Random Poll #8: When Should Miss Print Give Things Away?

So . . . Miss Print (the blog, not me the actual Miss Print) will be turning five on August 12. I have a hugely massive, epic, amazing giveaway planned to celebrate. I have been preparing for this giveaway since last year. Literally. This is a really big exciting deal for me.

I know I want the giveaway to run until the end of August. But I’m conflicted about when it should start. Since you, dear readers, are key to the process, I am putting the question to you. Should the giveaway start August 1st or should I post on the blog’s actual birthday August 12th?

What are your all time favorite books?

NPR announced this week the finalists for their best ever YA fiction poll. Everyone has ten votes. (The full printable list of finalists is also available.) I’ve submitted my votes but as I narrowed it to ten, it got me thinking about my all-time favorites.

I have a revolving list of my top-five books. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, A Little Wanting Song and/or Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, A Room With a View by E. M. Forster, Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli and Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones are all common members of that list. Carolyn McCullough, Justina Chen, Scott Westerfeld and Sarah Beth Durst are also regular occupants.

For the poll in question my votes went to:

  1. Abhorsen Trilogy / Old Kingdom Trilogy (series), by Garth Nix (literally nothing to fault in this series)
  2. Fire and Hemlock, by Diana Wynne Jones (total no brainer–maybe my favorite book of all time)
  3. Graffiti Moon, by Cath Crowley (my favorite read of 2012 so far)
  4. Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers (not for everyone but the more I think about this one the more I like it)
  5. Leviathan (series), by Scott Westerfeld (my favorite new series)
  6. Lola and the Boy Next Door, by Stephanie Perkins (my second favorite 2012 read)
  7. Saving Francesca, by Melina Marchetta (no brainer–if I could have, I would have voted for all of her other books on the poll too)
  8. The Queen’s Thief (series), by Megan Whalen Turner (I, like many of my friends, am obsessed with this series. It is everything you could ever want in a series. Ever.)
  9. Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly (also not for everyone but gosh it’s brilliant)
  10. The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater (no brainer–my favorite read from last year)

If I had more slots my votes also would have included:

  • Anne of Green Gables (series), by Lucy Maud Montgomery (I loved this series but it doesn’t need my love–we all know it’s good)
  • Earthsea (series), by Ursula K. Le Guin (I have problems with the later books but A Wizard of Earthsea was like my Harry Potter. It’s why I write. It’s why I love fantasy. It also is already really popular all on its own.)
  • The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (series), by Patricia C. Wrede (Don’t even talk to me about the last book.)
  • Harper Hall Trilogy (series), by Anne McCaffrey (Again, a classic that will get lots of play with or without a win)
  • Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones (Can’t have an author appear twice with only ten slots)
  • If I Stay, by Gayle Forman (I actually should have voted for Where She Went but I ran out of slots.)
  • Jellicoe Road, by Melina Marchetta (My list can’t be all Melina Marchetta and Diana Wynne Jones.)
  • Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli (I don’t consider this one YA but I do love it. Since it’s already canon anyway, I think it will be fine. If Love, Stargirl had been in the poll my decision would have been harder.)

But that’s just me. What about you?

Do you have a perpetual top five favorite books or authors? What books would you pick from the NPR poll?

Seraphina: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman Seraphina Dombegh has been surrounded by lies for most of her life. Everything from her patron saint to her own parentage has been altered and hidden beneath layers of half-truths and deceptions. With a new position at court and her musical gifts gaining more notice than is strictly wise, Seraphina’s time for hiding may well be over.

Seraphina’s home, the kingdom of Goredd has had peace with the neighboring dragons for four decades. They walk among the Goreddi in their human forms, they share knowledge. But that does not mean they are equals. Tensions are always higher when the treaty’s anniversary is near. This year, with a prince murdered under suspiciously dragon-like circumstances, relations are particularly strained.

Without meaning too, Seraphina soon captures the attention of the court with her musical talents. Worse, she captures the attentions of Prince Lucian Kiggs, captain of the Queen’s Guard, as well as an adept investigator. Working with Kiggs to unravel the secrets surrounding the murder and a conspiracy that could shake the foundation of their entire kingdom, Seraphina fears that her own secrets might be as easily discovered. As she works to find the truth, she will have to decide if she can survive having her own secrets brought to light in Seraphina (2012) by Rachel Hartman.

