Original Title: Keeping the Moon

Addition: Library Book

Genre: Young adult, romance

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

Never in one place long enough to make friends or put down roots, Colie doesn’t expect her trip to the North Carolina coast to change a thing. Always the outcast, she’s resigned to a holiday with only her eccentric aunt Mira for company. But when she finds a job waitressing at the Last Chance cafe, she also finds acceptance, new friends, and the beginnings of romance…

I am yet to read a Sarah Dessen book that I dislike – and again, I loved this one. The books are written for teenage girls and often look at the idea of growing up and everything that entails, including self-esteem, friendship and falling in love.

This book is no different. Colie has never fitted in at school. For a long time she was overweight, but even when she lost the weight she was still hated. Her mother has become a famous fitness instructor and has to travel over the summer, leaving Colie to stay with her eccentric sister. Her Aunt Mira is artistic and weird, and is often stared at or laughed at. She doesn’t seem to notice or care, but it angers Colie. With the help of the friends she makes at Last Chance, the cafe where she gets work, and Norman, Mira’s lodger, Colie has to work through her self-esteem issues, accept people for how they are, and learn to deal with how others see people.

For me, this book is primarily about self-esteem. Mira comes across as crazy and people judge her for that, and Colie was hated and picked on because she was once fat. Mira doesn’t seem to care what others think, but Colie does, and this book works through the pain of accepting how people see you, and liking yourself anyway. I think this is great, as lots of teens do suffer with issues such as self-esteem, and it is really good that this is addressed in a book that is easy to read, sensible and realistic, and really enjoyable.

There were other themes in the book, like friendship and love, and I enjoyed reading how Colie come out of her shell and made some real friends. I liked Colie – she had it rough; being concerned about how people saw her and her weight etc, but she was a good kid at heart, and watching her open up was lovely. My favourite character was Aunt Mira however. She made me chuckle, with her eccentric, arty ways, and the little notes on things to remind her what was broken! She was a solid character, secure in who she was, and encouraging to read.

This is a really good book. I love Sarah Dessen and recommend her to everyone. Even though this is teen-lit, I really enjoyed it. Top marks from me!

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I saw these questions over at The Diary of a Domestic Goddess, and thought I would answer them too!

1. Who is your all-time favourite author, and why?

My favourite all time author is Roald Dahl. I love his books. They gave me hours of entertainment when I was small, and now keep me entertained as an adult. I’m currently re-reading James and the Giant Peach, and I’m laughing, and I’m gripped, and I love the illustrations by Quentin Blake. I don’t think it is possible to be too old to enjoy Roald Dahl, I love him.

2. Who was your first favourite author, and why?  Do you still consider him or her among your favourites?


Enid Blyton. I loved everything of hers that I read. I loved The Magic Faraway Tree, and remember my Mum reading that to me and my brother – and the Secret Seven, the Famous Five, Mallory Towers…the list goes on. I loved them all! I always found myself wanting to live in those books! I haven’t read any of these books in a long time, but I really want to – I’m sure I would still love them. I think I would still put Enid Elyton as a favourite author because of the memories I have of reading her books and really enjoying them.

3. Who’s the most recent addition to your list of favourite authors, and why?

Sarah Dessen. I discovered her when I was blogging about young adult books. Every one of her books that I have read I have loved. I found her gripping, entertaining, touching, realistic and just fantastic. I read Just Listen first and it blew me away. I haven’t found a bad book by her yet – thankfully!

4. If someone asked you who your favourite authors were right now, which authors would first pop out of your mouth?  Are there any you’d add on a moment of further reflection?


Terry Pratchett, CS Lewis, Sarah Dessen, Erica James, Wendy Virgo, Philippa Gregory, Roald Dahl. After some thought… Enid Blyton, Ben Elton, Dorothy Koomson, Beatrix Potter, A A Milne, Mark Driscoll, Debbie Macomber, Elizabeth Noble, Nicholas Sparks, Sophie Kinsella, Stephanie Meyer, JK Rowling, Andrew Wilson and Jane Austen I think.

5. Which “unknown” author do you recommend to people most often?

Probably Wendy Virgo. She writes theology books, mainly for women and I love her. I wrote a Recommended Author post about her. The books are easy to read, engaging and for me, life changing. I think everyone should read her books.

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Book Type: Paperback – library copy

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey
dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in
town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding.

This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie’s struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.

I have been eagerly awaiting this book, having only heard good things about it, and I loved it! This is the first novel by Jandy Nelson, and I hope she writes more as this was a success. This is a young adult book, but one that adults will enjoy too. It is mature and very readable. It did not take long for me to read this book. I was hooked from the beginning and could have easily read this in one sitting.

