Hello dearest reader friends! Today’s set of mini reviews have basically one thing in common – they are all published by Harper Teen. Also, I gave them all four stars. Each book had different things that I really enjoyed about it. Two are contemporary books and one is the final book in a trilogy that falls in the thriller genre.
I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff
Narrator: Davis Brooks
Length: 6 Hours 50 Minutes
Published by Harper Collins on January 27th 2015
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Social Themes, Friendship, Suicide, Romance, General
Format: Audiobook, Hardcover, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
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“A page-turner that combines genuine intrigue with heartbreak and desire.” —Holly Goldberg Sloan, New York Times bestselling author of Counting by 7s
There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, Sam’s best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you’ll understand. To figure out what happened, Sam has to rely on the playlist and his own memory. But the more he listens, the more he realizes that his memory isn’t as reliable as he thought. And it might only be by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he’ll finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.
Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Spectacular Now, Michelle Falkoff’s debut novel is an honest and gut-wrenching first novel about loss, rage, and what if feels like to outgrow a friendship that’s always defined you—and the struggle to redefine yourself.
Playlist For The Dead by Michelle Falkoff only really hit my radar because it was a short audiobook and I wanted to make use of my last Hoopla borrow for September as the Hoopla borrows reset every month. I mean, sure I have a hard cover review copy but there’s just something I love about listening to contemporary audiobooks. I’m really quite glad that I listened to the audiobook. It turns out that you can’t get Playlist For The Dead via American Audible. So, it felt like a rare imported find on Hoopla.
Playlist For The Dead is about this boy named Sam who is best friends with Hayden. Sam and Hayden go to a party. They get into a fight and then Sam goes home. Meanwhile, Hayden comes back to stay at Sam’s house unbeknownst to Sam. Unfortunately, Hayden takes his life. He leaves behind a playlist for Sam though. And so, Sam goes through the playlist trying to unlock the mystery of why Hayden committed suicide as well as trying to puzzle out what exactly happened that night at the party.
Overall, I thought that Michelle Falkoff handled teenage suicide sensitively with Playlist For The Dead. I also thought this was a timely read given one YA author’s beyond the pale remarks relating to suicide. There’s an in depth exploration of Hayden and his actions and how layered these events can be in one’s life. Also, Sam receives counseling at school and this actually ends up not being something that is ridiculed by the author. I actually love seeing a pro-therapy book, y’all.
Further, the book brings in music as a central element which is something I really like. Hayden and Sam bonded over music, even when their tastes are often at odds. Actually, there’s a lot about the two that are at odds. Hayden is from the rich part of town. Sam is from the poor part of town. Hayden is heavy set whereas Sam is tall and thin. Yet, the two are absolute best friends.
The audiobook of Playlist For The Dead is narrated by Davis Brooks and is 6 hours and 50 minutes long. It’s not a bad listen, I mean, I listened to it in basically two days while I did housework. I am a bit sad you can’t get it on American Audible, but if you have a library card or look on iTunes, you should be able to find the audiobook. Otherwise, I imagine that reading the physical book probably is a good reading choice too.
Other reviews of Playlist For The Dead by Michelle Falkoff:
- Bookish And Awesome – “an arsenal of identifiable, complex secondary characters“
- Novel Ink – “The characters were so easy to relate to“
- Reading Teen – “a very different and interesting real life read“
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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Don't Let Go by Michelle Gagnon
Series: PERSEFoNE #3
Published by Harper Collins on August 26th 2014
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Action & Adventure, General, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Social Themes
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In this pulse-pounding final installment of the Don’t Turn Around trilogy, which Kirkus Reviews called “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for teens, a surefire hit,” Noa and Peter race across the country in their search to destroy Project Persephone before time runs out.
Noa Torson is out of options. On the run with the three remaining teens of Persephone’s Army, she is up against immeasurable odds. The group is outnumbered, outsmarted, and outrun. But they are not giving up. When Noa and Peter realize they can’t run anymore, and that Noa’s health is quickly failing, they know they must go back to where this began. But when they come face-to-face with the man who started it all, the question becomes, can they win?
