little skeezy when I read about her posing for Lucien’s paintings (and they were so innocent).
Estelle Oh agree. It was so so creepy.
Magan I think this will for sure be a read that people will discuss. A lot of it will come down to how black and white you are when it comes to right and wrong. Do you agree?
Estelle Ah! I don’t know how to answer that. I do? I mean, it almost a little controversial. More than anything I appreciate a book that challenges me to think about why a character is doing something and sometimes why a character doesn’t think things through before they move forth with a decision.
Magan I feel like by asking you that question I had this little self-realization. I think I do tend to categorize things into neat little bubbles. I don’t like grey areas. And for me, the family situation was absolutely wrong. There is no question that I had very strong feelings about it. I think that might be why I didn’t understand her interferences. How could she do what she did when she too felt things were so wrong? That’s when things got messy for me. Am I making sense at all?
Estelle I’m reading those questions out loud to myself. Maybe she just went a little nuts? That’s all I got. I think it makes sense. I didn’t get it either. But maybe that goes back to what we were saying before about her being two different things. She acts adult but also childlike and she was sort of throwing a tantrum and taking control.
Magan I think that’s a really great way of putting it. Honestly. So many contradictions.
Estelle It’s uncomfortable for any reader, which is why (and I say this sadly) I know it won’t be for everyone. This is how I feel about Terra McVoy’s IN DEEP as well. (Two recs in one!)
Magan Woot woot! (Still need to read that one.) That’s the thing — even with my reservations about her decisions, I’m not disappointed I read it.
Estelle You’ve read a few other books by Jessica. Don’t you agree it’s so hard to compare them because they are totally different animals?
Magan Yes! I think I’ve just read this one and Virtuosity (haven’t read The Vow yet). In my experience, the common thread is that she likes to clash family members against one another. That’s where the drama stems from in both of those.
Estelle Also the contrasts in decision making and behavior, too. I was just rereading my review of The Vow and I said “is it immaturity or idealism” that makes these characters decide certain things.
Magan Mmmm. Very nice, E.
Estelle There are truly SO many ways to view a story, and I can’t say enough about being given that opportunity. So many times we are spoon-fed beliefs and reasons behind actions in books. Even though you and I didn’t feel the same about the book, I’m so exhilarated by our conversation and even more blown away. This is what reading and discussing these books are all about.
Magan I agree! I’ve really been looking forward to talking about this one, knowing we felt so differently. In the past, we’ve had very similar feelings on many of the books we’ve reviewed together. I love that I can see and understand how you felt, even if I didn’t relate in the same way.
Estelle Exactly! Any final thoughts on Kiss Kill Vanish? Buy, Borrow, Worth It or Skip for you?
Magan Oh, geez. I think it falls between Borrow and Worth It for me. It would make a great book club book — so many different responses to it, I’m sure!
Estelle One thing I wanted to point out was the diversity of the characters in the book. Martinez always seems to get swept under the rug when it comes to this even when she does it well! So yet again, loved the subtly there. As for my rating, definitely a buy it. First of all, the cover is beautiful and second, I have to read this one again because it seems like a book where you discovering something new each time you read it. (Sidenote: there’s a part with feet that grossed me out and almost made me cry. Had to mention it.)
Magan Oh, geez. Yep, that part wasn’t fun at all. I do think depending on what you’re going through at the time you read this, you might have differing opinions.
Estelle Totally. And if you think this might not be your cup of tea, I highly recommend The Vow (which just came out in paperback!).

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Have you read Kiss Kill Vanish? What did you think? 

If you’re on the fence about KISS KILL VANISH, Barnes & Noble is having a sale! Click the link below to save a few dollars!
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October 23, 2014 - 1:41 pm

Cassie @ Happy Book Lovers - I’ve had my eye on this one since I saw the cover because it really stands out to me. And I think it’s kind of fun to read a book with lots of different opinions! It was fun reading your POVs! :)

October 9, 2014 - 12:05 am

Alexa S. - Kiss Kill Vanish was a pretty fun surprise for me! I didn’t expect to be swept up in this book, but I totally was. Martinez delivers a pretty solid mystery/thriller type tale, and I can’t wait to read more of her stuff!

