Two Book Tuesday

Haven’t had one of these in a while.

52831984._SY475_Title: The Anti-Virginity Pact
Author: Katie Wismer
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: June 16th, 2020
Ratings: ♥♥♥

Goodreads Summary:

Preachers’ daughters aren’t supposed to be atheists. They’re also not supposed to make pacts to lose their virginity by the end of the year, but high school senior Meredith Beaumont is sick of letting other people tell her who to be.

Spending the last four years as Mute Mare, the girl so shy just thinking about boys could trigger panic attacks, Meredith knows exactly what it’s like to be invisible. But when a vindictive mean girl gets her manicured claws on the anti-virginity pact and spreads it around the school—with Mare’s signature at the bottom—Mare’s not so invisible anymore. She just wishes she was.

Now the girls mutter “slut” as they pass her in the hall, and the boys are lined up to help complete her checklist. When she meets a guy who knows nothing of the pact, their budding romance quickly transforms from a way to get her first time over with to a genuine connection. But when the pact threatens to destroy her new relationship and the fragile foundation of her seemingly perfect family, Mare has to decide what’s more important: fixing her reputation and pleasing her parents, or standing up for the person she wants to be.

***TRIGGER WARNING***
sexual assault, bullying, religion

This had potential. However, I feel like the author tried to cram too many storylines into one book that was only 330 pages long.

I was really enjoying the religious aspect to the plot, especially when the main character’s father is a preacher. I think the premise of a daughter of a preacher who doesn’t agree with her family’s beliefs and is experiencing her first love would have been really compelling. We never really saw much of the home life with a religious family except for two instances of going to church. That whole story could have been fleshed out if it was given more of an “A” storyline.

I would have liked Meredith struggles with anxiety to have been explored, instead of just glossed over in passing. It could have played into her blossoming relationship or how her family feels about it.The whole plot line of the “The Pact” was fine, but I could have done without it. I would have maybe liked that part more if it was a separate book.

Something that really bothered me and it might be silly, but the story took place in April and the characters were still doing college applications. As second semester seniors. It’s universally known that kids apply to colleges in the fall of their senior year through January at the very latest.

The writing was good and I definitely was engaged, I just think it could have been better.

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

52863231._SX318_SY475_ (1)Title: The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones
Author: Daven McQueen
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publication Date: June 16th, 2020
Ratings: ♥♥♥♥♥

Goodreads Summary:

It’s the summer of 1955. For Ethan Harper, a biracial kid raised mostly by his white father, race has always been a distant conversation. When he’s sent to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle in small-town Alabama, his Blackness is suddenly front and center, and no one is shy about making it known he’s not welcome there. Except for Juniper Jones. The town’s resident oddball and free spirit, she’s everything the townspeople aren’t―open, kind, and full of acceptance.

Armed with two bikes and an unlimited supply of root beer floats, Ethan and Juniper set out to find their place in a town that’s bent on rejecting them. As Ethan is confronted for the first time by what it means to be Black in America, Juniper tries to help him see the beauty in even the ugliest reality, and that even the darkest days can give rise to an invincible summer.

Daven McQueen’s Juniper Jones is a character for all ages in this sweet coming of age story set in 1950s Alabama.

***TRIGGER***
racism, death, bullying

It’s 2015 when Ethan receives a letter that brings him back to the summer he spent in Ellison, Alabama, 60 years earlier. The story picks up in 1955, before returning to 2015 for the last part of the book. With the story being bookended in the present, with the tale of the past in the middle, it made the book feel very cinematic. Throughout the entire story, I could picture every scene as if it was a movie.

The friendship between Ethan and Juniper was just lovely. It’s rare to read about such a strong boy/girl friendship that never moves into romance. Juniper was so special, even though no one in town could see it except for Ethan and his family. She accepted Ethan, no questions asked. She saw the good in everyone, even people who didn’t deserve it.

I can’t speak as to how this dealt with racism, especially Alabama in the 50’s, but from things that I have seen and read, this seemed to be pretty spot on. The writing was very strong. I’m excited to read more from Daven McQueen.

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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