Seraphina is Hartman’s first novel. Seraphina’s story continues in the sequel Shadow Scale.

There is also a prequel called The Audition available to read on Scribd at this link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/97577759/Seraphina-Prequel-WEB

As far as fantasies go, Seraphina really hits all the marks from a complete glossary and cast of characters at the back of the book to an immersive setting replete with inter-kingdom tensions and political machinations. While there are dragons who can take on human forms, the fantasy in this story is more of an underpinning for Hartman’s masterfully written world.

Seraphina is a sweeping story that draws readers through Seraphina’s life and straight into a court full of intrigue and plotting. Readers who like their fantasies with a bit less magic and more surprises will find a lot to enjoy here. Some, including this reviewer, might be very surprised by this novel’s dynamic and unpredictable conclusion.

Though its length (a bit more than 450 pages, hardcover)–and the initial denseness of the text as Hartman introduces new characters as well as an entire kingdom and its history–can be off-putting, readers will be satisfied by the evocative prose, dramatic story, and especially Seraphina’s journey as she tries finds her own place both in her family and her country.

With characters that can make you laugh even as they break your heart* and a narrator who is as witty as she is unique, Seraphina is a clever introduction into a truly original fantasy world that promises even greater things in future installments.

*I’m looking at you, Orma.

Possible Pairings: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson, Fire by Kristin Cashore, A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn, Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine, The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu, Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Sabriel by Garth Nix, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, The Girl King by Mimi Yu, All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

You can also read my exclusive interview with Rachel Hartman!

Author Interview: Elizabeth Eulberg on Take a Bow

Elizabeth Eulberg‘s third novel Take a Bow came out earlier this year. Having already enjoyed her previous novels The Lonely Hearts Club and Prom and Prejudice, I was delighted with her latest effort filled with drama and excitement at a performing arts school in New York City.

Miss Print (MP): Can you tell us a bit about your path as a writer? How did you get to this point?

Elizabeth Eulberg (EE): I still can’t get used to saying that I’m a writer! I never thought being an author was a possibility growing up, this was in the dark ages before the internet and blogs, so authors were these mythical creatures. I loved to read and tell myself stories, but never once thought I’d be a writer. I went to school for public relations and got a job in publishing as a publicist. It was author Dav Pilkey who first encouraged me to write, I was scared to admit that I had been thinking about it. But there’s a huge difference between thinking and doing. And one day I decided to sit down and write.

MP: What was the inspiration for Take a Bow?

EE: I was obsessed with performing arts high schools growing up (I blame the movie Fame). I was in every musical offering at my high school – band, marching band, jazz band, pep band – but always envied people who got to go to schools that focused on the arts. So I decided to write a book set in one.

MP: Take a Bow is set in the fictional New York City School of the Creative and Performing Arts. What kind of research did it take to write about a performing arts school?

EE: I went online and looked at a few different performing arts high schools to see what the entrance requirements were and what a normal day looked like. My fictional school is loosely based on the La Guardia School in NYC and the Houston High School for the Visual and Performing Arts.

MP: Take a Bow is your third novel. It’s also your first with multiple narrators. How did you decide which characters would get a voice in the narration? How did writing multiple narrators compare to having just one narrator in terms of your writing process?

EE: Originally the book was only supposed to be told from Emme’s point of view…then I decided to take a shower! I was thinking about the story in the shower, as one often does, and realized that you really don’t get the full story if you don’t know what Sophie’s thinking. So I thought, okay, I can do both of them. Then I realized you really need to hear from Ethan as well. Okay, three points of view… I was thinking about Carter, who originally was only supposed to be a secondary character, Sophie’s celebrity boyfriend, when I realized he had a secret. I shut off the faucet right away before I decided to give the piano a POV!

I plotted out the story the same and then decided who would tell what. I knew that some characters would have more of a voice than others. But I really like how it worked out. I think you get a fuller story this way.

MP: With which of your four narrators—Emme, Ethan, Sophie or Carter—did you most identify? Who would you have wanted to be like in high school? Who was the most fun to write?

