Top 10 Tuesday: THE UNDERRATED (5 Books + 5 Authors)

top ten tuesday hosted by the broke and the bookish

“Underrated” is pretty much an Estelle buzzword. I love talking and sharing books with people but nothing gets me more excited than sharing a less known title and author, and having others fall in love with them too. Almost 4 years into the blog and it’s still the best high in the blogging universe. So I’m back for Top 10 Tuesday by the brilliant folks at The Broke and the Bookish!

Today I’m talking contemporary young adult (so dear to my heart) and decided to divide my list in half: books and authors. I can’t wait to discover some new writers and books this week, and — fingers crossed — hope this list does the same for you! xoxo

(five) underrated authors

1. Miranda Kenneally: I’m still shocked when I hear readers haven’t picked up a book in the Hundred Oaks series. Is it the titles? Is it the book covers? I have no idea. I’ve reread the books for the third time through this year, and I was even more amazed by how sex positive they were, how much they had their characters exploring their beliefs in tough, sometimes self-destructive ways, and, especially, strong imperfect female characters. Miranda’s writing continues to get stronger as the series goes on and her latest, Breathe, Annie, Breathe, is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Period. It’s a book I believed in so much that I gifted it to 4 people who don’t read a ton of YA but I thought would get something out of it. (I’ve heard from 3 of the 4 so far and it’s been a hit; if that doesn’t say something then I don’t know what will.) From friendship to healthy family to moving on to college and dealing with all the pressures of teenage life? This series has you covered. (Tip: you don’t necessarily have to read these in order.)

2. J.H. Trumble: If you are looking for some seriously great, multi-dimensional gay characters who feel like they are practically your best friends at the end of of your reading experience then I can’t recommend J.H. Trumble enough. Her books are addicting, and I love how her characters explore love, sex, complications with family, and making friends. Like Hundred Oaks, all the characters tie into each other but they don’t necessarily have to be read in order. I am dying for an announcement about her next book.

3. Jessica Martinez: The Vow, about two best friends who decide to marry so one can stay in the country for senior year, blew me away last year. I went back and read Virtuosity, and I can anxiously awaiting Kiss Kill Vanish. I don’t see too many people talking about Jessica, and I’m not sure why. First of all, her tweets are honest and amazing and second, she brings such depth and a fresh voice to the young adult genre. You want diversity? Read The Vow. You want focused, strong female characters? Read The Vow or Virtuosity. (I haven’t read her second book, but I swear it’s on my list.)

4. Terra Elan McVoy: Terra has written a lot of books, and I’ve read four of them and have a fifth sitting on my bookshelf. The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, Being Friends with Boys, Criminal, and this year’s In Deep? She’s a genius because each of her books are so different, and keep me captivated just the same. Her characters are well-developed, imperfect in the most relatable way, and you can see (especially if you read them back to back) how much she challenges herself in each piece. I love that because it also means she is making her readers work too. I am so jealous of all of you who get to read her for the first time.

5. Tara Altebrando: YOU GUYS. I went to Coney Island for the second time in my life last weekend, and all I could think about was Dreamland Social Club — this gorgeous book that Tara wrote years ago. This year, she wrote a middle grade (loved it) and last year she wrote an amazing in-between senior year and college book with Sara Zarr called Roomies. Her books hit me right in the heart. I love the writing, the characters, the lessons, the relationships. I want all of her books in my collection and I want her to write forever.

Underrated YA Authors at Rather Be Reading Blog

(five) underrated books

1. Starstruck series by Rachel Shukert: 1930s Hollywood, different female perspectives, well-researched, and so readable. I just realized I shifted from contemporary to talk about a historical YA but oh well. I talk this one up as much as I can because I think Rachel takes this glam time (fashion! stars!) and manages to integrate the political nature of the time too. It’s a very smart book, and does not talk down to its readers.

2. Bumped series by Megan McCafferty: Whoops. I messed up again. Yes, this is young adult. But it’s also dystopian. The author known for the Jessica Darling series took a leap writing about two girls with such varied beliefs stuck in a world where having a baby super young is the way to be because people are buying babies right and left, and glamorizing the whole thing like you wouldn’t believe. In our internet, celeb-saturated world, McCafferty provided some interesting commentary on who we are today and where we can go.

