GRIT By Gillian French

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
GRIT By Gillian FrenchGrit by Gillian French
Published by HarperTeen on 5/16/17
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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ReviewedbyDani

Seventeen-year-old Darcy Prentiss has long held the title of “town slut.” She knows how to have a good time, sure, but she isn’t doing anything all the guys haven’t done. But when you’re a girl with a reputation, every little thing that happens seems to keep people whispering—especially when your ex-best friend goes missing.

But if anyone were to look closer at Darcy, they’d realize there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface. Staying out late, hooking up, and telling lies is what Darcy does to forget. Forget about the mysterious disappearance of her friend. Forget about the dark secret she and her cousin Nell share. Forget about that hazy Fourth of July night. So when someone in town anonymously nominates Darcy to be in the running for Bay Festival Princess—a cruel act only someone with a score to settle would make—all of the things that Darcy wants to keep hidden threaten to erupt in ways she wasn’t prepared to handle…and isn’t sure if she can.

Short and Sweet

Darcy Prentiss lives in a small town and has the reputation of “town slut.” During the summer Darcy works picking blueberries with her cousin and her sister. Things are going fine until talk starts about Darcy’s ex-best friend Rhiannon who went missing the last summer, now people are trying to figure out what happened and if Darcy knows more than shes saying.

Characters

Darcy: Our main character who is unfairly judged. I think she’s gone through a lot she’s lost her dad and her reputation has people judging her before they even know who she really is.

Nell: Darcy’s cousin. Nell is a bit slower which makes Darcy feel like she has to protect Nell all the time, but Nell is compassionate and sweet.

Romance

There is a bit of Romance between Darcy and Jesse one of her fellow workers who picks blueberries. It was interesting to see how this relationship would develop. Darcy is known to be a good time which isn’t a secret to anyone in town but Jesse has her confused when he doesn’t seem to care about that.

My Thoughts

~ There were two storylines in Grit, one about Rhiannon who went missing the summer before and then one about Darcy’s day to day life and how she deals with family, work, and everything else that comes her way. There’s also a bit of a mystery surrounding why Darcy is so protective of Nell.

~ There’s a lot going on in this book and it’s not hard to follow at all, it made it more captivating if anything.

~ Darcy was an enjoyable character I felt bad because of how much everyone judged her, but she just owned it and I love how she felt like she didn’t have to explain anything to anyone.

~Rhiannon’s storyline is interesting. What really happened to Rhiannon? The police are now questioning everyone again because they found something of hers. The police also thinks Darcy knows more than she’s telling. I liked seeing this unfold because we slowly learn what actually happened that night and what Darcy knows.

~ Nell’s storyline is also interesting. Her and Darcy and they both knew if their secret got out everything in their lives would unravel.

~ I liked seeing Darcy’s day to day life shes headstrong and smart she knew what she wanted. She definitely didn’t let people walk all over her.

~ I loved Mags, Darcy’s older sister. She was like another mother to Darcy she was caring and protective and was always there for Darcy.

~This book was hard to put down I wanted to know what happened and how each character had something to do with what was going on in the present day based on what they did in the past.

Overall

Grit was raw and memorable. I couldn’t put this book down there were so many twists that just had me wanting to know what was going to happen next. I recommend this book, it would be a perfect read for the summer!

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FALLING INTO PLACE By Amy Zhang

I received this book for free from Reviewer Purchase in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

FALLING INTO PLACE By Amy ZhangFalling Into Place by Amy Zhang
Published by Greenwillow Books on 9/9/14
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Reviewer Purchase
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ReviewedbyAli

She would be an object in motion that would stay in motion, even if it meant flattening everything in her path.

One cold fall day, high school junior Liz Emerson steers her car into a tree. Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? This haunting, nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High's most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn't understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn't understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect?

Liz Emerson has been in an accident of her own doing, which began long before she ran her car into a tree. We go from present to past and back again to delve into Liz’s life and that of her friends, Julia and Kennie, to see how actions and interactions have the power to impact ourselves and those around us.

Amy Zhang has written a raw and mesmerizing story that’ll have you loving and hating Liz Emerson and her two best friends. They come across as typical superficial high school girls, but we come to see them as multi-layered characters who came to be a product of circumstance.

Falling Into Place is emotional and comes across as true to life. I’d recommend to not just YA readers but to those who have been or are now where Liz Emerson found herself, thinking the world would be better off without them. Engaging and heartfelt, readers will continue to ponder on this story even after the end.

