Friday, June 28, 2013

Jennifer E. Smith's "This is What Happy Looks Like"

I read Ms. Smith's first book, "The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight" because the cover was adorable. Of course. This worked out well for me because I really enjoyed the book. When I saw that "This is What Happy Looks Like" was coming out, I immediately knew I had to read it and I hoped it would be as enjoyable as "TSPOLAFS" (haha, that's not exactly abbreviated...).

It was better.

This book. I really love it. I love the characters, I love the setting (woo, Maine!), I love the story. There is nothing about this book I don't love. I marked the pages I like with post it notes, and there are so many that I think I'm going to have to buy my own copy. 

From Goodreads:

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. 

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs? 

Pet pig? Teenage movie star? Small town girl? Yes please! I usually don't go into detailed reviews because I don't know what to say without spoiling anything.The female lead, Ellie, is kind and so likable. Graham is a pretty perfect selfless boy. This time I don't know what to say because I can't adequately convey how much I love this book. So instead, some quotes.

“Childhood memories were like airplane luggage; no matter how far you were traveling or how long you needed them to last, you were only ever allowed two bags. And while those bags might hold a few hazy recollections—a diner with a jukebox at the table, being pushed on a swing set, the way it felt to be picked up and spun around—it didn’t seem enough to last a whole lifetime.” 

“It was exactly as he’d thought it would be, like the first time and the millionth time all at once, like being wide awake, like losing his balance. Only this time, it wasn’t just him; this time, they were losing their balance together.” 

“Maybe growing up was really nothing more than growing away: from your old life, from your old self, from all those things that kept you tethered to your past.”

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Library Pick Up!

I'm almost done with Jennifer E. Smith's "This is What Happy Looks Like" and I love it so much. 

I picked up a few new books at the library today - hurray!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sarah Dessen's "The Moon and More"

About two years ago, I discovered Sarah Dessen and proceeded to read all of her books. They're all good fun YA reading with some important-to-teen-issues mixed in. My three favorites were "Along for the Ride" (divorced parents and adapting to a stepparent), "Someone Like You" (the loss of a loved one and teen pregnancy), and "Lock and Key" (learning to trust). When I heard that she was working on a brand new book, I was so excited! 

From Goodreads:

Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

Sarah Dessen's devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer.

I read a few less than favorable reviews, so I was a little worried that I would be let down after waiting so long, but I wasn't. While I felt that sometimes this book was just a bunch of deep thoughts strung together, Sarah really does a great job of looking at the world around us and encapsulating the feelings/memories of our teenage years.

Just a few of the many quotes and ideas I marked in the book: 

"In Colby I found that people either wanted to stay forever (and usually did) or couldn't wait to get gone and never look back (ditto)." I like this one because that's definitely how my hometown was - you either wanted to stay and stayed, or you wanted more, and got out and went for it.

"It was one of those hot summer nights, with a breeze that didn't even come close to cooling you off, even when it hit you right in the face." This one proves, all by itself, that Sarah is from NC. On Pinterest, my New England friends are always pinning these summer outfits that come with a hoodie or whatever for night time, but in NC, night time doesn't mean a nice cool down, it just means it's dark AND hot. 

"What was it about suspecting someone was deliberately not answering that made you that much more desperate to reach them?" So true! 

I bought a special edition of the book that came with a signed book, a signed bookplate (which I put in the front of the book - overkill? I should have put it in one of my unsigned Sarah books:), this cute Colby sticker (I'm trying to decide if I should put it on my car), and a cute key necklace, which doesn't go with The Moon and More, but is perfect since I enjoyed her book "Lock and Key." 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Katie McGarry's "Pushing the Limits"

Because sometimes I accidentally read out of order, I read and reviewed Katie McGarry's book "Dare You To" (#2 in the series) before I read "Pushing the Limits" (#1). Whoops. 

I started reading "Pushing the Limits" yesterday and finished it today - the last few books I've read have been, thankfully, easy, entertaining reads (this streak was broken today with a book I knew wasn't for me within 20 pages). 

From Goodreads:

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.
Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

So this book features Noah and Echo, and #2 features Beth (Noah's female friend who is like a sister to him) and Ryan. #1.5 features Echo's best friend, Lila. #3 features Beth's best friend, Isaiah. I love series like this with connected characters because you get to see more of their world, and how they interact with each other. Argh! Why do I have to wait until November 26th to read Isaiah's story? I don't know. 

