Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour

Emi is not what I would call an average teenager. She is just graduating high school and she is the production designer for an indie film in LA. Although she is dealing with designing the perfect set, she is also dealing with high school problems. Her ex-girlfriend, Morgan, has broken up with her six times, her best friend, Charlotte, is moving to Michigan, and her brother is in another country.

This book follows the story of how Emi fell in love with Ava Garden Wilder. It starts with Emi and Charlotte at an estate sale of an old film star. When a letter comes out of the record that they bought, they do everything they can to solve the mystery. One thing leads to another and eventually Ava is in Emi’s movie and everything is okay.

I really loved this book because it hooked me right away. I was very interested in learning about Clyde Jones and her secret daughter, Caroline. It didn’t take long and I wanted to know how she died and what had happened to her baby.

I became more and more concerned with the characters too. I liked Charlotte the best, but Emi was always surprising me. When I start reading I picture a character (unless otherwise described) as something I’m used to, the girls are all variations of my and my classmates and the boys I usually pick movie stars, but that’s not the point. Emi was so cool and different, she was a lesbian and she was part black, which really isn’t a different thing it just wasn’t how I pictured her. And I loved it, diverse YA books are something to be treasured and I am so glad I read this.

This book is a great read for anyone who is a fan of Colleen Hoover or for anyone who has read Hold Still.

The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

I finally got around to reading The Old Man and the Sea. 

It is about an old fisherman who goes out every day to fish alone. He respects and loves the sea and the fish that live in it. He has had a bad luck streak and has not caught anything in 84 days. Because of this, the young boy’s parents will not let him fish with the old man. The young boy seems to take care of the old man and he seems to be the closest thing to family the old man has. One day, when the old man is out fishing alone, he struggles to catch the biggest fish he had ever seen.

I like the way this book was written. I liked how the words just seemed to flow along like the waves in the sea. Truthfully, I think a story about fisherman does not sound appealing at all. If it were written by anyone else I don’t I would have read it, but I really wanted to get more familiar with Hemingway and I’m so glad I did. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what I liked about the book, but I loved the characters. I liked the way the old man was described, how his whole body looked dead and withered but his eyes were alive and as blue as the sea. I liked how the young boy ( who was probably a young adult ) cared so much for the old man.

I didn’t know how to feel about the end, but I don’t know that I was suppose to know.

I am so glad I finally got around to reading this book.

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour is a story about a road trip. Amy Curry is living alone in her house until her mom sets up Roger, who is pretty much a stranger, to drive Amy to Connecticut to live with her mom. Amy and Roger decide to prolong the trip by going to Colorado, Kentucky and Tennessee. Amy hasn’t had that much fun since the accident. She learns that she can’t really plan out life.

This book is not a life changing novel. You aren’t going to come to an epiphany after reading it, probably. But this YA book is cute and fun. Sometimes it’s nice to have something that isn’t life changing and you need a cute fun break to get away from reading really intense books. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour is a book hangover cure and I would recommend it to anyone who is  coming out of The Fault in Our Stars or Looking for Alaska. 

I like Amy because she is a good girl. She is the lead in the musical, gets good grades, and has relatively sound social  life, at least before the accident. I like that with a little help from Bronwyn she comes out of her shell.

Roger is a little lost puppy boy. He is deeply in love with Hadley, who is very much a love-em and leave-em type for most of the book.

Mostly I like the side characters, they really made the book interesting. Sweet Bronwyn was the RA with the shopping problem in Colorado Springs. I like Cheeks from Kansas and his demo cds. Mostly, I loved Lucian. He was so sweet. And he makes little animal topiaries. I love his southern hospitality. Honestly, I think the side characters made the book.

Sold by Patricia McCormick

Sold is about a young girl who is sent off to work as a maid in the city to send her wages to her family. Lakshmi is deceived and is taken to a brothel instead. This poor girl is forced to be with men and caught in debt to the fat women who runs the place. She has to decide whether she wants to stay or risk her life to leave.

