Second Chance Sunday – Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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Title:
Thirteen Reasons Why [Amazon]
Author: Jay Asher [website]
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Purchased/Paperback
Stars: 5 out of 5

Publisher’s Description:
You can’t stop the future. You can’t rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret. . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen doesn’t want anything to do with the tapes Hannah Baker made. Hannah is dead. Her secrets should be buried with her.

Then Hannah’s voice tells Clay that his name is on her tapes– and that he is, in some way, responsible for her death.

All through the night, Clay keeps listening. He follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his small town. . .

. . .and what he discovers changes his life forever.

My Thoughts:
What an amazingly beautiful, powerful novel that will completely break your heart into tiny pieces and gives you only the smallest band-aid to put it back together.

Jay Asher’s debut novel is so perfectly done it made me want more. The story was beautiful written and in a way that left the most powerful of effects. The juxtaposition of the feelings and thoughts that both Hannah and Clay were having to the situations Hannah was describing gave me the chills. Asher really got deeply into the character of Hannah. Her pain was apparent and through that pain you could feel Clay’s longing for things to get better knowing full well that it wouldn’t. What got me the most about this story was the fact that every single person that was included in Hannah’s “Baker’s Dozen” never even knew that they affected her the way that they did. They never knew that their actions would have a reaction and that just broke my heart. Each story was a little piece of what made Hannah Hannah and in the end what was her demise.

Clay’s story with Hannah was probably the one that broke my heart the most because it was filled with some many “if onlys…” that would never be answered. There were some many chances to make things different and yet everything stayed the same.

Definitely a deep read, but one I would do again in a heart beat. Mr. Asher, you have a fan in me!

Other books by the author:
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Second Chance Sunday – Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Second Chance Sunday – Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan MatsonAmy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon and Schuster
Published: May 4th 2010
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four-stars

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her dad recently died in a car accident, and her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut—just in time for Amy’s senior year. To escape from it all, Amy embarks on a road trip, driving cross-country from the home she’s always known toward her new life. Joining her is Roger, the son of Amy’s mother’s old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, but her feelings for Roger develop as the miles roll by…. Told in traditional narrative as well as through a unique visual format that incorporates scraps from the road, this is the story of one teen’s journey to find herself.

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Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour wasn’t what I expected at all. Going into it I assumed it was going to be a funny, cutesy light story about road trip high jinx. Instead I found a funny, at times, cutesy, story with a lot of depth and heart.

The passing of Amy’s father really did a number on her. She was isolated and alone and had turned herself off from the world. She felt a lot of guilt over the accident that took her father from her and she had a lot of fears from that as well. When Roger was first in the picture she was so unsure of herself and life that she was awkward and uncomfortable around him. But as time passed and they hit the open road getting to know more about each other and themselves in the process they both grew and so did their relationship. They drove across the country together not really knowing what they were looking for, but finding what they needed.

Matson took us on a journey across America and to unexpected places. The description of Graceland alone transported me back to my trip there. Really loved this book and can’t wait for more from this author.

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Second Chance Sunday – The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Second Chance Sunday – The Darkest Minds by Alexandra BrackenThe Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Series: The Darkest Minds #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion
Published: October 22nd 2013
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five-stars

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." She might have survived the mysterious disease that's killed most of America's children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she's on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her-East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

Wow, wow, wow! That book was amazing in almost every meaning of the word. When I first started it I thought it was going to get boring and annoying real fast, and I have never been so happy to be wrong. The Darkest Mind was a well thought out story and I loved every minute of it.

The Darkest Minds is a story about Ruby, a girl that has been forced into what is essentially a concentration camp at a very young age because of a power she possesses; she can read minds and even remove memories. In camp, she has to hide who she is and what she can do for fear of her own safety and the safety of the people around her. This has been the way of things for 6 years and then one day it isn’t. One day she is out of Thurmond and a whole new set of problems arise. Meeting Liam, Chubs, and Zu, Ruby’s life and Ruby herself change completely. As the four of them make it to East River they learn a lot about life, but they aren’t expecting what they get when they finally reach the end of their journey. East River isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and now Ruby will have to make some of the hardest choices of her life and decide whether to embrace the power she has feared since she was 10.

The story is told entirely from Ruby’s POV and that may have been the best choice Bracken made because Ruby was awesome! She was stronger then she thought and was constantly putting others before herself making her all the more endearing. She was still a child in so many ways but what she had been through made her more adult like. It was a tough balance and it was done perfectly in my opinion. And the addition of Chubs who was one of the most loyal people you will ever meet, Zu the sweetest little girl in maybe the whole world, and Liam the crush-worthy swoon worthy alpha male, I was totally enamored. Liam and Ruby’s friendship alone was enough to make my heart flutter, not to mention other things in their relationship. Did I mention my massive Liam crush?!

Really what made the whole book was the way these characters fed off each other and now connected they were. It made everything else in the book, no matter how crazy it sounded, seem normal and that is what made this such a strong story. Through the ups and downs, the action and the quiet times, you could see how these 4 people became a family and it made you root for them even more. The end will shatter your heart even if you see it coming, which I did. But it will also make you want more because you’ll want people to pay that haven’t. Mark my words on that! A definite must read!!

