Monday 6 April 2015

YA Summer Reads Blog Tour

Look who's stopping by today to talk about their summer's. I got to ask these lovely authors a question but I also got to read their upcoming books. And let me tell you, all three hit it out of the park. Definite must reads this summer. Here's what Janet, Juliana and Jennifer had to say about their summer traditions. 

"Did you or you and your family have a summer tradition?"

My family now goes out to British Columbia every summer. First we had a crappy old camper van that was really retro and um…maybe a little weird that we’d hope would make the trip. (There was a time it didn't!) Now we have a cabin out in Anglemont that we spent many years, miles, tears and money building. It’s almost done now so we can actually enjoy it a little. My son is good at road trips, as it’s eight hours each way. (Good reading time at least!)

I was a farm girl so we tended to stay close to home in the summer as there were always lots of things to do. I lived for baseball right up until I was about 16 so summers were filled with baseball (and boys as I got older!), barbecues, work, and hanging out at the arena on Friday nights.

From Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, the summer tradition in our family is to spend as much time as possible “down the shore”—that’s how New Jersey people refer to our coastal beach towns. Wrapped in that big summer tradition of vacationing down the shore are smaller ones like going to the boardwalk for the carnival rides and twisty cones, saving up prize tickets from Lucky Leo’s arcade, and decorating our bikes for the Seaside Park Fourth of July parade.

The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: April 7th, 2015
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5
This my second Gurtler read and the second time I've been pleasantly surprised by how much dimension she adds into what I expected to be on the more fluffy side of YA contemporary. It was definitely cute but also did a really great job showing how obtuse and meddling adults can be. Apparently Jess and Flynn have no right falling for each other. Because apparently coming from different "classes" is still a thing. Gurtler did a good job of making me pissed off a few times throughout the book. It's mind boggling that people still believe what half the adults in this book believe; that just because you don't come from the same walk of life than you can't mix. The Truth About Us also proved how much the adults in a kids life do influence their thinking and behaviour. Even when Jess and Flynn know they can make it work there's still the niggling feelings of what will my friends think. Or my parents. But I really loved how they would tease each other with stereotypical truths. You think it's teasing but you can tell they're really trying to figure out how the other one does live.
This could have a totally cheesy other side of the tracks romance, but of course it's not. These are very real characters struggling to push through standards. Jess showed a bunch of growth. She went from this girl doing stupid stupid crap as a cry for attention to a more understanding and forward thinking girl. A girl who fought to get her life back to the way she wanted it. I enjoyed not only Flynn helping her see through the fog but also Wilf and the other fantastic supporting characters. Another hit out of the park for Gurtler

The Summer After You + Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: May 1st, 2015
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5/5
Talk a about a good book. This is a fantastic summer read. No way was I putting it down once I'd started. I really really needed to make sure that everything would work out for Lucy. The Summer After You + Me does an excellent job showcasing the ups and downs of life. Especially a teenage life. Lucy has a lot going on this summer, her part time job, her internship, her friends, her family and her love life. As this is a contemporary it is of course a romance(my fave), but I actually wasn't reading to get to the part when the couple comes together. This time around I was reading to make sure Lucy found her place. First lets talk about the atmosphere and setting of this book. Lucy lives on "the shore". Which we all know gets kind of a bad rapt because of a certain TV show. But it also went through a lot of destruction a few years ago when hurricane Sandy tore through there. We're shown a seaside town that months after the disaster is still trying to build itself up. The residents lost their livelihood but not their spirit. Lucy's family is not different. It cost money to rebuild. Something a lot of people are struggling with. Lucy is also going through a rocky bit in her relationship with her twin brother. Liam is being a pretty shifty brother. Some of the crap he does or says, I'd give a good punch for. But in the end, even though I don't condone his attitude towards Lucy, I can see where miscommunication played a big part. Which is actually a common theme in Lucy's relationships. Normal teenage not talking.
Let's get to the romance aspect. We have Connor who has a summer house beside Lucy's. Lucy has had a crush on him for years. Than something finally happens between them before the storm hits. But than she doesn't hear from Connor. Talk about heart break. In the meantime Lucy and her best friend Andrew get together. Of course Connor comes back for the summer and things get messy. Here's the thing, I wasn't the biggest fan of Connor. He's a guy that has a long list of conquests and I really don't get Lucy's infatuation with him. He was a nice guy, but I actually would have preferred nothing to happen between them. On the other hand there was Andrew. In writing they're perfect for each other but there's obviously no spark there. When the eventual fallout comes I totally was feeling for Lucy. She probably just lost her best friend. I really resonated with Lucy. She's a smart, nerdy, super sweet girl. Obsessed with marine life. I totally got her. She's trying to figure out how you go from best friend to a couple back to best friends. Her feelings for Connor are causing a riff with her girlfriends and brother. She's feeling left out and alone. I definitely remember those times. I like how Lucy dealt with a lot of the situations. I felt they were real conversations and outcomes. Nothing was perfect. Things were left unsaid.
Great book for a summer night. It is not overly angsty or dramatized. Lucy brings you into her life and you just want to see her succeed. I am definitely adding The Summer After You + Me to my reread shelf.