3. The Comeback Season by Jennifer Smith: I cringe when I hear/read that Jennifer Smith’s debut was The Probability of Love at First Sight because no dammit, The Comeback Season is and it is ah-mazing. Jennifer parallels the history of the cursed Chicago Cubs with a young girl dealing with the delayed grief of her dad’s passing, as she meets a boy (a fellow cubs fan). The prose I have come to love from Smith is so superb here; I read the book in close to one sitting and it cemented by ultimate devotion to this author and her work. For baseball fans, for those who love some gorgeous, visual writing, you must check out this gem.

4. Past Perfect by Leila Sales: This book needs a new cover. Pronto. I never reviewed this book on the blog, but it was a lovely birthday present from Hannah (So Obsessed With) and I loved the dialogue between the two best friends, the historic village summer job wars, great romance, and ugh — I flew through it, marking a ton of quotes I loved. Read it, read it, read it. It’s my favorite Sales book (and I was a huge fan of This Song Will Save Your Life).

5. Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Schiedt: Another one I didn’t review but oh my god, if you love really crisp, amazing, emotional writing styles, Uses for Boys is a must for writers. Yes, it’s painful and heartbreaking and we don’t always understand why the main character does what she does (I mean, do you understand all the decisions your friends make) but I like to think the main character was searching for home, searching for a place where she could be herself. She took a lot of detours but I couldn’t put the book down. The language was beautiful despite all the darkness of the story.

Underrated YA Books from Rather Be Reading Blog


I could probably keep adding and adding to these lists until I have an ungodly number of recommendations.

So basically, it’s just a little taste. (But if you want some more check out Marisa Calin, Jason Myers, Colleen Clayton…)

Top 10 Tuesday: Cue the Swoon

top ten tuesday hosted by the broke and the bookish

I couldn’t let this topic get away. So here I am writing it when I should be going to bed early and possibly changing out of my gym clothes. Who needs sleep anyway? No one. Not when you have swoon. Be sure to check out today’s meme at The Broke and the Bookish.

Let’s get started —

→Between You & Me by Marisa Calin

“It’s funny how there can be something special about that one person isn’t it?” 

The author has done something so unique with this book… we never know the sex of the main character’s best friend. This best friend is sweet, caring, and takes a back seat to Phyre’s passion for theatre and their attractive theatre teacher. The friendship here is swoon-worthy and on the edge of heartbreaking because there are so many feelings involved. My heart was so invested I read through it twice. (Plus it’s written in a screenplay form, which I loved too.)

→Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay

“But no matter how hard I try, I still yearn for hugs / kisses/ smiles/ a hand to hold.” 

This was the first YA I read in verse, and it made me such a fan. A new life, a new boy, and so many hot hot hot feelings. It’s amazing just how much could be said in short stanzas but it worked so well for me. I’ve been really wanting to give this a re-read for awhile, and it seems just about the perfect time.

→Where She Went by Gayle Forman

“We stand there for a moment, staring at each other, savoring it. And then all at once, we slam together. Mia’s legs are off the ground, wrapped around my waist, her hands dipping in my hair, my hands tangled in hers. And our lips. There isn’t enough skin, enough spit, enough time, for the lost years that our lips are trying to make up for as they find each other. We kiss. The electric current switches to high. The lights throughout all of Brooklyn must be surging.” 

I’m a sucker for reunion books, and Gayle Forman so I’m sure this one isn’t a big surprise. Will they or won’t they? That’s the question, isn’t it? Can Adam and Mia move past all their crap and be together? After years apart? This book, this book. I couldn’t write down quotes fast enough.

→Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

“We’re not going to get lost at sea, are we?” I asked.

“Not unless you want to…” There was that feeling again. That warmth. The fluttering. The heart buzz. I focused on rowing. A few fireworks shot off from a distant beach. Little gold ones.”

There’s so much I love about Nantucket Blue but the romance is close to #1. It perfectly captures first love and the magic and freedom of summer.

→ God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo

“He thanked me. For creating you, or something like that. I can’t remember the exact word he used, but he gave me at least half the credit for how you turned out.” My mother paused. “I don’t usually get that much credit for anything, you know.”

This has been one of my favorite books since I was 16. And out of all the quotes I love, this was the one I was thinking about today. It’s pretty awesome when a guy knows what to say to your mom, and means it. That was Jacob.

→ The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

Moments passed like eons, and his hands were in my hair. All around us crickets and frogs started up their night songs again. The entire forest seemed to open up and bloom in the dark.

“Your heart’s pounding like mad,” he whispered. Fingers brushed my collarbone, tapped gently. “Ba-bom. Ba-bom.”

