Magan: Through to You by Lauren Barnholdt

book cover of through to you by lauren barnholdt

Through to You by Lauren Barnholdt (twitter | website)
Previously Reviewed: One Night That Changes Everything / Sometimes it Happens / The Thing About the Truth / Right of Way / Two-Way Street
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 256
Target Audience: Young Adult
Keywords: choreography, roller-coaster relationships
Format Read: ARC from Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!)

Summary: Intrigued by a note left on her desk and a few convincing words by the note-writer, Penn, Harper decides to ditch school to learn more about him. Penn is a closed-off guy and Harper desperately wants to strip away his tough-guy exterior to learn more about him.

 

Good golly, Miss Molly. I really dread having to sit down at my computer to write a review about a book that just didn’t resonate with me. But alas, I want to be as honest and transparent as possible so unfortunately that means I have to suck it up.

Through to You was my third novel of Lauren Barnholdt’s to read. My complaints in the past have been that there wasn’t enough depth and character development before the final page was turned. I wanted a higher level of believability. However, those continue to be two of my biggest complaints after completing this novel.

Harper is a girl who flies under-the-radar; she has one best friend, is a good student, and is going to audition for a spot in a prestigious choreography program. Penn randomly walks by her desk in the one class they have together and drops a note on her desk that reads, “I like your sparkle.” This is the introduction to Harper and Penn’s very roller-coaster-esque relationship. Harper doesn’t know why Penn would leave her the note. Penn doesn’t know why he left the note for Harper. I immediately felt disinterested in Penn. What were his intentions? Did he want to lead her on or was he really interested? Prior to that one moment, the two of them had never spoken. My gut told me that Penn wasn’t to be trusted.

After an awkward hallway conversation, Penn convinces Harper to ditch school. She’s intrigued by this boy and seeks to know why he would leave her the note. They have very little to discuss, not knowing much about the other or what common interests they have. She was such a gullible character to blindly follow this boy she knew so little about. As she learns more and more about him, as he proves that he’s unstable, moody, and hard to relate to, Harper takes on a savior complex. Though she knows she should back away, she repeatedly falls victim to his half-hearted apologies. Penn was confusing and angsty, and while he would make Harper feel useless and seemed disinterested, she continued to push aside her anger and was too easily swayed by her need to fix him. (Though he rarely shared information about his personal life, so she was never quite sure what needed to be fixed.)

Ideally, I would have liked for Harper to have had more of a backbone, more strength. For all these other interests she had, choreography per se, there’s very little of her actually working on those things that she’s passionate about. The girl I got to know tossed all of those things aside and became fixated on the unobtainable boy. Overall this would have strengthened the flow of the story so that when the day arrives for Harper to audition, it doesn’t seem out of place for the sequence of events to occur.

While Through to You is a very casual read, it doesn’t exhibit the type of relationship I’d like to see teenage girls (or anyone for that matter) pursuing or idolizing. I want to read strong stories about girls who are chasing boys that aren’t disinterested and stringing them along. I want to see girls who are still able to stay true to themselves and boys who make an effort to do better for that girl, not encourage them, repeatedly, to skip class and cast aside all responsibility.

Unfortunately, Through to You wasn’t a hit for me. If you’ve read it and you saw things through a different perspective than mine, please share your thoughts below. I’m always, always curious to know if I missed something when I didn’t connect with a book.

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Estelle: Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt

Right of Way by Lauren BarnholdtRight of Way by Lauren Barnholdt ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: July 9, 2013
Publisher: Simon Teen
Pages: 320
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: family secrets, divorce, love/hate relationship, road trip
Format read: eBook from Publisher via Edelweiss! (Thanks!)

Summary: After a whirlwind romance and breakup, Peyton and Jace are not excited to see each other at an upcoming family function. But when Peyton’s plan of running away ends up with her stranded in Florida and no way to get to her destination, Jace is the only one who can help her.

I can’t help it. Ever since Pacey and Joey, I’ve been a fan of sparring couples.

The chemistry! The tension!

