Review | Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger

Title | Follow Me Back
Author | A.V. Geiger
Genre | Contemporary Romance Mystery
Pages | 300 pages
Publisher | Sourcebooks FIRE
Series | None
Release Date | June 1, 2017

Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murder at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

b-o-r-d-e-r

A.V. Geiger’s Follow Me Back is a twisted tale of lies, deception and stalking – told through the lives of Eric and Tessa, and multiple police reports. Lemme just admit right now that this book was an emotional roller-coaster. And I’m not talking about tears and stuff, oh no. I’m talking about mild heart attacks with every twist! If I had one word to sum up this novel? Brilliant.

The story is partly told from the point of view of Tessa, a teenage girl who suffers with agoraphobia. Let me just applaud the author right now, for slipping in awareness on phobias and anxiety. Much like A Quiet Kind of Thunder, anxiety awareness is on the rise this year, making Follow Me Back all kinds of relevant in the mental health and general illness bracket. However, it is rare to come across a book that openly discusses phobia. Very few authors encounter it, and it takes a special kind of person to be willing to discuss it. Some people do believe that those with serious phobias such as agoraphobia are just looking for sympathy. In reality, this is not the case. I adored how Follow Me Back shone a light in that direction – something that really puts this book on the map.

Plot wise, this story is original as hell. I have NEVER come across a novel, published or drafted, that has a style like this. It’s unique, it haunting and it had me guessing at every turn. Frequent readers of my blog will understand that this is my kind of book off the bat, and I could not be more proud to have read it in advance. Thank you, SOURCEBOOKS. But seriously, the year has only just kicked off, and while Follow Me Back is not released until June – it is already running for a top spot on the year’s best releases. How is that even possible?!

Major shout-out to the author, who started their writing journey on Wattpad. Yes, much like A Proscriptive Relationship or TextrovertFollow Me Back has received millions of reads online before being approved to be published in real life. That takes major dedication and hard work. And considering the quality of the writing, I only hope that the author has more in the works. Because I’m eager to see more!

A brilliant thing about this story is the mystery element the story has. You have absolutely no idea what is going on or what has happened – but you’re immersed into a world of police reports and hidden meanings. Also, it was brilliant to read a novel that didn’t glamourize fame and fortune. Eric was real in his paranoia, and it really made my heart go out to him. I feel that too much of today’s youth have this idea that with fame comes all these fabulous perks, at the same time you get to avoid responsibility and retreat into your own little private bubble when you want to. Follow Me Back puts this to bed, through a smaller internal story (a cautionary tale of some sorts). It was interesting to read a book that understood both sides of fame, only making me like it even more.

Now I hope for my own sake that there will be a sequel to this in the near future. Everything you discover through-out the novel is thrown into question within the last few chapters, making you feel dazed and confused. My head hurts, my heart hurts and quite frankly, I’m a little angry about the ending. But that doesn’t make it any less brilliant – it makes it even better. I feel I have no other option but to award this story a hot five out of five. When this book hits the shops in June, it is sure to make a killing!

Review | A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody

Title | A Week of Mondays
Author | Jessica Brody
Genre | Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages | 464 pages
Publisher | Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Series | None
Release Date | 2nd August 2016

When I made the wish, I just wanted a do-over. Another chance to make things right. I never, in a million years, thought it might actually come true…

Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

From the author 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and The Unremembered trilogy comes a hilarious and heartwarming story about second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances. Because sometimes it takes a whole week of Mondays to figure out what you really want.

So admittedly, my mood has spiked recently with the promise of romance. Yes, even dating fictional characters sometimes is not enough because they just can’t reciprocate. Tough, but that’s life. Any who, because of such I have found contemporary romance and new adult romance much more relevant and fascinating. What I liked about A Week Of Mondays was the realisation that the love we feel comfortable with may not always be our truest, or our most deepest. It may not even be who we are destined to be with, despite feeling so right at the time, Now romances are always heart-warming little trinkets, unless the author decides to rip your heart into shreds and watch you suffer (John Green and Gayle Forman, I’m talking about about you here.) Jessica Brody does not unload such pain on you, and instead re instils your faith in finding Mr Right.

