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Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor • Magan Reviews

Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor [twitter • website] Publication Date: February 17, 2015 Publisher: HarperTeen Pages: 336 Target Audience: Young Adult Keywords: college preparation, Harvard, parent in rehab, cheating Format Read: ARC from Publisher (Thank you!) Summary: Juliet’s picture-perfect life goes downhill when her parents split, her dad moves out, her mom tries to pop pills and drink away her depression, and Juliet […]

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April 1, 2015 - 8:01 am

It's a Wrap • See Ya Next Year, March! - […] Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill Dove Arising by Karen Bao […]

March 25, 2015 - 12:31 pm

Alexa S. - I felt for Juliet in this one, since she was forced to deal with so many different things in her life! But I didn’t quite click as well with this novel as I wanted to. Still, it was worth a read, if only because I could identify with some of Juliet’s struggles :)

Twisted Fate by Norah Olson | Magan Reviews

Twisted Fate by Norah Olson [twitter] Publication Date: January 20, 2015 Publisher: HarperCollins Pages: 272 Target Audience: Young Adult Keywords: YA mystery, boy next door, sisters, online privacy Format Read: ARC from Publisher (Thank you!) Summary: When a new boy, Graham, moves in next door, sisters Ally and Syd both develop crushes on him. But things don’t add up: Why did Graham […]

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January 23, 2015 - 3:41 pm

Alexa S. - I think, were I to read Twisted Fate, it would be the mystery that would draw me in most. Sometimes, a good whodunnit is a fun thing to read! I’m curious about what you had to say about how it all wrapped up.

January 23, 2015 - 12:06 pm

Emma @ Miss Print - Way to make us all curious Magan! I haven’t seen a lot of things compared to We Were Liars so it’s also interesting to see that connection here.

January 21, 2015 - 10:41 pm

Magan - Bruna, do it! I was like OMG OMG OMG NO NO NO a whole lot while reading. O.O

January 21, 2015 - 2:51 pm

Bruna - Now I’m intrigued to read this one! I love whodunits!

Love and Other Theories by Alexis Bass | Magan Reviews

Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass [twitter | website] Publication Date: December 30, 2014 Publisher: HarperTeen Pages: 384 Target Audience: Mature Young Adult Keywords: girls’ rules for dating, girl code, sex and teenagers, senior year of H.S. Format Read: ARC from Publisher (A BIG thank you!) Summary: Aubrey and her girlfriends think they have dating, relationships, and guys all figured out. There […]

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January 23, 2015 - 4:50 pm

Alexa S. - Though I personally was too frustrated to finish this one, I do think Love and Other Theories is the type of read that will provoke a reaction and subsequent reflection. The concept itself is interesting and challenging, and I like that it had you posing questions in your review.

January 10, 2015 - 9:07 pm

Nicole @ The Quiet Concert - I don’t think this one is for me but I like how you mention that there are some women who could probably benefit from this story. But I think I’ll just be frustrated…

January 7, 2015 - 3:31 pm

Magan - Rebecca, I think it could be an eye-opener. Definitely. It’s always difficult to have characters who need to grow up a whole lot. And especially more difficult when they just don’t get as far as you’d like them to.

January 7, 2015 - 3:30 pm

Magan - Emma, with your focus on feminism, I would be SO curious to see what you have to say about this one. Read it, please?

January 6, 2015 - 3:32 pm

Emma @ Miss Print - Hmm. This sounds like an interesting read but also maybe a frustrating one. It also completely slipped under the radar for me so thanks for reviewing it and bringing it to my attention!

January 6, 2015 - 9:30 am

Rebecca @ Reading Wishes - This sounds like an interesting book (although kinda frustrating?) and it sounds like some girls might really benefit from it and open their eyes. I haven’t read many reviews for this, so thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Magan: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen ( web| tweet ) Publication Date: July 16, 2013 Publisher: Viking Juvenile Pages: 435 Target audience: Young Adult Keywords: making college plans, family struggles, love triangle Format read: ARC from Publisher (Thank you!) Previous books reviewed by author: Along for the Ride, Lock and Key, This Lullaby (E), This Lullaby […]

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November 7, 2013 - 1:16 am

Allison: The Moon and More | Sarah Dessen | Book Review - […] Rather Be Reading: “My book-loving-heart was so full of hope going in to The Moon and More, but I wish I felt a bit mor…” […]

July 2, 2013 - 10:24 am

Courtney @ The Lit Girl - Oh no! I’ve seen a ton of reviews of people who were excited for The Moon and More and were let down. I used to LOVE Sarah Dessen as a teen (I haven’t read any of her work since then) and I’m nervous to read this one because I haven’t seen a stellar review of it yet!

