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Estelle: A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook + Brendan Halpin

Book Cover of A Really Awesome MessA Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook + Brendan Halpin
Publication Date: July 23, 2013
Publisher: Egmont USA
Pages: 288
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: therapy, depression, eating disorders
Format read: eBook from Publisher via NetGalley (Thanks!)

Summary: Justin and Emmy are two teens who meet at a therapy/boarding school where they are battling very different demons. What seems like a total damper on their summer soon evolves into group adventures surrounding a pig, Harry Potter, food stealing, and more.

The group that made up Justin and Emmy’s Anger Management class felt straight out of The Breakfast Club to me. The outcasts, each with their own set of problems, working through whatever got them to this reform school in the first place. Or maybe even denying themselves the chance to work through these issues is what truly bonds these unlikely friends.

Though, the center of A Really Awesome Mess is on Justin and Emmy. In alternating chapters, both tell about their experiences at the school, in classes, glancing at each other, disliking one another, and also how exactly they got roped into this position to begin with. The story felt a little slow for me at first, and it wasn’t until both character started opening up a little bit more I felt more invested in these two characters and their struggle to get better.

It’s not every day that the main character in a young adult novel is struggling with identity issues after being adopted. I really liked this aspect of A Really Awesome Mess. Emmy was unable to believe that her parents truly loved her, especially when they had their own biological daughter to care for too. On the other hand, Justin had to contend with a father who just really wasn’t a great guy. Like Emmy, he also had to accept certain aspects of his family, and I enjoyed watching the process it took for him to come to these conclusions.

Even though Halpin and Cook’s book revolves around therapy, there is a ton of adventure to go around when all the kids from the Anger Management class are involved. That was by far my favorite aspect of the book: the friendships formed out of necessity growing into something supportive and true. It was fun tagging along on the wild “pig” chase and seeing what happens.

Definitely more of a light-hearted look at teens struggling with various obstacles, A Really Awesome Mess is a pretty fast-paced read with unique characters, a blossoming romance, and a cinematic feel.

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August 13, 2013 - 2:45 pm

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - I think I read the first chapter or two of this one and I just couldn’t get into it. Even though you didn’t love it your review kind of makes me want to give it another shot.

(Last blog comment for me today, I’m catching up on my RSS reader after being gone for 2 weeks!)

August 11, 2013 - 11:24 am

Alexa Y. - The one thing I can say about this book? It’s definitely FUN. I can envision this as being a fun film, particularly with the exaggerated characters in the group of friends. Definitely a good read for me 🙂

August 5, 2013 - 7:33 pm

Bookworm1858 - I did not really like the pig aspect (felt drawn out and made it hard to eat my bacon sandwich) but I did enjoy the group meetings a ton and thought that was where the book really shone in addition to the tackling of less commonly discussed issues like feeling unwanted because adopted.

August 5, 2013 - 7:28 pm

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - You had me at Harry Potter :). I’m going to see if my library has this one 😉

August 5, 2013 - 6:27 pm

Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader - I’ve heard wonderful things about this story thus far and I’m really excited to read it, particularly after your Breakfast Club reference, which has always been one of my favourite films! From what I’ve heard A Really Awesome Mess has the potential to remove some of the stigma surrounding mental illness by approaching it in a more relatable manner, and like you, I love the fact that it focuses on identity issues stemming from adoption. One of my cousins is adopted and struggled with this throughout her infancy and teens and there was very little for her to turn to in the way of fiction covering these or similar issues. I’ll definitely be recommending this novel to her and picking it up myself!

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On a Personal Note: The Internet + I

A few weeks ago I was at a bar with one of my friends after a long work day and the guy next to us asked how we knew each other.

I kind of laughed to myself because I met Melissa “on the internet.” (She’s the second best thing to a book blogger; she writes about Disney!) But saying that out loud to a stranger? You never know if they are going to get it. But luckily for us, the guy was kind of drunk (but sweet) and thought it was nice we met because we both “love Mickey Mouse”.

Even though I’m so wrapped up in happenings “online” (and it seems like more and more people are these days), there’s still this stigma attached to “the internet” for some — whether it’s about dating, making friends, or being nerdy enough to work a ton for no monetary gain on Disney or books blogs. Real life and the internet mesh so much for me that I don’t even blink at these things. In fact, I encourage them.

Being present on the internet has helped me to smooth out transitions in my personal life, make real-life friends who get me and my hobbies, and teach me everything from Disney history to the publishing industry to steaming my own cauliflower.

One of my favorite bloggers posted this “state of the blogosphere” piece recently, and I started to feel so nostalgic for some reason. It made me think about why I got into blogging in the first place.

Did you know I was a writing major in college? After two years of an intensive writing program that led up to my graduation, I was so drained. I didn’t think I wanted to pick up a mechanical pencil again. Or think about fiction. Or even write about my own experiences. (I took a fantastic and pretty much life-changing memoir writing class my senior year.) So I didn’t. I wasn’t even reading books, which wasn’t like me either. I dove into a long-distance relationship with my now-husband (which required a lot of traveling) and I started making greeting cards and watching baseball again.

It wasn’t until one of my dearest friends asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding that I started getting into blogs. I read about how to create a personal and amazing bridal shower until I was “something blue” in the face. Weddingbee will always hold a special place in my heart for that reason. It was full of brides concocting some of the most beautiful wedding events I had ever seen or thought about. I had my heart set on being a Bee contributor when I got engaged. So I started writing a blog about wedding planning, and I applied.

I didn’t get it.

I can’t even tell you how crushed I was. I cried a lot. I felt like it was such a lost opportunity because I knew I was a good writer, and I knew our wedding would be amazing and our process could help others. But I think a lot of my problem was voice. Finding my own. Being myself but also saying something that sparked something in others. Maybe my voice sounded too much like the others on the blog. Even though I wasn’t an official Bee writer somehow I became associated with the blog anyway, and this was how I fell into Twitter.

Oh, Twitter, love of my life. You have brought such wonderful (and difficult) things into my world.

This is the thing about the internet. There is always a new bandwagon to jump on. Staying afloat in this crazy rabbit hole is about doing what works for you. (Even though it’s hard not to get swayed by shiny things.) And I do think it works best when you are yourself. When it’s not always about perfection and beautiful pictures and graphics. Are you a person or are you a brand? I can easily write about how wonderful I think something Disney related is, and then turn around the next day and talk about something else within the company that doesn’t work for me. This is real life. Honest opinions. Changing judgments. Connecting to other people who may or may not feel the same way too.

But there’s a danger in connection too. How can you tell the difference between people who build themselves up like a product and the real ones who want to actually know you? I have fallen into this trap before, and it hurts a lot. To think you are building this relationship with someone only to realize they have been creating this persona and it’s really more about them than you. I’ve been too trusting, too honest, too willing to give a true piece of myself to some people that I have been tricked by the “friendliness” of social media and the blogosphere. And it’s so easy for that to happen to anyone. Said person wants to show their best self and it is not always their true self.

