A couple of years ago, I discovered the magical world of ARCs. Oh the joy in receiving a book before the “rest of the world”, being able to dive into it before anyone else can get their hands on it. But the best part of reading advanced copies for me is finding new authors with outstanding debut novels. Such is the case with this one.
Hawthorn has never been one to follow along with everyone’s idea of normal. She doesn’t fit into any group at school, has one good friend, a hippie for a mom, and an active imagination. So when Lizzie Lovett mysteriously disappears, Hawthorn takes it upon herself to find out just what happened to the town’s golden girl.
But she takes things a bit too far, as with most things she does. Working in the diner where Lizzie was employed, visiting the woods where she was last seen, getting friendly with Lizzie’s boyfriend…all in the name of solving a missing person’s case. And of course, she gets more than she bargained for.
This is an interesting book to review. I’m not quite sure what it is. A mystery, sure, but not in the truest sense. A story of teen angst and drama, possibly. But aren’t all teens full of angst and drama? A romance…maybe a tad. In any case, it’s good. Hawthorn is funny, and she’s admirable as a leading teen character. And the ending is satisfying with every question being answered. A good story!
Buy It Now: The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett
Dying isn’t funny. Or at least it shouldn’t be. But somehow this wonderful little gem of a book makes it so.
Libby’s perfectly crafted world comes to a crashing halt in the span of less than a day. Not only does she find out that she has cancer, likely very quickly ending her life, but she also finds out that her dear husband is gay.
So she does what any of us would do in that same situation. She quits her job, which she hated anyway. She kicks her husband out and sells their apartment. She purges herself of all her worldly possessions and takes a lengthy trip to the Caribbean. Make perfect sense, right?
She soon finds out, however, that simply crawling into a corner and waiting to die isn’t as easy as it might sound. She has a brother and father who both love her dearly. She finds herself relishing the simple things in life, such as the feeling of warm sand between her toes. She strikes up an unlikely friendship with her elderly landlady.
And then there’s Shiloh, the handsome pilot she finds herself falling for. When he discovers that she plans to give up without putting up a glimmer of a fight, he quickly lets her know that’s not an option.
Make no mistake, this is a romance story. But it’s also a funny story, one about family and bouncing back. It’s a story about not giving up regardless of the curveballs that life inevitably throws your way. The writing is witty and wry, and the characters are so likeable that you almost forget that it’s a work of fiction. A fun, inspiring read!
Buy It Now: Life and Other Near-Death Experiences
So many reasons to love this book! The main character, Leigh, sells graves in the family-owned cemetery which earns points for plot originality. Leigh is a sympathetic teenager struggling through somewhat normal teen angst. There’s the tear-jerker factor in a sibling recovering from a potentially fatal disease. And there are Leigh’s parents who at first glance are not very likeable but kinda grow on you by the end of the story.
This is such a different kind of young adult novel. It has some of the common elements such as high school drama and bits of a love story. But the language of the story is so quirky and Leigh has such a deadpan sense of humor that the book stands out from many others that I’ve read lately. I also love that the story was inspired in part by events from the author’s life. A debut novel from Jennifer Longo that promises even better things to come in the future!
Buy It Now: Six Feet Over It