MAX WATSON LOVE: The Map from Here to There Review ft. The Start of Me & You Reread Thoughts

42972032._UY630_SR1200,630_Summary (from the publisher): 

It’s senior year, and Paige Hancock is finally living her best life. She has a fun summer job, great friends, and a super charming boyfriend who totally gets her. But senior year also means big decisions. Weighing “the rest of her life,” Paige feels her anxiety begin to pervade every decision she makes. Everything is exactly how she always wanted it to be–how can she leave it all behind next year? In her head, she knows there is so much more to experience after high school. But in her heart, is it so terrible to want everything to stay the same forever?

Emery Lord’s award-winning storytelling shines with lovable characters and heartfelt exploration of life’s most important questions.

 

 My Rating: 4/5 Stars

 My Thoughts:

9781619639386Emery Lord’s The Map from Here to There, the sequel to The Start of Me and You, was on my TBR since it was first ever announced. Why? Because Max Watson is one of my fictional boyfriends and I needed our reunion ASAP. Fictional crush set aside, I was really excited for this sequel because I’ve really enjoyed all of Emery Lord’s books- The Names They Gave Us still holds the #1 place though- and The Start of Me and You was one of my favorite contemporary reads of 2017.  The Start of Me and You follows high school senior Paige’s junior year, determined to make a year of new memories and experiences after the death of her boyfriend a year prior. 

Since there was a two year gap between me reading the book- I was fortunate enough to grab a copy of The Map from Here to There at Book Expo and read it in July-, I wanted to binge-reread The Start of Me and You and then read the sequel.

The Start of Me and You Reread Thoughts:

  • So where do I sign up to get an Alcott’s (Oakhurst’s coffee shop and bookstore) in
    my town? It makes for the perfect setting, especially for Max and Paige’s reading hangouts.
  • Max Watson for sure is still on my fictional bf list
  • While Max and Paige’s relationship is definitely the relationship of (most) focus, I forgot how much this book is about Paige’s friendship with her three best friends
  • There are so many great moments and quotes about books and reading! For example:

Max thought hard, his eyes moving away from me. He blinked and then returned his gaze to mine. ‘Like you had been drowning, and the book was air.’

I was quiet, caught in the surreal moment of having my feelings described so exactly. That was how it felt to me, to live in other worlds—books or TV—like breathing became second nature again with their safety” (222).Read More »

CONTEMPORARY, CONTEMPORARY: July 2019 Mini Reviews

Once again, my monthly mini reviews is filled with contemporary books! What else am I supposed to read in the summer?

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Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

downloadMy Rating: 4/5 Stars

Open Road Summer was the final published Emery Lord book I had left to read. I received the gorgeous UK edition of Emery Lord’s debut novel last summer, but decided to save it until this July because this fangirl loves having summer contemporaries saved for summer reading. Open Road Summer follows Reagan’s summer as she travels the US on tour with her country music star of a best friend, Dee. After a PR nightmare, Reagan’s plans of a summer with her best friend are soon interrupted by Matt Finch, Dee’s opening act.

Open Road Summer is a really solid summer contemporary about friendship and romance. Reagan and Matt’s relationship was sweet, but I was most invested in Dee and Reagan. It was really fun being on the road with Dee and Reagan and I loved getting to explore their friendship. No matter what, Dee and Reagan are there for each other through everything. I loved Dee and her family’s Southern charm and I wouldn’t mind some sort of spin off following her career and romance! On the other hand, while Reagan is a really complex and well developed character, I just couldn’t like her. Like a few other readers, I agree that her cattiness/ her girl-hate was way too melodramatic most of the time. While a lot of her remarks had to do with her feelings for her love interest, she sees a lot of girls as competitors and blatantly put a few of them down for not being as attractive as her or for not being ’Hollywood/celebrity’ attractive.

The Names They Gave Us remains my #1 Emery Lord book and I just love Max from The Start of Me and You way too much, but Open Road Summer definitely has a spot in my summer contemporary loving heart. Contemporary fans looking for books featuring friendship, road trips, and/or music will particularly enjoy this one.

Pretty Guilty Women by Gina LaManna 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars 

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Pretty Guilty Women is the perfect read for beach and binge reading. With comparisons to Big Little Lies, Pretty Guilty Women rewinds the events of a destination wedding week, as four women each confess to the same murder. The book flips between interviews with the case’s lead detective and the four women’s happenings throughout the week. Each women is dealing with some sort of issue, varying levels of seriousness. Lulu is afraid her fifth marriage won’t be her last, as her husband takes phone calls from someone named S while on vacation; Ginger is having trouble connecting with her fifteen year old daughter; while Kate seemingly has all the money in the world, there is one thing she can’t buy that is causing problems with her boyfriend; Emily finds herself unable to escape her past, including the relationship that has haunted her for over ten years and another that destroyed her friendship with Ginger.