EE: I liked writing all of them, but think I’m probably most like Emme now and even back in high school. I will say that writing from Sophie’s POV was a lot of fun since we are so different. I did lean forward a little more and type fiercely when I was writing her. But I also liked being an emo boy with Ethan. But Carter surprised me the most.

MP: A big part of this story is Emme and Sophie’s changing friendship during their senior year. It’s obvious early on that Sophie is desperate to be a star. She’s also cunning and willing to use every advantage she can find. What was it like not just writing a character that is often unsympathetic but also having her tell part of the story?

EE: I knew from the beginning that Sophie would be unlike any character I’ve ever written and would be someone people wouldn’t necessary like. But there are people like that and I didn’t want her to have a teachable moment either, because some people never learn! I will admit that when writing Sophie, I started feeling sorry for her, mostly because she felt sorry for herself. It’s funny when people ask me about her, because they think I’m going to be offended that they don’t like her. It’s a compliment to write a character that brings out a strong reaction from readers – even if it’s a negative one!

MP: Aside from worrying about school performances and college auditions, Emme is in a band with her friends. Were you in a band in high school? What would your dream band look like? What instrument would you want to play?

EE: I wish I was in a band like Teenage Kicks! I was super jealous of Emme for that. I was only in the bands I mentioned above. I wasn’t cool enough to be in a proper band. But I would still love to be in a band, I’d play both guitar and piano…and get a singing solo every once in awhile. So basically, Teenage Kicks is my dream band. Watch out, Emme!

MP: Do you have a playlist for Take a Bow? If so, do any of the songs mentioned in the book feature on the playlist?

EE: I don’t have an “official” playlist for Take a Bow. But “Teenage Kicks” by the Undertones, “Beat It” by Michael Jackson, and Rihanna’s “Take a Bow” would definitely be on it!

MP: Can you tell us anything about your next project?

EE: My next book, Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality, comes out in March. I’m really excited about it. It’s about a girl named Lexi who’s the funny, clever girl that never gets the guy. To make matters worse, her younger sister is a beauty queen contestant so all her family’s time and resources focus on that. So Lexi decides she’s had enough of being the wallflower and starts to bloom.

MP: Do you have any advice to offer aspiring authors?

EE: READ! WRITE! Then read some more and WRITE! I really believe in writing the story you want to hear, not what you think will be popular or the next big trend. I’ve had to read and edit all my books countless times so if it wasn’t something I truly loved, I would’ve had gone crazy by now…well, more than I already am!

Thanks again to Elizabeth Eulberg for taking the time to answer my questions. You can find more information about her books on her website.

If you want to read more about Take a Bow check out my review!

I Spoke to Jack Davenport Last Week OR How I Randomly Helped a Really Famous Guy at Work Last Week

Exactly one week ago, on July 12, 2012, I was in the same building as Jack Davenport. Better, I was close enough to touch him. Better still, I had a conversation with him (sort of *cough*). For those of you who are unfamiliar with him, Jack Davenport is an actor. He played Norrington in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and more recently has been playing the director, Derek Wills, on the television series Smash.

Jack Davenport as James Norrington

I currently work in a bookstore. Jack Davenport came into that book store. And he bought books. While I was at the cash register. When I heard him talking, I thought that voice sounded familiar. Then, upon closer examination, I realized he sounded familiar because he was Jack Davenport. I swiped his credit card and rang up the purchase and gave him a reusable tote bag (which he thought was very nice). I also probably stared and turned bright red. BUT I think you can all agree that means we are connected now and, though he may not remember me at all we will always be linked thanks to those books and that tote bag.

This is probably what Jack Davenport looks like whenever he thinks about his wonderful books and reusable tote bag. (Not really. Or is it?!)

It was all very exciting despite my not really saying much or actually telling him I knew who he was. But I still grin every time I think about it or tell anyone about it. I’m grinning right now, dear readers. It was amazing. It was particularly entertaining when I explained the incident to my mom: Miss Print: “I just saw Jack Davenport at work!!” Mom: “Who?” MP: “He plays director Derek on Smash.” Mom: “. .  . He’s the creepy one who sleeps with all the women?” MP: “Um . . . yeah.” So there you have it.

