Category Archives: Lists

2018 Books We are Looking Forward to

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Isis:

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Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi – I need more Warner, Juliette, Kenji, and James in my life. I also need more strong female characters. Expected publication: March 6.

 

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The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson – I’m very excited to read a new book by this author. He’s one of the best ones out there. I’m read for the gay characters. Plus this one sounds like it has Latino characters too! Expected publication: February 6.

 

If Benjamin Alire Saenz publishes anything else, I’ll be reading that too.

 

Nicole:

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Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles – I suspect this beautiful cover will hide one of the more beautiful stories in 2018. With it dealing with police brutality, it’ll be a hard but important read. Expected publication: March 20.

 

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – I’ve been watching as slowly those with ARCs have finished this book and begin to rave about it. It’s about finding lost magic. Expected publication: March 6.

 

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The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta – This middle grade about an alternate dimension featuring demons sounds amazing, and everything I want. Expected publication: February 27.

 

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Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi – I’m pretty sure this is the first from the Rick Riordan imprint, and I can’t wait for it. I only know it is middle grade and about Hindu mythology, but that’s all I need. Expected publication: March 27.

 

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Dread Nation by Justina Ireland – Zombies during the Civil War era. Honestly I need nothing else. I can’t wait for this book. Expected publication: April 3.

 

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney – This pitched as Alice in Wonderland mixed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer which sounds amazing. I can’t wait for more information of this book to come out. Expected publication: Fall 2018.

 

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria – Iron Cast was one of my favorite books last year so as soon as Soria announced a new book, I knew I was going to read it. And seers and rebellion sounds like a great combination. Expected publication: Fall 2018.

 

 

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Our Favorite Books We Read in 2017

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Isis:

Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell – This is the last book I read and enjoyed this year. It contains two short stories with lovely characters and love stories. I really liked it.

 

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My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame – This was a cute manga. The illustrations were beautiful and so were the characters. It’s centered on family and acceptance.

 

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Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia – I liked the way this book portrayed fandom. I wrote a full review about it if you want to know my full thoughts. It was a great read.

 

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Shelter the Sea by Heidi Cullinan – This is a sequel to one of my favorite books, Carry the Ocean. I loved the way the story wrapped up. These books are very personal to me because one of the main characters suffers from a lot of anxiety and it’s easy to relate to. But it never got overwhelming.

 

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At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson – This is the first book I read this year and it left a big impression on me. I consider Shaun David Hutchinson one of my favorite authors now because of this book. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and eye-opening. I haven’t been able to let go of it.

 

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The Last Cigarette on Earth by Benjamin Alire Saenz – I loved this collection of poetry. I don’t read much poetry, but I read all of Saenz’s poems. He’s my favorite poet. He writes about personal subjects that are so universal somehow. It’s powerful.

 

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Prince’s Gambit by C. S. Pacat – I read the entire Captive Prince series this year in a short span of time. I didn’t like the first book, but I loved the second one, even more than the third. I’m not sure I’d recommend this series to anyone, but this book was worth the read.

 

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Nicole:

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan – I’ve been obsessed with this series and this book is the main reason for that. I love the characters, the humor, and the writing. It’s a story that calms me, and really sweeps me away from reality.

 

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Iron Cast by Destiny Soria – This historical fantasy is so underrated. The characters are wonderfully complex, and the world is rich and vibrant. I’m still really sad it is a standalone because I would love to read more.

 

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Serpentine by Cindy Pon – I was nervous for this fantasy for a long time. A half-serpentine protagonist was very outside my comfort zone, but I’m very glad that I did. It was fun and well written.

 

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The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi –  This debut middle grade was my favorite book for a long time this year. I had trouble reading anything after because this book was so much fun. The board game concept is still one of my favorite plots I’ve read this year.

 

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Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh – This one of the many middle grade mysteries I read this year, and easily one of my favorites. Harper is a great protagonist with a great voice. I loved the ghosts, and the family relationships.

 

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The Ghost of Cutler Creek by Cynthia C. DeFelice – Another middle grade mystery about ghosts, but it’s also completely different from Spirit Hunters. I don’t think it’s the greatest book ever written. That’s not why it’s a favorite. I just read it at the perfect time when I needed it. That might be a little odd to say about a silly little mystery book but oh well. It is what it is.

 

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The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee – A beautiful and heartbreaking autobiography of a woman born in North Korea. It’s a book others should really read.

