Book Review | The Queen of Nothing

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3)

Author: Holly Black

Format: Hardcover (owned)

Pages: 305

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Political Intrigue, Romance

After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watches her fair share of reality television, and does the odd job or two, including trying to convince a cannibalistic faerie from hunting her own in the mortal world.

When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking of a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal.

When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and uncover how to break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world.

The finale to the New York Times bestselling Folk of Air trilogy, that started with The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King, from award-winning author Holly Black.

This was my most anticipated 2019 read and I finally got my hands on it and the series is over. And that’s all I want to read for 2019. 😂 It was everything I anticipated and more. It left me happy, sad and yet oh so satisfied.

I read the two other books in this series before I started this blog, so maybe one day I’ll write mini reviews for them – and I was attempting to reread them before QoN came out, but failed. I didn’t have enough time and when my copy got delivered yesterday I couldn’t wait and read it.

Just a recap, Jude is a human girl raised in Faerie. She always knew her place in the pecking order of things in Faerie but Jude wanted more. And if she couldn’t be a faerie, she wanted them to fear her. This starts a whole chain of twisty events, we watch her rise in The Cruel Prince and we watch her fall in The Wicked King, so here we are in The Queen of Nothing.

Jude is exiled from Elfhame, her husband, Cardan, the High King, has banished her. Jude starts off The Queen of Nothing trying to survive in the mortal world and wondering when and if she can ever go back to faerie. Has she lost everything because she reached too high? Did Cardan toy with her as fae are known to do with humans? And what of her sister Taryn and her betrayal? Jude thought she had the upper hand but maybe she really is now the Queen of nothing.

“Perhaps I will never live without fear, perhaps power will slip from my grasp, perhaps the pain of losing him will hurt more than I can bear.”

The Queen of Nothing by. Holly Black
  • I love Jude. She’s not a likable character but I find her ambition and focus admirable and real. Jude is absolutely flawed but that’s what I love about her. She is ambitious. In the previous books we see Jude become a spy, play the game of political intrigue, she makes some amazing boss moves, and some mistakes too. She is human and she may be ambitious but she is also fueled by fear. In QoN she shows her bravery again but this time, Madoc (her foster dad) is right, she has a weakness. When Cardan’s prophecy stares her in the face, Jude has to ultimately decide if she will be like the fae and do the ruthless thing to realize her ambitions or will she do the right thing in the end?
  • Cardan. I mean…he was such a punk in the first book, and I hated yet loved him. But we get to know more about his story and the prophecy at his birth in QoN. I loved seeing Cardan reach his potential, with Jude by his side. I also love that he was braver with admitting his feelings to Jude.
  • Jude and Cardan together. Two flawed people who found a way to squirm through each other’s walls and barriers. Jude and Cardan brings heat to this story with their undeniable attraction. These two people who don’t know much about what love is, they stumble and figure it out, in not the most easiest or romantic ways (which I love about them). But I did buy the Barnes & Noble edition where there is extra content in the back of the book. And Cardan’s missing letters are the extra content. 😍😩 When I read it I was like….AHHHH. My heart. Reading Cardan’s words to Jude almost made me cry. A happy cry though!
  • The political chess game of this whole series is what kept me hooked. Jude with her scheming and everyone else trying to scheme her! Who can Jude trust? And on the other hand, how can anyone trust her? Madoc always worried me, he was so good at this game, he could have easily won. He just underestimated his human foster daughters. Madoc basically made the person who becomes his downfall. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
  • The world of Elfhame is magical and…scary. I love Holly Black’s faeries because they are not sweet. They are scary, they are wicked and I love it. A species with that kind of elemental power would be scary to us humans and I get that in Holly’s writing. It’s why I’ve always loved her world of faerie, in whatever book she’s writing. It’s also why I understood that Jude had to do what she had to do to rise in the world of faerie, even if it made her a villain as well.
  • The twist and turns of the story: Taryn, Cardan, Madoc, Ghost, Grimsen…Jude – the story ties up loose ends nicely and there is a happily ever after at the end. This doesn’t end dark like how it starts in The Cruel Prince and in The Wicked King and I’m happy about that because Jude and Cardan starts off with darkness in their lives already. I needed them to have a turning point where something good was going to happen for them.
  • Taryn. Did she get off lightly? I think she was punished enough with her own choices and she did redeem herself by helping Jude in the end. I mean they are sisters, twins! Their relationship was shaky with jealousy and betrayal as part of their history but ultimately, I was happy with how it turned out. Their family is complicated and Jude isn’t an angel either so I’m all about second chances. Also is it bad of me that I liked that Taryn showed she could be underhanded too? 😂
  • Triggers: violence (of course, this is Jude we are talking about!)