His breath against my skin, soft as a breeze and my lips could already taste him. My mouth watered, and something  swirled from a deep place inside of me and my heart continued its mad dash between his fingertips and my whole body ached with the desire to touch him, to feel him against me.

And they haven’t even kissed yet. I drooled through most of this book when I wasn’t being pummeled by the tough situations, the bonds of sisters, and how the state of friendships change over time. This story is so perfectly developed, and I love how it focuses on so much more than a romance. But Emilio and Jade’s chemistry is off the charts.

→ Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty

“Gone for a while / Hoping, always, to return / If you will let me”

I’m not sure I’ve had such a physical and emotional reaction to the ending of a book in my life. It was so passionate, and just so perfect. (I must finish my collection and buy the last two books. I need to be properly reunited with Jessica Darling!) Also haikus, and a chance airport meeting. What could be more perfect?

→ Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

St. Clair coughs and shifts again. His leg brushes against mine. It stays there. I’m paralyzed. I should love it; it feels too unnatural. How can he not notice his leg is touching my leg? From the corner of my eye, I see the profile of his chin and nose, and — oh, dear God — the curve of his lips.

There. He glanced at me. I knew he did.

This exercise is getting dangerous because I have books all over my living room floor, it’s late, and I have this crazy desire to re-read all my favorite books. Anna, St. Clair, Paris, friendship and forbidden feelings. SUCH a great book. The tension between these two characters could make any reader spontaneously combust.

→ My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

“You have to kiss me,” I find myself saying.
“Yeah.” He leans closer. “I do.” 

I’m so glad I took the time to read this book again a few weeks ago. I was so into it the first time but the second time was just… even better. I adore first love stories, and I love them more when they feel so real. Sam and Jase… they have something so special. Out of all the young couples I’ve read about, I believe that they can overcome the rest of high school and make it through. End game.

→ Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

“I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love these [tights],” I said. “Thank you. Thank you.” I reached out a hand and touched the back of his shoulder. “Really.”

Before last week, I never thought this would be on a “swoon” list for me. I let talk of how sad the book steer me away for too long when it’s a charming coming of age story. Lou, the main character, has such an uplifting personality — even when she is just trying to figure life out for herself, and for Will, the man she works for. The above quote might not make so much but it was an uncharacteristically surprising moment at a birthday celebration and it won me over completely.


I’m so excited to read everyone else’s picks! Happy Tuesday!

Top 10 Tuesday: Happy Recommendations + Requirements

top ten tuesday hosted by the broke and the bookish

Happy Tuesday all! I am so in love with today’s Top 10 Tuesday topic from the Broke and the Bookish. As book bloggers and book lovers, I’m sure so many of us are also “book pushers”. It is all too frequent that I’m talking to someone and a book recommendation pops in my head. Or when my friends come to visit my apartment and I don’t let them leave without taking a few books from my shelves to read.

I had some much fun compiling my list — a list that could really go on forever. In almost two years of blogging, and maybe three years of reading book blogs, my to-read list has been utterly out of control. Here are a few stand outs from my own reading adventures. If you know that’s good for you, you’ll pick up all of these titles soon… or else. 😉

Paying it Forward Books I Was Forced to Read

Freefall + Live Through This by Mindi Scott: Quite possibly the best recommendations that Ginger from GReadsBooks has ever given to me. She was nice enough to send these both my way, and I was utterly blown away by Scott’s realistic writing (in unfortunate situations) and vibrant characters that I wanted to care for.

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers: I love so many things about Magan but I love how she challenges to reach outside my comfort zone with my reading. Summers is a beautiful writer, even when she is telling a story about zombies. I couldn’t get over how much I connected to the story.

Don’t Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble: This one wasn’t much of a FORCED read but I felt forced to read it because of Book Chic Club’s amazing review back from December 2011. Since then I have read all of Trumble’s books, and I have Book Chic to thank. This book in particular is about a long distance relationship between two men, dealing with changes and homophobia and relationships and families. I couldn’t take my eyes away from this one.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: Why is this on my list? Are you going to disown me? My oh my. Back when Harry Potter came out, I was just not interested. I saw one of the movies in the theater and I fell asleep. My sister never got into them. But I took a Children’s Literature class back at my first college and well, I had to do it for a grade and then I got obsessed. That class was memorable for so many reasons but a big part of it was introducing me to Harry, Ron, and Hermoine.

