Follow Friday & Blog Hop!

Keeping with the dystopian and apocalypse theme that seems to be running rampant on parajunkee.com, I have one very hard question for you: If you were stocking your bomb shelter, what books would you HAVE to include if you only had space for ten?

Oh my gosh, you can't even say things like that to me! I would absolutely HAVE to include the entire Harry Potter series, and the Hunger Game series, and then there wouldn't be any more room, would there? Well that doesn't fly with me (even though those are my all-time favourite series)! I would probably take my suitcase and pull out a few shirts just to be able to fit in a few others :P And I don't think this counts, but I have this hilarious (and awesome) book called The Worst Case Scenario Survival Guide that is pretty much an instruction manual for how to survive ANYTHING, and I would probably shove it into my pocket on my way out. 

Seriously though, asking me to choose only ten is like telling me to I can only pick which one of my (nonexistent) children to take with me! :(


Where She Went

Author: Gayle Forman
Pages: 264
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)It's been three years since the devastating accident ... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.
Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.
My Summary: Three years after the accident that killed Mia's family - and very nearly claimed Mia's life as well - Adam is anything but happy. Having skyrocketed to fame after writing an award-winning album, Adam is living with his celebrity girlfriend, selling out to please the record label, and popping pills to keep himself from freaking out daily. Adam is a mess, and he's been one for almost 2 years - since Mia left him without a word of explanation.

Then, on a stroll through town the night before the beginning of another tour, Adam sees a poster for a performance at Carnegie Hall; he buys a ticket and watches in amazement as the girl he once loved plays for thousands of people, having recovered completely from the accident. Awestruck and heartbroken, Adam plans to leave ASAP - until an usher approaches him, saying that Mia's asking for him in her dressing room.

My Thoughts: Oh Mrs. Forman, why do you enjoy tormenting my little piggy heart the way you do?! First, with If I Stay - I've never cried as much as I did while reading this book - and now with Where She Went, where I couldn't help but wish someone would just hug Adam and tell him everything was going to be all right again soon?!

 If there's one thing I know, it's that Gayle Forman can write heartbreaking novels. If I Stay was one of the very first contemporary YA novels I ever read, and it was because of If I Stay that I fell in love with the genre. 

On to the book: I found the songs at the beginning of every chapter really helped you understand how Adam was feeling, even when he didn't say it; they were definitely a great addition to the story. Also, I love the writing style the author utilizes - she tells the story in a forward way, while at the same time showing you what happened to lead the characters to where they are. And Mrs. Forman's writing is fluid and lyrical - poetic and yet still real and believable. And poor Adam... you can't help but feel his heartache and desperation, and just reading about his life after Mia makes you angry - 'how could she do this to him?!' was a question I asked a few dozen times.

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend If I Stay and Where She Went to anyone who enjoys contemporary literature, and definitely to anyone who loves a good love story. Make sure you have a box of tissues handy when you start reading!

Quotastic Giveaway!

Remember, there's only 3 more days to enter! The giveaway is international, and you could win your choice of any recently released book! 

Click here to enter ---> ENTER HERE!!!! 

Good luck everyone! :)



Author: Megan McCafferty
Pages: 336
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Online Galley (ARC)
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. 

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend Zen, who is way too short for the job. 

Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her that “pregging” for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from. 

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

My Summary: Melody and Harmony are identical twins who were separated at birth. In their dystopian society, the Virus has made everyone over the age of 18 infertile, threatening the future of the entire human race. To combat this problem, the media has turned 'pregging for profit" into the next big thing: girls are hired as surrogates and paid to 'bump' with a stranger until they get pregnant. Upon delivery of the child, the girl is paid - usually very handsomely, especially if she possesses the desired physical and intellectual traits. Girls like Melody are groomed from a young age to fit this 'perfect persona', and the more babies they have, they more successful they become.

Melody is still waiting for her bump partner to be chosen when her long-lost sister appears on her doorstep, having just escaped from the simple 'Churchies' community where she grew up - a place where girls are married by 13 and expected to have as many children as possible before they turn 18. 

Harmony's mission is to help her sister 'find God' - convert her sister and help her see the light - but will she end up being the one who changes her mind?

My Thoughts: This novel was a light read which was really funny at points but fell kinda flat at others. I loved the use of pregnancy terms as slang, although sometimes it was a little hard to understand what the words meant (you really had to figure out what it meant in the context of the sentence). You couldn't take this book very seriously, considering it was a satirical type of novel, but there were points where I wished for a deeper or more emotional reaction from the characters.

I did like the characters though - I think Zen was my favourite overall: he was such a sweetheart, the way he took care of Melody and Harmony like a big brother would.