The story follows Lennie, a seventeen year old who has just lost her older sister, Bailey. She died of an aneurysm whilst in rehearsals. Until then, Lennie had been floating through life, working hard at school, spending her summers making lasagne at a local Italian restaurant and playing her clarinet. They lived with Gram and their uncle, Big. Their mother Paige had left when Lennie was one. She had what Gram called the “restless gene” and could not stay settled in one place for long. This had never bothered Lennie, but as Bailey had got older and her relationship with Toby grew more serious she started to look for Paige. After Bailey’s death Lennie does not know how to cope. She spends time with Toby, but their grief is leading them to be more intimate than they should be. Toby reveals many things that Lennie didn’t know about Bailey and her plans too. Then Joe appears – the new boy in town and in band practice. Lennie starts to fall for him, but hates herself for it as she should be grieving all the time. She also hates that Bailey is not around to see Lennie in love. Lennie has to learn to deal with her grief, understand that other’s are hurting too, and learn about love all at the same time.

This book is moving, often sad, and at times funny. Nelson explores all the feelings involved with grief and I think the portrayal of Lennie is accurate. She struggles after the death. She doesn’t want to pack up Bailey’s things, she doesn’t know how to react around people and she starts to feel things that she had never experienced before. She channels her grief into sexual tension, and acts irresponsibly with Toby because when she is with him she feels Bailey around them. I liked Lennie. This book is a journey for her and I think it was so well written. I felt so sorry for Lennie, and really wanted good to come of the situation.

I liked the other characters too. Lennie’s friend Sarah was funny, but I loved that she let Lennie have a free pass card, so her aloofness could be forgiven as she grieved. Sarah was always there when needed though. Big also made me laugh, with his efforts to revive dead bugs. Joe was a bit too in touch with his emotions for my liking – a bit jealous and easily angered. However, his pursuit of Lennie was sweet. My favourite character was Gram. She was strong, having lost her daughter and grand-daughter. She was honest and blunt when she needed to be, and I loved reading about her.

One feature of this book I really liked was at the beginning of most chapters was a picture with a poem Lennie had written and where it was found. In the book she is often writing on rubbish or tables or trees, as an outlet for her feelings, and I loved that the reader got to experience this. I also loved how Nelson used music as a release too – this reminded me of Sarah Dessen and how she uses creativity as a way of coping.

There is nothing bad to say about this book and if you like a realistic, touching and gripping book this is for you. This is for everyone, not just teenagers. I loved this book, and it was well worth the wait.

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Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jen at Crazy For Books. Every week she asks a question:

Who is your favorite new-to-you author so far this year?

Easy: Sarah Dessen! When I started reviewing young adult books I looked at Goodreads for a young adult list and saw her name. I read Just Listen first, and loved it! Hoping this wasn’t a one-off I then read The Truth About Forever and loved that also! Since then I’ve read Last Chance, Lock and Key and Along For the Ride – all have received top marks. I’ve got a few more to go before I’ve read all her books, and I’m looking forward to them all!

Follow Friday is hosted by the Parajunkee. Every week she links to another site for us all to check out, and this week it is:

The Authoress – go check her out!

I am running a competition here at It’s Time to Read: win Mary Naylus’ The DressKeeper – follow THIS LINK to check it out!

If you pass through do leave a comment so I can find you! Have a good weekend 🙂

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Welcome to the end of the week! I hope you have all had a good one.

Book Blogger Hop

Check out the two sites above to find out more about these memes!

The site on Follow Friday to go visit and follow this week is: Vamp Angel’s Reviews 🙂

The question asked by Jen at The Hop is: TELL US ABOUT THE BOOK YOU ARE CURRENTLY READING!

I’m currently reading Last Chance by Sarah Dessen. I am trying to work my way through all her books, I love them! This one is an older novel that she has written and is shorter than her other works. The story is about Colie, a girl who has never settled in one place long enough to have friends, but this summer her mother, now famous, is off touring Europe so she is sent to North Carolina to stay with her slightly eccentric aunt. Here she gets a job, makes friends and life gets better 🙂 This is a young adult book but I’m a twenty-something who loves this author! She writes characters who I like and storylines that are gripping. She is well worth reading 🙂

What are you currently reading? Leave a comment!