Yet it must be said that for the first thirty-percent of the book, I was debating placing this on my ‘did-not-finish’ pile. The story starts up slow and steady, and lacks an allure that readers like myself (who enjoy gripping thrills) may desire. That being mentioned, I really did consider deleting the book from my library. While Jessica Brody does have a very good tone with this story, making it relatable and realistic, she did seem to struggle with the pacing. In personal judgement, I felt the story was taking to long to set the scene, let alone build up or climax. While this was a vital staging, other readers may lack the patience or understanding to prevent themselves from leaving the book. (Look at me talking about patience. Lol.) Still, despite this, the book was an incredibly fast read. After taking just short of two hours to read, I must admit that I am impressed.

Jessica Brody captures the heart and the nature of Ellie through her tone and characterisation. Ellie is clever and a very much a little bit of all of us. Yes, she thinks her family is cringey. Yes, she struggles to fit in. Yes, she is a people pleaser. Yet the fact that she acknowledges her labels and pretty much owns them makes her a favourite. Her panic, her understanding, her courage and her sheer determination to not give up plants her as a winner in my mind. Brody does well in most of her characterisation, which must be given a massive heads up. Owen, the nerdy bestfriend, is a character I would replicate and bring into reality. He was such a cute, three-dimensional character with realistic thought and emotion. Brody also managed to hit the nail on the head while capturing the stereotypical mean girl and tephe rock star boyfriend.

If I’m holding my hands up, then I must admit that I selected this book at random from my Kindle shelf. The cover was pretty fabulous, but from the title, I was expecting a Groundhog Day meets Lauren Oliver’s “Before I Fall”. And that was pretty much what I got. In comparison, A Week of Mondays is a less darker, less dangerous version of A Week of Mondays. While the topic is different, the idea of repeating one day is not and almost put me off the book altogether. But as the story came to a close and all the loose ends were tied up, I found the ending strangely satisfying. While I will struggle to award the book anything higher than a four, I have high expectations for Brody’s next book.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Divider-1024x118.png

Emma @ Miss Print says “Highly recommended for readers looking for a new fun diversion.”

Amanda @ Teen Librarian Toolbox says “Fun, cute, and satisfying.”

Review | The Me I Meant To Be by Sophie Jordan

37766975

Title | The Me I Meant To Be
Author | Sophie Jordan
Pages | 304 pages (Kindle)
Genre | YA Contemporary Romance
Publisher | HMH Books for Young Readers
Series | None (Standalone)
Release Date | Tue 1st Jan, 2019

Girl Code: Never date a friend’s ex.

Willa Evans has no intention of breaking the code. So what if she’s always secretly loved her next-door neighbor Zach? As her best friend’s boyfriend, he was always off-limits and it needs to stay that way, even though they just broke up. Even though every time she turns around he’s there, tempting her…

No keeping secrets from your bestie.

Flor Hidalgo has a lot on her plate: her breakup with Zach, her dad’s new dating life, and her struggling grades. So why can’t she stop thinking about her hot, know-it-all tutor? At least she’s got Willa, her constant in the chaos.

Breaking the code breaks friendships.

Romance novels are something I absolutely adore. I love that moment when the guy gets the girl, or when two best friends realise there is something more between them. I’m a hopeless romantic, and they have fuelled my incredibly unrealistic expectations for my boyfriend. He is fine with it – though I’m still waiting on my incredibly grand gesture. Sophie Jordan’s The Me I Meant to Be was admittedly a little higher on my expectations, but it certainly delivered me some romance – so I’m content.

The book is told from two rotating point-of-views: Willa and Flor. If I’m completely honest, I’m not a massive fan of mixed POV books – I think they have to be expertly pulled off, like in You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon. While the narrative of the story wasn’t atrocious, it did mildly put me off wanting to pursue anymore of the story. As well as this, the pace of the book seemed very askew. Most of the books action happened within the last few chapters, which made the middle of the book feel almost redundant.

