From the bestselling author of If I Stay comes a poignant tale about community and navigating the hurdles in life. Set to be released on June 1st, We Are Inevitable acts as a love letter to books and the power that stories have to move us.
Aaron Stein used to think books were miracles. But not anymore. Even though he spends his days working in his family's secondhand bookstore, the only book Aaron can bear to read is one about the demise of the dinosaurs. It's a predicament he understands all too well, now that his brother and mom are gone and his friends have deserted him, leaving Aaron and his shambolic father alone in a moldering bookstore in a crusty mountain town where no one seems to read anymore. So when Aaron sees the opportunity to sell the store, he jumps at it, thinking this is the only way out. But he doesn't account for Chad, a "best life" bro with a wheelchair and way too much optimism, or the town's out-of-work lumberjacks taking on the failing shop as their pet project. And he certainly doesn't anticipate meeting Hannah, a beautiful, brave musician who might possibly be the kind of inevitable he's been waiting for. All of them will help Aaron to come to terms with what he's lost, what he's found, who he is, and who he wants to be, and show him that destruction doesn't inevitably lead to extinction; sometimes it leads to the creation of something entirely new.
I’ve been a fan of Gayle Forman’s books for years and this book just solidifies her place as one of my favorite YA authors! Like every book by Forman, We Are Inevitable hit me hard and had me hooked from the very beginning. This story isn’t just about a failing bookstore or a boy trying to figure out his future; it’s about how we deal with the punches life throws at us. It’s about dealing with loss and grief and how to turn it into a learning experience. It’s about embracing that hurt (rather than forgetting it) and letting it shape you into a better person. Even though Aaron seems very narrow-minded and angry at the world (and I may have wanted to throttle him a few times while reading), he learns that life isn’t what you plan it to be and that even though the inevitable might be in sight, you can’t control what happens in this world no matter how hard you may try to. And that’s okay.
In addition to a meaningful story, the chapters each being named after a different book and having novels, anthologies, and memoirs be interwoven into the story makes this novel even more well-written. Book lovers will love reading this book about books and feel that the stories we read really are miracles, as Forman likes to remind us throughout the book.
This book is such an amazing book that any book lover will appreciate. Poignant, resonant, and insightful, We Are Inevitable should be on everyone’s TBRs!
*I received an ARC from Penguin Teen in exchange for my honest opinion.
In The Passing Playbook, debut author Isaac Fitzsimons introduces readers to a shy transgender teen who just wants to be a normal teenager. For fans of Love, Simon, this book, which comes out on June 1st, will have you immersed deep in what it feels like to have a secret and feel like you’re always on the outside.
Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd, an awesome big brother and a Messi-in-training. He's also transgender. After transitioning at his old school leads to a year of bullying, Spencer gets a fresh start at Oakley, the most liberal private school in Ohio. At Oakley, Spencer seems to have it all: more accepting classmates, a decent shot at a starting position on the boy's soccer team, great new friends, and maybe even something more than friendship with one of his teammates. The problem is, no one at Oakley knows Spencer is trans - he's passing. So when a discriminatory law forces Spencer's coach to bench him after he discovers the 'F' on Spencer's birth certificate, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play, even if it means coming out to everyone - including the guy he's falling for.
This book was such a great read! Even though I found it to be on the quicker side, this book was still packed with messages about inclusivity, acceptance, and what it’s like being transgender. I think I would’ve liked more details about what happened to Spencer before the events of the book, but I still liked the way the story flowed. Fitzsimmons also did a great job of showcasing examples of both good and bad coming out experiences seen through different characters.
This novel’s themes, which included being the new kid, first relationships, figuring out who you are, and transgender rights, were all relevant to today’s world and will allow people to either feel seen or feel compassion and understanding for those who deal with these kinds of things in real life. Plus, this book basically takes place on a soccer field! So if you’re looking for a modern sports story, then you’ll love reading about Spencer and the whole Cowboys soccer team!
Overall, this YA debut is fun, reflective, and is a great quick read to add to your TBR this summer (just in time for Pride Month)! Young adult readers will really enjoy this book.
*I received an ARC from Penguin Teen in exchange for my honest opinion.
From the author of In the Role of Brie Hutchins… and Hurricane Season comes a middle-grade book about mental health and figuring out a new normal amidst a scary diagnosis. Set to be released on May 25th, Nicole Melleby’s How to Become a Planet shows how one girl grapples with her depression and anxiety while also trying to go back to the person she was before.