Team Human: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees BrennanMel Duan is nothing if not a realist. She appreciates that vampires are a part of her town’s heritage. She understands that living with vampires nearby is a  fact of life in New Whitby. She even admits that some people do actually choose, for reasons beyond all comprehension, to willingly become vampires and give up everything (like chocolate!) for the tedium of, well, forever. When forced to, Mel can even grudgingly accept that her best friend Cathy is fascinated by vampires.

None of that means that Mel has to actually like vampires.

It certainly doesn’t mean she has to watch quietly when a vampire tromps into her school and catches Cathy’s attention. It most definitely does not mean that Mel is going to let her best friend date a vampire (named Francis of all things) when it could prove lethal on so many levels.

The only problem is Mel seems to be the only one solidly avoiding Team Vampire. Worse, Mel has a lot more to worry about than just keeping Cathy and Francis apart. Mel is used to having a lot on her plate as a high-achieving, athletic senior trying to figure out her life, but even she is going to have a hard time thwarting this romance, investigating a disappearance, working with a curt vampire cop, and trying to understand a most unusual boy in Team Human (2012) by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan.

Team Human is the first book Larbalestier and Rees Brennan have co-written. It features one consistent narrative voice.

Given the title of the story, it’s no surprise that Mel is not a vampire fan. At. All. Mel is funny, and maybe a bit snarky, but as she expounds the many, many faults with vampires* she is often just mean–a hard quality to sell in any heroine but especially in a first-person narrator.

Mel’s personality flaws, such as they are, are only magnified by the structure of Team Human. The book follows a logical progression with action, banter, jokes, and of course vampires. At the same time, there is not a lot of plot. While Mel is often shocked during the story, readers will be harder to surprise with plot elements that are sometimes more transparent than mysterious.

But for most readers all of that will be irrelevant.

Team Human was written in secret by the authors after they began wondering what it would be like if their best friend was dating a vampire. Team Human was written as the antidote to every book where the heroine runs blindly into the arms of a bloodsucking fiend and not one friend stops her to ask if she has lost her mind. In other words Team Human was written for fun. To celebrate good friends. Though she might sometimes be misguided, Mel is always good to her friends–even when it might not seem that way to them (or her).

Team Human is very funny. Readers of Larbalestier or Rees Brennan’s solo books would expect nothing less. The story gracefully walks the fine line between gravity and levity with smoothly written jokes and touching moments.

While Mel’s view of vampires is narrow at the beginning of the story, her outlook expands along with the plot and the world of the book. Team Human is a fresh take on the old vampire conventions sure to appeal to anyone who prefers their vampires with a complement of sarcasm and comedy instead of bats and shadows. A must-read for anyone who is pro-vampire, Team Human will have just as much appeal to anyone who is anti-vampire.

*Such as being cold, not funny, unable to eat chocolate.

Possible Pairings: Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel, Generation Dead by Daniel Waters, Peeps by Scott Westerfeld, Zombies Vs. Unicorns by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (eds.)

The Butterfly Clues: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

The Butterfly Clues by Kate EllisonPenelope “Lo” Marin has always liked order. Since her brother’s death Lo has needed more than her rituals to bring order to the chaos of day-to-day life. Her collections of beautiful things, arranged perfectly around her room, make Lo feel better. They’ll never erase the gaping hole her brother left behind, but they help clear her head. At least until she sees another item she has to have for her room. Then nothing will quiet her head until the object is hers.

Wandering Cleveland’s Neverland searching for traces of her brother’s last days as well as objects for her room, Lo stumbles upon something she was never meant to see.

It’s all tied to a beautiful butterfly charm she finds at a flea market and the butterfly’s last owner–a girl named Sapphire who was murdered days before the butterfly makes its way to Lo. Convinced that finding the butterfly means something, that she is connected to Sapphire against all odds, Lo works to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding Sapphire’s death.

The deeper Lo delves into the murder, the more questions she unearths. What does Sapphire have to do with the alluring street artist who seems so eager to help Lo? Why did someone want Sapphire dead?

If she keeps searching, Lo hopes ordering all of the clues will lead to an answer and give her (and Sapphire) some peace. But that’s going to be as hard as it is for Lo to keep her rituals in check when someone in Cleveland wants Lo’s investigation stopped for good in The Butterfly Clues (2012) by Kate Ellison.