Katie seems to have this story down - "bad" kid meets "good kid," one of the protagonists lives with their father, has a deeply flawed mother, the 2 protagonists are all wrong for each other but want each other - but she does it well and I will read all the books! (I'm anxiously awaiting #3, "Crash Into You," and I'll be buying #1.5, "Crossing the Line" any day now.) Also, this is one of 2 ARCs I've read so far where I want to buy the book, even though I have a digital copy (the other one is Sarah McCarry's "All Our Pretty Songs," and it's a weird coincidence that McGarry and McCarry are practically the same name and I want to buy both their books!).

In parting, here is my favorite quote from the book.

"There's nothing you can do wrong when just breathing makes everything right."

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Today's book decision

I will soon have reviews of Sarah Dessen's "The Moon and More" and Rachel Hawkins' "School Spirits." But now to choose one of these. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Brigid Kemmerer's "Elemental," "Storm," "Fearless," and "Breathless"

My fondness for Brigid Kemmerer and her books started when I requested and received an ARC of "Breathless" from NetGalley. It was one of the first ARCs I requested, and in my overeagerness, I neglected to realize that it was a novella, and #2.5 in a series! 

Luckily for me, "Breathless" made for a good standalone read. It would definitely mean more within the context of the series, but I could tell that I wanted to read the series simply placed on this novella. This novella focuses on Nick Merrick, twin of Gabriel Merrick, little brother to Michael, big brother to Chris. 

From Goodreads:

Nick Merrick is supposed to be the level-headed one. The peacemaker. Since it’s just him and his three hotheaded brothers against the world, that’s a survival tactic.
But now he’s got problems even his brothers can’t help him survive.
His so-called girlfriend, Quinn, is going quick as mercury from daring to crazy. Meanwhile, Quinn’s dancer friend Adam is throwing Nick off balance, forcing him to recognize a truth he’d rather shove back into the dark.
He can feel it—-the atmosphere is sizzling. Danger is on the way. But whatever happens next, Nick is starting to find out that sometimes nothing you do can keep the peace.

Next, I read "Storm," #1 in the series. Storm focuses on youngest Merrick brother, Chris, and on Becca, who saves him from being beat up at the beginning of the book.

From Goodreads

Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys; all the ones she doesn't want. Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They're powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.
And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.
Secrets are hard to keep when your life's at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who's hiding the most dangerous truth of all.
The storm is coming.

Yeah, so, loved it. There was a rough scene towards the end, but overall the book was really enjoyable and I was on the edge of my seat for almost the whole book. MUST HAVE MORE. I really enjoyed that the brothers, while frequently fighting amongst themselves, had a real sense of camaraderie that reminded me of the days I spent hanging out with my best friend's families (one had 5 brothers and sisters, the other had four) - so for me it's definitely a homey feeling. Also, I had a bunch of boy friends, so it reminded me of that as well.

Then I really wanted to read #2, Spark, and #3, Spirit immediately. But I am trying not to buy all the books I want, so I restrained myself a bit and bought #0.5, Elemental, and #1.5, Fearless.

From Goodreads:

As an air Elemental, 17-year-old Emily Morgan doesn’t have much power. That’s okay—she knows what happens to kids who do.
Like Michael Merrick. He’s an earth Elemental, one with enough power to level cities. Which makes him sexy. Dangerous. And completely off limits. At least according to Emily’s family.
But her summer job puts her in close contact with Michael, and neither of them can help the attraction they feel. When forces of nature like theirs collide, one misstep could get someone killed. Because Emily’s family doesn’t just want her to stay away from him.
They want him dead.

I enjoyed reading this - it was nice to get a bit of Michael's backstory - it helped to humanize him a bit, and make him more relatable - always a good thing. This was a really quick read for me - maybe 30 minutes? 

And then I read Fearless.

From Goodreads:

Being a force of nature doesn t keep you safe.Hunter Garrity is used to watching his back. The kids at school sense something different about him. And they re right.
Hunter has powers that have nothing to do with how hard he can throw a punch.
Maybe that s what Clare Kasten is picking up. She s shy, quiet, and intense, but she s sought him out. There s no telling what she wants from him.
But Hunter knows enough to sense a secret when it s close. And getting close to Clare is a danger he's ready to face.