 This novel also shows a variety of views about 'bumping' at a young age (*wink wink*), both from a religious perspective and a societal perspective. It also seems to ask a question: are teenagers mentally prepared to be parents or even surrogates for that matter? And should we only pick our partners based on what they offer (physically and intellectually), completely ignoring their personalities?

Final Thoughts:B
umped was a nice light read that I think older teens and more mature readers would enjoy


The Gathering

Author: Kelley Armstrong
Pages: 359
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)Sixteen-year-old Maya is just an ordinary teen in an ordinary town. Sure, she doesn't know much about her background - the only thing she really has to cling to is an odd paw-print birthmark on her hip - but she never really put much thought into who her parents were or how she ended up with her adopted parents in this tiny medical-research community on Vancouver Island. 

Until now. 

Strange things have been happening in this claustrophobic town - from the mountain lions that have been approaching Maya to her best friend's hidden talent for "feeling" out people and situations, to the sexy new bad boy who makes Maya feel . . . . different. Combine that with a few unexplained deaths and a mystery involving Maya's biological parents and it's easy to suspect that this town might have more than its share of skeletons in its closet. 

In The Gathering, New York Times best-selling author Kelley Armstrong brings all the supernatural thrills from her wildly successful Darkest Powers series to Darkness Rising, her scorching hot new trilogy. 


My Summary: Maya's lived in a town of 200 people since she was five years old. Thanks to the medical research facility in town owned by the St. Clouds (sound familiar?), she and all the rest of the kids get the best of everything: the best schooling, the best health-care...

Maya is content living with her adoptive parents and her friends Serena and Daniel, believing everything she's been told by the St. Clouds. But then Serena dies under mysterious circumstances, and Maya is left to wonder just what is going on in her tiny town when, less than a year later, a reporter disappears while looking for answers about the lab.

And then there's Rafe, the guy who nobody trusts. Maya can't seem to shake the feeling that he knows something he's not telling her... especially when she sees his paw-print tattoo - one that matches hers perfectly. 

My Thoughts: Kelley Armstrong is one of my absolute favourite authors, so I might be a little bias when I say this, but I seriously loved this book! I thought there was no way I could like it as much as I adored The Darkest Powers, but it's definitely close. 

Kelley's writing is always flawless, and the way she describes Maya's town seriously makes me want to plan a trip to Vancouver. And the characters are awesome - each one is realistic, and each one has a history that you can't wait to find out more about. I especially loved Rafe and his attempt to keep everyone away with his 'bad-boy' persona  - that guy definitely needs a hug (preferably from Maya).

And I may seem a little obsessed when I say this, but the little mentions of things we heard about in the Darkest Powers series made me all giddy and whatnot. Especially when I found out that Maya's last name is Delaney and who the statue in the town square was memorializing...

Final Thoughts: Whether you've read the DP series already or not, I think you'll really enjoy reading The Gathering. My advice, though, is that you pick up the DP series first - you find out a lot more important info that way (plus the Darkest Powers series kicks ass... just sayin'). You should definitely pick this one up when you get the chance!

Follow Friday & Blog Hop!

Q. What is on your current playlist right now?

I've been obsessing over Adele's albums for the past couple of weeks, and the ones I have on constant repeat are Rumour Has It, Turning Tables, Chasing Pavement, Rolling in the Deep, and Hometown Glory. I've also been known to jam out to Katy Perry's E.T. :P (does anyone say 'jam out' anymore, or am I 17 going on 60?)

Anyways, don't forget to enter my giveaway! The winner gets their choice of April 'New Release' books! 



Author: Lucy Christopher
Pages: 301
Publisher: Chicken House
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5 star

Summary (from Goodreads)Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back? The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist - almost.


My Summary: Gemma is a normal teen from London on vacation with her parents. During a stop-over in a Bangkok airport, Gemma meets a charming stranger. Fueled by her anger at her parents, Gemma sits down and has coffee with the man; they chat, trading stories and pleasantries. But Gemma begins to feel strangely...

Suddenly she's being dragged off by the stranger, her limbs numb and useless. She can't fight back, can't react... she's being stolen.

She awakens a few days later, in a terrain so alien it might as well be another planet. She realizes two things: she has been kidnapped, and the only other person for thousands of miles is her kidnapper - the charming man from the airport - the one who stole her away and made her his own.