THIRTEEN REASONS WHY By Jay Asher

I received this book for free from Reviewer Purchase in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

THIRTEEN REASONS WHY By Jay AsherThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Published by Razorbill on 6/14/2011
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Source: Reviewer Purchase
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ReviewedbyDani

You can’t stop the future. 
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah's pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life foreve

Short and Sweet Review

Clay comes home to find a box on his doorstep. In the box are seven tapes with thirteen reasons why his classmate Hannah Baker committed suicide. Now Clay needs to listen to the tapes and find out why she recorded them and where he is on the tapes. To find out why Hannah Baker killed herself Clay has to listen to the tapes, and its not the most exciting thing to do. Clay learns about his other classmates secrets through these tapes and these classmates actions are what Hannah considers to be what led her to do what she did. I found this book compelling and suspenseful it was almost like I couldn’t put it down, due to the fact that I wanted to know what was on these tapes and what Clay did to be on them. Clay our main character is clearly shocked first he gets a box of tapes recorded by a now dead girl and then he learns all of these secrets about his classmates. Hannah on the other hand comes across as selfish and a little too sensitive, but I did sympathize with her when I was picturing what she went through. While Clay was listening to the tapes I feel like he kept questioning whether he could have saved Hannah’s life, I don’t know why Hannah sent the tapes because it seemed to make the one person who truly cared for her feel worse about what happened. I will say I did like hearing the tapes with Clay but once I got to the ending I wasn’t impressed, I feel like more could have been done with it.

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THE HATE U GIVE By Angie Thomas

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
THE HATE U GIVE By Angie ThomasThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Published by Balzer + Bray on 2/28/17
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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ReviewedbyDani

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Short and Sweet

Starr witnesses the wrongful murder of her best friend Khalil who was shot by a police officer. Starr is the only person who knows what happened and she’s left wondering if she should speak up or be quiet.

Characters

Starr: Our main character. Starr is raw and true to herself and honest. She’s the voice I needed I ended up loving her while reading this book. Starr is clearly going through a hard time after seeing Khalil die but that’s not the only friend shes lost. I loved seeing Starr make decisions about what she should do and with every decision I was proud of her I knew she was scared and didn’t feel brave but she was, she spoke out even when it scared her and that spoke volumes about who she is.

Romance

There’s not much romance, mainly because that’s not the focus of this book. Starr does have a boyfriend and the relationship was interracial which had Starr questioning things after the shooting. When Starr and Chris were together I thought they were cute he called her fresh princess based off the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

Quotes

“A hairbrush is not a gun.”

“Because there will always be someone to fight. Maybe it’s my turn.”

“I always said that if I saw it happen to somebody, I would have the loudest voice, making sure the world knew what went down. Now I am that person, and I’m too afraid to speak.”

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”

My Thoughts

~ We’re taken to the heart of Garden Heights in this book. Violence, gangs, and drug dealings are the norm here. But a shooting that is making national headlines, thats not so normal.

~ Starr has to balance her two lives, Starr from Garden Heights and the Starr that goes to Williamson a predominately white school on the other side of town.

~ I loved Starr’s family and how they were supportive of her decision to either speak out or not. Each family member has their own problems and I grew to love them and was just hoping nothing bad happened to him.

~ Things were tense and I was worried about Starr’s family and friends and their safety, there was violence, threats, and riots.

~ After what happened so much changed Starr had to figure out who was the good guy who was bad, who to trust, who is actually a friend and who’s not. I felt for Starr so many of the dynamics she knew changed after the shooting.

~ Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, The Hate U Give this book tackles important issues like race and authority in a black community.

Overall

This is the most honest and heartbreaking account of what is going on in America right now. This is an important book and I think everyone needs to pick it up. I have nothing bad to say about this book and I want to commend Angie Thomas for writing this book its amazing and it’s not a topic that has been talked about in young adult books. I found myself crying at times but then smiling in the next few pages because of the love and support that Starr was shown. The Hate U Give is indescribable and a book worth reading!

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BY YOUR SIDE By Kasie West

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

BY YOUR SIDE By Kasie WestBy Your Side by Kasie West
Published by HarperTeen on 1/31/17
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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ReviewedbyDani

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn at first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

Short and Sweet

Autumn finds herself locked in the library for the weekend when her friends forget about her and head up to a bonfire. Autumn thinks her friends will figure out that she isn’t with them and come and rescue her. As the time passes by Autumn finds out that she’s not in the library alone she’s locked in with Dax Shepard. All she knows about Dax is that he’s trouble.

My Thoughts

~ Could the setting get any better? Seriously they’re locked in a library. That’s like a dream come true!