It was nice to read this one, but I don't think it was as important to the series as "Breathless," and even "Elemental." This one also took me about 30 minutes.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Kelsey Sutton's "Some Quiet Place"

I received an ARC of Kelsey Sutton's book, "Some Quiet Place," from NetGalley. I was, of course, intrigued by the cover, and so I requested it, and then promptly forgot that I had it for about a month. Once I finally started, I was hooked.

From Goodreads:

Elizabeth Caldwell doesn’t feel emotions . . . she sees them. Longing, Shame, and Courage materialize around her classmates. Fury and Resentment appear in her dysfunctional home. They’ve all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn’t succumb to their touch. All, that is, save one—Fear. He’s intrigued by her, as desperate to understand the accident that changed Elizabeth’s life as she is herself.
Elizabeth and Fear both sense that the key to her past is hidden in the dream paintings she hides in the family barn. But a shadowy menace has begun to stalk her, and try as she might, Elizabeth can barely avoid the brutality of her life long enough to uncover the truth about herself. When it matters most, will she be able to rely on Fear to save her?

I didn't really know where this book was or where it was going in the beginning (it's in the present - I was briefly thinking it must be in the past) and it took me until 30% in to get an idea of what I thought was going on (I was kind of right).  I will say this, because I wasn't really sure for awhile - Tim is Elizabeth's (horrible) dad. This book has some pretty violent spots that I would have skimmed through if I wasn't so confused about what was going on (mostly confused in a good way). 

"Everyone has a purpose. There are those who are unfortunate enough not to know what that purpose is, and there are those that are bound by it, thrive in it, know nothing else.

All in all, a pretty good read, and original! Sometimes you just can't stand reading the same story all over again.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Jennifer Armentrout/J. Lynn's FRIGID Pre-Order Promo & Chapter Reveal

When Jennifer Armentrout said she was looking for blogs for a pre-order promotion and chapter reveal for her upcoming book, Frigid, I replied literally in mere seconds. In the past 6 months or so I have become a huge fan of her work, and I've been telling all my YA (and now NA) friends about her. Pleading, really, for them to read her stuff. I need friends to talk about her stuff with! Reading a book you love that no one else has read can be hard.

So, here you go - the information given to me from (one of, and the first) her awesome publisher, Spencer Hill Press

Today is an exciting day - we have FOUR HUGE SURPRISES for you! Jennifer L. Armentrout's (writing as J. Lynn) FRIGID is set to release in e-book form at the end of July. If you're anything like us, you're probably on pins and needles and just cannot wait to get your hands on a copy of this book.
FRIGID has already been given the honor of being named a Romantic Times Top Pick and we're super excited for you to be able to read it as well!
Well, there's good news! Are you ready for those four awesome surprises? Here we go!
1. Due to all the excitement surrounding FRIGID, we have decided to run a special e-book pre-order promotion. We have worked out a deal with the distributor to release FRIGID a full two weeks early -- on JULY 15th!!! -- if we meet our e-book pre-order goal. EEEEP! That's right, if you are like the rest of us and want to be able to read FRIGID in its entirety before its original release date, all you have to do is PRE-ORDER THE E-BOOK NOW! What are you waiting for? GO! Pre-order it!

Pre-Order Links: Barnes & Noble / Amazon

2. Need something to hold you over until FRIGID releases? Well, starting right now, you can read the first three chapters of FRIGID for free! Just read below!

3. Can’t get enough of the hot FRIGID cover? Want to see some behind the scenes photos that are sure to make you swoon? You’re in luck! Below you can watch a slideshow of all the behind the scenes photos from the photo shoot! Go on and watch it. We’ll wait, because there is still one more great surprise!

4. And last but not least, if you live near Philadelphia, PA, you're in for a very special treat -- Jennifer will be in Philly in November signing not only FRIGID but also the last book in her immensely popular COVENANT series, SENTINEL! But that's not all, Adam, the super hot cover model from FRIGID will be there as well! So, yes, you'll get to meet Jennifer and Adam! Plus, there will be other great prizes that you seriously won't want to miss out on (dinner with the author and model, perhaps?)! Stay tuned for more details to come!

We hope you're as excited as we are! So now....Go pre-order FRIGID! Go read those chapters! Go watch that slideshow! And Enjoy!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Claire LaZebnik's "Epic Fail"

Sometimes the best thing to read after feeling book uninspired is something fluffy that you're pretty sure you'll like. When I decided on Claire LaZebnik's "Epic Fail," I chose wisely. 