July 2, 2013 - 10:20 am

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - It’s a pretty widely known/growing fact that I’m afraid of Sarah Dessen which is sad since she is an NC author and I like to support my peeps. I’ve only read two of her books and both of them were pretty tough for different reasons. HOWEVER, I got brave just yesterday, in fact, and put Along For the Ride on hold at my library. Now, that aside, I see that you mention that this book takes place in Colby?? (I know nothing about this book.) Fun fact: Colby is actually patterned after Emerald Isle, NC. I was just there a few days ago. My go-to beach, not too from me. That’s kind of fun, right? (:

July 2, 2013 - 3:54 am

Trixie - SUPER DISAPPOINTED. Just skimmed through the last chapters, from chapter 15. The big reveal of the father was, well, so cliché and predictable. I didn’t feel any attachment to any characters, she didn’t build them well enough. Plot was unbelievably slow and crawling! What a waste of time. If the characters in her books were to play musical chairs, I wouldn’t be surprised. Her stories follow the same plot line, characters of the same mold. Along For the Ride Is her best one.

June 30, 2013 - 4:44 pm

Lucy - I just started listening to the audiobook of this yesterday and like it pretty well so far. It’s classic Dessen but I can see your point that maybe she should shake up the formula a little bit. I’m not too fond of Morris either. Not looking forward to the love triangle!
Still need to catch up on Dessen’s other books like This Lullaby, though I loved Along for the Ride and like the shout-outs in the Moon and More.

June 27, 2013 - 9:37 am

Leah @ The Pretty Good Gatsby - Oh wow.. I’m a total Dessen newbie and have ONLY hear the highest of praise for her books. I was looking forward to starting with this one, but now I’m wondering if one of her older books might be better.

That’s such a disappointment about the language. Distinct voices are a MUST for any novel, but especially when one is filled to the brim with characters. Hopefully the finished copy had been revised a bit.

I’m sorry you were 100% thrilled with this one, Magan! I’m still interested in giving Dessen a shot, but I’ll probably go for Just Listen or Along for the Ride instead.

June 27, 2013 - 7:32 am

Ash @ Paranormal Indulgence - Oh, I sooo hope that I have a better reaction to this one. But Sarah Dessen’s books can be hit and miss with me. My great loves are The Truth About Forever, Along for the Ride, and maybe Lock and Key, which I think is the consensus and there’s probably a reason for that. Probably having to do with the some of the disappointing factors you mentioned about this one…

June 26, 2013 - 11:00 pm

Alise - Love the way that you divided up your review! Overall sounds like Dessen is running out of unique material. I have started to notice some of her plots are pretty similar to each other. I think I will take your advice and borrow it :)

Alise @ Readers In Wonderland

June 26, 2013 - 9:14 pm

tabithasbookblog - I feel the same way about this book – well.. pretty much the same way! I really enjoyed Emaline as a character and I loved the dynamic of family/friends, but it felt like there was too much at times. I also didn’t feel the same connection to the beach town of Colby as I did in past books, but I did like seeing characters from Along for the Ride.

Great review!

June 26, 2013 - 5:25 pm

Alexa Y. - I do like Sarah Dessen! But my rule is never to read her books one after another. I’ve been looking forward to The Moon and More for a while, so I’ll definitely still be checking this out. But I’m sorry to hear it didn’t quite meet your expectations :(

June 26, 2013 - 4:03 pm

Ginger @ GReads! - I felt a bit let down by this one, too. I struggled through the majority of it & REALLY wanted to love it because man some of her previous novels really blew me away. Since I read Along for the Ride (and proclaim it to be my favorite of her’s now) just last year, revisiting Colby was a huge plus for me. I felt myself enjoying more of the secondary characters, rather than Emaline. Which isn’t totally unusual, because Dessen’s secondary characters is what she’s known for – in my opinion. But in previous novels, as much as I’ve enjoyed them, I still felt tied back to the MC. However in this one, I never felt that pull. Also – was completely turned off by Theo and that whole scenario. It just didn’t fit, anywhere. I found myself rushing through scenes that involved him because I disliked it that much – which in turn caused me to dislike Emaline a bit.