 

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Favorite Christmas Songs

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Isis:

Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley: You’ll be doing all right with your Christmas of white/But I’ll have a blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas 

This song is amazing. I love Elvis, and this song is probably his best song ever, including Jailhouse Rock. I can relate to his Christmas sadness, and the melody is beautiful. It’s one of my favorite songs year round.

Last Christmas – Glee cast: Last Christmas I gave you my heart/But the very next day you gave it away

I’ve loved this song for years, but my favorite version is the Glee version. I’m not sure why, but I think it has to do with the episode it was featured on. It was a really good episode, back when I used to watch the show. It’s one of the best Christmas songs out there.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Jason Manns ft. Jensen Ackles: Faithful friends who are dear to us/Gather near us once more/Through the years we all will be together/If the fates allow

I listen to this song year round because Jensen Ackles has the softest, most soothing voice I’ve ever heard. He rocks this song. It’s impossible for me to change it when it comes on shuffle. Do yourself a favor and listen to it.

This Christmas Life – Shane Dawson: So I just close my eyes and/Create a wonderland where/Anything’s possible there

I miss Shane’s music. I was a big fan of his music. I actually bought all of the songs he ever put out. This one was very touching to me. It talks about hating Christmas, but wanting this Christmas to be good. It was such a great video, and it’s a great song. It’s sweet and cheerful.

12 Days of Christmas – Jason Manns ft. Misha Collins: On the first day of Christmas/My true love gave to me/A partridge in a pear tree

I only really like this song because Misha sings in it. I’m not really sure which part he sings, but I love all of it. I wish he would sing a full-length song by himself. He’s a good singer.

Sleigh Ride – Pentatonix: Come on, it’s lovely weather/For a snow ride together with you

This is the first song I ever heard from Pentatonix and it’s still my favorite. I love the little jingle at the beginning. It’s such a beautiful song. I only like their version though.

The Little Drummer Boy – Harry Simeone Chorale: Shall I play for you pa-rum pum pum pum on my drums?

I used to love this song as a kid when I actually loved Christmas. During our big family gatherings my uncles would play the best Christmas music, and this one always stood out to me. It made me sad, but also happy. It felt very important at the time.

Nicole: 

All I Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey: Make my wish come true/All I want for Christmas is you

It wouldn’t be a complete list for Christmas songs without having Mariah Carey on it. She’s iconic. 

Winter Wonderland – Darlene Love: In the meadow we can build a snowman/Then pretend that he is Parson Brown/He’ll say, “Are you married?”/We’ll say, “No man.”/But you can do the job when you’re in town

This is the only version of this song that sounds right to me. I’m not entirely sure why. I don’t think I’ve actually heard it in years, but I always find myself singing it when I’m wrapping Christmas presents.

Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt: Santa honey, I want a yacht and really that’s not a lot/Been an angel all year

She has such a good voice. She’s only one who sings this song that I don’t cringe to. It simply makes me smile at how cheeky it is.

Jingle Bell Rock – Mean Girls: Dancin’ and Prancin’ in Jingle Bell Square in the frosty air/What a bright time/It’s the right time/To rock the night away

Who doesn’t think of this scene when thinking of Christmas songs? 

Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah/Hallelujah/Hallelujah/Hallelujah

I don’t know why this song always gives me chills but it does. 

Silent Night – Pentatonix: Silent night/Holy night/All is calm/All is bright

I always loved this song the most in Elementary school when forced to sing. Pentatonix’s talent brings it to life in a new way.

Santa Clause is Coming to Town: He sees you when you’re sleeping/He knows when you’re awake/ He knows when you’ve been bad or good/So be good for goodness sake

I don’t even know the version of this song I like. It’s always a song that gets stuck in my head though.

 

Popular Books We Hated

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Isis:

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Crash & Burn (Cut & Run #9) by Abigail Roux

GR rating: 4.41 stars

My rating: 2 stars

When I read Cut & Run, the books took over my life. I read one after the other, cried over them, and had the worst book hangover of my life. I waited months for the last book to come out, but it was a big disappointment. The plot was senseless, the characters dull, the romance superficial, and the villains laughable. I hated everything about this book.

 

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

GR rating: 4.26 stars

My rating: 2 stars

Listen, I know the entire world is in love with this book. I’m in the minority here. But I will always be bitter about the fact that (spoiler alert) Blue turned out to be Random Guy #2, instead of, oh I don’t know, a character that actually interacted with Simon. I’m not going to lie. I was rooting for Nick to be Blue. I have really strong feelings about this. Don’t fight me on it.