Even though these internet connections start on a screen, that next step, bridging that (cyber) space between blog friend and real life friend, requires the same faith and trust you hold on to when making a new friend in any other environment. There’s still the same chance it might not work out. For whatever reason: you don’t click, the expectation is too built up, or you just don’t have enough in common to keep it going. (It’s kind of the same way we pick and choose what blogs we dedicate our time too, isn’t it?)

With blogging, friendship, or even being a dedicated reader of someone’s internet space, there can be a lot of disappointment. It can be competitive when it doesn’t even have to be. But that is just the nature of human existence, I guess. That just means there’s that flip side too. Even if you never speak directly, you might draw inspiration from one person and see your life reflected in someone else’s. Ironic or not, this internet world really does make us feel less alone.

For me, “the state of the blogosphere” and the sense of community go hand-in-hand. My tastes are always swayed by those who seem sincere and honest. And that’s another thing that doesn’t just apply to the internet. I feel like sincerity and truth are two things I expect (and deserve) in my daily life too. So the more I talk about, or the longer this post gets (ha), I realize that line between real life and the internet isn’t really tangible vs. imaginary. It blurs even when we aren’t thinking about it.

July 22, 2015 - 12:01 am

Friday Rants: Blogger Guilt and a Blog Manifesto - Mostly YA Lit - […] and enjoy and comment on some of the fun, thoughtful, and creative posts out there. In particular, this post by Estelle from Rather Be Reading on her experiences living life online, and the post that she links to about personal blogging and staying true to one’s blogging […]

December 27, 2013 - 9:02 am

Estelle's End of the Year Survey (So Long 2013), Estelle - […] really loved the feedback that I got for my Internet + I post. It was very difficult to hit publish on this one, but I was comforted to see how many people […]

August 11, 2013 - 10:55 am

Alexa Y. - Well, this post is just brilliantly written. You did a great job expressing your thoughts on this internet-person-friendship thing (I’m just making my own combination of words right now, clearly). I know we’ve discussed this before, but I definitely mostly agree with what you have to say here. The people who I love the most on the internet are the ones that come across as just that – PEOPLE. Not brands, not packaged blogs, but real people that I can be friends with. While it’s not always easy to tell what kind of person a blogger is based on their online persona, I like to remain hopeful about the friends I make online becoming friends in real life (like you, obviously).

August 7, 2013 - 11:53 am

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - This is such a well-written post, Estelle. I didn’t realize that you’d studied writing; I thought you were just naturally so good at it! This post rings so true. Since I friended a few of my blogger buddies on Facebook, I find myself mentioning these friends in conversations, such as “My friend in Texas said….” which sometimes leads people to ask, how do you know someone in TEXAS?? And the response is that awkward, “Um, we met on the Internet?” Yet, I feel so blessed to have made these blogger friends, since you all love reading as much as (or even more than) I do. I have friends that read, but none that are as passionate about reading as I am, so it’s so wonderful to have friends to share my passion, even if they live far away and we’ve never met in real life.

In a long winded way, I just wanted to say thank you for publicly, and so eloquently, staring that online friendships are real and genuine. Especially the bookish sort 😉 xoxo

August 5, 2013 - 9:48 pm

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - E, do you know how much I adore you? Because I think you do. But in case you don’t, you should. xoxo

August 4, 2013 - 12:35 pm

alice-jane - I connected with this post so much. It’s a really thoughtful post. I feel myself holding back from online stuff sometimes and I feel bad (I guess I can’t take the jump from online to IRL just yet). Part of it may lie in the fact that I’m afraid that I might become disappointed in people once in IRL or that I’m disappointing to others. Definitely though, the question of genuineness is still in my head.

August 3, 2013 - 6:52 pm

Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life - Estelle, this is truly a gorgeous post. I feel like there’s this stigma attached when you say you met someone “off the Internet”. I was trying to explain to my parents a while ago how I knew someone so well at a book signing, and why we were chatting it up even though it was the first time we had meant. It’s a hard concept to grasp, sometimes. But it’s true that the lines are blurring every day. Although I feel like this makes it hard for true geniunism to show up sometimes. I’m always trying to make sure that my blog is ME and I’m who I am, but sometimes when we get caught up in the competitions, it can be so, so hard. It’s the people that really count whom really bring me back, though.

Gorgeous post, Estelle, really. This is kind of blowing my mind.

August 3, 2013 - 2:42 pm

picturemereading - I met my husband online and I know a lot of people think that is really strange!

August 3, 2013 - 11:47 am

molly @ wrapped up in books - Estelle, I loved this post. I was active in a couple other online communities before getting into book blogging, and I have made many friends this way that have translated into real life friends. I also appreciated that “state of the blogosphere” post you linked to. I tend to favor blogs that have a personal and conversational tone over ones that are more promotional.

August 3, 2013 - 11:27 am

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - What a wonderful post, Estelle.

I loved when you said” this internet world really does make us feel less alone.” I couldn’t agree more. The MAIN reason I started a blog was because I saw how close some bloggers were with each other, even if they lived in different places, and I WANTED THAT!

I mean, of course, I love books, and expressing my feelings about books, but more than anything I wanted to connect to other people.

August 2, 2013 - 10:07 pm

Angie - Great post. I have met several friends over the internet. Of course none of them live near me and I met them all on goodreads and have been able to get to know them more on facebook. Glad I am not the only one! I do a project on my blog called Project Disney where I read the books based on the movies and review both the movie and book. You’ll have to check it out. I love Disney!!

August 2, 2013 - 8:14 pm

Sash from Sash and Em - Internet friends ftw! I remember when I was going to meet up with you last summer and my coworkers were like “seriously? your “friend” from the internet? that sounds creepy. call me when you get home so I know you’re safe.” HA. <333

August 2, 2013 - 7:16 pm

Bookworm1858 - Thank for this very personal post-I loved getting to follow your journey a bit and reflecting on where my experiences overlap and agree with yours.

August 2, 2013 - 4:10 pm

Rebecca - I have to confess that I have had so many experiences of getting really emotionally connected to someone via the internet, only to find out I only knew one part of them, that I don’t let myself connect as much anymore. Which is not to say that I am NOT interested in getting to know real people – I so am! I love it! I just hold back from that final step of completely feeling like a Real Life Friend, for a *really* long time. It’s not intentional. I guess I’ve just been burned. I have some internet friends I’ve never met in person whom I’ve known for 13 or 14 years now and I do consider them really true friends, but it seems to take nearly that long for me to get there. I always feel kind of guilty, because I can usually tell if someone else has gotten to that point towards me, and I can feel myself holding back. It’s tough, and it’s specifically because when I was younger most of the people I met and felt very close to ended up being… well, not who I thought they were, and not giving what I expected of them. In retrospect, I think I expected too much, and a lot of that is therefore on me – I’m talking about when I was a teenager. But it did change me and I try not to expect anything from anyone now, and there’s a detachment as a result.