While Right of Way definitely succeeded in those two qualities when it came to Peyton and Jace, the story was just too much of a mirror of the earlier Two-Way Street and seemed a bit under developed. Peyton feels utterly betrayed by her mother and needs to get away so she uses the family wedding in Florida as a jumping off point for a summer of freedom with her best friend, Brooklyn. Unfortunately, Brooklyn’s mom finds out about their plans, grounds Brooklyn, and leaves Peyton stranded in Florida with no way to get home. (After a disaster of a night with her ex, Jace, too.) Despite Jace’s disappointment in Peyton’s past actions he can’t resist her when she needs his help. (Even if he’s going to act like he could care less.)

Cue the road trip!

Even though their circumstances were different than Courtney and Jordan’s from Two-Way Street (these characters make plenty of cameos in this book), it just felt too much of the same story. I would have loved to see Peyton’s best friend have more of a role in the story, for them to actually end up in North Carolina, and then Jace somehow appear? It would have felt like a different kind of road trip because the amount of pages I read, the amount of stories I was taking in, didn’t even seem to match up with the distance they were driving. (This is coming from a girl who has driven 17 hours straight to Florida.)

Despite my reservations, the book still managed to be fast-paced and addicting. Barnholdt really knows how to stretch out the mysterious parts of her books, and that kept me going. Plus, I found myself really liking Jace over Peyton (something that also happened to me in TWS) and some of the supporting characters were funny. Unfortunately, though, the end snuck up on me and I finished the book with a “that’s it?!” I liked Peyton and Jace together but I’m not sure they managed to outgrow their immature, and impulsive natures enough to make this relationship work. Most importantly, the pressing family issues that spurred Peyton’s original scheme were not given any kind of resolution and I felt there really needed to be one — good or bad.

If you are looking for some great opposites attract road trip stories, I strongly suggest you put Two-Way Street and Ex-Mas by Kate Brian at the top of your list.

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Estelle: Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

Two-Way Street by Lauren BarnholdtTwo-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt
Publication Date: 1/27/2007
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 288
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: road trips, ex-relationships
Format read: Borrowed from library.

Summary: Two weeks after Jordan dumps Courtney, they are due to drive to college on a road trip the two had planned beforehand. Courtney’s trying to pretend she doesn’t care about him anymore, and Jordan is crazy from hanging on to his own secrets. Will these two make it to Boston in one piece?

A fast paced read about two exes on a road trip to college together! What could be more deliciously disastrous?!

As the third Lauren Barnholdt book that I’ve read, I’d rank this one in between Sometimes It Happens (which I loved) and One Night That Changes Everything (superficial bordering on ridiculous). You can’t deny the chemistry between Courtney and Jordan, who couldn’t be more different. Courtney’s sort of a “goodie two-shoes” (I could relate) and Jordan is a former playboy, a fan of rap music and good looking ladies.

We get a taste of their current situation (not good) and the backstory of their meeting (interesting). Barnholdt did a great job of weaving the stories in and out and having them meet in the middle. This is one of the rare YAs I’ve read where we get just as much of the guy’s perspective as we do the girl’s. And I liked that. Dare I say, I liked Jordan as a character so much more. He may be a total flirt and lover of cheerleaders but I liked discovering his softer side, a side it seems that he didn’t even know he possessed.

Barnholdt also used a great comedic technique a few times where the character would think one thing, and then express that same exact thought out loud. It seems simple and isn’t revolutionary but I found that very funny.

Be prepared because this book’s driving force is miscommunication, but for some reason, it didn’t aggravate me as it would in some other books. What did bug me was the reveal of a certain secret WAY too early in the story. I don’t want to give too much away, but REALLY? I guessed Jordan’s secret way before I had to and I wish the author would have trusted her readers a little bit more.

Two-Way Street may not be life altering, and that’s okay. It is the perfect escape from a hectic day at work, or even a great way to enjoy a weekend in the sunshine.

Psst. Lauren Barnholdt’s companion to this book, Right of Way, comes out on July 9!