I feel like I like Willa’s character more – she seemed to be more level-headed and more of a rounded character. Both girls had difficult lives, and while their stories were unique and fairly intricate, I just couldn’t help but find parts of Flor a little too … flawed. Her reasoning and her behaviour seemed a little off – though representative of a small portion of teenagers, I felt more like she was a stereotypical character rather than a three-dimensional protagonist. Also, the men in the book seemed a little undesirable. In the past, I’ve expressed how I’ve longed for male characters after reading. Who doesn’t want to be wrapped up in Ron Weasley’s arms? (Joking or not, I would). I didn’t crush on any of the male characters – they seemed flat; more secondary than primary to the story.

The book did tackle girl friendships, and the reasoning that goes down behind a lot of female-to-female interaction. I also loved how each chapter started with a girl code – something that every woman should follow. However, Jordan could have had a real opportunity to discuss Chloe’s underlying illness and the true effects of it with her family. We saw the effect it had on Willa, but I felt like it was wasted as not much was done about it. Also, the issue with Dana seemed a little foolish. I understood the outrage; but the reconciliation towards the two felt rushed – too little, too late and slightly inappropriate given the way their relationship panned out.

The Me I Meant To Be felt more like a fluffy side read for me. Sure, I’ll revisit it in the future if I want a cute little romance read. In that criteria, Jordan ticked the box. But the lack of depth behind the story fails to earn a higher score than two. As usual, I encourage you all to give it a chance as views vary; and what didn’t work for me, may possibly work for you!

the me i meant to be promotional poster

Still unsure as to whether this is the book for you? See what other readers had to say!

Julie @ Julalicious Book Reads says “I recommend it to everyone who loves a good YA read.”

Bickering Book Reviews says “There is potential for this to be a great book but it just didn’t quite get there.”

Review | How Not to Disappear by Claire Furniss

Title | How Not to Disappear Author | Clare Furniss Genre | YA Contemporary, Romance Pages | 320 pages Publisher | Simon & Schuster Series | None Release Date | July 14th, 2016 Our memories are what make us who we are. Some are real. Some are made up. But they are the stories that tell us who we are. Without them we are nobody. Hattie’s summer isn’t going as planned. Her two best friends have abandoned...

Review | The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen

Title | The Last Time We Were Us Author | Leah Konen Genre | YA Contemporary, Romance Pages | Publisher | Katherine Tegan Books Series | None Release Date | May 10th, 2016 Liz Grant is about to have the summer of her life. She and her friend MacKenzie are getting invited to all the best parties, and with any luck, Innis Taylor, the most gorgeous guy in Bonneville, will...

Review | The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub

Title | The Yearbook Committee Author | Sarah Ayoub Genre | YA Contemporary Romance Pages | 268 Publisher | HarperCollins Australia Series | None Release Date | March 1st 2016 Five teenagers. Five lives. One final year. The school captain: Ryan has it all … or at least he did, until an accident snatched his dreams away. How will he rebuild his life and what does the future hold for...

Review | Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers

Title | Tone Deaf Author | Olivia Rivers Genre | YA Contemporary Romance Pages | 288 Publisher | Sky Pony Press Series | None Release Date | May 3rd 2016 His world is music. Her world is silent. Ali Collins was a child prodigy destined to become one of the greatest musicians of the twenty-first century—until she was diagnosed with a life-changing brain tumor. Now, at seventeen, Ali lives in...

Review | All the Promises We Break by Brenda Benny

Title | All the Promises We Break Author | Brenda Benny Genre | YA Contemporary Pages | 250 Series | I hope so! Publisher | Liddle Book Press Release Date | October 16th, 2018 How do you move forward from a night that changes everything if you can’t even remember it?  With high school finally over, and her long-awaited South American adventure just around the corner, Savannah expects to wind up in the...

Review | You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Title | You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone Author | Rachel Lynn Solomon Genre | YA Contemporary Pages | 304 pages Publisher | Simon Pulse Series | None Release Date | January 2nd, 2018 Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah...

Review | Copycat by Hannah Jayne

Title | Copycat Author | Hannah Jayne Genre | YA Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller Pages | 288 pages Publisher | Sourcebooks FIRE Release Date | July 3rd, 2018 Everyone is dying to read the latest book in the popular Gap Lake mystery series, and Addison is no exception. As the novels biggest fan, Addison is flattered when the infamously reclusive author, R.J. Rosen, contacts her, granting her inside information others would...