Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Contemporary Round-Up

Hello Lovelies!!

As I mentioned before, I'm really behind on my reviews. So I'm doing a couple of themed round-ups to catch-up. These cover all the books I've read in a certain genre for the last month and a half or so.

With summer time, I felt the need to breeze through a boatload of contemporaries or books which fit the contemporary genre. Here's what I've read so far.

My Love, My Love or The Peasant Girl by Rosa Guy
Published: 1985
Publisher: Holt McDougal
Received: Borrowed from a friend

"When the heads and hearts of fools and children are filled with the images of gods and ghosts, 
what room is there for reason?"

So this walks a fine line between contemporary and fantasy, but I decided to put it here and call it a contemporary with a dash of magical realism. It's a retelling of the Little Mermaid (the Hans Christian Andersen, not the Disney) and it's set on a tropical island. The main character is Desiree, a peasant girl who saves the life of an aristocratic young man after a car accident. Desiree nurses him back to life, although his father comes and takes him away before he awakes. Desiree believes the young man will love her, so she leaves her home and adventures to the big city to meet him.

"Misfortune never waits to be invited in. He comes to the door and takes off his hat, pretending he's welcome. He sits at your table and never leaves until he sees your bones."

This retelling is written so beautifully. It tackles issues of race and class, but Guy writes the dialect. She doesn't mock it or do tags so readers will read it in a specific manner. Her writing and word choice just manages to convey the atmosphere exactly. I'm not sure I enjoyed it. But I enjoyed the experience of reading it.

"For the poor, all gates are difficult to enter--even the gates of heaven."

I would recommend this to fans of the original Little Mermaid, and for people who enjoy reading about different cultures. It was short but managed to make me think a lot. 

Published: Apr. 15, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Received: Bought a copy for my Kindle!

Lara Jean writes letters to move on from crushes. As soon as she thinks a guy is officially out of her reach (they get a girlfriend or move or whatever), she writes a letter telling them how she felt. She stores these letters in her room where they will never see the light of day. Until each letter is accidentally mailed out to its never intended recipient. Now Lara Jean has to confront these boys face-to-face and in doing so, she creates an even more unexpected situation.

I really enjoyed this one! It's sweet and cute and just reminded me of high school so much. The whole "not knowing who to like or who likes you" never goes away, but this book has the trappings of high school and it really brought me back there. It was such a quick read for me. I couldn't wait to keep reading it, and I loved it. 

I would recommend this to fans of contemporary romances and character driven books. 

Published: Sept. 24, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Received: Picked up a free copy at school!

"There are so many maybes in life, but sometimes you just have to put your faith in possibility."

I've been meaning to read this for a while since one of my favorite bookbloggers recommended it a couple years back. When I saw it on a stack of free books at my school, I grabbed it. I read it in basically one sitting. Callie was stolen by her mom when she was very young. They've lived life on the road for as long as Callie can remember. Her mom is unstable, but Callie loves her. When Callie's mom is pulled over, Callie's true identity comes to light. Callie moves back in with her father (and his new family) and she has to adjust to her new life. The only thing that feels normal amidst all the weird is her reaction to the older guy she meets at the docks.

This book made me feel all the things. It's heartbreaking and precious and hopeful. It made me think of all the terrible things that people survive and how people can help each other survive. I would recommend it to fans of contemporary romances and character driven novels. 

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Published: May 26, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Received: Borrowed from a friend, thanks Melissa!

"I can see now that it's the little things, the small efforts, that keep a relationship going."

In this sequel to To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Lara Jean picks up right where the first one ends. Lara Jean had a bit of a disaster on her ends after the last one, and here she needs to pick up the pieces. She's made her choice, but now she has to find out if it's reciprocated. Then someone else steps into the picture. 

I loved this one just as much as the first one. It's a little bit repetitive as far as plot goes (so for people who hate that, this might not be for you), but I enjoyed it. Lara Jean is a very sympathetic character, and I found myself rooting for her even when she was making choices that I could see were completely awful. I would recommend this for fans of the first book, fans of contemporary romances, and fans of character driven books.

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
Published: Jun. 23, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Received: Picked up a free copy at school!

Emmy remembers the day Oliver was kidnapped by his father. She remembers the note which said he liked her. She remembers watching him get in the car with his dad. And she remembers all the moments since when he didn't come back. Until ten years later, Oliver's fingerprints come up during a lab class. Now Oliver is back, but he's had ten years to change, and Emmy's been focused on who he used to be.

I loved this book! It was a quick read for me, another one I devoured in a single day. I'd never read books where the child was kidnapped and returned home until this summer, and then I read two within a single week. But they were so different, and the characters were so realistic for both of them, that I loved them both on their own. Emmy & Oliver is about all the little ways people change over the years, and all the quirks they keep even as they grow-up. 

I would recommend this book to fans of contemporary romances and character driven plots.

Published: Jan. 1, 2013
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Received: A gift from my lovely friends Melissa and Steve!

Frenchie Garcia has spent the last year spiraling into depression. Her parents think it's because of the end of senior year. Her friends think it's her pulling away from them. She's the only one who knows that she spent a magical night last year with her crush--the night before he killed himself. In an effort to heal, Frenchie decides to recreate the night with a guy who apparently likes her. 

This book made me think about how people interact with one another. It hit me in the heart and reminded me of some of my own past. I can't say I loved this book. But I can say that it affected me. I think it's worth reading. But it does come with some fairly heavy emotional baggage. Not for people looking for fluffy reads. 

The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti
Published: Feb. 27, 2007
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Received: Bought a copy

Jade's had anxiety for about as long as she could remember. It's why she watches the elephant stream from the zoo down the road. It keeps her calm. And that's where she first sees the boy with the baby. She decides she wants to meet him, and of course, everything changes from there.

I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. It was nice to read about a character with anxiety who goes to a therapist. It was good to see that aspect of life normalized. But the story part just left me wanting more. Caletti was striving for realism, which I think she achieved, but it also isn't generally what I'm looking for in books. I get that sometimes relationships don't work, but in books, I want things to work out. I want the improbable to happen. I want people to get together and get better and get everything happy by the end. So I would recommend this book for people who prefer realistic depictions of life. 

What about you lovelies? Have you read any of these contemporaries? What else would you recommend to me?? Let me know in the comments!!

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