Lost in Love: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

*Lost in Love is the second book in Colasanti’s City Love trilogy which begins with City Love. This review contains major spoilers for the first book.*

Lost in Love by Susane ColasantiSadie thought Austin was her soulmate and that her summer before college was going to be filled with the epic love she’d always dreamed of. When Sadie finds out that Austin has been lying to her, she isn’t sure how to reconcile her dream guy with the flawed one trying so hard to make amends and win her back.

Darcy planned to spend her first summer in New York City exploring and having lots of drama-free boy adventures. Summer Fun Darcy is just getting the hang of things when Darcy’s ex shows up in New York to win her back. One grand gesture can say a lot. But can one flight really make up for weeks of heartbreak?

Rosanna never expected to find love when she moved to New York for college–especially not with an amazing guy who is wealthy like D. Now that things are getting serious with D, Rosanna has to decide how much she’s willing to reveal about her past before they move forward.

After a month together in the city they all love Sadie, Darcy and Rosanna know they’re lucky to have found each other as roommates and friends. They’ll need each other more than ever as they try to figure out what comes next in Lost in Love (2016) by Susane Colasanti.

Find it on Bookshop.

Lost in Love is the second book in Colasanti’s City Love trilogy which begins with City Love.

Each girl is at a crossroad in Lost in Love and forced to make some hard decisions about who they want to be (and sometimes who they want to be with) as the series moves forward.

Still reeling from news about Austin’s secret marriage, Sadie has to pull herself together after their breakup and her subsequent depression. Sadie is honest with herself and readers about how hard it is to move forward and she is willing to put in the work to get to her next, best self–no easy feat with Austin badgering her for a second chance.

Darcy thought she had put heartbreak behind her but she doesn’t quite know what it means when her ex-boyfriend flies all the way to New York to try and win her back. This plot thread takes an interesting turn and adds a bit of mystery to the story as Darcy and readers try to figure out if there are ulterior motives at play.

Rosanna, meanwhile, is trying to reconcile her dwindling funds in New York with the lavish lifestyle her boyfriend has to offer. Still haunted by her past in Chicago, Rosanna is suspicious of anyone offering her genuine friendship (or something more) when she still feels so broken. Most of Rosanna’s arc focuses on her struggles with honesty and balancing who she is with who she wants to become in her new home. While the decision again leaves some things uncertain for book three, her final resolution here is empowering.

Colasanti delivers another fast-paced, summery diversion with New York City as a vibrant backdrop in this story that alternates third person point of view between Sadie, Darcy, and Rosanna. With romance, adventure and a lot of self-discovery, Lost in Love is another excellent City Love installment that will leave fans satisfied but eager for the conclusion of this contemporary trilogy.

Possible Pairings:The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti, How to Love by Katie Cotugno, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg, Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham, Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu, Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson, What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen, Golden by Jessi Kirby, Anna K.: A Love Story by Jenny Lee, Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson, Summer in the Invisible City by Juliana Romano, The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith, Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales, Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*

Author Interview (#3): Susane Colasanti on City Love

Susane Colasanti author photoSusane Colasanti has been a favorite author of mine for a while now. Today, she’s back for interview number three! Today we’re talking about City Love, the first book in Susane’s new trilogy which came out in 2015. Be sure to watch for the second book Lost in Love which will be out May 3, 2016!

Miss Print (MP): What was the inspiration for City Love?

Susane Colasanti (SC): When I was in high school, every summer break had the potential for magic. Not that anything ever happened in Middle of Nowhere, NJ. But being an eternal optimist (even in my teen years, the worst time of my life), every summer began with a sense of infinite possibility. The possibility that I would have a boy adventure. The possibility that I would figure out who I really was and stop caring about what other people think. And especially the possibility that I would reinvent myself.

I looked forward to every summer as the Summer of Reinvention, during which time I would completely transform myself into a girl kids would hardly recognize when school started. Of course that never happened. The important thing was that I believed it could. There was always the anticipation that tremendous things could happen over the summer, and that anticipation sparked my passion for the City Love series. Writing a series about summer love, self-discovery, and sisterhood has been an incredible experience.