On the flip side, I’m always *really* delighted when I *do* get genuine friendship from anyone. 🙂 Does this make sense? Or does it just make me sound like a cold jerk? LOL! This is a terrific post, btw. Very thoughtful and got me thinking a lot, too! (Of course I end up thinking of “Am I a bad friend?” because that seems to always be my first move: to judge myself. LOL!)

August 2, 2013 - 3:38 pm

Jessica T - Wonderful post my friend! So well said and I think a lot of us can relate. We get wrapped up in the twitter conversations and blogs and do we really know who’s behind that keyboard?? I try to be honest and I am now questioning how I even come across online!! Really something to chew on…

Love you friend. Glad the internets brought us together! 😉

August 2, 2013 - 3:33 pm

Layla - YES. This recently happened to me. I think you know most of my friendships were started online (which to me, makes them no different that in person friendships) and one person recently revealed who they really are. That’s just as shocking to me online as it is in person. I consider myself to “know” my online friends and it’s weird when you find out that you don’t, not really. And all it took was that one person to instill distrust in me for a whole group of people, which may or may not be fair. However, it is what it is. I think it taught me a lesson about my online friendships and their sincerity factor, or lack thereof, at times.

August 2, 2013 - 2:57 pm

Anni - Love this post, Estelle. But it makes me sad in a way because I know exactly what you mean. I’ve been mostly lucky in who I’ve met – and I’ve made a few of my closest friends online! – but at the same time, there are definitely those people who come across as so sweet & kind online, and then you meet them, and they don’t even seem to care.

I will say, I feel like the roughest part of the genuine connections we can make online in maintaining them. Most days I feel like I can barely keep up with my business online (especially during wedding season!) and then I realize that it’s been months since I’ve made it to my friends’ blogs, or started a G chat session. And that really does suck, because I feel like if we lived in the same city it’d be so easy to say “hey, let’s have a wine night!” and unplug for awhile. If that makes any sense at all?

August 2, 2013 - 2:24 pm

Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit - Fascinating post, Estelle. I feel like we are definitely in this state of wanting complete “authenticity” in our communication online. We want a brand to answer as a person. We want to know real people, not just people who are promoting themselves. And yes, we deserve that online just as we do in real life. But, as someone who works in public relations, I’m always, ALWAYS cognizant of how I present myself on Twitter, on my blog, on all social media…so I always wonder whether I’m actually putting myself out there, or it’s just a version of myself. I always wonder about taking that leap to real life – whether people will like me, whether I will be the same. I want to be me with my voice, but I do feel like social media is a bit of an easy way to be the best part of me. I feel like I’m definitely funnier and a better “talker” online than I am in real life. So, does being that “best part of me” online inform who I am in real life as well?

All this to say…thanks for making me think, Estelle. I love this post.

Also, I watched your video with your reading husband yesterday, and you guys are so cute! I read in bed with my husband all the time, but we’re not picky about turning away from each other =)

August 2, 2013 - 2:12 pm

Melissa - Love this, you rock, and I adore you. 🙂 (Short & sweet like me haha)

August 2, 2013 - 11:58 am

jennyburgo - This post rang very true for me. Engaging with people online is wonderful – bridging that gap into RL and explaining to your “real life” friends who these people are can get dicey.

I have also found that the desire to be ‘popular’ is just as real in my online life as it is in my real life, and sometimes following those who don’t seem as sincere seems to be a product of that. It’s interesting to see how that plays out online v. IRL. And sometimes sharing opinions that aren’t as widely held can be scary too! But it’s your forum to do that, isn’t?

Great post — I don’t comment here a lot, but I read all the book recs and all the personal post and you and Magan run a really wonderful site <3

August 2, 2013 - 11:48 am

Ashley - I love and adore this post so much. I’ve been thinking more and more about friendships online and off. So yes, thank you.

August 2, 2013 - 11:39 am

Estelle - Thanks lady. I really appreciate that. 🙂 I want to hear all your thoughts!

August 2, 2013 - 11:32 am

Katherine - Estelle. This is a really great post. I am feeling a lot of feelings about this. Thank you for sharing, and for being so genuine.

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Estelle: Five Summers by Una LaMarche

Five Summers by Una LaMarche ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: May 16, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 384
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: summer camp, friend reunion, old crushes, secrets
Format read: ARC paperback lent to me by Lena from Addicted 2 Novels. (Thanks!)

Summary: It’s been three years since four best friends have been together at the place where it all started: summer camp. Will secrets (old and new) affect their bond?

In Estelle world, comparing a book to Summer Sisters by Judy Blume and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares is like hitting the jackpot. Those titles have been some of my favorites for years and years now. It’s also kind of scary to see two of your favorite books written on the back of a brand new one because your expectations might skyrocket and the possibility of getting disappointed is so much greater.


While Five Summers didn’t exactly reach the Summer Sisters/Traveling Pants level for me, it did have the same essence of those two classics: the joys and the difficulties of friendships, the years that bring people together and pull them apart, secrets kept that once seemed necessary but risk ruining everything.

I think most of us know that friendships can be rough. Especially when you don’t see each other every single day. (Which is most cases, actually.) So for Emma, Skylar, Maddie, and Jo to create such a bond at 9 years old, spend 5 summers enjoying every moment of summer camp, and then reuniting after not seeing each other for 3 years (and not keeping the best touch)? That’s a lot of time to miss each other, and a lot of time to grow apart.

Through flashbacks and alternating POVs from each of the girls, we get to find how the girls became friends in the first place and where they are now. LaMarche gives each of the them relatable challenges and problems, and I liked that. Anyone could understand feelings of embarrassment, fear of moving forward, working way too hard, and pressure from parents. I did favor Emma and Skylar’s stories best, though. I felt like I was always waiting for their turn to come around again. Their locked in a love triangle (though Emma doesn’t know it) and it’s created some distance between them. I really enjoyed their closeness though and I was really rooting for them to cut the crap, tell the truth, and regain their best friendship again.

The object of this love triangle is Emma’s long-time crush, Adam. I’ll admit. I would have fallen for him too. Utterly charming but so real when he is talking to you one-on-one. What is it about guys like these? After failing to share her true feelings with him on their last day of camp, seeing him 3 years later hits Emma like a ton of bricks. One last chance to make something happen and all those romantic notions, right? Sigh. This portion of the story had me feeling a mix of things: regret, excitement, and anger.

Five Summers was really an enjoyable read for me. I really felt for these friendships, and hoped these girls would make it out of their 3-day reunion to the other side with something stronger. While I didn’t always agree with the structuring of the book (the placement of the flashbacks made it jarring at times and while I understand the sentiment of the last chapter, I didn’t think it was necessary there) and the characters could have used more sculpting to make them feel a bit more different from each other (not just in circumstance but in tone), it still felt fast-paced and kept me interested.