 

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Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

GR rating: 4.08 stars

My rating: 2 stars

I can’t even remember any details from this book. I remember the kids starring in it were completely stupid. I had no sympathy for them. I don’t want to talk about them. Moving on.

 

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

GR rating: 4.02 stars

My rating: 2 stars

I don’t enjoy Dickens’s writing style at all. Add to that boring characters, a boring story line with a “heartwarming message” and I hated everything about this book. Wow, I am sounding really bitter right now. Look, I don’t like this book. If a guy doesn’t like Christmas, leave him alone. I’m sure his reasons are valid. 

 

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Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby

GR rating: 3.80 stars

My rating: 2 stars

I think the romance in this book made me literally sick to my stomach. I couldn’t stand any of the characters. And the plot was stupid. All things considered, I am being way too generous with my stars. All of these books deserve 1 star.

 

Nicole:

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Blackbird by Kanoko Sakurakouji

GR rating: 4.3 stars

My rating: 2 stars

I vaguely remember cringing at the plot of romance of this series, but honestly it’s completely slipped my mind what this was even about. So it’s forgettable as well.

 

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

GR rating: 4.19 stars

My rating: 2 stars

I love Rowell’s writing, but didn’t appreciate her piggy backing off of Harry Potter. It wasn’t well developed, the character’s were boring, and I hate how some people hold it up as the epitome of diversity.

 

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The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

GR rating: 4.1 stars

My rating: 3 stars

I was completely generous with that rating when I finished this book. It really should be a two or even one star book. I hated the creepy instalove, the world, and even the pace of the book. I don’t understand how this book ever got hyped up so much.

 

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Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

GR rating: 4.01 stars

My rating: 2 stars

This one was such a struggle for me to read. I’m surprised anyone read this when it first came out and continued on reading the series without knowing what would happen. I know if I didn’t know what the series ended I would have never picked up book two.

 

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The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

GR rating: 3.94 stars

My rating: 1 star

The main thing I remember about this book was caves. The school was underground or something, and every time the characters went into a separate room  there had to be a full page describing it. And it was never that different because a cave is a cave. The characters were also boring, and everything was told instead of shown. 

Christmas Movies We Hope to Watch

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It is now officially December. And Nicole and I have made it our task to watch some famous, or new, Christmas movies to later review right here on our blog. I am a huge fan of cheesy Christmas movies. My favorite, by far, is Holiday in Handcuffs (from the screenshot above). I’ve sort of made it a tradition to force everyone to watch it every year with me. But I think it’s good to branch out a little bit too. So, although I will definitely rewatch Holiday in Handcuffs again this year, Nicole and I will watch these Christmas movies as well.

Nicole’s Picks:

  • Jingle All the Way (1996)

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With Arnold Schwarzenegger as a workaholic father hellbent on finding the perfect toy for his son, I bet he’ll learn in a funny, silly journey that Christmas isn’t all about presents. And I will probably like it.

  • Marry Me For Christmas (2013)

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A businesswoman’s family simply wants her to find a husband. For the holidays she decides to bring along her assistant who pretends to be her fiancee. I predict they will fall in love or something, and all the lies will work out. And I will probably reluctantly find it really cute.

  • Elf (2003)

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No I’ve never seen this, and yes once I finally do I guess I will like it like everyone else does.

 

Isis’s Picks:

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

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I love Snoopy, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of the Charlie Brown movies. I’m pretty sure as a kid I loved the Peanuts comics. I think it’s about time I watched this one. I have no doubt it will fill my heart with warm, fuzzy feelings.

  • A Very Merry Toy Store (2017)

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My dynamic duo: Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez, return to the world of cheesy Christmas movies with A Very Merry Toy Store. It’s the story of two toy store owners who unite forces when a big toy corporation moves into town. I am so excited about this one. I hope to love it as much as Holiday in Handcuffs. If not, then at least it will make me “aww” a lot because look at those two.

  • A Miser Brothers’ Christmas (2008)

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I’m not sure what to expect from this one. I know one of them is Jack Frost. Nicole told me to watch it. But she and I have very different taste. I hope to be entertained by it, but we shall see. Honestly, those two look sort of creepy.

End of the Year TBR

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Isis:

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Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett – I want to finish this book. It’s kind of long, by my standards. But I know it’s about angels and demons, so that’s what I like about it. I haven’t been in a reading mood lately, which makes it near impossible for me to think I’ll finish it within a month, but a girl can dream.