MP: City Love alternates chapters between Sadie, Rosanna and Darcy. How did you go about plotting the story and breaking up the structure between three narrators?

SC: When I began my career as an author, my plan was actually to write every book from multiple perspectives. I love showing more than one side of the same story and filling in the blanks we otherwise would never know. My first two books, When It Happens and Take Me There, are written from alternating/multiple points-of-view. But when I began the first draft of Waiting for You, I realized that I could only show Marisa’s side of the story or else too much would be given away. I wasn’t able to return to alternating voice style until my seventh book, All I Need.So I was thrilled that I would have the opportunity to spend a series of three books exploring three different points of view.

The City Love trilogy takes place over a condensed timeline of one summer. The first book covers ten days in June, the second book, Lost in Love, is July, and book three is August. So I knew that a lot would have to happen each day in order to bring the levels of character growth, drama, and evolving friendship I wanted to incorporate. But the storyline and structure constructed organically as I worked on the outline for each book. My characters are always the ones in charge, and these girls showed me how their stories would unfold. Basically I just let them take over and they showed me the way.

MP: Readers of your earlier novels might recognize Sadie from her appearance in So Much Closer. What was it like taking a secondary character from one of your earlier novels and giving her a starring role in her own story?

SC: Bringing back characters from my previous books in my new ones is something I’ve been doing for a few books now…and I love it! For example, Sterling from Waiting for You is the main character in Now and Forever. There have also been cameos of characters from Take Me There and Something Like Fate in my recent novels. Sadie is so sweet with her random acts of kindness and warm fuzzies that I knew we would see her again. It was fascinating to explore Sadie in much more depth than what we knew of her from So Much Closer. Working with an already fully developed character to develop her even further was an interesting exploration, and revealed a lot more than I was anticipating. You will see more characters from my previous books in my future books. I am weaving their storylines together as a metaphor for how everything is connected. Ultimately, my goal is for all of my characters to be connected by one degree.

MP: Do you have a favorite character in City Love? Which character were you most like as a teen?

SC: Rosanna is a lot like my teen self. I’m not from Chicago and I don’t have a big family, but we both were abused and grew up in impoverished circumstances. There is a scene in City Love where Rosanna goes to the ATM and is horrified to discover that she only has 73 cents left. That totally happened to me in college! Like Rosanna, I paid for college entirely on my own. So realizing that I essentially had no money left at one point was terrifying. Rosanna is a survivor. She is stronger than she knows. The three City Love girls are my heart, but I have special affection for Sadie. Her caring nature and determination to become a true optimist make me happy.

MP: City Love is the first book in your first trilogy. Did knowing this story would be told over the course of a trilogy change your writing process? How much did you know about each character’s arc when you started writing this book? Has anything changed?

SC: My writing process was pretty much the same. I like to have a comprehensive outline before I start writing the first draft of a new book. Every outline changes as I write and the characters reveal more of themselves to me and, subsequently, more of the story that was not initially apparent. I had a general idea of what each girl’s arc would look like, but I was flexible as the writing progressed.

MP: It’s no secret that you love New York and City Love brings you and your readers back to NYC. How did you decide what locations to include this time around? Did you have to work to balance new locations with old favorites (like the High Line which also featured in So Much Closer)?

SC: Oh, the High Line had to return! There are a few places that have given me so much joy over the past 20 years I’ve lived in New York that I really had no choice but to include them. I didn’t read So Much Closer in detail before I began writing City Love, but I did revisit Sadie’s scenes since she is now with us again. I’m sure I mentioned places in City Love that were also featured in So Much Closer without realizing it! The books are four years apart, which allowed time to discover more cool places I didn’t know about before. The Free Public Baths building is just one example. My fiancé and I recently discovered that place when we were walking around one summer night. If I hadn’t looked up, I would have never noticed the signage. The building has such a fascinating history I felt compelled to include it in City Love.

MP: Lost in Love will be released on May 3. Can you tell us anything about what to expect in it?

SC: You can expect the unexpected! And more big cliffhangers at the end, of course :)


Thanks again to Susane for this awesome interview.

You can see more about Susane and her books on:

You can also check out my review of City Love.