I’m kind of a sucker for a summer camp story, too. So that was just icing on the cake. rather be reading borrow from the library icon

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August 25, 2014 - 9:01 am

Like No Other by Una LaMarche (YA Book Review) - […] Add to Goodreads | Buy on B&N | Buy on Amazon | Review of Five Summers […]

August 11, 2013 - 10:47 am

Alexa Y. - Well. I’m a sucker for stories about friendship, so I’m inclined to pick this one up! I do love that it’s set at summer camp. And I love that it tells the story of how their friendship started and where it is now. This DEFINITELY sounds like a book I would probably enjoy!

August 5, 2013 - 9:55 pm

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - Ok, I’m stopping before going past the first paragraph to say 1) I’ve never read Summer Sisters (don’t hit me) and 2) I started Traveling Pants today!!! #winning (yes, a hashtag) Okay, this sounds so fun. I like this idea of the love triangle – judge me if you want to – so I just put this one on hold for me at the library. Also, how cute is that cover??? I love it.

August 5, 2013 - 7:44 am

Amy @ bookgoonie - Im a sucker too. Indian Summer has long made me want to experience the summer camp thing. Sigh. I think I’m a tad old. Summer Camp for 40 year olds would just be sad. Well I guess summer conferences with field trips to 6th Str is all ill have. Kind of sad.

August 3, 2013 - 8:55 am

Ash @ Paranormal Indulgence - I have a strong feeling that I’m going to enjoy this one since I like friendship stories so much. I hated summer camp and made it my mission in life to try to get out of it when I was growing up, but that could have something do with how sucky the one is in my hometown. Still, I like summer camp stories where I can sort of rewrite those horrible memories with the characters’.

The relationship with Adam is going to cause me a serious anxiety attack, isn’t it? All those mixed feelings of anger and regret is going to drive me bananas especially when I think I know what you’re trying to say about that bit. I’m going to be so righteously angry on her behalf, I just know it. I’ve bumped this one up to my tbr for this week and I hope I enjoy it!

August 2, 2013 - 1:35 am

Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader - I really love the fact that this novel seems to focus on the friendship between the four girls as opposed to romance. I’ve always found stories about summer camp fascinating, likely because I never went to one myself growing up (I suspect the novelty might wear off rather quickly) I will say that I often struggle with novels in which there is more than one protagonist, as like your experience with Emma and Skylar, I always tend to favour one or two characters and resent the time when I have to read about someone else instead. I think I’ll follow your advice and borrow this one instead of buying it outright as I love the concept but am not sure how much I’ll actually enjoy this one 🙂

August 1, 2013 - 7:17 pm

Bookworm1858 - I loved the friendship here but got a little tired of the boy drama. I just wanted Skylar to fess up and reconnect with Emma and ditch Adam.

August 1, 2013 - 9:52 am

Cynthia - I had high hopes for this one, it sounds like a really great contemp but I don’t like it when it has several characters and they all sort of sound like the same voice just different circumstances. I might still give it a chance though, since you ended up liking it anyways. Great review Estelle! =)

August 1, 2013 - 9:15 am

Hazel Ureta - I need to read this one! I have a weakness for good stories about friends, really. And stories about camp too. I never went to camp and honestly I feel like I missed out a lot because of that so I guess that’s why I read books about it instead.

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Magan: What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff

magan of rather be reading announces sheWhat to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg, Sandee Hathaway, Sharon Mazel
Publication Date: February 1, 2002
Publisher: Workman Publishing
Pages: 597
Target audience: Pregnant women!
Keywords: babies, pregnancy, expecting a baby, books to read while pregnant
Format read: Whelp, I haven’t actually read it… yet.

Summary: Are you really confused right now? Do you need an explanation.
Continue reading for more details…


Approximately 120,291,584 times I’ve thought about what I would say in this post. I’ve written drafts of it in my head over and over and over again. And now that I’m actually writing it, I feel so nervous. I think I’m actually shaking. I haven’t read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, but some time over the next 27 weeks, I think I might.

Here’s the short version of the story: Dustyn and I are expecting our very first baby. Holy cow, y’all, I am having a BABY. And today, a very special day — our nine-year wedding anniversary — I am so elated to share the news with you guys.

Here are a few answers to commonly asked questions:

  • When is your due date? February 7, 2014.
  • How far along are you? 13 weeks. Hello, second trimester!
  • Will you find out if you’re having a boy or a girl? We’re completely undecided. Part of us thinks it would be so fun to wait, but then we’re also a little bit Type-A and want to know how to plan and prepare. I think having our foster daughter has taught us to be a little more flexible and laid back though. So, anyway, this is still to be determined.
  • How did you keep this a secret? Well, Estelle has known since the very, very beginning. I basically asked her to keep the biggest secret ever because I was so overly fearful that something might happen and I didn’t really know how I would deal with losing a baby and having to explain that. A few people have known, but we just told our grandparents on Saturday (four days ago) that we’re expecting, so don’t worry friends, you’re not far behind!
  • Do you have baby names picked out? Well, you see. Baby Blasig is likely to be born on Estelle’s birthday, February 5th. According to her, we only have one name choice for our future baby boy or girl. 😉

Long Story:

This whole moment, announcing we’re pregnant, is really exceptional and amazing, but also a little bit bittersweet. For a long, long time Dustyn and I have been hoping for this. For the last three years, I’ve been in and out of the doctor’s office more times than I can count because things were just completely out of whack with me. I’ve had tons of friends in this time span that have announced pregnancies, had babies, and even have a second bun in the oven. Despite my excitement and happiness for them, I was always a little bit heartbroken and jealous too. Such a bottle of conflicting emotions and so disappointed in myself that I couldn’t completely push away my sadness and desire to be a mom to celebrate their moments. For all of the time we spent hoping and trying, I am completely aware there may be some of you who are in my shoes right now. (I’ve got tears streaming down my face, thinking about all those emotions I dealt with.) I don’t, at all, want my post to be one that rubs my pregnancy in anyone’s face. I understand.

These last few years, and maybe more specifically, the last 18 months, were some of the toughest I’ve ever been through. I felt so emotionally drained and so fed up with how difficult everything was. I questioned why it had to be so hard for us. Many times I sat at a dinner table with Dustyn and wept as another month passed and we were left waiting. He ever so patiently and lovingly dealt with my roller coaster of emotions and was so supportive. (Sometimes maybe a little too much as he’d say, “I just know it’s going to happen soon.” Maybe his definition of “soon” is different than mine, but man did it feel like an eternity.)

Over a year ago, last June, I sat at a table with Dustyn and we discussed our future family. Adoption was something we had discussed, vaguely, but that night we became a bit more serious about it. We both agreed that we didn’t want to spend years trying to have a baby and then more time waiting to be chosen or waiting to finish the licensing process to foster children. We decided we would take until the end of August to think and pray about what we wanted to do. I kid you not, at church one day the last week of August, they announced a partnership with a foster agency and had sign-ups to begin the classes for licensing. I immediately walked to the table and signed us up (yes, without even discussing with Dustyn first).

magan of rather be reading announces her pregnancy

Dustyn + me after announcing to our grandparents that we are having a baby; we got all of them together by telling them we wanted to have a lunch with them to “celebrate our anniversary.” One of my grandmother’s brought a cake!