My Thoughts: Since the moment I read the preface of this novel almost 2 years ago, I knew I was going to read it. I didn't think I'd like it though - after reading through a few dozen reviews and summaries, my thoughts were somewhere along the lines of, "how the heck can people think this was a good story? This guy is a mentally deranged kidnapper in love with a teenaged girl!" But I knew I had to read it too, because people were recommending it to me left and right, so I added it to my to-read list, thinking I would put it off as much as I possibly could.

Summer rolled around and I realized I had no new books to read on vacation, so I got myself to the bookstore and strolled around the YA section. And even though it wasn't even close to the top of my to-read list, I grabbed Stolen off the shelf, telling myself that, even if I wasn't able to get past the first chapter, I'd have the pool to keep me occupied.

I swear, I never expected to fall in love with this book. It just sort of happened, you know? Lucy Christopher's writing is like poetry, and her ability to take words and form a landscape in my mind is downright amazing. For those of you who've read it already, you know what I'm talking about. For those of you who haven't: please, please read this book.

It's been almost 2 years now, and Stolen is still probably my absolute favourite stand-alone YA novel. It does what all my favourite books do: breaks your heart into tiny little pieces. Gemma and Ty's story is one of the few that gets to me every time - I bawl my eyes out every time I re-read it.

Final Thoughts: If I could give this book 10 out of 5 stars, I definitely would. It's one of those ones you can't ever forget, no matter how many more books you may read afterwards. I whole-heartedly recommend this one to readers 15 and over.


The Other Side of Dark

Author: Sarah Smith
Pages: 320
Publisher: Atheneum
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)Since losing both of her parents, fifteen-year-old Katie can see and talk to ghosts, which makes her a loner until fellow student Law sees her drawing of a historic house and together they seek a treasure rumored to be hidden there by illegal slave-traders. 

Law Walker knew Katie Mullens before she was crazy. Before her mother died. Law knows Katie’s crazy now, but she’s always been talented. And she keeps filling sketch pads even though her drawings have gone a little crazy as well—dark, bloody. What Law doesn’t know is that these drawings are real. Or were real. Katie draws what she sees—and Katie sees dead people. People who have died—recently, and not so recently—in accidents, from suicide, even a boy who was trapped in a house that burned down more than 100 years ago. And it’s this boy who makes Law want to get to know Katie all over again. So what if his dad doesn’t want him dating a white girl? So what if people think Katie is dangerous? The ghost boy is hiding a secret that Law needs to know—and it’s much bigger, much more shocking than anyone ever expected.


My Summary: Ever since her mom died a year ago, Katie's been seeing ghosts... and not just any ghosts either - ghosts that died violently. She sees the ghosts of people who were murdered, people who've committed suicide... all of it. 

Katie thinks she's crazy - she thinks these 'hallucinations' are all a product of the grief she's feeling, never taking them seriously. She draws every single ghost she sees, though, keeping them all in a sketchbook. Each sketch is more disturbing than the last, usually showing the way the person died. Katie knows she's crazy, but the sketches are the only way to keep the ghosts from taking over her entire life...

Until the day she meets a ghost boy in the park and bumps into Law Walker. She's surprised he wants anything to do with her, the 'crazy girl', but the two form an unlikely friendship. When Katie tells Law about the boy in the park who died in the house he's trying to save from being bulldozed, he investigates and discovers that Katie really has been seeing ghosts - and that she may be the key to saving the house and the treasure inside.

My Thoughts: I'm so glad I decided to read this book! It was just what I needed - the perfect mix of history, paranormal elements, and romance. All three components of the book wove together perfectly, making it one of those books that I just couldn't put down without finding out what happened next.

Seriously. I finished it in less than 8 hours, and it's not a very short book! 

And I'd like to give props to Sarah Smith for the honest way she handled the topics of slavery and racism and the sometimes crushing pressure parents put on their kids - I felt so bad for Law, trying to deal with his father's unrealistic expectations while also trying to grow up and figure out where he belongs because of his mixed heritage. 

Final Thoughts: If you've always been a bit of an American History geek like me, you'll definitely want to pick this one up! It ties together elements of history, racism, and romance beautifully, and I really enjoyed it. May not be suitable for reader under 14, though!


The Messiah of Howard Street

Author: Jennifer Castello
Pages: 200
Publisher: WriteLife
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

Summary (from Goodreads)Hayden Bell has successfully evaded University of Nebraska at Lincoln by employing himself as a street performer in the Old Market. Kelly Erickson is watching her mother die of cancer, and Jane Harris is watching her best friend march off to Iraq. Frank Kuzchenitsh is stuck in a dead end job, Ryan Fairfield just filed for divorce, and Thomas Stall is successfully making his escape via an impromptu Colorado road trip. Through Jennifer Castello's small portraits of those who have found themselves on the threshold of change and monotony, the city of Omaha comes to life in a story of growing up, standing up, and taking chances.


Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary: Set in the city of Omaha, Nebraska, The Messiah of Howard Street follows Janie, Hayden, Kelly, Frank, Ryan, Andrew, Jess, John and a few others through difficult times in their lives. Told in a collection of short-story-like chapters, we see situations from multiple character's points of view and get to understand where they are in their lives and how exactly they got there. 

My Thoughts: An amazing read! I was actually surprised that I liked it so much, considering it was only 200 pages long, but it definitely made up for it's short length with the substance and quality of the storytelling. Jennifer Castello's writing was wonderful - full of imagery and allusions, making the story come alive. The dialogue between the characters always felt so natural, and it was really easy to visualize and identify with them because they were so believable. 

What I really liked was that the author was able to tackle so many issues effectively - you saw Andrew's struggle with hiding who he really was in such a small town (where his brother was a minister), Kelly's denial of her mother's illness and rejection of her father's sister as a substitute, Janie's inability to let go of her only true friend, Jessie's resentment of her eccentric brother... it was all there, yet the novel never felt too over-crowded with information. Each issue was tackled subtly, and I found it really reflected the ability people have to move on, grow up, and let go.

And ultimately, it shows that we are all connected somehow - be it through the people we love or the place we grew up - and we hold those things in our hearts no matter where we go.

Final Thoughts: I really, really enjoyed this one, and I know if you're a fan of realistic contemporary fiction, you'll love it as well. Check it out! It's a short read, and there are male and female points of view ranging from Jacky (age 10) to Ryan (age 40). 

An extremely refreshing read! I'm so thankful for the opportunity! 


City of Fallen Angels

                                                 Author: Cassandra Clare
                                                    Pages: 424
                                         Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
                                                 Format: Hardcover
                                            My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. 

Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.


My Summary: It's been six weeks since the war in Idris, and Clary's life has just begun to return to normal - well, as normal as it can get, seeing as her soon-to-be step-father is a werewolf and she and her friends are demon-hunters. But Clary's happy with the way things are: she and Jace are finally able to be together, and everything seems right with the world...

But things are far from okay - Simon's being sent mysterious messages and attacked by mysterious figures in hoods; Jace is pulling away and acting strangely; Shadowhunters are being killed and left in places to make it seem like the work of Downworlders... 

They thought it was all over when Valentine was killed, but it's only just begun.

My Thoughts: My first attempt at writing a review for this book ended with a a few dozen curse words amidst a whole bunch of gibberish like ihhnk,sndfkl;dsjfphjsdgfdosjsdjfsd, so I took a few hours to calm down and read the dictionary, and now I'm ready to write a review that makes sense (I hope).

Firstly, I absolutely ADORE Cassandra Clare's writing style! It's always smooth and flawless and sarcastic and funny and just plain beautiful. And it seems to just get more and more polished with each and every book! 

Secondly, (and this is where the swearing started last time), this book was so incredibly amazing! When I first heard that Cassie was continuing the story, I kinda went, "what else could she do with it? The bad guy's dead!" but of course I never should have doubted her! Cassie took the teeny tiny loose ends from City of Glass and created a suspenseful, mind-boggling read that I can't seem to get out of my head. 

I especially loved the development of Simon and the introduction of Kyle! Simon was always one of my favourite characters and I loved getting to see how he adapted to life as a vampire (along with dating two girls who were more than capable of ripping him to shreds)!

Final Thoughts: I don't know if there's much more I can say to make you want to read this amazing book. What are you waiting for? Seriously. I don't care if you haven't even read the first 3 books in the series; go to the bookstore and get all 4! I promise you won't ever regret it.


Quotastic Giveaway!

What's this? Another giveaway?! :P

With all the new releases out this month, I thought it'd be great to host a giveaway and get new books out to my followers! To enter, submit your favourite quote and choose the book you'd like to receive if you win! Anyone may enter (INTERNATIONAL), but you must be a follower of this blog! Contest closes to entries on April 30th, 2011.

------>   click here to enter!    <------ 

Good luck!!



Author: Monique Polak
Pages: 256
Publisher: Orca Books
Format: Paperback (ARC)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)Sixteen-year-old Ani lives in the tiny Quebec town of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre, where her family runs Saintly Souvenirs, a tourist shop catering to the many pilgrims who come to the town seeking a miracle. The bane of Ani's existence is her hyperactive, over-sexed younger sister, Colette. Ani and her mother, Therese, are devout Catholics; Colette and her father are not. When Therese is paralyzed after a freak accident, Ani's faith is tested, but when she is confronted with something shocking in her mother's past, she has to rethink her whole existence.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary: Ani (named after Saint Anne) has always been the 'good' daughter - she's religious, responsible, and takes care of her out-of-control younger sister Colette. Ani's always been content with her life in the tiny town of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre - she's happy running the family's souvenir shop with her parents and comfortable knowing that she can always rely on her faith.