City Love: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

City Love by Susane ColasantiSadie has lived in New York City her entire life but when she moves into summer housing before her first semester of college, it feels like she’s discovering a whole new city. She is so ready to meet her soulmate and fall in love. When she finally meets the perfect boy at her summer internship it’s almost too good to be true.

Darcy decides to use her move from California to New York to embrace Summer Fun Darcy while she gets a head start on her classes. With rich parents backing her adventures, Darcy is sure that her summer is going to be unforgettable. The only problem is Summer Fun Darcy might not be prepared when the chance for something real with a new boy comes her way.

Rosanna knows moving from Chicago to New York is going to be hard–especially since her family can’t give her any monetary support. But moving to New York has always been Rosanna’s dream so she is determined to make it work even if that means a less-than-glamorous summer job. No one is more surprised than Rosanna when a handsome, rich guy breezes into her life ready to sweep her off her feet.

Sadie, Darcy and Rosanna are unlikely roommates and friends. But one summer in the city they all love will bring these girls together right when everything starts to change in City Love (2015) by Susane Colasanti.

Find it on Bookshop.

City Love is the start of Colasanti’s City Love trilogy. The story will continue in Lost in Love due out May 2016.

Colasanti delivers another fresh, fun romance in City Love. The novel alternates chapters with first person narrations from Sadie, Darcy, and Rosanna. At the start of the novel all three girls are at a crossroad waiting for things to happen and their real college lives to begin.

Each girl also has a secret–something they are running away from, coming to terms with, or hiding from–that they withhold from each other and the reader. This trope, which sometimes can only lead to frustration, is handled well in City Love where readers are ultimately rewarded with answers by the end of the novel.

City Love presents a shiny, elegant version of New York filled with fancy restaurants and expensive stores that locals might not often seen. The novel itself is imbued with Colasanti’s abiding love for New York and evocative scenes of popular destinations like the High Line and Union Square.

Set during the course of one tumultuous week for the girls, City Love is an exciting story of romance, new beginnings, and taking chances. This book reads as a contained story with a satisfying conclusion for most plot threads although hints of what’s in store for Sadie, Rosanna and Darcy will leave fans eager for the next installment.

City Love is a great choice for readers looking for a stylized version of college life with all of the freedom finally being an adult affords. An ideal choice for contemporary romance fans as well. Recommended.

Possible Pairings:The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti, How to Love by Katie Cotugno, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg, Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham, Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu, Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson, What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen, Golden by Jessi Kirby, Anna K.: A Love Story by Jenny Lee, Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson, Summer in the Invisible City by Juliana Romano, The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith, Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales, Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

Don’t forget to check out my interview with Susane Colasanti!

*A copy of this book was acquired from the publisher at BEA 2015 for review consideration*

Now and Forever: A Review

Now and Forever by Susane ColasantiEven before he started to blow up, Sterling could not believe that Ethan picked her to ask out. Even before he hit a million followers, before his single started airing on the radio, before the concerts and the sold out tour destinations, Sterling knew she was so incredibly lucky to have Ethan Cross as her boyfriend.

Ethan and Sterling click in a way Sterling didn’t think possible. As much as she loves performing culinary experiments and correcting egregious grammatical errors in signs, Sterling loves spending time with Ethan more. As great as hanging out with her friends is, hanging out with Ethan is better.

Then Ethan’s music starts getting noticed and suddenly Ethan is a hot commodity thrown head-first in the world of fame and celebrity. Sterling, much to her initial dismay, is thrown in right beside him.

Ethan is getting compared to Michael Jackson and getting more famous by the second. Meanwhile Sterling finds herself appearing next to Ethan in countless tabloid photos, traveling around the country to catch his sold out shows, and even garnering a small following of her own.

Between her hot boyfriend, the sudden fame, and the free couture, Sterling should be living the dream. The only problem is Sterling is no longer sure whose dream it is in Now and Forever (2014) by Susane Colasanti.

Find it on Bookshop.