Read More »

My Favorite Summer Contemporary Books

summercs.jpgContemporary books set during the summer time are among my favorite types of books. There’s just something about them that makes me want to run to the beach or spend days by the pool (which I end up doing 99.9% of the time)! Listed below are some of my favorite contemporaries set during my favorite season.

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson– Frankly, any of Morgan Matson’s novels are great summer contemporaries, but I do love Second Chance Summer the most (even though it caused me to cry A LOT). After they receive devastating news, Taylor and her family decide to spend one last summer together at their lake house in the Poconos Mountains.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares– The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants will always have a special place in my heart because it was one of the very first YA book series that I read. All of the books in the series take place during the summer, with the pants traveling between Carmen, Tibby, Lena, and Bridget throughout their various locations. If you’re also looking for some summery films, I definitely recommend checking out this series’ film adaptions as well.

My Life Next Door by Huntley FitzpatrickMy Life Next Door isn’t just about a summer romance, as it really incorporates family (which I often adore in most if not all young-adult books that I read). Samantha Reed wonders what it’s like to be a member of the Garrett family, her loud and messy neighbors, until she starts dating their son, Jase. Jase and the Garretts embrace Samantha into their family, and Samantha finds herself not only in love with Jase, but the whole family.

The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy by Jenny Han– I marathoned Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty series last summer and I’m still so happy that I did. While there’s some different vibes from her To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series, Jenny Han again proves that she’s one of the queens of young-adult contemporary, writing about Belly, Jeremiah, and Conrad’s summers at their beach house. This series has had some really pretty cover changes, but I recommend getting the 3-book bindup from Target (bargain+super summery cover).

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord– One of my recent favorite summer contemporaries, The Names They Gave Us follows Lucy’s summer working at a summer for troubled kids and teens. Lucy is struggling herself, between her mom’s cancer coming back, her recent break-up with her longtime boyfriend, and trying to connect with her faith as her mom’s health gets worse. The Names They Gave Us is a great summer contemporary for its setting and its emotion-filled plot. I have a full review here.

What are some of your favorite summer contemporaries? Share in the comments!

Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

Summary: It’s the end of her junior year of high school, and Lucy’s life feels pretty good: she has the perfect boyfriend, Lukas, she’s captain of the swim team, her mother no longer has cancer, and she loves practicing her faith with her family, especially at their church summer camp. But everything comes crashing down when her mother’s cancer comes back. When her relationship with Lukas comes to a standstill and she becomes a summer counselor at the camp for troubled youth across the lake, Lucy questions how she’ll make it through each day, let alone the summer. Emery Lord’s The Names They Gave Us follows Lucy’s emotion-filled journey centered around faith, family, and friendship.

Cover Lust?: I want this cover displayed on my wall, please and thank you. I loved the painted look and how the tree is incorporated into the story.

 

My Rating: 5/5 stars

**WARNING: There are spoilers below for The Names They Gave Us**

My Thoughts:

 The Names They Gave Us had me hooked from the very first chapter. I just fell into Lucy’s story, the characters, and the setting. While the book does have a lot of happy moments, the story equally has its sad moments, as we see Marianne’s health deteriorate and Lucy struggle with her faith. She just doesn’t understand why her mother and her family had to be put in this situation. I appreciated the intimacy that Emery Lord sets up between the reader and Lucy, along with the intimacy between characters. Lucy has such a close relationship with her family, especially her mother, that my heart just broke for her.

My spirits definitely lifted up when Lucy goes to Daybreak, and I loved being surrounded by Lucy’s friends and campers. I loved how the novel primarily took place at Daybreak, adding to its summer contemporary vibes (the best contemporary books are ones that take place in the summer). My favorite part of the novel was Lucy having the summer that her mom wanted for her. She’s too busy to think about all the stress and grief in her life, and she finally makes her own inner circle of friends. I wish I could join on the trips to Tom’s with Anna, Keely, and Mohan in tow—plus the onion rings sounded soooo yummuy. Henry Jones is one of my new fictional boyfriends, and if I were a summer counselor, I would hope that Payton, Nadia, and Thuy would be among my campers.

Personally, my only issue with this book was the ending. When I got to the last page, I had to flip back and forth a few times to make sure that I hadn’t accidentally skipped a few pages. I wanted an ending where Lucy is staying goodbye to her campers, her friends, and Daybreak for the summer, NOT AN ENDING WHERE EVERYONE IS AT THE HOSPITAL AS LUCY’S MOM IS GOING INTO THE ICU. I get one of the points that Emery Lord makes- that no matter what happens to Marianne, Lucy will have her family, friends, and faith to support her and that there is always going to be some sort of unknown in life. It’s just that we built up to so much in this novel and we’re just left on our own to decide what happens—I’m sorry but I just need to know!! Between the story, the emotions, the twists, the charcters, I enjoyed The Names They Gave Us so much.Please Emery Lord, give us a sequel or novella!

Have you read The Names They Gave Us? Share your thoughts and feels in the comments!