That is, until the accident. 

Soon Ani's life is turned upside-down, and she has no idea what to do anymore - she's losing her grip on things, facing obstacles she never dreamed she'd be up against. Even worse, the people she thought she knew are starting to seem like complete strangers - her mother, her younger sister, and even her father are not who they appear to be.

My Thoughts: This was a wonderful coming-of-age story, and the element of religion really tied it together nicely! As someone who grew up in a moderately religious household like Ani's, I was able to easily identify with Ani's feelings about what was going on around her. The way she felt trapped in her tiny town was also easy to relate to, and I loved the Canadian element of the story! Members of my family have actually made the pilgrimage to Sainte-Anne, and it was great getting a glimpse at the feelings of the locals. I also loved the debate over miracles between Ani and her dad - it was interesting to see how vastly different people's views could vary on the topic (I, for one, am a believer!).

Mrs. Polak's writing is smooth and easy to follow, and there are enough plot twists to keep you flipping pages to find out what happens next. Her imagery and descriptions of the beautiful buildings in Sainte-Anne made it easy to picture the town and follow Ani throughout her journey.

And what a beautiful book! The cover is simple but stunning, and sure to catch your eye.

Final ThoughtsMiracleville was a lovely read, and I'm so glad I got the opportunity to do so! I definitely recommend it to teens who are coming of age and unsure how religion can work within society and culture nowadays. It would make a great Easter gift! 


Follow Friday & Blog Hop!

Q: Do you judge a book by its cover?

To be honest with you, the cover is the last thing I consider before buying a book! I usually research a book that catches my attention on Goodreads, and if the story sounds good, I'll buy it no matter what the book looks like (although if there are other covers available and I like them better than the original, I'll usually go with one of those instead).

What about you? How do you chose which book to buy / order?


You Against Me

Author: Jenny Downham
Pages: 412
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's been accused of a terrible crime and you're the main witness, then you banish all doubt and defend him. Isn't that what families do? When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her at a party, his world of work and girls begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the crime, but says he didn't do it, her world of revision, exams and fitting in at a new school begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. Brave and unflinching, this is a novel of extraordinary skillfulness and almost unbearable tension. It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love - for one's family and for another.


My Summary: Ellie and Mikey are two people who shouldn't be friends. Living on opposite ends of the socio-economic ladder, Ellie's high up family would never be caught dead with someone from Mikey's part of town. It's unlikely that the two would ever meet under normal circumstances...

But then Ellie's brother is accused of raping Mikey's sister, and Ellie and Mikey's lives are thrown into turmoil. While both sides are still awaiting a trial, Ellie's brother Tom is out on bail while he awaits his hearing - because of this, Mikey's sister Karyn refuses to leave their tiny apartment. And both sides are certain that they're the victims in the situation.

So Mikey hatches a plan: get little Ms. Perfect to fall for him and convince her to spill her guts about her brother, incriminating him instead of testifying that he's innocent - after all, Ellie is the only other witness to what happened on the night Karyn was over...

But then Mickey starts to forget the plan - starts to forget that he's supposed to make her fall in love with him, instead of the other way around... 

My ThoughtsLet me just start off by saying that I absolutely adore books written by YA authors in the UK - I love the language and the glimpse into what life is like across the ocean for teens like myself. 

Anyway, I  chose this book because I was hearing wonderful things about it from my friends who enjoy contemporary literature, and I was in the mood for a book that really hit home. So I picked it up and starting reading.

 After about 50 pages, I started to realize just how awesome the writing was: Jenny Downham's writing is probably the most realistic and age-appropriate I've ever read. She manages to pull you into the novel and allows the characters to subtely describe the setting for you, so you never feel overwhelmed by information. I found myself picturing Ellie's Gran's cottage, Mikey's apartment, and Dex's pub with such clarity that I couldn't believe they were fictional places. 

My favourite part of the book was probably the characters, because they were so realistic that you begin to feel like you know them. My heart ached for Ellie and everything she was going through, and there were times when you just wanted to slap her father for mistreating her the way he does.

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this book to older, more mature YA reader (I'd say over 16 would be alright). There are a lot of mentions of tobacco and other mature themes, but it is definitely worth it and really helps you learn to take a walk in other people's shoes.