Ok wow. I had a lot to say, ha.

(side note for Magan: Gone Gone Gone is playing as I type this! Ha!)

June 26, 2013 - 2:24 pm

Jamie - Really thoughtful review, Magan! I felt like I could really get a sense for the good and the bad of this one. I have only read a couple of Sarah Dessen’s novels so I’ll probably end up giving this one a chance this summer but I feel like some of the things you mentioned (too many characters and indistinguishable characters..I’ve totally had that happen while reading) will be an issue for me too. BUT the story sounds pretty darn good so we will see!

But at least if I read this one maybe I can go back and read all the ones I missed that people have raved about. Might be a better plan in the end! Which of her is your fave?

June 26, 2013 - 1:10 pm

jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader - I’m sorry that this book turned out to be a bit of a disappointment :( I’ve never read one of the Sarah Dessen’s novels before but would like to remedy that this summer. I think I’ll read one of her earlier novels like Just Listen instead as people seem to have a very strong fondness for her older work. I can certainly see what you mean about the language though – Even ardent fans of Dessen’s seem to like her work precisely because it’s predictable and familiar. While this can certainly be perceived as a positive attribute, I would imagine it might also become a little repetitive and frustrating after awhile.

June 26, 2013 - 9:02 am

Bookworm1858 - This book was a bit of a disappointment for me too-can’t remember thinking about the phrasing of Dessen’s characters as I mostly just appreciate their eloquence but I think I know what you mean.

Magan: The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf

The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf (website | twitter) Publication Date: April 18, 2013 Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers Pages: 384 Target audience: Young Adult Keywords: sick parent, best friend trouble, boy drama, chaotic teenage life Format read: ARC received via NetGalley (Thank you!) Summary: Izzy has a lot going on in […]

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April 19, 2013 - 2:16 pm

Casey - Seems really like a really dramatic read. I’ll have to give it a go when I have a little less going on in my own life. Great review!

April 18, 2013 - 5:47 pm

Judith - You know, I had the exact same feeling when I finished. At one point, I really felt like the author was being cruel with everything she put Izzy through. No wonder the girl is a hypochondriac! I like the seperate parts of this story, and though I feel like there can always be less girl drama in books, I would have been okay with that if it had been the main focus point. But the thing with Blake… it just felt unnecessary (and forced) to me. Unfortunately.

April 18, 2013 - 4:18 pm

Tara - I’m always interested in books that deal with mental illness, but this one sounds like it has a bit too much other stuff going on for my taste. I still may give it a try and definitely appreciate candidness!

April 18, 2013 - 12:28 pm

Alexa Y. - The sheer amount of things that Izzy was going through is already overwhelming to me, and I’m only reading your review! I do agree with your thoughts that sometimes, it feels like all the bad things happen all at once. But this seems a bit too soap opera-ish for my liking. It sounded like a potentially cute book though (especially that nerdy love interest you hint at) :)

April 18, 2013 - 12:21 pm

Magan - Rebecca, I’m really glad you’re still anxious to give it a whirl. I am a big believer in everyone trying books out for their own because you just never know. I definitely don’t think that lighter + hopeful is what you’ll get when you read this one. Prepare yourself for a LOT of things to happen. Thanks for the comment!

April 18, 2013 - 12:19 pm

Magan - Christina — I’m really, really glad to hear that you felt the same way. I definitely wished some of the issues had been edited out. I completely, completely agree with you that it would have helped with character development and depth. The end just kind of … ended, too. Do we really even know what happens with the Italy situation?

April 18, 2013 - 12:18 pm

Magan - Elena — definitely a lot going on here More than I think was necessary for sure. And yeahhhh… I’m pretty sure you’d want to punch Blake for what he did. :-/

April 18, 2013 - 11:07 am

elena - oh geez, it DOES seem like a lot is going on. i think this book sounds too dramatic for me, i hate it when a character is put through a situation after a situation (after a situation!). it certainly seems like izzy was put through the ringer in this one. i shudder to think what blake did.