This was my most coveted read of 2019 and when Holly Black moved up the date of release I was ecstatic. Usually books gets pushed further back, not moved up! Did this story satisfy me? Hell yes. I got my Jude and Cardan fix. I got things explained like Cardan’s prophecy, Ghost’s betrayal, Taryn’s betrayal and Madoc. Other than Jude’s relationship with Cardan, I think I was always fascinated with her relationship with Madoc as well. He killed her parents, but raised her to be this force and she bested him. I am satisfied with her punishment of him because even through all of it she did love him, and also despite defeating him, he was proud of her. And I shall miss this world of Elfhame! I’ll miss all the characters so thank goodness I have the box set! It’s one of my favorite series to date and I could go on and on in this post but I won’t. I’m so happy this is on my bookshelf, I’ll be rereading it for years to come.

Also, if you love Jude and Cardan as much as I do, get the Barnes & Noble edition. ♥️ Trust me on this.

“By you, I am forever undone.”

The Queen of Nothing by. Holly Black

ARC Review | The Guinevere Deception

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

Title: The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)

Author: Kiersten White

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 352

Publication Date: November 5, 2019

Categories: Fantasy, Camelot, Young Adult, Arthurian Legend

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot. 

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

Thank you to Delacorte Press and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

I’ve been around long enough to read a fair share of King Arthur and Camelot legends. I remember devouring The Once & Future King by. T.H. White and The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley back in high school! I was obsessed. But it has been awhile since I’ve been interested in the legends and when I heard of The Guinevere Deception, I was intrigued!

This story is told through Guinevere’s perspective and what a view it is! We revisit Camelot through Guinevere’s eyes but deception is everywhere in this book. All is not what they seem at Camelot and magic is forbidden at Camelot, so what does that mean for Guinevere who was sent there for her ability to do magic? Arthur is under threat and she must protect him this time but is she able to or will all her efforts become unraveled?

  • The familiar characters from the Arthurian legends is nostalgic. It’s hard to resist a story about this boy who pulled a sword out of stone and is now a man and a most beloved, golden king. We have the knights and the villains, the legends have been retold so many times, it was nice to enter the world of Camelot again.
  • The story of Camelot is really magical with Merlin the wizard, the knights of the round table and Guinevere. I loved the world building of Camelot in this story, it reminded me of why I fell in love with the legends in the first place.
  • Kiersten White is a talented author and I’ve read a few of her books and love them. Once again, her writing shines and sucks you into the story.
  • The backstory on the characters is important especially for someone new to the King Arthur legends and I thought it was done well. It helped jar my memory about certain characters I had forgotten.
  • Love the twists about Guinevere, Lancelot, and even Mordred! I like how this book is reimagined for our current times. The author added LGBT relationships, and tweaked a few things about the story but I really enjoyed the changes.
  • The book cover is amazing. 😍 I can only imagine what it looks like in real life!
  • I loved the beginning of the book because we meet Guinevere. But about 15%-20% into the book I felt like I was just waiting for something more to happen. I understand though that the backstories of some characters are important, but after Guinevere gets to Camelot it felt like the story slowed down.
  • I struggled in the middle of the story because here is Guinevere who is sent to protect Arthur…but her magic seems so minimal. It seems like nothing much happens for a good half of the story, just world building, but the second half has much more action.
  • I hope we get more character depth in the sequel because outside of Guinevere they were kind of bland. Sometimes even Guinevere was a bit blah…I’d like to see if Merlin comes back into the equation and maybe see Arthur being tested (like he was in other legends) and even Guinevere, the ending shows us there is much to learn about her!

Overall, I enjoyed The Guinevere Deception, but the second half is much more engaging than the first half. It gives a some backstory for newcomers to the Arthurian legends and I enjoyed the changes and twists in the story. It’s a solid debut for this series and I look forward to reading the sequel!

