GIRLS OF JULY Review

I received a free e-ARC of Girls of July by Alex Flinn. This was my first read by her, even though she has several other titles out. But I usually love all Young Adult contemporary, and I loved the cover and the blurb, so I was excited to get this one!

Spider and her grandmother devise a plan to make payments on the family cabin easier by renting the extra rooms out for the month of July. Kate, Meredith, and Britta each rent a room, wanting to get away for the summer for different reasons.

I love romance, and I just can’t help it, so true to form, my favorite part of the book came when one of the girls meets a cute local boy who’s also a budding nature photographer. The relationship is done so well, with tons of cute banter and flirting. And best of all, it represents a real character arc for the MC, which is perfect!

Aside from the kissing (ha!), the growth of all four MCs was done really well, and the storyline was very reminiscent of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The girls are each so different, but they learn from each other as well as from having time away from their individual circumstances. Britta is bubbly and open but she’s running from problems with her mom’s boyfriend, Meredith is driven and smart but overwhelmed, Kate is hiding a family secret she’s not sure she can face, and Spider is closed off to everyone. It’s a joy to watch them all grow and come to terms with their selves in a way that’s true-to-teenage emotions and though processes.

If you like girl friend groups, summer romances, realistic portrayals of friendship dynamics family issues, you’ll really enjoy Girls of July.

Serious Moonlight: Review

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Imagine my surprise and joy when the very first ARC I requested on Edelweiss was accepted. Now imagine that joy tripled because it was a Jenn Bennett ARC, and a story I’ve been dying to read ever since it was announced!

Serious Moonlight is a Jenn Bennett book through and through. If you’ve read any of her other YA novels, including my favorite, Alex Approximately, you can go into this one knowing pretty much what to expect. And that’s a good thing because as much as I love intrigue as a reader, I also really love knowing what I’m in for. The familiarity is nice, especially when it’s an author that never disappoints.

The MC Birdie is quirky,–of course!–loves mystery novels, detective shows, and profiling people she meets just like a real P.I. might. She is also battling some health issues and recovering after the death of her prickly grandmother and the death of her mother eight years earlier. Commitment is hard for her, given all of these challenges.

Love interest Daniel is so sweet and sincere you’ll want to give him a hug and a slice of pie. He’s unabashedly smitten with Birdie from the start, and it’s so nice to see a LI put their whole heart on the line from the get go. Daniel also battles his own demons throughout the story, proving he’s as strong as he is kind and lovable.

And even though Bennett’s characters are filled to the brim with quirks as well as a few cliches, she does an excellent job of making them into real people that you cry for, root for, and ultimately fall in love with.

After a whirlwind meeting and one night stand that ends with Birdie running away from Daniel, she spends the next month hiding from him. But fate–which Daniel invokes often throughout the story–brings them together when Birdie gets a night shift job at the same Seattle hotel Daniel works at.

Together, the pair investigate a mystery man who frequents the hotel. But even bigger than the case of the sketchy hotel guest is the path these two take to coming back together. It takes Daniel and Birdie a while to open up completely, to move past their first awkward encounter, and to trust each other. But when they do, we see two teens who overcome a lot of obstacles and put in the work for their own happy ever after.

Bennett expertly navigates issues like chronic health, mental health, death, and positive sex interactions. She does all of this while managing to keep the plot, dialogue, and characters appropriate and authentic for teenage audiences. And, of course, you’ll get a well-crafted, beautiful story along with all that.

 

2018 Update

2018 is almost over! It’s been a great writing year for me, and I’ve grown so much as a writer and a person. It’s nice to look back after a whole year and see how things have changed. In 2018, I:

  • Found awesome CPs that challenge me and make me a better writer. Plus, I’ve had the privilege of reading their words!
  • Learned how to edit a manuscript correctly.
  • Got a mentoring spot in #WriteMentor, where I grew as a writer and made new friends.
  • Finished a new manuscript that I’m proud of during #NaNoWriMo.
  • Read books that fed my soul and inspired me. Also found new favorite authors.

2019 looks like it will be just as amazing! I can’t wait to see where this next year takes me. No matter what, I know I’ll spend many hours writing and reading, and I’m eager to get started!