Now and Forever is a bit like an exclusive trip behind the velvet rope; a look at exactly what being famous might mean. Unfortunately, unlike other titles in a similar ilk, this book fails to offer a nuanced picture instead focusing on the glitz and glamor. While Ethan does change as he gains fame throughout the story, the implications of that change or what caused it (privilege, growing up, celebrity in general) are never discussed anymore than Sterling’s own relationship with her fame by association.

While this is a sweet romance, a lot of the story is spent on a bad relationship. Although this focus on the bad makes the second romance that much sweeter, it simultaneously raises questions about why the novel’s plot focuses where it does for so long.

Like all of Colasanti’s heroines, Sterling is adorably romantic. While her absorption in Ethan’s world and identity are troubling, it is an issue that’s addressed before the story ends.

Now and Forever is a must read for any readers who are super into the latest boy band or music in general. Bonus points for anyone who is a celebrity news junkie.

Possible Pairings: Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg, Where She Went by Gayle Forman, Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, Open Road Summer by Emery Lord, Say You’ll Remember Me by Katie McGarry, Being Friends With Boys by Terra Elan McVoy, Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle

Author Interview (#2): Susane Colasanti on All I Need

Susane Colasanti author photoRegular readers know that I am a big fan of Susane Colasanti’s books. They’re always fun and optimistic with great characters and, more often than not, have a summery vibe. I’ve talked to Susane previously about her 2011 novel So Much Closer. She is back today to talk about All I Need–a story of soulmates, seredipity and summer–which came out in May.

Miss Print (MP): What was the inspiration for All I Need?

Susane Colasanti (SC): When I was a teen, the first day of summer vacay always came with this overwhelming feeling of excitement. Like anything was possible. I had visions of meeting my soul mate over the summer, reinventing myself, and going back to school as a shiny new girl. Of course that never happened. But I never stopped hoping it would. Writing All I Need was my way of bringing that fantasy to life. Seth and Skye are soul mates. They have this immediate, intense connection right from the first night they meet on the beach. They both know right away that they’ve found something real.

MP: All I Need has two narrators—Skye and Seth—who alternate chapters told in their first person voices. This is a return to the dual narration format of your debut novel When It Happens. How did you know dual narration was the best way to tell this story? What was it like returning to that format? How did having two narrators influence your writing decisions regarding pacing and what readers learn from both main characters?

SC: The original plan was to write all of my books from two points of view. The few YA love stories I remember reading as a teen (because that was back in the day before there was a teen section with the awesome selection of novels available now) only featured the main girl character’s point of view. I was dying to know the boy’s side of the story. What was he thinking? Did he really like the girl? What did he talk about with his friends? What did his room look like? I promised myself that if I ever wrote a teen novel, I would tell the story from both the girl’s and boy’s perspective. My intention worked out for When It Happens and Take Me There. But when I was working on the Waiting for You chapter outline, I realized that I couldn’t reveal Nash’s side of the story. It would give away his big secret. The same was true for my other books up until All I Need. I was stoked to finally be able to return to the alternating perspectives I love so much.

MP: Building off the last question: Skye and Seth are two very different characters. How did you get into each of their “heads” while writing? Did you write the story linearly or work on one character at a time? Was it hard to transition between Skye and Seth’s narrative voices?

SC: Moving between the two voices was actually a pretty smooth process. Although Skye and Seth have their differences, they also have a lot in common. They’re soul mates who are meant to be together. I know what it’s like to meet a soul mate. How amazing it feels to have that instant chemistry and connection with someone. Moving forward from that point when Skye and Seth meet at the beach in the first two chapters felt familiar. It was like I’d known Skye and Seth my whole life. And in a way, I have.

MP: All I Need spans a significant amount of time as Skye and Seth try to find each other and later try to make their relationship work. How did you decide which scenes were key to their story? Is there anything you wanted to include but couldn’t? Any favorite scene or scenes?

SC: The last scene comes to mind as a fave. To see these two characters back on the dune where they kissed that first night they met was a wonderful full-circle moment. Full-circle moments always feel so powerful to me. I love the concept of closure, the sensation that everything is connected. The Universe brings Skye and Seth together at the beginning of the book and it brings them right back there in the end.