From September to February, we worked on our licensing and continued to try for a baby (that phrase is really awkward to me, by the way). More doctor’s appointments came and went and I grew increasingly frustrated that it seemed we weren’t getting anywhere. Nothing was happening! We began receiving phone calls for children needing a foster placement in March and for every time we missed the opportunity to have a child in our home, I wept. I was having a really hard time dealing. Nothing, absolutely nothing, seemed to be working according to plan. I decided I needed a mental and emotional break. I cleared a few weeks of my work schedule to allow myself some time off. The very next day, we were so, so graciously blessed with our beautiful foster daughter.

Over the last few months, I’ve kept a lower stress level and continued to work, but on a much less hectic scale than I had been. I’ve really focused my time and attention on baby girl. I had less time to worry about waiting two weeks after I ovulated to see if I was pregnant. We went to Colorado in May with my family and the trip was somewhat stressful for me. Our foster daughter’s schedule was off and she wasn’t sleeping well. We were also pushing her a bit with inconsistent nap times as we traveled and explored. When we arrived back home and I realized I missed my period, I didn’t even think twice about it. In my mind, I was off because I had been stressed. It took three more days and me running to our house to grab something on Memorial Day and having to clutch my chest because my boobs hurt so badly for me to ask Dustyn, finally, “Do you want to know or do you want to keep waiting?”

First of all, let’s just add a disclaimer right here. Never, ever take a pregnancy test at night, friends. Never.

He was already cuddled up in bed with a book after a long, long day of BBQing with our neighbors and friends. He told me he was ready to know. I grabbed my pregnancy test and went to our second bathroom (our bed looks directly into our bathroom — a) I didn’t want to pee in front of him and b) if I had a breakdown over a negative test result, I was going to need a while to compose myself). The moment the test says “positive,” I start SCREAMING. I should mention that our second bathroom is by baby girl’s bedroom so my screaming caused Dustyn to run out of the bedroom, trying to hush me and saying, “SHHHHH. YOU’RE GOING TO WAKE THE BABY!” I yelled back, oh so happily, “WE DON’T CARE. WE DON’T CARE TONIGHT! WE GOT A POSITIVE. WE ARE HAVING A BABY.”

And there in our hallway, we hugged and cried and laughed and stared in complete utter disbelief that a test had finally, finally, finally come back positive. The next day I took another one just to be sure. The next week, I took another test just to be sure. That night, we called our parents and Face Timed with them to tell them our good news. We swore them to absolute secrecy and they promised they wouldn’t breathe a word to anyone. For all our excitement, there was so much fear in me. I was so scared that after all this time, something was going to happen and this little slice of happiness was going to disappear. We laid in bed that night, giggling like little school girls, so excited and giddy. We couldn’t sleep!

I had a doctor’s appointment at eight weeks. Well, I thought I was eight weeks according to my last cycle, but the baby measured at seven. My due date was pushed back from January 31st to February 7th. After the night we found out, I never got overly emotional or excited about my pregnancy. Fear completely overtook me. At my first appointment, when we saw the baby for the first time, I wept like nobody’s business. The nurse practitioner held my hand and the doctor passed me tissues and patted me on the back. I guess it just didn’t seem “real” until then.


Baby Irmagerd: the 12 week ultrasound

Last week, I had a 12 week check-up and Little Irmagerd (we looked up popular German names and Irmagerd made the top 20 list — it’s our temporary placeholder name) was measuring just fine. Everything looks perfectly okay and now that we’re at trimester number two, we feel confident sharing the news and letting our little secret be known.

I’ve had a relatively blissful first 13 weeks so far. I’ve not suffered from morning sickness, though I did throw up last week because I was brushing my teeth. Stupid gag reflex. I’ve been extremely tired and needed a lot more naps than I ever knew I would need to take. I haven’t had super odd cravings or felt ridiculously emotional. I feel so much like myself, but my stomach is poking out in a very self-conscious-inducing way because I just look pudgy and not pregnant. Everyone told us that once we stopped thinking about having a baby, it would happen. I suppose we have one little girl to thank for taking our minds off of things.

Maybe you’re wondering what we’re planning with her. Maybe you’re wondering if we’ll still want to adopt her. The answer is, if we can, absolutely yes. There’s no question in my mind that we want to make her a permanent member of our family. She feels like ours. We’re a long, long, long way away from knowing what will ultimately happen with her, but for now, we’ll continue to enjoy every single day with her and hope and pray she’ll be ours officially one day.

So friends, there’s the story. I’m having a baby. Rather Be Reading is expanding. (HA.) Nine beautiful years of marriage, and today we celebrate the hope of many, many more to come and the excitement of waiting for our little person to be here. Holy moly.



December 22, 2013 - 12:44 pm

Annual End of Year Book Survey – 2013 Edition! - […] up to their readers and discuss personal issues like Magan’s reflection on foster care and pregnancy announcement make the experience seems all the more personal and allows their readers to connect with them on a […]

November 5, 2013 - 8:00 am

Happy 2nd Anniversary to Rather Be Reading! - […] kind of goes without saying that one of my favorite moments to get to share with you guys was announcing my pregnancy. My whole body was shaking that day as I read your comments, received your tweets/texts, and sobbed […]

August 11, 2013 - 10:31 am

Alexa Y. - I’ve already told you this, but I want to post an official comment on this post because it’s AMAZING. Congratulations to you + D! I can’t think of 2 people more suited to be parents, and I think it’s such a beautiful blessing for you both. Can’t wait to see your little family expand! So excited for Baby Blasig 🙂

August 9, 2013 - 1:56 pm

Kari - Your post just brought tears to my eyes! I’m SO happy for your expanding family! I know what it’s like to be trying for years and see friends being blessed with not one, but two, three and even for kids (one friend of mine is pregnant with baby number SIX). My husband and I welcomed our first baby earlier this year (February 1st!), and we’re beyond grateful for him and the joy he brings to our lives every day. Enjoy every second of your pregnancy! Spend time cherishing your little one as he or she continues to grow and develop inside you (okay, that sounds weird, but hopefully you know what I mean!). Happy, happy day! 🙂

August 8, 2013 - 11:19 pm

Katelyn - I know this comment is getting to you a bit late but I just wanted to let you know that I am so incredibly happy for you and Dustyn! I saw you mention this something in one of your Instagram pics and had to hurry on over to your blog to see what was going on(please don’t be freaked out I was stalking your pics, they’re always just so cute!). But anyways, getting back on track, this post most definitely brought tears to my eyes in the best way possible. I just know that this little baby is going to be so loved and that your little family is going to be even more adorable <3

August 6, 2013 - 12:19 am

elena - I’ve already said this before but AHHHHH SOOOO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!! Cannot wait to see your new baby and I already know you are a fantastic mother!!! Good luck with everything and please keep me updated xx

August 5, 2013 - 10:06 pm

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - MAGAN, you must think I’m the worst friend ever! I’m LATE LATE to the party, but that doesn’t mean I’m any less excited and thrilled and overjoyed at this news. I’m SO thrilled, SO happy, and I just don’t know what to say except that my face hurts from smiling so big. It really does. It probably looks really goofy but I don’t even care. I’m so sorry you didn’t hear from me sooner, but I’m toasting you and Dustyn RIGHT THIS SECOND, right here in my PJ’s. Now my prayers have expanded to included two babies! How exciting. I love it. 1 Samuel 1:27 NIV

August 4, 2013 - 12:51 pm

Liz (Along for the Read) - Congratulations, Magan! Such a beautiful post, and such exciting news! Have a wonderful, healthy pregnancy and enjoy every step of it.