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book cover for The Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt

Magan: The Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt

book cover for The Thing About the Truth by Lauren BarnholdtThe Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 304
Target audience: Young Adult
Keywords: lies and secrecy, public school, falling in love
Format read: ARC from Simon & Schuster

Summary: Kelsey and Isaac don’t exactly click when they first meet. However, they’ve both got more in common than they realize. Kelsey was kicked out of her prep school and Isaac has been kicked out of more schools than he can count. They start an organization to connect their public school with Kelsey’s old prep school to help students realize they are all alike, no matter what school they go to.

The Thing About the Truth revolves around the tense, abrasive relationship between Kelsey and Isaac. Kelsey is, at heart, a really good girl. Isaac acts out to capture the attention of his self-centered politician dad. Isaac and Kelsey’s meeting is nothing short of awkward. They’re both new to the public school, but upon seeing Isaac, Kelsey makes quick judgments about the type of guy he is and writes him off. She wants to fly under the radar so she can focus on getting into an Ivy League school. She’s lost the trust and respect of her parents after what she did to get herself kicked out her prep school.

To prove she’s still got her act together, her solution is to start a new organization on campus. While she’s presenting her ideas, Isaac saunters into the room and throws out an idea the principal salivates over. Thus Kelsey and Isaac become the leaders and founders of the new group – spending more time together than either of them would have hoped for. The back and forth banter and constant arguments between these two are so good (so good so good). Clearly Kelsey is attracted to Isaac, but come on. She can’t be that girl and fall at the feet of this wealthy boy who has girls tripping over him. Isaac is drawn to her confidence and screw you attitude. The biggest dilemma is that while they’re pretty candid and honest with each other, Kelsey refrains from telling Isaac something pretty big.

The story navigates the past with chapters from both character’s perspectives, but sprinkled in are chapters that focus on flash-forwards, present day. There’s this sense of them falling in love and falling hard, but then we see that somewhere along the way, things got screwed up and Isaac and Kelsey are on non-speaking terms sitting in the superintendant’s office. While trying to figure out what happened between these two, I fought the urge to jump ahead to discover Kelsey’s big secret.

Oh, the secret.

Usually, characters in young adult books have “big secrets” that don’t really seem to shock me very much and things sometimes feel a little anticlimactic.

Not Kelsey’s secret.

The girl did something that made my jaw drop. It was no wonder her parents had her on a short leash and that she was trying to redeem herself. I didn’t exactly connect with Kelsey in the way that I wanted to because I didn’t fully understand her actions. What she did wasn’t something I would ever find myself doing (I hope). Her character was really great – she’s a wonderful girl who could obviously go places – but her decision-making skills were complete crap. I wanted to have a face-to-face conversation with Kelsey to snap her out of it.

Isaac was definitely more relatable for me; I’m not sure that I have connected as much with a male character as I did him. I understood why he acted out, why he was arrogant. He was so likable and kind to Kelsey (once they called a truce) and their kissing scenes definitely made my toes curl. I could see the growth in him and wanted to be a cheerleader for his team. When Kelsey’s secrets were revealed, my stomach was in knots on his behalf.

There were a few things I wish had been further explored. (slight spoilers ahead) I understood her parent’s reaction to what she did, but Kelsey mentioned daddy issues a few times. I didn’t really see that or understand why she felt the way she did. There also didn’t seem to be a lot of resolution with Kelsey’s (ex) best friend. There were lies and a semi-big misunderstanding and nothing ever seemed to be resolved.

Although there are a few things I would have hoped for, I definitely recommend you check out The Thing About the Truth. Kelsey and Isaac are sure to make you laugh out loud or wish you were smack dab in the middle of their steamy kissing scene.

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weekly feature focusing on the books we bought, borrowed, and received from publishers

Magan: Shelve It July 1, 2012

weekly feature focusing on the books we bought, borrowed, and received from publishers

HI, FRIENDS! I kind of feel like a slacker because I don’t have a vlog for today’s Shelve It, but ya know, sometimes life gets a little hectic (and I look a little ca-razy today…therefore should not be seen in vlog format). Moving on.