This riveting final book truly ratchets up the action as Noa and Peter confront the evil that has chased them and won’t let them go.
Don’t Let Go by Michelle Gagnon is final book in Gagnon’s PERSEFoNE series. And yes, I totally had to copy paste that series title from Goodreads because there is no way on Earth I would be able to remember the spelling and capitalization. So, this book caps off her series about hackers which is often compared to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I have not read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo but if it is anything like this Gagnon’s trilogy SIGN ME UP.
Basically Don’t Let Go picks up where I think the second book leaves off. And I say I think because it’s been like 3 or 4 years since I read the second book. And the thing is, I always intended on reading Don’t Let Go as soon as I got the ARC but life gets in the way. So, the gist of the plot is that there are only four kids left from Persephone’s Army – a group of street kids taking on the Pike Corporation and the evil leader, Charles Pike. Those four kids are Noa, Peter, Daisy and Teo. All four kids get point of view chapters. They are on the run from Pike, yet somehow they always end up found.
Regardless, the four teens plan on getting to the bottom of the PEMA disease issue and taking down Pike once and for all. Don’t Let Go is action packed until the very end. It provides a good amount of closure to a series that I actually quite enjoyed. I bring that up because these aren’t my usual sort of books. However, it turns out that I actually do like hacker based books. WHO KNEW? Anyways, the moral of this review is that if you have been wanting to finish a series for awhile and all the books are out — WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? At least, Gagnon’s PERSEFoNE series is worth finishing — especially if you like Mr. Robot and are into books with a hacktivist theme.
Other reviews of Don’t Let Go by Michelle Gagnon:
- Books With Bite – “The ending was great.“
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I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Length: 8 Hours 30 Minutes
Published by Harper Collins on June 24th 2014
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Social Themes, Physical & Emotional Abuse, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying
Format: Audiobook, ARC, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Fans of Sarah Dessen will love this heartbreaking story about family, loss, and the joys and disappointments of first love.
Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when star basketball player Brady Cullen convinces her strict father to let them date. That summer, Bettina falls in love with Brady and the freedom that comes along with him. But when school starts up again, Brady unexpectedly changes for the worse. Unable to give up on her first love just yet, she finds herself trapped in an abusive relationship.
Then she meets "Cowboy," a smoldering older guy and the last guy her father would approve. Yet he is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina. When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.
The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor was an impulse listen for me. I am so, so glad I listened to this book. You know how sometimes an audiobook can absorb you to the point where you get home, get out of the car, don’t have chores to do, have already showered and could conceivable read a physical book, but instead you decide to keep on listening? I carried my phone from room to room to room just to listen to Leslie Connor’s The Things You Kiss Goodbye. It is THAT good via audiobook.
So, The Things You Kiss Goodbye is a contemporary book about this girl named Bettina. Bettina has a dad who is super Greek and super strict. I mean, he’s not as cool as the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Anyways, he doesn’t like for Bettina to spend too much time away from the family and will not allow her to date. At least not until Brady comes along. Brady is a basketball player and at first is wonderful to Bettina. Then, somehow everything changes and he becomes this awful douchebag.
Bettina still remains in her unhealthy relationship with Brady though, because if they were to break up she fears that she would lose her freedom from her family and the house. Granted, she absolutely loves her family – her parents and her little brothers. However, her dad’s old world treatment of her wears thin. So, Bettina maintains appearances with Brady while she finds herself falling for this older guy whom she refers to as Cowboy. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes.
I thought that The Things You Kiss Goodbye was such a thoughtful book. After reading, I would pursue more books by Leslie Connor. And oh man, Lauren Fortgang’s narration is just the cherry on top of the excellence cake. I think this book is actually worth spending an Audible credit on. However, if you’ve got Hoopla, you’re covered.
Other reviews of The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor:
- YA Midnight Reads – “a solid read and quite enjoyable“
- Snuggly Oranges – “this book surprised me in the best way“
- The Social Potato – “I never fell in love with it“
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