Also, I am loving your current hair colour, and you look fantastic in that photo, it looks like pregnancy is treating you well.

August 3, 2013 - 2:08 pm

Magan - THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU ALL! I read all of your comments with tears streaming down my face. Getting to share the news felt so amazing and I’m so grateful for this little moment in our lives. So happy we get to share it with all of you. Thank you for all the love and support! I’m overwhelmed (in the best of ways!) by you guys! xoxoxo

August 2, 2013 - 8:37 pm

Annette - Your story brought tears to my eyes. I have several family members who have difficulty getting pregnant. One has two children now. One is still waiting and hoping.

Congratulations. Really…I’m so happy for you and your family. God bless you.

August 1, 2013 - 7:57 pm

picturemereading - Congratulations! That is an amazing story 🙂

August 1, 2013 - 1:45 pm

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - I exploded with love all over Twitter yesterday….I’m SO happy for you, Magan. Then, I popped over here to read your post, had a good cry, but couldn’t comment because I couldn’t see the screen through the tears. Perhaps it’s because all of the memories are all so fresh in my mind, but I just can’t wait for you to experience every amazing moment that pregnancy has to offer! I had an inkling of the struggles that you’d been through getting to this point, but you’ve explained it SO eloquently in this post that I just want to give you a massive hug for real.

July 31, 2013 - 10:05 pm

Sash - I’m overjoyed that you’re having a baby! 🙂 I know that you’ll be a great mother. Maybe you’ll even get into audiobooks so the little one can listen to books soon too! 🙂 So happy for you and Dustyn! Muah!

July 31, 2013 - 6:47 pm

Jenny - So very excited for you!! I loved every second of my pregnancy and max is more than I ever could have imagined… I wish the same for you and so much more!!

July 31, 2013 - 6:42 pm

kristi wright - So many happy thoughts coming your way. Congratulations!!! xoxo

July 31, 2013 - 5:48 pm

VeganYANerds - I am so, so happy for you guys! Enjoy every minute of it 🙂 xoxox

July 31, 2013 - 5:47 pm

Tara - I am so unbelievably happy for you and Dustyn!! You are already an amazing mom and baby #2 will be lucky to have you. My positive thoughts will be with you throughout your entire pregnancy 🙂 And I expect baby bump pics stat!

July 31, 2013 - 5:23 pm

Christine @ Oh, Chrys! - This is such amazing, sweet news! I loved the creative way you announced. Wish you the best with your pregnancy! Congratulations!

July 31, 2013 - 4:44 pm

Katie @ Mundie Moms - I AM SO HAPPY for you guys! I am literally in tears for you! I am so, so happy! Seriously! Congratulations! What an amazing time in your lives. You are such an amazing person, and I have always thought of you as an anchor of strength. Now I seriously want to go out and buy you baby items. I am dancing around for you. Enjoy this moment Magan! I could not be any happier for your family!

July 31, 2013 - 4:41 pm

Lori - I already told you that this made me cry, but I just read it again and got teary all over again! It took us a long time to get pregnant and we had given up for about a year and accepted it wasn’t going to happen…and then it did. Now I can’t imagine a life without that little guy. So this makes me extra thrilled for you guys.
I absolutely loved being pregnant and I miss it! I hope that yours continues to be smooth and that you enjoy it as much as I did. It’s such an amazing time. Just want until you start feeling that baby move! There’s nothing like it. Oh, and I never had bad morning sickness, but brushing my teeth made me throw up 3 out of 5 times lol. I’m going to stop rambling now, but I just gets so excited about pregnancy and babies these days.

Congrats again. You guys are already wonderful parents!

July 31, 2013 - 4:06 pm

Randi M - Happy anniversary & CONGRATULATIONS! I can’t even begin to imagine how hard the last few years have been for your family. Great news is great. 🙂

July 31, 2013 - 3:36 pm

Tressa - Congratulations! 🙂

July 31, 2013 - 3:30 pm

Nikki @ The Paper Sea - Such exciting news! I am so happy for you and Dustyn! Congratulations, and I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes well!

July 31, 2013 - 2:59 pm

Cynthia - Congratulations Magan!!!!! I’m so happy for you!!! =D and she looks lovely already in that ultrasound.

July 31, 2013 - 2:24 pm

Daisy - OMG!!! CONGRATULATIONS!! 😀 I’m so happy for you guys!!!

July 31, 2013 - 2:18 pm

Elora Nicole - Welp. I’m crying. This is beautiful, Magan. SO EXCITED FOR YOU. <3

July 31, 2013 - 2:00 pm

Hollie @ Music, Books and Tea - Congratulations! I’m so happy for you Magan, here’s to a healthy and happy pregnancy for you! 🙂

July 31, 2013 - 1:28 pm

Elissa - I’m so happy for you, Magan. And this is so wonderfully written; I don’t consider myself maternal by any means but reading about how you felt when you saw the positive test made me want to cry for you (with happiness). What an amazing family you guys are!!!

July 31, 2013 - 1:13 pm

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - AHHHH congrats, Magan!!!! That story brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing your story and I am just over the moon for you guys! I’m so happy for you! xoxo

July 31, 2013 - 12:46 pm

Jessie @ Jessie Marie Reads - Oh. My. Goodness. CONGRATULATIONS! I’m in a puddle of my own tears of joy for you and yours and am so excited. What a beautiful story with a fantastic ending and the most promising of futures. Ah! Babies. Absolutely beautiful. Congratulations and best wishes for a super awesome pregnancy. : )

July 31, 2013 - 12:34 pm

Jess @ Gone with the Words - AAAAAAH! I am sitting here at work, CRYING because I am SO, SO HAPPY for you guys!! And just another reminder of things happening when their meant to, gosh, what wonderful news, Magan. I wish I could totally hug you right nooooow!

July 31, 2013 - 12:30 pm

Allison L - Ahhh Magan! I’m teary eyed right now because I’m so happy for you. Congratulations!! <3

July 31, 2013 - 12:30 pm

Hazel - I’m real happy for you guys!!! Congratulations!!!!