Some Kind of Normal by Juliana Stone
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5/5
Some Kind of Normal was another really pleasant surprise for me. I've not read a book of Stone's yet, but now I will definitely be checking out her previous works. Like the title suggests, being normal plays a big part in how Everly and Trevor feel like they should be. Everly being the pastor's daughter has a certain standard that her and her family should maintain. But as Everly constantly points out, looks can be deceiving. Everly found out an awful secret about her father a year ago, it's not only tearing her apart trying to keep it under wraps but it's obviously slowly tearing her family apart.
Trevor is paying for getting in a car drunk. He spent months in a coma and now his life from being the at the top of high school is anything but. As we know there are consequences to our actions. And Trevor is definitely paying the ultimate price. His dreams are slowing being flushed down the toilet.
Some Kind of Normal is dual POV's. Which is perfect. Both MC's are battling some hard inner battles. Everly is drowning in secrets and Trevor is fighting against his health. I loved their interactions when they're kind of forced to spend time together(Everly tutoring Trevor). Everly feels like everyone sees her as the pastor's daughter and now Trevor thinks everyone sees him as this brain dead loser. It's definitely the thing that brings them together. All the sudden there's comfort and the feeling of being safe with another person. It's a really sweet romance.
Beyond the romance, there's a bunch of prominent topics that Stone does an excellent job of dealing with. Like sex, sexuality and just being yourself. Among others(don't want to spoil anything).
I was also surprised about how present the parents are. You know how YA books can forget that kids have parents? Well not here. They have an active roll in the book. I especially loved Trevor's parents. Even though it was his bad decision that could have ultimately killed him, they through no blame. It's clear they're just happy his alive and they will do whatever to get him healthy.
Both Everly's and Trevor's voices are refreshing and show the real struggle they're going through. The amount of times my eyes watered a little for these two... But the amount of times I smiled and felt my heart warming was more prominent.

Happy reading!



  1. I'm so happy you enjoyed all three books Brittney! Now you've got me even more excited to read Some Kind of Normal and The Summer After Me and You. I also love their answers, i don't have a summer tradition with my family so i always get slightly jealous when I hear of other peoples.

  2. What a fun tour to be a part of! These sound like great books. I like the premise for The Summer After You + Me and Lucy sounds like a great character. I'm intrigued by Some Kind of Normal as well. The facing consequences and adjusting life plans I think are a good lesson to learn. We don't really have an summer traditions here. When I was a kid we used to go to the beach as many times in the summer as possible and that was always fun.

  3. This is a fun tour! I love finding out about summer traditions! I cannot wait to put all of these into my reading schedule for the summer!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  4. You've totally made me want to buy all of these! I'm even more excited for The Summer After You & Me now because it sounds like the perfect summer read! Lucy sounds like a great character, but I'm not liking the sound of Connor. But I'll definitely be reading it anyways! I've still to pick up a book by Gurtler, but it looks like The Truth About Us might be my first! Lots of summer reads to add to my TBR!
    Great reviews, Brittany :D

  5. Ahhhhh, girl you are really bad for my bank balance! I am so happy that you enjoyed all the books. But now your reviews have me wanting to go out and pick these books up myself. I read Janet Gurtlers last book and really enjoyed it, so I will definitely get to her new one sooner rather than later.