 

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A Baby for the Sheriff by Mary Leo – I’ve been reading this one for a while. I love everything about it. It’s so cheesy and it keeps talking about the male interest as an “alpha male” which is ridiculous but that’s why I love it so much. It’s about a sheriff who has to take care of a baby abandoned at the doorstep of a vet. It’s really fun. I hope I can finish it.

 

Nicole:

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Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza. I am halfway through this book already, so I’m hoping to finish this space opera very soon.

 

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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. I read about half of this one in the summer but never finished it. I really enjoyed it to so once I finish Empress of a Thousand Skies I will be getting to this one.

 

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Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Isis has already read this and put up a review here, but I’m still at the beginning.  I’m hoping I’ll get into it more, because right now I’m just finding it okay.

 

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The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch. This is a middle grade mystery that, again, I read half of before putting it down. I don’t know why I did it. I enjoyed it a lot. I just have a problem.

 

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The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan. I still haven’t finished this book, and yes, yes I did start it and put it aside earlier this month. I’m scared to finish this trilogy, but I have to know what happens.

 

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Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. I forget where I was in this series, so I’m gonna have to start at the beginning. I think there are seven out. I promised Isis I would catch up, and I want to before 2017 ends.

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Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison. I was going to say this is one I haven’t read anything of, but that’s a lie. I read the first chapter in October then set it aside for books I got at the library. So basically all of my end of year books are simply finishing up books I randomly stopped reading throughout the year. All I know about this one is it has magic, vampires, and pixies in it, and I’m looking forward to it.

 

 

 

Unpopular Books We Love

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BooksandLala posted this video about a week ago, and we decided it was a great idea. So we went onto our goodreads accounts and looked at what was the lowest rated books there, and looked at our own ratings to see if they were any higher. This is the first five that stuck out for both of us.

Nicole:

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Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight by M.E. Thomas

GR Rating: 3.12 stars

My Rating: 4 stars

M.E. Thomas is a diagnosed sociopath and she wrote this book in part to tell her own story, and in part to debunk the myths surrounding being a sociopath. And she succeeded with that, at least with me. This book changed the way I thought, and I can’t recommend it enough. I do agree with some people that it can drag and get a little repetitive, however, I do think it’s worth it. Others dislike it because they found Thomas unlikable which, well, I won’t share my opinion about that.

 

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The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

GR rating: 3.28 stars

My rating: 4 stars

I loved this thriller. It was one of my favorite books of last year. I see a lot of people say it is full of tropes, and really weird. I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t read thrillers a lot, but I was simply fascinated by this book even when I got confused. I didn’t think anything was overdone simply because I haven’t read this plot before. Also, people find the MC’s anxiety unrealistic. That’s a problem I find with some rep. They found this unrealistic while I related a lot to it.

 

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Serpentine by Cindy Pon

GR rating: 3.52 stars

My rating: 5 stars

People said this was mostly about the writing and they thought it was slow. I think it’s more of a personal thing because I flew through this book, and thought the pace was good. 

 

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One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak

GR rating: 3.66 stars

My rating: 5 stars

This is a funny little short story collection. I think it’s mainly if you don’t like his jokes then you won’t like the book. Plain and simple.

 

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The Curse of the Ancient Mask and Other Case Files by Simon Cheshire and R.W. Alley

GR rating: 3.68 stars

My rating: 5 stars

This is a children’s mystery book with not a lot of reviews which I think it is main reason for the rating. The few people who did rate it low didn’t leave a review at all so I’m not even sure why they didn’t like it.

 

Isis:

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Holy Cow by David Duchovny 

GR rating: 3.32 stars

My rating: 4 stars

I had a lot of fun reading this book. It made me get back into reading after a really bad reading slump.

 

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How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend by Gary Gishlain

GR rating: 3.45 stars

My rating: 4 stars

This one was a wild trip from start to finish. I read it back when I didn’t know Johnny Depp was an asshole. But I think this book is pretty fun, regardless of the title.

 

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The Blind Contessa’s New Machine by Carey Wallace

GR rating: 3.48 stars

My rating: 4 stars

I loved this book. It’s such a sweet romance, full of angst and a bittersweet ending. I loved it so much. I don’t know why people don’t agree with me on this.

 

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A Separate Peace by John Knowles

GR rating: 3.56 stars

My rating: 5 stars

This is one of the first books I fell in love with. It was a required read for high school, and I thought it was incredible. I cried over it. It’s a book I’ve never forgotten.

 

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

GR rating: 3.58 stars

My rating: 4 stars

This book rocked my world. It was absolutely hilarious, but sad nonetheless. I really liked the originality in this book. It played with various themes and formats, and I liked that.