~ So Autumn is supposed to go up to a cabin with her friends and a guy she likes but ends up getting left behind when she has to stop in the library to go to the bathroom. How did her friends not notice on the drive that they were missing a person? I don’t know.

~ In the library Autumn meets Dax who doesn’t want anything to do with her. He just wants to pass the weekend by, but Autumn won’t have that, she tries to learn more about him and plans a few activities.

~ I didn’t like Dax at first because he was standoffish but towards the end I came around to liking him, a lot!

~ We’re only in the library for half of the book and then the other half of the book we get to see how Autumn lives life now that she’s free. Basically a lot of stuff happened while she was trapped in the library. Jeff (the guy Autumn likes) was in a car accident and she now has to juggle seeing her friends, him, and trying to fight her feelings for Dax.

~ I loved getting to see Autumn and Dax’s relationship grow outside of the library and how Autumn put in the effort to see him.

~ I don’t know how I feel about Autumn’s friends. I liked Lisa because she was always supportive of Autumn’s choices, but her other friends weren’t as important.

~ Autumn suffers from anxiety and panic attacks which she tries to keep on the down low, because she doesn’t want any of her friends to treat her differently.

Overall

I loved this book, its more than just your usual romance. It was a happy ending and everything was tied up nicely. It didn’t take me long to finish this book. I would recommend it! It was cute and short and if you like contemporaries and romance, pick this book up!

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GALGORITHM By Aaron Karo

I received this book for free from Reviewer Purchase in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

GALGORITHM By Aaron KaroGalgorithm by Aaron Karo
Published by Simon Pulse on 5/5/15
Genres: Realistic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Reviewer Purchase
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ReviewedbyDani

What if the secrets of dating and love were revealed in one simple formula? That’s the tantalizing proposition high school senior Shane Chambliss offers the hopeless and hapless guys who come to him for relationship advice.

After the girl of his dreams breaks his heart, Shane devises a mysterious formula called the Galgorithm and establishes himself as the resident dating guru at Kingsview High School. But his attempts to master the art of romance go outrageously awry.

As Shane tries to navigate the ensuing drama, he must follow his heart, abandon all the rules, and ignore his own advice in a quest for true love. What he discovers, no formula could ever predict...

Short and Sweet Review

After having his heart broken Shane comes up with a formula to save other guys from the trouble of heart break. This book was funny, light and refreshing. There’s so many things I love about this book Shane’s friendship with Jak and I liked seeing all of the people that Shane helped. Shane is clueless sometimes, but he’s a cute character, he’s smart, loyal, funny, and caring. I loved Shane as a main character! Loved the story line and if you guys like this book you should check out I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl, it kind of has the story line except the main character is a girl. Anyway this book is awesome and such a good read, it’s like a teen movie that’s hilarious but doesn’t have any drama.

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AMY & ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR By Morgan Matson

I received this book for free from Reviewer Purchase in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

AMY & ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR By Morgan MatsonAmy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on 4/23/10
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: Reviewer Purchase
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ReviewedbyDani

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her dad recently died in a car accident, and her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut—just in time for Amy’s senior year. To escape from it all, Amy embarks on a road trip, driving cross-country from the home she’s always known toward her new life. Joining her is Roger, the son of Amy’s mother’s old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, but her feelings for Roger develop as the miles roll by….

Short and Sweet Review

I was so excited to read this book and it didn’t disappoint! I loved the road trip aspect and going cross country with Amy and Roger. I like the way the book is written with the flashbacks and the scrapbook pictures and playlist. It is a little emotional especially because Amy lost her father in a car crash so we do get to see how she feels about that and how shes dealing with it. Roger also has his own problems with a recent break up. Over their trip these two let loose and try to have fun and enjoy themselves, they did take an epic detour, so why not have a little fun on the way. I loved this book and just wish it was a little longer I didn’t want the journey to end. I think a novella would be nice, so we can see what these two are doing after the events of this book.

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TOP TEN CLUES YOU’RE CLUELESS By Liz Czukas

I received this book for free from Reviewer Purchase in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

TOP TEN CLUES YOU’RE CLUELESS By Liz CzukasTop Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas
Published by HarperTeen on 12/9/14
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery & Detective, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Reviewer Purchase
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ReviewedbyDani

Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe's Day

5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market

4) Crashing a cart into a customer's car right in front of her snarky coworker Sammi

3) Trying to rock the "drowned rat" look after being caught in a snowstorm

2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson (see #3)

1) Being accused—along with her fellow teenage employees— of stealing upwards of $10,000

Chloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail (aka the break room) with five of her coworkers . . . even if one of them is Tyson. But if they can band together to clear their names, what looks like a total disaster might just make Chloe's list of Top Ten Best Moments.