ARC Review | Gravemaidens

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Gravemaidens

Author: Kelly Coon

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 416

Publication Date: October 29, 2019

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave. 

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame. 

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her. 

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself. 

Thank you to Random House Children’s and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Gravemaidens is about a young woman named Kammani who is following in her father’s footsteps to become the best healer in Alu. But her family’s reputation was tarnished years ago when her father’s healing talent couldn’t save someone very important. So they went from a renowned family in society to being outcasts and her youngest brother is sent to live at the palace as punishment. Kammani’s life and family has fallen apart.

A very fascinating ritual takes place in this book. The Lugal, their ruler, is on the verge of death but when he dies tradition follows that three of the most beautiful girls will accompany the Lugal into the tomb and die with him. These gravemaidens will travel with him to the netherworld. Kammani’s sister is chosen as a sacred maiden. Where everyone saw this role as a true honor, Kammani only sees death and vows to save her sister.

I love the strong female characters and female relationships in this book. I especially loved Iltani, who is Kammani’s best friend. She’s funny and spunky, she really made the scenes come alive. Kammani is a strong young woman as well but sometimes I thought she was rash with her actions and thoughts concerning her sister and the Nin (princess). Her reasoning for who was trying to cause harm to her and the Lugal came to her so quick, even I questioned her accusations. Nanaea, who is Kammani’s younger sister comes off as materialistic but there is more to her than what everyone sees.

Kammani does have a romantic interest in Dagan. Their relationship is a slow burn, friends to lovers clean romance. Kammani is wary of becoming a wife and mother and nothing else, so she is conflicted about marrying Dagan. Dagan is patient, loyal and a good friend to Kammani. He really is just a good guy who loves her.

Gravemaidens is a story about the bonds of family, friendship, finding love and navigating the expectations of being a young woman. Overall this is a very solid debut and an engaging young adult fantasy novel.

Book Review | The Bone Houses

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Bone Houses

Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones

Format: Hardcover (owned)

Pages: 338

Categories: Death, Fantasy, Welsh Mythology, Young Adult, Romance

Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.

This book made my heart smile! Who knew that a book about bone houses (skeletal zombies basically, not an actual HOUSE), could feel light-hearted?

Ryn is an axe-wielding gravedigger who is trying to keep her family afloat. She has a younger siblings and no parents. The uncle who is supposed to be their caretaker is gone and most people choose to burn bodies instead of bury them, so times are tough in Colbern. If things don’t change for Ryn and her family, they could lose their home and each other.

Magic from long ago has been forgotten over time, but Ryn knows in the forest outside of their town, are bone houses. The bone houses are dead people, come to life and she feels it’s her job to take her axe to them. She is brave, strong and no nonsense, which I love about her. Then one day a young man named Ellis comes to town and he is a mapmaker who is lost. He is searching for clues about his family and needs a guide. Ryn and Ellis set off on a journey to find out more about his history and also to end the curse of the bone houses once and for all.

This book was basically the walking dead and yes it’s kind of creepy but I think because it’s Ryn who’s dealing with them – I feel like her perspective of these bone houses is so refreshing and different because she is a gravedigger. She’s around the dead, cares for the dead and even when she’s destroying the bone houses, she apologizes. ❤️ I liked seeing death through Ryn’s eyes. There is one scene when they come upon a town where the bone houses live with the living and I thought it was heart wrenching. ☹️

Ryn and Ellis’ relationship is a slow burn romance, it’s clean and sweet. For a time I didn’t think there would be a romance between them, I think it could’ve gone either way for them and it would have been fine. But I’m also happy for their happily ever after.

Interwoven in this wonderfully told emotional fantasy story about family, bone houses and mythology, is the theme about grief and pain. Ryn has lost her parents, and Ellis never knew his, so they are both dealing with the pain of their pasts. But Ellis also deals with physical pain and I liked how he described living with it. My heart broke for Ryn and Ellis when they finally confront their ghosts. 💔 But they are there for each other, not just in the romantic sense, but as two caring human beings.

Even though it’s a book about killing “zombies” and grief, the way this story is told warmed my heart and made me smile. 😊 This is the perfect autumn read, I thoroughly enjoyed The Bone Houses.

“And perhaps this was the truth about the dead. You went on. They’d want you to.”