I liked this book, but I definitely did not love it. It was a very quick read and just too easy. I would think that it would be more of a middle school level book, but the content is a little rough. Honestly, I don’t think the kind of tragedy that this type of situation comes with could not be portrayed in a small, easy-to-read book.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Yay! I finally jumped on the Jane Austen train! About dang time, right?

Pride and Prejudice is about a family of young girls who are getting ready to be married off. None of the sisters are the same, but three stand out. Jane is the oldest, and also probably the most pleasant. Elizabeth is her father’s favorite, she speaks her mind and doesn’t really care if the men like it. Lydia is crazy and carefree, and that shows in her choices through out the book. It is a social commentary ( I only know this because of a book report I just finished doing ). I think this book really focuses on marriages and the roles of women in the world and in the houses in that time.

I started out hating this book. It was super boring in the beginning, I knew it was a classic but jeez, the beginning was so slow. It inched along, and it felt like all it was talking about was marrying off the daughters. Now, keep in mind that I marathoned reading this book. About halfway through hour two I actually started enjoying it. When Jane went away from home and spent time with the Collins, it got interesting. I liked the gossip that surrounded the Bingleys and the Darcys. By hour three I couldn’t stop. I needed to know if Jane fell in love with Darcy. I needed to know if Bingley came back for Jane. I spent five hours after school reading what I thought was going to be the worst book ever. By now you all realize that I did, in fact, love Pride and Prejudice.

There isn’t much more for me to say, because everyone has already read it. But if, like me, you have been putting it off for new and fun YA novels, get to it. This book was way better than I expected and I loved it.

Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau

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I have been in love with this series ever since I discovered them a little over a month ago. However, I did not love this last book like I have loved the first two. I understand that it is hard to follow up after two awesome books, I felt that everyone was against Cia for no reason. Some aspects just didn’t seem to fit together to me, such as if the teachers and officials didn’t like her, why did she get the good internship and the class load? If they were trying to overload her it didn’t work. (If you have answers I’d love to hear your ideas!)

This book is a good read for anyone who has read the first two, also for anyone who likes dystopian novels but doesn’t like the love story. There is an aspect of romance, but it is not overbearing. This book follows Cia and her friends through their studies and their plans to aid the rebellion and end the testing.

This book has some really good aspects even if I wasn’t as interested in Graduation Day as I was in The Testing or Independent Study.

I loved the character development! Cia obviously was the main focus, and she wasn’t even the character I noticed. She became more fearless and still kept her conscience. Thomas just wanted to go home, and really who can blame him? I am glad that Thomas stayed the same because you have someone really dependable to rely on when you can’t be sure about everyone else. But I want to focus in on Raffe and Will. No one knew if Raffe could be trusted or what side he was really on. As the book goes on, I learned to love Raffe. He impressed me beyond any of the testing candidates. The challenges he overcame when he teamed up with Cia left me speechless. Will obviously is a wild card, as we have learned from the testing, but he really pulled through as well. I love to think that Will is only dangerous and ruthless, but he also has a soft spot (mostly for his brother).

I really did like the end. The plot twists concerning Dr. Barnes and President Collindar forced me to get to the end of this book in record time. Thomas is where he needs to be, home, and I am very happy with Cia’s decision as well. She has the makings of a leader. All this time I thought everyone who was redirected was killed, I was happy to find out otherwise.

In short, this book was well done, Although it didn’t get super interesting until the end, I really did like it. And everyone who has read my other reviews knows that I love Cia.

Young Voices: Four YA Novels For Your 2015 Book List

CAKE & POISON

by Lauren Gengler
“Young Voices”, a new column we’re featuring here on Cake & Poison, highlights pieces by some of our favorite up-and-coming teenage and college-aged writers. All opinions and anecdotes are strictly the author’s.

I sometimes struggle with reading love stories because they tend to blend together and they get so gushy and kind of gross. I love a good Nicholas Sparks book, but sometimes it’s a little too much. These books were different than my average read, and they are all from the world of young adult literature — check out the following four love stories you need to add to your 2015 must-read list:

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