I’ve found myself in more of a roundup mood than a full-on review mood lately, and I have a few more books to recommend, so here we go.
I’ve read several books recently dealing with mental illness, but the one that struck me most particularly was EVERY LAST WORD by Tamara Ireland Stone. Perhaps it’s because the author drew Sam’s specific form of OCD so well that I truly identified with her struggle to both hide it and live with it. Plus, this book had some great twists, and my regular readers know I love an excellent twist!
Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.
Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.
Caroline introduces Sam to the Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.
Ally Carter’s ALL FALL DOWN was one of my favorite reads of 2015, so obviously I was dying to get my hands on the sequel, SEE HOW THEY RUN. The second book in the series delivered a different brand of tension. While the first book focused on Grace’s unreliable mind, the second is more about her relationships and figuring out who she can trust. But there’s still a twisty path of intrigue to follow with high stakes and a cliffhanger ending. The final installment can’t come soon enough!
For the past three years, Grace Blakely has been desperate to find out the truth about her mother’s murder. She thought it would bring her peace. She thought it would lead her to answers. She thought she could put the past to rest.
But the truth has only made her a target.
And the past?
The only way to put the past to rest is for Grace to kill it once and for all.
On Embassy Row, power can make you a victor or a victim, love can turn you into a fool or a fugitive, and family can lead you forward or bury you deep. Trust is a luxury. Death is a very real threat. And a girl like Grace must be very careful about which secrets she brings to light.
When everyone on your Twitter feed is talking about a book, it follows that you should read it. That’s why I picked up AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir, and it didn’t disappoint. Talk about tension on every page! There was A LOT of death, torture, maiming … So, yeah, if you don’t like that sort of thing, this isn’t the book for you. But I will be picking up the next one to see how these characters possibly survive!
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
This last one is actually a book I read years ago, but I didn’t have a blog then, so I never wrote a review. Since I decided to re-read it a couple of weeks ago, it’s fresh in my mind, and I think it deserves a mention on the blog. Because, basically, ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is one of the best contemporary young adult romances out there, and if you haven’t read it, you should. It takes place in France–FRANCE!–and features a swoon-worthy but all-too-human boy. Plus, the romance builds out of a friendship with many missteps along the way that just make you want to pull your hair out. Anyway, read it!
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?
So those are my latest recommendations. What have you been reading lately? Anything I should add to my list?