For Pluto, summer has always started with a trip to the planetarium. It’s the launch to her favorite season, which also includes visits to the boardwalk arcade, working in her mom’s pizzeria, and her best friend Meredith’s birthday party. But this summer, none of that feels possible. A month before the end of the school year, Pluto’s frightened mom broke down Pluto’s bedroom door. What came next were doctor’s appointments, a diagnosis of depression, and a big black hole that still sits on Pluto’s chest, making it too hard to do anything. Pluto can’t explain to her mom why she can’t do the things she used to love. And it isn’t until Pluto’s dad threatens to make her move with him to the city—where he believes his money, in particular, could help—that Pluto becomes desperate enough to do whatever it takes to be the old Pluto again. She develops a plan and a checklist: If she takes her medication, if she goes to the planetarium with her mom for her birthday, if she successfully finishes her summer school work with her tutor, if she goes to Meredith’s birthday party . . . if she does all the things that “normal” Pluto would do, she can stay with her mom in Jersey. But it takes a new therapist, a new tutor, and a new (and cute) friend with a checklist and plan of her own for Pluto to learn that there is no old and new Pluto. There’s just her.
This book offers such wonderful insight into mental health and what it’s like to live with depression and anxiety. As a reader, it’s easy to become really drawn into Pluto’s story and how her emotions change throughout this tumultuous time in her life.
This book is such a fabulous middle-grade read! The setting of summer in New Jersey makes you want to walk along the boardwalk with Pluto and her friends and taste a slice of Timoney’s pizza! However, the fun feeling of summer doesn’t detract from Pluto’s story and how she handles her diagnosis. Melleby tackles tough issues like depression, anxiety, sexuality, and self-identity while also making it palatable for a younger audience.
While this book is geared towards younger readers, fans of YA contemporaries will also really enjoy Pluto’s story and may even relate to the feeling of being on the cusp of teenhood. I highly recommend this book for a quick read and insight into what it’s like dealing with being different.
*I received an ARC from Algonquin Young Reader in exchange for my honest opinion.
In Ellen Meister’s Love Sold Separately, readers were introduced to Dana Barry and her attempts to figure out her new career and who murdered The Shopping Channel’s star host. The Rooftop Party, which is set to be released on May 25th, serves as a follow-up to Dana’s story and her attempts to help solve another murder at work.
Dana Barry, the Shopping Channel's star host, stops by the company's rooftop party to pitch the new CEO her brilliant idea that just might save the flagging business, her job and possibly her love life. As she chats with the smarmy executive, he backs her into a dark corner. For Dana, it's a quid pro oh-hell-no. She escapes his lecherous grasp and grabs her drink on her way to the dance floor. Woozy, she blacks out. When she comes to, the CEO is dead, fallen from the roof. Or was he pushed? And if so, by whom? It's hard to know, but one thing is certain: Dana was close enough to be suspect. Sure, she loathed how the creep moved in on her, but she's no killer. Or is she? Truth is, Dana can't remember much about those minutes. Now she has to use all her skills to prove her innocence to everyone, including her police detective boyfriend--and herself.
Dana Barry (aka my favorite hot mess of a character) is back and it was so refreshing to read this continuation of her story! While there were some points where I just wanted to throttle Dana and ask her “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?” I still love her as a character and thoroughly enjoyed stepping back into her thoughts for a book. The plot was engaging and moved along really well and I really enjoyed seeing both old and new characters join this series. The murder mystery itself wasn’t too predictable and will keep readers trying to figure out whodunnit.
As a native New Yorker, I also loved reading about places both in Manhattan and Long Island that I was familiar with. However, even if the setting of the novel isn’t familiar to you, any reader will enjoy exploring New York one mystery clue at a time.
If you're looking for a sarcastic and entertaining main character who will make you want to laugh at but also knock some sense into, then this is the book for you! For people looking to dip their toes into the mystery genre, both The Rooftop Party and Love Sold Separately are fabulous choices!
*I received an ARC from Mira Books in exchange for my honest opinion.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read, Emily Henry, comes a new romance novel that will have you wanting to travel immediately. People We Meet on Vacation follows two friends as they embark on an adventure that could make or break their friendship (or maybe turn it into something more).
Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together. Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven't spoken since. Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees. Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?
I’m convinced Emily Henry can do no wrong! This book was phenomenally written, very well-executed, and fans of her other books will fall in love with this one as well!
This book will make you want to jump on a plane immediately and travel somewhere new to experience the wonders that the world had to offer. All of the places that Poppy and Alex visit and the people they meet along the way really makes you appreciate the wonder of exploring diverse places!
On top of getting bit by the travel bug, this book shows the beauty of finding that person who loves you as fully and unconditionally as Poppy and Alex love each other. These two vastly different strangers meet by chance and oddly find comfort and friendship with one another and develop into a fantastic friends-to-lovers romance. Henry perfectly showed the importance of connecting with different people and different places while also emphasizing the sanctity of finding your home and those special people to surround yourself with for comfort.
Like I said before: Emily Henry is a phenomenal storyteller and I cannot wait to see what she will write next. This book is a must-read for those who love a good romcom and are looking for another book to add to their summer TBR!