April 18, 2013 - 8:53 am

Christina (A Reader of Fictions) - I completely agree with your assessment. There were decent bones to this story, and the characters could have been really interesting. Had Raf chosen just a couple of those things for Izzy to deal with, she could have covered them fully and allowed plenty of time for character development. As it is, a lot of plot threads weren’t closed properly and I didn’t feel for the characters. Sad day.

April 18, 2013 - 5:40 am

Rebecca @ Reading Wishes - I was really looking forward to reading this and still am but after your review, will probably go in with my more mind open and prepare myself for LOTS OF craziness. It’s a shame that the ended on a ‘heavy heart’ end note because although I was expecting insanity, I was expecting something lighter and more on the hopeful side? Oh, well, I’ll take your advice and try and see if my library has a copy I can borrow. Awesome review!

Magan: Trinkets by Kirsten Smith

Trinkets by Kirsten Smith <website • twitter> Publication Date: March 12, 2013 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Pages: 288 Target audience: Young Adult Keywords: shoplifting, unlikely friendships, cheating parent, alcoholic mother Format read: ARC received via NetGalley (Thank you!) Summary: Moe, Tabitha and Elodie are three girls very unlikely to ever form a […]

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April 23, 2015 - 7:32 pm

Book Review: Trinkets by Kirsten Smith | Respiring Thoughts - […] that, in my opinion, deserves heaps more attention. Trinkets wasn’t even on my radar until I read Magan’s review and realized that it was exactly the kind of book I love. Next time I was at the bookstore, I […]

June 17, 2013 - 8:02 am

Book Review: Trinkets by Kirsten Smith - […] that, in my opinion, deserves heaps more attention. Trinkets wasn’t even on my radar until I read Magan’s review and realized that it was exactly the kind of book I love. Next time I was at the bookstore, I […]

March 12, 2013 - 5:54 pm

Book Birthdays: March 10th - 16th | Alice Marvels - […] Rather Be Reading “Trinkets handles some pretty serious subject matter (death of a parent, a demanding boyfrien… […]

March 8, 2013 - 2:46 pm

Renae @ Respiring Thoughts - Whoa! I hadn’t heard of this one before but I definitely need to consider it. I love the idea of a three-way narrative and how one common trait can bring people with opposite personalities together in some way. It’s such an interesting concept!

March 7, 2013 - 7:52 pm

Magan - Bookworm! I promise I didn’t mean to be a tease. No, SCRATCH THAT. I totally did. GO read it! It’s a good quick read! And yes — totally loving Sean Griswold’s Head! So glad to hear you loved it! :)

March 7, 2013 - 7:51 pm

Magan - Tara, I’m not sure that I had read a book like this before either, but the different styles wasn’t distracting to me at all. I really, really enjoyed the poetry which surprised me. Sometimes I get a little frustrated with poetry because it’s not well done, but I liked Elodie’s voice a lot. I hope you can find it at the library! :)

March 7, 2013 - 7:50 pm

Magan - Alexa, it really was. The timing and pacing went so smoothly and quickly. It felt like such a quick read, but not because it was a short book – -I just breezed through it! I hope you enjoy!

March 7, 2013 - 7:47 pm

Magan - Mandee! It was such a quick, fast-paced read. I’m sure you’d breeze through Trinkets. Definitely pick it up! The different POVs was nice. I really, really liked the poetry. That part was so well done.

March 7, 2013 - 3:56 pm

VeganYANerds - I love your final line, of course now I am intrigued to know whether the girls continue in their ways or whether they improve.

I really like the sound of the different POVs, too!

March 7, 2013 - 12:40 pm

Alexa Y. - I’m going to need to read this now, simply to find out what happens to the girls! I want to know if their friendship changed anything for them or not, and how all these things they face get resolved. It sounds like a very compelling story to me!

March 7, 2013 - 11:28 am

Tara - I don’t think I’ve ever read a book from different POVs and with different styles. Did that get distracting at all, or did it flow well? I would definitely snag this book at the library because it’s different but sounds really interesting.

March 7, 2013 - 9:27 am

Bookworm1858 - What a tease! Do the girls end their life of crime-inquiring minds want to know. I see you’re reading Sean Griswold’s Head and I really hope you’re enjoying it-it’s one of my favorite contemporary YA novels.