Short and Sweet

Chloe works at a supermarket and has to work on Christmas Eve. If that wasn’t bad enough someone stole some money, now her and her coworkers are stuck in the break room until they can clear their names and figure out who took the money.

My Thoughts

~ I actually read this book when it first came out but never wrote a review for it. I thought what a better time to write a review for this book than around the time it takes place.

~ I love everything about this book, the characters, the plot, and the setting.

~ Our main character Chloe likes to make list which I found fun and interesting to look at. The story is told from Chloe’s POV she’s real and funny, and her daily observations about what happens at the market are hilarious to read.

~ Chloe’s coworkers are diverse and funny also. I like how they all band together to try to solve the mystery of who took the money so they can leave work jail.

~ Chloe also has a crush on one of her coworkers, Tyson. I thought it was cute, I mean what’s better than being stuck with your crush in the store all day.

~Bonds were made after being stuck together. None of the coworkers were really friends at the beginning of the book they were more like acquaintances, but they learn more about each other and bond and friendships are made.

~ The mystery wasn’t intense, but it does make you think about who could have done it.

Overall

This book is light, cute, and fluffy. It’s a great read for the holiday and you guys should read it. How many other books do you know that take place in a grocery store? Do you know how much fun it would be to get stuck in a grocery store and try to solve a mystery. Fun times my friends. Go read this book!

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P.S. I LIKE YOU By Kasie West

I received this book for free from Reviewer Purchase in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

P.S. I LIKE YOU By Kasie WestP.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Published by Point on 7/26/16
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Reviewer Purchase
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ReviewedbyDani

While spacing out in Chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk, and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters -- sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she's kind of falling for this letter writer. Only who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery, and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can't always be spelled out...

Short and Sweet

Lily is an aspiring songwriter in a loving but chaotic family. While bored in chemistry class Lily leaves a song lyric on the desk only to come back the next day to see that someone replied. Throughout the semester these two pen pals write each other notes and learn a lot about each other. Lily soon realizes that she’s falling for her pen pal, if only she could figure out who it is.

My Thoughts

~ Such a cute story! I liked that Lily and her pen pal were exchanging notes and the more they share the more personal they get.

~ The first half was about these two writing notes and then in the second half of the book Lily tries to find out who she’s writing with.

~ At one point I got frustrated, because the two met often but it didn’t seem like they knew that they were each others secret pen pals.

~ The romance was predictable I figured out who the pen pal was, but I didn’t mind because I thought they would make a cute couple.

~ I loved Lily’s family and her friend Isabella, they’re so supportive of her music and were always there for her.

~ Ah the pen pal I don’t want to spoil who it was but I will say the more I learned about the pen pal through the letters the more I liked him, I was rooting for them to figure it out and get together.

~I would have liked more about the music aspect, I mean Lily was thinking about joining a songwriting competition, so it would have been nice to see them at the competition or her song.

Overall

So cute! I loved this book, I plan on reading Kasie West’s other books. The story line was cute, Lily as a main character was funny, a little awkward, and stubborn. I fell in love with this book, and I couldn’t stop reading it. It’s fast past and light and nice for the summer but since it’s fall it’ll still be fine! Definitely one to read!

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I WAS HERE By Gayle Forman

I received this book for free from Reviewer Purchase in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I WAS HERE By Gayle FormanI Was Here by Gayle Forman
Published by Speak on 1/26/16
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Reviewer Purchase
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ReviewedbyDani

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, and some secrets of his own. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

Short and Sweet

After Cody’s best friend, Meg commits suicide, Cody decides to discover what led Meg to do what she did. Cody goes to Meg’s college to pack up her belongings and realizes she didn’t know much about Meg’s life in Seattle.

My Thoughts

~ The main plot was Cody coming to terms with Meg’s death. Cody feels a lot of grief because she didn’t know Meg was suicidal.

~ When Cody gets to Seattle for Meg’s stuff she finds an online forum and some emails on Meg’s computer. These things start Cody’s exploration of the truth behind Meg’s suicide.

~ I don’t know how to feel about the romance because Ben was in a relationship with Meg first and I don’t know it was just weird. I mean is it okay to date your best friend’s old flame?

~Towards the end Cody started to put her life in danger, and I was trying to figure out what she thought she had to gain by doing this.

Overall

The ending to me was a bit anti-climactic, and I still didn’t know where the relationship was going. The message in the book is clear and I would recommend it, it addresses the topic of suicide well and how it affects those close to you.

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