The Bone Houses by. emily lloyd-jones

ARC Review | A Thousand Fires

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: A Thousand Fires

Author: Shannon Price

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 304

Publication Date: November 5, 2019

Categories: Self Harm, Mental Health, Gangs, Suspense, Young Adult

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

An extraordinary debut set in an alternate San Francisco and inspired by The Iliad…

Valerie Simons knows the Wars are dangerous—her own brother was killed by the Boars two years ago. But nothing will sway her from joining the elite and beautiful Herons to avenge his death—a death she feels responsible for.

But when Valerie is recruited by the mysterious Stags, their charismatic and volatile leader Jax promises to help her get revenge. Torn between old love and new loyalty, Valerie fights to stay alive as she races across the streets of San Francisco to finish the mission that got her into the gangs.

Thank you to Tor Teen and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eArc.

The blurb for this book sounded so intriguing, I mean, it is inspired by The Iliad and The Outsiders. Because of that description I expected this book to be intense and epic. Yes, there were some intense parts and but also lots of parts where they are just chillin’ and waiting around.

The story is set in present day San Francisco, and there is something called the Wars happening in this city. There are three gangs who fight in the Wars. The Boars, Herons and Stags. The Herons are the rich kids, the Boars are everyone else and the Stags are like the middle-man who tries to turn the tide of the war.

Valerie Simons is a girl on a mission and to complete that mission she desperately hopes the Herons recruit her. Also if she is a Heron, she and her ex-boyfriend, Matthew (Heron royalty) can do their one year, in the Wars together. Now not everyone gets recruited to be in any of these gangs, I’m not even sure what the criteria is to be a Heron. 🤔

So how does this whole story play out? The gangs have lots of beef with one another because of events in the past. It grew from there and became something bigger, The Stags want to help make the world a better place by taking down the bigger corporations that are run by The Herons.

Valerie is an interesting character, I was pleasantly surprised to learn she’s half Filipino and I recognized some Tagalog words. She comes from a nice family, dad has a good job, she and her mom are tight, but she did lose a little brother and she’s riddled by guilt about it. Losing her brother sets her on a path of revenge. Also, Valerie is a cutter. Depression is definitely a theme in this story, it is present in various characters.

As for the romance in this story – clearly Matthew, her ex and a Heron, is the perfect guy. Whereas the Stag she’s attracted to, Jax, is so hot and cold. I can’t say their relationships interested me in this story, Valerie was going back and forth a lot, confused about her feelings. I didn’t like either of the boys. 🤷🏻‍♀️

There is a diverse cast of characters in this story which is nice. My favorite character was Micah because we actually learn a lot about him and his history, unlike Jax who remains mysterious. I felt like there was a lot of vague spots in this book. For awhile I kept wondering, what is the deal with these “Wars”? It didn’t seem important at times. Was anyone else confused by it? Or was that just me?

Overall, I felt the story was choppy. There were lulls and then action and though I enjoyed the diversity of the cast and Valerie being half-filipino, the story just fell short of what I was expecting from the blurb. I’d say the ending had most of the action so at least it finished off with a bang, but sadly I wish I liked this more than I did.

Book Review | With the Fire On High

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: With the Fire on High

Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Format: Hardcover (borrowed)

Pages: 392

Categories: Coming of Age, Young Adult, Food, Romance, Teenage Parent, Contemporary

Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.

This book gave me the FEELS I wasn’t expecting! And yes, I may be a little biased because I was pleasantly delighted when finding out as I was reading it was set in North Philly (Philadelphia). My husband grew up just outside Philadelphia and my mother in law still lives there. I remember the North Philly area when my husband drove me around and yes even my hubby would tell me about how rough a neighborhood North Philly is. So I’m glad I got another view of it through this wonderful book! Plus look at that lush cover. 😍

Emoni Santiago is a teen mom making ends meet by working a part-time job and going to highs chool full-time. With the help of her grandmother, or abuela, and even help from her daughter’s father, it seems like she’s balancing things pretty good until the question of her future keeps bothering her. She wants to be a chef, but can she do college, raise a child, work and still reach her dreams? An opportunity arises in school that she just can’t pass up and she takes on more than she expected. Can Emoni rise to the challenge?

