What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen + Giveaway

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Published by Viking Books on May 10, 2011
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 402
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

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3.5 Stars, Reread May 18, 2017

– SPOILER free –

Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.

For the past two years Mclean Sweet and her divorced father have been moving from town to town as he is a restaurant consultant. With each move Mclean sees it as a chance to reinvent herself and take up a different persona. As Liz, Eliza, and Beth she’s been many girls from preppy cheerleader to drama diva. But when Mclean and her father make a stop at Lakeview, she’s finds herself as just Mclean. But who is the real Mclean? After being separated from her true identity for so long, Mclean isn’t sure who she really is anymore. With What Happened to Goodbye Sarah Dessen weaves yet another story about youth and self discovery.

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Just Listen by Sarah Dessen + Giveaway

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Published by Viking Books on April 6, 2006
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 371
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

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5 Stars, Reread May 9, 2017

– SPOILER free –

In everyone’s eyes Annabel Greene seems to appear as “the girl who has everything” for the fact that she plays the part of a well-liked, popular cheerleader in a television commercial for Kopf’s Department Store. Though in reality, she’s far from that role. At school, she’s shunned by her peers for shamefully stealing her best friend’s boyfriend behind her back at a party last summer. (Though, she didn’t.) At home, her parents are completely oblivious to Annabel’s friendless life seeing as they’re more preoccupied with her older sister who recently became anorexic. With the focus on Whitney, Annabel begins to bury a lot of her thoughts from her family and it becomes a habit. But then she meets Owen Armstrong, a truth-telling, music-obsessed guy. As if his blunt honesty was contagious, she finds that voicing what she really means comes out so easily when she’s with him. But with the help of her and Owen’s comfortable friendship, will she finally be able to finally face the events that happened the night that she and Sophie stopped being friends?

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The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen + Giveaway

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Published by Penguin Group Inc. on May 11, 2004
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 374
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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5 Stars, Reread May 3, 2017

– SPOILER free –

I’d tried to hold myself apart, showing only what I wanted, doling out bits and pieces of who I was. But that only works for so long. Eventually, even the smallest fragments can’t help but make a whole.

After witnessing her father’s unexpected death, Macy has always sought to find control of her life by planning for the expected. She likes the certainty of knowing what will happen next. So when her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp, she decides to spend her summer subbing for him at his library job, studying for the SATs, and occasionally making small talk with her mother about anything but the traumatic loss of her father. But when she meets the dysfunctional team at Wish Catering, a group accustomed to chaos and surprises, after they cater at one of her mom’s parties she starts to feel compelled to breakaway from her steady and sheltered life. Because, perhaps, the key to truly living is not to dwell on the past or wait for the future, but instead embrace each moment of the present.

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Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Delacorte Press on May 2, 2017
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary
Pages: 432
Format: ARC, paperback
Source: Publisher

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3.5 Stars, Completed March 22, 2017

– minor SPOILERS ahead –

windfall
/ˈwin(d)fôl/
noun

a piece of unexpected good fortune, typically one that involves receiving a large amount of money.

Alice doesn’t believe in luck and especially not after she experienced the worst kind when she lost her parents nine years ago. But as a joke she decides to buy a lottery ticket as an eighteenth birthday present for her best friend that she has secretly loved for years, Teddy. To their utter disbelief, he wins $140 million and, suddenly, everything changes. Teddy’s newfound wealth will put an unexpected strain on their friendship; their once effortless understanding and dependence of one another after having grown up in tough circumstances together dissipates completely as they argue more and more. Thus, the money begins to feel more like a curse than a windfall. As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice will discover more about herself and what she wants from life in moments she least expects.

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By Your Side by Kasie West

5By Your Side by Kasie West
Published by Harper Teen on January 31, 2017
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary
Pages: 342
Format: ARC, paperback
Source: Yallfest

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3 Stars, Completed February 15, 2017

– SPOILER free –

By Your Side is a light contemporary about two teenagers that develop an unlikely friendship after they’ve been accidentally locked in the library for a weekend. Dax is the school’s loner with a bad reputation. Whereas, Autumn is a do-gooder that doesn’t notice much beyond her camera’s viewfinder and inner group of popular friends. At first, Dax and Autumn only recall the negative impressions they have  of each other and do not get along. But after a few nights of shared vending machine snacks and real talks, both realize that the other is much more than what first meets the eye. They decide to call an amiable truce and soon begin to enjoy each other’s company. And when the pair are finally found and released, the question is after all they’ve shared will they remain friends or will they ignore each other as they had before?

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Blue Spring Ride

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0072Blue Spring Ride (Ao Haru Ride) (アオハライド)
Original Story by
 Io Sakisaka
Art by Io Sakisaka
Published by Bessatsu Margar from 2011 to 2015
Genres: [Shoujo] Romance, School, Slice of Life
Volumes: 13
Chapters:
53
Status of manga:
 Completed*
My rating for the anime: 8/10
My rating for the live action film: 6.5/10

*Review based on entire manga series

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Purchase links are not available because, as of when this review is published, this manga has yet to be officially serialized in English. However, you can still read this online with fan-subs.

3.5 Stars, Reread January 1, 2017

– read the bold text to avoid minor SPOILERS –

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Gif credits to wordstuck

If I had to choose one word to describe this manga series, it would be the Japanese adjective, “懐かしい” (natsukashii). This term is difficult to translate into English accurately and completely, but it is often used to express a yearning for something, or a slightly nostalgic feeling of missing. As a non-native and amateur learning the foreign language for my own fun, how I’ve personally interpret natsukashii is the feeling you get when you’re reminded of the past. And Blue Spring Ride made me feel just that.

