Monday, May 22, 2017

Two YA ARC Mini-Reviews: It Started With Goodbye by Christina June and Antisocial by Jillian Blake

As I've mentioned many, many, many times, I am behind on reviews. But one of my goals this summer is to get caught up on that.  Fingers crossed.  So today, I'm sharing two mini-reviews of some ARCs that I was sent by publishers.  I want to keep my contacts with those publishers on good terms, so I'm making sure now, with the reading planner I'm now using along with my blog planner, to get stuff read. These two books unfortunately didn't make it on to the calendar in time, so these reviews are a week or two later than I would have liked.  Anyway, enjoy my short reviews, along with the summaries from Goodreads.

Author:  Jillian Blake
Genre:  YA contemporary
Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Release Date:  May 16th, 2017
My rating:  5 stars

Now, I'm so mad at myself that I did not get my post up by the 12th like I had promised the publisher.  If I had picked it up  even on the 10th, I can tell you I would have been done in time to post a review, because this was a really quick read.  But it wasn't just a quick read, it was a really good, extremely hard to put down read.  The characters were all so good, ones that you wanted to know what would happen to, that you definitely empathized with, and in many ways, I related to them.  There were some really fun Game of Thrones references.  I like how as you learned more and thought maybe you knew exactly who might be behind all of the leaks and stuff, it was spelled out how they actually couldn't be the ones behind it.  The way it all ended up made so much sense, and really was pretty realistic in my point of view.  I mentioned in my short review on Goodreads after I finished that it reminded me of YA books I read as a teen.  What I kind of meant by that is that while the voice of the main character is definitely somewhat realistic, there is still a hint of an adult-like quality to the voice.  I'm not sure exactly how to explain it better.  Sorry. But I loved it, read it in almost one sitting.  It's a good look at just how much we often share with virtual strangers.  Something I know that I am definitely guilty of.  This is a book that I highly recommend, partly for that reason as well, and I will definitely be adding it to the school library where I work!

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Alexandria Prep is hacked in this whodunit set in the age of social media and the cloud.

Senior spring at Alexandria Prep was supposed to be for sleeping through class and partying with friends. But for Anna Soler, it’s going to be a lonely road. She’s just been dumped by her gorgeous basketball star boyfriend—with no explanation. Anna’s closest friends, the real ones she abandoned while dating him, are ignoring her. The endearing boy she’s always had a complicated friendship with is almost too sympathetic.

But suddenly Anna isn’t the only one whose life has been upended. Someone is determined to knock the kings and queens of the school off their thrones: one by one, their phones get hacked and their personal messages and photos are leaked. At first it’s funny—people love watching the dirty private lives of those they envy become all too public. 

Then the hacks escalate. Dark secrets are exposed, and lives are shattered. Chaos erupts at school. As Anna tries to save those she cares about most and to protect her own secrets, she begins to understand the reality of our always-connected lives: 

Sometimes we share too much.  

TitleIt Started With Goodbye   
Author:  Christina June  
Genre:  YA  Contemporary
Publisher:  Blink YA Books
Release Date:  May 9th, 2017
My rating:  4 stars

This is another book that was sooooo quick to read!  I read over half of it in one sitting as well.  It's billed as a contemporary take on Cinderella, and that definitely comes through.  However, in this story, the "wicked" stepmother has more depth, and actually is someone maybe not so wicked.  The father is not dead, just away for the summer.  What I loved about this story is how much the characters seemed realistic and very up to date.  The main character is an artist, but a graphic designer, wanting to do web sites and make her way through that artistic field.  I like that while the "wicked" stepmother in this story is maybe not the usual villain, the bad guy, who got Tatum and her best friend in trouble in the first place, is really a bad guy.  And I like how all of it works out.  As I mention all the time, I don't always read a lot of YA contemporary, it is very rarely a genre that I choose on my own, I am not disappointed at all that I read this one.   Definitely a book I'll want to purchase for my school library where I work.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.