Thursday, July 5, 2018

Blog Tour: The Year of Living Awkwardly - Emma Chastain

The Year of Living Awkwardly: Sophomore Year
Emma Chastain
Series: Chloe Snow's Diary, #2
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
High school student Chloe Snow chronicles another year in her life while she navigates the highs and lows of family, friendship, school, and love in her diary.

It’s Chloe Snow’s sophomore year of high school, and life has only grown more complicated.

Last year, Chloe was the star of the musical. This year, after an audition so disastrous she runs off the stage in tears, she’s cast as a lowly member of the ensemble. Will she be able to make it through the show knowing everyone’s either pitying her or reveling in her downfall?

Chloe’s best friend, Hannah, is no help: she’s been sucked into the orbit of Lex, the velvet-gloved, iron-fisted ruler of the sophomore class. Chloe’s dad is busy falling in love with Miss Murphy, and Chloe is no longer speaking to her mother, who is sending her increasingly desperate and unhinged emails from Mexico. As her parents’ divorce negotiations unravel, a custody battle looms.

If only Chloe could talk to Grady about it: his parents are divorced, and he’s easy to talk to. Or he was, until he declared his love for Chloe, and she turned him down because despite all her rational brain cells she can’t seem to get over Mac, and then Grady promptly started going out with Lex.

As the performance of the show approaches, Chloe must find a way to navigate all the messy elements of her life and make it through to the end of the year.

If I was asked to describe The Year of Living Awkwardly in three words, I would say: delightful, amusing, and honest.

When I started this book, I was immediately captured by Chloe's voice. Chloe clearly came across as a 15-year-old teen, and I found her musings, observations, frustrations, and fears very believable. I fell in love with her. I was happy, when she was happy, and sad, when she was sad. I raged with her, hurt with her, and even swooned with her. There were so many times I wanted to reach into the book and give her a hug, because this was a tough year for Chloe.

She experienced a lot of disappointments during her sophomore year. There was her parents' divorce, growing apart from her best friend, losing some other valuable friendships, and additional smaller, but no less disheartening, let downs. However, all these were valuable life lessons for Chloe, and only made her stronger and wiser.

Confession: I read this book, and then went back and read the first book. From my personal experience, I can tell you that the book stands on its own. Chastain fills in all the pertinent details, and you will not be lost in the story. Now, I had thought Chloe grew tremendously over the course of this story, but after reading the first book, I was really impressed with how much she changed since her freshman year. It's one of the things I love about this type of series. Getting to watch the character pass so many milestones, make mistakes, and learn from them. I think Chloe's worldview changed a lot from book 1 to book 2, and you see it in her increased self-awareness.

There were many times I was really proud of Chloe in this book. She made some decisions, which could have been social suicide, nipped some toxic relationships in the bud, faced some big fears, and acknowledged some of her own shortcomings. This was such a huge difference from High School Disaster Chloe.

The diary format is one I really enjoy. I feel like the character can just share their thoughts without any filter, since this is being written just for them. It's confessional in nature and usually quite revealing. Chloe's shares were very sincere, and often hilarious. I laughed so much while reading this book, but I also thought some of Chloe's entries were insightful, and I enjoyed getting to know her so well.

Overall: What a wonderful and fun year I got to spend with Chloe! Chloe will join Ruby Oliver and Georgia Nicholson on my list of confessional protagonists, whom I love. I look forward to spending Junior and Senior year with Chloe!

* ARC received in exchange for an honest review.


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Emma Chastain is a graduate of Barnard College and the creative writing MFA program at Boston University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and children.



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Do you have a favorite "dear diary" type book?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. This sounds really good and I am happy that is was a great read for it.

    1. There was just something about Chloe that I loved, and it was fun spending time with her.

  2. This novel sounds so fun! After I read the words "dear diary" the only books that come to mind are the Dear Dumb Diary series By Jim Benton. I used to adore that series growing :)

    1. I have heard of those books, but never read them. This one has a heaping dose of teen angst, but it's also very fun and heartwarming.

  3. This totally isn't my kind of book, but I feel the title so much! I may have to pick this one up! Thanks for sharing :D

    1. This is solid YA contemporary material, and totally me.

  4. It’s so great when an author can really nail a teenage voice and it sounds like Chastain did just that. And the diary format is a bonus... it’s fun to get a character’s totally unfiltered thoughts and feelings.

    1. Chastain really did a wonderful job creating Chloe. She has a lot of depth, and her self awareness is something I loved seeing too.

  5. When I was reading the synopsis and your review I was thinking this sounded like Georgia Nicholson and Ruby Oliver. I’ve got to give it a try now!

    1. She really did that that vibe, and she grew the way those two did too. Her life is not all sunshine and rainbows, and all her troubles are NOT resolved at the end of the book, which gives it that touch of realism. I loved her.

  6. This sounds perfect for summer reading. I always love diary format books, they are so fun.

    1. I was just talking about how much I liked the format, and now they keep popping up on me.

  7. Aww I love books/series where you see the characters grow so much and learn from their mistakes. It's heartfelt and relatable. ♥ Awesome review, Sam!

    - Aimee @ Aimee, Always

    1. It's really great getting to spend years with a character, and getting to experience those ups and downs of growing up.

  8. Yours is the second review of this I've read today and my goodness, chloe just gets better and better! She is adorable, and fun and I love the obvious growth in her.

    1. She really is a wonderful character, and I am so excited we will definitely get a third book.

  9. This sounds like a cutesy series. I need to look into it <3 Kind of reminds me of To all the boys i've ever loved by Jenny Han in some ways.

    1. It was cute, but incorporates real issues too. Chloe is sneakier than Lara Jean, but she has a similar quirky awkwardness

  10. Although I do like the diary format I have to admit I don't read it all that much anymore. Chloe is younger than a lot of the protagonists I read about but it shows her growing and that sounds like it is done pretty well here! Thanks for letting us know it stands alone as well ;)

    1. I have been reading all over age wise, and what I like about Chloe is that I get to see her age and mature, which is kind of satisfying.