The Butterfly Clues is Ellison’s first novel.

It becomes obvious early in the narrative that Lo’s collecting, rituals, and habits are symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Ellison does a good job making Lo a relatable heroine, habits and all, but that only goes so far when every page has Lo tapping or counting in some way to get through her day.

However, while Ellison delves into the whys behind Lo’s OCD behaviors for most of the novel, some of Lo’s choices make little sense given not just her OCD but also common sense.* Though many of these decisions are crucial to the plot, they often pulled me out of the narrative as I found myself wondering what Lo could possibly be thinking.

Lo is a generally likable and sympathetic narrator so it’s easy to let that go. Seeing her broken family and Lo’s struggle to keep her OCD in check is heartbreaking and extremely compelling.

Unfortunately a shaky plot does little to strengthen The Butterfly Clues. Parts of the story are drawn out and seemingly superfluous to the actual plot instead serving only to lengthen the text. On the other hand key aspects of the actual mystery are obvious early on as Lo explores Neverland. Ellison demonstrates a lot of range in this debut and while I would have liked more mystery and less OCD, The Butterfly Clues is a definite clue that Ellison is an author to watch.

*The idea that Lo would have no problem with the germs and dirt inherent to Neverland’s homeless community–even Flynt–seemed extremely unlikely to me. Other–more spoilery–moments also defied all believability for me.

Possible Pairings: Frost by Marianna Baer, Clarity by Kim Harrington, Slide by Jill Hathaway, Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith, Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten

Keep Holding On: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Keep Holding On by Susane ColasantiNoelle is marking time until she can escape. In a year and a half she can get away from her mother’s erratic behavior and neglect. The torment she’s been suffering since middle school will finally stop. She’ll be able move away to the City without looking back. Her life can really start.

Before that can happen Noelle has to make it through the rest of her junior year. Not to mention senior year.

Some days Noelle isn’t sure she’ll last that long.

It’s hard enough being the poor kid in a rich suburb. Being harassed and humiliated and feeling completely alone makes it a lot harder. Even Noelle’s best friend doesn’t know how bad it is. No one does.

When Noelle’s long-time crush starts talking to her, she isn’t sure what to do. Sure, she likes Julian. But what happens when he realizes she is the punchline in almost every mean joke at school? What happens when Noelle starts thinking she doesn’t deserve him?

Noelle tentatively reaches out to new and old friends but the bullying just gets worse. Holding on to her dreams about her future aren’t enough anymore. It might be time to focus on what she deserves here in the present instead  in Keep Holding On (2012) by Susane Colasanti.

Find it on Bookshop.

At 224 pages, Keep Holding On is one of Colasanti’s shorter novels. It is inspired by Colasanti’s own experiences with bullying.

This book is a short, achingly honest read. Noelle’s experiences are horrific not just because of the abuse she suffers but because so many people see parts of the neglect and the bullying but choose to look away instead of helping.

Being so short, there isn’t a lot of room to expand the story or fully examine secondary characters. That said, Colasanti focuses on what’s important presenting a tight narrative about Noelle’s growth over the course a school year.

While parts of Noelle’s story will break your heart, Noelle’s resilience will help mend it. While Colasanti is known for writing about soul mates finding each other, Keep Holding On focuses more on Noelle’s own transformation as she realizes she deserves to feel safe and loved. More importantly, as the story progresses, Noelle realizes she is in control when it comes to finding those safe places–and love too.

Keep Holding On also has a list of resources for anyone who is feeling alone and wants to find people ready to help available at the end of the book and on her website: http://susanecolasanti.com/keepholdingon.html

Possible Pairings: Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen, Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, Boy Toy by Barry Lyga, Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta, Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales, A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell, How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford, This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

*This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2012

Such a Rush: A Review

“In each South Carolina town where I’d lived–and I’d lived in a lot of them–the trailer park was next to the airport. After one more move when I was fourteen, I made a decision. If I was doomed to live in a trailer park my whole life, I could complain about the smell of jet fuel like my mom, I could drink myself to death over the noise like everybody else who lived here, or I could learn to fly.”