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter: This title is a new development; I actually have a review coming up later this week. I’ve had it for a few months and I’m sure I would have kept passing it by if it wasn’t for Book Rock Betty and her enthusiasm for this story. Not exactly an Alice retelling but a unique interpretation of zombies, a bubbling hot relationship, and great voices for her characters. It was super fun and I’m so so glad I picked it up.

One Day by David Nicholls: An oldie but goodie. Rachel from Hello Chelly recommended this to me before we had blogs so I bought it for my honeymoon and absolutely devoured it. A grown up book about two young people through the span of many years, heartbreak, hardships, and love. It’s not a super fast-paced story but it’s completely well-written and I felt for these characters so much.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: Funny story but the gal who married James and I actually recommended this to me before anyone else. I was really turned off by the name and the original cover but I gave it a whirl anyway and fell madly in love with Stephanie’s writing and Anna’s story. I am so so thankful for my officiant (for many reasons) but bringing Anna into my life is definitely in the top 2. (I think you can guess what 1 is.)

Nowhere but Home by Liza Palmer: I hope you all know Cassie from Books with Cass. Not only is she one of the sweetest people you will ever meet but um, she is kind of bossy and sort of pushy and when she really loves a book, she wants the whole world to love it too. I have no idea how many people she got to buy Liza’s book but I was one of them. I’m so glad I carved out the time to read this and got to text with her about it as I did. Nowhere but Home is a beautiful book about second chances and learning to be happy. It’s very Hart of Dixie-esque and the writing is gorgeous. (Plus there’s a lot of cooking and football and a cute man or two!)

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote: Man on man. I had to read this for a Non-Fiction writing class at my second school, and it just blew me away. You want scary for Halloween? Try this because it was true. A whole family shot in their home. Terrible, terrible. I have a wild imagination and anytime I think about this story, I can freak myself out. Capote is a gorgeous writer (I love him to bits) and he crafts this horrific incident in such a way that you will be very surprised to see who you are feeling bad for. This book is classic and will forever be one of my favorites. (Plus you will not be able to stop researching the crime, and that opens a whole new can of worms.)


I’m so excited to read everyone else’s Top 10 Tuesday this week!

Be sure to add some of these to your TBR. I’ll be watching…

roz from monsters inc.

Always watching.

Estelle’s Top 10 Tuesday: The Hard Stuff (In Books)

Greetings, friends! Truth? I’ve loved so many of the past Top 10 Tuesday memes but I have been unable to come up with 10 items to list for most of them. TODAY I WILL DO IT.

I definitely don’t shy away from tough subjects in books. They are intense, emotionally-stirring, and, when done well, help you to understand the plights of different types of people.

I hope you’ll discover a few new titles in my list today!

Thanks again to Broke and Bookish for supplying this awesome meme! Don’t forget to check in over there too!


1. Acceptance

Books about Tough Stuff like Acceptance

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children and The Miseducation of Cameron Post are two beautifully written books that not only deal with gaining acceptance from others, but also finding it for themselves. Beautiful Music was one of my top reads last year; Gabe is a vivacious character who just came out as transgender to his parents. The Miseducation of Cameron Post is about a girl who thinks she caused her parents death because she kissed a girl; her aunt soon sends her to a school to get reformed.

2. Divorce

Books about Tough Stuff like Divorce

This isn’t something I’ve gone through myself, but I’ve seen it happen to my friends and I’m always interested in how an author will interpret it. I thought Jennifer E. Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight did a nice job of showing how a girl comes to terms with her dad living a brand new life. The newly released Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland depicted a character who avoided the repercussions of divorce in her family until her world blew up all around her. Both very honest accounts.

3. Bullying

Books about Tough Stuff like Bullying

Nothing fires me up more than a mean person. I know these stories are important to tell because this is happening all over the world to so many people but damn, does it rile me up. Case in point: Camp by Elaine Wolf a great setting filled with some of the most heinous characters I’ve ever come in contact with. (I couldn’t put that one down.) While Eleanor and Park is definite a sweet first romance kind of book, Eleanor goes through a lot at her school and doesn’t know who or where to turn.

4. Helplessness associated with a sick parent

Books about Tough Stuff like Helplessnes with it comes to sick parents

The fears associated with this subject really rock me to the core. Two recent examples in my reading are The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler and Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsay Leavitt; they are completely different books filled with very different circumstances but still the worry, the frustration are very much the same.

