Two Book Tuesday!

Two of my most anticipated reads!

36408450Title: I Wanna Be Where You Are
Author: Kristina Forest
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: June 4th
Ratings: ♥♥♥♥

Goodreads Summary:

“In a world where it’s easy to lose faith in love, I WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE is a brilliant burst of light. A dazzling debut.” ― Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out

When Chloe Pierce’s mom forbids her to apply for a spot at the dance conservatory of her dreams, she devises a secret plan to drive two hundred miles to the nearest audition. But Chloe hits her first speed bump when her annoying neighbor Eli insists upon hitching a ride, threatening to tell Chloe’s mom if she leaves him and his smelly dog, Geezer, behind. So now Chloe’s chasing her ballet dreams down the east coast―two unwanted (but kinda cute) passengers in her car, butterflies in her stomach, and a really dope playlist on repeat.

Filled with roadside hijinks, heart-stirring romance, and a few broken rules, I Wanna Be Where You Are is a YA debut perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sandhya Menon.

This was a fun road trip story about two neighbors, and former friends, as they connect while traveling down the east cost. Chloe is determined to make it to an out-of-state dance audition, whether her mother approves or not. Eli, and his dog Geezer, worm their way onto the traveling squad to catch a ride to his dad’s house to let him know that he’s going to art school across the country.

This was exactly what I wanted it to be. Anything having to do with dance, I. Am. There. After her dad died when she was three, Chloe’s mom put her in dance classes. From then on, Chloe knew she was going to become a professional ballet dancer. All that changes when she breaks her ankle, her whole career vanishing before it even begins, if she listens to her doctor. However, Chloe works her ass off for a good 10 months to get her strength back. Encouraged by her instructor, she is set on auditioning for a spot in a conservatory run by her dance idol, except her mother is a hard no, not ready to let her only daughter leave her side. What I loved about Chloe was her perseverance. She knows she’s a good dancer, but because of this severe injury she doubts if she’s back to how she was before the accident. She pushes to prove to everyone—her doctor, mother, classmates—that this has made her stronger and she is going to fight to follow her dream.

The last thing she wants to do is be stuck in a car with Eli. I liked Eli. He was a sweet kid who was just trying to help Chloe out throughout their journey together. You could tell he really meant well, he just couldn’t help himself with kind of screwing things up.

This was a very strong debut and I can’t wait to read more from Kristina Forest.

I was sent an e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

40851643Title: If It Makes You Happy
Author: Claire Kann
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: June 4th
Ratings: ♥♥♥.5

Goodreads Summary:

High school finally behind her, Winnie is all set to attend college in the fall. But first she’s spending her summer days working at her granny’s diner and begins spending her midnights with Dallas—the boy she loves to hate and hates that she likes. Winnie lives in Misty Haven, a small town where secrets are impossible to keep—like when Winnie allegedly snaps on Dr. Skinner, which results in everyone feeling compelled to give her weight loss advice for her own good. Because they care that’s she’s “too fat.”

Winnie dreams of someday inheriting the diner—but it’ll go away if they can’t make money, and fast. Winnie has a solution—win a televised cooking competition and make bank. But Granny doesn’t want her to enter—so Winnie has to find a way around her formidable grandmother. Can she come out on top?

I loved Claire Kann’s early 2018 debut, Let’s Talk About Love, so I was excited to read her sophomore novel. And then I saw the cover and I REALLY wanted to get my hands on it—plus sized person of color, for the win!  There are a lot of components that I really loved about this book, but overall the plot felt way too jumbled.

Winnie Woodson was an awesome main character, who is so authentic and relatable. She’s a fat, queer teen who loves herself even on the days when she feels too big or too loud. She has so much strength and holds true to her convictions. Winnie stands up for herself and for the people she loves. She’s also really eloquent in the way she approaches an argument or discussion that may be heated. I adored the relationship with her brother and how much they truly love to spend time together despite a three-year age gap.

I think the relationships she had with both Kara and Dallas were very honest and gave life to conversations that are rarely discussed. Winnie has found total platonic love and togetherness with Kara, but she’s starting to feel romantic feelings towards a boy name Dallas.  I liked how they worked through these emotions, even though Kara lack of communication was getting tiresome.

What took me out of the story, was the lack of focus. Is the main plot supposed to be the aftermath of this town-wide pageant? Or, is it this television cooking contest? The plot as a whole was just all over the place.  We have here an incredible main character with an interesting story and relationships with a story that is giving her a disservice.

The small town feels like Stars Hallow from Gilmore Girls, but I wish we could have met more people throughout the story. Interesting neighbors that give life to this sweet little town. I would have enjoyed a much simpler story—a “slice of life” scenario where we follow Winnie as she works in her grandmother’s diner in this small town filled with quirky characters, the summer before she leaves for college.

I’m a little disappointed because I enjoyed Claire Kann’s debut so much, but because there was so much I still enjoyed, I’ll pick up another book from her in the future.

I was sent an e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

One thought on “Two Book Tuesday!

  1. Love these reviews. I have arcs for both of these but haven’t gotten to them yet, so I was excited to see you were reviewing them. I am not sure if I’ll get to both this month but I really want to to read ” I Wanna Be Where You Are.” Just seems like the sweetest summer book. I can’t wait.

    Like

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