Two Book Tuesday

Haven’t done one of these in a while.

Title: Chasing Lucky
Author: Jenn Bennett
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: November 10th, 2020

Goodreads Summary:

Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.

What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.

Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is… 

After spending the last five years on the road, Josie returns to Beauty to finish her senior year of high school and hopefully save enough money to head to LA to move in with her famous photographer father. The last person she thought she would run into while working at her family’s bookstore was her childhood best friend, Lucky. 

This had all the makings of a perfect me book—reunited old friends, dark and brooding guy with a heart of gold, summer romance. It reminded me of classic Sarah Dessen books and other romantic contemporaries. I could read this book all day long and be happy.

Bennett displays a lot of depth in her characters and this is no different. I wanted to dig even deeper into Lucky’s character, into the history of Winona (Josie’s mom) especially with her own mother.

I seriously can’t say enough good things about this book and Jenn Bennetts’ other books.

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

Title: Lies Like Poison
Author: Chelsea Pitcher
Genre: YA Mystery
Publication Date: November 10th, 2020

Goodreads Summary:

Poppy, Lily, and Belladonna would do anything to protect their best friend, Raven. So when they discovered he was suffering abuse at the hands of his stepmother, they came up with a lethal plan: petals of poppy, belladonna, and lily in her evening tea so she’d never be able to hurt Raven again. But someone got cold feet, the plot faded to a secret of the past, and the group fell apart.

Three years later, on the eve of Raven’s seventeenth birthday, his stepmother turns up dead. But it’s only belladonna found in her tea, and it’s only Belladonna who’s carted off to jail. Desperate for help, Belle reaches out to her estranged friends to prove her innocence. They answer the call, but no one is prepared for what comes next.

Now, everyone has something to lose and something equally dangerous to hide. And when the tangled web of secrets and betrayal is finally unwound, what lies at its heart will change the group forever.

I really liked the overall plot of this book. It was a great and spooky concept that seemed almost like a fairytale. There was a great deal of diversity that I really appreciated and the queer relationships were beautiful. Another plus was the character development, though I did want to see more of how they acted before their friendships fell a part.

While I loved the inclusion of transgender identity, it was kind of jarring when a character’s pronouns change in the middle of the book. I wish it could have been established from the beginning or even hinted at, but all the character discussed was clothing. For me, the transgender discussion kind of came out of nowhere and then all of a sudden there’s a change in pronouns and an entirely new identity. Granted, as I am not a part of the queer community, I can’t say what seems authentic or not—this is just from my perception.

My biggest problem was the execution. There was no grounding for the reader, I was constantly questioning time and place. The whole book could have taken place over two days, two weeks, or even two months. I also never knew what time of day it was so it felt very confusing.

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

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