All I Need could have been much longer. There are tons of cute scenes that I could have included. But every chapter must advance the plot in a significant way. Keeping that rule in mind, I wrote scenes that moved the story forward while reflecting the special bond that Skye and Seth share.

MP: The last time you were on the blog for an interview we were discussing So Much Closer, a wonderful novel as well as a bit of an ode to New York City. Your latest novel All I Need is set on the Jersey Shore and in Philadelphia. How did you go about researching these locations? Are any of the locales mentioned in the book inspired by real places?

SC: Including actual locations in my books is something I really enjoy. Like Seth, I went to the University of Pennsylvania. I adore Philly and thought it would be a fun setting for the book. The Jersey Shore felt like a good place to bring Seth and Skye together in a realistic way. My hometown is Middle of Nowhere, New Jersey. Taking day trips down the shore was standard summer practice. I remember how unique Sea Bright looked on maps, this tiny town on a sliver of sand. I never went to Sea Bright back in the day, but I visited while I was researching All I Need. Real places like Diner on the Square, the Land of Make Believe, and Good Karma Cafe are also included in the book.

Speaking of actual locations and how everything is connected…Skye’s hometown of Newfoundland, New Jersey is also the setting of Something Like Fate. A couple of the characters from Something Like Fate even have cameos in All I Need.

MP: While we’re talking about locales, one place Skye and Seth both love is the Snowball stand (store?) by the shore. Skye and Seth both have their own flavor preferences. What’s your flavor of choice? Also, inquiring New Yorkers (called Miss Print) want to know: Is a snowball really different from Italian Ices?

SC: Loving this question! The snowball place in All I Need, Cold as Ice, was inspired by an actual snowball place right here in New York City. It’s called Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls and is open every summer. Dude, these are the most delicious snowballs you will ever taste. This year you can find them at 55 Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District. We went the other night after dinner to get snowballs and walk the High Line, which starts a block away. Which flavors did we get? Skye’s fave is my fave: watermelon tangerine. When I told my BF/soul mate that Seth likes spearmint lemonade, he immediately ordered one. He is so like a boy right out of one of my books.

Yes, snowballs are very different from Italian ice. The ice in an Italian ice is smoother than in a snowball. Which is not to be confused with a snow cone. Snow cones contain coarser ice. As I am a huge fan of crushed ice, I consider these differences to be significant.

MP: Early on, Skye covets a certain sweet carnival prize. What would your dream carnival prize be? Was there one you actually coveted? Did you win it?

SC: Would you believe I still have my most beloved carnival prizes? A stuffed satin crescent moon and matching star. They have shiny ribbons dangling from them. I don’t want to think about how many quarters my Gram sacrificed for me to win those prizes.

MP: At his dorm Seth has some wacky suite mates, particularly his roommate Grant. Were any of Seth’s roomie troubles inspired by actual experiences?

SC: Totally. I had the worst roommate freshman year. She was a slob. She would do disgusting things all the time like leave a bowl of cereal on her desk for days. It would grow mold and everything. Her grossness factor inspired the moldy bowls on Grant’s side of the room.

MP: What is one thing you hope readers will take away from All I Need?

SC: The reassurance that soul mates are real and the determination to never settle for less than what they want. Everyone deserves to be happy. Everyone deserves to find true love. My BF/soul mate is the man of my dreams. I’m so thankful that I never stopped believing I would find him. I want my readers to keep that same hope alive.

MP: That ending! Without getting into spoilers, it seems safe to say there could be more to Skye and Seth’s story. Can you tell us if we will be seeing more of them? (If you can’t, maybe just wink once for yes or twice for no?) Since that’s a rather pointed question, let me also ask: Can you tell us anything about your next project?

SC: Readers often ask if I’ll ever write sequels to my books. While I’m not sure about sequels yet, I’m psyched to report that we’re working on a movie adaptation of Something Like Fate right now. One of my biggest dreams is to have at least one book become a movie. It’s a long process, but I have a Knowing it will happen. Always dreaming big…

In the meantime, my eighth novel will be released next year. And I just announced that I’m writing a trilogy called City Love! The first book of the series will be released Summer 2015.


Thanks again to Susane for a great interview! You can also read my review of All I Need here on the blog and visit Susane’s website for more info about her and her other books.