5. Murder and consequences

Books about Tough Stuff like Murder and Consequences

I can’t stop singing the praises of Terra Elan McVoy’s Criminal but here I am again. It’s a story filled with so much “gray” as a character is made a true “partner-in-crime” and must make some tough choices regarding her only friend, the love of her life, and her own future. I haven’t reviewed it here but Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood is one of my favorite books of old time. He wrote a book about a murder of a Kansas Family, interviews the killers and the rest of the town, and does his own full investigation. It’s so very interesting and addicting.

6. The power of technology

Books about Tough Stuff like Power of Technology

This really irks me because hello, we are communicating on the internet right now! I use Twitter and Instagram and checking both of these things (and more) takes up so much of my daily life. I love when use of technology is even more exaggerated in books because it makes me reflect on how much I put out there, and how I just need to unplug sometimes. Do check out: Bumped series by Megan McCafferty and The Julian Game by Adele Griffin.

7. Falling for the “wrong” person

Books about Tough Stuff like Falling for the wrong person

There are many ways you can look at this category. Sometimes it’s a terrible thing, and sometimes it’s the best terrible thing to ever happen to someone. Here are two (non-cheating examples): J.H. Trumble’s Where You Are and Natalie Standiford’s How to Say Goodbye in Robot.

8. Not having control in this great big world

Books about Tough Stuff like Events we cannot control

Sometimes there are just bigger things that we cannot stop from handling. A terrorist attack, or a war. Two extremely well-done books, that will forever be highly recommended by me are Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan (9/11) and Endangered by Eliot Schrefer (violence in Africa).

9. Truth

Books about Tough Stuff like Truth

Today I’m thinking in terms of our parents, and realizing that our parents have their own histories and their own feelings and lives. Sometimes uncovering these mysteries is great for us, and other times… not so much. You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis is written so beautifully, about a girl who listens to voicemails left on her deceased mother’s phone and uncovers the truth surrounding her final days. Then there is Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando, an Estelle favorite, who learns about her mother’s childhood when she moves into a house on Coney Island.

10. Following your heart

Books about Tough stuff like following your heart

Big decisions, our decisions may not always have the popular vote but sometimes, we just have to take that leap. It might be a job, a relationship, a friendship; you might have to make some tough decisions or happy ones. Lauren Graham’s Someday, Someday, Maybe made me think of careers and following through on your passions, while Gayle Forman’s Just One Day was about examining friendships, relationships with parents, and even ourselves.


Thanks for stopping in today’s TTT! Can’t wait to hear everyone else’s picks!

Top 10 Tuesday: Best Families in Contemporary YA

Happy Tuesday, friends! Hopefully most of us are enjoying a shorter week since we had yesterday off! We’re back for another Top 10 Tuesday hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. We decided to put our own little twist on Favorite Characters in a Genre and show huge appreciation for some awesome families we have loved getting to know.

See… the thing about YA is that sometimes the home life/the family are pushed into the background and we never get to know them or they never affect the story. This is something that plagues us because in our lives, our families were always affecting our teenage lives — whether it was positive or negative. Family dynamics just add such a richness to a story, and help us to better understand our characters.

Hopefully you’ll check out a few of our picks!


Top Ten Tuesday Best Families in YA Estelle Picks

1. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally: I just reread this book last week, and one of my main takeaways was Jordan’s mom and brother. Jordan is kind of a tomboy who is always thinking about football and her opportunities to play in college. Her mom is at every single one of her games, supporting her, as well as subtly trying to get Jordan to embrace her girly and creative sides. Jordan’s brother, Mike, already plays football in college and is at home whenever he can, pushing Jordan to play her best. When she finally shows interest in a guy, he’s totally excited for her (protective too) and wants her to go for it. (Sidenote: even Jordan’s dad who doesn’t always act ideally adds dimension to this story.) (Our joint review.)

2. Also Known As by Robin Benway: A family of spies? Totally a different upbringing than I’m used to. (You are shocked, I know.) Maggie’s parents had a lot of faith in their daughter to go on a solo mission. (Not like they could have done it, but still.) I think the mom and dad were funny, sweet, protective + they formed quite a tight family unit because of their spy talents and their lifestyle. Definitely a highlight of the book. (My review.)

