I’m hoping that the regular Top 5 Wednesdays will be resuming this fall, but either way I will likely be switching TBR Benchwarmers to either a monthly or occasional series. It’s been so interesting to revisit the books that have been on my TBR for ages and remind myself of some of the ones that I most wanted to try, but I wouldn’t mind moving on to a different topic for a while! One of the things that I’ve found most interesting is seeing the different phases I went through while adding books to my TBR. There were days where I seemed to be looking exclusively for specific themes or genres, but also a lot of days where it was obvious that I was randomly browsing. Toward the end of January 2016, I was definitely going through a YA realistic fiction phase since that seems to be almost all that I added!
1) The Girl Who Fell by Shannon M. Parker
To be honest, I don’t remember anything about this book at all. It is about a high school senior named Zephyr who falls in love with Alec, a new boy at school and star hockey player, only to for the relationship to take a dark turn. Part of the reason that I’ve put this off for so long is because I’ve read several YA books that deal with abusive relationships, and have found many of them fairly similar. It also does not help that many of the reviewers that I follow have given this one quite negative reviews, mostly commenting about that the main character herself is frustrating and even that the relationship is too heavy on instalove to be convincing. I don’t necessarily choose my books based on the reviews, but given how many reviewers that I tend to agree with have not liked this one, it is not very promising. I still think this book interests me enough that I might try it for myself, but I don’t think it will be any time soon. The longer I put off a YA book, the less likely it is that I’ll actually end up picking it up though, unless it is something especially unique so I’m not too sure about this one.
2) The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin
I have considered picking this one up a few times over the past couple of years, but somehow still never got around to it. It is another book that I don’t even remember adding to my list. It is about a girl named Harper whose past year was full of big mistakes, including ruining her relationship with her best friend, Declan. After two semesters without speaking to each other, Declan has returned from boarding school and both of them have changed during their time apart, although their shared past starts to draw them back together. Unfortunately, it is another one that seems to have received fairly negative reviews, although most reviewers I follow have not read it. It’s definitely the kind of book that I would need to be in the right mood to try at this point, but it sounds like it has some potential. I do tend to enjoy stories about characters trying to come to terms with their pasts, although it is hard for me sometimes to relate to teenage characters by now. I’m still interested enough to give this one a chance, but it is another that is still pretty low on my list.
3) How it Ends by Catherine Lo
I guess the end of January was a time where I was looking for obscure YA contemporary books, since this is another one that really isn’t well-known at all. This one is about two girls, Jessie and Annie, who are instant best friends despite their differences, until they suddenly having a falling out. It is told in alternating perspectives to show the breakdown of their friendship during their sophomore year. I love that this book focuses more on friendship rather than a romance, since that is definitely something that needs to happen more often in YA. It is something that I think I might even relate to a bit more than other YA books set in high school because I had a close friend in high school who I had a sudden falling out with, and to this day, I have no idea what happened. I doubt the situation in this book will be the same as my friendship, since the synopsis seems to imply more about bullying, but it is something that definitely seems like something that I might be interested in. Thinking ahead, I’m fairly certain one of my reading challenges for next year has a potential prompt that involves a book about friendship, so this one might be a good fit for the prompt.
4) True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan
I recently found a copy of this one from my library book sale, so now I have an extra reason to finally pick it up. It is about a boy named James who seems to have a perfect life, but his desk is full of letters he has written which tell a different story as he struggles to figure out who he really is. James feels trapped into the lies he’s been telling to maintain everyone else’s idea of who he is or should be. I think I was first drawn to this book because of the Pez dispenser cover, which for some reason caught my attention. It is another book that has not received any attention from the reviewers I follow, so it was one that was easy to overlook for a long time. It does sound like an interesting story, and I like the idea of James writing unsent letters to people in his life since I think it’s such an interesting plot device. That was what drew me to try To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and although I didn’t love that series as much as everyone else, I did like the letter-writing element of it. Now that I own a copy of this one, I’m hoping to finally get to it.
5) Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
I think this is the best known of all the books listed here, but even that is not necessarily saying very much considering it has only around 38,000 ratings on Goodreads. To put that number in context, every other book listed here had around 2000 or less ratings. I also have several more Julie Buxbaum books on my TBR despite never reading any. This one is about a girl named Jessie whose mother has died, and she is about to start a new prep school in LA, where she is living with her father and the stepmother that she has never met. When Jessie receives a mysterious email from someone calling themselves Somebody Nobody offering to help guide her through her new school, and that person soon becomes her lifeline whom Jessie would love to meet in person. I’m a sucker for any book involving online friendships/relationships because it is a trope that can be a lot of fun. This is another author that I might consider as a priority to try next year since I have so many of her books already on my TBR.