You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour, David Levithan

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees
★★★★★ (4.50)
Genre – Young Adult Contemporary LGBT+

Summary – Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger 27158835you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is, until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other—and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, You Know Me Well is a story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.

Initial Thoughts – I always love the refreshing narratives of David Levithan and Nina LaCour. When I found out they wrote a book together, I was ecstatic and read it in one day.
Plot – ★★★★☆ The plot was pretty well paced, however I felt like it could have used one or two more subplots.
Characters – ★★★★★ Nina LaCour’s characters are everything I aspire to be. Artists with big city dreams. Mark captured my heart. I wanted to wrap him in a blanket and keep him safe from the horrors of the world.
Story world – ★★★★☆ The story world didn’t receive a lot of attention, as it often doesn’t in contemporary fiction. However, I would have liked to learn more about San Francisco during Pride Week.
Style – ★★★★★ Both LaCour’s and Levithan’s styles are perfect for the stories they write. They are light, smooth, and humor-filled, making all of their books enjoyable. Seeing the two next to each other felt like a dream come true.
Closing Thoughts – This book is perfect for a light fluffy read. I hope that Levithan and LaCour continue to work together in the future.
Recommendation – Recommended for lovers of art, diverse characters, and fluffy romance.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)
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Half Lost by Sally Green

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees

(This is the third book in the Half Bad Trilogy. You can also  find my review of the first book, Half Bad, and the second book, Half Wild. Spoilers below.)

★★★★★ (4.75)
Genre – Young Adult Fantasy

Summary – This is the final battle.20814993
The Alliance is losing the war, and their most critical weapon, seventeen-year-old witch Nathan Byrn, is losing his mind. Nathan’s tally of kills is rising, and yet he’s no closer to ending the tyrannical rule of the Council of White Witches in England. Nor is Nathan any closer to his personal goal: getting revenge on Annalise, the girl he once loved before she committed an unthinkable crime. An amulet protected by the extremely powerful witch Ledger could be the tool Nathan needs to save himself and the Alliance, but this amulet is not so easily acquired. And lately Nathan has started to suffer from visions: a vision of a golden moment when he dies, and of an endless line of Hunters, impossible to overcome. Gabriel, his closest companion, urges Nathan to run away with him, to start a peaceful life together. But even Gabriel’s love may not be enough to save Nathan from this war, or from the person he has become.

Initial Thoughts – I was really excited to start this book, because I loved the other two books in the series.
Plot – ★★★★★ This  book kept me turning the pages. I never was bored while I watched Nathan and the Alliance prepare for war, all while Nathan made things more complicated than they needed to be.
Characters – ★★★★★ I absolutely love Nathan and Gabriel, even though they are complete opposites. Nathan is a very complicated character, with good intentions hidden beneath twisted morals and agendas. Gabriel is truthful and sweet, all the way through. And yet, those two get along perfectly.
Story world – ★★★★★ I love the story world in this series. As I mentioned before, Green has the talent of sneaking in the setting without the reader actually realizing it. I can still picture the scenes were the novels took place.
Style – ★★★★☆  Green’s style still isn’t flawless in my opinion. I adore how we are stuck completely in Nathan’s head, however, there were times when I felt like the writing pulled me out of the story.
Closing Thoughts – This ending was everything I could have wanted. It tied up all loose ends and left me feeling satisfied. Broken, but satisfied.
Recommendation – Recommended for those who wants a fast paced adventure, and then their hearts ripped out.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees

★★★★★   (4.50)
Genre – Young Adult Contemporary LGBT+
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Summary –The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?
Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender
fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is…Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.
On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.
(Summary from Goodreads)

Initial Thoughts – I started paging through this book and I was immediately caught. The plot, the style, the characters, everything is entrancing.
Plot – ★★★★☆ This book is very informative. Which is fantastic, because it’s a subject that most people have little understanding about and need to understand. However, I felt like sometimes the explaining got in the way of the plot.
Characters – ★★★★★ All of these characters are perfect. Riley is honest and witty and completely perfect for explaining the misunderstandings and the hoaxes around being gender fluid.
Story world – ★★★★☆ The story world doesn’t receive a lot of attention in this book, because it’s not super important to the plot. However, I think that some of the places frequently visited could have used a little more description.
Style – ★★★★★ Garvin’s sarcastic, yet intelligent style makes this book impossible to put down, easy to relate to, and understand.
Closing Thoughts – Everyone has to read this book. It’s time we start understanding other people around us. And what better way than through reading?
Recommendation – Recommended for those wanting a sarcastic read and to understand more about the LGBT+ community.

(summary and cover from Good Reads)

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees

★★★★☆   (4.25)18667779
Genre – Young Adult Contemporary, LGBT+

Summary – A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.
Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.

Initial Thoughts – This book was sweet and beautiful and unique and lovely and just absolute perfection.
Plot – ★★★★☆ The plot was enticing and well-paced, but it was just a little predictable in some parts.
Characters – ★★★★★ These characters are so lifelike. They were my favorite kind of imperfectly perfect. They weren’t all smiles and adventures all the time, and added a lot of depth to the story.
Story world – ★★★★☆ I loved the movie aspect of this novel. I learned a lot about a different aspect of life, and I feel like I’ll look at movies a lot differently because of it.
Style – ★★★★☆ I loved how Emi’s background in designing settings came out so well in the novel with the setting. That was one of my favorite parts of the book.
Closing Thoughts – If you’re in need of a sweet romance, this is just the book for you.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees

★★★★☆  (4.25)13069935

Genre – Young Adult LGBT+
Summary – Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tell her they’re the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions–like what it means that she’s falling in love with a girl. (Summary from GoodReads)
Initial Thoughts – I fell in love with this book. It dealt with some very real topics in this society, such as accepting yourself and ignoring what others think of you. I believe that it’s a really important book for teens to read.
Plot – ★★★★ The plot is a little predictable in some areas, as many young adult romances are, but that didn’t stop me from needing to read it.
Characters – ★★★★☆ I connected well with Astrid, but many of the characters weren’t complex enough for my liking.
Story world – ★★★★★ The story world that King chose for this novel was very important. Astrid is from New York, but has moved to the very closed-minded small town of Unity Valley.
Style – ★★★★☆ King’s style was very easy to read and kept the story moving along. However, it was just missing a little something to make it truly great.
Closing Thoughts – If you are looking for a mix of romance with some deeper topics, this is just your kind of book.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)