Such a Rush by Jennifer EcholsHer senior year of high school, Leah Jones things her life is finally coming together. After three years working at the local airport and flying with her instructor, Mr. Hall, Leah is finally ready for a real pilot job. She’s one step closer to her dream of becoming a professional pilot and getting out of the trailer park for good.

When Mr. Hall dies suddenly, Leah’s future isn’t as certain–especially her future flight career. Mr. Hall’s twin sons Alec and Grayson plan to keep family banner business running. Between Alec’s seeming lack of interest and Grayson’s erratic behavior, Leah has no desire to tie herself to a doomed business.

When Grayson threatens to expose her biggest secret–one that could jeopardize all of her future ambitions–Leah has no choice but to fly for Hall Aviation and go along with Grayson’s mysterious plot involving his brother Alec even if it could ruin everything for Leah in Such a Rush (2012) by Jennifer Echols.

Such a Rush is Echols’ first hardcover novel. She is the author of numerous romantic dramas and comedies for teens.

Such a Rush is filled with potential. The South Carolina setting is immediately evocative even when Leah is at pains to remind readers about how different both ends of her beach town really are.

Leah’s pull toward the air is palpable and adds a unique spin to the story and her character. As a heroine Leah is complicated and multi-dimensional and immediately sympathetic with an upbringing that will break your heart and, from the first line of the novel, an admirable resilience.

I’d even say Such a Rush has all of the pieces that mark a great novel.

Unfortunately, this one also has a lot of extra trappings that diminish the overall quality of the story.

While I loved the opening of the novel and admired Leah’s ambition and commitment to her goals, she is also a frustrating heroine. A lot of things happen to Leah. Throughout the course of the story Leah is exploited by  different characters forced into scenarios and situations she would otherwise avoid.

Aside from being swept up in events rather than actively seeking alternative solutions for herself, Leah’s love interest in the story is also a big problem. Leah and Grayson’s chemistry is immediately obvious. Echols writes moments between them that all but sizzle.* But their relationship is also never on an equal footing.

Sadly, Leah and Grayson’s unequal power dynamic makes their exchanges uncomfortable. Even at their most intimate–their most connected–Grayson holds his authority over Leah forcing her into directions she does not want to go.

Beyond that, it was painful to read how other characters perceive Leah. Despite supposedly being friends to her, other characters always assume the worst of Leah accusing her of everything from sleeping around to being a gold digger.** All while refusing to acknowledge everything Leah has fought against to even get to this point let alone the dedication it will take for her to actually become a professional pilot.

These problems are most apparent in the middle of the story. At the beginning Leah come across as less passive, with more agency, as readers learn what led her to the airport and Mr. Hall in the first place. The middle of the story focuses more on what everyone thinks of Leah, rather than how she is in reality, and forces Leah into a passive role in her dealings with the Hall twins. These two elements combine to make for a slow midpoint of the novel. Things come together in the end for Leah, as well they should, with a sugar sweet ending that almost makes up for the other characters’ abominable behavior during the rest of the novel. Almost.

Such a Rush is a great choice for anyone looking for an original romance even if a close reading might change your view of the characters. Issues aside, Such a Rush definitely proves that Echols is an author worth watching.

*This won’t be the popular opinion since the book is a romance novel but I think Such a Rush worked a little too hard to be steamy. The story was good enough without.

**SPOILER ALERT: Even at one of the seemingly romantic moments of the story these things come up. Right before Leah and Grayson share an intense moment on the beach, Grayson asks Leah–not for the first time–if she really didn’t sleep with Mr. Hall. In other words, the lead up to their big romantic scene is Grayson double checking that Leah didn’t sleep with his father and forcing Leah to justify the one non-dysfunctional relationship in her life. Which (because Leah keeps letting things happen to her rather than making active decisions) results in Leah telling Grayson she could have fallen for Mr. Hall had he been younger (ie: she could fall for Grayson) instead of just admitting she saw Mr. Hall as a father figure and telling Grayson to get his mind out of the gutter. Again, I want to point out this is what happens at a key romantic moment in the story. END SPOILER

Possible Pairings: Sleepless by Cyn Balog, When it Happens by Susane Colasanti, How to Love by Katie Cotugno, The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han, Clarity by Kim Harrington, Swoon by Nina Malkin, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

**A copy of this book was received from the publisher for review**