Best-selling YA author Katie McGarry tries her hand at adult fantasy with a new series set in a world where Faeries, witches, and demons are trying to protect and/or take over the earth. The first book in the series, A Wicked and Beautiful Garden is set to be released on May 5th and shows just how powerful love and magic can be.
Twenty-eight year-old Cassie Strega can’t escape fate. All she wants is to live a normal, quiet life delivering the babies in her small town. But when she discovers she comes from a lineage of witches, her life becomes extraordinary—in the gravely dangerous type of way. Then, she’s reunited with her first love. Orion, the sultry Fae warrior who broke her heart years before, is searching for a baby. Not just any baby, but the queen of the Fae who will one day lead them in their final battle against the demons determined to rule the world. The same baby who has been calling to Cassie for help in her dreams. Fighting the intense attraction of their former blood bond, Cassie and Orion work together to find the child. But when the heartbreak that nearly destroyed Cassie nine years before looms once more, she’ll have to decide whether getting involved in the supernatural war is worth losing everything, including her life.
As many of you know, I’m a massive fan of fantasy books and I found this one to be a fun read! There was a mix of fantasy, adventure, and romance that kept the novel engaging and interesting. While this book remained on the slow burn side of the romance spectrum, the heat and tension between Cassie and Orion is through the roof and will have you begging for more.
This book has faeries, witches, magic, and all the supernatural folklore you could want. While there is some explanation of the politics of the supernatural world, I was hoping for some more descriptions about the inner workings of Fae traditions and the history of witches, so I’m hoping we get more of that in book two.
While we only got a taste of the Fae world in this book, I’m excited to see what’s going to happen in book two! If you’re looking for a new fantasy read, this is a great choice!
*I received an ARC from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
In her literary debut, Sunny Hostin takes readers to the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard to and one family’s life-changing summer in Summer on the Bluffs. This novel by the Emmy Award-winning, renowned lawyer and journalist, and View co-host, which comes out on May 4th, will give readers a glimpse into what happens when members of a found family take different paths in life and reveal long-kept family secrets.
Welcome to Oak Bluffs, the most exclusive black beach community in the country. Known for its gingerbread Victorian-style houses and modern architectural marvels, this picturesque town hugging the sea is a mecca for the crème de la crème of black society. Every summer, Esperenza “Perry” Soto, a beautiful and talented Afro-Latina lawyer, escapes the fetid heat of New York City for the gorgeous weather, cool water, and stunning views Oak Bluffs offers. Sharing a cottage on the beach, owned by her “Ama”, with her husband and two god sisters, Perry is looking forward to trading meetings and clients for days of languor and fun. But this summer on the Bluffs is different. Ama is moving to the south of France to reunite with her college sweetheart. She is going to give the house to one of her goddaughters and she has invited all three of them to spend the summer with her the way they did when they were kids. Each of the women want the house desperately. Each is grappling with a secret that they fear will make them lose Ama’s approval and the house.
If you’re looking for your next beach read, then look no further! This novel was super fast-paced, which made for an engaging and binge-able story that makes this the perfect book to add to your summer reading list. The novel talks about family, race, and love in honest ways and shows that sometimes a found family can be just as strong as a biological one.
The narration style was a bit confusing at times which could’ve been in part because of the fast pace of the story. While I found certain parts very abrupt in alternating between who was experiencing the third person narrative, I still enjoyed seeing every character’s point-of-view on the events of both the past and present.
As the title suggests, this is a fabulous summer read that will have you wishing you were spending time at Chateau Laveau with Ama and her goddaughters. Fans of family drama and some romance on the side, this is a great book whether you’re reading it poolside or in your next book club meeting!
*I received an ARC from William Morrow Books in exchange for my honest opinion.
Romance writer Talia Hibbert is known for her diverse and funny romance novels that showcase Own Voices narratives and steamy goodness! Rounding out The Brown Sisters Series, her newest book, Act Your Age, Eve Brown follows the youngest sister of the family and her struggle to find her true passion.
Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It's time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she's not entirely sure how… Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car--supposedly by accident. Yeah, right. Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior.
In case it wasn’t obvious by now, I’m a huge Talia Hibbert fan and this book only solidified my love of her writing! This enemies-to-lovers story was so well done! The slow burn that went from hate to friendship to lovers was beautifully written that it might be one of the best enemies-to-lovers transitions I’ve ever read! This book also had all of the steamy goodness and witty banter that Hibbert fans love. The banter and remarks between Eve and Jacob were both funny and adorable as they both stumble through their feelings for one another while trying not to screw anything up.
I also really appreciated the autism awareness that this novel portrayed through the main characters. I love reading about neurodiversity and narrators who experience the world in different ways and this novel portrayed it very well.
With cameos for the rest of the Brown family (and Red and Zaf!), this book rounded out this trilogy wonderfully, while still working as a stand alone book. I cannot wait to read more of Hibbert’s novels, including the upcoming Skybriar Series, and recommend all romance lovers check out her novels!
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!