I did go to ALA this past week, but I’m just going to briefly say that I stood in lots of long lines to meet authors. I didn’t peruse the floor as much as I stood in line to meet some of my favorite people. That was pretty freakin’ incredible. Seeing Morgan Maatson was definitely (definitely) the highlight of my week.

I got a package in the mail a few weeks ago from Simon & Schuster and just want to give them a shout out to say THANK YOU for these. They are one of my favorite publishers and I was beside myself when I received these.

lauren barnholdt books, morgan matson second chance summer, hush hush book, possession by elana johnson, wrecked book

  • The Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt (Goodreads) – I devoured this one on a plane ride recently and really, really enjoyed it. Be on the lookout for my review, but also, it hits bookstores on July 10th!
  • Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt (Goodreads) – This one is a cheating book (eep!) and it’s been on my to-read list since Estelle reviewed it.
  • Possession by Elana Johnson (Goodreads) – I read this one last year (and reviewed it on Goodreads). The companion book, Surrender, just came out June 1st.
  • Wrecked by Anna Davies (Goodreads) – This book is described as a contemporary paranormal book. There’s a boating accident, a mysterious boy, and lots of secrecy. I need to read this soon!
  • Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (Goodreads) – This one definitely seems a little outside of my normal reading zone, but I am intrigued by it. Lots of my Goodreads friends have rated this pretty highly.
  • Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson (Goodreads) – I suppose after seeing my name pop up in their twitter feed regarding MY UNDYING LOVE for this book, they decided I needed a finished copy of this one.

Here’s what happened around our blog this week:

July 2012 Young Adult Book Releases

 

 

 

Hello, hello! Welcome back for another month of book releases. June just slipped away – quickly. So many great books to look forward to in July! What are you most excited about? There are so, so many books Estelle and I are looking out for. Check out our most anticipated July 2012 young adult book releases…

 

 

 

 

july 03.

book cover for Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
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Description:

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn’t grow up.

july 10.

book cover for Perfect Escape by Jennifer BrownPerfect Escape by Jennifer Brown
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Description:

Kendra has always felt overshadowed by her older brother, Grayson, whose OCD forces him to live a life of carefully coordinated routines. The only way Kendra can stand out next to Grayson is to be perfect, and she has perfection down to an art — until a cheating scandal threatens her flawless reputation.

Behind the wheel of her car, with Grayson asleep beside her, Kendra decides to drive away from it all — with enough distance, maybe she’ll be able to figure everything out. But even in the midst of the road trip’s flat tires, gas-station food stops, and detours to quirky roadside attractions, eventually Kendra must stop running and come to terms with herself, her brother, and her past.

With undeniable grace and humor, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown explores OCD, the pressure for perfection, and the emotional highs and lows of a complex sibling relationship.

 

book cover for The Thing About the Truth by Lauren BarnholdtThe Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt
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Description:

In this humorous love story from the author of Two-Way Street, an unlikely romance is the best sort of surprise—but the wrong secret can ruin everything. Kelsey’s not going to let one mistake ruin her life. Sure, she got kicked out of prep school and all her old friends are shutting her out. But Kelsey’s focused on her future, and she’s determined to get back on track at Concordia High.

Isaac’s been kicked out of more schools than he can count. Since his father’s a state senator, Isaac’s life is under constant scrutiny—but Concordia High’s his last stop before boarding school, so Isaac’s hoping to fly under the radar and try to stay put for a change.

When Kelsey and Isaac meet, it’s anything but love at first sight. She thinks he’s an entitled brat, and he thinks she’s a stuck-up snob. So it surprises them both when they start to fall for each other. Kelsey’s happy for the first time in months, and Isaac’s never felt this way about anyone before…But nothing’s ever completely perfect. Everyone has secrets, and Isaac and Kelsey are no exceptions. These two may have fallen hard, but there’s one thing that can ruin it all: the truth.