(I wanted to insert that Indiana Jones "He chose . . . wisely" commercial here, but all the youtube versions are bad or way too long. Alas.)

I read an excerpt of this book when it was free to read online last week. The excerpt hooked me, but I don't read books online - I'm too old for that I guess - so I requested it from the library instead. 

This story is about Elise Benton, her crazy family, and her adapting to her new high school with it's hollywood stars and it's kooky new principal, aka, her mother. Elise's sister, Juliana hits it off with Chase Baldwin, the best friend of Derek Edwards, who is the son of two hollywood stars.

From Goodreads:

At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Case in point:

- As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school--not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects.
- As the daughter of the new principal, Elise Benton isn't exactly on everyone's must-sit-next-to-at-lunch list.

When Elise's beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince's best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl on campus. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long.

A cute quick read. Sometimes it's exactly what you need. 


"No one's family is norma. Normalcy is a lie invented by advertising agencies to make the rest of us feel inferior."

"You really thing it's so great to be dry? It takes talent to get wet on a sunny day, you know. I'm a maverick. I stand alone, wet and brave! You guys are just sheep."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

When Books Don't Thrill You - Is it them, or is it you?

Yesterday I started this book and made it 56 pages before I decided to stop. It was entertaining enough, but I could tell it wasn't very good, and then I realized it's book 1 in a 5 book series. There are so many books to read that I just can't invest that kind of time in something I don't love. 

I also had lackluster feelings about book 2 in what is so far a 2 book series. I liked the first book a lot, but either too much time has passed and I need to reread the first book, or this book just isn't as good as the first one. Really sad. That book was:

The first book, "Hold Me Closer, Necromancer" was pretty great. Original and funny, and we know how hard it is to find a supernatural book that's even anything approaching supernatural. I just checked on Goodreads, and "Necromancing the Stone" has a slightly better rating, so while I'm putting this book aside for now, I will reread the first book and then try the 2nd one again. 

Now I'm off . . . for the library, of course.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Kody Keplinger's "The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend"

I recently mailed my friend Becca, the Book and Cat Librarian, an ARC of Aprilynne Pike's "Life After Theft." I'd won a giveaway from Epic Reads' website, and so of course the very next Tea Time I won a second ARC of "Life After Theft!" I saw it coming though, so the irony didn't hurt too bad :)

Because she is ridiculously generous and kind, she bought me the ebook of "The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend" which I had recently put on my TBR list. How nice is that? 

From Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face. 
But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
When I started the book, I wasn't so sure about it for the first chapter or two, but then it got a little better, and then it got a lot better. It also needs at least a PG-13 rating, but of course that's partly why I liked it. 
I definitely identified with the DUFF thing - in high school I sometimes felt that way, but in college I remember a specific event. I worked with these two girls - one was (I thought then) very pretty and the other one was gorgeous and played indoor soccer and had these amazing legs. I remember one night I went to a bar in Hartford, CT with them, and I remember jello shots and getting stuck with the least attractive friend of the guys they were dancing with. The DUFF with a DUFF! 
I definitely identified with Bianca on several levels, including having migraines, being ignored by boys, and more! 

A quote reflecting some of Bianca's helpful deep thoughts.

"But why should I do anything just to fix what he or anyone else thought about me? I shouldn't have to."

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Kate McGarry's "Dare You To"

I received a digital ARC of Kate McGarry's "Dare You To" (DYT) from NetGalley. I am a dork, and didn't realize it was a sequel when I requested it. Luckily for me, these books can be read as stand alones.

Two quotes, listing them early so they can tease you.

"What used to be my best, strongest relationship has become a leaf withering and dying on a decaying vine."

"You're a lot like that bird in the barn. You're so scared you're going to be caged in forever you can't see the way out. You smack yourself against the wall again and again and again. The door is open, _______ (deleting for spoiler-y purposes?). Stop running in circles and walk out."

I admit that after I read the description of this book and it's predecessor, "Pushing the Limits," (PTL) I was pretty sure I'd enjoy DYT, but I wasn't sure it would actually be good. I was wrong! This is a pretty great book - the characters have tons of depth and it's a kissy book, so wins all around.

From Goodreads:

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."
"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....
"I dare you..."
If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....
Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.
But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....

There were things about the characters I identified with and there were things I wish I could have identified with. I really have to go read PTL and "Crossing the Line" (CTL) while I wait for "Crash Into You" (CIY).