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The story begins with two middle schoolers, Futaba Yoshioka and Kou Tanaka, that like each other making plans to attend a festival together during their school break. However, misunderstandings arise after Futaba accidentally blurts that she hates boys because of their obnoxious behavior. Kou hears her exclamation, and doesn’t meet up with Futaba the day of the event. Futaba believes that he stood her up for the outburst that he overheard, but really he couldn’t make it because of family issues. So she decides to address this misunderstanding when they return to school. But on the day of the new semester, Futaba discovers that Kou has already transferred schools to another town. With a lot of loose ends left and the strength of first love, the two never forget each other in spite of the distance. And then years later, fate makes them enrolled in the same high school. Will they finally face each other after all this time? And will the attraction they shared from the past be rekindled?

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The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

thesunisalsoastar-680x1024The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte Press on November 1, 2016
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary
Pages: 349
Format: ARC, paperback
Source: Publisher

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4 Stars, Completed November 6, 2016

– SPOILER free –

Gosh, I adored this book so much.

The Sun is Also a Star is a story about two teenagers, living very different lives, that happen to meet. Natasha is a girl that has solely relied on her knowledge of science and facts. When her father carelessly exposes their family of being undocumented immigrants, Natasha finds that she has to leave the “land of opportunity” and return back to the place she was born, Jamaica. But she can hardly view the island as her home since she hasn’t lived there since she was a young girl. She feels more American than anything. Then there’s Daniel. He has always been the good son-the one that has made the good grades, proudly kept his Korean roots, and met his parents expectations. So when his brother receives a suspension from an ivy league college, all the more pressure is put onto Daniel to redeem and save face for the family. However, deep down, Daniel knows he doesn’t really want to be a doctor but rather a poet. So when Natasha and Daniel encounter each other to say that they have an instant connection is too unrealistic.  But both find that this serendipitous meeting and the company of the other is exactly the distraction they need in their lives at that moment.

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Dreamology by Lucy Keating

tumblr_o3u5gmADuQ1qdlytco1_1280Dreamology by Lucy Keating
Published by Harper Teen on April 12, 2016
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary
Pages: 336
Format: ARC, paperback
Source: Yallfest

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2.5 Stars, Completed August 5, 2016

– read the bold text only to avoid SPOILERS –

I feel pretty bad about this rating because it seems like the majority greatly enjoyed Dreamology; and there were certainly moments where I did, too, but I also had issues with the characters and romance which prevented me from overall truly being fond of the standalone.

…dreams and reality are far from the same.

In Dreamology readers are introduced to Alice and Max, a cute pair that, like many couples, meet everyday… but only in their dreams. Then on the first day of class, Alice walks into her new school and notices a boy exactly like Max. Though he is indeed the one and the same, the real life Max is different from the dream Max that Alice has known practically all her life. And as they get to know each other’s true personalities, they have to face a number of obstacles before they can be a real couple-one of the biggest being that their dreams are bleeding into reality. To prevent from going mad, Alice and Max will have to decide whether they want to put an end to the merged dreams.

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More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

More Happy Final CoverMore Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Published by Soho Teen on June 2, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary, Science Fiction, LGBTQ+
Pages: 293
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buddy Read With: Lois at My Midnight Musings

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4.5 Stars, Completed June 23, 2016

– read the bold text to avoid SPOILERS –

[That awful moment when you realize you scheduled a post unfinished… 😮 Yup, that actually happened with this book’s review early last week. For those that follow Xingsings via email, so sorry for the confusion! I guess you guys got a special glimpse of the process I take while composing a book review. Anyway, this is the official one for More Happy Than Not.]

It’s sort of funny how bad I am at skimming my friends’ reviews, because I totally missed the crucial memo about More Happy Than Not: it is a sad book, not a happy one as the title suggests. I dived into it totally assuming it would make me laugh more than cry. (I mean there is a smile on the original cover…) But, gosh, was I wrong.

Sometimes pain is so unmanageable that the idea of spending another day with it seems impossible. Other times pain acts as a compass to help you get through the messier tunnels of growing up. But the pain can only help you find happiness if you can remember it.

More Happy Than Not follows Aaron Soto, a guy with a smile-shaped scar on his wrist to remind him of a period of overwhelming grief and misery. This summer his supportive girlfriend, Genevieve, leaves him for art camp and he’s left all alone. Aaron then befriends the kid on the other block, Thomas. He finds that hanging out with Thomas brings him a sense of happiness different from Genevieve and his other friends, and he soon has to face what these newfound feelings mean. Aaron then considers turning to Leteo Institute’s cutting edge memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out (quite literally in the figurative sense), even if the consequence is forgetting who he truly is.

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The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

The Art of Being Normal

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
Published by David Fickling Books on January 1, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Pages: 353
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

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3.5 Stars, Completed June 17, 2016

– read bold text only to avoid SPOILERS –

“Who wants to be normal anyway? Fancy that on your gravestone. Here lies so-and-so. They were entirely normal.”

The Art of Being Normal shares a story about two people with very big secrets. Ever since grade school David Piper has been known as the school freak for writing, “I want to be a girl when I grow up.” But he’s had two best friends that have cheered and supported him throughout the years-that is until he becomes the third wheel when the two best friends decide to upgrade from being “friends” into “in a relationship.” Around the same time, Leo Denton, has just moved to David’s school. For Leo, all he craves for with this new institution is a chance to maintain an invisibility that he lacked at his last. Once the two meet, David and Leo are immediately drawn towards each other for unknown reasons, and they soon form a comfortable and sincere friendship.

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