Emoni is pretty mature for a teenager because she’s had to grow up faster under her circumstances. She coparents with her ex-boyfriend but he only has their daughter for a few days so she’s the main parent most of the time. When dealing with her daughter’s father and his mom, she was very patient. The story covers a lot of Emoni’s internal struggles and questions – is she allowed to still dream big while caring for her child? What is the right path for her after graduation? She also has feelings about missing a mother she never knew and needing a father who doesn’t want to stay. Thank goodness she had her abuela to raise her and who helps raise her daughter Emma. And what about dating? Is it okay for Emoni to like someone else or because she’s a mom now, she’s not allowed? So many questions, some she can’t answer so what does she do – she cooks. She pours all of herself into her cooking and it has magical results for the people eating her recipes.

And not everything is impossible for Emoni in this story, it just seems that way but opportunities come to her. It was only about having the courage to take them. She has a chance to learn more about cooking through an elective at school and she also meets a boy, Malachi, who is a “friend-but not friend-but you know they are going to be more than friends”…and I was a such sucker for the author throwing in a reference to my favorite song from one of my favorite hip hop groups, The Roots…who is yes…from Philly. You got me. My heart melted at that. It’s a super cute slow burn romance for Malachi and Emoni.

This book felt way real to me. I grew up in the 90’s and it felt like teenage pregnancy was rampant around me. I grew up with friends and family who were teenage mothers and fathers. I saw my friends work and juggle going to school, many of them skipping college to go straight to a job. And I will say all of them are success stories! So I felt this book was realistic.

I think that’s why I love how happy this book made me feel in the end. Emoni has support from her abuela, her ex and in the end even her father comes through. And her best friend Angelica was amazing as well, giving her the emotional support she needed. There was LGBT+ representation in this book with Angelica and her girlfriend Lauren, cultural diversity with Emoni being Afro-Latinx and a whole lot of Philly love. (Go Eagles! 😁)

Overall this is a feel good story about food, family, courage, overcoming struggle, and going after your dreams and passions. I love this book!

Book Review | Call It What You Want

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Call It What You Want

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Format: Hardcover (borrowed)

Pages: 374

Categories: Young Adult, Family, Contemporary, Suicide

When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care. 

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship…

This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?

This book was not a light read, but I love Brigid Kemmerer’s writing and before I knew it, I was done with it in a few hours. It covers some heavy topics like failed attempted suicide, cheating at school, pregnancy and stealing from people. Yeah, that’s a lot right?

Rob used to be one of the popular boys in school until his dad was involved in a financial scheme that resulted in a failed suicide attempt and losing the trust of the community. Maegan, a policeman’s daughter, got caught cheating on the SATs which meant her reputation at school wasn’t stellar either. They pair up for a calculus project and things start change for the both of them.

I felt for both of these kids. Rob is suffering from his dad’s mistakes and Maegan is suffering from her own, but they eventually learn it’s not only about them. Other people out there in their school, and in their families are going through something tough times too.

Rob’s home life is not pretty. What his dad did and its ramifications on their family is not glossed over in this story. People think Rob is not trustworthy and he’s lost friends, his social life, and soon his home. Maegan’s life is different, she actually has supportive parents, but she’s dealing with the pressures of having a sister who takes the limelight and who returns home taking the attention again. But Maegan is not a vindictive sister or person in general. She’s really nice and made a mistake. I like how real these kids lives are – families are complicated. Life is complicated, everyone makes mistakes and nothing is picture perfect.

I love how friendship builds between Rob and Maegan, kind of shakily, but eventually a mutual attraction occurs that turns kinda steamy (but there is no sex, FYI, haha). But I get the feelings of desperation between Rob and Maegan, the need for one another because they felt like such outcasts. They were tired of being alone. As things escalate, Rob has to figure out what’s going on with him and some of his actions. Maegan’s sister has to decide what to do about her baby and Maegan has to decide if Rob is a good person, or not, is she in a place to be judgmental? Truths are revealed and nothing is black and white.

There is a bittersweet ending, and I was relieved for Rob and Maegan. This is the third contemporary young adult book I’ve read from Brigid Kemmerer and she does so well writing about complicated characters dealing with conflicted emotions. I start to care about the characters and I always root for a happy ending for them!

I look forward to reading more books from this author, she’s becoming one of my auto-buy authors or should I say auto-borrow, since I borrow more than buy. 😊 Definitely an author who’s books I always look forward to reading.