All I Need: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

All I Need by Susane ColasantiSkye has great parents, good friends, and even a summer friend near her family’s summer house on the Jersey Shore. Still, Skye knows something is missing. She’s still waiting to find the right guy–the one that will make her feel complete and be the icing on the proverbial cake. That’s all Skye needs for her life to really be perfect.

Every summer Skye and her friend Adrienne joke that the summer will be different; something exciting will finally happen. Usually that isn’t the case. Then Skye sees him at the party and she knows, at last, that something big really is going to happen.

Seth didn’t want to join his friend at the beach party. His family doesn’t rent a house on the shore–his dad owns a roller rink there. Totally not the same. But then Seth sees her and he knows he was wrong and coming to the party was the exactly right thing to do.

After one magical night Skye and Seth know they’re meant to be. But before they get to a happy future they’ll have to deal with a present filled with missed connections, worried parents, troublesome friends, and the difficult realities of college (and long distances) in All I Need (2013) by Susane Colasanti.

All I Need is Colasanti’s sixth novel. Like her other books it is a standalone (though attentive readers might spot a cameo or two).

All I Need is written in the first person with dual narrations by Skye and Seth. Between the two narrators, Colasanti offers a nuanced story about the starts and stops of Skye and Seth’s fledgling relationship. Although the novel spans a wide space of time, this story is very grounded in the distinctive sense of possibility that summer brings. Colasanti expertly opens up both Skye and Seth’s futures as together (and apart) they realize the world has a lot to offer.

With a frothy blend of romance and fate Colasanti plays with the ideas of serendipity and inevitability as Seth and Skye work to find each other after their first fateful meeting. The two narratives cleverly overlap and intertwine throughout All I Need to create a delightfully romantic and thoughtful story.

Possible Pairings:Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen, Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg, Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, The Statistical Probability of True Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

You can also read my exclusive interview with Susane Colasanti.

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

Waiting For You: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Waiting For You by Susane ColasantiMarisa is ready for her sophomore year to be different. After waiting for so long for the perfect person to come along and for the rest of her life to start, Marisa is tired of waiting. This is going to be her year. It has to be.

When cute, popular Derek asks Marisa out, it seems like her waiting really is over.

But it turns out, waiting or not, things don’t always go smoothly. Instead of living a dream, Marisa’s perfect family starts to shatter and dating Derek isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

The only bright spot in what is turning out to be a way less than perfect year is DJ–the anonymous podcaster that the whole school listens to. Even when everything is a mess, DJ seems to understand exactly what Marisa and the rest of the school need to hear.

Even dealing with her lab partner/neighbor Cash is way harder than she thought filled with missed signals, confusion and a general pervading awkwardness. This is definitely not what Marisa has been waiting for in Waiting For You (2009) by Susane Colasanti.

Find it on Bookshop.

Waiting For You is Colasanti’s third book. Like her others, it is also YA. Despite that, and the age of her narrator, this book felt much younger to me. If not for the focus on dating and relationships, I would have pegged this as a Middle Grade title rather than a Young Adult one.

While the story resonates with teens who share Marisa’s frustrations about waiting for something and seemingly never finding it, this was not my favorite Colasanti read. Although the story was interesting–Colasanti always manages to pack in a lot of fun extras besides the core story–I never connected with Marisa as a narrator.

Consequently, I’m sorry to say the story did not resonate with me. Marisa is immature and rash, jumping to random conclusions with seemingly no confirmation and missing other, larger, things completely. Other principal characters like Cash felt much more developed compared to Marisa, not to mention being more entertaining, despite Marisa being the one narrating the story.

Waiting For You has its fans, and it will appeal to some readers. For others, like me, it won’t. But that’s okay because Colasanti has a lot of other books that are sure to do the trick.

Possible Pairings: The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti, What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen, The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart, Vibes by Amy Kathleen Ryan, How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford, Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee

Something Like Fate: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Something Like Fate by Susane ColasantiLani knows that fate is the real deal. She and best friend Erin are spending their junior year of high school learning about all different tools of fate from astrology to numerology. All of these things that other people dismiss or call silly bring order to Lani’s world and help explain who she is and why.

