These are just the non-review YA books I read in July. (apart from Dead Jealous by Sharon Jones because you've probably already read my review!)
I really liked it, I thought it was a really sweet little book. It could have had a bigger emotional impact on me and from the cover, I was expecting some old-fashioned photography of some sort? But overall, it turned out to be very much what I was expecting it to be.
And Shut Out was just as wonderful. I absolutely love the way in which Kody Keplinger writes about teen sexuality. What she's done in her books is started a conversation about double standards and pressures and concerns that go along with having sex that teenage girls have questions about or about topics that maybe teens don't feel comfortable expressing. And in a very safe and comfortable environment, Kody addresses these things brilliantly. There's everything from remaining a virgin to voicing what girls want or don't want to battling the prejudices that come with being a girl who openly admits to liking sex to using sex as a weapon or a tool of manipulation in this book. I almost wanted this book to be longer so that we could get more great insights from the author on this topic. What a great book.
And it is a pretty emotional book, I was right to hold back a little bit and try to prepare myself from the intensity of the situation and relationship that occurs in Stolen. But certainly don't wait as long as I did to read this beautiful and haunting book. I thought everything was so well done. The incredible Australian setting, these two wonderful and flawed main characters, the tension and build-up to what might just be the perfect ending ever. I am in awe of Lucy Christopher after reading this book. Why on earth did it take me so long to read it?!
Because I love Carly's story very much. She's a bit broken by what life has given her and yet she's not giving up. She's still working her way through the days, getting by with surfing and working at her job as a cook in a local diner. I love how her relationships with her neighbour and a younger teenager as well as her romantic relationship with Ryan all help to bring Carly back into the world. I love how much of the book is about Carly healing and moving forwards.
I think the thing that I loved the most about the book is the focus on labels and how very little they really mean. The main character is dealing with this idea of being 'gay' or 'straight' as well as that weird separation of 'popular' and 'nerdy.' There are loads of books that handle identity in similar ways - every teenager deals with this stuff at some point - working out who you are and what you want out of life. But I really think Pink touches on these subjects in such a fun and interesting way. I kind of fell in love with the entire cast of characters in this book, especially the way in which Ava's sexuality is handled. I've never read a book quite like Pink.
I think what made me love this book as much as I did was that it engaged all of my emotions. I laughed and laughed at Caymen's sense of humour and her outlook on life, but I also cried reading about the situations that she finds herself in. I thought her relationship with her mother and the gaping hole left behind by an absent father was wonderfully written. Her friendship with Skye and her boyfriend's band provided some excellent fun and light-heartedness. And then there was Xander who is absolutely lovely and such a great love interest. I've got to say, there's nothing sexier for me than a boy who really pays attention and can hear what's not being said and Xander really excels in these ways. Loved that this relationship isn't quite so straight-forward. I will definitely be picking up anything else to read by Kasie West. I'm sold based on the strength of this one book. Now give me more!
And that's what I've been reading... Have you made any reading goals lately? How do you balance reading review/non-review books?