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Synopsis:

It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend

This is the fourth Sarah Dessen book I have read, and I loved it, like the others. This story follows Auden, a girl whose life was shaken by her parent’s divorce. She spent her life focusing on her studies to impress her mother and missed out on the normal teenage social interactions. This summer she decides to spend time with her father and step-mother after she discovers what sort of relationships her mum has with her graduate students. Everyone has a secret, and this is her mum’s. Her life changes that summer when she helps out at her step-mother’s store and discovers the life of girls. She also makes a good friend, the handsome Eli, and spends her nights with him drinking coffee, eating pie and visiting anywhere that is open 24-hours. Life is good and she is learning about life outside the academic world, but when her father leaves again her world is shaken. Unlike the last time, this time round her emotions surface and she faces hard battles with them. Her life has been transformed, she has made some great friends, but whilst discovering life away from homework she makes some mistakes. She has to make some tough decisions, learn how to face her parents and learn how to be a friend, and maybe more.

I find that Sarah Dessen writes books that I cannot put down. Every storyline is gripping and realistic. She writes characters that you can’t help but like and every lead male has some talent that helps them find release. In this book, Eli is a biker; as are many of the other characters, such as Maggie and Adam – two of the friends Auden makes. This is a theme in every Dessen books and I like it. It adds a little depth and creativity.

I liked all the characters. Many were not as they originally seemed. When Auden opened up and let herself feel emotions feel she was a different girl. Maggie, she seems like all she knows about is shoes and pink things, but actually she is very intelligent. Eli: now he I loved learning about him. He had a tough experience involving a friend, but watching him open up and get past the grief was lovely. My favourite moment however, was when we saw the soft side of Auden’s mum. She travelled down to see Auden because she thought she was upset – this seemed out of character for the mum, who was so hard and rigid.

I read this book in under 24 hours, I was hooked from the first page. I found nothing wrong with this. It is aimed at young adult but I think anyone who enjoys chick-literature would enjoy this book. This is a great book, and I can easily give it 5/5.

This will be book number 09 in the Romance Challenge for me:

Books Read:

  1. Nicholas Sparks: The Wedding
  2. Sarah Dessen: Lock and Key
  3. Debbie Macomber: 44 Cranberry Point
  4. Judy Blume: Forever
  5. Rachel Hore: The Memory Garden
  6. Elizabeth Noble: The Girl Next Door
  7. Debbie Macomber: 50 Harbour Street
  8. Allison van Diepen: The Oracle of Dating
  9. Sarah Dessen: Along For the Ride
  10. L. K. Madigan: The Mermaid’s Mirror
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I got this as a review book from netGallery, and am really pleased I did!

Synopsis:

No one at Kayla’s school knows she’s the famous Oracle of Dating—the anonymous queen of dating advice, given through her own Web site. Kayla doesn’t even have a boyfriend. Two relationship disasters were enough to make her focus on everyone else’s love life. But then her advice backfires on her own best friend. And Kayla starts to seriously obsess about Jared Stewart—the very cute, very mysterious new guy in school. Suddenly, the teen queen of advice needs her own oracle of dating–and she knows just where to find one…

This is great young adult chick-lit. The star of the story is Kayla – an ordinary 15 year old, but she has a secret. She is the Oracle of Dating. She runs a website and a helpline that gives out relationship advice. She herself however has sworn off men. But she is red-blooded teenager and Jared is hot…

This book is so enjoyable. I read in a matter of hours, I was just hooked. It is a simple storyline, but it is engaging and funny. It is a light, pleasant read that adults as well as teenagers will enjoy. There really was nothing to dislike or complain about. I guess the outcome is predictable but getting there was fun. van Diepen is a wonderful writer, she has created a funny storyline, which has some quite good relationship advice in, and some characters you can’t help but like.

Kayla is a very enjoyable read. She is cool, calm and collected, until she starts to notice Jared. She made me laugh with her blog posts – what a great way to get through to men! She was a believable character – a girl who loves her friends and family, has an ordinary reaction to school, has a part time job and does have to contend with hormones! I liked how van Diepen was happy to have Kayla getting advice and learning from relationship books – it made her site more believable. I really liked all the characters in this book. Kayla has a great group of friends – my favourite being Ryan and Jared was a nice guy – easy to see why Kayla fell for him.

I love the idea of the Oracle of Dating. I think the advice given was quite good actually. van Diepen deals with relationships and leaps of faith well. It isn’t the most original idea but it was great reading.

This book did remind me a little of Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever, however I loved that book so that is not criticism. The lead men in both books were similar – quiet, artistic and a bit dangerous, but like I said, that is not a bad comparison. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes young adult books or romance novels.

