Flat-Out Celeste – Jessica Park
Flat-Out Celeste is the story of a girl who’s not quite like everyone else. Sometimes she starts to Google “Asperger’s” but can’t quite pull the trigger. At 17, Celeste is looking forward to leaving behind the awkward interactions of high school for the intellectual freedom of an Ivy League education. And then she meets Justin. Justin is a student-ambassador for a California liberal arts school, 3000 miles away from Celeste’s world. He doesn’t save her, but he helps her embrace who she is. This is the third book in the Flat-Out series and it’s completely charming and compelling. A sweet love story sure, but it’s more the story of accepting who we are in all our messed up ways. 5 stars!
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan
I love bookstores. I love weirdness. I love a story about a really weird bookstore. Clay lost his job to the recession and in searching for a new one, stumbles upon a delightfully strange bookstore run by an odd little man. What follows is an epic quest, a tale of adventure, and a very interesting look into the way new technology and old-school research are butting heads. Not to mention that this book really made me want to work at Google. I couldn’t put this down and found the resolution to the mystery completely satisfying. 4 stars.
Just One Night – Gayle Forman
The conclusion of the Just One Day/Just One Year duo of books, this novella provides a very satisfying end to one really good story. While not the emotional punch of her first duo (If I Stay/Where She Went), Forman shows what happens after Willem and Allyson find each other again. While mostly I’m happy imaging such things myself, I really like that Forman decided to show what happens after Happily Ever After. It was nice to revisit both the main and supporting characters again and get closure to an adventure of a love story. 4 stars.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight – Jennifer E. Smith
This was a re-read for me, but it had been awhile. Sadly, this is not a book that holds up well. Two teenage strangers meet on a plane and bond on a trans-Atlantic flight. What happens once they land? I generally enjoy a fluffy romantic story, but this one just hit too many odd notes for me. There was a level of predictability that I didn’t enjoy (yes, I know, I’ve read it before but I read a lot! Not all details were remembered) and it felt too trope-y. A good premise, but the execution of it just didn’t hold up. 3 stars.
We Were Liars – E. Lockhart
Another book that I really wanted to like, but I just couldn’t get into it. A summer mystery of a girl who’s returning to the island her family owns two years after something tragic happened, an accident that left Cadence in physical and emotional pain. Her three cousins, once constant companions, have pulled away. She spends her summer reconnecting with them and figuring out what happened the night of her accident. A solid premise but a messy execution. I could have done without the storyline of a family squabbling over money and possessions, but I saw the necessity of it as the book concluded. I just wish I hadn’t figured out the mystery before the book was even half over. 3 stars.