July 31, 2013 - 12:22 pm

Elizabeth @ Don't Take My Books Away - Congratulations! It is such a joy to be a parent (as I am sure your foster daughter has already taught you) and pregnancy is a really special time. I hope you enjoy it, even with its discomforts. And SO SO soon there will be a precious little baby to cuddle and love and watch grow– SO much fun!

July 31, 2013 - 12:18 pm

Betty - YAY!!! Congratulations!!!!! <3 This post literally made me tear up! So many of my friends have struggled to get pregnant or have gone through miscarriages. Pregnancy seems so simple and natural, yet it isn't always that easy! So so soooo happy for you– wish you all the absolute best!!!

July 31, 2013 - 12:13 pm

Lena @ Addicted 2 Novels - OMG, congratulations! That’s so amazing. Your baby was suppose to be born on my birthday (aka Justin Timberlake’s birthday). How funny!

AHHH, I’m seriously dying of happiness right now for the both of you. I know how long you’ve wanted this and already know what an amazing mother you are and will be. I hope the baby likes being photographed!

July 31, 2013 - 12:08 pm


July 31, 2013 - 12:08 pm

Melissa Walker - AHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I love everything, everything, everything about the way you’ve expressed yourself here, and I am so happy for you guys. Your home is already full of love, it’s clear. What a lucky, lucky baby.

July 31, 2013 - 12:05 pm

Rachel - I totally skipped this post at first because I thought it was something else, but oh my gosh! I’m so so excited for you! Reading your story almost had me in tears I’ve known people in your position. Eeek! Best news ever 🙂

July 31, 2013 - 12:03 pm

Cassie - OH MY GODDDDDDDDDD Congratulations sweetheart!!! I HAVE NO DOUBT YOU WILL TREASURE EVERY MOMENT!! <3 congratttttttttttttttsssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

July 31, 2013 - 12:01 pm

Ginger @ GReads! - Everything happens for a reason <3 I love you sweet friend!

July 31, 2013 - 11:54 am

Ashley - I know I’ve told you this on instagram (heartontheline) and twitter (_ash) and we’re new friends, but I am so, so, so, so happy for you. Filled with love and joy for you. That baby (and your foster baby) are so lucky.

July 31, 2013 - 11:42 am

daphne - I don’t even know you and this has made me so happy. I’m so excited for you to become a mom. It’s a beautiful journey and it seems like you & your hubby are starting out on the right foot. Congratulations! I know you’re gonna be wonderful parents and your baby (and foster baby girl) are very lucky to have you guys.

July 31, 2013 - 11:40 am

Natalie @ books, etc - Congratulations Magan!!! I am so so happy for you guys <3

July 31, 2013 - 11:38 am

Morgan Rooks - Oh my goodness, what exciting news!! Congratulations!! Sending good vibes for a happy, healthy pregnancy!

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Magan: Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend by by Louise Rozett

Warning: This review may contain spoilers for Confessions of an Angry Girl. Proceed with caution.

Book Review of Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend by Louise Rozett

Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend by Louise Rozett
Series: Confessions #2 (My review for Confessions of an Angry Girl.)
Publication Date: July 25, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 288
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: therapy, confusing relationships, bullying, domestic violence
Format read: ARC received via NetGalley. Thank you to Harlequin Teen!

Summary: Soon to begin her sophomore year of high school, Rose is determined to have a different experience than her last year. She’s reinventing herself while trying to figure out her questionable relationship with Jamie and dealing with heaps of family drama that continues to mount after the death of her father last year.

At the end of Confessions of an Angry Girl, there was a huge prom debacle involving crazy Regina (don’t worry — I’m being vague) and Rose was left more confused than ever about Jamie Forta. He had a very cryptic note delivered to her and their contact was cut off. The summer months have separated Jamie and Rose, and that’s right where Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend begins. Rose is about to begin her sophomore year of high school. She and Jamie haven’t spoken or seen each other in months.

Rose is still very hard on herself — wishes she had more style and thinks her hair is ridiculous — but she’s determined to have a better year. She decides that she’ll be Rose 2.0, reinvented and sassier than ever. She ditches the school band and tries to find a new niche by auditioning for the school musical. (All the while questioning whether or not she can sing.)

She and Tracy, after much separation and freshman-year-drama, are finally on the mend again. Tracy’s had a huge wake-up call and while Rose still wishes things had happened a bit differently, she’s happy to be reunited with her best friend. It was pretty refreshing to see a friendship so deeply explored — to go from a very fragile state and back to a healthy and happy place again. (That’s real life; friendships ebb and flow.)

Then there’s her family. Of course. Her brother, Peter, has bigger issues. He and Rose have almost lost touch completely; she knows he’s in trouble, but there’s really no way to reach him. She and her mom are attending family therapy sessions together. These were some of my favorite scenes because Rozett did a lovely job making them comical; Rose’s mom has a helluva time turning off her therapist switch and frequently gets put in her place by their therapist.

And finally, there’s Jamie. He’s not sure Rose is good enough for him so he’d rather back away than get more serious. (Hmm.) And Rose just can’t help but fall for him a little more every day. Regina is sadly still on the peripheral and Rose doesn’t really understand their relationship. They aren’t dating anymore, but Jamie can’t seem to step away.

Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend is a fantastic follow-up novel. Rose really grows and matures in ways that made me proud; she speaks up for herself and continues to do the right thing. Sure, Jamie and Rose’s relationship made me feel a little like — GAH! JUST MAKE UP YOUR MINDS ALREADY! — but once I flipped the final page, I felt it all made sense. Hopefully you’ll love the journey and continue to fall in love with these characters, too.

(By the way, there’s a bit of a bonus at the end of Confessions. I loved the Q&A with Louise Rozett!)

rather be reading worth it icon

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July 31, 2013 - 10:20 am

Cassie - WOOHOOOO! I love this series! There was a LOT going on in this installment though! It was handled well, but.. a bit shocking to say the least!

I can’t wait for more from this series though, because JAMIE FORTA <3

July 31, 2013 - 9:17 am

Bookworm1858 - I loved that their friendship was on the mend! Its breakup was so sad to me (way more than anything Jamie Forta did) and was so glad to realize it was back to business for the girls. I really enjoy this series and am hoping most fervently for a third.

July 31, 2013 - 9:07 am

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - I think I enjoyed the first one a bit more, but I still really enjoyed this one from Louise Rozett! (Come on, Rose, don’t be mean to musicals.)
JAMIE. Gah. Jamie just kills me. When he first showed up, I practically had palpitations haha. Then it was a struggle for the rest of the book. Again! Come on kids, just get together!
Since this book dealt with sophomore year, I’m hoping we’ll get junior & senior in the next two books! Such a fan of this series 🙂

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Sweet Summertime Reads: From Songs to Pages

Sweet Summertime Reads - Summer Beach Reads Feature with Fiction Folio and GReads!
It’s music week for us! If you stopped by Ginger’s post yesterday, you’ll see that she created a Sweet Summertime Reads playlist for this year! Hopefully you’ll find some fun new tracks to jam to during your own summer adventures.