3. The Difference Between You + Me by Madeline George: This is an oldie but goodie from last year that flew under the radar. It’s the story of Jesse, a strong girl in high school, who came out to her parents a long time ago. This quote always stuck with me: “Once,” Fran says, settling against the worktable, folding her arms, “I knew this kid who very bravely and bossily came out of the closet when she was only fourteen years old. She told me then that we can’t choose who we love. We just love the people we love, no matter what anyone else might want for us. Wasn’t that you?” Fran is Jesse’s mom + I have not forgotten the acceptance and pure love I felt when I read that scene. (My review.)

4. Queen of Kentucky by Alicia Whitaker: There are many reasons I related to this book: the main character was hoping to obtain some kind of cool stamp when she started her new school. Clothes, boys, music, makeup — there was so much to learn. And what I loved about Ricki Jo’s mom is that she was so accepting of this change, and her daughter evolving into a young woman. She still set realistic boundaries for her daughter, and disciplined her… she wasn’t just her friend. I really enjoyed their mother/daughter relationship. (Goodreads)

5. Not Exactly a Love Story by Audrey Couloumbis: This was one of my favorites from the end of last year (go read it!) about a boy dealing with a move after the divorce of his parents. We get scenes with both his mom and his dad, and they honestly couldn’t be  more different. It’s obvious how much Vinnie cares for these two people who grew apart, and who have so suddenly changed his life. While his mom sort of drove me nuts (she has bad habits!), I really did enjoy the scenes when he was spending time with him and they shared common hobbies. (And they say teenagers don’t care about their parents…) (My review.)


Rather Be Reading Top Ten Tuesday - strong families represented in young adult books

1. Geek Girl by Cindy C. Bennett: I’ve read quite a few books recently where characters are in the foster care system. Oftentimes, the bad, negative side is the focus, and as someone who cares very much about these kids, I couldn’t have been happier to see Jen find two foster parents (who had two biological children as well) fight for her. They tried so hard to make sure she knew how much she was loved. One of my favorite, favorite elements of Geek Girl was the strong sense of family. (My review.)

2. Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway: How absurd that Estelle also chose one of Robin’s books. (That makes me ridiculously happy to see because now I’m 1000x even more excited for Also Known As!) I told my husband, Dustyn, that I wanted to be like the parents in Audrey, Wait. They were so down to earth, so much so that I found myself laughing out loud a ton at the interactions between Audrey and her parents. They were such an integral part of all the drama surround Audrey and her terrible break-up. I loved that they were so caring and actively participating in their daughter’s life. I feel in a lot of situations, the parents in YA books wouldn’t have had a clue their daughter was struggling. (Goodreads)

3. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick: Okay, so sure Samantha’s mother is downright atrocious sometimes, but let’s focus on the Garrett family. They have tons of kids, everyone is super close, they all have their role, and they’re a bit chaotic, but somehow, they make things work. I kid you not, guys, I’ve never wanted a big family (well, this big), but after finishing the book, I seriously considered having seven kids. Fitzpatrick just did so, so well with the large-family dynamic! (My review.)

4. The Survival Kit by Donna Frietas: I will keep preaching about this book until all of you read it! Family is so, so integral for Rose’s story after the loss of her mom. Her family loses its footing after she passes. Sure they have some problems, but it’s figuring out how to come together and move past the grief that makes Rose’s family so strong. Of course I contemplated choosing Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson for my fifth book, but I didn’t want to choose two really sad books, so note: that book is very, very highly rated for me + another greaty family example. (My review.)

5. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: I just love, love, loved Lola’s dads. They were humorous, a bit overprotective, and super uplifting. They kept Lola grounded when she seemed to have trouble finding her way. Some of my favorite scenes took place when Cricket and Lola were helping out with the pie baking for the bakery. (Our joint review.)

We can’t wait to see what you’ve chosen for your Top Ten Tuesday post! Thanks for checking out our favorite families in contemporary YA books!

Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Books (from 5 Authors) We’re Thankful For

What a perfect topic for this week!

Over the past year, we’ve both discovered a ton of authors that we love. Today we are celebrating our go-to authors, who write the books we can’t gobble up fast enough. No matter the title, we know their books are a sure bet.

So this is our twist on Broke & Bookish’s Tuesday thankful topic. Without further ado, 10 books by 5 authors who get our vote time and time again.



Authors + Work E's Thankful For

adele griffin:

1. All You Never Wanted: A review copy that set me on a rampage to read any Adele Griffin I could get my hands on. This book is about sisters, lies, and secrets when a family is torn apart by their new money and pressure to fit in. I fail to come up with the right words to classify Adele’s writing but it’s crisp and to the point. But not impersonal. Her stories are complex, kind of dark, and full of hidden treasures. (My review.)