*Don’t forget to check out my Holiday Book Swap Sign-Up.

 

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Second Chance Sunday – Thumped by Megan McCafferty

Second Chance Sunday – Thumped by Megan McCaffertyThumped by Megan McCafferty
Series: Bumped #2
Published by Balzer + Bray
Published: April 23, 2013
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four-stars

Megan McCafferty’s Bumped series of books are must-read teen dystopian fiction, along with Ally Condie’s Matched series and Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy. Thumped, the sequel to Bumped, manages to be satiric, scary, and romantic at the same time. It continues the story of separated-at-birth twins, Melody and Harmony, girls as engaging as McCafferty’s Jessica Darling. These sisters are the most popular teen girls on the planet. To their fans, they seem to be living ideal lives. Harmony is married to Ram and living in Goodside, the religious community that once meant everything to her. Melody has the genetically flawless Jondoe as her coupling partner, which means money and status—and a bright future. But both girls are hiding secrets. And they are each pining for the only guys they can’t have…. The biggest risk of all could be to finally tell the truth.

I was nervous reading this one. Bumped was such a great story that I was worried that Thumped wouldn’t live up to its awesomeness. Not to mention the fact that the description confused me. But I must say that McCafferty not only did an amazing follow up to Bumped, but she also left me wanting more of these characters.

Thumped picks up about 8 months after Bumped left off. Harmony is back with her church community and her husband Ram pregnant with Jondoe’s twins. She thought it would be best to go back but things are complicated and not getting any better. Melody, on the other hand, is still in Otherside the princess of a media frenzy that is now surrounding the twins of The Hotties as they have been branded. She and Jondoe are pretending to be an item to keep up appearances and another big secret…the world also thinks Melody is pregnant with twins. When Harm comes back to Otherside the twins’ whole world gets shaken up and not only are truths finally revealed but both girls seem to finally figure out who they are and what they want out of life.

Honestly, I really enjoyed this story. Sometimes when reading a sequel you can actually feel like you are reading two different books. There is no flow in some so it almost seems like you aren’t reading a continuation but an entirely different story. That wasn’t the case here. I almost felt like this was just an extension of the first book. The characters were all the same, minus some flaws I found with Zen this time around, and the situations and circumstances were the same. It was like coming home and just following on with their journey. I liked seeing where Melody and Zen’s relationship was and how Jondoe was missing Harmony terribly. There were also some twists in this story that I didn’t expect and some I saw coming from the first page.

Really what I liked the most was the message at the end. Melody explained perfectly what was being taken away from this teenage girls by parents, media and peer pressure. By these kids being forced to bump they weren’t really getting to make any choices on their own and it just wasn’t right.  McCafferty did an excellent job of pointing out exactly what the problem was in Harmony and Melody’s world and it was done with tact and great execution. I know there is likely no third book in the works, but for the record, I wouldn’t be opposed if she changed her mind. Really a great series.

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Second Chance Sunday – Saving June by Hannah Harrington

savingTitle: Saving June [Amazon]
Author: Hannah Harrington [website]
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Purchased/Paperback
Stars: 5 out of 5

Publisher’s Description:
‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going, California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down again.

My Thoughts:
When I first got Saving June I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew I wanted to read it because I had added it to my to read list a while ago, but I couldn’t remember what it was about. I remembered seeing the cover with the rainbow and thinking it was going to be overly religious so I was a little uncertain. I had read a couple of religious themed books that were great, but I know I won’t always be so lucky. So imagine my surprise when I started it and was shocked by what I found. This wasn’t a book about finding religion or believing in a higher power. It was a book about finding yourself and believing you are worth it.

Harrington’s book is about 16 year old Harper and her quest to save her older sister June who killed herself right before her high school graduation. Having left no note Harper is left feeling lost and angry and unsure. She has no idea why her sister, who was seemingly perfect, would do this to herself and their family. She is devastated and alone with only her best friend Laney by her side. With an idea in her head Harper enlists Laney to help her bring June’s ashes to the one place she thinks her sister will find peace. She wants to bring her to her dream, to California. Unsure how to get there they are offered an answer by the mysterious Jake that knows June somehow but it isn’t clear how. Taking a chance the three head off together on what becomes a journey of a life time and something they will never forget. They embark on a journey that involves fights and laughter and tears and love and music.

Music is one of the biggest themes in this story. Jake believes that music is the answer to everything and he imparts that knowledge on his two travel companions showing them how lyrics and melodies are as essential to air and breathing. He shows them how simple words in a song can show your feelings without having to say a word and how music can help you heal when you need it the most.

Honestly I don’t even know what to say about Jake and Harper’s relationship. It was truly remarkable. It built at such a great pace with just enough push and pull to have you craving more. They were exactly what the other needed in their time of grief, a way to put themselves back together again, a way to love again and not fear living.

Truly Saving June is one of the most profound road trip books I have read. The lose and love will just tear you apart but leave you feel hope through your tears. Excellent read.

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