 

book cover by Don't You Wish by Roxanne St ClaireDon’t You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire
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Magan’s Review

Description:

When plain and unpopular Annie Nutter gets zapped by one of her dad’s whacked-out inventions, she lands in a parallel universe where her life becomes picture-perfect. Now she’s Ayla Monroe, daughter of the same mother but a different father—and she’s the gorgeous, rich queen bee of her high school.

In this universe, Ayla lives in glitzy Miami instead of dreary Pittsburgh and has beaucoup bucks, courtesy of her billionaire—if usually absent—father. Her friends hit the clubs, party backstage at concerts, and take risks that are exhilirating . . . and illegal. Here she’s got a date to lose her V-card with the hottest guy she’s ever seen.

But on the inside, Ayla is still Annie.

So when she’s offered the chance to leave the dream life and head home to Pittsburgh, will she take it?

The choice isn’t as simple as you think.

 

book cover for Such a Rush by Jennifer EcholsSuch a Rush by Jennifer Echols
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Estelle’s Review

Description:

A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.

High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.

But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business — until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers — and the consequences could be deadly.

 

 

book cover for The Forsaken by Lisa Stasse

The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse
Goodreads | Amazon

Description:

As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.

The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.

 

book cover for Never Enough by Denise JadenNever Enough by Denise Jaden
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Description:

From the author of Losing Faith, a novel about two sisters and the eating disorder that threatens to destroy their family.

Loann’s always wanted to be popular and pretty like her sister, Claire. So when Claire’s ex-boyfriend starts flirting with her, Loann is willing to do whatever it takes to feel special… even if that means betraying her sister.

But as Loann slips inside Claire’s world, she discovers that everything is not as it seems. Claire’s quest for perfection is all-consuming, and comes at a dangerous price. As Claire increasingly withdraws from friends and family, Loann struggles to understand her and make amends. Can she heal their relationship —and her sister—before it’s too late?

 

 

book cover for Starring Me by Krista McGee

Starring Me by Krista McGee
Goodreads | Amazon

Description:

Kara McKormick is told she’s auditioning to star in a new teen variety show. But it’s what she isn’t told that could change her life.

The feisty New Yorker moves to sunny Orlando to participate in a month-long audition, where she’ll live with nine other contestants and an eccentric housemother. Kara knows that the show already has a big-time celebrity lined up for the co-host, but she doesn’t know who it is.

Chad Beacon quickly rose to fame after winning America’s Next Star, but he doesn’t want his entire career to be about singing. There is so much more he wants to do-like act. The new variety show sounds like the perfect next step for him, but his parents want him to have a co-star who shares his faith since they’ll be spending so much time together.

Acting is high on Kara’s priority list. But a relationship with God? Not so much. In fact, she’s tried to stay away from anything religious. But God is after Kara’s heart and He’s put people in her life who are showing her there’s far more to Christianity than rules and judgment.

And just when it seems that Kara’s going to have to give up her acting dream, God reveals that she may have a starring role after all-in a story so big only He could write it.

 

book cover for used to be by eileen cookUsed to Be by Eileen Cook
Goodreads | Amazon

Description:

Just in time for summer reading! Two great books bundled as one- Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood and The Education of Hailey Kendrick.

Hailey is tired of always doing exactly what’s expected of her. She’s going to prove she’s not perfect by breaking a very big rule in a very public way…with a very unexpected partner in crime. When Hailey gets caught, she loses everything–her best friend, her boyfriend, her popularity, her reputation. Now Hailey is up for anything . . . maybe even the boy she never noticed before. But even with her new bad-girl image, she still has to ask herself: How far is too far?

Lauren and Helen used to be best friends…until Lauren betrayed Helen in a manner so publicly humiliating that Helen had to move to a new town just to save face. Now Helen is back, and she’s planning to bring down her former BFF by taking away everything that’s ever been important to Lauren–starting with her boyfriend.

Watch out, Lauren Wood. Things are about to get bitchy.

 

book cover for Lucky Fools by Coert VoorheesLucky Fools by Coert Voorhees
Goodreads | Amazon

Description:

David Ellison dreams of acting at Juilliard, but he’s expected to attend nearby Stanford University, just like all of his classmates at hard-driving Oak Fields Prep. As if wasting his private school education weren’t enough, David is also on track to destroy his relationship with his girlfriend, Ellen, when he finds himself falling for his new co-star, Vanessa.

With David’s Juilliard audition approaching, and his relationship teetering on the brink of disaster, Oak Fields is thrown into chaos as a mysterious prankster begins attacking the school’s highest achievers, determined to sabotage their college aspirations. Anyone who excels is a potential target, and David, the star of every play, could be next.

From the author of the highly praised The Brothers Torres comes a dangerously insightful book about enduring the pressures of high school, surviving the ins and outs of love, and fighting for your dreams, no matter what.

 

july 17.

The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee
Goodreads | Amazon

Description:

Sixteen-year-old Rinn Jacobs has secrets: One, she’s bipolar. Two, she killed her grandmother.

After a suicide attempt, and now her parents’ separation, Rinn and her mom move from California to the rural Ohio town where her mother grew up. Back on her medications and hoping to stay well, Rinn settles into her new home, undaunted by the fact that the previous owner hanged herself in Rinn’s bedroom. At school, her classmates believe the school pool is haunted by Annaliese, a girl who drowned there. But when a reckless séance goes awry, and terrible things start happening to her new friends—yet not to her—Rinn is determined to find out why she can’t be “touched” by Annaliese…or if Annaliese even exists.

With the help of Nate Brenner, the hunky “farmer boy” she’s rapidly falling for, Rinn devises a dangerous plan to uncover the truth. Soon reality and fantasy meld into one, till Rinn finds it nearly impossible to tell the difference. When a malevolent force threatens the lives of everyone she cares about–not to mention her own–she can’t help wondering: who should she really be afraid of?

Annaliese? Or herself?

 

book cover for Before You Go by James Preller

Before You Go by James Preller
Goodreads | Amazon

Description:

The summer before his senior year, Jude (yes, he’s named after the Beatles song) gets his first job, falls in love for the first time, and starts to break away from his parents. Jude’s house is kept dark, and no one talks much—it’s been that way since his little sister drowned in a swimming pool seven years ago when Jude was supposed to be watching her.

Now, Jude is finally, finally starting to live. Really live. And then, life spins out of control. Again.

Acclaimed author James Preller explores life, death, love, faith, and resilience in his first young adult novel that will grip readers from the book’s dramatic first few pages to its emotional end.

july 19.

book cover for Small Damages by Beth KephartSmall Damages by Beth Kephart
Goodreads | Amazon

Description:

It’s senior year, and while Kenzie should be looking forward to prom and starting college in the fall, she is mourning the loss of her father. She finds solace in the one person she trusts, her boyfriend, and she soon finds herself pregnant. Kenzie’s boyfriend and mother do not understand her determination to keep the baby. She is sent to southern Spain for the summer, where she will live out her pregnancy as a cook’s assistant on a bull ranch, and her baby will be adopted by a Spanish couple.

Alone and resentful in a foreign country, Kenzie is at first sullen and difficult. She begins to open her eyes and her heart to the beauty that is all around her and inside of her.

july 20.

Last Summer by Rebecca A. Rogers
Goodreads

Description:

All Chloe wants to do is get through the summer with her parents. Her life has been in disarray for more than six months, and she knows the only reason her parents made one final trip to Sandy Shores is because of her. They are, after all, two seconds away from filing for divorce. When Chloe stumbles upon a boy in one of her childhood hangouts, she’s in for more than just a relaxing summer vacation.

Logan is exhausted, famished and, quite frankly, kaput. His parents kicked him out when he refused to attend a rehabilitation program for his drug addiction. Now, he wishes he would’ve listened; he’d be receiving appropriate medical care rather than living in a dingy, godforsaken shack, holing up from money-hungry drug dealers.

