Posts Categorized: mature themes

I Was Here: Review

I Was Here: Review

I’m not really a contemporary person, but I am very much a Gayle Forman person. With that said, I’m not sure anyone could be more disappointed than I am that I did not love this book. Forman’s prose and storytelling talent have shown me the heights of what contemporary can achieve in her previous duologies. I do think, honestly, that she is near peerless within her genre. So what left me so cold about her most recent release? A thing with me is that books take on their own “color” and mood. The experience of reading this book felt just like being under a constant cover of gray skies. There was so little in the way of hope or optimism. Which is fine, I suppose. But even if you’re going to stick readers with difficult emotions there should at least be some sort of catharsis. Unfortunately, even that fell through…. Read more »

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I’ll Give You the Sun: guest post + giveaway

I’ll Give You the Sun: guest post + giveaway

When you read a Jandy Nelson novel, it’s an experience unlike any other. There’s unbridled joy and passion and despair in her characters, and their lives are messy and imperfect and full of yearning.  Her writing feels almost impressionistic to me in its vibrancy, ability to invoke emotion, and painterly observations of human nature, with the kind of unfettered freedom of expression you might find in great contemporary Aussie YA novels, or the seriousness of purpose of a Gayle Forman one. With I’ll Give You the Sun releasing in stores this month, and with the book recently optioned for a film by Warner Bros., the author’s with us today as part of the official blog tour to tell us about how how a teacher inspired her to look at her writing in a whole new way. The very best stories are the ones that feel emotionally true, and this anecdote… Read more »

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Unteachable: review + giveaway

Unteachable: review + giveaway

Sometimes when you take a chance on an indie book, you discover something incredibly special. I felt that way with Angelfall and And All the Stars, and I feel that way again with Unteachable by Leah Raeder. It’s a book I had no intention of reviewing, but when I finished it, the words just came pouring out! I’ve included my updated 2 am review below. But before that, you should know: This is not a YA book. It’s a new adult novel with a seriously messed up romance, in which high school senior Maisie enters into a relationship with  one of her teachers. This isn’t the kind of relationship that is ever okay in real life, which is why I initially hesitated about covering it here at the blog. While all of us read across a wide variety of genres, I am mindful of the responsibility we have to our… Read more »

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Sexual Identity in Grasshopper Jungle: guest post + giveaway

Sexual Identity in Grasshopper Jungle: guest post + giveaway

Grasshopper Jungle is described as a “sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition,” and that fits this bizarre, fascinating book to perfection. The end of the world is nearing thanks to gigantic praying mantises, and while Austin is trying to figure out how the hell he’s supposed to stop them, he’s also wrestling with his feelings for both his girlfriend Shann and for his best friend Robby. The book is extremely well-written and crafted, and while the narration or content may be jarring to some readers with its frank fixation on male horniness that both serves and sometimes threatens to consume the plot, it definitely kept me interested and I think it’s a book that’s going to spark a lot of conversation. Certainly most of the early reactions have been extremely enthusiastic, and I am always in favor of YA books that explore topics… Read more »

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Red Rising: Review

Red Rising: Review

Oh, Red Rising. Where do I even start with you? There were many “What in the world?!?” moments throughout this reading (that’s a good thing). This is essentially “Dystopian, eugenic, Capture the Flag on Mars”. For real. I did a lot of creepy, evil smiling throughout. What can I say? This book served to further chill the cockles of my cold, dark heart, and I just loved it for that. This is a story for readers who, like me, are fascinated by these questions: What happens when your enemy becomes your friend? What happens when you become your enemy? I’ve kept this as free of plot points as possible. The less you know about what is going on and what is going to happen the better. I wouldn’t want to deny you a single one of those jaw dropping moments. I am absolutely horrified by the world of Red Rising… Read more »

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Sex & Violence tour stop + giveaway

Sex & Violence tour stop + giveaway

Sex & Violence is one of the strongest debuts of the year. This powerful contemporary novel deals with 17-year-old Evan’s painful recovery from a traumatic event, as well as his struggles to overcome his crippling sense of guilt, post-traumatic stress disorder, and grief. Evan isn’t your typical YA protagonist, and in fact he’s a pretty unlikeable character when we first meet him. He’s an arrogant, hormonally-driven boy who makes no bones about his lack of interest in developing relationships with the girls he’s sleeping with, and yet the author manages to make us connect with him in a natural and intrinsic way before we’ve even begun to understand him. Evan’s narrative voice is raw, real, and touched with occasional humor, and I appreciated how well-developed the characters were. The story portrays teen sexuality, both male and female, in a realistic and varied way, and it’s particularly interesting to see the… Read more »

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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Tour Stop

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Tour Stop

If the idea of Tennessee Williams writing a supernatural gothic novel intrigues you, you will not want to miss the gorgeous, wretched beauty of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke. Who is the mysterious stranger who’s renting the guest house behind Violet White’s manor? River has the sly  charm of a  fox, but he also has secrets he’s not telling–ones that could be Violet’s undoing. The story is strange and wild and romantic and crazy all at once, and the simmering tension beneath the languor of hot summer nights grows and grows until it becomes shrieking, wild-eyed, descent-into-madness horror. I LOVED IT. I hope you will, too.We’re very pleased to welcome the author to The Midnight Garden today as part of the official Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea blog tour. What better way to ring in the end of summer than this truly… Read more »

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