This is book number eight in my Summer Romance Challenge ♥

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Good morning! It is Friday again, I don’t know where this week has gone, and while I try and straighten out my thoughts regarding history and fiction for my dissertation I thought I would join in the Hop!

Jen’s question this week is: Tell us about some of your favorite authors and why they are your favorites!

The first name that pops into my head is Sarah Dessen. She is writes great young adult books that are realistic and meaningful. She writes great characters, all of whom I end up loving and story lines that keep me hooked. The second name would be Nicholas Sparks. I have only come across one book I didn’t finish and I think that was because I put it down and when I took it back up I had lost the essence of the story. His books often move me to tears and I find myself not wanting the books to end. Other authors I like are Terry Pratchett, Philippa Gregory, Debbie Macomber, Dorothy Koomson and Meg Cabot.

I also join in with the Follow Friday fun!

Please leave a comment if you Hop by or come via the Follow!

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Synopsis:

“Ruby, where is your mother?” Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she’s been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return. That’s how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn’t seen in ten years, and Cora’s husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanour makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future—it’s a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give? Best-selling author Sarah Dessen explores the heart of a gutsy, complex girl dealing with unforeseen circumstances and learning to trust again.

This is the third Sarah Dessen novel I have read, and again I loved it! She writes memorable, realistic and completely readable books. Her novels are classed as “young adult” but I love them anyway – maybe that is why. There is no need to over-complicate the story or the characters, it is just a gripping story about life.

This story follows Ruby, whose mother has suddenly left her. She hides this fact though and tries to manage living on her own. This is working fine until her landlords pop round and discover she is alone. Social services set in and she is sent to live with her sister and her brother-in-law – her sister being someone else who just left her. All this leaves Ruby struggling to trust anyone, Cora, Jamie or Nate – her cute neighbour who is nice for no reason. This story follows her as makes some big changes in her life and her outlook about people.

I found this story slower than the other two I have read, but I loved it anyway. I still found myself reading 100 pages in one go because I was gripped. I loved the characters. Dessen writes realistic people, with real problems and I was able to empathise with them. I really liked Jamie – he had never met Ruby but he welcomed her into his home and looked out for her. He was a really strong character and it was easy to like him. Cora, once we learnt more about her was also a lovely character. As a girl she had looked out for Ruby, and she was doing it again as an adult. I have said this in other reviews, but one thing I like about Dessen is that instead of just focussing on the main character, she lets the reader know the background of other characters, which enables the reader to feel for them too.

The story itself was good. Ruby learns and changes, and it is lovely to see. By the end she is the one who is helping out others, teaching them to trust. There are things which she does that I didn’t like but all that added to her growth. She was a girl I felt sorry for and wanted the best for – I love books where I find myself cheering on the protagonist.

Everything about this book was great and it will stay with me for a long time. This is a fabulous young adult book, which all adults should read. Another book that gets full marks from me.

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I read 11 books in May:

John Piper: Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Save
Sarah Dessen: Just Listen
Vikas Swarup: Q & A
Nicholas Sparks: The Choice
Jessica Green: The Diary of a Would-Be Princess
Terry Pratchett: The Wee Free Men
Dorothy Koomson: The Ice-Cream Girls
Neil Gaimon: Stardust
Mary Naylus: The Dresskeeper
Erica James: The Queen of New Beginnings
Sarah Dessen: The Truth About Forever

I don’t think I read a bad book last month, which is always a pleasure.

Review Books:

The Dresskeeper

Library Books:

It seems that most of the books this month came from the library:

Sarah Dessen: Just Listen
Vikas Swarup: Q & A
Nicholas Sparks: The Choice
Jessica Green: The Diary of a Would-Be Princess
Dorothy Koomson: The Ice-Cream Girls
Neil Gaimon: Stardust
Erica James: The Queen of New Beginnings
Sarah Dessen: The Truth About Forever

Audiobooks:

I love audiobooks! Am listening to one as I type in fact:

John Piper: 50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Save
Terry Pratchett: The Wee Free Men

Young Adult Books


As you know I am a reviewer on the Pretty Little Young Adult Books site, and here are the books I read for the site:

Sarah Dessen: Just Listen
Jessica Green: The Diary of a Would-Be Princess
Neil Gaimon: Stardust
Sarah Dessen: The Truth About Forever

New Authors:

This month I have discovered one new author, who I now love! It is:

Sarah Dessen

Top-Rated Books

Here is the most important part of the month round-up. These are my favourite reads of May:

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

The Ice-Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson

The Queen of New Beginnings by Erica James

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

All in all, this has been a good month!

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