Title: An Abundance of Katherines
Author: John Green
Published: January, 2006 by Penguin
Pages: 227
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Katherine V thought boys were gross
Katherine X just wanted to be friends
Katherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mail
K-19 broke his heart
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun–but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.

Final Thoughts:
While it’s not my favourite book, it was a breeze to get through. That may sound like I didn’t enjoy it, but I did. The characters felt authentic; the situation, despite being a little out there, was quite easy to swallow and get into the groove of this contemporary summer road-trip adventure. My only real wonder was at how Colin—with all of his social inadequacies—managed to land nineteen girlfriends, let alone nineteen with the same name. Putting that aside, though, the banter of Colin and his best friend, Hassan, proved to be just about enough to keep the two hundred or so pages of this short book afloat.


Title: The Here & Now
Author: Ann Brashares
Published: April, 2014 by Delacorte Press
Pages: 256
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

Final Thoughts:
Definitely not what I was hoping it would be. Less time travel, more time dawdling. There was nothing epic about the plot, nothing exciting to captivate me. It was more like I was held captive by my desire to finish the book and justify purchasing it. I didn’t flat-out hate the book—it had its moments—but the characters weren’t developed enough for me to care about them. It felt like they were just tokens moving around the board, easily exchangeable for another one that could have played the part of heroine/love interest without a blip.


Title: You Had Me At Hello
Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Published: December, 2012 by AVON
Pages: 436
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

What happens when the one that got away comes back?

Rachel and Ben. Ben and Rachel. It was them against the world. Until it all fell apart.

It’s been a decade since they last spoke, but when Rachel bumps into Ben one rainy day, the years melt away.

From the moment they met they’d been a gang of two; partners in crime and the best of friends. But life has moved on. Ben is married. Rachel is definitely not. In fact, the men in her life make her want to take holy orders…

Yet in that split second, Rachel feels the old friendship return. And along with it, the broken heart she’s never been able to mend.

Final Thoughts:
While not as addictive as her second book, I still found plenty to love in You Had Me At Hello. Work drama, friendship drama, love drama, life drama—there was lots of drama. Like Mhairi’s other book, this was really the kind of thing you’d want to see made into a big-screen romcom. My only qualms came from the overuse of flashback chapters. I kept finding myself wanting to get back to the present and see what was going to happen next. Still, there were some good moments and depths added to characters that those trips to the past added in.


Title: Grift
Author: Jason Mosberg
Published: March, 2015 by Smashwords
Thanks: Jason Mosberg
Words: 74,930 (ebook)
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: Smashwords

Why would a 17-year-old girl pretend to be a high class escort?

Piper is a con artist whose canvas is the city of Las Vegas. She rolls with a crew of young grifters including a card-counting genius, a tourist-hustling pool shark, and a pocket-picking magician. Together, this crew of teenage outlaws live with their mentor Max in the penthouse of a hotel casino. They work hard and play harder. But unlike the others, Piper must balance her hyper-real Vegas fantasy with the reality of raising her 14-year-old half-sister Sophie. Disaster strikes when the Las Vegas mafia kidnaps Sophie and demands a multimillion-dollar ransom. With only five days to piece together the money, the crew races the clock to save her.

Final Thoughts:
This was such a refreshing read. What starts out as a simple kidnap scenario escalates into a gripping plot of greed, betrayal and Las Vegas. And the protagonist is seventeen!—which I thought was fantastic. Sure, there are plenty of adult themes that require an older character for it to be somewhat inoffensive, but to be perfectly honest I was just so glad to have a YA caper/noir where the leads weren’t filthy rich, irresponsible early-to-mid teens pretending to be responsible and mature twenty-somethings.


Title: Here’s Looking At You
Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Published: December, 2013 by AVON
Pages: 432
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

What if the last person you wanted to see was the person you needed?

Here’s Looking At You is, in essence, an ugly duckling tale. Our heroine Anna returns to school after fifteen years for a reunion. School doesn’t hold happy memories for her, as being a roly poly Italian (known as the Italian Galleon), and always armed with a Tupperware full of pungent Mediterranean food, she was bullied incessantly throughout her years there.

Now in her 30s, Anna wants to put the past behind her once and for all and face up to the bullies who made her life hell. But she is much-changed from the girl she once was – all curves and because I’m worth it hair – and no one recognizes her when she arrives. Losing her cool, she backs out on her plan for revenge and slinks off, hoping never to be reminded of her years at school again.

But fate gets in the way, and after the reunion her path keeps crossing with James – major hunk and Anna’s major crush back at school. But alas, as a crony to the bullies, Anna to this day believes that his beautiful exterior hides an ugly interior. As they continue to cross paths a love/hate relationship ensues until eventually something shifts, and they both start to discover what the person underneath is really like…

Full of laugh out loud humor, Here’s Looking At You is a novel about facing your demons and being happy with who you really are.

Final Thoughts:
After struggling to read the first hundred pages of an angsty teen-sci-fi over the course of a month, I eventually gave in and picked this up instead. I instantly cracked up, the first chapters leaving bursting out fits of laughter earning me strange looks from my co-workers. Worth it, though. It may be a stray from my usual YA outings, but I by no means found it hard to connect with the characters. Anna was easily relatable, and James, by including his perspectives, it added that extra depth to his persona, shaping him into something more than his teen self.


Title: The Duff
Author: Kody Keplinger
Published: September, 2010 by Little Brown
Pages: 280
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

Final Thoughts:
I went into this book definitely not expecting what I found. These teens go at it so much. I’m not a prude, but damn, my eyes were bulging. Still, I got over that. I even started reading it aloud to see if I could shock Joey. With such a short page count, it was easy to fly through, and actually kind of addictive. It was told in such an honest way with Bianca’s first person narrative throwing digs at herself and those around her. However, I can’t say that I really liked the characters, in fact, Wesley, the lover interest (I’m pretty sure ‘lover’ is the right word in this instance), was beyond annoying. But then again, this book did come out back during the period when everyone swooned over douchey guys. So, while it wasn’t an instant favourite of mine, by rewinding my brain five years, I did enjoy it for what it was.


Title: Sacrifice (Elemental #5)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Published: September, 2014 by Kensington
Pages: 324
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

One misstep and they lose it all. For the last time.

Michael Merrick understands pressure. He’s the only parent his three brothers have had for years. His power to control Earth could kill someone if he miscalculates. Now an Elemental Guide has it in for his family, and he’s all that stands in the way.

His girlfriend, Hannah, understands pressure too. She’s got a child of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could put her life in danger at any moment.

But there are people who have had enough of Michael’s defiance, his family’s ‘bad luck’. Before he knows it, Michael’s enemies have turned into the Merricks’ enemies, and they’re armed for war.

They’re not interested in surrender. But Michael isn’t the white flag type anyway. Everything is set for the final showdown.

Four elements, one family. Will they hold together, or be torn apart?

Final Thoughts:
This is the book I’ve been waiting for. It’s no secret that Michael’s been my favourite of the Merrick brothers throughout the series, so coming into his book I was ready for it to hook me, and it did. Actually, I think I’ve been hooked since Spirit, but with this being the final instalment, it just brought so much more to the table. Whereas the books teetered around their troubles with the Guides—assassins sent to kill them—tending to focus more on the romantic struggles of the main couple each book, Sacrifice slammed right into an angsty mess of constant danger as Michael tried to keep everyone he cared about alive.