Erin couldn’t be more different from Lani, but she feels the same way. Bound together after a dramatic childhood event, Lani can’t imagine her life without Erin. And Erin feels the same way. What could possibly come between them?

Lani is sure the answer is nothing.

Until Erin starts dating Jason.

The more Lani and Jason start talking, the more they connect. But how can Lani be connecting with her best friend’s boyfriend? How can something feel so fated when it is so the wrong thing in Something Like Fate (2010) by Susane Colasanti?

Find it on Bookshop.

I’m a big fan of Colasanti’s books. Although her novels always focus on soulmates, Colasanti always brings something new and original to the table. Unfortunately in the case of Something Like Fate that original spin is something that already came up in The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott.

Both books have their strengths–what Something Like Fate does well is examine changing friendships and high school dynamics. The story is a satisfying, if sometimes familiar, romance with the added touch of a narrator who is as passionate about astrology as she is about the environment.

The main problem with Something Like Fate is actually that Colasanti wrote her peripheral characters too well. Instead of rooting for Lani and Jason, I found myself wishing Connor played a more prominent role.

Possible Pairings: How to Love by Katie Cotugno, A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley, The Boy Book by E. Lockhart, Drawing the Ocean by Carolyn MacCullough, Vibes by Amy Kathleen Ryan, The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Take Me There: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Take Me There by Susane ColasantiRhiannon is crushed after the breakup with her boyfriend. Even worse than being dumped is the fact that she still had no idea why it’s over. (And that she still wants him back.) Her best friend James doesn’t understand why Ree wasted her time with such a loser to begin with. Nicole doesn’t either, but when Ree comes up with a risky scheme to get her ex back, how can Nicole say no?

Nicole knows all about boyfriends and breakups. Luckily she’s still friends with her ex Danny even if he is crazy into politics. Not that it matters, Nicole only has eyes for her new crush even if it does have to be a huge secret. Even if the crush might be a way to avoid confronting her past.

All James really wants is to have enough money to buy a huge apartment where everyone will just leave him alone. But for now, he’s working on earning a college scholarship and getting on with his life. Even if he does have to do that without his girlfriend after she freaks out about his friendship with Rhiannon (again). So what if they have tons in common and always hang out? It’s not like he wants to date Ree, isn’t it?

As if things aren’t complicated enough, the school’s resident mean girl (and skank) takes it upon herself to ruin Ree’s life. Which is absolutely not going to happen if her friends have anything to do with it. What starts as a plan to get some karmic retribution might also get Rhiannon, Nicole and James exactly what they need in Take Me There (2008) by Susane Colasanti.

Find it on Bookshop.

Take Me There is broken into two parts. Each part is broken into three sections–one narrated by Rhiannon, Nicole or James who each tell sections of the story from their own points of view. In one sense this gives readers three stories in one but it also creates a larger, more detailed story as readers work through the entire book.*

What I liked particularly about Take Me There is that it isn’t just a romance. Colasanti tackles a lot of different plot points to create a rich, complex story. The interconnected narratives also makes for a multi-faceted plot with lots of details for close readers to notice.

All three characters are a lot of fun, each with their own unique voice and different takes on events of the book. (James in particular was a blast–I wish I’d thought of Mr. Inappropriate Alert Guy myself. Dude!) By the end Colasanti weaves together all of the plot threads to create a gratifying story about karmic retribution of epic (and hilarious) proportions and also not one but two charming love stories in Take Me There.

*The book design is also great with subtle differences for each character. Totally impressive.

Possible Pairings: The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti, Heist Society by Ally Carter, What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen, The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg, Boy Toy by Barry Lyga**, After the Kiss by Terra Elan McVoy, The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson, Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith

**Really it’s any books by Barry Lyga or all of them. He does similar stuff with dual narratives and interconnected stories.

Exclusive Bonus Content: One of my all-time favorite songs also plays a kind of major role in the plot! (And reminded me I need to get it on my ipod stat.) You can check out Colasanti’s website for the playlist she made for the book–including the majorly important song whose name I am not going to share so you’ll have to read the book.