Two Book Tuesday

It may be late, but still considered Tuesday!

Title: Amelia Unabridged
Author: Ashley Schumacher
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: February 16th, 2021
Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Summary:

Eighteen-year-old Amelia Griffin is obsessed with the famous Orman Chronicles, written by the young and reclusive prodigy N. E. Endsley. They’re the books that brought her and her best friend Jenna together after Amelia’s father left and her family imploded. So when Amelia and Jenna get the opportunity to attend a book festival with Endsley in attendance, Amelia is ecstatic. It’s the perfect way to start off their last summer before college.

In a heartbeat, everything goes horribly wrong. When Jenna gets a chance to meet the author and Amelia doesn’t, the two have a blowout fight like they’ve never experienced. And before Amelia has a chance to mend things, Jenna is killed in a freak car accident. Grief-stricken, and without her best friend to guide her, Amelia questions everything she had planned for the future.

When a mysterious, rare edition of the Orman Chronicles arrives, Amelia is convinced that it somehow came from Jenna. Tracking the book to an obscure but enchanting bookstore in Michigan, Amelia is shocked to find herself face-to-face with the enigmatic and handsome N. E. Endsley himself, the reason for Amelia’s and Jenna’s fight and perhaps the clue to what Jenna wanted to tell her all along.

Ashley Schumacher’s devastating and beautiful debut, Amelia Unabridged, is about finding hope and strength within yourself, and maybe, just maybe, falling in love while you do it.

This book RUINED me. I cried so much that by the time I finished reading, I gave myself a migraine. The entire book is such an exploration of grief. So much happened in the first 50 pages or so, it kind of felt like you were punched in the face. All of a sudden you’re left with a grief-stricken Amelia questioning everything in her life. Jenna was the one who planned out everything for the two girls, down to what college they would attend, their major, and future professions. Amelia went along with it because she didn’t know what else she would do and she was just so happy to be included. Once she’s left on her own, Amelia is completely lost.

When she receives a special edition of her favorite book in the mail from a small bookstore in Michigan, Amelia is convinced it is somehow connected to Jenna. With Jenna’s parents’s blessing, Amelia flies to Michigan to get some answers, not only getting in good with the owner of the bookstore, but also meeting the author of her favorite book series and making a serious connection.

This was beautifully written with some incredible imagery. I was so wrapped up into the prose that at times it felt even magical as Amelia described the water on Lake Michigan or the colors and sounds coming from the wind. I got such a vivid look at the bookstore that all I wanted was to live there. The little nooks and crannies of the store sound so cool!

Despite only being in such a small part of the book, you still get a really great sense of who Jenna was as a character and as a friend. I loved all the relationships in this book: romantic, platonic, and familial. Found family was a really strong trope in the story. Jenna’s parents really treated Amelia like she was their daughter, before and after Jenna was gone. I never wanted the story to end.

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

Title: All Girls
Author: Emily Layden
Genre: General Fiction
Publication Date: February 16th, 2021
Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Summary:

A keenly perceptive coming-of-age novel, All Girls captures one year at a prestigious New England prep school, as nine young women navigate their ambitions, friendships, and fears against the backdrop of a scandal the administration wants silenced.

But as the months unfold, and the school’s efforts to control the ensuing crisis fall short, these extraordinary girls are forced to discover their voices, and their power. A tender and unflinching portrait of modern adolescence told through the shifting perspectives of an unforgettable cast of female students, All Girls explores what it means to grow up in a place that promises you the world––when the world still isn’t yours for the taking.

Emily Layden’s debut highlights pivotal moments over the span of a year at an all girls boarding school. With a new perspective every chapter—starting with freshman and ending with seniors—and their connection with the rape scandal that has hit campus at the start of the school year. The school is struggling with how to tackle the aftermath of a sexual assault allegation that happened decades ago, now in a MeToo era political climate. What was done in the past, is definitely not how things are addressed in the present.

This debut was really strong. It’s definitely not for everyone, but is perfect for people who are fans of Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld—I was constantly reminded of it while reading this book. It felt almost like a series of short stories that all connect, with different characters mentioned or making appearances in the chapter. Despite not having much time with each character, the reader gets a great look into who a girl was as a person during their chapter. It could have been really confusing because there were so many characters but each chapter felt very contained and organized. Of course, some chapters and characters were more entertaining than others, so at times the book could be a little boring. However, the writing was really strong and I’m excited to see what the author does next.

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

1 Comment

  1. Louise says:

    I’ve added Amelia Unabridged to my list! x


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