So what’s our contribution this week? Well, you know we love stories. Duh, we have a book blog and read like it’s going out of style. Books teach us about people and make us feel so many different emotions; music is like that in a lot of ways. It may not be the singer’s story but it is someone’s. This is why we decided to pick a few tunes that we would think inspire some great stories we’d love to find on our bookshelves one day!

Hope you enjoy!


I Don’t Want This Night to End by Luke Bryan

I’m a self-proclaimed country music fan. I just love how the songs tell us a complete story. There’s so much to get our of the lyrics, and when they are good, so good, they can make you feel a little sexy. (I’m not alone in this; Rachel from Rachel Reads feels the same way.)

Now this particular song came out last year, but oh man. I still love it like it was just released five minutes ago. There’s something so intriguing about a guy and a girl spending one night hanging out together, not knowing what’s going to happen the next day. The freedom of the open road, learning about each other, and oh the mystery.

Favorite line: “I don’t know what road we’re on or where we’ve been/ From staring at you, girl / All I know is I don’t want this night to end.”

Related book: From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas

Unemployed Boyfriend by Everclear

An oldie but goodie that is close to my heart. One summer, my ex-boyfriend’s best friend burned me a bunch of CDs to take on my annual Florida road trip. Everclear’s Songs from an American Movie Volume 1 was one of them and it is still one of my favorite albums of all time.

Because the answering machine message frames the beginning and ending of the song… it always felt so cinematic to me. Like I could see these characters in my head. A boy watching a girl who is not in the best relationship. He’s the good guy for her but will she ever notice him? This actually seems like it would be more of a mature young adult book (especially with the lyrics) but it could so work.

Truth: When I used to listen to this song in high school, I wanted the nice guy to be mine. I really did.

Favorite line: “Yeah you can be with me / Yes I will treat you like a queen / I will go to all those chick flick movies / That I really don’t want to see.”


Last Kiss by Taylor Swift

So unlike Estelle, I haven’t always been the biggest country music fan. In fact, I protested Taylor Swift for years and years because I just couldn’t get into her music. But by golly, her catchy lyrics eventually won me over and slowly, oh so slowly, I’ve started listening to more and more country music. Yes, I do realize I’m the one from Texas and I should bleed country music, but alas, it’s an acquired taste for me.

But back to the song. This is really a melodramatic choice. It’s about the ending of a relationship and how you don’t really expect that to happen. Remembering the good times is bittersweet, but I love how there’s a positive spin here — two people may not be meant for each other, but you can still wish them well and hope the best for them. I love the implication that we can be changed forever by a relationship.

Favorite line: “I don’t know how to be something you miss / I never thought we’d have a last kiss / Never imagined we’d end like this / Your name, forever the name on my lips”

Radioactive by Imagine Dragons

My “Magan Needs a Save the World” book side would really love to read a book with the power that this song evokes. It’s about being in the midst of a crisis and starting a revolution — being prepared to kick some major ass and fight. I really think this could apply to so, so much — life crises or the end of the world. We have to believe anything is possible and be prepared to stand our ground and fight.

Favorite line: “I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones / Enough to make my systems blow / Welcome to the new age, to the new age”

Tell us what songs you want to become a book!
Listen to Ginger’s Sweet Summertime Reads Playlist.
Check out Tara’s music-inspired post on Thursday at Fiction Folio.
*Bonus: Listen to Cassie and Betty’s Summer Playlist and Road Trip Playlist.*

August 11, 2013 - 8:19 am

Alexa Y. - What great song choices girls! The only one I haven’t heard before is Unemployed Boyfriend, which is pretty great. But I totally think that the other three (Luke Bryan, Taylor Swift + Imagine Dragons) could definitely inspire a story or two.

August 1, 2013 - 9:18 pm

Allison L - Mmm. Luke Bryan! I would definitely read a book based on his songs. Especially if it were an audiobook … that he narrated .. can you imagine it? Your other choices are good too. Fun post once again! 😉

August 1, 2013 - 1:03 am

Sweet Summertime Reads: My Life Told In Summer Music | Fiction Folio - […] sure to check out the awesome music posts by Ginger and Magan and Estelle from earlier this […]

July 31, 2013 - 9:34 am

picturemereading - I keep getting Radioactive in my head lately LOL I keep thinking it’s a great song for a number of YA dystopians I have read!

July 30, 2013 - 8:42 pm

Betty - What a fun post! Eeeek.. I think the Imagine Dragons song for sure— I love action and fighting in books, but obviously with some kissing on the side! 😉
Oh, and thx for the shout out. <3

July 30, 2013 - 7:05 pm

Bookworm1858 - Yay for the Taylor Swift song-I adore Taylor (almost all of her songs) especially because so many could be the basis for books. She just has a way with words sometimes.

July 30, 2013 - 6:56 pm

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - I like country music, but OLD country music like George Strait and Randy Travis and Clint Black and those guys. But you’re right, country music tells great stories, even the cheesy ones. Layla Greta and Jack absolutely LOVE Taylor Swift and Imagine Dragons so they’re on heavy rotation when we’re in the car, where I keep those actual CD’s. (I tend to keep my iPod on my actual person. Always. Like in my back pocket all the time. And I wear my earbuds inside of my clothes everyday, even right now as I sit in this chair commenting here on your blog. But that’s another story for another time.) This is fun, ladies, as always. xo

July 30, 2013 - 5:39 pm

April Books & Wine - I LOVE country music. That’s kind of all I listen to lately, so I am excited for the Luke Bryan and Taylor Swift picks.

Also, Radioactive, I don’t change the radio when it’s on.

July 30, 2013 - 2:43 pm

Hollie @ Music, Books and Tea - Unemployed Boyfriend is a great song…I would definitely love to read a book based off the song. Also, thanks for the introduction to Everclear – it seems like all their songs are perfect for summer!

July 30, 2013 - 2:07 pm

Jess @ Gone with the Words - LOVE THIS! You ladies picked some really great songs! I hadn’t heard Estelle’s picks before *hides* but I have now!! And I love them too!! 😀 I’ve actually blogged about this topic before, and I had picked a country song because they do tell such great stories, like Estelle said. I picked Strawberry Wine by Deana Carter. But guess what?! SOMEONE WROTE A BOOK ABOUT IT LAST YEAR! Strawberry Wine by Lee Adams! Crazy….

July 30, 2013 - 2:05 pm

Tara - How cute is this idea?! It didn’t even occur to me to choose songs I want to see be made into books (which, hello, how could I not have?!) I think every single country song could be made into a stellar book — as long as the dog never actually dies 😉

July 30, 2013 - 11:18 am

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - Ha! YES. Radioactive is TOTALLY a kick-ass, save the world song. I actually pictured this as like a background song/soundtrack song for some kind of dystopian or paranormal kick-ass heroine-type book when I first heard it! Haha! 🙂 Great choice.

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