The Unexpected Everything

Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Source:  Purchased

Goodreads:  Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?

Ope’s Opinion:  All the details in the beginning of the book made the story move very slowly.  It began to pick up the pace in the middle of the book.  The ending wrapped everything up. 

This book had a very good story to it, but I felt like it was too long for a young adult reader.  I enjoyed it, but only thought only an avid reader would enjoy it.

I really like Morgan Matson and I would read her again.




Author: Sara Zarr
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult
Source:  Purchased

Goodreads:  It’s time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl’s summer — and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they’ve never met.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.

Ope’s Opinion:  This is a realistic look at two girls getting ready to leave home and go off to college.  The story went through all the emotions from the students, parents, and friends perspective.  This won’t be everyones experience, but I think it is a good representation of many students. 

I would recommend this book to a junior or senior in high school who may be concerned about what it will be like to leave for college.




Author: Julie Murphy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult
Source:  BEA 2015

Goodreads:  Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Ope’s Opinion:  In my opinion, this book should be mandatory reading for every middle or high school student.  It is a wonderful portrait of how a young lady should look at herself and at others.  It also shows how others see us differently then we see ourselves.

Some of the characters are not likeable – welcome to real life in middle and high school.  It is good to see how all of this handled.

The ending is perfect because it is not perfect.  It is very near to real life.


Gilt Hollow


Author: Lorie Langdon
Publisher: Blink
Genre: Mystery / Young Adult
Source:  BEA 2016

Goodreads:  Willow Lamott’s best friend is a murderer, and no one in the small town of Gilt Hollow will let her forget it. For four long years, she’s tried to fade into the background—but none of that matters when Ashton Keller comes striding into school, fresh out of juvie and fueled by revenge. The moment their eyes meet, Willow no longer feels invisible. Drawn to the vulnerability behind Ashton’s mask of rage, she sinks deeper into his sinister world and begins to question whether he’s a villain, a savior, or both.
Ashton thought he wanted vengeance, until Willow reminded him what he’d been missing. Now he longs to clear his name and become the person she sees in him. But the closer they get to uncovering the truth, the darker the secrets become, and Ashton fears his return to Gilt Hollow will destroy everyone he loves, especially the girl he left behind.

Ope’s Opinion: This book was very intense from the very beginning.  Although this is a young adult book, I would say the emphasis was on the mystery.  The main characters are in high school, but the situation was very adult. 

I enjoyed that the ending made sense and the story took you to the person who was responsible for the death of Daniel.  Overall, this was  a very good who done it!


Lies I Told

lies i told

Author: Michelle Zink
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult
Source: BEA 2015

Goodreads:  What if, after spending a lifetime deceiving everyone around you, you discovered the biggest lies were the ones you’ve told yourself?

Grace Fontaine has everything: beauty, money, confidence, and the perfect family.

But it’s all a lie.

Grace has been adopted into a family of thieves who con affluent people out of money, jewelry, art, and anything else of value. Grace has never had any difficulty pulling off a job, but when things start to go wrong on the Fontaines’ biggest heist yet, Grace finds herself breaking more and more of the rules designed to keep her from getting caught…including the most important one of all: never fall for your mark.

Ope’s Opinion:  Even though the main characters in this book are high school age, the book felt more like an adult read.  The main characters were much more much mature and involved in adult situations.  This story is intense from page one until the last page ( which is not the end ).  I did not realize this book was part of a series, so the ending was not an ending – it just stopped.

All the characters in this book were interesting.  They each had distinct personalities.  I enjoyed their interactions.  I mostly liked Logan and Grace’s relationship – I thought they fell for each other a little too fast, but I liked that they took the relationship slowly.

I am still debating if I am going to read the next book.  It is called Promises I Made.

3 chairs

The Changing Season

the changing season

Published:  February 17, 2015
Publisher: The Story Plant

Goodreads:  This was supposed to be a simple summer for Billy; one more lazy expanse of time before college began. He’d fill the hours playing with Jimmy – his canine best buddy – going camping and doing all the things he promised Jimmy they’d do before Billy left.

But that was before the accident that shook the entire town.

It was before the summer job that turned into something so much more than a way to get a paycheck.

And it was before Vicki.

This summer was destined to be many things to Billy, things he didn’t truly understand until now. But it was definitely not going to be simple.

An enormously touching, richly textured, deeply moving novel of new adulthood, THE CHANGING SEASON is an experience to savor.

Ope’s Opinion:  Great book!  It took a little while to get started, but worth the time to keep reading.   If you have someone in your life who will be graduating from high school this spring – this would be an awesome gift. 

The relationships in this book felt real. The heart ache and decisions were some we all face.

Steven Manchester has been an author I have read often.  This is one of my favorites of his.

Rating:  4

For Keeps

for keeps

Author: Natasha Friend
Publisher: Speak
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Purchased

Goodreads: For sixteen years, Josie Gardner and her mom, Kate, have been a team. It’s been the Gardner Girls against the world, and that’s how Josie likes it. Until one day, they find out that Paul Tucci, Kate’s high school boyfriend-the father Josie has never met-is back in town. Josie’s mom suddenly turns back into the heartbroken teenager she was when Paul moved away. Meanwhile, Josie’s on the verge of having her first real boyfriend. And when Josie learns some surprising truths about Paul Tucci and the past, she begins questioning what she thought she knew, and finds out what happens when a girl gets the guy she always wanted and the dad she never knew she needed.

Ope’s Opinion: I really enjoyed this  book.  I would recommend it for anyone who enjoys reading Sarah Dessen.

The story had some really interesting twist to it that I did not see coming.  The characters were realistic, fun to read about and reacted to situations the way I would expect them to.  The mother- daughter relationship was one I could relate to.  I have two daughters that I enjoyed raising.

I enjoyed Liv and Josie’s friendship.  It was nice to have Liv’s two dads as a little comic relief when things seemed to be a little stressful for Josie or Liv.  It was also great to see the support between the two families of these friends.

After reading this book I looked up Natasha Friend’s other books and I am interested in reading another one by her.

Rating: 4