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Kiersten White's "Mind Games" & "Paranormalcy"

I admit to having tweeted Kiersten White on twitter a few times before I even read her books. When I tweet an author and they're nice enough to reply and I haven't gotten around to reading their books yet I feel really guilty, even if the books are sitting on my TBR (to be read) list. Thankfully, my library actually has some of Kiersten's books and I got "Paranormalcy" and "Mind Games" within a few days of requesting them.

I read "Paranormalcy" first and instantly liked it. I'm calling it "fluffy supernatural" because the main character, Evie, fights supernatural creatures and loves wearing pink and watching teen TV shows.

From Goodreads:

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.
But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal.

So Evie has been adopted by the IPCA (International Paranormal Containment Agency) and has the ability to see through the glamours (false facades) of supernatural creatures so she can see what they really look like (for example, vampires look like walking corpses). Her best friend is a mermaid, she's being stalked by a seemingly crazy faerie, and she develops a crush on what seems to be a shape shifter who tries to break into the IPCA. Things go awry. Of course. It was a fun and easy read, and I'm definitely going to finish the trilogy. (No quotes - I didn't take notes on it for some reason!)

Next I read Mind Games, and I was briefly confused at the beginning and then I realized I loved it. It's original and complex enough to be interesting (but not so complex I had to reread any parts)

From Goodreads:

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future. 
Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways…or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.
In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.

I just don't even know what to say about it without ruining it. It's very cool. I thought one thing and then I thought another thing, and it was awesome. Pretty sad I have to wait for sequels.

An unspoiler-y quote that I like (the other ones were spoiler-y).

"Pretending is another way of lying, and I am so good at both."

Friday, June 7, 2013

Awesome Stickers from MoJo

I got these awesome stickers from Maureen Johnson when I met her at Quail Ridge Books and she signed my copy of "Girl at Sea." She was actually there for The Madness Underneath, and it's a darn shame I didn't know then that it was an excellent book and I should have bought it and had her sign that as well.

Gavin Extence's "The Universe Versus Alex Woods"

I received a digital ARC of this book, The Universe Versus Alex Woods, from NetGalley. I chose it because of the title and, of course, the cover - two of my favorite colors are blue and green - the sky and plants. 

From Goodreads:

A rare meteorite struck Alex Woods when he was ten years old, leaving scars and marking him for an extraordinary future. The son of a fortune teller, bookish, and an easy target for bullies, Alex hasn't had the easiest childhood. But when he meets curmudgeonly widower Mr. Peterson, he finds an unlikely friend. Someone who teaches him that that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make it count. So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the front seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he's fairly sure he's done the right thing ...Introducing a bright young voice destined to charm the world, The Universe Versus Alex Woods is a celebration of curious incidents, astronomy and astrology, the works of Kurt Vonnegut and the unexpected connections that form our world. 

Within the first few pages I knew I'd managed to unknowingly request a fabulously written book. Gavin Extence has an amazing way with words, and it was really hard for me to only pick a few quotes from the book. Also, there are some awesomely different British spellings that I've never seen before, like "manoeuvre" instead of "maneuver." 

Alexander Morgan Woods, Alex, is hit in the head with a meteorite when he was  10 years old. Because of this, Alex developed epilepsy, and was subjected to a lot of seizures. Because of this, he spent a lot of time at home (reading science books, mostly).

"My world had become very small, and it stayed like that for a long, long time."

For several reasons, Alex was bullied. There's a great section of the book on the differences that people are bullied for. 

Eventually he meets Isaac Peterson, the cranky war veteran from America (I admit that I thought about Dawson meeting the cranky old Hollywood director). Through Mr. Peterson, Alex discovers Kurt Vonnegut's works (I've never read Vonnegut, I know, I'm sorry).

"When I read these books I no longer felt like I was confined to a very tiny world."

The book follows Alex and Mr. Peterson as they get to know each other, and as they grow and mature (it starts when Alex is 10 and ends when he is 18). There is a lot of science in this book so know that when you decide whether or not to read this book. It manages to stay fairly interesting, even in the very science-y parts. It's not very kissy at all. While this is very different than what I usually read, I probably needed a little break from all the supernatural/contemporary/sci-fi teen drama :D 

Two more excellent quotes:

"Fear distorts the world. Fear sees demons where only shadows dwell."

"In the long history of common affairs, common sense doesn't have the greatest track record."