Logan’s godsend arrives in the form of Chloe, who can’t hold her tongue when it comes to matters of the heart. They’re both in for a rude awakening when Logan’s past catches up to them, though. Can they escape the drug dealers showing up at every twist and turn, or will things end much worse than they ever imagined?

Warning: contains strong language, drug use, and sexual situations. Mature audiences only. 17+

 

july 24.

book cover for Drain You by M Beth BloomDrain You by M. Beth Bloom
Goodreads | Amazon

Description:

Every night I’d lie there in bed and look out at the hills behind our house, listening. I knew there’d be consequences.

Actions meant reactions. Sunrises meant sunsets. My fear was too permanent, lasting longer than eyeliner, something I wore every day and didn’t wash off.

Quinlan Lacey’s life is a red carpet of weird fashions, hip bands, random parties, and chilling by the pool with her on-and-off BFF Libby. There’s also her boring job (minimum wage), a crushed-out coworker (way too interested), her summer plans (nada), and her parents (totally clueless). Then one night she meets gorgeous James, and Quinn’s whole world turns crazy, Technicolor, 3-D, fireworks, whatever.

But with good comes bad and unfortunately, Quinn’s new romance brings with it some majorly evil baggage. Now, to make things right, she has to do a lot of things wrong (breaking and entering, kidnapping, lying, you name it).

There’s normal, and then there’s paranormal, and neither are Quinlan’s cup of Diet Coke. Staying sane, cool, in love, and alive isn’t so easy breezy.

 

book cover for Guitar Notes by Mary AmatoGuitar Notes by Mary Amato
Goodreads | Amazon

Description:

On odd days, Tripp Broody uses a school practice room to let loose on a borrowed guitar. Eyes closed, strumming that beat-up instrument, Tripp escapes to a world where only the music matters.

On even days, Lyla Marks uses the same practice room. To Tripp, she’s trying to become even more perfect—she’s already a straight-A student and an award-winning cellist. But when Lyla begins leaving notes for him in between the strings of the guitar, his life intersects with hers in a way he never expected.

What starts as a series of snippy notes quickly blossoms into the sharing of interests and secrets and dreams, and the forging of a very unlikely friendship.

Challenging each other to write songs, they begin to connect, even though circumstances threaten to tear them apart.

From beloved author Mary Amato comes a YA novel of wit and wisdom, both heartfelt and heart­breaking, about the power of music and the unexpected chords that draw us together.

 

july 31.

book cover for Dare Me by Megan AbbottDare Me by Megan Abbott
Goodreads | Amazon

Description:

Since both girls were small, Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy’s best friend and right-hand lieutenant. Beth calls the shots and Addy carries them out, a long-established order of things that has brought them to the pinnacle of their high-school careers. Now they’re seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls – until the young new coach arrives.

Cool and commanding, an emissary from the adult world just beyond their reach, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life. Only Beth, unsettled by the new regime, remains outside Coach’s golden circle, waging a subtle but vicious campaign to regain her position as “top girl” – both with the team and with Addy herself.

And then a suspicious suicide hits close to home, and the police investigation focuses on Coach and her squad. As Addy begins to suspect what really happened, the line between right and wrong grows blurrier, and she must decide where her loyalties truly lie-and how far is too far to go for someone you love.

The raw passions of girlhood are brought to life in this taut, unflinching exploration of friendship, ambition, and power. Award-winning novelist Megan Abbott, writing with what Tom Perrotta has hailed as “total authority and an almost desperate intensity,” provides a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl.

 

book cover for Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarryPushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Goodreads | Amazon

Description:

“I won’t tell anyone, Echo. I promise.” Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. “You didn’t do that-did you? It was done to you?” No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

“An edgy romance that pulls you in and never lets go. I was hooked!”-Gena Showalter,  New York Times bestselling author of the Intertwined series

So wrong for each other…and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible. Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

 

So, that wraps up the July 2012 young adult book releases Estelle and I are looking forward to. Anything you think we should add to our list (to further break the bank)?