2. The Julian Game: This was a book I just picked on a whim, and whoa. A story about some high school girls and hidden identities on the internet. Popularity and boys. Same kind of dark twistiness I expect from Adele with much complexity to her characters’ storylines. Review to come early next year but I definitely enjoyed this one.

jennifer e. smith

3. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight: Ah, the book that put Jen E. Smith on my radar. This was literally the first released I marked on my calendar, and whoa, did it fulfill all expectations. What I love about Jen’s writing is how it is so well-crafted, and she continues to surprise me with surprise depth in areas I never thought would mean so much to the story. (My review.)

4. The Comeback Season: I’m a huge baseball fan and I still can’t get over at how amazingly Jen weaved the history of the Chicago Cubs with the story of a daughter grieving her dad. It’s absolutely heartwrenching but never over the top, and just, a beautiful story that hurts my heart. It’s become my favorite out of the Jen E. Smith canon. (My review.)

J.H. trumble

5. Don’t Let Me Go: Oh man. This book hit me in the gut. The main character is dealing with a long distance relationship and being open about his sexuality in a school and a town that is not very accepting. The writing is powerful, but never preachy and whoa, you know you like the book when the character makes some frustrating moves and you are hanging on. I called it one of my best reads of 2012 and that still rings true. (My review.)

6. Where You Are: Trumble’s second book won’t be released until December 24 but I was luckily enough to get an early copy. I went in with pretty high expectations and you know, Trumble did it again. A book about a relationship between a student and his teacher… tons of complexity, whoa emotions, and amazingly relatable situations. I was literally closing the book and breathing very hard because it was all so real. I plan on reading it another time through before I write my review. Another thing, even though Trumble focuses on LGBT… she does it like it should be. A love story about two people dealing with challenges that don’t discriminate.


favorite rather be reading author courtney summers

courtney summers

7. Some Girls Are: This was my first book of Courtney’s to read and I devoured it. I read it in less than two hours and immediately requested absolutely everything else she’d written right after. I read all of her books (at this point This is Not a Test hadn’t been published yet) in less than a week. She’s honest and authentic. Her writing really speaks to me and whips me right back to how I felt as a teenager. Some Girls Are is about bullying. It’s not easy to read through some parts, but I 100% believe this book is necessary in today’s society where bullying is so prevalent. Teens need this. (My review.)

8. Fall For Anything: I believe this was my first book (or one of the very first) to read about suicide. A father commits suicide and his daughter is on a mission to understand why. Again, not an easy topic to read about, but even as someone who hasn’t gone through that situation, I felt every emotion and felt so strongly connected to Courtney’s writing.

rather be reading favorite author sara zarr

sara zarr

9. How to Save a Life: Apparently I like extremely touchy books because this one is about a girl who loses her father. Her dad was like her best friend and she was never very close to her mom. When her mom connects with a teenage girl that’s pregnant and allows her to move in with them until she has the baby, Jill freaks out a little. She feels like her mom is trying to replace her when she announces that she will adopt the baby. (My review.)

10. Sweethearts: I think most people can connect with the emotions involved in losing a friend or with how friendships evolve and change. (Sometimes not always for the better.) This was another one of those quick reads for me. There is a lot of secrecy surrounding what happened to Cameron Quick and I just needed to figure things out. Immediately. I’m the type of person that has mourned friendships that haven’t worked out, but this book made me realize that even though some of them have been temporary, they’ve still impacted me and I’ve grown from them. (My review.)

honorable mentions (because of course 10 books weren’t enough…)

11. Stealing Parker: Miranda’s books are full of awesome characters (that bleed over between novels so you get to see glimpses of couples you loved in multiple books) and very real situations – family problems, trouble defining relationships, abandonment, etc. I wish a new Miranda book came out every month. I would be the happiest girl on earth if this were real. (My review.)

12. Saving June: Ok, so I know I sound uber depressing today since this is another suicide pick, but I promise it’s amazing. It’s full of a great music references, a boy character that made me laugh out loud at his forwardness and insensitivity, and so much emotion. Highly, highly recommend this one. (Actually, both of Hannah’s books are incredible. Read ’em both.) (My review.)

Please note: I promise I’m not sad and depressed. I just really, really like touching, emotional stories.