Artifacts of an Ex
By J. Chen
This is a sweet story about Chloe, a planning obsessed teen art curator who moves to LA from NYC. Fresh from a break up, she is inspired to create an art exhibit featuring failed relationship mementos. In the process of adjusting to life in LA and making friends with fellow creatives, Chloe meets a cute film maker—Daniel. He’s as sweet as the pineapple cakes Chloe’s ahma used to make but convincing him to date her isn’t easy because of his preconceived ideas about love.
The side characters add additional interest and depth to the story and the way Chloe’s family dynamics were interwoven with the narrative worked beautifully.
This story is a nod to falling in love with LA, finding your artistic tribe, and the ups and downs of all the stages of love.
A fun read! Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Publication date: Nov 13, 2023 (St Martin's Press, Wednesday Books)
TILLY IN TECHNICOLOR
By M. Eddings
This was such a fun dual POV YA read.
The story centers around Tilly. She’s a disorganized but lovable ball of energy and emotion, with a heart of gold. Tilly has ADHD and is trying to find her place in the world and figure out what to do with herself now high school is done.
Her overbearing parents send her to Europe to intern at her older sister’s nail polish start up. On the plane she meets Oliver. He’s orderly, neat, and an emotionally closed book—her exact opposite. Turns out, he’s also a summer intern at her sister’s company and her traveling room mate for the summer. Despite their differences, she’s drawn to him and soon discovers that he has autism.
The pair are a perfect compliment and so sweet and understanding with each other. Their relationship development was beautifully written and a delight to read. It was equally lovely to see Tilly find her groove career wise—sharing her inner thoughts on a social media blog, writing for magazines, and helping out her sister’s company with hand modeling and more.
As for the side characters, they were all so memorable, multi-dimensional, and fun and really added to the story.
Highly recommend! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
EXCUSE ME WHILE I UGLY CRY
By J. Goffney
This is an emotional YA read about a list-obsessed teen who's private journal falls into the wrong hands leading to blackmail via social media.
She teams up with the last person to see the journal, cute and practical Carter, in an attempt to try and get it back before her reputation is completely ruined. Along the way, she learns a lot about herself, her family, her friend group, and the type of person she wants to become. Not to mention, the type of boy she wants by her side.
Topics explored include race, identity, authenticity, friendship, bravery, and living honestly. Highly recommend.
FOLLOW YOUR ARROW
By Jessica Verdi
Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
This young-adult novel by Jessica Verdi is a fun, fast-paced read brimming with important conversations surrounding the power of social media (positive and negative), sexuality and identity, and the challenges of being a teen growing up in today’s complex world.
Cece is a likable, anxious main character with good intentions. She is a bisexual social media influencer who begins losing followers after parting ways with her social influencer gay-identifying girlfriend and beginning a relationship with a heterosexual boy who is social media clueless. The plot is relatively straight-forward, allowing the reader to focus on the profound impact Cece’s online world has on her off-line world and vice versa and how her experiences in these two different spheres have shaped her character and ultimately move her in a direction of growth and change.
Emails and tweets Cece sends and receives are a fun stylistic addition.
This is a great book to help frame discussions around social media as well as LGBTQ+ issues. Grab a donut and enjoy!
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