Out Behind the Barn
Published: September 27, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
The boys crept to the window and watched as Miss Maggie carried the long bundle into the barn, the weight of it stooping her aging back. Rafter lights spilled from the barn doors and Davey saw an arm fall from the canvas-wrapped parcel. He smiled.
“She got someone!”
Both children grinned and settled in their beds, eyes fixed to the ceiling.
This was family growth.
Chad Lutzke is easily becoming a favorite indie horror author! This book sounded interesting, so I got it and read it. It falls into the criminal psychology category with a little paranormal stuck in. I really liked it all the way until the end. The end felt too abrupt to me. I wanted more info on Miss Maggie and her background. I also wanted to see Maggie’s reaction . . . which I can’t talk more about because I don’t want to spoil. The boys are innocent and seeing everything through their eyes gives extra emotion to the story. Not knowing what’s going on makes it all the more interesting. Overall, another good one from Chad! I can’t wait to read more of his stuff!
Author: Becky Albertalli
Published: April 7, 2015
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 26- December 30, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
I absolutely adored this novel! I think it helps that I live in Georgia, the author lives in Georgia, and the novel also takes place in Georgia.
I adored Simon from the beginning. Somehow Albertalli captured the voice of a teenage boy in his situation brilliantly! I always say there are not YA books out there from the male perspective, added to that from the gay perspective. You can really see how Simon feels about everything and are rooting for him. I also liked Simon’s close knit group of friends, though I least connected with Leah. I was surprised to find out the second book in the series focuses on her. Despite the lack of connection to Leah in Simon I will give the second book a shot as I would like to see what happens next in all of their lives.
Being this novel is YA, surprisingly for me the teen drama is not ‘full in your face’ like I expected it to be. Yes there is teen drama, but it is all part of the story with the sequence of events. Various social media and the constant need for their phone is all over this novel as it is a normal part of teens lives now.
I would say this would be for older teens as there is foul language used in the novel, which includes the F word. There are also mentions to masturbation and there is underage drinking. But it all feels like a real situation.
There is also a bit of a mystery as to who Blue is. And once we finally find out the answer the story keeps going.
Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda is highly recommended. This was my final audiobook I listened to in 2018 and was glad I ended the year with it.
Movie Perspective of Love, Simon:
I watched the movie Love, Simon before listening to the audiobook and also really enjoyed it! I adored Simon and his friends and also liked Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel as Simon’s parents. There are some changes in various parts of the film, which I actually enjoyed. There was one part of the novel I enjoyed that was not in the movie and wish it was. I surprised myself and started to feel sorry for Martin after the football game…until he did what he did.
Nick Robinson played Simon brilliantly, especially when it came down to a certain very emotional scene. This particular scene felt 100% real and I wanted to knock some sense into Martin myself! I would be very tempted to ground my kid for life if they ever did what Martin did to Simon.
I would say watch the movie first as the movie ends while the novel keeps going. It was a fine ending for the film but we get more in the novel.
Today I share my review on the blog tour for Till it Stops Beating by Hannah R. Goodman. This one was published on July 5th!
Seventeen-year-old Maddie Hickman’s senior year begins with the good (the reemergence of The One That Got Away), the bad (a cancer diagnosis, not hers, but it might as well be) and the WTF (an anxiety attack that renders her writhing on the floor like an upside down crab).
Adding to her spiraling anxiety is Senior Project, in the form of I’ve Decided To Write A Book about The Other One That Got Away (And Crushed My Heart). Compounding it all is applying to college and keeping up with her friends. The ever mounting stress eventually rips her tight grip on all that she holds dear.
Her break down leads to an unexpected road trip where she is forced to listen to her wildly beating heart. It is only in the back of a convertible with pop music blasting, that she discovers she must risk everything in order to really live.
Author: Hannah R. Goodman
Published: July 5th, 2018
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 28-October 6, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars
I did not realize this was book four in The Maddie Chronicles when I started it. The first three in the series are:
My Sister’s Wedding
My Summer Vacation
Fear of Falling
When I found out it was the fourth then things made sense: I felt I was ‘missing’ pieces of information during the first part of the novel. I would advise you to read the others in the series before reading Till it Stops Beating.
OK, now that that is over…..
Till it Stops Beating is a coming of age novel for Maddie. She is transitioning from childhood to adulthood and along the way faces some difficult issues, among them anxiety and cancer. Hannah also deals with heartbreak in relationships, family issues and of course: jelly doughnuts. The first few chapters had me craving doughnuts!
Goodman did a good job capturing a teen dealing with anxiety and an unknown future that makes up one’s senior year of high school, which really is a year of change and big decisions. Then in addition to all of that, she has to deal with a relative’s cancer diagnosis and that unknown can be heartbreaking
I enjoyed the second part immensely; I felt I really got to know Maddie through the road trip she took with friends.
You will laugh and might tear up reading this one. The ending is a pleasant one with hope for the future. And the title just gives you all the feelings once you have finished the novel!
About the Author:
Often referred to as “the teenage whisperer”, Hannah R. Goodman’s twenty-year career working with teenagers includes the titles teacher, tutor, coach, and, more recently, mental health counselor. Hannah has written essays about mental health for various online publications. Her work has appeared on MindBodyGreen, OC87 Recovery Diaries, Zencare.co, and The Mighty. Though she has previously earned the title author with her first three books, the last was released in 2009 and all were self-published. This time around, indie publisher Black Rose Writing released her novel Till It Stops Beating this summer.
Hannah’s first YA novel, My Sister’s Wedding, won the first place award for The Writer’s Digest International Self-Publishing Contest, 2004, children’s book division. She published the follow-up, My Summer Vacation, in May 2006, which went on to win a bronze IPPY in 2007. The third Maddie book, Fear of Falling, was released in the fall of 2009 and was praised by teachers and readers for tackling subjects like homophobia and coming out. She’s published young adult short stories on Amazon’s Shorts, in an anthology entitled Bound Is The Bewitching Lilith, and in the journal Balancing The Tides. She also has written columns for The Jewish Voice & Herald. Recent, previous projects include Sucker Literary, which features emerging YA authors and All The Way YA, a group blog of writers telling the real deal about writing and publishing YA fiction.
Hannah is a member of ARIA (Association of Rhode Island Authors) as well as a graduate of Pine Manor College’s Solstice Program in Creative Writing where she earned an MFA in Writing For Young People. She resides in Bristol, RI with her husband, two daughters, and black and white cat named Zoe.