October 8, 2014 - 12:53 pm

Jess @ Gone with the Words - A thing with feet that grossed you out and almost made you cry? That sounds terrible! LOL And I’m not sure I want to find out what it is! But aside from that, you guys have me totally on the fence about this one. I have yet to read one of her books. Something about the author having my name really weirds me out and is part of the reason why I haven’t read any of her books yet. Totally dumb, but there you have it. lol

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Estelle: Bleed Like Me by Christa Desir

Bleed Like Me by Christa DesirBleed Like Me by Christa Desir ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 288
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: absent parents, intense romance, secrets
Format read: ARC from Publisher via Edelweiss.

Summary: With her parents otherwise occupied with her adoptive brothers, Gannon is used to living pretty much on her own. Despite the support of her coworkers and a friend who really cares, Gannon detaches a lot until she meets Brooks. For the first time in a long time, someone is paying attention to her and wants to be with her. It’s not like her coworkers and friend. He’s fixated on her. Together, they jump straight into an intense, addictive relationship filled with secrets and deceit, as well as the overwhelming need to start fresh.

Christa Desir isn’t the kind of author to beat around the bush. I learned that when I read her haunting and real Fault Line. Almost a year since I first tried out her writing, Fault Line continues to be a book I think about a lot. Needless to say, I was anxious to see what she would have in store for me with Bleed Like Me.

If you are looking for intense and gritty novels out of young adult, I urge you to find Christa’s books. You will absolutely devour them, even as heartbreaking and painful as they are. Bleed Like Me tells us the story of Amelia (called Gannon) who is living with her parents and three adopted brothers. Until her brothers came along, she had been the pride and joy of her household but her brothers have never assimilated well to their home and the attention of her parents has shifted to them exclusively. Gannon gets lost in all the yelling between her parents about how to raise these kids, and all the scheming and disrespectful actions of her brothers. This situation in Gannon’s backstory is a difficult one to fathom; it doesn’t seem like there was a way out. Her mom continues to coddle the boys, the dad detaches himself from their home life, and Gannon is left to observe all of this from a distance.

It’s no surprise that Brooks’s attention intrigues her, except it kind of is because she has a girlfriend who seems to really care for her, and two coworkers who watch her back as well. But I believe years of her parents forgetting her and the breakup of the family she always knew really affected who she attaches herself to. Brooks is direct in an almost creepy way, but she cannot stop thinking about him or stay away from him. She needs him too quickly. He takes possession of her so swiftly, and it makes her feel something, like her cutting; two practices she can’t seem to give up. Desir does not shy away from the graphic cutting scenes either. I was, unfortunately, having lunch when I read the first one and I felt so sick.

In a book like this, readers are prone to realizing the danger the main character is in before she does. You want to warn her. You want to tell someone she knows. But you also know it doesn’t matter what you or someone else says. Gannon is one determined person when it comes to Brooks and time apart makes her dependence on him grow even more solid. Anything she sees in her future spells “Brooks”. Here’s the thing about him, though: as possessive he is, I didn’t think of him as the bad guy. He had his own baggage to deal with. Part of me blamed Gannon’s parents for not paying attention and part of me wanted Gannon to realize her life could not go in this direction and be okay. Obviously, a hurricane of emotions for this reader.

Basically, I sat back and let Desir take me on a ride I knew would come to a screeching halt in some way. This author has the power to suck you into the scariest of situations and keep you interested all the way through. Most importantly, without there having to be a lesson with a big red bow at the end. My biggest takeaway from this book was that sometimes the adults in our lives do not do well by us. When things get bad and they are forced to wake up, they still don’t. It’s up to us to decide what we do next and hopefully part of that conclusion, however shaky the ride is, includes acceptance.

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October 8, 2014 - 11:59 pm

Alexa S. - Bleed Like Me sounds so creepily intense, and I’m insanely curious to see how this turns out. My heart already goes out to Gannon, and I want to read her story!

October 7, 2014 - 12:43 pm

Jess @ Gone with the Words - This sounds VERY intense! Fault Line was such a topic of discussion last year and I’ve yet to read it, but it definitely put this author on my radar. I’m not a huge fan of the possessive boyfriend thing, but if you say it’s not bad then I’ll keep an open mind when reading this. Great review, Estelle!

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