Tag: Contemporary

Someday, Somewhere

Author: Lindsay Champion
Published: April 3, 2018

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: March 28-April 11, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Dominique is a high school junior from a gritty neighborhood in Trenton, where she and her mom are barely getting by.

Ben is a musical prodigy from the Upper East Side, a violinist at a top conservatory with obsessive talent and a brilliant future.

When Dom’s class is taken to hear a concert at Carnegie Hall, she expects to be bored out of her mind. But then she sees the boy in the front row playing violin like his life depends on it — and she is transfixed.

Posing as an NYU student, Dom sneaks back to New York City to track down Ben Tristan, a magnetic genius who whisks her into a fantasy world of jazz clubs and opera, infatuation and possibility. Each sees something in the other that promises to complete them.

As Dom’s web of lies grows, though, so does Ben’s obsessive need to conquer Beethoven’s famous Kreutzer Sonata. But Ben’s genius, which captivates Dominique, conceals a secret, and the challenges of her life may make it difficult to help him.

Author Lindsay Champion’s deep roots in theater and music are evident on every page — structured like a sonata with hints of West Side Story, her debut novel hits all the right notes.

Jessica’s Review:

Someday, Somewhere is Lindsay Champion’s debut novel, and it is quite the debut! She takes what she knows of music in life and brings it to us on the page.  I was in band in high school, so I was looking forward to the musical aspect of the novel to ‘bring me back’ to that time.  And let me say this about the cover: It is beautiful!

We have two alternating points of view in Someday, Somewhere  and going between both Dom and Ben keeps you wanting to read the next chapter to see what happens next. You can’t help but like all the characters, but my favorite was Cass. I know the story is Dom and Ben’s but Cass stole the show for me. I wanted more of Cass and need a Cass in my life!

Yes, they are both teens and they make the mistakes that teens will most likely make.  You can’t help but root for Dom and Ben and want them to be happy though things are against them.  I pictured Ben as David Garrett, even though Ben’s hair is dark. It is the talent that both Ben and David have that made me compare the two.

Someday, Somewhere is more than a sweet YA romance; it deals with some serious issues including race, poverty, lies, and abandonment. Don’t think you are going into this novel with a sweet, pleasant outcome: It deals with real issues with a real ending. I applaud Champion for ‘going against the grain’ of having a happy ending. As long as you keep this in mind you should enjoy Someday, Somewhere. These are lifelike characters that make ‘real people’ mistakes.

Someday, Somewhere is recommended. Thank you to KCP Loft for sending me a copy to read and review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Sun is also a Star

Author: Nicola Yoon
Published: November 1, 2016

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 12-23, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Jessica’s Review:

This novel was perfect for me; in fact it is my first 5 star read of the year.  I listened to the audiobook version. There are two narrators, Natasha and Daniel.  We experience the story through each of them via alternating chapters. The novel takes place in one 24 hour period: The day that Natasha and her family are to be deported. Life goes in a direction she does not expect and that direction is Daniel.

This is a pleasant YA novel.  We know from the beginning of the novel what the end of this day will bring.  We see how Natasha tries to fight to keep that from happening. We see how Daniel is basically ‘the perfect son’ who seems to be fated to go to Yale and become a doctor because his Korean parents expect it.

Sun was refreshing for me. Unlike most YA reads, the girl is the skeptic of love and the boy is the romantic.  Natasha is math and science oriented, she does not believe in love. Daniel is the poet and falls easily for Natasha. I really liked Natasha and how different both of them were.

There are minor characters that Natasha and Daniel meet throughout the novel who are just as important as our main characters. I liked how we saw little snippets of their lives and how connected we can be to each other without realizing it, and how doing one minor thing can affect someone’s life forever. You never know what someone else is going through.

The ending was perfect for me.  It is not a happy ending nor a sad ending: it shows how life can be. Things happen and life goes on.

What drew me to Sun was both the author and narrator.  I enjoyed Yoon’s other novel Everything, Everything and I love the narrator Bahni Turpni (whom also narrated Everything Everything). This is the third novel I have listened to that she has narrated. She is becoming a favorite narrator of mine.  There is just something about her voice that I like.

The Sun is also a Star is 100% recommended.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Words in Deep Blue

Author: Cath Crowley
290 Pages
Published: June 6, 2017

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars

Description from Amazon:

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came. Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

Kim’s Review:

Well that certainly was a doozy of an emotional roller coaster! I don’t think I’ve cried like that during a book since Wonder! And it started from the very first page. Rachel exudes a hopelessness that I have never experienced in my life. Her brother died very suddenly in the place that they both felt confident and comfortable, the ocean. So now that she both hates and loves her home by the sea, she decides to move back to her hometown to live with her aunt to hopefully get through her grief. Even aside from Cal’s death, the boy that she confessed her love for through a letter, completely ignored her and stayed with someone else. I was sad while reading all this! It actually put me in a weepy mood!

Henry, unfortunately started out as an annoying teenager who thinks he actually knows what love is and that his whole world has ended because his high school girlfriend dumped him yet again. That is the only reason I gave this book 4 stars. His insistence that Amy is absolutely his soulmate while she claims that she loves him, but also loves someone else, got really irritating really fast!

What I loved about this book was the appreciation of secondhand books and bookstores! Being able to find the lives and memories of others in the pages of used books is such a beautiful thought and Crowley captures it perfectly! Watching Rachel work through her grief in the midst of the memories from so many people brought tears to my eyes. George, Henry’s sister, is the one who tore my heart out of my chest and stomped on it! I can’t give much more detail without giving away the ending of the story, but I had tears coursing down my cheeks because of the regret and love that George has to live with. I wish I could put into words all the things that I felt while reading this book! Overall, this was a quick read, but an emotional one. There is some language and some adult themes, but definitely ok for older teens. I would recommend this to book to anyone who has lost someone, or wants a beautiful story of love, or just wants an interesting read.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK